Boxing pound-for-pound rankings: Inoue, Bivol and ‘Bam’ pick up votes

Boxing

Naoya Inoue made another statement with a hard-fought, but dominant victory over Marlon Tapales to become only the second men’s fighter to win an undisputed championship in a second division in the four-belt era (Terence Crawford beat Errol Spence Jr.to become the first to do so earlier this year).

Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs), No. 2 in ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings, stopped Tapales in the 10th round to add the IBF and WBA belts to his WBC and WBO junior featherweight titles.

“It was one of the most intense fights I’ve had before, probably, but my corner cheered me up and kept me focused throughout the bout,” Inoue said after the fight.

Inoue, a four-division champion previously won titles at junior flyweight, junior bantamweight and bantamweight, picked up some first-place votes but not enough to unseat Crawford at No. 1 — for now. He plans to stay at junior featherweight for the foreseeable future and defends his belts, before moving up in weight.

“I think [junior featherweight] is my weight class for now, so in 2024, I would like to show myself at [122 pounds] in even stronger form,” Inoue added.

WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol moved up one place after a one-sided unanimous decision victory over Lyndon Arthur. Bivol leapfrogs Canelo Alvarez to take the No. 4 spot.

Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, who defeated Sunny Edwards on Dec. 16 to unify two flyweight world titles got some votes, but not enough to crack the top 10.

Our panel of Mike Coppinger, Ben Baby, Timothy Bradley Jr., Joe Tessitore, Teddy Atlas, Nick Parkinson, Eric Raskin, Bernardo Osuna, Eric Woodyard, Bernardo Pilatti, Charles Moynihan, Salvador Rodriguez, Jim Zirolli, Michael Mascaro, Aladdin Freeman, Damian Delgado Averhof, and Victor Lopez, shares its votes.

More rankings: Divisional rankings and ESPN’s women’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results are through Dec. 28.


1. TERENCE CRAWFORD   Previous ranking: No. 1

RECORD: 40-0, 31 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (undisputed champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO9) Errol Spence Jr., July 29
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


2. NAOYA INOUE   Previous ranking: No. 2

RECORD: 26-0, 23 KOs
DIVISION: Junior featherweight (undisputed champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO10) Marlon Tapales, Dec. 26
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


3. OLEKSANDR USYK   Previous ranking: No. 3

RECORD: 21-0, 14 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO9) Daniel Dubois, Aug. 26
NEXT FIGHT: Feb. 17 vs. Tyson Fury


4. DMITRY BIVOL   Previous ranking: No. 5

RECORD: 22-0, 11 KOs
DIVISION: Light heavyweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Lyndon Arthur, Dec. 23
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


5. CANELO ALVAREZ   Previous ranking: No. 4

RECORD: 60-2-2, 39 KOs
DIVISION: Super middleweight (undisputed champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Jermell Charlo, Sept. 30
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


6. DEVIN HANEY   Previous ranking: No. 6

RECORD: 31-0, 15 KOs
DIVISION: Junior welterweight
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Regis Prograis, Dec. 9
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


7. ARTUR BETERBIEV   Previous ranking: No. 7

RECORD: 19-0, 19 KOs
DIVISION: Light heavyweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO8) Anthony Yarde, Jan. 28
NEXT FIGHT: Jan. 13 vs. Callum Smith


8. GERVONTA DAVIS   Previous ranking: No. 8

RECORD: 29-0, 27 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight
LAST FIGHT: W (KO7) Ryan Garcia, April 22
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


9. SHAKUR STEVENSON   Previous ranking: No. 9

RECORD: 21-0, 10 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight champion
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Edwin De Los Santos, Nov. 16
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


10. TYSON FURY   Previous ranking: No. 10

RECORD: 34-0-1, 24 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD10) Francis Ngannou, Oct. 28
NEXT FIGHT: Feb. 17 vs. Oleksandr Usyk


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: Teofimo Lopez Jr. (19), Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (12), David Benavidez (7), Vasiliy Lomachenko (4), Errol Spence Jr. (2), Emanuel Navarrete (2).


