Who’s the best boxer in the world? Errol Spence Jr. is making his case

first_imgThere’s also the conversation about what Spence has done in sparring sessions against the likes of Adrien Broner and Mayweather. Legend has it that he roughed up both pretty good several years ago, which has led Mayweather to often heap praise upon Spence. Because the pound for pound list is made up, this nugget of lure can be factored into the conversation.While Spence might not have won over everyone with his performance against the smaller man in Garcia, he has drawn attention to what the future has in store. All eyes will be on Spence as we await his next move.And with no other fighter having a firm hold on the No. 1 pound-for-pound spot, it’s ripe for Spence to do the taking. Errol Spence Jr. running roughshod over Mikey Garcia for 12 rounds en route to a shutout decision victory has turned boxing’s fictional pound for pound list upside down.Following Spence’s 120-107, 120-108 and 120-108 domination of Garcia, the conversation immediately shifted to what the future holds for the undefeated 29-year-old. If Saturday night was any indication, Spence will next face either WBC champion Shawn Porter or take a massive money showdown with living legend Manny Pacquiao. MORE: Join DAZN and watch Canelo vs. Jacobs on May 4Boxing promoter Richard Schaefer declared Spence as the No. 1 pound for pound fighter in the world and suggested that the Texas native has entrenched himself as the most avoided fighter in the sport.”If you think Spence had problems getting guys to fight him before, he’s really going to have a problem now,” Schaefer said.A boxing promoter’s life revolves around hyperbole. But there are some shreds of truth in what Shaefer is suggesting. It took a fearless pound for pound lightweight to openly challenge Spence when the rest of the 147-pound division essentially weighed the risk and reward of facing Spence and, for whatever reason, decided against it.Although Terence Crawford has an excuse built around boxing politics, neither WBC champion Shawn Porter nor WBA champion Keith Thurman have seemed thrilled by the prospect of facing Spence. Meanwhile, Spence has made it clear that he is looking to unify the titles and beat up anybody who stands in his way. Garcia was merely collateral damage as an opponent Spence only accepted when Porter decided to face his mandatory in Yordenis Ugas.It wasn’t just the fact that Spence defeated Garcia, considering most boxing pundits expected that to happen. It was how he got the job done that raised eyebrows. Spence did not concede a single round to the tactical Garcia, who has dominated his opposition since he turned pro in 2006.Heading into the fight, Garcia was ranked seventh on Ring Magazine’s pound for pound list, fifth at ESPN and sixth here at Sporting News. Although the size difference should be taken into consideration, the fact that Spence deployed a game plan and made the proper adjustments to ensure that Garcia never had a round scored for him was exceptional.With the victory, the legend of Spence continues to grow. He is now 25-0 with 21 knockouts and has yet to be even mildly pushed by an opponent. The dominance he has displayed is unquestionable, and he has sparked some discussion when it comes to the fictional pound for pound list on which fight fans lean so heavily.It might seem ridiculous to catapult Spence to the No. 1 spot on the pound for pound list, but upon further inspection, a case can be made both ways.When the conversation of pound for pound is brought up, there are several names who hover around the top spot: Canelo Alvarez, Terence Crawford, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Gennady Golovkin and Oleksandr Usyk. Here we take those names and make the cases for and against them.Vasyl Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs)The case for: He passes the eye test with out-of-this-world skills that have translated from an amateur career that boasted an absurd 396-1 record. His dominance over previous unbeatens in P4P fighter Guillermo Rigondeaux and former champion Nicholas Walters was unprecedented.The case against: Say what you will, but the loss to Orlando Salido in his second pro fight remains a sticking point for detractors. He also did not look impressive against Jose Pedraza, and he tasted the canvas against a Jorge Linares that was railroaded by Pablo Cesar Cano in January.Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs)The case for: A three-division champion that has ransacked the opposition, Crawford has a strong case as the best fighter in the world. Since staking his claim against Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2014, Crawford has made a nasty habit out of pummeling his opposition. He dominated a previously unbeaten Viktor Postol, spanked Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo and John Molina Jr., and put on a scintillating display of offense against Jose Benavidez Jr.The case against: He still lacks a pound for pound name on his resume, and it’s not his fault. Considering he fights at welterweight for Top Rank/ESPN, it’s going to be difficult for him to get one of the other titleholders to cross the street, as Thurman, Porter and Spence all fight for PBC. Boxing politics are all that hurt him, and it might prevent him from getting a marquee name in the near future. Amir Khan doesn’t cut it.Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs)The case for: He has the best resume in all of boxing with a unique combination of recognizable names and difficult challenges. Most fighters on these pound for pound lists will have one significant fight; Canelo has several. Two fights with fellow pound for pound staple Gennady Golovkin, plus Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, Shane Mosely and, of course, Floyd Mayweather, all outline Canelo’s portfolio. And he has only lost to the greatest fighter of our generation in Mayweather. It’s almost impossible to keep him out of the top 3.The case against: An argument can be made that Canelo lost both of his fights to GGG and should have dropped a decision against Lara. It’s nitpicking, but pound for pound lists are purely fictional and based on opinion.Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs)The case for: He was Spence before Spence as the most avoided fighter in boxing. He obliterated the opposition in 36 straight fights, including a remarkable 23-fight KO streak, before he got past Daniel Jacobs in 2017. Many believe he should own at least one win against Canelo.The case against: A loss is a loss, and Golovkin will go down in the record books as 0-1-1 against Canelo. There will also be those who say his resume lacks quality, and that he appeared just slightly above average when faced with the likes of Jacobs and Canelo.Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs)The case for: The 2012 gold medalist from the London Olympic Games has wasted little time climbing up the pound for pound ladder. His brilliant run through the WBSS cruiserweight tournament saw him unify the titles with one dominant performance after another. And then he sent Tony Bellew into retirement last November. If he is this good as a heavyweight, things will get really interesting.The case against: He has the weakest resume among the pound for pound participants. Cruiserweight has lacked recognizable names, and he will certainly be docked for that.Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearSpence belongs in this conversation. He has a fellow pound for pound name on his resume; Crawford and Usyk do not. And if you are going to give Lomachenko credit for beating Rigondeaux, you have to do the same with Spence. Both of their opponents climbed up in weight and were beaten for their efforts. The difference between Spence and Lomachenko: Spence remains unbeaten.He has been dominant throughout his career and has demonstrated a high ring intellect to go with his significant punching power and solid athletic ability. The fact that nobody has been too keen on fighting Spence bodes well for him, as it did with for Golovkin. And like Golovkin, Spence has remained in one division for the duration of his career. If GGG is not faulted, neither should Spence.If overall records are taken into account, Spence sits unblemished with Usyk and Crawford. However, one could argue Spence has been more dominant against his opponents. And Garcia is better than anybody Usyk or Crawford have faced to date.Nobody has come close to defeating Spence, whereas Canelo has had a few nip and tuck fights with the likes of Lara and GGG. Granted, the quality of opposition is in favor of Canelo, but Spence has yet to taste defeat or saddled with a draw.last_img