The 10 Best Pound-For-Pound Boxers, Ranked

From Terence Crawford to Canelo Alvarez to Gervonta Davis, these are the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, ranked from No. 10 to 1.

Al Bello / Getty Images

Ask any boxer or trainer about the mythical pound-for-pound rankings and you’ll usually get one of two responses: a smirk or a massive eye-roll. 

Because nothing elicits more laughs or scorn from those actively participating in the sport than talk about a worthless list. Pound-for-pound rankings are an arbitrary and subjective creation with no set criteria. They have absolutely no bearing whatsoever in how matchups are made, or champions are determined. And they don’t (at least tangibly) make boxers more money.

“Pound-for-pound rankings is by opinions only,” says trainer Johnathon Banks who has worked with future Hall of Famer Gennadiy Golovkin. “You don’t get [a] championship with opinions. What are the criteria? That is a question that’s never really been answered.”

Trying to determine the 10 best boxers in the world, regardless of weight class, isn’t an easy task considering how wildly bodies, styles, and skillsets (like power and defense) vary as you scan the spectrum of today’s best boxers. Anyone looking to weigh in on the pound-for-pound debate—or create their own list—could easily value one characteristic more heavily than another boxing aficionado.

“In a way that ya’ll justify it, ya’ll don’t look into everything that surrounds a fighter being pound-for-pound,” Terence Crawford, who can make a legitimate case to be No. 1, has previously told us

To some, a fighter’s resume matters most—who have you fought, who have you beat, and who have your opponent’s beat? Others base their rankings on the eye test—when they see greatness, they know it. Others might value whether you can put an opponent down and how fast. Have you racked up titles? Are you chasing them? Are you a one-trick pony? Do you fight more than once a year? 

“It’s good for the media, social media, it keeps people talking. That’s why I like it,” says Banks. “Anything that gets people talking about the sport is good for the sport.”

Just don’t get the boxers themselves involved. They usually want no part of the debate. A notable exception is Crawford, who will readily tell you he’s the pound-for-pound best. Meanwhile, Vasiliy Lomachenko, a living legend in the sport, told us he would never say he’s the best “because I’m too shy to say.” Golovkin, on the other hand, doesn’t know how you can reasonably compare a lightweight with a light heavyweight or a welterweight with a heavyweight, a fair criticism of the pound-for-pound rankings.  

“It’s so crazy to me. Everybody’s different,” says Golovkin.

While it’s ridiculous to those putting themselves at risk that anyone could definitively rank boxing’s best across its different weight classes, Complex Sports can’t help weighing in.

On the cusp (in no particular order): Shakur Stevenson, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Artur Beterbiev, Juan Francisco Estrada

10. Jermell Charlo

Jermell Charlo Tony Harrison 2019 2

9. Dmitry Bivol

Russian Boxer Dmitry Bivol

8. Devin Haney

Devin Haney celebrates victory over George Kambosos

7. Gervonta Davis

Gervonta Davis Ryan Garcia Fight

6. Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury Deontay Wilder Oct 2021 3rd Round

5. Errol Spence Jr.

Errol Spence Jr Danny Garcia Dec 2020

Division: Welterweight

Titles: IBF welterweight, WBC welterweight, WBA welterweight

Previously: 5

Next fight: TBD

For Spence, he remains in the same place he did entering his monumental bout with Terence Crawford, not moving up or down in these rankings. The former unified welterweight champion likely has fought his last fight in the welterweight division, but his run in the division is one of the best in recent times, defeating three former champions to take their belts. What comes next remains to be seen for Spence Jr., but him overcoming a near-fatal car crash in 2019, and a potentially career-ending eye-injury in 2021 to still be here standing speaks to how special of a fighter he truly is. And there is still plenty of gas left in the tank for him, as a likely jump to the 154-pound weight class is on the horizon.

4. Canelo Alvarez

Canelo Alvarez Caleb Planty 2021

3. Oleksandr Usyk

Oleksandr Usyk Heavyweight Belts 2021 Anthony Joshua

2. Naoya Inoue

Nayoa Inoue Aran Dipaen Dec 2021

Division: Bantamweight

Titles: WBA bantamweight, WBC bantamweight, IBF bantamweight

Previously: 1

Next fight: N/A

The 30-year-old slugger nicknamed the Monster is living up to it—he’s 20-0 in world title fights—​and is undeniably one of the top fighters in the sport. For the ultra-talented 118-pounder—who won the World Boxing Super Series after earning a unanimous decision over future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire in our 2019 Fight of the Year—it was his performance in their rematch that boosted him to the top of the list. On June 7th, he stopped Donaire in the second round by TKO, instilling fear in one of the former nine-time world champion, and leaving no questions on who the top bantamweight fighter in the world is, but also who the pound-for-pound king in the sport is. On July 25th, he knocked out yet another champion, with a TKO stoppage of Stephen Fulton, making it seem as if the two didn’t even belong in the ring with one another. Inou has a strong case for the best fighter in the world, and if he continues to dominate champions in the manner he has, it will be hard to keep him from the top spot much longer. 

1. Terence Crawford

Terence Crawford Shawn Porter 2021 Las Vegas

Division: Welterweight

Titles: WBA welterweight champion, WBO welterweight champion, WBC welterweight champion, IBF welterweight champion

Previously: 4

Next fight: TBD

July 29th served as a coronation of sorts for Crawford. Already one of the greatest fighters of this era, and a lock to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the only thing that was left for him was the signature win over an opponent that was seen as equal to his talent and skillset. He secured that signature win over Errol Spence Jr., becoming the first four-belt champion in welterweight history and now becoming the undisputed champion in two different weight classes. There is no question currently about who the best fighter in the world is, the real debate is just where Crawford stands on the list of the greatest fighters of all-time. Questions about his resume at 147-pounds have been put to rest for good, and now his body of work is bulletproof.


The first four-belt unanimous welterweight champion in history 🔥

— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) July 30, 2023
Twitter: @ComplexSports

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