Crawford or Inoue at the top? Bam Rodriguez, more: P4P Top 10 (Jan. 2024)

Fighting

New year, new men’s pound-for-pound list from your favorite people to yell at about these things here at Bad Left Hook!

Let’s break the seal right off: We’ve got a new No. 1! He’s from Yokohama, Japan! (He was born in Zama, actually, about 30 miles away from Yokohama.)

After going undisputed at 122 lbs on Dec. 26, Naoya Inoue now edges out Terence Crawford with one first-place vote flipping his way.

Without further ado, let’s get down to it!

January 2024

The voters: Scott Christ, Wil Esco, John Hansen, Patrick Stumberg, and Lewis Watson

Dropped Out: Errol Spence Jr (10)
Others Receiving Votes: Jaron “Boots” Ennis 6, David Benavidez 2, Junto Nakatani 2, Vasiliy Lomachenko 1, Errol Spence Jr 1


Scott Christ

(1) Terence Crawford, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Gervonta Davis, (6) Artur Beterbiev, (7) Canelo Alvarez, (8) Devin Haney, (9) Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, (10) Vasiliy Lomachenko

I expected “the big question” to be Crawford vs Inoue to start 2024, and that’s where we are. Rightly so! I think the margins between the two are razor-thin, but I simply feel Crawford is a better pound-for-pound fighter. Not by any enormous amount, but by enough that I’m sticking with Bud at the top.

Elsewhere, Bam Rodriguez hits my list again, and Kenshiro Teraji falls out for the moment. This could change for February, as he faces Carlos Canizales this month, which is a damn good fight. If he’s really impressive again, I suspect he’ll be back.

A lot could change this month, actually. Artur Beterbiev has a fight with Callum Smith, and every fight always feels like it might be the one where Beterbiev, even if he wins, might not look like Beterbiev anymore. Even a middling performance could see him tumble down or even leave my list. P4P is competitive as well as a snapshot of a moment; my opinion is you should react to things as they happen.

For as much noise as the Haney team are making about Devin deserving P4P consideration, and he definitely did dominate Regis Prograis, I just cannot forget how much trouble he had with Lomachenko. That prevents me from rocketing Haney up the list and also keeps Loma sitting in the No. 10 spot for me.


Wil Esco

(1) Terence Crawford, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Jaron “Boots” Ennis, (6) Canelo Alvarez, (7) Devin Haney, (8) Artur Beterbiev, (9) Gervonta Davis, (10) Kenshiro Teraji

Light shuffling this month. I’ve got to give Devin Haney credit for dominating Regis Prograis in the manner he did, moving him up one spot on my list. Naoya Inoue also continues to dominate and choosing between him and Terence Crawford for the top spot is a little like splitting hairs for me. I do, however, think Crawford’s best opponent is better than Inoue’s, so I’m just going to leave him as No. 1 for the time being. We’ll see what the new year brings.


John Hansen

(1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Terence Crawford, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Artur Beterbiev, (6) Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, (7) Devin Haney, (8) Kenshiro Teraji, (9) David Benavidez, (10) Errol Spence Jr

No need to make room for Bam Rodriguez, because he’s always been there for me. He’s been in and out of some of the rest of the team’s submissions across 2023. Probably makes it on everyone’s list after his win over Sunny Edwards.

Devin Haney’s 2023 included two wins against guys who were in my P4P Top 10 this time last year. Most importantly, his style adjustments have taken him out of Shakur Stevenson territory, and the Rigondeaux Rule no longer applies. If he ever reverts to jab-and-grab again and stinks out a fight? He’s gone again.

Someone had to exit, and Tank Davis was both my No. 10, and the guy I felt least confident about including in the first place. A farewell wave to Tank, a little light shuffling in the bottom half of the rankings, and we’ve got an excellent start to the 2024 rankings.


Patrick Stumberg

(1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Terence Crawford, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Canelo Alvarez, (5) Dmitry Bivol, (6) Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, (7) Artur Beterbiev, (8) Devin Haney, (9) Junto Nakatani, (10) Kenshiro Teraji

A new year seems like the proper time to do some housekeeping, so let’s toss out Errol Spence Jr and Shakur Stevenson. As much as they’ve accomplished and as skilled as they are, their efforts in 2023 did not feel like those of the best of the best. In their places come “Bam” Rodriguez, who demolished a man I’d pegged to beat him, and Junto Nakatani, who is just flat-out one of the best fighters in the world and will, I guarantee you, be the next undisputed bantamweight champion should he get the opportunity.

For the record, Spence and Stevenson still sit among the fringe alongside Subriel Matias, Gervonta Davis, and David Benavidez. They just need something big in 2024 to remind me why I had them on the list in the first place.


Lewis Watson

(1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Terence Crawford, (3) Oleksandr Usyk, (4) Devin Haney, (5) Dmitry Bivol, (6) Artur Beterbiev, (7) Canelo Alvarez, (8) Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, (9) Kenshiro Teraji, (10) Gervonta Davis

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