Boxing pound-for-pound rankings: Despite win, down goes Canelo Alvarez

ZAPOPAN, MEXICO - MAY 06: Canelo Alvarez of Mexico punches John Ryder of Great Britain during the fight for the Super Middleweight Championship at Akron Stadium on May 06, 2023 in Zapopan, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Canelo Alvarez retained his undisputed super middleweight title against John Ryder on Saturday at Akron Stadium in Zapopan, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Canelo Alvarez dominated John Ryder on Saturday in their bout for the undisputed super middleweight title near Alvarez’s hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico. Alvarez dropped Ryder once, beat him up badly and won an easy unanimous decision by scores of 118-109 twice and 120-107.

By the middle of the third round, it was a foregone conclusion that Alvarez would win.

Despite that, though, Alvarez drops two spots in the Yahoo Sports pound-for-pound rankings of the world’s 10 best boxers. He goes from fourth to sixth, with Shakur Stevenson and Gervonta Davis leapfrogging him.

Alvarez was a 20-1 favorite to win, and while he did win to improve his record to 59-2-2, it seems to me the Alvarez of only a couple of years ago would have gotten Ryder out of there and not been forced to go the distance.

It’s a fine line we’re talking here, and we’re acknowledging that Alvarez was in his first fight after surgery on his left hand. This isn’t to suggest he’s done or anywhere near close. It’s saying that he’s a tick or two worse than he was and given the talent in our Top 10, that causes him to drop.

It’s incredible to note that Alvarez is the only fighter in the Yahoo Sports Top 10 to have lost and one of only two, along with 33-0-1 WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, not to have a perfect record.

This is most decidedly not overemphasizing losses. Alvarez does what I wish every fighter would do: He seeks out the best competition he can for nearly every fight. Three former Alvarez opponents, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto, are already enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Among the remainder of his opponents, Gennadiy Golovkin will almost certainly make it and Dmitry Bivol and Sergey Kovalev have a good shot.

If all three of the latter fighters make it, that means Alvarez to this point in his career has fought about 10 percent of his fights against Hall of Famers.

He didn’t look like his usual self against Ryder, though, and that will cost him two spots in our rankings.

Given that, here’s how the Top 10 shakes out:

Boxing pound-for-pound rankings as of May 8

  1. Terence Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs), WBO welterweight champion. Previous Ranking: 1

  2. Naoya Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs), Undisputed bantamweight champion. Previous Ranking: 2

  3. Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), IBF-WBA-WBO heavyweight champion. Previous Ranking: 3

  4. Shakur Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs), Lightweight contender. Previous Ranking: 5

  5. Gervonta Davis (29-0, 27 KOs), Secondary WBA lightweight champion. Previous ranking: 6

  6. Canelo Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs), Undisputed super middleweight champion. Previous Ranking: 4

  7. Devin Haney (29-0, 15 KOs), Undisputed lightweight champion. Previous Ranking: 7

  8. Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs), WBC heavyweight champion. Previous Ranking: 8

  9. Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs), WBA light heavyweight champion. Previous Ranking: 9

  10. Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs), IBF-WBC-WBO light heavyweight champion. Previous ranking: 10