Teofimo Lopez Jr.’s impressive victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko earned him his first trip into ESPN’s pound-for-pound top 10.
“The Takeover” won a unanimous decision over Lomachenko to stay unbeaten. With the victory, Lopez unified the IBF, WBO and WBA world titles and the WBC “franchise” belt.
The win puts Lopez, 23, in good company, as he becomes the second-youngest boxer in history to win a third divisional belt (Mike Tyson holds the record, at 21 years, 37 days old in August 1987).
ESPN boxing commentator Joe Tessitore has Lopez at No. 2 in his list and noted that it’s time to reward fighters for taking — and winning — the toughest fights.
“I very much knew this would get people’s attention and bother people, by me putting Lopez at No. 2,” Tessitore said. “I believe boxing needs a massive paradigm shift, and Teofimo Lopez just delivered a sledgehammer blow to start creating that shift. We must reward results in boxing, not just status. The best fighters fighting the best fighters at the right time has to be rewarded greatly. Teofimo Lopez has the most significant current win in the sport — that’s undeniable.
“Pound-for-pound is a nebulous, strange mix of various subjective measurements, but I believe, currently on this day, that if everybody was at the same weight, and I considered skill, results, body of work, I’d have more reason to justify Crawford, Lopez, Inoue as the top three, even though others beyond Lopez might be more established and have a longer résumé.
“I clearly understand that my vote is an outlier, but we have to start rewarding and valuing big wins at big times, not just maintaining promotional or fan’s perceived status.”
Former two-division champion and ESPN boxing analyst Timothy Bradley Jr., who voted Lopez at No. 3, believes Lopez earned the right to be as high on his list.
“It was a historic event for both men Saturday night, and the one that persevered was a young 23-year-old with just 16 professional fights,” Bradley said. “In having limited big fight experience as well as making his first title defense against arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet, Lopez showed the world that he is beyond his years in skill, mental toughness and supreme confidence. Therefore, the new multi-belt holder deserves to be at No. 3, in my opinion.”
ESPN writer Cameron Wolfe’s explanation for voting Lopez at No. 5 is very clear: Lopez’s win over Lomachenko is probably the best victory that anyone on this pound-for-pound list has had in recent years.
“His win over Lomachenko, coupled with his early KO of Richard Commey back in December, earns Lopez a top-five spot in my pound-for-pound list,” Wolfe said. “His résumé isn’t as deep as others on this list yet, which is why he isn’t higher, but more wins while taking these sort of challenges could help Lopez challenge Crawford for the top spot within a year or two.
“Lopez’s time is now, and his next milestone could be becoming pound-for-pound best. He’s much more than just a power puncher. Lopez is showing a willingness to take extremely risky fights early in his career and not worry about protecting his record, which is something boxing has been severely lacking in.”
Showtime boxing analysts Eric Raskin was tempted to put Lopez higher than his final No. 4 spot but explained why he decided to hold that thought — for now.
“We have a bit of a conundrum atop the pound-for-pound list right now, with nobody forcefully staking a claim to No. 1,” Raskin said. “Crawford hasn’t been fighting elite opposition the last few years, Canelo is entirely inactive right now, and Inoue most recently struggled more than expected in his win over Nonito Donaire. Still, I can’t quite place Lopez ahead of any of them, as his track record is extremely limited.
“You could make a case for placing Spence above Lopez, but I lean toward Lopez, given the exceptional ability of the fighter he just defeated (cleanly, in my view, eight rounds to four). In pound-for-pound rankings, beating ‘the man’ doesn’t automatically make you ‘the man.’ It’s not a lineal title. It’s based on a combination of accomplishment and perceived ability, with an emphasis on recent performances, and for me, that all adds up to No. 4 — for now — for Lopez.”
Our ESPN panel members — Bradley, Tessitore, Wolfe, Raskin, Andre Ward, Teddy Atlas, Steve Kim, Nick Parkinson, Ben Baby, Bernardo Pilatti, Charles Moynihan and Salvador Rodriguez — share their lists.
For a list of the current champions in all weight classes, click here.
Note: Results are through Thursday, Oct. 20.
