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Pound-for-Pound Top 10: All eyes on Spence-Crawford and Fulton-Inoue after slow June

It’s another month, so another new pound-for-pound list.

June didn’t have much, lads! Won’t lie to you. Wasn’t much of a month. Bad, really. But this was inevitable; boxing was abnormally strong in the first five months of the year, particularly that January-March stretch that usually stinks for three months in the way June kinda stunk, where you have enough going on but a lot of it is stay-busies and turds.

But we’re here as we gear up for a Hot Sizzler Summer. NEXT month, we’ll be talking about the implications of Spence vs Crawford and Fulton vs Inoue. Then we’ll really get in it.

July 2023

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

Also Receiving Votes: Kenshiro Teraji 7, Jermell Charlo 4, Jesse Rodriguez 4, Stephen Fulton Jr 1

Scott Christ

(1) Oleksandr Usyk, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Terence Crawford, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Errol Spence Jr, (6) Gervonta Davis, (7) Artur Beterbiev, (8) Shakur Stevenson, (9) Devin Haney, (10) Kenshiro Teraji

Same ol’ because June was pretty dead and I’d already done my spring cleaning sort of maneuvering around of places and people. So looking ahead just a bit, so that I say much of anything here:

The Spence vs Crawford winner can make their case for No. 1 next month, in my opinion. If one of them dominates, it’ll be hard to say they don’t have a case, and that’s with respect to how great Usyk and Inoue are. And there’s the catch: Usyk and Inoue are so great and so accomplished that even a dominant Crawford win or a dominant Spence win doesn’t guarantee them any spot above No. 3. And for what it’s worth, I think the Crawford win would have the stronger case.
A potential Canelo return is a “wait-and-see” for me with his lined up fight against Jermell Charlo in September, and a lot of that depends on how both of them look. Jermell’s making the jump to 168 and ahead of time, on paper, I think he’ll be fine at the weight. I don’t believe that will hinder him. But what if it does? That’s what you learn from the fight actually happening. And Canelo would have to look really good and have Charlo look good, because the Canelo of the GGG and Ryder fights wasn’t a top 10 pound-for-pound guy.

Wil Esco

(1) Oleksandr Usyk, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Artur Beterbiev, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Errol Spence Jr, (6) Terence Crawford, (7) Jermell Charlo, (8) Canelo Alvarez, (9) Devin Haney, (10) Shakur Stevenson

After some more time to think about it I’m ready to do a little more housekeeping on my list.

I originally wasn’t as down on Canelo Alvarez for his last performance as many so I held him firm, but I do think he’s shown enough signs of slippage to push him down my list. I’m not quite yet ready to remove him completely as I think he’s still more accomplished than many, so we’ll just have to see how he looks the next time out before I take that plunge.

John Hansen

(1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Oleksandr Usyk, (3) Dmitry Bivol, (4t) Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr, (6) Artur Beterbiev, (7) Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, (8) Kenshiro Teraji, (9) Gervonta Davis, (10) Stephen Fulton Jr

Farewell to Regis Prograis, at least for now. I still think he’s probably one of the best active fighters in the sport, but he put on an awful performance in a stinker of a fight last month. It’s hard to justify ranking a guy who looked like crap against a mid-tier opponent like Danielito Zorrilla. So, I won’t!

Back in at No. 10 on my list is Stephen Fulton. I had him as an honorary #11 last month after dropping him to make room for Spence and Crawford, and July promises to be a good month for The Boxing with those two plus Inoue and Fulton squaring off in big fights with major P4P implications.

Patrick Stumberg

(1) Naoya Inoue, (2) Oleksandr Usyk, (3) Errol Spence Jr, (4) Terence Crawford, (5) Canelo Alvarez, (6) Dmitry Bivol, (7) Shakur Stevenson, (8) Artur Beterbiev, (9) Devin Haney, (10) Kenshiro Teraji

No shake-ups in June outside of Teofimo Lopez taking Josh Taylor’s place on the fringe, only to immediately abdicate by retiring. Kazuto Ioka and Sunny Edwards also kept their places, and if either Edwards or Bam Rodriguez puts together a decisive win when they collide, odds are they’ll earn a spot.

Next month’s list should be far more volatile. Can’t wait.

Lewis Watson

(1) Oleksandr Usyk, (2) Naoya Inoue, (3) Terence Crawford, (4) Dmitry Bivol, (5) Artur Beterbiev, (6) Errol Spence Jr, (7) Devin Haney, (8) Canelo Alvarez, (9) Kenshiro Teraji, (10) Gervonta Davis

Edwards? Prograis? Lopez? Ioka? On another day I may have thrown a little more caution to the wind and mixed up my order for freshness for CLICKS and COMMENTS, but, in my humble opinion, it ain’t broke, so it don’t need fixin’.

July’s slate is tasty enough to save all that good stuff for another month.

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