Crawford Clings To Pound-for-cound Crown As Inoue Rises, But Contenders Crowd The Throne Room
Terence Crawford barely held off the upward mobile Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue for Ring Magazine’s #1 pound-for-pound fighter in their latest rankings.
The pound-for-pound King Crawford will need to have a big year in 2024 for him to hold onto his position at the top spot because fighting just once every twelve months isn’t going to hold back Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs) from booting him from his throne.
Crawford: still King, despite a quiet year
Terence fought just once in 2023, beating the crash crash ravaged Errol Spence Jr. last July.
Some believe that Crawford fighting just once this year wasn’t enough for him to hold his position as the pound-for-pound King ahead of the busier, highly ambitious Naoya Inoue, who fought twice, blasting out Stephen Fulton and Marlon Tapales to become undisputed 122-lb champion.
The 36-year-old Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) can’t afford a humdrum performance against Spence Jr. in their rematch in the first half of 2024. Terence can’t just defeat Spence.
He’s got to obliterate him in the same fashion as he did in their previous fight last July to hold off ‘Monster’ Inoue because the Japanese star impresses every time he goes out.
Ring Magazine pound-for-pound for December 2023
1. Terence Crawford2. Naoya Inoue3. Oleksandr Usyk4. Canelo Alvarez5. Dmitry Bivol6. Devin Haney7. Errol Spence8. Gervonta Davis9. Teofimo Lopez10. Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez
First off, fans don’t want to see that fight. They want Crawford to step it up against a fighter who isn’t depleted from two car crashes. So, that’s a strike against Crawford in trying to hold down his #1 pound-for-pound spot.
People want to see the Omaha, Nebraska native fight one of these murderer’s row killers:
- Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis
- Canelo Alvarez
- Devin Haney
- David Benavidez
- Jermall Charlo
A Monster on the March
Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue’s tenth round knockout win over IBF & WBA super bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales on December 26th made him a two-division undisputed champion, equaling Crawford in that accomplishment.
The way that Inoue destroyed Tapales was impressive, as he made a very good fighter look like an average Joe. Tapales had defeated Murodjon Akhmadaliev in his previous fight in April and looked outstanding.
What some believe that the 30-year-old Naoya has going against him is the level of opposition that he’s faced in the last. While Inoue has captured undisputed championships in consecutive years, he’s not fought a name fighter the way that Crawford did with his victory over Errol Spence.
Inoue needs to move up to 126, 130, or 135 and defeat these types of fighters to increase his chances of taking the pound-for-pound spot from Crawford:
– Emanuel Navarrete– Shakur Stevenson– Rafael Espinoza– Rey Vargas– Luis Lopez– Vasily Lomachenko– Gervonta Davis
Unfortunately, Inoue will reportedly be staying put, playing it safe, at 122 in 2024, fighting these three:
1. Luis Nery2. John Riel Casimero3. Murodjon Akhmadaliev