Pound-for-pound rankings – A new face in top 10 and another knocking on the door


Gervonta Davis didn’t look dominant in a decision victory over Isaac Cruz on Sunday, Dec. 5, but the win did earn him a spot on ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings for the very first time.

Davis (26-0, 24 KOs), 27, of Baltimore, Maryland, also benefited from Teofimo Lopez’s upset loss to George Kambosos Jr. to make the take the No. 10 spot. Lopez, who was previously No. 7, was only a few votes behind, while Kambosos received strong consideration but ultimately came up short of the top 10.

Davis had a great opportunity to showcase his skills, but he said the less-than-spectacular performance was due to an injury.

“At the beginning of the fight, he came on strong. I felt as the fight was going, he was breaking down. But I hurt my hand, so I wasn’t able to get him out of there,” Davis said after the fight.

His promoter, former pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, deflected the criticism saying that everybody expects Davis to win every fight by KO.

“They wanted ‘Tank’ to knock this guy out,” Mayweather said at the postfight news conference. “Since he didn’t get the knockout tonight, now he lost. It’s bulls—.”

ESPN Deportes boxing writer Salvador Rodriguez said Davis showed some of the skills an elite fighter needs to get on this list.

“It wasn’t an explosive performance by Gervonta Davis, it was actually a close fight against Isaac Cruz — too close — but he boxed well enough to confirm that he can be considered for the top 10,” Rodriguez noted. “I don’t think he can beat Vasiliy Lomachenko, but I think that, when his hand heals, Davis can compete and beat Kambosos, the undisputed champion.”

Former two-division champion and current ESPN boxing analyst Timothy Bradley Jr., decided to keep Davis at No. 10 but moved Kambosos to No. 6 after his impressive victory over Lopez.

“If you are undisputed, you are gonna be moving up on my pound-for-pound list from here on now,” Bradley explained. “Kambosos actually did the unthinkable. He went above and beyond of what my expectations were. He was a 13-1 underdog going into this fight. Think about all the delays and postponements to make the fight, all the frustrations, all the sacrifices that this guy has made — both of these men — and get in there and beat a fighter of Teofimo Lopez’s class, a guy that beat the man in Lomachenko. That’s an unbelievable feat, and that’s the reason he’s on my pound-for-pound list so high.”

ESPN UK boxing writer Nick Parkinson believes all three of the undisputed lightweight champions deserve consideration, but he couldn’t rank all three in the top 10.

“If you hold three versions of the world title, you deserve to be in the top 10,” Parkinson said. “Lomachenko was unquestionably out in front, after winning world titles in three weight classes and showing breathtaking skills, until a shock decision loss to Lopez. That fabulous win on an inspired night from Lopez catapulted the New Yorker into the top 10, but he was then victim to an upset himself against Kambosos, who for me deserves a place ahead of Lopez and Lomachenko because of his victory last month.

“The Australian’s victory was also better than Davis’ unspectacular decision win over Cruz, and Davis needs to do more for me to dislodge others in the top 10.”

Our panel of Mike Coppinger, Bradley, Joe Tessitore, Michael Rothstein, Eric Raskin, Teddy Atlas, Parkinson, Ben Baby, Eric Woodyard, Kel Dansby, Bernardo Pilatti, Charles Moynihan and Rodriguez share their votes.

More rankings: Divisional rankings and ESPN’s women’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results are through Dec. 9.

1. CANELO ALVAREZ     Previous ranking: No. 1

RECORD: 56-1-2, 38 KOs
DIVISION: Super middleweight (undisputed champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO11) Caleb Plant, Nov. 6
NEXT FIGHT: TBA vs. Ilunga Junior Makabu

2. TERENCE CRAWFORD     Previous ranking: No. 2

RECORD: 38-0, 29 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO10) Shawn Porter, Nov. 20

3. NAOYA INOUE     Previous ranking: No. 3

RECORD: 21-0, 18 KOs
DIVISION: Bantamweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO3) Michael Dasmarinas, June 19
NEXT FIGHT: Dec. 14 vs. Aran Dipaen

4. OLEKSANDR USYK     Previous ranking: No. 5

RECORD: 19-0, 13 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Anthony Joshua, Sept. 25

5. TYSON FURY     Previous ranking: No. 4

RECORD: 31-0-1, 22 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO11) Deontay Wilder, Oct. 9
NEXT FIGHT: TBA vs. Dillian Whyte

