Pound-for-pound rankings: Did Canelo Alvarez's win over Avni Yildirim earn him the top spot?

Canelo Alvarez is getting closer to the No. 1 spot on ESPN's pound-for-pound rankings. Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Canelo Alvarez defended his two super middleweight titles with a dominant victory over mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim on Feb. 27. Alvarez started fast and forced Yildirim to retire in his corner at the end of Round 3. That victory put Alvarez in position to face WBO world titlist Billy Joe Saunders on May 8, with the winner taking three of the four major belts (Caleb Plant has the IBF title).

However, his victory over Yildirim didn't push Alvarez past Terence Crawford in ESPN's pound-for-pound rankings. Alvarez was short by a single vote.

Former two division champion and current ESPN boxing analysts Timothy Bradley Jr., believes nobody can beat Alvarez right now.

"I'm moving Canelo to the No. 1 spot on my list. There's nobody better. Canelo is going to fight Saunders next and he's going to smash him, and after he beats him, he's gonna fight Plant and he's gonna beat Plant and he's gonna become the undisputed champion at 168," said Bradley. "I'm not waiting, I'm gonna make him my No. 1 pound-for-pound. There's no point in waiting, I've already seen it, nobody is going to beat him in that division."

However, boxing analyst Bernard Pilatti, doesn't believe Canelo is worth of a top-5 spot and voted him in at No. 6.

"Despite his victory over Yildirim, I kept Alvarez in sixth place on my list," said Pilatti. "I really think that he just continues to face soft opposition in his fights, so until then, I'll keep him at No. 6."

Juan Francisco Estrada, who defeated Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez by split decision on March 13, stayed at No. 9, but gained some votes and closed the distance between him and No. 8, Vasiliy Lomachenko.

"Estrada deserves a spot on my list," said boxing analyst Teddy Atlas, host of 'The Fight with Teddy Atlas podcast'. He put on a hell of a fight, it was a great fight. It could've gone either way, but he fights good fighters."

New at No. 10 is Oscar Valdez, who defeated Miguel Berchelt by an impressive 10th-round KO to win the WBC junior lightweight world title.

Our panel of Bradley Jr., Joe Tessitore, Cameron Wolfe, Eric Raskin, Andre Ward, Atlas, Nick Parkinson, Michelle Joy Phelps, Ben Baby, Eric Woodyard, Kel Dansby, Bernardo Pilatti, Charles Moynihan and Salvador Rodriguez share their votes.

More rankings: Divisional rankings and ESPN's women's pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results are through March 17.


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Valdez claims title with knockout of the year candidate

Oscar Valdez knocks out Miguel Berchelt at the end of Round 10 to become the new WBC junior lightweight world champion.

1. TERENCE CRAWFORD     Previous ranking: No. 1

RECORD: 37-0, 28 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO4) Kell Brook, Nov. 14
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


2. CANELO ALVAREZ     Previous ranking: No. 2

RECORD: 55-1-2, 37 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (champion), super middleweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO3) Avni Yildirim, Feb. 27
NEXT FIGHT: May 8 vs. Billy Joe Saunders


3. NAOYA INOUE     Previous ranking: No. 3

RECORD: 20-0, 17 KOs
DIVISION: Bantamweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO7) Jason Moloney, Oct. 31
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


4. ERROL SPENCE JR.     Previous ranking: No. 4

RECORD: 27-0, 21 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Danny Garcia, Dec. 5
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


5. TEOFIMO LOPEZ JR.     Previous ranking: No. 5

RECORD: 16-0, 12 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oct. 17
NEXT FIGHT: TBA vs. George Kambosos Jr.


