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Boxing Pound-for-Pound Rankings: Canelo Álvarez Continues to Roll

The 31-year-old looks to build on his win against Billy Joe Saunders earlier this year in Saturday's title fight against Caleb Plant.

The fall boxing schedule kicks into gear in November, beginning Saturday, when Canelo Álvarez—who has sat atop this and many other pound-for-pound lists for the better part of the last two years—will face Caleb Plant for the undisputed super middleweight championship. With fight week officially underway, here are SI’s latest rankings.

1. Canelo Álvarez
Record: 56-1-2
Last Fight: RTD win over Billy Joe Saunders on May 8
Next Fight: Nov. 6, vs. Caleb Plant

Álvarez continued his roll through boxing’s best in May, forcing previously unbeaten 168-pound titleholder Saunders to retire on his stool after the TK round. At 31, Álvarez is at the peak of his powers, a four-division titleholder who outboxes slick boxers and outbullies big punchers. In November, Álvarez will attempt to become the first undisputed super middleweight champion in the four-belt era when he faces Plant in Las Vegas.

Canelo Alvarez (right) and Billy Joe Saunders (left) during a super middleweight boxing title fight at AT&T Stadium.

Canelo Álvarez (right) forced Billy Joe Saunders to retire during their super middleweight boxing title fight at AT&T Stadium in May.

2. Oleksandr Usyk
Record: 19–0
Last Fight: UD win over Anthony Joshua on Sept. 25
Next Fight: TBD

Three years removed from winning the undisputed cruiserweight title, Usyk picked up three pieces of the heavyweight title when he stunned Anthony Joshua in September. Usyk looked like an elite heavyweight in his third fight in the division, blending high-level skills—Usyk won gold in the 2012 Olympics at heavyweight—with a filled-out frame. He will face Joshua again in a rematch in the first half of '22.

3. Terence Crawford
Record:
37–0
Last Fight: TKO win over Kell Brook on Nov. 14, 2020
Next Fight: Nov. 20, vs. Shawn Porter

There’s a strong case to be made that Crawford, 34, is the most skilled fighter in boxing. His résumé—particularly at welterweight, where Crawford has campaigned since 2018—is thin, with Crawford struggling to lure PBC-connected 147-pounders into the ring. That drought ends this month, when Crawford will take on arguably his stiffest test to date in the rugged Shawn Porter. A win could push Crawford toward the matchup everyone wants against Errol Spence Jr.

4. Naoya Inoue
Record:
21–0
Last Fight: KO win over Michael Dasmarinas on June 19
Next Fight: Dec. 14, vs. Aran Dipaen

The unified bantamweight titleholder is the most devastating puncher in the lighter weight classes, with all but three of his wins coming by knockout. Inoue will make a homecoming fight in Japan in December before targeting bigger fights—which could include a rematch against Nonito Donaire—in 2022.

5. Errol Spence Jr.
Record: 27–0
Last Fight: UD win over Danny García on Dec. 5, 2020
Next Fight: TBD

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Spence, 31, is the most accomplished fighter in the 147-pound division, with wins over Danny García, Mikey Garcia and Kell Brook. An eye injury forced Spence to withdraw from a high-profile fight against Manny Pacquiao, but Spence is expected to return in 2022, potentially to face the winner of the WBA’s box-off to determine its full titleholder. After that, it’s either a showdown with Crawford or a move to 154 pounds.

6. Tyson Fury
Record:
31-0-1
Last Fight: KO win over Deontay Wilder on Oct. 9
Next Fight: TBD

Rarely do heavyweights appear on pound-for-pound lists, but Fury, 33, blends impressive boxing skills with a strong résumé. Early career wins over Dereck Chisora and Wladimir Klitschko have been eclipsed by back-to-back knockouts of Deontay Wilder. While awaiting the winner of the Oleksandr Usyk–Anthony Joshua rematch, Fury could face Dillian Whyte in what would be a huge showdown between two top British fighters.

Tyson Fury (left) earned his second knockout against Deontay Wilder when the pair met for their trilogy fight in October.

Tyson Fury (left) earned his second knockout against Deontay Wilder when the pair met for their trilogy fight in October.

7. Josh Taylor
Record:
18–0
Last Fight: UD win over José Ramírez on May 22
Next Fight: Feb. 26, vs. Jack Catterall

Taylor, 30, followed up a clean sweep of the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament—which included wins over then-unbeaten Ryan Martin, Ivan Baranchyk and Regis Prograis—with a title-unifying win over José Ramírez this year. Taylor will face Catterall, a mandatory challenger, early next year, before potentially deciding between staying at 140 for a fight with Teófimo López or moving up to 147 for a shot at Terence Crawford, the last undisputed junior welterweight champion.

8. Teófimo López
Record:
16–0
Last Fight: UD win vs. Vasyl Lomachenko on Oct. 17, 2020
Next Fight: Nov. 27, vs. George Kambosos

López’s career has stalled in the aftermath of a career-defining win over Lomachenko last November, with health and broadcaster issues forcing multiple postponements of a mandatory title defense against Kambosos. López will (hopefully) face Kambosos later this month. If he wins, Top Rank will push for a rematch with Lomachenko, while Devin Haney, who shares the 135-pound title in the WBC’s nebulous title picture, will push for a unification.

9. Vasyl Lomachenko
Record:
15–2
Last Fight: TKO win over Masayoshi Nakatani on June 26
Next Fight: Dec. 11, vs. Richard Commey

Lomachenko rebounded from last year’s loss to López by battering Nakatani in June. At 33 and with a long amateur background, Lomachenko has some wear and tear, but the obliteration of Nakatani proved Lomachenko remains a serious threat at 135 pounds. Will he stay there? If Lomachenko can’t get a rematch with Lopez next year, a move to 130 pounds could offer Loma some mouthwatering opportunities, including a fight against Shakur Stevenson, which would pit two Olympic medalists against each other.

10. Román González
Record:
50–3
Last Fight: SD loss to Juan Francisco Estrada on March 13
Next Fight: TBD

Officially, González lost his Fight of the Year–caliber rematch with Estrada last spring. But most ringside observers—including this one—had Chocolatito winning, so he benefits from that in these rankings. González, 34, has enjoyed a resurgence since absorbing back-to-back knockout losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017, with wins over Khalid Yafai and Israel González, before getting robbed by the judges against Estrada. González and Estrada are likely to run it back a third time early next year.

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Anthony Joshua Needs to Make a Radical Change
Canelo Álvarez, Caleb Plant Throw Punches in Press Conference Ahead of Fight