The Big Question: Who is boxing's new P4P No.1?
With Floyd Mayweather's apparent 'abdication' from the pinnacle of the sport....who is the new pound-for-pound best fighter in boxing? And who are the contenders on the outside lane?
Floyd Mayweather's decision to walk away from the sport means that the way is clear for Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez to ascend the Pound for Pound throne.
Current flyweight king, Gonzalez, has beaten all comers on his way to becoming a three-weight world champion and has done it in an aggressive, entertaining fashion. He is willing to travel to defend his belt and, even though he has finally broken through and attained the widespread respect he deserves, he seems determined to continue in the same vein. Gonzalez has the most complete all-round skillset in boxing today and his list of achievements cements his claim for the top spot.
Vasyl Lomachenko, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr, Gennady Golovkin, Andre Ward, Wladimir Klitschko and the frustratingly ignored Guillermo Rigondeaux are all fantastic fighters and they each have potential rivals who could push them to greatness, but for the time being it is the Nicaraguan who sits atop the rankings. - John Evans.
I think the best fighter in boxing – regardless of whether Floyd’s retirement is legit or not – is Nicaraguan flyweight Roman Gonzalez. I thought ‘Chocolatito’ upstaged Gennady Golovkin in May. He looked a more complete fighter than the formidable Kazakh; a more fluid threshing machine than even “GGG”.
The other standout is light-welterweight Terence Crawford. The Nebraskan looks a well-rounded 80s throwback. His ability to adjust mid-fight is impressive and marks him out as someone potentially very special. Other fighters to watch include Vasyl Lomachenko and Naoya Inoue.
They are a welcome quartet to take boxing forward after the largely turgid, risk-averse Mayweather era. - Andrew Harrison.
I believe Gennady Golovkin is the natural successor. His record and dominance in his division elevates him. He does, however, lack multiple dimensions in comparison to Floyd in terms of success in multiple divisions, number of world title fights and general hype. If he's able to move up and make an impact in a division or two above, he could sow his legacy seed that bit longer.
Regarding those in the slipstream – Vasyl Lomachenko looks incredible. As a long-term prospect and someone who provides excitement with each fight (something Floyd struggled with ever since the Corrales fight back in 2001!), I'd hope he could pick up the mantle. - Paul Zanon.
Why not Wladimir Klitschko? Not only has he not lost since 2004, he's probably taken a handful of meaningful punches since then - certainly as dominant as anybody in any division. He has a high profile fight in October, and has signed a new multiple fight deal, so could wipe out the next generation as well.
Outsiders? Roman Gonzalez is finally getting some U.S. love, so it's no more of 'out of sight, out of mind'. Supposed rivals of Guillermo Rigondeaux will rarely mention his name, let alone consider fighting him. Lucky for them, 40 is not far away, so he may be worth a punt by that point. Andre Ward seems untouchable at 168, and will likely have to move up/down in weight to make an eye-catching fight. However, he shouldn't be sneered at for being head and shoulders above anybody in his division. - Martin Chesnutt, TKO Radio.
I've long admired Roman Gonzalez and watched his reign of terror consume the lower weight classes from 105lbs to his current position as king of the flyweights; for me there can be no question that 'Chocolatito' is the best fighter on the planet right now.
His thrilling victory over Juan Francisco Estrada at 108lbs when Estrada was considered to be a legitimate threat to his blemish free record is a highlight, and let's not forget that Estrada defeated Brian Viloria in his next contest, too.
Gonzalez is finally receiving the attention his skills deserve with a thrilling appearance on HBO but perhaps his greatest moment and challenge awaits down the line at 115lbs where he is expected to clash with Japan Superstar Naoya Inoue, the man known as 'Monster' who crushed then light-flyweight number one Adrian Hernandez in clinical fashion in 2014 before travelling up two divisions to knockout long-reigning WBO 115lbs champion Omar Narvaez a few months later. If Gonzalez was to defeat Inoue, his legendary status would be cemented. For now, he will have to settle for being P4P number one, in my book at least! - Danny Winterbottom.
Nobody believes Floyd will retire, he'll fight again last next year. But assuming he actually does stay away from the sport and all of that 'money', I believe several cases can be made for who could be anointed as the new king (some of whom have upcoming fights)...
This writer currently ranks Wladimir Klitschko as No.2 P4P, but if he looks bad against Tyson Fury next month he may drop in my ratings. Roman Gonzalez is right there, but he faces a tough opponent next month as well and has to look good to earn that top spot. Sergey Kovalev has certainly proved himself, but his last fight was worthless and he's left without an opponent for the remainder of the year. Gennady Golovkin has tons of potential. Should he turn in a dominant performance in his PPV bout on 17 October he'll climb the rankings, but that's still not enough to be No.1.
Then there's the case of Andre Ward, a fighter who also hasn't faced a ranked opponent in his division for years. He was near the top of the mountain in 2012, but hasn't done anything since to deserve a P4P ranking. Should he move up to 175lbs and face and beat Kovalev on even terms, he would be the man. - Michael Montero.
Firstly, Mayweather is not really retired: there's a big casino to open next year, a perfect 50-0 record to be made and a surpassing of Rocky Marciano's mark to achieve.
However, the question is valid in general........... the purist will point to either Gennady Golovkin, Guillermo Rigondeaux or Andre Ward to become immediate number one – however, I think Gonzalez is the unknown fighter to the masses who deserves the push. The future decade ahead most probably lies with the likes of Naoya Inoue or Kosei Tanaka.
However, I don't see anyone leaping out to become the next huge PPV star and household name as Mayweather. - Colin Harris.
There's no clear-cut pound-for-pound king with Mayweather's abdication of the throne, but there are a few who are on the cusp.
If Manny Pacquiao can return to form, whenever it is that he returns, he'll likely reclaim the pound-for-pound throne. Roman Gonzalez and Wladimir Klitschko both have a claim to the spot, but I suspect there won't be another true king until either Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin are able to separate themselves from the rest. - Shawn Smith.
Photo: Sumio Yamada.