No. 3-ranked Oleksandr Usyk presented us with an unusual problem.
The Ukrainian star got the job done against overmatched Daniel Dubois on Saturday in Poland, dominating the Londoner for most of their fight and delivering a ninth-round knockout to retain his heavyweight titles.
However, most observers believe Dubois should’ve been awarded a knockout victory in Round 5 when an apparent body shot put Usyk down and hurt him badly but was ruled a low blow by referee Luis Pabon, which gave Usyk time to recover.
No doubt about it: Usyk was fortunate that he didn’t suffer the first loss of his career.
So where does that leave him on Boxing Junkie’s pound-for-pound list?
We decided to leave him where he is based on the official result even though we’re convinced that the punch that put Usyk down landed above the top of the hip bone, which is the boundary line for a low blow.
Usyk’s run near the top of the pound-for-pound world might not last much longer, though.
He reiterated after his victory that he wants to face No. 5-ranked fellow beltholder Tyson Fury in his next fight if Fury beats Francis Ngannou on Oct. 28, possibly this winter in Saudi Arabia.
The 36-year-old Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) seems to be more vulnerable than he has ever been as a professional.
Here’s what the list looks like at the moment:
Terence Crawford – No fight scheduled.
Naoya Inoue – No fight scheduled.
Oleksandr Usyk – No fight scheduled.
Dmitry Bivol – No fight scheduled.
Tyson Fury – Scheduled to face MMA star Francis Ngannou in a boxing match on Oct. 28 in Saudi Arabia.
Juan Francisco Estrada – No fight scheduled.
Canelo Alvarez– Scheduled to defend his 168-pound titles against Jermell Charlo on Sept. 30.
Jermell Charlo – Scheduled to challenge 168-pound champion Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 30.
Gervonta Davis – No fight scheduled.
Errol Spence Jr. – No fight scheduled.
Vasiliy Lomachenko – No fight scheduled.
Artur Beterbiev – Scheduled to defend his 175-pound titles against Callum Smit on Jan. 23 in Quebec City, Canada.
Shakur Stevenson – No fight scheduled.
Roman Gonzalez – No fight scheduled.
Devin Haney – Reportedly in talks to challenge 140-pound titleholder Regis Prograis on Oct. 28 but no announcement has been made.
Honorable mention (alphabetical order): David Benavidez (no fight scheduled); Jermall Charlo (no fight scheduled); Sunny Edwards (scheduled to face Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez in a 112-pound title-unification bout on Dec. 16); Kazuto Ioka (no fight scheduled); Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez (scheduled to face Sunny Edwards in a 112-pound title-unification bout on Dec. 16).