Pound 4 Pound lists are always talked about as being definitive for ranking the best boxers regardless of weight, this got me thinking, okay, these are the top ten fighters but who is technically the best? the look of contemplation commenced before subsequently coming up with six names which could have been taken to twenty if I didn’t have the time constraints I currently have, so without further ado here are my picks with a brief description for each:
Let’s start with the most obvious of Vasyl Anatoliyovich Lomachenko, a fighter who is always two steps ahead of the opposition, so much so that some have named him the matrix because of his elusiveness, whilst others are playing checkers, Vasyl is playing chess.
He toys with notable punchers with a grin, untangling the most complex of styles before dissembling, you have to ask yourself if he is even human?
Embodying the life lesson that the hard work is done behind the closed doors of the gym, there is little doubt that Vasyl as given up more than most to fine tune what is becoming an exhibition of boxing in its purest form.
An eagerness to make his father Anatoly proud took Vasyl in the direction of boxing, like any young impressionable child, Vasyl upon his trips to the gym wanted to jump right in, hit the bags, skip a little or correct his hand speed on the pear like drop hanging in the corner of the old building, wanting to be like the other kids his age, but for Vasyl all this would have to wait, instead he was taken the unconventional route of dance classes where he would spend hour after hour alongside little girls who giggled at young Vasyl’s initial technique although he would have the last laugh, those hour long sessions serving as a life lesson to correct his footwork, an act which as carried him throughout an amateur career unparalleled.
Building foundations of a fighter with the precision in which Anatoly has, Vasyl as duplicated the form which witnessed him take every major honour in the amateurs on his way to an extraordinary record of 396-1 (his sole loss as been avenged a number of times since).
Currently a two weight world champion in just nine professional fights, he stands at the pinnacle of most pound 4 pound lists, without the need to even break stride or secrete sweat, an easy pick to make.
George Foreman once said “Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the fewer people appreciate it” words that coincide with the professional career of the second name on my list, Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Leaving loved ones and his worldly goods behind, his defection from his homeland of Cuba was one of heartbreak but necessary in search of a more lucrative way of living than what he was accustomed to in the brilliance of the amateurs.
looking back now you could be forgiven for thinking that the man known as the “Jackal” would have the boxing world in the palm of his hand, but in reality, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
Bob Arum acted quickest in the race for his signature, like a fat cat that got the cream he knew he had something very unique but everything didn’t work out as it should, ‘Rigo’ wasn’t worthy of PPV status according to HBO, becoming a marketing nightmare for the Top Rank team to sell.
His win over Nonito Donaire became a poisoned Chalice of sorts, no one wanted any part of a deal to face Rigondeaux who at that point provided way too much risk without the reward factor that came with a big PPV TV Deal.
Lapses of inactivity, a change in promotional company you’d have thought would have put him back on track, but for one reason or another as so far proven fruitless.
(That being said at least now he gets to fight with an interesting matchup on the horizon of Moises Flores on the undercard to Sergey Kovalev Vs. Andre Ward).
A more casual observer will watch a Rigondeaux contest with yawn’s and channel hopping aplenty, but for me who is a self-confessed big fan of his, watching him perform is like poetry for the eyes, every step made with grace, every move a calculated one with heavy artillery hitting its target with frightening precision, my only hope is we get to see him reach his full potential before it’s too late.
Andre Ward is constantly a fighter written off, even before his professional career had begun naysayers were second guessing him, He wasn’t supposed to win an Olympic Gold Medal….He did so with a smile that said “I told you so” from the top of the podium. The Super Six tournament gave another example, the names of Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham were being singled out as favourites, but it was ‘S.O.G’ who like cream rose to the top to win the format at a canter, but probably the biggest example came recently in his decision victory over everyone’s favourite puncher Sergey Kovalev, the boogeyman of the light heavyweight division, Ward not only took the decision, he did so by getting off the canvas.
“It’s not the dog in the fight, It’s the fight in the dog” Ward intensifies this quote with a mixture of heart and skill which as so far kept him unbeaten whilst on the right end of most people’s pound 4-pound listings.
In all honesty, no one could have blamed Dre if he turned tail and run after the Kovalev victory, he had proved his theory that he is a cut above, but because of the question marks surrounding the win he instead showed that heart for battle once more, signing the contract to do it all again.
