Saturday’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley highlighted the first big boxing pay-per-view of 2016, and a few more will follow in the coming months. Pacquiao proved he is still one of boxing’s top stars, though he has been surpassed by a few other fighters.
The top of the current boxing rankings are very different compared to what they looked like a year ago. Floyd Mayweather and Wladimir Klitschko were consistently winning as heavy favorites, but Mayweather has walked away from the ring and Klitschko was upset by Tyson Fury in November for his first defeat in over a decade.
Even without Mayweather, the welterweight division might be the deepest in boxing. No heavyweight boxer has proven to be one of the sport’s elite fighters, though that could change with the rematch between Klitschko and Fury on July 9.
Below is a top 10 list of boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighters after the first quarter of 2016. This list includes Pacquiao, though he is technically "retired."
1) Gennady "GGG" Golovkin 34-0 (31 KOs), middleweight None of his 34 wins have come against a marquee name, but that’s because Golovkin is so good that many of the best fighters want nothing to do with him. The middleweight champ dominates every opponent he faces, most recently beating David Lemieux in October for a 21st consecutive knockout. His fight against Dominic Wade on April 23 shouldn’t last long, and he’ll be favored over Canelo Alvarez if the two boxers meet in the second half of 2016.
2) Roman Gonzalez 44-0 (38 KOs), flyweight It’s only fitting that Gonzalez continues to fight on the same card as Golovkin, considering they are the top two fighters in the sport. Gonzalez has brought interest to the flyweight division because of the way he’s dominated it. At just 112 pounds, "Chocolatito" punches like he belongs in a heavier weight class, last beating Brian Viloria for his 10th straight TKO. He’s an overwhelming favorite against McWilliams Arroyo in his next fight.
3) Andre Ward 29-0 (15 KOs), light heavyweight Making his first foray into the light heavyweight division, Ward had no trouble beating Sullivan Barrera by unanimous decision on March 26. As a super middleweight, Ward was arguably the No.1 pound-for-pound boxer, but having just three fights since the start of 2013 keeps him out of the top spot. He’s a complete fighter, possessing excellent defensive skills and deceptive power, and could claim the light heavyweight championship by the end of the year.
4) Sergey Kovalev 29-0-1 (26 KOs), light heavyweight The champ has continued his dominance in 2016, needing just seven rounds to defeat Jean Pascal for the second time in less than a year. Bernard Hopkins is the only boxer to go the distance with Kovalev in his last 13 bouts, and the Russian won every round. Kovalev and Ward have a contract to fight at some point this year, making for what could be the biggest bout of 2016.
5) Canelo Alvarez 46-1-1 (32 KOs), middleweight A win over Amir Khan in May will only further cement Alvarez’s place as a top-five fighter. He beat Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision in November, and his only career loss came at the hands of Mayweather. As one of the best power punchers in boxing, the Mexican star has essentially replaced Mayweather and Pacquiao as the sport’s top draw. But he won’t be the best fighter in his division until he beats Golovkin.
6) Manny Pacquiao 58-6-2 (38 KOs), welterweight Though he claims he’s now retired, Pacquiao stays on the list with some doubt surrounding his commitment to walking away from boxing. His third win over Timothy Bradley lacked the convincing knockout that many were so accustomed to seeing from Pacquaio in his prime, but his best is still better than what any other welterweight has to offer.
7) Terence Crawford 28-0 (20 KOs), junior welterweight As the boxer that many thought could give Pacquiao a challenge, Crawford continues to look more impressive in each fight. He had no trouble defending his title against Hank Lundy on Feb. 27, needing less than five full rounds to remain undefeated. Like Golovkin, Crawford is so effective that he has trouble finding quality opponents. The 28-year-old could be on top of this list in a few short years.
8) Guillermo Rigondeaux 16-0 (10 KOs), super bantamweight He might not be much fun to watch, but there’s no denying that Rigondeaux is one of the best fighters out there. His commitment to defense might not make him a candidate to ever be in the main event of a pay-per-view, but it’s an effective style that could keep him undefeated for some time.
9) Keith Thurman 26-0 (22 KOs), welterweight If Mayweather and Pacquiao are both truly done fighting, Thurman might be the best welterweight in boxing. After beating Robert Guerrero by unanimous decision and Luis Collazo by TKO, Thurman could add a significant victory to his resume when he faces Shawn Porter in June.
10) Kell Brook 36-0 (25 KOs), welterweight The undefeated welterweight finds himself in the rankings now that Klitschko has dropped out. In seven of his last eight fights, Brook has won by TKO in the eighth round or earlier.