Monday, March 23, 2015

Pound-for-Pound Update 3-23-15

Sergey Kovalev and Gennady Golovkin continue their ascent up the Saturday Night Boxing pound-for-pound list with stoppage victories over top-ten contenders in their respective divisions. Kovalev notched an eighth-round TKO over the tricky Jean Pascal, a former lineal champ at light heavyweight who had never been stopped or even knocked down in his professional career; Kovalev accomplished both of those tasks earlier this month. Golovkin dominated durable middleweight contender Martin Murray for an 11th-round TKO. Golovkin scored three knockdowns in the bout and referee Luis Pabon could have called the fight off several rounds sooner than he did. 

Finding the appropriate placement for these two fighters is challenging. I moved Kovalev up from ninth to seventh, leapfrogging Carl Froch and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Kovalev has laid waste to his light heavyweight opponents while Froch recently had some very tough fights against George Groves. I also think that Kovalev's body of work is now superior to that of Rigondeaux's, which isn't the same as saying that Kovalev is necessarily the better fighter of the two. Rigondeaux's position in the Rankings was earned from his one big victory over Nonito Donaire. However, he hasn't been able to build off of that win by beating other solid opponents (some of this is not his fault). Meanwhile, Kovalev has beaten multiple top-ten contenders in his division. Picking between the two fighters is a close call but for now I'm siding with Kovalev.

It's also possible that I'm being too conservative with Kovalev. He hasn't struggled with his top competition the way that Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez have in recent fights. However, because of the quality of their recent losses, (Pacquiao and Bradley, respectively), I will continue to keep those two fighters ahead of Kovalev for the time being. 

I moved Golovkin from 15th to 13th, jumping him over Danny Garcia and Miguel Cotto. Over the last 20 months, Garcia won a tough fight against Lucas Matthysse, should have lost to Mauricio Herrera and dominated Rod Salka, who was woefully overmatched. Comparing Golovkin's and Garcia's bodies of work, I like GGG's a tad bit better, although I do acknowledge that Garcia's wins over Amir Khan and Matthysse are better than anything on Golovkin's resume. Ultimately, recent form matters and Garcia's listless performance against Herrera sticks with me. 

As for Cotto, this is another situation like light heavyweight, where the lineal fighter (Adonis Stevenson) is not ranked as highly as another titleholder in the division (Kovalev). Cotto's win over Sergio Martinez catapulted him back into the pound-for-pound rankings but his only other victory in his current run is over Delvin Rodriguez, not exactly a top fighter. Looking at Cotto's previous fights before those two wins, he suffered back-to-back defeats to Austin Trout and Floyd Mayweather. I feel comfortable placing Golovkin, who is undefeated and riding a 19-fight KO streak, over him.

Here is the updated Saturday Night Boxing pound-for-pound list:
  1. Floyd Mayweather
  2. Roman Gonzalez
  3. Wladimir Klitschko
  4. Manny Pacquiao
  5. Juan Manuel Marquez
  6. Tim Bradley
  7. Sergey Kovalev
  8. Guillermo Rigondeaux
  9. Carl Froch
  10. Juan Estrada
  11. Naoya Inoue
  12. Adonis Stevenson
  13. Gennady Golovkin
  14. Miguel Cotto
  15. Danny Garcia
  16. Saul Alvarez
  17. Takashi Uchiyama
  18. Shinsuke Yamanaka
  19. Terence Crawford
  20. Donnie Nietes
Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
@snboxing on twitter, SN Boxing on Facebook

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