6. TYSON FURY     Previous ranking: No. 6

RECORD: 30-0-1, 21 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO7) Deontay Wilder, Feb. 22, 2020
NEXT FIGHT: TBA vs. Anthony Joshua


7. OLEKSANDR USYK     Previous ranking: No. 8

RECORD: 18-0, 13 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Dereck Chisora, Oct. 31
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


8. VASILIY LOMACHENKO     Previous ranking: No. 7

RECORD: 14-2, 10 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight
LAST FIGHT: L (UD12) Teofimo Lopez Jr., Oct. 17
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


9. JUAN FRANCISCO ESTRADA     Previous ranking: No. 9

RECORD: 42-3, 28 KOs
DIVISION: Junior bantamweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD12) Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez, March 13
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


10. OSCAR VALDEZ     Previous ranking: NR

RECORD: 29-0, 23 KOs
DIVISION: Junior lightweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO10) Miguel Berchelt, Feb. 20
NEXT FIGHT: TBA


The formula

The rankings are based on a descending points system, with a first-place vote receiving 10 points, a second-place vote receiving nine points and so on. A tie goes to the fighter with the highest ranking and then the one with the most votes at that ranking.


Others receiving votes: Gennadiy Golovkin (7), Gervonta Davis (6), Manny Pacquiao (5), Jermell Charlo (5), Roman Gonzalez (4), Artur Beterbiev (4), Josh Taylor (3), Shakur Stevenson (1)


How our writers voted

Atlas: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Lomachenko, 6. Usyk, 7. Pacquiao, 8. Lopez, 9. Fury, 10. Estrada

Bradley: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Lopez, 6. Lomachenko, 7. Fury, 8. Usyk, 9. Davis, 10. Stevenson

Ward: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Fury, 4. Spence, 5. Inoue, 6. Usyk, 7. Lopez, 8. Estrada, 9. Lomachenko, 10. Valdez

Tessitore: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Lopez, 5. Spence, 6. Usyk, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Valdez, 9. Fury, 10. Estrada

Parkinson: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Fury, 5. Lopez, 6. Usyk, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Spence, 9. Taylor, 10. Estrada

Baby: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Spence, 4. Inoue, 5. Fury, 6. Usyk, 7. Estrada, 8. Lopez, 9. Lomachenko, 10. Golovkin

Wolfe: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Lopez, 6. Fury, 7. Estrada, 8. Usyk, 9. Lomachenko, 10. Pacquiao

Woodyard: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Lopez, 6. Lomachenko, 7. Usyk, 8. Estrada, 9. Fury, 10. Golovkin

Raskin: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Lopez, 6. Lomachenko, 7. Fury, 8. Estrada, 9. Gonzalez, 10. Taylor

Dansby: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Spence, 5. Lopez, 6. Fury, 7. Beterbiev, 8. Usyk, 9. Lomachenko, 10. Charlo

Moynihan: 1. Spence, 2. Alvarez, 3. Crawford, 4. Inoue, 5. Usyk, 6. Golovkin, 7. Lopez, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Fury, 10. Estrada

Pilatti: 1. Inoue, 2. Crawford, 3. Spence, 4. Estrada, 5. Lopez, 6. Alvarez, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Fury, 9. Davis, 10. Valdez

Rodriguez: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Spence, 4. Inoue, 5. Fury, 6. Estrada, 7. Lopez, 8. Usyk, 9. Gonzalez, 10. Lomachenko

Phelps: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Spence, 4. Lopez 5. Inoue, 6. Estrada, 7. Charlo, 8. Valdez, 9. Davis, 10. Lomachenko


ESPN experts' poll

First place: Crawford (5), Alvarez (7), Inoue (1), Spence (1)

Second place: Crawford (8), Alvarez (6)

Third place: Inoue (8), Spence (4), Crawford (1), Fury (1)

Fourth place: Spence (7), Inoue (3), Lopez (2), Fury (1), Estrada (1)

Fifth place: Lopez (7), Inoue (2), Fury (2), Spence (1), Usyk (1), Lomachenko (1)

Sixth place: Usyk (5), Lomachenko (3), Fury (2), Estrada (2), Alvarez (1), Golovkin (1)

Seventh place: Lopez (3), Lomacheko (3), Fury (2), Estrada (2), Usyk (1), Pacquiao (1), Charlo (1), Beterbiev (1)

Eighth place: Usyk (4), Estrada (3), Lopez (2), Valdez (2), Spence (1), Fury (1), Lomachenko (1)

Ninth place: Fury (4), Lomachenko (4), Davis (3), Gonzalez (2), Taylor (1)

10th place: Estrada (4), Lomachenko (2), Valdez (2), Golovkin (2), Pacquiao (1), Taylor (1), Stevenson (1), Charlo (1)