1. TERENCE CRAWFORD Previous ranking: No. 2
RECORD: 36-0, 27 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO9) Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Dec. 14
NEXT FIGHT: Nov. 14 vs. Kell Brook
2. CANELO ALVAREZ Previous ranking: No. 3
RECORD: 53-1-2, 36 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (champion), super middleweight (“regular” titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (KO11) Sergey Kovalev, Nov. 2
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
3. NAOYA INOUE Previous ranking: No. 4
RECORD: 19-0, 16 KOs
DIVISION: Bantamweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Nonito Donaire, Nov. 7
NEXT FIGHT: Oct. 31 vs. Jason Moloney
4. ERROL SPENCE JR. Previous ranking: No. 5
RECORD: 26-0, 21 KOs
DIVISION: Welterweight (unified titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (SD12) Shawn Porter, Sept. 28
NEXT FIGHT: Dec. 5 vs. Danny Garcia
5. TEOFIMO LOPEZ JR. Previous ranking: NOT RANKED
RECORD: 16-0, 12 KOs
DIVISION: Lightweight (unified champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oct. 17
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
6. VASILIY LOMACHENKO Previous ranking: No. 1
RECORD: 14-2, 10 KOs
LAST FIGHT: L (UD12) Teofimo Lopez Jr., Oct. 17
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
7. OLEKSANDR USYK Previous ranking: No. 6
RECORD: 17-0, 13 KOs
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO7) Chazz Witherspoon, Oct. 12
NEXT FIGHT: Oct. 31 vs. Dereck Chisora
8. TYSON FURY Previous ranking: No. 7
RECORD: 30-0-1, 21 KOs
DIVISION: Heavyweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO7) Deontay Wilder, Feb. 22
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
9. JUAN FRANCISCO ESTRADA Previous ranking: No. 8
RECORD: 40-3, 27 KOs
DIVISION: Junior bantamweight (champion)
LAST FIGHT: W (TKO9) Dewayne Beamon, Aug. 24
NEXT FIGHT: Oct. 23 vs. Carlos Cuadras
10. GENNADIY GOLOVKIN Previous ranking: No. 9
RECORD: 40-1-1, 35 KOs
DIVISION: Middleweight (titlist)
LAST FIGHT: W (UD12) Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Oct. 5, 2019
NEXT FIGHT: TBA
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: Manny Pacquiao (12), Artur Beterbiev (6), Josh Taylor (3), Jermall Charlo (3), Mikey Garcia (2), Miguel Berchelt (1)
How our writers voted
Atlas: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Lomachenko, 5. Spence, 6. Usyk, 7. Pacquiao, 8. Lopez, 9. Beterbiev, 10. Fury
Bradley: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Lopez, 4. Inoue, 5. Fury, 6. Spence, 7. Usyk, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Pacquiao, 10. Beterbiev
Ward: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Fury, 4. Usyk, 5. Inoue, 6. Spence, 7. Lopeze, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Estrada, 10. Beterbiev
Tessitore: 1. Crawford, 2. Lomachenko, 3. Inoue, 4. Canelo, 5. Usyk, 6. Spence, 7. Estrada, 8. Berchelt, 9. Golovkin, 10. Beterbiev
Kim: 1. Inoue, 2. Crawford, 3. Alvarez, 4. Usyk, 5. Lopez, 6. Lomachenko, 7. Estrada, 8. Spence, 9. Golovkin, 10. Fury
Parkinson: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Fury, 5. Lopez, 6. Usyk, 7. Lomachenko, 8. Spence, 9. Golovkin, 10. Taylor
Baby: 1. Alvarez, 2. Crawford, 3. Spence, 4. Inoue, 5. Fury, 6. Usyk, 7. Lopez, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Beterbiev, 10. Golovkin
Wolfe: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Spence, 4. Inoue, 5. Lopez, 6. Fury, 7. Usyk, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Golovkin, 10. Pacquiao
Raskin: 1. Crawford, 2. Alvarez, 3. Inoue, 4. Lopez, 5. Lomachenko, 6. Spence, 7. Estrada, 8. Fury, 9. Taylor, 10. Pacquiao
Moynihan: 1. Crawford, 2. Spence, 3. Alvarez, 4. Inoue, 5. Usyk, 6. Golovkin, 7. Lopez, 8. Lomachenko, 9. Garcia, 10. Fury
Pilatti: 1. Inoue, 2. Lomachenko, 3. Spence, 4. Crawford, 5. Lopez, 6. Alvarez, 7. Golovkin, 8. Estrada, 9. Pacquiao, 10. Fury
Rodriguez: 1. Canelo, 2. Crawford, 3. Inoue, 4. Usyk, 5. Spence, 6. Fury, 7. Lopez, 8. Estrada, 9. Lomachenko, 10. Pacquiao
ESPN experts’ poll
First place: Crawford (7), Alvarez (3), Inoue (2)
Second place: Alvarez (5), Crawford (4), Spence (1), Lopez (1), Lomachenko (1)
Third place: Inoue (5), Spence (3), Alvarez (2), Lopez (1), Fury (1)
Fourth place: Inoue (4), Usyk (3), Lomachenko (2), Crawford (1), Lopez (1), Fury (1)
Fifth place: Lopez (4), Spence (2), Fury (2), Alvarez (1), Inoue (1), Lomachenko (1), Usyk (1)
Sixth place: Spence (4), Usyk (3), Fury (2), Alvarez (1), Lomachenko (1), Golovkin (1)
Seventh place: Lopez (4), Usyk (3), Estrada (2), Lomachenko (1), Golovkin (1), Pacquiao (1)
Eighth place: Lomachenko (5), Spence (2), Estrada (2), Lopez (1), Fury (1), Charlo (1)
Ninth place: Pacquiao (3), Golovkin (2), Beterbiev (2), Lomachenko (1), Fury (1), Estrada (1), Taylor (1), Garcia (1)
10th place: Fury (4), Golovkin (2), Pacquiao (2), Beterbiev (2), Taylor (1), Berchelt (1)