LAS VEGAS -- It's been seven months since Floyd Mayweather announced his retirement, and now it's Manny Pacquiao's turn. Both dominated the boxing scene for at least the last 10-12 years, and they're leaving a big void that fight fans are hoping some other stars can fill.
With the departure of the No. 1 and No. 2 pound-for-pound fighters of the last 25 years, according to an ESPN.com voting panel, there are several names who could fill the void and who have the charisma and talent to become stars.
Currently considered the top pay-per-view star, the middleweight champion's popularity knows no limits, and he's shown his quality in the ring. At just 25 years old, he has a 46-1-1 record. He faces Amir Khan next and is one of HBO's top draws, in addition to being Golden Boy Promotions' main draw. A fight against middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin is on the horizon.
One of the most, if not the most feared boxer on the planet. He's 34 years old and has a record of 34-0 (31 KOs). He's the best middleweight in a long time, and while he's expected to fight Alvarez, he could also move up to 168 pounds in search of bigger challenges after cleaning up his division.
With Pacquiao's farewell, Crawford looks to be Top Rank's next big star. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum knows that Crawford is talented enough to achieve great things, but he may lack popularity. Nevertheless, he'll headline his first pay-per-view event on July 23 in Las Vegas against Viktor Postol in a junior welterweight unification bout. At just 28 years old, he has 28 victories and 20 knockouts. He is yet to be defeated.
Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez
Chocolatito is the current No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in ESPN's rankings. If he continues dominating fighters the way he has been so far, he will soon reach 49-0, like Mayweather did. Gonzalez is only 28 and has a record of 44-0 with 38 knockouts. After dominating the strawweight and flyweight divisions, Gonzalez recently had his HBO debut, and fight fans have fallen in love with him. The three-time world titlist returns to the ring on April 23 against Puerto Rico's McWilliams Arroyo.
Thurman is considered the best in the welterweight division after the departures of Mayweather and Pacquiao. His knockout power, charisma and boxing ability place him high above many others, including Danny Garcia, Kell Brook and Shawn Porter. He fights Porter on June 25, and that's when he'll have to prove that he has star power. At 27, he has a 26-0 record with 22 KOs.
At 30 years old, with a record of 36-0 and 35 knockouts, the "Bronze Bomber" is the best American heavyweight and one of the best in the division. Wilder has brought the heavyweight division back by winning a title in 2015, as talented European competitors also make a stand, and everything is lined up to give Wilder the chance to become a successor to the great heavyweights of the past. His next test is a mandatory fight against former titleholder Alexander Povetkin on May 21 in Russia.
Ward, the 32-year-old former super middleweight champion, came close to being the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but trouble with promoters and the presence of Mayweather and Pacquiao kept him from topping the list. Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) currently fights in the light heavyweight division and has everything it takes to be the next big star, including talent, popularity and support from HBO. To make the next leap forward, he has to fight Sergey Kovalev, a powerful Russian considered the division's top fighter.