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Boxing Pound-for-Pound Rankings: A Small Shake-Up in June’s Top 10 List

But do the changes include the debut of the powerful Artur Beterbiev?

For the most part, pound-for-pound lists are populated by fighters with a blend of size, skills and speed that is reinforced by a strong résumé. Tacticians like Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko make the list. Sublime talents like Oleksandr Usyk and Shakur Stevenson often do, too. Occasionally there is an outlier like Tyson Fury, a supersized heavyweight with unique skills.

And then there is Artur Beterbiev.

Beterbiev is one of the more interesting cases for inclusion in the ranks of boxing’s best. It’s not that he lacks skill; Beterbiev, 37, is an Olympian with a gold medal at the 2009 World Championships on his résumé. It’s that his greatest skill is his power. Raw, blunt, destructive power that was on display Saturday, when Beterbiev walked through Joe Smith in two rounds to unify 175-pound titles.

Some context: Smith has one of the best chins in boxing. In 2010, Smith broke his jaw in the second round of a fight against Eddie Caminero … and proceeded to fight two more. In 2017, Smith broke his jaw in the second round against Sullivan Barrera … and continued on for eight more. Two years later Smith went the distance with Dmitry Bivol.


He’s big, strong and durable.

And on Saturday, Beterbiev walked right through him.

Smith went down once in the first round. He went down two more times in the second. He would have gone down a third time had referee Harvey Dock, with Smith on shaky legs, not mercifully waved off the fight. In less than six minutes Beterbiev landed 48 punches, including 34 power shots, to send a light heavyweight warrior home with his most lopsided defeat.

Does Beterbiev deserve a spot on the pound-for-pound list? He is arguably boxing’s most destructive puncher and its only world champion with a perfect knockout record. His résumé has beefed up considerably recently with wins over Smith, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Marcus Browne. But he doesn’t have a gaudy record (18–0), and his opponents before this recent run have been largely unknown.

Does Beterbiev break through what has become a crowded field? Let’s unpack all that in Sports Illustrated’s latest pound-for-pound rankings.

1. Terence Crawford

Record: 38–0

Last Month: 1

Last Fight: TKO win Shawn Porter

Next Fight: TBD

Immediately after Dmitry Bivol’s win over Canelo Alvarez, Crawford tweeted, “We know who No. 1 is now.” Indeed, Alvarez’s loss is Crawford’s gain. The former undisputed 140-pound champion has beefed up his 147-pound résumé of late, most recently with a knockout win of Shawn Porter last fall. Crawford, 34, could have a chance to solidify his place atop the list as soon as this summer: All signs point to Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. finally meeting in a fight that would crown an undisputed welterweight champion.

2. Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez

Record: 57-2-2

Last Month: 2

Last Fight: UD loss vs. Dmitry Bivol

Next Fight: TBD

Critics will say Álvarez should drop further on this list after his nine-year, 17-fight unbeaten streak came to an end May 7. But Álvarez chased greatness when he moved up in weight (again) to challenge arguably the top light heavyweight in boxing when there were safer, more marketable options at 168 pounds. He lost, but Canelo’s résumé remains the best in boxing and his status as the undisputed super middleweight champion remains intact. He will defend those titles September 17 when he faces longtime nemesis Gennadiy Golovkin in the third fight of a closely contested rivalry.

3. Naoya Inoue

Record: 23–0

Last Month: 4

Last Fight: KO win vs. Nonito Donaire

Next Fight: TBD

Inoue cemented his status as the top 118-pound fighter in boxing with a sensational second-round knockout of Nonito Donaire this month. In stopping Donaire, Inoue added a third bantamweight title to his collection. Inoue wants to become undisputed—Paul Butler holds the final piece of the divisional crown—but is prepared to move up, where a compelling fight against Stephen Fulton could be waiting in the super bantamweight division.

