Boxing pound-for-pound rankings: Naoya Inoue retains top spot to close out 2022 with historic victory

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Despite how crowded the top of boxing’s pound-for-pound rankings have been in recent years, with everyone from Canelo Alvarez and Vasiliy Lomachenko to Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford taking the top spot at various times, Japan’s Naoya Inoue continues to set herself apart. from the package.

The three-division champion became the first undisputed four-belt champion in bantamweight history on Tuesday morning when he patiently broke down and finished undisputed WBO champion Paul Butler, who has no no doubt his game was built on survival and nothing else.

Inoue, 29, is the most explosive and complete boxer in the game today with fearsome power in both hands that continues to add weight as his dare-to-be-big reputation grow before us.

After clearing three weight classes, Inoue has announced his intention to move up to 122 pounds, where talented regional luminaries such as Stephen Fulton Jr., Murodjon Akhmadaliev, Brandon Figueroa and Luis Nery reside . The challenges will only get tougher for Inoue from here on out, but it’s no doubt the kind of challenge he likes to take on.

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Inoue first won his first world title in just his sixth pro fight and became a two-division champion two fights later. He captured a title in a third weight class in just his 11th fight and while his status as the best P4P is not entirely unanimous throughout the sport, Inoue continues to change minds with each impressive performance.

Using criteria that take into account everything from achievements to current form, let’s take a closer look at the main fighters inside the ring. Below is the latest Pound for Pound ranking update following Inoue’s win in December

Pound-for-Pound Rating

1. Naoya Inoue

Undisputed bantamweight champion (21-0, 19 KOs) | Previous Rank: No. 1

At 29, the Japanese “Monster” is working at the peak of what is becoming a very good career. The three-division champion added Undisputed standard at 118 pounds to start by finishing the cautious Paul Butler to become the first four-belt champion in the division’s history. Inoue is expected to move up to 122 pounds next, where there is no shortage of elite foes.

2. Errol Spence Jr.

Unified Welterweight Champion (28-0, 22 KOs) | Previous Rank: No. 2

The only fight that makes sense for Spence is an undisputed clash with WBO champion Terence Crawford for all four titles. Unfortunately, the talks came to a head leaving it all but certain that any kind of deal will happen in 2023. Former champion Keith Thurman could be the next pay-per-view option all the best for Spence.

3. Terence Crawford

WBO welterweight champion (38-0, 28 KOs) | Previous Rank: No. 3

No one has ever questioned Crawford’s talent. But the 35-year-old advertising agent pulled out of talks to fight Errol Spence Jr. in November for the undisputed welterweight championship. “Bud” got a David Avanesyan’s thunderous hit is a singular view in 2022 as eyes continue to look for the unification matchup.

4. Canelo Alvarez

Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion (58-2-2, 38 KOs) | Previous Rank: No. 4

The combination of a lightweight title loss to Dmitry Bivol and a lopsided decision win over 40-year-old Gennadiy Golovkin in their trilogy has Alvarez slipped just a bit at the age of 32. Work is expected to continue -wrist surgery will put him out until at least May 2023, if not September.

5. Oleksandr Usyk

Unified Heavyweight Champion (19-0, 13 KOs | Previous Rank: 5

Usyk’s professional run has been as decorated as it was perfect. The former cruiserweight champion even has a strong argument for the undisputed best fighter in the sport after defeating Anthony Joshua in their rematch in August. An undisputed title bout against Tyson Fury will have to wait until 2023 while Usyk recovers from nagging injuries.

6. Dmitry Bivol

WBA Light Heavyweight Champion (21-0, 11 KOs) | Previous rank: 6

Criticized at times for playing it safe in the past, Bivol spent his career beating pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez. The 175-pound titlist was even more explosive in a convincing shutout of undefeated Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez in November that could have earned him Fighter of the Year honors for 2022.

7. Tyson Fury

WBC Heavyweight Champion (33-0-1, 25 KOs) | Previous Rank: No. 7

With unified champion Oleksandr Usyk smartly nursing multiple injuries, the 34-year-old “Gypsy King” opted to stay active in a largely unnecessary trilogy bout against Derek Chisora. A summit undoubtedly awaits Fury in 2023 although he has been equally vocal about wanting to fight Joe Joyce and Anthony Joshua.

8. Shakur Stevenson

WBO Junior Lightweight Champion (19-0, 9 KOs) | Previous Rank: No. 8

Although his two 130-pound titles were taken away on the scale, Stevenson still turned in a strong performance to best Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceicao in September. A move up to lightweight is next and the 25-year-old legend has already called undisputed champion Devin Haney.

9. Devin Haney

Undisputed Lightweight Champion (29-0, 15 KOs) | Previous Rank: No. 9

It’s time “The Dream” got his flowers as one of the best boxers in the game. The 23-year-old made a strong case for consideration in the Fighter of the Year vote with a second straight decision win over former champion George Kambosos Jr. in Australia. Haney can do it all.

10. Vasiliy Lomachenko

Lightweight (16-2, 11 KOs) | Previous Rank: No. 10

After sitting out for almost a year while serving on the front lines of the conflict in his native Ukraine, the former P4P king almost got more than he bargained for sparring partner Jamaine Ortiz in October. Lomachenko made the necessary adjustments to secure the win and keep hope alive for a showdown with Devin Haney.

Issued: There is none
Honorable Mention: Stephen Fulton Jr., Jermell Charlo, Gervonta Davis, Juan Francisco Estrada, Artur Beterbiev

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