Divisional rankings: Lightweights

Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below. If there is a lineal champion in the weight class, he is ranked No. 1.

For a list of the current champions in all weight classes, click here.

Note: Results through Oct. 17. In an effort to provide the most up-to-date rankings, ESPN.com's division-by-division boxing rankings will be updated every Tuesday.

More divisional rankings

Heavyweight - Cruiserweight - Light heavyweight - Super middleweight

Middleweight - Junior middleweight - Welterweight - Junior welterweight

Lightweight - Junior lightweight - Featherweight - Junior featherweight

Bantamweight - Junior bantamweight - Flyweight - Junior flyweight/Strawweight


1. Jorge Linares (43-3)

Linares, a former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist, made two lightweight title defenses, including a 2015 fight of the year candidate against Kevin Mitchell, but a fractured right hand forced Linares to pull out of a mandatory defense against Dejan Zlaticanin and he was stripped of his belt. No matter. Instead, Linares went to England in September 2016 and outpointed Anthony Crolla in a terrific fight to win another belt and earn recognition as the true champion of the weight class. Crolla had a rematch option, which he enforced, so Linares went back to England for the sequel on March 25 and beat him again, dropping Crolla and winning a lopsided decision 118-109 on all three scorecards. Linares returned on Sept. 23 to headline an HBO card and won a close decision against mandatory challenger Luke Campbell of England.
Next: TBA

2. Mikey Garcia (37-0)
Garcia, a former featherweight and junior lightweight titleholder, won his third world title on Jan. 28 in devastating knockout of the year-caliber fashion, scoring an extremely violent third-round destruction of then-unbeaten titlist Dejan Zlaticanin on the Leo Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton II undercard. Unable to get a major fight at lightweight, Garcia moved up to junior welterweight for the biggest fight he could get and dominated former four-division titlist Adrien Broner en route to a lopsided decision victory on July 29. It was a masterpiece. Garcia wants the biggest fight he can get and called out junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto, but when offered the bout for Dec. 2 he turned it down.
Next: TBA

3. Robert Easter Jr. (20-0)
Easter, nearly 6-feet tall with a long, lanky build and tremendous power, faced Ghana's unbeaten Richard Commey for a vacant belt in September and, in a fantastic action fight, they traded big blows throughout. Easter edged him to win a decision and truly announce his arrival. In his first defense, on Feb. 10 in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, Easter dominated Puerto Rico's Luis Cruz, dropping him three times en route to a lopsided decision win. He defended again in Toledo on June 30 and won a hard-fought unanimous decision against longtime Russian contender Denis Shafikov.
Next: TBA

4. Terry Flanagan (33-0)
England's "Turbo" Flanagan made defense No. 4 against Puerto Rico's Orlando Cruz, a former featherweight title challenger, on Nov. 26. Flanagan hammered Cruz and dropped him twice in an easy eighth-round knockout win. When mandatory challenger Felix Verdejo was injured, Flanagan was permitted another optional defense, which he made on April 8 against tough Russian contender Peter Petrov, whom he outpointed in messy fight. The Verdejo fight was slated for Sept. 16 but called off because Flanagan suffered a leg injury and now it's off altogether now that Verdejo, beset by problems, has been dropped from the mandatory position. He could face new mandatory Raymundo Beltran (34-7-1).
Next: TBA

5. Anthony Crolla (32-6-3)
England's Crolla lost his world title in his second defense, dropping a decision in a hard-fought battle with Venezuela's Jorge Linares in September. In the immediate rematch in March, Crolla lost another decision, this one much more one-sided. In his return on Oct. 7, Crolla shook off the two-fight skid by winning an entertaining and competitive unanimous decision against Scotland's Ricky Burns, a three-division titleholder who returned to 135 pounds for the bout.
Next: TBA

6. Dejan Zlaticanin (22-1)
Zlaticanin came out of nowhere in 2014 when he went to former titleholder Ricky Burns' home turf in Scotland and outpointed him. Two fights later, he ran roughshod over rising contender Ivan Redkach with ease, knocking him out in the fourth round in June 2015 in a title eliminator to earn a mandatory shot at titlist Jorge Linares. But that fight was canceled after Linares suffered a fractured hand and was stripped of the belt. Zlaticanin instead faced late substitute Franklin Mamani, a complete unknown from Argentina, for the vacant belt in June 2016 and destroyed him in the third round to become the first world titleholder from Montenegro. His reign didn't last long as Mikey Garcia crushed him in the third round of defense No. 1 on Jan. 29 to take the title in very violent fashion.
Next: TBA

7. Raymundo Beltran (34-7-1)
Phoenix-based Mexico native Beltran, a former two-time world title challenger, has won five fights in a row, including a hard-fought majority decision against Costa Rica's tough Bryan Vasquez on ESPN on Aug. 5 on the Vasyl Lomachenko-Miguel Marriaga undercard. Beltran is close to another world title shot and could get it against Terry Flanagan (33-0) as he is now the mandatory challenger.
Next: TBA

8. Denis Shafikov (38-3-1)
Russia's Shafikov can't get over the hump as he dropped to 0-3 in world title fights, losing each by decision. First he lost to Miguel Vazquez in 2014, then dropped a second title fight when he faced Rances Barthelemy for a vacant belt in 2015 and then he struck out again on June 30 when he challenged Robert Easter Jr. He gave Easter a good fight, but the judges gave him almost no credit as one judge had it 116-112 but the other two had is a ludicrous 120-108.
Next: TBA

9. Richard Commey (25-2)
Ghana's Commey is as tough as they come. He lost heartbreaking back-to-back split decisions to Robert Easter Jr. for a vacant world title in September and to Denis Shafikov in a title eliminator in December, but bounced back with a unanimous decision win against Hedi Slimani in March. He has signed with promoter Lou DiBella and a purse bid is on tap for a world title elimination fight against Russia's Roman Andreev (20-0). The winner gets a shot at Easter.
Next: TBA

10. Luke Campbell (17-2)
England's Campbell, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, looked sharp on April 29 on the Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko undercard as he dominated former world titleholder Darleys Perez (who was overweight) for a ninth-round knockout in a title eliminator. With the victory, Campbell earned a mandatory shot at champion Jorge Linares (42-3), who was ringside. They met Sept. 23 on HBO at The Forum in Inglewood, California, and although Campbell turned in a good performance, he got knocked down and lost a close decision.
Next: TBA