How our writers voted

Atlas: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Bivol, 4. Usyk, 5. Haney, 6. Davis, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Beterbiev, 9.Alvarez, 10. Fury

Bradley: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Usyk, 4. Beterbiev, 5. Haney, 6. Bivol, 7. Alvarez, 8. Stevenson, 9. Lopez, 10. Davis

Coppinger: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Usyk, 4. Bivol, 5. Alvarez, 6. Haney, 7. Beterbiev, 8. Davis, 9. Lopez, 10. Fury

Tessitore: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Usyk, 4. Beterbiev, 5. Bivol, 6. Haney, 7. Stevenson, 8. Alvarez, 9. Lopez, 10. Rodriguez

Parkinson: 1. Inoue, 2. Crawford, 3. Alvarez, 4. Usyk, 5. Beterbiev, 6. Bivol, 7. Haney, 8. Davis, 9. Rodriguez, 10. Lopez

Raskin: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Bivol, 4. Alvarez, 5. Usyk, 6. Stevenson, 7. Haney, 8. Benavidez, 9. Davis, 10. Beterbiev

Baby: 1. Inoue, 2. Crawford, 3. Alvarez, 4. Usyk, 5. Haney, 6. Bivol, 7. Beterbiev, 8. Stevenson, 9. Fury, 10. Rodriguez

Rodriguez: 1. Inoue, 2. Crawford, 3. Alvarez, 4. Usyk, 5. Bivol, 6. Haney, 7. Davis, 8. Fury, 9. Beterbiev, 10. Rodriguez

Woodyard: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Alvarez, 4. Haney, 5. Davis, 6. Fury, 7. Lopez, 8. Usyk, 9. Stevenson, 10. Spence

Moynihan: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Alvarez, 4. Usyk, 5. Haney, 6. Bivol, 7. Beterbiev, 8. Davis, 9. Fury, 10. Spence

Pilatti: 1. Inoue, 2. Crawford, 3. Usyk, 4. Bivol, 5. Haney, 6. Beterbiev, 7. Davis, 8. Benavidez, 9. Navarrete, 10. Rodriguez

Zirolli: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Stevenson, 4. Alvarez, 5. Usyk, 6. Haney, 7. Beterbiev, 8. Bivol, 9. Lopez, 10. Benavidez

Mascaro: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Usyk, 4. Bivol, 5. Haney, 6. Beterbiev, 7. Stevenson, 8. Alvarez, 9. Lopez, 10. Rodriguez

Freeman: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Usyk, 4. Bivol, 5. Haney, 6. Alvarez, 7. Stevenson, 8. Beterbiev, 9. Rodriguez, 10. Davis

Lopez: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Usyk, 4. Alvarez, 5. Bivol, 6. Haney, 7. Fury, 8. Davis, 9. Beterbiev, 10. Stevenson

Delgado Averhof: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Usyk, 4. Bivol, 5. Alvarez, 6. Haney, 7. Beterbiev, 8. Davis 9. Fury, 10. Rodriguez

Osuna: 1. Crawford, 2. Inoue, 3. Usyk, 4. Bivol, 5. Alvarez, 6. Haney, 7. Lopez, 8. Beterbiev, 9. Rodriguez, 10. Stevenson


ESPN experts’ poll

First place: Crawford (13), Inoue (4)

Second place: Inoue (13), Crawford (4)

Third place: Usyk (9), Alvarez (5), Bivol (2), Stevenson (1)

Fourth place: Bivol (6), Usyk (5), Alvarez (3), Beterbiev (2), Haney (1)

Fifth place: Haney (7), Bivol (3), Alvarez (3), Usyk (2), Beterbiev (1), Davis (1)

Sixth place: Haney (7), Bivol (4), Beterbiev (2), Alvarez (1), Davis (1), Stevenson (1), Fury (1)

Seventh place: Beterbiev (5), Stevenson (3), Haney (2), Davis (2), Lopez (2), Alvarez (1), Fury (1), Lomachenko (1)

Eighth place: Davis (5), Beterbiev (3), Alvarez (2), Stevenson (2), Benavidez (2), Usyk (1), Bivol (1), Fury (1)

Ninth place: Lopez (5), Fury (3), Rodriguez (3), Beterbiev (2), Alvarez (1), Alvarez (1), Stevenson (1), Navarrete (1)

10th place: Rodriguez (6), Davis (2), Stevenson (2), Fury (2), Spence (2), Beterbiev (1), Lopez (1), Benavidez (1)

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