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Pound-for-pound rankings: Did Canelo move up after KO win over Kovalev?

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Who is the world's best fighter, regardless of weight class? Check out ESPN's latest top 10.

While Canelo Alvarez impressed some of our panelists with his recent KO victory over Sergey Kovalev, others were hesitant to move him up on the list.

Former two-division champion and current ESPN boxing analyst Andre Ward explains his decision to keep Canelo at No. 3.

"Kovalev was 4-2 in his last six fights before he faced Canelo," Ward said. "He was stopped twice inside the distance and was a few punches away from being knocked out in his last fight against Yarde. This was clearly not a prime Kovalev against Alvarez. I think this was evident from Kovalev's performance throughout the fight. Credit to Canelo for moving up -- that's always tough -- but not the same risk when facing a faded wounded foe. I have to add this to the equation: It's not just about the 'name' you face but where the 'name' currently is in their career when you face them."

ESPN boxing writer Steve Kim moved Canelo one spot from fifth to fourth but believes Canelo didn't do enough to make the top three.

"I understand why some have elevated Alvarez atop their pound-for-pound list," Kim noted. "It's hard to argue this based on his most recent effort and his overall career achievements. But it's also very difficult to debate the merits of Naoya Inoue (who I have No. 1 on my list), Vasiliy Lomachenko and Terence Crawford. It's my opinion that this quartet that has clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack, they are currently the most fearsome foursome in boxing. Like the top-rated teams in college football (LSU, Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson), they are a cut above from the rest of the pack. Choosing the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, right now, is splitting hairs."

ESPN senior boxing writer Dan Rafael decided it was time to get Canelo to No. 1.

Alvarez was the lineal middleweight champion when he won two sanctioning organization titles from Gennadiy Golovkin by majority decision in their rematch in September 2018. Then he picked up a super middleweight belt with a one-sided third-round destruction of Rocky Fielding in December. Alvarez followed by dropping back to middleweight in May and soundly outpointing Daniel Jacobs, the No. 2 middleweight, to unify three titles.

That is pound-for-pound-level stuff. Alvarez has been highly ranked on nearly every P4P list for years, and now it's time to put him on top of the mountain.

Our ESPN panel of Dan Rafael, Andre Ward, Timothy Bradley Jr., Joe Tessitore, Teddy Atlas, Steve Kim, Bernardo Pilatti, Eric Raskin, Nick Parkinson, Nigel Collins, Charles Moynihan and Salvador Rodriguez share their lists.

Don't forget to check out Dan Rafael's divisional rankings, which are updated weekly.

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

Note: Results are through Wednesday, Nov. 6.


1. VASILIY LOMACHENKO  

RECORD: 14-1, 10 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Luke Campbell, Aug. 31
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


2. TERENCE CRAWFORD  

RECORD: 35-0, 26 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO6) Amir Khan, April 20
NEXT FIGHT: Dec. 14 vs. Egidijus Kavaliauskas


3. CANELO ALVAREZ  

RECORD: 53-1-2, 36 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (champion), super middleweight ("regular" titlist), light heavyweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO11) Sergey Kovalev, Nov. 2
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


4. NAOYA INOUE  

RECORD: 18-0, 16 KOs
DIVISION: Bantamweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Nonito Donaire, Nov. 7
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


5. ERROL SPENCE JR.  

RECORD: 25-0, 21 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD12) Shawn Porter, Sept. 28
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


6. OLEKSANDR USYK  

RECORD: 16-0, 12 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO7) Chazz Witherspoon, Oct. 12
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


7. GENNADIY GOLOVKIN  

RECORD: 39-1-1, 35 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Oct. 5
NEXT FIGHT: TBA vs. Kamil Szeremeta


8. JUAN FRANCISCO ESTRADA  

RECORD: 39-3, 26 KOs
DIVISION: Junior bantamweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO9) Dewayne Beamon, Aug. 24
NEXT FIGHT: TBA vs. Khalid Yafai


9. MANNY PACQUIAO  

RECORD: 62-7-2, 39 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD12) Keith Thurman, July 20
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


10. MIKEY GARCIA  

RECORD: 39-1, 30 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight
LAST FIGHT: L (UD12) Errol Spence Jr., March 16
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


