This is a daunting time to put forth a pound-for-pound list. Regular names on the list have recently suffered losses or else looked less than spectacular. A large number of rising stars still need another big win to deserve a spot.
1. Andre Ward I had splitting six rounds each with Sergey Kovalev last November, and the Russian winning by a point on the strength of his Round 2 knockdown. But I will respect the judges’ decision and place Ward at the top of this list.
2. Sergey Kovalev He gets his rematch in June. If he wins, he will deserve acclaim as the top fighter on the planet.
3. Manny Pacquiao I am not sure he will hold this spot by year’s end. But his resume and last two victories over Timothy Bradley and Jessie Vargas earn him the place for now.
4. Gennady Golovkin I thought he lost a very close fight to Daniel Jacobs last month. But again, I will respect the judges’ decision on this one.
5. Roman Gonzalez He lost a razor-close decision in a war last month, but he still remains a four-division world champion with a staggering knockout ratio.
6. Terence Crawford A true world champion at 140 pounds. He has destroyed good and very good fighters with ease.
7. Saul Alvarez I am not happy that he has avoided true middleweight stars like Golovkin and Jacobs, but he is the lineal champion at middleweight and the top fighter at 154 pounds, when he choses to campaign there.
8. Vasyl Lomachenko It feels like it is just a matter of time before he climbs to the top of this list.
9. Naoya Inoue “The Monster” has achieved staggering accomplishments at just 23 years of age. I would love to see him move up to bantamweight to face his countryman, Shinksuke Yamanaka, who would not be out of place on this list.
10. Mikey Garcia Showed the same power he had as a young featherweight when he starched previously undefeated Dejan Zlaticanin in January, to capture the WBC strap at 135 pounds.