If this list was published one month ago today, it would’ve listed then-active fighters Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Andre Ward as 1-2.
Within a month, both unbeaten former champions have retired. Ward, 33, announced Thursday that he was joining Mayweather, 40, on boxing’s permanent shelf.
And although boxing retirements usually elicit skepticism, Mayweather’s excess cash and Ward’s television-analyst work could allow both to stay gone.
So, following their goodbyes and a busy summer with several impressive showings, The Times’ boxing pound-for-pound top-10 poll has a fresh look for the fall.
1. Terence Crawford
Omaha, Neb. | Junior-welterweight (32-0, 23 KOs)
By virtue of being boxing’s only four-belt champion — and doing so impressively with a third-round knockout by body punch to former champion Julius Indongo last month — Crawford moves up three spots to the top. He helped his case with a convincing breakdown of why he deserves such respect in a recent conversation with writers that came off as genuine, not boastful.
Next fight: He has told friends he’ll return to the ring “at the top of the year,” and will move to welterweight, where many possible marquee opponents await.
2. Gennady Golovkin
Los Angeles/Kazakhstan | Middleweight (37-0-1, 33 KOs)
If judge Don Trella joined Dave Moretti in giving Golovkin the seventh round, “GGG” beats Canelo Alvarez by split-decision last Saturday and remains No. 1. But many at ringside, in the arena and watching on television saw the bout as too close to call, meaning that while his No. 1 honor slipped away, the riches of a rematch await.
Next fight: Boxing and perfect sense don’t always align, but a Cinco de Mayo rematch is perfect for Golovkin and Alvarez at whatever venue wins the bidding war — Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, AT&T Stadium near Dallas or Madison Square Garden.
3. Vasyl Lomachenko
Ukraine/Oxnard | Super-featherweight (9-1, 7 KOs)
The two-time Olympic champion and two-division champion added entertainment value to his “Matrix” fighting style by dismantling Miguel Marriaga Aug. 5 at Microsoft Theater. He deserves a greater audience with his talent and has a fight pending to help that cause.
Next fight: In probably the best remaining fight of what has been a tremendous year, Lomachenko meets fellow double-gold Olympic champion and unbeaten super-bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba on Dec. 9 at the Madison Square Garden Theater.
4. Mikey Garcia
Riverside | Lightweight (37-0, 30 KOs)
The way he’s fighting, he could be No. 1. Garcia underlined his skill with a dominating July 29 unanimous-decision at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center against former four-division champion Adrien Broner, and everyone wants a 2018 showdown against Lomachenko.
Next fight: Garcia could settle for a mandatory early 2018 date against the winner of Saturday’s Forum main event between fellow lightweight champion Jorge Linares and England’s Luke Campbell, but he’s also interested in anything from Lomachenko to being 154-pound champion Miguel Cotto’s farewell opponent Dec. 2 in New York.
5. Canelo Alvarez
Mexico | Middleweight (49-1-2, 34 KOs)
His game showing against Golovkin answered the catcalls that he was ducking the champion who’s now unbeaten in 19 consecutive middleweight title fights. Alvarez closed impressively in the final three rounds, rocking Golovkin while showing an impressive chin that makes Part 2 even more anticipated.
Next fight: Barring an injury or ugly negotiating turn, it should be May 5 against Golovkin.
6. Anthony Joshua
England | Heavyweight (19-0, 19 KOs)
His electric, historic showing in retiring Wladimir Klitschko in April stands with Golovkin-Alvarez as the best title fights of the year, and Joshua’s charisma for a long-ignored division is hands down the best thing that’s happened to the sport this year. Showtime bid $1.6 million for the rights to broadcast his next bout in the U.S.
Next fight: The International Boxing Federation/World Boxing Assn. heavyweight champion makes a mandatory IBF title defense against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) at a sold-out Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Oct. 28.
7. Errol Spence Jr.
Dallas | Welterweight (22-0, 19 KOs)
The IBF champion in the long-compelling welterweight division is a gifted talent at age 27. The concern is how he’ll be handled by complicated manager Al Haymon, who might opt for a safer route after Spence’s defining trip to England to knock out then-champion Kell Brook in the 11th round in May.
Next fight: Nothing on the books yet for Spence, who would be favored in this corner against anyone presently fighting in the division.
8. Keith Thurman
Clearwater, Fla. | Welterweight (28-0, 22 KOs)
His absence since March 4 has included an injury, but it’s tempting to place him lower than this. He had 5.1 million viewers on CBS in defeating Danny Garcia, but that seems so long ago now it’s what’s been a year full of grand bouts. Hopefully, he returns for something like a Shawn Porter rematch or a unification bout against Errol Spence Jr.
Next fight: TBA, probably sometime after Jan. 1.
9. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
Thailand | Super-flyweight (44-4-1, 40 KOs)
The author of an incredible life story, he rose from plucking meals during his work as a disposal remover to recently meeting the leaders of Thailand. While his narrow-scorecards victory over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in March was disputed, he left no doubt in delivering a thunderous fourth-round knockout Sept. 9 in their rematch at StubHub Center.
10. Naoya Inoue
Japan | Super-flyweight (14-0, 12 KOS)
Inoue fulfilled expectations in his Sept. 9 U.S. debut at StubHub Center, impressing the HBO audience with destructive body punches and a keen eye toward openings that “the Monster” clearly enjoys exploiting.
Next fight: Nothing on the books yet, but thanks to the depth of the division and the Sor Ruingvisai-Estrada winner looming, his importance will only rise from here.