I’ve never written this kid from Oakland off and I ain’t about to start anytime soon.
No one was more shocked than I when Roman Gonzalez was handed a loss by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, derailing any notion of a future match-up with Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue.
Before that time “Chocolatito” had looked near invincible, sitting pretty at the top of P4P lists throughout the boxing community, but that aforementioned loss is what is so special about the sport, one punch can change the course or an accumulation of them in this case.
Such was his dominance at Minimum/Light Flyweight and Flyweight meant that he would need to go further north in order to find a challenge, but in so doing may have also found his ceiling as the great Nicaraguan came unstuck against the powerful Thailand fighter Rungvisai, albeit controversially on my scorecard.
Gonzalez is a joy to watch, hands moving like pistons and feet moving even quicker he lures opponents into positions which they didn’t intend on being, before dropping the hammer which usually results in a forthcoming stoppage/knockout.
Fight fans will be overjoyed with the news that he and Rungvisai will revisit the first fight later this year but the lustre of handing that loss to Gonzalez no longer there may mean Inoue goes looking for bigger fish at the Bantamweight limit, another super fight slipping through our fingers, Thanks, Rungvisai…..not.
Terence Crawford came out of a prestigious amateur program with gold medals aplenty from the 2006 National PAL Championships, 2006 Blue & Gold National Championships and in 2007 U.S. Pan American Games Box-Offs.
The excitement that surrounded ‘Bud’ was ablaze, inevitable to spread further, but all that excitement could have easily been cut short with a lone bullet to the head bringing clarity to his future decision making.
“That’s when I sat down and just thought about life,” said a reflective Crawford “You’re supposed to be in the house getting ready for a fight, and you’re out here shooting dice and getting shot.
“You hang with those types of people, that’s what happens. Guilty by association, I should say.
“It went through the window, hit me and bounced out. The only reason, the doctor said, that it didn’t go through my skull was because the window slowed it down. I was blessed.
“Ever since then, I’ve got a purpose. I could’ve been dead at that moment.
His purpose, being the best fighter he can possibly be but more importantly providing a brighter future for his children.
Since that moment on, he has excelled and adapted to every situation put in front of him, “A true champion can adapt to anything” Floyd Mayweather once coined the quote which is carried on by the switch-hitting Crawford today
I suppose common skillset’s are shared betweet the men on this list, most predominantly accuracy, something which “Bud” excels at, showing much of this in his stoppage win over Felix Diaz, another stark reminder that this kid from Omaha, Nebraska is something special.
Being around the sport for decades, Top Rank head honcho, Bob Arum knows talent when he see’s it, instantly rubbing his hands with the sense of uncovering another jewel for his Top Rank crown, Crawford represents a soldier who very rarely calls out names, who is readily available to travel and always able to get the job done, 31 of his prey can vouch for the fact.
Talk of a fight between Crawford and Pacquiao have intensified over the past couple of years with Pacquiao looking for a big farewell contest in 2017/2018, Crawford would certainly fit the bill with his stock continuing to rise.
‘Monster’ is very fitting for the nickname of Naoya Inoue, our last entry as given nightmares to thirteen opponents so far, tearing through the opposition on his way to becoming a two-weight world champion in just eight contests.
Finishing an amateur career with a record of 75-6, Inoue reached the top of the mountain in regards to achievements in his homeland but never scaled the dizzy heights on the world stage, stopped short by Cuban Yosvany Veitía twice in his attempts to take a place on the podiums of the youth world championships and again at the 2011 world championships.
Undeterred, Inoue turned his focus to the paid ranks where with a mixture of brutality and speed as led most to wonder if there was anyone in or around the division that could give him any resemblance of a challenge.
Gonzalez was the man who looked most likely but as since fell off track with his latest loss meaning that Inoue may now look towards the 118-Pound division to test his resolve further.
Tip of the hat: Oleksandr Usyk, Gennady Golovkin, Canelo Alvarez, Spence Jr, Jorge Linares, Mikey Garcia, Erislandy Lara, Donnie Nietes and too many others to name.
These are just my picks to which there are a lot more to choose from, boxing was thought to be a dying sport when Floyd Mayweather retired, something of an over exaggeration it now seems as the sport of kings continues to flourish.
Let me know your picks by tweeting me #BestTechnical to @topclassboxing or leave a comment on our facebook page.