With Terence Crawford set to defend his WBO super lightweight belt against long-time contender Hank Lundy this weekend, it seems like an appropriate time to present my own version of the division’s top 10 rankings. There’s no current lineal champion at 140 pounds, and plenty of room to debate who should be slotted where.
1. Terence Crawford The WBO champion has repeatedly defeated very good fighters with ease. One of the sport’s next potential superstars.
2. Viktor Postol The Ukrainian’s knockout of Lucas Matthysse to seize the vacant WBC belt is the best single win of anybody in the division. His length and technical skill would make him a tough fight for Crawford. I hope we get to see it happen.
3. Lucas Matthysse He suffered a major setback in his KO loss to Postol. But his win over the hard-as-rock Ruslan Provodnikov was one of 2015’s best fights. Knocked out former champion Lamont Peterson in three savage rounds. One of boxing’s top KO artists.
4. Ruslan Provodnikov A fighter as rugged as the Siberian climate that forged him. Is a straight-ahead, come-forward mauler with technical limitations, but through sheer determination he very nearly beat Timothy Bradley, one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound talents.
5. Adrien Broner One of the most overhyped fighters of recent years and his status as a three-division champion is largely the result of promotional string pulling. But his talent is undeniable and 140 pounds is a great weight for him. Has had good wins there against Emmanuel Taylor, John Molina and Khabib Allakhverdiev.
6. Mauricio Herrera I’m not sure any fighter has been on the bad end of more tough decisions in the past couple of years. I thought he deserved the nod against champion Danny Garcia in March 2014 and his lost to Jose Benavidez in December 2014 was a straight up robbery.
7. Antonio Orozco The undefeated fighter from California recorded two very good back-to-back wins in 2015 against Emmanuel Taylor and Humberto Sota. He fights next against veteran Miguel Acosta in March. I hope to see him against another rising contender before the end of the year.
8. Thomas Dulorme Got knocked out by Crawford last April, but was fighting on pretty even terms with him in the early rounds. There’s no doubt he’s been inconsistent, but he’s got boxing talent and pop in his punch. Had two good wins in 2014 over Karim Mayfield and Hank Lundy.
9. Eduard Troyanovsky The undefeated, IBF champion from Russia is largely an unknown quality in North America. He won his title by giving Cesar Rene Cuenca his first loss in 49 fights, by TKO. But Cuenca has just two career knockouts and had won the vacant belt in a joke of a fight with non-entity IK Yang. Troyanovsky appears like he could be a legitimate threat in the division, but unfortunately is fighting a rematch against Cuenca, rather than facing a true contender in the U.S.
10. Jose Benavidez At 23, Benavidez has the definite look of a potential star. He’s 5’11” and has a 73″ reach. He’s 24-0 with 16 KOs, but the only really impressive win on his resume was over Mauricio Herrera, and that was a farce. So the jury is still out on him.