Pound for pound: Does No. 2 Naoya Inoue overtake No. 1 Terence Crawford?

No. 1 Terence Crawford and No. 2 Naoya Inoue delivered spectacular knockouts over the past four days.

Crawford withstood a spirited effort from David Avanesyan to stop the Russian with a devastating one-two in six rounds Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska. Today in Japan Inoue caught up with a skittish Paul Butler to put him away in 11, a brutal fate that started with one of many punishing body shots.

Was there anything about their performances that warranted shaking up the top of Boxing Junkie’s pound-for-pound list? No.

A change might’ve been inevitable had Avanesyan exposed chinks in Crawford’s armor or Inoue turned in a performance substantially more dominating than that of Crawford. However, neither of those things occurred.

Thus, Crawford and Inoue hold their positions … for now.

Crawford is 35. The beginnings of decline are around the corner. And an elusive meeting with No. 4 Errol Spence Jr. could still take place next year. That would be a dangerous meeting for both men.

Inoue is only 29, meaning he has more good years ahead. However, a fighter who began as a 108-pounder a decade ago has said he will give up his undisputed 118-pound championship to move up to 122 for his next fight.

Waiting for him there is Stephen Fulton, an excellent boxer and naturally bigger man. That could be difficult matchup for Inoue.

Stay tuned.

Next pound-for-pounder up: No. 10 Gervonta Davis will face Hector Garcia on Jan. 7.

Here’s what the list looks like at the moment:


Terence Crawford – No fight scheduled.
Naoya Inoue – No fight scheduled.
Oleksandr Usyk – No fight scheduled.
Errol Spence Jr. – No fight scheduled.
Dmitry Bivol – No fight scheduled.
Tyson Fury – No fight scheduled.
Juan Francisco Estrada – No fight scheduled.
Canelo Alvarez– No fight scheduled.
Jermell Charlo – Scheduled to defend his undisputed junior middleweight championship against Tim Tszyu on Jan. 28 in Las Vegas.
Gervonta Davis – Scheduled to fight Hector Garcia on Jan. 7 in Washington, D.C.
Vasiliy Lomachenko – Reportedly in talks to challenge undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney but no official announcement has been made.
Artur Beterbiev – Scheduled to defend his light heavyweight titles against Anthony Yarde on Jan. 28 in London.
Shakur Stevenson – No fight scheduled.
Roman Gonzalez  No fight scheduled.
Devin Haney – Reportedly in talks to defend his undisputed lightweight championship against Vasiliy Lomachenko but no official announcement has been made..

Honorable mention (alphabetical order): David Benavidez (reportedly has reached an agreement to fight Caleb Plant early next year but no official announcement has been made); Jermall Charlo (no fight scheduled); Stephen Fulton Jr. (no fight scheduled); Kazuto Ioka (scheduled to face Joshua Franco in a junior bantamweight title-unification bout on New Year’s Eve in Tokyo); Josh Taylor (scheduled to defend his WBO junior welterweight title in a rematch with Jack Catterall on Feb. 4 in Glasgow, Scotland).

Naoya Inoue stops reluctant Paul Butler in 11 to become undisputed champ

Is Naoya Inoue ‘human’ or a ‘robot’? You be the judge

Weekend Review: Terence Crawford sizzles, Teofimo Lopez struggles, Manny Pacquiao goes through motions

Terence Crawford knocks out David Avanesyan in sixth round

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