Just in: It's getting crowded in the top 10 boxing pound for pound rankings.
There is much debate about Canelo Alvarez's defeat in the light heavyweight title fight against Dmitry Bivol, but the argument for Canelo being dropped from the top spot despite his fighting in a bigger division is not only heated. But the list of top fighters who should be included in the top 10 is growing faster than ever.
Jermell Charlo, the undisputed champion of junior middleweight, put in a career-best performance by knocking out Brian Castano during their rematch in May. Pay-per-view's Gervonta Davis used his power and poise to defeat Rolly Romero during their featured lightweight match. Devin Haney, an unbeaten fighter, made a strong argument for consideration when he traveled to Australia to outbox George Kambosos Jr. and became the undisputed champion at 135 lbs.
Stephen Fulton Jr. was the latest to be recognized as a unified 122-pound titleholder. His dominant performance against Danny Roman in June speaks for itself in terms of P4P recognition.
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Fulton, 27, was in the fight of the century discussion in 2021, having won titles against Brandon Figueroa and Angelo Leo. The latter being the best action fight in the year. But "Cool Boy Steph", a cool boy, flipped the script by avoiding the danger Roman presented to him through his control of distance and taking him apart as a counter puncher.
The Philadelphia native is improving and seems to have multiple options for winning each fight. Fulton hopes to attract Murodjon Akhmadaliev, a fellow unified champion, and has expressed interest in meeting Naoya Inoue, unified bantamweight queen should he decide to move up in weight.
Let's take a look at the top fighters in the ring using a criteria that considers everything, from past accomplishments to current form. Here is the most recent Pound for Pound rankings update following Inoue's devastating TKO in June.
Undisputed super middleweight champion (57-2-2, 38 KOs) 1
When Alvarez lost a unanimous decision in May to Dmitry Bivol, unbeaten WBA light-heavyweight champion, the best in the world seemed finally to have reached his ceiling in dramatic weight increases. Alvarez still wants a rematch, but that will be after a September trio bout at super-middleweight against his rival Gennadiy Gorlovkin.
Unified bantamweight champion (20-0, 18 KOs) 4
In just two rounds, the Japanese "Monster", a Japanese fighter, defeated Nonito Donaire, a 39-year-old legend. This was in June's rematch. The goal was to unify three of four titles at only 118 pounds. Although Inoue's power is still impressive, his technique and I.Q. are just as impressive. These are often overlooked. After his goal to become undisputed bantamweight champion, he teased that he might move up to the fourth division.
Unified welterweight champion (28-0, 22 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 2
Spence, 32 years old, looked better than ever after his defeat of Yordenis Urgas. This was despite a 17-month absence and surgery to fix a detached retina. Undisputed fight with Terence Crawford (WBO champion), is the only one that makes sense next. This is currently being discussed.
WBO welterweight champion (37-0, 27 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 3
Crawford made a remarkable series of adjustments in order to finish Shawn Porter in the November pay-per view clash. Crawford is a free network agent and promotional free agent so it's never been a better time to try for the four welterweight titles against Spence.
WBC heavyweight champion (32-0-1, 24 KOs) | Previous ranking: 5
Is he truly retired? The 33-year-old "Gypsy Kings" has said yes but no one will officially accept it until he vacates the world title. Fury drew 94,000 people to London's Wembley Stadium for his knockout of Dillian Howte. He is probably waiting to see who wins the Oleksandr Usyk - Anthony Joshua rematch in order to have a chance at the undisputed title.
Unified heavyweight champion (19-0, 13 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 7
Anthony Joshua was defeated by the former undisputed champion at cruiserweight. After Usyk's permission from his native Ukraine to train despite ongoing Russian conflict, a contractually obligated match is possible for this summer.
Lightweight (16-2, 11 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 6
Lomachenko was forced to withdraw from a title bout against George Kambosos Jr. due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Lomachenko, 34 years old, used 2021 to show his critics how dominant and dominant he is still by defeating Richard Commey and Masayoshi Nakatani.
WBO junior lightweight champion (18-0, 9 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 7
Already being compared with a young Floyd Mayweather. The 24-year-old Southpaw performed a surgical dismantling on Oscar Valdez, a fellow unbeaten titleholder, in their April title unification. Stevenson's speed and technique are unmatched. The future is now.
WBA light heavyweight champion (20-0, 11 KOs)
Although Bivol was sometimes criticised for being too safe in the past and not taking risks in the present, he proved to be anything but in his monumental victory over Canelo Alvarez, pound-for–pound king. Bivol was a bigger man than he actually was and did not show Alvarez respect when he fought him. The winner of Artur Belterbiev or Joe Smith Jr. could face Bivol in a title fight.
Unified junior featherweight champion (21-0, 8 KOs) | Previous ranking: NR
Fulton completed a remarkable 2021 season with the most complete performance of his career, widely outpointing Danny Roman in June. "Cool Boy Steph", one of the most diverse threats to the game, openly desires to fight fellow unified champion Murodjon Akhamadaliev.
Jermell Charlo was dropped out
Honorable mention: Devin Haney, Jermell Charlo, Gervonta Davis, Juan Francisco Estrada, Artur Beterbiev, Josh Taylor