Boxer of the decade (2010-2020)
By Gav Duthie: Here are my top 5 boxers from the last decade.
5. Manny Pacquiao 12-4 (1)
Clottey, Margarito, Mosley, Marquez, Bradley, Marquez, Rios, Bradley, Algieri, Mayweather, Bradley, Vargas, Horn, Matthysse, Broner, Thurman
Manny has the most losses on the list but because of his opposition he just earns his spot in the top 5. Considering 2 of the men to defeat him are Juan Manuel Marquez and Tim Bradley who he also beat during the decade this helps cement his position.
Manny Pacquiao was considered finished after back to back defeats to Bradley and Marquez in 2012 and furthermore after his Mayweather defeat in 2015 but was urged to retire after losing to Jeff Horn.
To end the decade with wins over Lucas Matthysse, Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman is almost super human. This means Pac has been a world champion in the 90s, 00s, 10s and 20s. His top 3 wins are Keith Thurman, Antonio Margarito and the second Tim Bradley fight.
4. Terence Crawford 26-0 (20)
Crawford has wins over the following fighters: Robbins, Boyd, Mora, Campos, Rios, Gorges, Rodela, Paredes, Siqueira, Prescott, Sanabria, Klimov, Burns, Gamboa, Beltran, Dulorme, Jean, Lundy, Postol, Molina, Diaz Jr, Indongo, Horn, Benavidez, Khan, and Kavaliaskus.
Crawford has the most impressive record in terms of numbers on the list. His first test came in his 10th fight against a still competitive Breides Prescott. He won his first title in his 13th contest going to Scotland to beat Ricky Burns by unanimous decision. The reason Crawford isn’t higher was that he is missing a career defining fight.
The closest would be his contest with the then unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2014 in a great contest but it was not considered to be the Cubans natural weight. He also became the first undisputed champion since Jermaine Taylor winning WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO world titles against the little known Julius Indongo. His strongest wins of recent years have came against Jeff Horn and Amir Khan.
3. Saul Canelo Alvarez 23-1-1 (14)
Camechis, Jose Cotto, Cuello, Baldomir, Ndou, Matt Hatton, Rhodes, Alfonso Gomez, Cintron, Mosley, Josesito Lopez, Trout, Mayweather, Angulo, Lara, Kirkland, Cotto, Khan, Smith, Chavez Jnr, Golovkin x2, Fielding, Jacobs, Kovalev
An amazing decade. Canelo started it at welterweight winning the NABF title and finished as light heavyweight champion and a four weight world champion. Not many people could have come that far in any sport never mind boxing.
His best wins came with a breakout beat down of Shane Mosley on the Mayweather-Cotto undercard a brutal ko of James Kirkland, a boxing clinic against Miguel Cotto and of course the Gennady Golovkin rematch and Sergey Kovalev.
Why is he not higher on the list?
First of all, he lost to someone who is higher than him in the shape of Floyd Mayweather. He also holds controversial wins over Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara and Golovkin where the decisions could have all went the other way. His drugs ban also throws a bit of shade over his achievements but all in all his decade has been amazing.
2. Floyd Mayweather 10-0 (2)
Mosley, Ortiz, Cotto, Guerrero, Canelo, Maidana x2, Pacquaio, Berto, McGregor
It was a toss up for me and Floyd could have easily bagged top spot but the fact he only boxed for half the decade can’t be overlooked. In the last 5 years his only contest was the crossover fight with Conor McGregor which most boxers would have won.
That being said 2010-15 was incredible. He survived an early scare to outbox Shane Mosley, tough contests against Miguel Cotto and Marcos Maidana twice an easy win over current P4P star Canelo and of course the biggest commercial fight ever a win over Manny Pacquaio.
1. Andre Ward 11-0 (3)
Green, Bika, Abraham, Froch, Dawson, Edwin Rodriguez, (2 years later) Smith, Barrera, Brand, Kovalev
A couple of months before 2010 Ward shocked Mikkel Kessler to make a name for himself. For me he went on to dominate over the next decade despite politics often getting the way. In the first few years Ward defeated former champions Alan Green, Sakio Bika and outpointed Arthur Abraham after Dirrell and Froch had beaten him. He easily outboxed Carl Froch and destroyed light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson who had came down in weight to face Ward.
After a comfortable win over the previously unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez Ward spent almost 2 years out of the ring due to promotional issues with the late Dan Goosen. He had 3 tune up fights (Sullivan Barrera was quite tough) before going straight to Sergey Kovalev.
Ward-Kovalev may not have had the commercial value of Mayweather v Pacquaio but in boxing terms it was two P4P greats so it was almost as big. The first fight was close with Ward nicking it but in stopping him in the rematch this makes him the decades most successful fighter in my opinion.