Boxing pound-for-pound rankings: Canelo Alvarez retains first place despite crucial loss to Dmitry Bivol

Pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez’s daring to be great tour hit a snag last Saturday when his attempt to challenge undefeated WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol ended in a unanimous decision loss.

Alvarez, 31, who has won titles in four divisions, ultimately fell short of surpassing his incredible 2021 season as he became the first undisputed champion in 168-pound history. However, that doesn’t mean he deserves anything other than our collective praise for commercially turning down bigger fights to find a matchup like Bivol that would really challenge him.

Bivol, who used the win to find his place in the top 10 world best, relied on skill as much as size to frustrate Alvarez. His defense was also so spot on that he limited the Mexican icon to single punches landed at once and no more.

Luckily for Alvarez, his reputation is such that the loss hasn’t impacted his P4P ranking as a unique Modern Superstar willing to risk a loss to maximize his size. Still, the loss was a humbling reminder that size does matter, up to a point.

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Considering Alvarez spent as much time during fight week talking about how he would defeat Bivol as he would teasing possible future promotions to cruiserweight and even heavyweight, the loss should provide a new basis for what is reasonable. However, that hasn’t stopped Alvarez from saying he’s interested in an immediate rematch.

Let’s take a closer look at the top fighters in the ring using a criterion that takes into account everything from accomplishments to current form. Below is the latest pound-for-pound ranking update following Alvarez’s shock loss in May.

Pound for Pound Rankings

1. Canelo Alvarez

Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion (57-2-2, 38 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 1

The best in the world seemed to have found his limit when it came to dramatic weight gains when he dropped a unanimous decision against undefeated 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 cumulative 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 at age 32 in his demolition of Yordenis Ugas to concede three of four world titles and looked better than ever. The only fight that makes sense next is an undisputed showdown with WBO Champion Terence Crawford in arguably the greatest fight the sport could produce.

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 off Shawn Porter in their November pay-per-view fight. As a network and promotional free agent, there has never been a better time 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” ended 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. Next up in June is a titular match against living legend Nonito Donaire in a reboot of their 2019 thriller.

5.Tyson Fury

WBC Heavyweight Champion (32-0-1, 24 KOs) | Placement so far: 5th

At 33, “The Gypsy King” delivered perhaps his most thorough and impressive performance yet when he knocked out Dillian Whyte in one fell swoop in front of 94,000 fans in London. Despite Fury teasing both retirement and a mixed-rules match against UFC star Francis Ngannou, a shot at the undisputed championship is still within reach.

6. Vasily Lomachenko

Lightweight (16-2, 11 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 6

The ongoing conflict in his native Ukraine forced Lomachenko to the front lines and out of a possible title fight against unified lightweight king George Kambosos Jr. Regardless of when he returns, Lomachenko, 34, used 2021 to remind his critics how dominant he still is through the dismantling of Masayoshi Nakatani and Richard Commey.

7. Shakur Stevenson

WBO Junior Lightweight Champion (18-0, 9 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 7

The 24-year-old southpaw, who has already been compared to a young Floyd Mayweather, produced a surgical dismantling of undefeated defending champion Oscar Valdez in his unification in April. 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 champion messed up the heavyweight apple cart by convincingly singled out Anthony Joshua. A signed rematch is likely for this summer after Usyk received permission from his native Ukraine to start training despite the ongoing conflict with Russia.

9. Dmitry Bivol

WBA Light Heavyweight Champion (20-0, 11 KOs) | Previous ranking: NO

Sometimes criticized for playing it safe in the past, Bivol was anything but in his career-defining win over pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez. Playing the role of the bigger man, Bivol showed no respect for Alvarez in the way he fought him. Not only is Bivol interested in an immediate rematch, he’s also willing to drop to 168 pounds to fight for the undisputed crown.

10. Gervonta Davis

Secondary Lightweight Champion (25-0, 24 KOs) | Previous ranking: No. 9

“Tank” fought through an injured hand to challenge a determined Isaac Cruz in their December pay-per-view match. Davis will take his star to the Big Apple when he faces Rolly Romero in a May bout in Brooklyn that promises fireworks.

dropped out: JoshTaylor

Award: Taylor, Juan Francisco Estrada, Artur Beterbiev, Jermell Charlo, Roman González, Jermall Charlo Boxing pound-for-pound rankings: Canelo Alvarez retains first place despite crucial loss to Dmitry Bivol

Justin Scacco

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