Impassioned as ever following his resounding finish of Brian Castano in their four-belt undisputed title rematch last weekend, junior middleweight king Jermell Charlo used the post-fight press conference to look into the eyes of his critics and demand his pound-for-pound respect.
Luckily for Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs), his performance was simply undeniable.
Already lauded for his well-rounded game, Charlo found a new gear altogether in his willingness to meet Castano in the trenches and eventually dispose of him with clean power shots. His defense within the storm was also elite as Charlo showed the full package to declare himself outright as the best in class at 154 pounds.
The only question now for the 31-year-old Charlo, the twin brother of WBC middleweight champion Jermall, is whether he stays at 154 pounds for high-profile mandatory defenses against unbeatens Tim Tszyu and Sebastian Fundora, or whether he decides to move up in weight.
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Using a criteria that takes into account everything from accomplishments to current form, let’s take a closer look at the top fighters inside the ring. Below is the latest Pound for Pound rankings update after Charlo’s impressive TKO win in May.
1. Canelo Alvarez
Undisputed super middleweight champion (57-2-2, 38 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 1
The best in the world seemed to find his ceiling as far as dramatic rises in weight are concerned when he dropped a unanimous decision to unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in May. A rematch could be next, although Alvarez retains his “best in the world” status due to his overall body of work across four divisions.
2. Errol Spence Jr.
Unified welterweight champion (28-0, 22 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 2
Despite a 17-month layoff and surgery to repair a detached retina, Spence returned looking better than ever at age 32 in his demolition of Yordenis Ugas to unify three of four world titles. The only fight that makes sense for next is an undisputed showdown with WBO champion Terence Crawford in arguably the biggest fight the sport could make.
3. Terence Crawford
WBO welterweight champion (37-0, 27 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 3
Crawford made an incredible series of adjustments to slow down and finish Shawn Porter in their November pay-per-view clash. As a network and promotional free agent, the time has never been better for Crawford to seek a career-defining test for all four welterweight titles against Spence.
4. Naoya Inoue
Unified bantamweight champion (19-0, 17 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 4
The Japanese “Monster” closed off 2021 with a stay-busy knockout in his native Japan. Inoue’s combination of power, speed and boxing IQ is among the best in the game. Up next is a June title unification against living legend Nonito Donaire, in a rematch of their 2019 thriller.
5. Tyson Fury
WBC heavyweight champion (32-0-1, 24 KOs) | Previous ranking: 5
At 33, “The Gypsy King” may have authored his most thorough and impressive performance to date when he knocked out Dillian Whyte with one punch in front of 94,000 fans in London. Although Fury has teased both retirement and a mixed rules match against UFC star Francis Ngannou, a shot at the undisputed championship is still at reach.
6. Vasiliy Lomachenko
Lightweight (16-2, 11 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 6
The ongoing conflict in his native Ukraine forced Lomachenko to the frontlines and out of a possible title bout against unified lightweight king George Kambosos Jr. Regardless of when he returns, the 34-year-old Lomachenko used 2021 to remind his critics how dominant he still is by dismantling Masayoshi Nakatani and Richard Commey.
7. Shakur Stevenson
WBO junior lightweight champion (18-0, 9 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 7
Already being compared to a young Floyd Mayweather, the 24-year-old southpaw produced a surgical dismantling of fellow unbeaten titleholder Oscar Valdez in their April title unification. Stevenson’s speed, technique and IQ are off the charts. The future is now.
8. Oleksandr Usyk
Unified heavyweight champion (19-0, 13 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 7
The former undisputed cruiserweight champ upset the apple cart at heavyweight by convincingly outpointing Anthony Joshua. A contractually obligated rematch is likely for this summer after Usyk was given clearance by his native Ukraine to begin training despite the ongoing conflict with Russia.
9. Dmitry Bivol
WBA light heavyweight champion (20-0, 11 KOs) | Previous ranking: NR
Criticized at times for playing it safe in the past, Bivol was anything but in his career-making victory over pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez. Bivol acted the part of the bigger man and failed to show Alvarez any respect in the manner that he fought him. Not only is Bivol interested in an immediate rematch, he’s willing to cut to 168 pounds to contend for the undisputed crown.
10. Jermell Charlo
Undisputed junior middleweight champion (35-1-1, 19 KOs) | Previous ranking: NR
Charlo’s resounding knockout of Brian Castano in their four-belt undisputed title rematch in May was the performance his critics have been waiting for. Criticized at times for being too particular with his output, Charlo stood in the pocket and let his hands go in a breakthrough performance. Up next might be a move to 160 pounds, coinciding with twin brother Jermall’s climb to super middleweight.
Dropped out: Gervonta Davis
Honorable mention: Davis, Josh Taylor, Juan Francisco Estrada, Artur Beterbiev, Roman Gonzalez, Jermall Charlo