6. ERROL SPENCE JR.     Previous ranking: No. 6

RECORD: 27-0, 21 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Danny Garcia, Dec. 5, 2020

7. JOSH TAYLOR     Previous ranking: No. 8

RECORD: 18-0, 13 KOs
DIVISION: Junior welterweight (undisputed champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Jose Ramirez, May 22
NEXT FIGHT: Feb. 26 vs. Jack Catterall

8. VASILIY LOMACHENKO     Previous ranking: No. 9

RECORD: 15-2, 11 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO9) Masayoshi Nakatani June 26
NEXT FIGHT: Dec. 11 vs. Richard Commey

9. JUAN FRANCISCO ESTRADA     Previous ranking: No. 10

RECORD: 42-3, 28 KOs
DIVISION: Junior bantamweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD12) Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, March 13

10. GERVONTA DAVIS     Previous ranking: N/R

RECORD: 26-0, 24 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Isaac Cruz, Dec. 5

The formula

The rankings are based on a descending points system, with a first-place vote receiving 10 points, a second-place vote receiving nine points and so on. A tie goes to the fighter with the highest ranking and then the one with the most votes at that ranking.

Others receiving votes: George Kambosos Jr. (10), Gennadiy Golovkin (3), Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (3), Artur Beterbiev (1), Stephen Fulton (1).

How our writers voted

Atlas: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Usyk, 5. Lomachenko, 6. Spence, 7. Fury, 8. Taylor, 9. Davis, 10. Estrada

Bradley: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Usyk, 4. Inoue, 5. Taylor, 6. Kambosos, 7. Fury, 8. Spence, 9. Lomachenko, 10. Davis

Coppinger: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Fury, 5. Usyk, 6. Spence, 7. Taylor, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Gonzalez, 10. Estrada

Tessitore: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Usyk, 5. Taylor, 6. Lomachenko, 7. Fury, 8. Spence, 9. Estrada, 10. Davis

Parkinson: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Fury, 5. Usyk, 6. Taylor, 7. Kambosos, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Spence, 10. Estrada

Baby: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Usyk, 4. Inoue, 5. Taylor, 6. Fury, 7. Spence, 8. Estrada, 9. Lomachenko, 10. Fulton

Rothstein: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Fury, 5. Usyk, 6. Spence, 7. Taylor, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Davis, 10. Estrada

Woodyard: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Fury, 4. Inoue, 5. Spence, 6. Usyk, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Taylor, 9. Davis, 10. Kambosos

Raskin: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Fury, 6. Usyk, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Taylor, 9. Estrada, 10. Gonzalez

Dansby: 1. Alvarez, 2. Usyk, 3. Crawford, 4. Inoue, 5. Fury, 6. Spence, 7. Taylor, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Davis, 10. Beterbiev

Moynihan: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Spence, 4. Inoue, 5. Usyk, 6. Fury, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Golovkin, 9. Estrada, 10. Taylor

Pilatti: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Spence, 4. Alvarez, 5. Fury, 6. Estrada, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Usyk, 9. Taylor, 10. Davis

Rodriguez: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Fury, 4. Inoue, 5. Usyk, 6. Spence, 7. Taylor, 8. Estrada, 9. Lomachenko, 10. Davis

ESPN experts’ poll

First place: Alvarez (9), Crawford (4)

Second place: Crawford (8), Alvarez (3), Inoue (1), Usyk (1)

Third place: Inoue (6), Spence (2), Usyk (2), Fury (2), Crawford (1)

Fourth place: Inoue (6), Fury (3), Usyk (2), Alvarez (1), Spence (1)

Fifth place: Usyk (5), Fury (3), Taylor (3), Spence (1), Lomachenko (1)

Sixth place: Spence (5), Usyk (2), Fury (2), Taylor (1), Lomachenko (1), Estrada (1), Kambosos (1)

Seventh place: Taylor (4), Lomachenko (4), Fury (3), Spence (1), Kambosos (1)

Eighth place: Lomachenko (4), Taylor (3), Spence (2), Estrada (2), Usyk (1), Golovkin (1)

Ninth place: Davis (4), Lomachenko (3), Estrada (3), Spence (1), Taylor (1), Gonzalez (1)

10th place: Estrada (4), Davis (4), Taylor (1), Kambosos (1), Gonzalez (1), Beterbiev (1), Fulton (1)

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