With Terence Crawford heading into action this weekend and the year winding down, it’s a good time to update the pound-for-pound top 10.
1. Roman Gonzalez, WBO Super Flyweight Champion Chocolatito pushed his record to 46-0 with 38 KOs in 2016, and collected a world title in a fourth division. But his September victory over Carlos Cuadras was very close, with Cuadras carrying the later rounds. A rematch is definitely in order.
2. Andre Ward, WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight Champion I actually had Ward’s November fight with Sergey Kovalev six rounds a piece, with Kovalev winning by virtue of his Round 2 knockdown. Still, I can live with the judges’ decision and reflect it’s legitimacy in my rankings. However, if Ward had won more cleanly, I would have him at the top of this list.
3. Sergey Kovalev Kovalev was dominant early against Ward, but lost at least the second half of the fight. Still, he rallied and hung tough. Win or lose, there can be no doubt he is a great fighter after his tilt with Ward.
4. Manny Pacquiao, WBO Welterweight Champion The Ring doesn’t even have him in their own top 10 and I do not necessarily think he is still the fourth best fighter in the world. But his resume demands respect. And he won convincingly over two top 10 welterweights this year. Nobody else at 147 pounds put together a campaign as good.
5. Gennady Golovkin, WBA, WBC and IBF Middleweight Champion He is riding a 23-fight KO streak and has the rest of the division running scared. He might need to move up to 168 pounds if he wants to keep the hardcore fans interested.
6. Terence Crawford, WBO and WBC Super Lightweight Champion In July, Crawford easily beat Viktor Postol, the other top fighter in his division. Expect him to be a contender for the top spot on this list within the next year or so.
7. Vasyl Lomachenko, WBO Super Featherweight Champion After only eight professional fights, the Ukrainian star has already won titles in two divisions. He has looked so dominant some are already calling him the best fighter in the sport.
8. Guillermo Rigondeaux, WBO and WBA Super Bantamweight Champion The champion nobody wants to face. Rigondeaux is a defensive wizard, guaranteed to make an opponent look bad. But his style does not do well at the box office.
9. Saul Alvarez, WBO Super Welterweight Title The sport’s top attraction turned in a very disappointing schedule during 2016. Still, his resume earns him a place here.
10. Carl Frampton, WBA Featherweight Champion After unifying the WBA and IBF super bantamweight titles and then capturing the WBA featherweight title in 2016, Frampton should win Fighter of the Year honors.