Just five days in July saw two of the most anticipated fights of the year. Both featured boxers riding high in the mythical pound-for-pound rankings, with the expectation that the stronger of the two performances would elevate the winner to the top spot. And then both Naoya Inoue and Terence Crawford delivered equally dominant results against equally respected opponents, leaving fans equally divided as to who is the very best in the sport today. Given that the difference in weight between Inoue and Crawford means they will never fight one another, it is not a debate that can be settled in the ring. With that in mind, Boxing News attempts, via an analysis of 12 key areas, to work out who might be boxing’s pound-for-pound king.
First, on July 25, Inoue won every round against the bigger, unbeaten and defending WBC/WBO super-bantamweight belt-holder, Stephen Fulton, in Tokyo en route to stopping the American in round eight. It was such a complete performance that it seemed to settle the P4P debate before Crawford had even had his say.
But then Crawford was every bit as impressive five days later in Las Vegas as he thrashed leading welterweight rival Errol Spence in every department, stopping him in nine to take all the belts and the legitimate world championship.
Either result on its own would have placed Inoue or Crawford head and shoulders above anyone else. That both elevated themselves further still when faced with their biggest challenges suggested the pound-for-pound king is a two-headed beast – there’s Inoue, Crawford, and then there’s everybody else. The edge, by a very slender margin, goes to Crawford, as Spence was more established than Fulton.