We take a look at five of the best pound for pound fighters in the boxing world at the moment.
Crawford cleaned out the 140lbs division, unifying four major world titles before moving up to 147lbs. He battered Julius Indongo over three rounds, has looked exceptional in every fight and while he requires a career-defining win, his record of 32-0 speaks for itself.
Based on skills, there is no better boxer in the world right now. The Ukrainian‘s footwork is unmatched but to be P4P, a bigger body of work is required. Rigondeaux was a huge scalp but the Cuban was stepping up two divisions and was the smaller man.
Many thought he beat Canelo Alvarez in September but the reality is it ended in a draw. He’s not quite looked like the rampaging middleweight of the last nine years and he needed a clear-cut win over a fellow P4P contender to secure top spot. That didn’t happen.
Arguably the only man with the skills to match Lomachenko, Garcia has returned to the conversation after successfully moving up to 140lbs to dominate Adrien Broner. Garcia is at the peak of his powers and is open to fights from 135lbs to 147lbs.
He didn’t get beat by Triple G and, given most in the P4P debate haven’t fought another member of the top-five, it’s hard to ignore the Mexican. Canelo is one of the most complete fighters on the planet and can claim top spot if he overthrows Golovkin in a rematch.
Vasyl Lomachenko dismantled the most decorated amateur boxer – aside from himself – and then made Guillermo Rigondeaux quit. And he barely broke sweat in the process. Lomachenko has an extremely high ceiling and with a fourth straight retirement of his opponent to retain the WBO super-featherweight title, he has a new nickname, too – No Mas Chenko. ‘No mas’ means no more in Spanish.
The Cuban claimed a fractured hand sustained in the second round forced him to quit at the end of the sixth but in reality it was a broken ego. The 37-year-old had the life sucked out of him and his legacy has likely lost legs as well. Rigondeaux has long lamented the lack of respect and big fight opportunities he receives but when the occasion finally came around, his most effective offensive output was fouling.
Lomachenko’s elite skills, elevated ring IQ and signature footwork have cemented his place among the top-three pound-for pound and there is simply no doubting his credentials. Still, this wasn’t a victory to secure top spot, even the 29-year old recognises that.
“This is not his weight so it’s not a big win for me,” said Lomachenko, who won gold medals at the Beijing and London Olympics. “But he’s a good fighter, he’s got great skills. I adjusted to his style, low blows and all. “He’s a king in boxing, but he’s a king in his weight category. This is not his size; it’s not his weight.” There is no need for a hard sell with Lomachenko, his skills are enough to pay the bills.
Rigondeaux was utterly baffled when his usual defensive manoeuvres were foiled by the champion’s desire to continue fighting at all times. There was no rest when Rigondeaux slipped into his defensive postures as Lomachenko used his otherworldly footwork to find the gaps – the highlight a perfect pirouette as the Cuban ducked down.
The previously unbeaten challenger had no answer and in the end, he wanted no more. “He is a technical fighter. Very quick and very explosive,” Rigondeaux said of Lomachenko before adding: “I lost, but it was because of my hand. In the second round I injured the top of my hand and I could no longer continue.” When you consider Miguel Cotto fought to 12 rounds with a torn bicep last week, you can’t shake the impression Rigondeaux simply gave up.
Lomachenko landed 55 punches overall and Rigondeaux just 15 – less than three punches in any round, according to CompuBox. The gulf in class was less to do with the difference in size, the Ukrainian was just steps head, winning every round but the first. He is intimidating but not with the power of his punch but the skill of it as fighters quit in bewilderment rather than pain.
“He says I don’t have no power, I don’t have no punch – but how can I have no power if he says ‘no mas’,” Lomachenko said. What’s next for Lomachenko is far from clear. Mikey Garcia represents a tantalising technical tussle but his bitter lawsuit with the Ukrainian’s promoter Top Rank makes that bout unlikely.
“I need a rest, maybe one month, and then I’ll prepare for my next fight,” Lomachenko added. Whoever throws their name into the ring faces the prospect of having the towel thrown in after, such is the ability of Lomachenko to shut down, shut out and sit down his opponents.
Former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is determined to “be myself” and avoid playing “a character” should he return to the ring.
The British boxer has been out of action for two years, with a failed drugs test in June 2016 blocking his comeback to professional boxing.
Fury, who has become well known for outspoken statements on a variety of topics, is determined to clear his name.
“Of all the things I’ve been called — a bigot, a sexist, a homophobe — I may have been those but the one thing I’m not is a drugs cheat,” the 29-year-old told IFL TV.
Fury has always insisted his positive test was due to eating uncastrated wild boar.
The British Boxing Board of Control has said the former champion, who won the IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, has said there is no question of Fury being granted a licence to box until the issue is resolved.
Fury, who has said he had used recreational drugs to combat depression in 2016, turned up at a press conference dressed as Batman ahead of his win against Klitschko.
But he was adamant such stunts were now a thing of the past, saying: “This time I want to be myself, I don’t want to play a character anymore.
“I want the public to see me, the people’s champion, the happy-go-lucky Tyson Fury. Not the confident, brash character to sell tickets. If promoters can’t do their job, I’m not going to help them. I’m not going to be a performing actor.”
Fury added: “I feel I have a story to tell, a massive one. The stuff I’ve been through, depression, mental health problems. It can help and inspire others. From rags to riches to rags again.
“From 18 stone to 27. From a clean living man to drugs and alcohol and back to the heavyweight world champion again. I hope the legacy and story I leave behind will help others in the future of what to do and not to do.”
Fury, undefeated in 25 bouts, has recently thrown out challenges to several boxers including Britain’s current world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua.