Ron Buckner’s Top 30 Pound For Pound (December 2015)

The mythical Boxing Pound For Pound list is one of the most fascinating lists in all of sports.  It ranks current boxers, regardless of weight class, age, or experience.  The criteria for these lists seems to be a bit different depending on who compiled the list, making it a source for much discussion and criticism.  At, we don’t shy away from discussion or criticism, we welcome it! Although this isn’t’s official P4P list, it is mine, so everybody can see how I voted.


My criteria:  When compiling this list, I looked at many things: Quality of opposition, ring generalship, career-long resumé, current record, etc.  However, more often than not, I just use the eye test.  How good do I think the fighter is by watching him in the ring.  Sometimes politics can keep fighters from facing top opposition, and I try not to penalize fighters for that unless I feel that the fighter is specifically avoiding top opposition.  I also tend to lean toward how good I think a fighter is RIGHT NOW, as opposed to how good he has been in the past.


Without further adieu, My Top 30 P4P (December, 2015):





Ron Buckner's Top 30 Pound For Pound
Ron Buckner’s Top 30 Pound For Pound

30) Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KO) HEAVYWEIGHT

Fury shocked the world and took down the man who has been dominating the Heavyweight division for the last decade.  People still aren’t convinced he is the NEW heavyweight king, and I guess I am not convinced either. I’m not sure if he’s even the best heavyweight in Great Britain. We shall see.



29) Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KO)  WELTERWEIGHT

Porter is a bulldog. After losing a very tough battle to Kell Brook last year, he came back to win a unanimous decision against Adrien Broner this year.  He’s the real deal and one of the toughest fighters in a stacked welterweight class.



28) Jorge Linares (40-3, 27 KO) LIGHTWEIGHT

The lightweight version of Amir Khan in that his fights are always exciting, and he will either win handily or get KO’d himself.  One of my favorites to watch.



27) Errol Spence, Jr. (19-0, 16 KO) WELTERWEIGHT

Spence looks to be exactly what we all thought he would be when was he was the best boxer on the US 2012 Olympic team.  His opposition hasn’t been great so far, but he has yet to show a weakness.



26) Viktor Postol (28-0, 12 KO) SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT

Postol won’t confuse anybody with some of the heavy hitters in and around his division, but his dismantling of Matthysse might scare some fighters into avoiding him.  People are clamoring for a Postol vs. Crawford fight, and we’d all love to see that.



25) Amir Khan (31-3, 19 KO)  WELTERWEIGHT

“King” Khan has garnered headlines lately whining about fights he’s not getting instead of making the fights he can get.  His talent is special, and worries about his chin always make for very exciting fights.



24) Carl Frampton (21-0, 14 KO) SUPER BANTAMWEIGHT  

He has a few impressive wins and recently made his US debut, but seemed a bit shaky.

NEXT FIGHT: Feb. 27 vs. Scott Quigg


23) Daniel Jacobs (31-1, 28 KO)  MIDDLEWEIGHT  

After completely dominating Kid Chocolate in their Dec. 5th fight, people can no longer call Miracle Man a media creation. There are so many huge fights to make in the middleweight division, 2016 is going to be a great year to see it all shake out.



22) Erislandy Lara (22-2-2, 13 KO) SUPER WELTERWEIGHT  

This Cuban fighter with great technical skill has an ego that boxing fans love/hate.  He thinks he can beat every boxer in the world, and begs for fights with all of them.



21) Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 KO) HEAVYWEIGHT

The Bronze Bomber has done more to energize the heavyweight division in the USA than anyone since Tyson.  With Klitschko losing, the entire division has captured the attention of the world, and Wilder has a chance to be at the top of it for years to come.

NEXT FIGHT: Jan. 16 vs. Artur Szpilka


20) Nicholas Walters (26-0-1, 21 KO)  FEATHERWEIGHT

After consecutive victories against Darchinyan and Donaire put him near the top of his division, he needs to take on the big names around him to stay there. Last week he received a controversial majority draw against Jason Sosa, a fight in which most boxing writers and experts had him winning easily.



19) Adonis Stevenson (27-1, 22 KO) LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT

“Superman” had the boxing world on a string after knocking out Chad Dawson in the first round in 2013.  He is the lineal champ and hasn’t lost since, but keeps falling down the rankings due to his hesitancy to face the top opposition available to him.  At the age of 38, it’s now or never if he wants to solidify his legacy.  His choice of opponents in 2016 will go a long way in determining what that legacy will be.



18)  Leo Santa Cruz (31-0-1, 17 KO) FEATHERWEIGHT

After resisting jumping on the Santa Cruz bandwagon until he beat somebody noteworthy, I have no choice but to acknowledge his impressive win over Abner Mares.  We always knew Leo would out-punch his opponents and create exciting fights, and now we know he can do it at the world class level.



17) Shinsuke Yamanaka (24-0-2, 17 KO) BANTAMWEIGHT

With 9 consecutive title defenses against good opposition, Yamanaka deserves his spot on the P4P list.  His last defense, a split decision against Anselmo Moreno, was a bit too questionable for me to move him any higher.



16) Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KO) WELTERWEIGHT  

PacMan still ranks high on most P4P lists based on his amazing career.  One of the most popular and controversial fighters of his generation, he made a meteoric rise to fame in the 2000’s. He has slowly started to fade since back to back losses in 2012, including a brutal KO loss at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez that made him look mortal.  Since then, selective matchmaking allowed him to continue adding unimpressive wins enough to maintain public interest in the long awaited Floyd Mayweather fight.  Looking old, slow and not interested in mounting an offensive attack against Floyd has taken some of the shine off PacMan Mania.  He will fight one more time in the spring, but Bob Arum has yet to decide on an opponent.  If Arum chooses Terence Crawford as that opponent, a PacMan win might convince him to stick around for another fight or two.



15) Nagoya Inoue (8-0, 7 KO) SUPER FLYWEIGHT

This firecracker of a Japanese boxer has come on the the scene in a similar fashion to Lomachenko.  He has demanded the toughest possible opposition and has proceeded to destroy said opposition.  He has 2 world titles in 2 weight classes in only 8 pro fights.  The sky really is the limit here, and hopefully we get more exposed to Inoue in the United States. He has a style Americans will love.

NEXT FIGHT: Dec. 29 vs. Warlito Parrenas


14) Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KO) MIDDLEWEIGHT

Cotto has been a mainstay on the P4P list for years.  With his exciting style and devastating KO power, he’s been one of the biggest draws in boxing for a decade.  His recent switch to trainer Freddie Roach has seemed to revitalize him at the age of 35, but his showing against Top 5 P4P star Canelo last month took a bit of shine of this superstar.



13) Tim Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KO)  WELTERWEIGHT

“Desert Storm” is one of those fighters that is obviously world class, but doesn’t have a specific skill set that impresses fans enough to care much about him.  His only loss is to Pacquiao (most observers feel he lost twice to Manny). It also could be said that the draw on his record should have been a win.  When you look at his resumé, it is littered with world class fighters and W’s.  Bradley is destined to be a fighter that is good enough to beat most opponents in his division, but not impressive enough to be remembered as a fighter that anybody ever feared or avoided.  His lowly KO percentage keeps him from being a fan favorite as well. Rumor has it we might see Pacquiao vs. Bradley III in the spring.



12) Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KO) WELTERWEIGHT

“One Time” is an exciting fighter with an exciting media personality as well.  He had a very good amateur career and has been knocking out all comers since turning pro. He can walk the walk and talk the talk, so far… Until he starts facing guys at the top of the division, I can’t justify lifting him any higher on this list.



11) Kell Brook (35-0, 24 KO) WELTERWEIGHT

Brook has spent his career knocking guys out in his home country of England that most of us have never heard of.  He made his name (and move up the rankings) by coming over the the States and handing Shawn Porter his first loss as a pro.  Brook needs to take on a few more top names in his division to cement his place in the rankings, but he looks as though he has the talent to do just that.



10) Juan Francisco Estrada (33-2, 24 KO) SUPER FLYWEIGHT

The 25 year old Mexican is virtually unknown to all but the hardest of the hardcore boxing fans.  He hasn’t been featured much on US television, but that might change if he gets a rematch with #1 P4P champ Roman Gonzalez.  I admit, even I had to do a bit of research to watch a few of his fights online before I decided where to place him in these rankings.  It was a pleasure to do that research though, and I think you’ll completely enjoy watching this fighter grow into his prime.



9) Vasyl Lomachenko (5-1, 3 KO) FEATHERWEIGHT

I know, I know.  How can I rank a 5-1 fighter with a loss to Orlando Salido last year in the Top 10 P4P? It’s the eye test, ladies and gentlemen.  Lomachenko was the gold medalist in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and had an amateur career record of 396-1.  In his second fight as a pro, he matched his 1 loss as an amateur by losing a split decision to Salido in a foul filled fight.  Lomachenko learned a ton in that fight about being a professional, and I can promise you he will not fall for those Salido-type tricks (including not bothering to try and make weight) and fouls in future fights.  This 27 year old is destined for greatness.  His idol is Roy Jones, Jr.  And I suspect he will have a run similar to his idol’s in the upcoming years.



8) Danny Garcia (31-0, 18 KO) WELTERWEIGHT  

Garcia might be the most disliked fighter out there, and it’s not because of his personality.  Garcia seems to be a media and fan whipping boy due to close decision victories against Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson that many feel should have been losses.  He also chose (well, Al Haymon chose) to make a title defense against Rod Salka, who isn’t remotely world class.  In spite of these controversies, it’s hard to deny Garcia has stepped up to beat every big time fighter put in front of him. He took down Matthysse at the height of Lucas’ career, and sent Amir Khan to the canvas in round 4 of their fight.  Time will tell if this ranking is generous, or if his talent is not appreciated because of close fights and scheduling disappointments.

NEXT FIGHT: Jan. 23 vs. Roberto Guuerrero


7) Terence Crawford (27-0, 19 KO) LIGHT WELTERWEIGHT

“Bud” Crawford has a unique mix of speed, skill and power that makes every fight he’s in intriguing.  He’s been in some close rounds against very good opposition, and always seems to figure out his opponent and find a way to break him down as the fight goes on.  If he continues to show the ring intelligence and the ability to adjust a game plan mid-fight, the ceiling will be extremely high for this future star.



6) Guillermo Rigondeaux (16-0, 10 KO) SUPER BANTAMWEIGHT

Rigo made his ascension to the P4P lists based on his impressive performance against Nonito Donaire in 2013.  He tends to have a little bit of Floyd Mayweather in him, both with ego problems that have caused his career to slow down a bit, and fans perception that all he does is “run”, which is far from the truth. Rigondeaux has the ability to stand in front of a fighter and make them miss, and look silly while missing, the same way Floyd does.  He is an elite defensive fighter that is not afraid to dole out punishment, the way Floyd used to early in his career.  



5) Saul Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KO) SUPER WELTERWEIGHT

Canelo is a very polarizing figure in the world of boxing.  One of the biggest draws in the sport (he might be THE biggest now with the retirement of Floyd), he seems to have as many big fans as he does big detractors. He couldn’t beat Mayweather (nobody could), and he looked mediocre in a win against heavily avoided Erislandy Lara, but the Mexican superstar has always sought the best competition out there. He won a very convincing decision against superstar Miguel Cotto in November, cementing his spot in my Top 5 P4P.  A spring fight should be announce soon, building anticipation for his MEGA fight this fall with GGG.



4) Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KO) SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT

Andre Ward climbed to the top of his division with a dominant performance in the Super Six Super middleweight tournament on Showtime in 2009-11.  He mowed down the top competition, including Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch on his way to the tourney victory.  Since then, injury and contract woes have limited him to only two fights since September 2012.  While he may be committing financial suicide sitting on the sidelines during the most lucrative years for boxers in history, few believe that he has lost any of the ability that put him at the top of these rankings.  Sitting out years of your “prime” might be illogical, but it can be argued that he is fresher than ever with many top fights to be made in his early 30’s to recoup those lost wages.



3) Gennady Golovkin (34-0, 31 KO) MIDDLEWEIGHT

GGG is without a doubt the fighter that gets the most hype in the sport today.  He comes forward, has a good chin, and lands bombs in volume. He’s the kind of fighter that gets in the head of not only the opponent he is facing, but all other opponents in and around the division. He has been begging for the biggest names in boxing to step up to face him for years now, but those big names seem to be waiting for him to build a financially beneficial fan base before taking on the huge risk of staring him down in the ring. As entertaining as his KO’s are, his post fight interviews are equally entertaining.  GGG is a star right now, and within a few years, he just might be the entire galaxy. An agreement was made this month to fight Canelo Alvarez in the fall of 2016!



2) Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KO) LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT

Krusher is simply one of the most entertaining fighters in the sport today. Kovalev has been scoring impressive knockouts since he burst on the scene, but many expected those dominant performances to become less impressive once the level of competition rose.  Instead, he put on a masterful boxing performance against Bernard Hopkins, then dominated and stopped Jean Pascal, who had never been stopped before.  As we all anxiously await a fight against lineal champ Adonis Stevenson, we will continue to tune in to watch Krusher against any foe they match him up against, including what seems to be an unnecessary January rematch against Pascal.

NEXT FIGHT: Jan. 30 vs. Jean Pascal


1) Roman Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KO) FLYWEIGHT

If you haven’t made it a priority to watch El Chocolatito on his televised fights recently, you are missing out on one of the most impressive fighters in the history of the lower weight classes.  The 28 year old is in his prime, and mowing down quality opposition like a bull in a china shop.


Ron Buckner

Ron Buckner is an avid boxing fan from the great boxing town of Grand Rapids, MI. An amateur boxer, he has a unique view of the sport, both in and out of the ring.