ESPN ranks Terence Crawford #1 pound-for-pound, above Errol Spence

By Boxing News - 10/27/2020 - Comments

By Chris Williams: ESPN came out with their new pound-for-pound rankings and they’ve got Terence Crawford at the #1 spot above two-belt champion Errol Spence Jr and Canelo Alvarez.

You have to wonder why ESPN has WBO welterweight champion Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) above IBF/WBC champ Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) when he has a better resume and has beaten more talented opposition throughout his career.

Crawford is with ESPN, and is signed with Top Rank. Hopefully, there’s no bias in creating the pound-for-pound list. I mean, Spence is with Premier Boxing Champions, and he’s effectively on the other side of the pound at 147.

Would PBC have Spence ranked above Crawford in their own pound-for-pound list? I’m just saying.

Until Spence and Crawford fight, you can’t rank either one of them in a real way. The only thing you can go on is Spence having a better resume, which means he should be ranked ahead of Crawford at #1 in the pound-for-pound list.

I don’t have any problems with Crawford being ranked at #2 on the pound-for-pound list, as long as he’s below Spence.

Canelo Alvarez, he doesn’t belong on the list at all in my view. He waited too long to fight Gennady Golovkin, and he has too many fights against old-timers. There’s too much controversy with Canelo’s career and his questionable wins over GGG, Erislandy Lara, and Austin Trout.

ESPN pound-for-pound rankings:

Image: ESPN ranks Terence Crawford #1 pound-for-pound, above Errol Spence

1. Terence Crawford
2, Canelo Alvarez
3. Naoya Inoue
4. Errol Spence
5. Teofimo Lopez
6. Vasyl Lomachenko
7. Oleksandr Usyk
8. Tyson Fury
9. Juan Franciso Estrada
10. Gennadiy Golovkin

“They’re good rankings. Teofimo [Lopez] doesn’t just replace [Vasyl] Lomachenko because it’s his first real good win against a top, top opponent,” said Max Kellerman on ESPN’s First Take in talking about the new updated pound-for-pound rankings.

“I would say more than anything, Tyson Fury looks a little low to me because pound-for-pound is one thing, but what we really mean is division-for-division. If you shrunk Tyson Fury down to all these guys, but at heavyweight, you can have a size advantage. I think that counts in his favor, even in a pound-for-pound way.

“For a heavyweight, he is better than a couple of the guys on that list are for their divisions,” Kellerman continued. “So, that’s the one thing I have to say.”

“I have a serious question about Errol Spence at number four because of that car accident, and we don’t know how healthy he’s going to be, and he’s been inactive,” said Stephen A. Smith.

Is Spence be the same fighter he once was?

Image: ESPN ranks Terence Crawford #1 pound-for-pound, above Errol Spence

“I don’t think you stay on the list just because you’ve been inactive based on when we saw you, particularly when you have an accident, and that may have rattled you to some degree.

“We don’t know how healthy he’s going to be. That remains to be seen. I agree with you about Tyson Fury at number eight. I think that’s entirely too low.”

We have to assume that Spence will be the same guy he was before his car accident last October because he only a few teeth. It’s not like he was in critical condition after the accident.

I hate to say it but ESPN’s pound-for-pound list needs to be reworked. There’s a lot of fluff on that list that shouldn’t be there, and most of it doesn’t make sense.

Chris Williams’ pound-for-pound list:

1. Errol Spence Jr
2. Terence Crawford
3. Jermall Charlo
4. Jermell Charlo
5. Tyson Fury
6. Naoya Inoue
7. Vasily Lomachenko
8. Teofimo Lopez
9. Gervonta Davis
10. Juan Francisco Estrada

Tank and Charlo brothers missing from ESPN list

Image: ESPN ranks Terence Crawford #1 pound-for-pound, above Errol Spence

“I am sold on Crawford, and I am really, really sold on Saul Canelo Alvarez,” Smith said. “This man is something special. He can take a punch, and he damn sure can give it. We still haven’t found James Kirkland in a long time. I mean, what Canelo Alvarez did to him, a 7-Eleven couldn’t find this brother. We haven’t found him.’

“We might have to pick a Charlo brother for that list, and also Tank Davis is fighting Leo Santa Cruz coming up,” Kellerman said about ESPN’s pound-for-pound list. “If Gervonta Davis beats Leo Santa Cruz coming up convincingly, he probably belongs on the list.”

“I will tell you this, the Charlo twins, we got to give them some love,” said Smith. “They have not been respected as they should be. These are both champions. You got to get them on this list as well because they’re special.”

ESPN’s list is all wrong from top to bottom, and you can point to the Charlo brothers, and Gervonta Davis is missing from the list as evidence of that.

Fighters like Teofimo Lopez and Oleksandr Usyk are talented guys, but they haven’t beaten anyone. You can’t count Teofimo’s win over the smaller, injured Lomachenko because he was injured. Also, Teofimo looked like a welterweight fighting a featherweight.

With the size advantage that Teofimo had over Lomachenko, he should have beaten him with ease, but he didn’t. How would Teofimo do if he were thrown into the ring with a middleweight like Jermall Charlo? It would be a feeding frenzy for Jermall. It wouldn’t be competitive.

If you take away the size advantage Teofimo had over Lomachenko, he would have lost, and that’s pretty clear.

Kellerman wants Spence vs. Crawford 

Image: ESPN ranks Terence Crawford #1 pound-for-pound, above Errol Spence

“When you think about Lomachenko, he’s really not a lightweight,” said Kellerman. “He’s a featherweight [126-lbs], junior lightweight [130 lbs], and he was struggling against top lightweights by his standards but still winning.

“But Teo is not just a good fighter, he’s better than that, and he had the size advantage. I think if Lomachenko fights at 130, he could quickly establish himself among the elite of the elite.”

“Nobody at 130 or 135, I think, will beat him,” said Smith about Lomachenko.

“There’s so much going on. Errol Spence, let’s hope he is what he was before the accident,” said Kellerman. “If he wins his fight against Danny Garcia and advances, I would love to see the PBC stop ignoring Terence Crawford.

“Shawn Porter is not ignoring him. Terence Crawford is in Shawn Porter’s mouth because he’s a real champion with real heart. I don’t want to see Errol Spence talking about, ‘Well, I can make money over here [against Premier Boxing Champions welterweight]. It’s a business.’

“I want to see Errol Spence and Terence Crawford put aside any promotional or network issues and get in that damn ring.”

“Absolutely correct. That’s the fight that we all way to see,” said Smith about a unification between Spence and Crawford.

If Crawford wants to fight Spence in 2021, he’s going to need to likely agree to fight on Fox for that match to happen. As long as Crawford and Top Rank aren’t stubborn about it, the fight can happen between them.

Spence has wanted to fight Crawford for ages. He’s not the one that has blocked that fight from happening. But before they do fight, it would be nice to see Crawford agree to fight Shawn Porter first as a test to see if he’s worthy of sharing the ring with Errol.

Porter has been trying to get a fight against Crawford with no luck, and that’s not a good sign. If Crawford isn’t willing to fight Porter, he sure will not want to fight Spence.

We’re getting way ahead of ourselves, though, because Crawford still needs to get past former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook on November 14th. Crawford might not win that fight. If that happens, ESPN is going to need to fix their pound-for-pound rankings and get it right.