American Terence “Bud” Crawford, World Boxing Organization Welterweight Champion and undefeated in 37 fights with 28 KOs and 9 decisions, was 6 points (130-124) ahead of Mexican Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez in ESPN’s Top Ten (10 Best) Pound-for-Pound Boxing rankings for last month.
In this opportunity, Mexican Alvarez, Juan Francisco “El Gallo” Estrada and Oscar Valdez stand out. In the election, 10 points are awarded to the first place, 9 to the second and so on in descending order. Crawford received 5 votes out of a possible 14 for first, 8 for second and one for third, while Jalisco’s “Canelo” received 7 votes for first and 6 for second.
Crawford, from Omaha, Nebraska, a fast 33-year-old southpaw fighter, who fires punches non-stop and unexpectedly shifts his guard, has been mentioned as a potential opponent of the legendary Filipino Manny Pacquiao, who has said he will make at least two fights in 2021, possibly one of them with Crawford, who is the former IBF and WBO Super Lightweight champion and current WBO Welterweight champion since June 9, 2018, when he knocked out Australian Jeff Horn in 9 rounds. In 4 defenses he records 4 KOs: against his countryman Jose Benavidez in 12; the English Amir Khan, in 6; the Lithuanian Egidijus Kavalkiuskas, in 9 and, finally, he finished Ezekiel “Kell” Brook, from the United Kingdom, in 4 rounds, last November 14 at the Bubble Hall of the MGM hotel in Las Vegas, in a Top Rank card of the promoter Bob Arum.
The controversial “Canelo”, 30 years old, WBA and WBC Super Middleweight Super Champion, 53-1-2, 37 KOs (his only loss to Floyd Mayweather in September 2013), defeated Turkey’s Avni Yildirim in 3 rounds on 2/27/21 and on May 5 he will seek the WBO crown held by British gypsy Billy Joe Saunders. He will then go against “gringo” Caleb Plant, IBF champion, in his goal to win the 4 most important belts.
THE OTHER EIGHT
Going a bit deeper into a superficial boxing profile of the other 8 names on this these days’ elite boxing list, let’s say that:
The third of the group is Japan’s Naoya Inoue, 27, nicknamed The Monster, owner of the bantamweight title since May 2018 with a stunning knockout in the first round vs. England’s Jamie McDowell. He is the Super Champion of the World Boxing Association and Champion of the IBF, besides being recognized by The Ring magazine, although it is not a governing body, it carries the weight of its recognized prestige.
Later, last year, Inoue added the IBF belt to his WBA belt with a 7-round KO over England’s Jason Moloney, in his last fight held on October 31, 2020, which marked his debut on U.S. soil, at The Bubble in Las Vegas, Nevada.
When he totaled only five professional fights, Inoue, at the age of 20 in 2014, won the light flyweight belt with a KO over Mexican Adrian Hernandez in 6 rounds and after two defenses he moved up to super flyweight to knock out Argentine Omar Narvaez in his seventh appearance. He moved up to bantamweight after 7 exhibitions, with 6 KOs. An outstanding gladiator from the amateur sector, in his brief professional career he has accumulated 20 wins without defeats, with 17 KOs. For the connoisseurs, there is no real danger for the Asian in the outlook.
The fourth place is occupied by New Yorker Errol Spence, 31 years old, IBF and WBC champion, undoubtedly among the 4 best welterweights in the world. He has won 21 of his 27 fights before the limit. In his most recent fight, he defeated Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia on points, to whom he gave a boxing lesson of the highest technical level.
Spence is followed by Brooklyn native and Honduran descendant Teofimo Lopez junior, owner of the WBA (Super Champion) and WBC and IBF Lightweight belts thanks to his victory over Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko last October at the MGM in Las Vegas by a close decision. Lopez, nicknamed “The Takeover,” has 16 wins, 12 by KO, with no losses. At 23 years old, he is the youngest of the P4P’s top ten fighters.
The sixth position is for “Gypsy King” Tyson Fury, from Manchester, UK, 32 years old, owner of the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts, whose record is 30-0-1, 21 KOs, and who crushed American Deontay Wilder in 7 rounds, last February 22nd.
Finally, the Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, 18-0-0, 13 KOs, 34 years old, among the most renowned heavyweights of the moment, in the 7th position; the Ukrainian and former light heavyweight titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko, 33 years old, with 14 wins, 2 setbacks and a draw; and Juan Francisco “El Gallo” Estrada, from Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico, World Boxing Council Super Flyweight champion, who starred with Nicaraguan Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in what is considered, so far, the best fight of 2021, won by the Mexican in a close and controversial decision last February 13th. The 30-year-old fighter is 42-3-0, 28 KOs and is almost certain to rematch former three-time champion “Chocolatito” in his next fight.
Closing the ESPN rankings is Oscar Valdez, 30, 29-0, 23 KO, also from Sonora, who made it to the list for the first time thanks to his 10-round KO victory over his countryman Miguel Berchelt on February 22nd in the World Boxing Council junior lightweight title fight.