4. Oleksandr Usyk

Record: 19–0

Last Month: 3

Last Fight: UD win vs. Anthony Joshua

Next Fight: August 20 vs. Anthony Joshua

Three years removed from winning the undisputed cruiserweight championship, Usyk picked up three pieces of the heavyweight title last October, stunning Anthony Joshua in a one-sided fight. In his third fight in the division, Usyk looked elite, blending high-level skills—Usyk won gold in the 2012 Olympics at heavyweight—with a filled-out frame. In August, Usyk will face Joshua in a rematch. A win would propel him toward a fight against Tyson Fury—and a chance to become a four-belt champion in a second weight class.

5. Errol Spence Jr.

Record: 28-0

Last Month: 5

Last Fight: TKO win vs. Yordenis Ugás

Next Fight: TBD

Spence, 31, continued his assault on the top names in the welterweight division last month, stopping Yordenis Ugás to pick up a third piece of the 147-pound title. Despite a series of career-threatening injuries—a car crash in 2019, an eye injury that forced him out of a scheduled fight with Manny Pacquiao in ’21—Spence continues to roll through the best fighters in his weight class. A showdown with Crawford isn’t just the biggest fight for Spence at welterweight—it’s the only one.


6. Tyson Fury

Record: 31-0-1

Last Month: 6

Last Fight: KO win vs. Dillian Whyte

Next Fight: TBD

Last month’s knockout win over Dillian Whyte burnished Fury’s credentials as the best heavyweight in boxing. Rarely do fighters in this weight class 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 and, more recently, Whyte, who was floored by a savage uppercut in front of at least 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. Fury says he is retired, but don’t expect him to pass on a title unification fight against the winner of Oleksandr Usyk–Anthony Joshua, which is slated for mid-summer.

7. Shakur Stevenson

Record: 18–0

Last Month: 9

Last Fight: UD win vs. Óscar Valdez

Next Fight: TBD

Stevenson, 24, made his debut on SI’s pound-for-pound list in May after a lopsided decision win over Oscar Valdez last month. Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, has been on a roll of late, capturing titles in two divisions while dominating the biggest names, including Jamel Herring, whom Stevenson stopped last October. Armed with a pair of 130-pound titles, Stevenson could look to unify further. The biggest fight, though, is a division up, where Vasyl Lomachenko operates. A Stevenson-Lomachenko fight would match two of the top amateurs of this generation—and be one of the biggest fights in the lower weight classes.

8. Jermell Charlo

Record: 35-1-1

Last month: Not Ranked

Last Fight: KO win vs. Brian Castaño

Next Fight: TBD

Charlo earns a place on this list after picking up a spectacular knockout win over Brian Castano last month, avenging last year’s controversial draw and fully unifying the 154-pound division. Charlo’s résumé at junior middleweight is impressive: He has wins over Erickson Lubin, Austin Trout, Tony Harrison and Jeison Rosario, with his only loss a questionable decision defeat to Harrison. Charlo has consistently taken on the best in the division, which could continue in his next fight, with his reportedly moving toward a title defense against Tim Tszyu, the heavy-handed Australian who is the mandatory challenger for one of Charlo’s belts.

9. Josh Taylor

Record: 19–0

Last Month: 7

Last Fight: SD win vs. Jack Catterall

Next Fight: TBD

Taylor, 31, 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 Jose Ramirez and a narrow, and hotly disputed, decision over Jack Catterall in February. After initially signaling a move to 147 pounds, Taylor, who vacated one of his titles, has indicated he will stay at 140 for a rematch with Catterall.

10. Vasyl Lomachenko

Record: 16–2

Last Month: 8

Last Fight: UD win vs. Richard Commey

Next Fight: TBD

No titles, no problem for Lomachenko, who, even belt-less, is the most talented fighter in the 135-pound division. A dominant decision win over Richard Commey last December was Loma’s second straight since an upset loss to Teofimo Lopez in 2020. The question now: What will Lomachenko do next? The war in Ukraine forced Lomachenko to pass on an agreed-upon deal to face George Kambosos. With Kambosos, who lost a decision to Devin Haney on June 4, announcing he had exercised his rematch clause to face Haney, Lomachenko will have to look elsewhere for a significant 135-pound fight—when he is ready to fight at all.

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