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: Deontay Wilder (13), Artur Beterbiev (11), Josh Taylor (7), Oscar Valdez (6), Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (3), Miguel Berchelt (3), Leo Santa Cruz (2), Shawn Porter (1), Kosei Tanaka (1), Shakur Stevenson (1)


How our writers voted

Atlas: 1. Lomachenko, 2. Crawford, 3. Canelo, 4. Inoue, 5. Spence, 6. Usyk, 7. Pacquiao, 8. Garcia, 9. Santa Cruz, 10. Beterbiev

Rafael: 1. Canelo, 2. Lomachenko, 3. Crawford, 4. Usyk, 5. Spence, 6. Inoue, 7. Pacquiao, 8. Golovkin, 9. Estrada, 10. Garcia

Bradley: 1. Canelo, 2. Lomachenko, 3. Crawford, 4. Inoue, 5. Usyk, 6. Spence, 7. Taylor, 8. Pacquiao, 9. Beterbiev, 10. Stevenson

Ward: 1. Crawford, 2. Lomachenko, 3. Canelo, 4. Usyk, 5. Inoue, 6. Wilder, 7. Spence, 8. Estrada, 9. Pacquiao, 10. Beterbiev

Tessitore: 1. Crawford, 2. Lomachenko, 3. Inoue, 4. Canelo, 5. Usyk, 6. Spence, 7. Estrada, 8. Berchelt, 9. Golovkin, 10. Beterbiev

Collins 1. Crawford, 2. Lomachenko, 3. Canelo, 4. Golovkin, 5. Inoue, 6. Spence, 7. Usyk, 8. Estrada, 9. Pacquiao, 10. Taylor

Kim 1. Inoue, 2. Lomachenko, 3. Crawford, 4. Canelo, 5. Usyk, 6. Estrada, 7. Spence, 8. Golovkin, 9. Garcia, 10. Tanaka

Parkinson: 1. Canelo, 2. Lomachenko, 3. Crawford, 4. Inoue, 5. Usyk, 6. Spence, 7. Golovkin, 8. Garcia, 9. Beterbiev, 10. Estrada

Raskin 1. Lomachenko, 2. Crawford, 3. Canelo, 4. Inoue, 5. Spence, 6. Estrada, 7. Pacquiao, 8. Sor Rungvisai, 9. Taylor, 10. Porter

Moynihan: 1. Lomachenko, 2. Spence, 3. Crawford, 4. Canelo, 5. Inoue, 6. Wilder, 7. Usyk, 8. Golovkin, 9. Valdez, 10. Garcia

Pilatti: 1. Lomachenko, 2. Spence, 3. Crawford, 4. Inoue, 5. Canelo, 6. Golovkin, 7. Valdez, 8. Wilder, 9. Estrada, 10. Pacquiao

Trejos: 1. Canelo, 2. Lomachenko, 3. Crawford, 4. Spence, 5. Inoue, 6. Garcia, 7. Usyk, 8. Pacquiao, 9. Beterbiev, 10. Golovkin

Rodriguez: 1. Canelo, 2. Lomachenko, 3. Crawford, 4. Usyk, 5. Inoue, 6. Spence, 7. Golovkin, 8. Estrada, 9. Beterbiev, 10. Pacquiao


ESPN experts' poll

First place: Canelo (5), Lomachenko (4), Crawford (3), Inoue (1)

Second place: Lomachenko (9), Crawford (2), Spence (2)

Third place: Crawford (8), Canelo (4), Inoue (1)

Fourth place: Inoue (6), Canelo (3), Usyk (3), Spence (1)

Fifth place: Usyk (5), Inoue (4), Inoue (3), Spence (3), Canelo (1)

Sixth place: Spence (4), Golovkin (2), Estrada (2), Wilder (2), Inoue (1), Usyk (1), Garcia (1)

Seventh place: Spence (3), Pacquiao (3), Usyk (2), Golovkin (2), Estrada (1), Taylor (1), Valdez (1)

Eighth place: Golovkin (3), Estrada (3), Pacquiao (2), Garcia (2), Wilder (1)

Ninth place: Estrada (6), Beterbiev (4), Pacquiao (2), Golovkin (1), Garcia (1), Taylor (1)

10th place: Beterbiev (3), Pacquiao (2), Garcia (2), Golovkin (1), Stevenson (1), Estrada (1), Taylor (1), Tanaka (1)