Lomachenko v Campbell: Crawford, Canelo and the pound-for-pound top five

By Sports Desk August 29, 2019

Vasyl Lomachenko will aim to burnish his reputation as one of the finest boxers of his generation when he meets fellow Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell at the O2 Arena on Saturday.

The masterful Ukrainian star can add the vacant WBC belt to his WBA and WBO titles at lightweight – the third division he has ruled as a world champion.

Lomachenko's dazzling exploits means he is frequently talked of as a leading pound-for-pound fighter – the endlessly debatable rankings of the best performers in the sport, regardless of their weight division.

Here, while preparing ourselves for what might be lurking in the comments section, we rank our top five boxers in the world today.

5) Naoya Inoue

Record: 18-0 (16 KOs)

'Monster' may campaign at the lower weights but he hits incredibly hard. The different classifications at flyweight were not a problem for Inoue, and the early signs are he will take the bantamweight division by storm, too. The 26-year-old stopped Jamie McDonnell in a round to claim the WBA strap and then marked his first defence by doing the same to Juan Carlos Payano. Emmanuel Rodriguez had the temerity to take Inoue into round two before being decked three times in May. Future hall of famer Nonito Donaire is up next.

4) Oleksandr Usyk

Record: 16-0 (12 KOs)

Another Ukrainian to make waves after huge success as an amateur, Usyk confirmed his status as the best cruiserweight in the world by retaining the IBF, WBA, WBO and WBC belts against Tony Bellew in November. A southpaw who carries power, his step up the heavyweight division has been delayed by a bicep injury but is keenly anticipated.

3) Terence Crawford

Record: 35-0 (26 KOs)

Like Lomachenko, Crawford is a three-weight world champion. The Omaha-born 31-year-old is a switch-hitting expert who goes from orthodox to southpaw with ridiculous ease. His fast hands also catch the eye as well as opponents, and his skillset has been too much for any foe to deal with to date, including latest victim Amir Khan in April. A welterweight unification with compatriot Errol Spence Jr is a fight the world wants to see but, predictably, one television and promotional arrangements might continue to scupper.

2) Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez

Record: 52-1-2 (35 KOs)

Alvarez's gripping bouts with middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin might have ended with disputed decisions but they also left the Mexican icon as boxing's biggest star. A supreme tactician and counter-puncher, Canelo showcased his chilling power to the body when becoming a three-weight champion versus an overmatched Rocky Fielding last December. He then underscored his supremacy at 160lbs by outpointing Danny Jacobs – could Sergey Kovalev be next?

1) Vasyl Lomachenko

Record: 13-1 (10 KOs)

After an illustrious career in the amateurs that finished with 396 wins and a solitary defeat, the 31-year-old has achieved plenty over the course of 14 outings in the paid ranks. Lomachenko has won titles at feather, super-feather and lightweight, recording wins over Jorge Linares, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Gary Russell Jr and Jose Pedraza before blitzing Campbell's countryman Anthony Crolla last time out. The solitary blip came against Orlando Salido in his second fight - and even that was a much-debated split-decision verdict. 

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    What happened next?

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    Hope springs eternal for revenge-seeking Boks

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    Prior to Van Dijk's arrival, pundits and fans alike were calling for Klopp to sign a commanding centre-back. Many baulked at the reported £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for his signature, but that fee looks a snip when you look at the impact Van Dijk's arrival has had. He has played in 60 Premier League games since signing, winning 45 of those and losing just four – giving him an astounding win percentage of 75. In the same time period, Maguire has played fewer matches – 56 – winning 19 and losing 25, with a win percentage of 34.


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    CLEAN SHEETS AND A CLEANER DISCLIPINARY RECORD FOR VAN DIJK

    One statistic that really does leap out is Van Dijk's exemplary record when it comes to receiving yellow cards. Incredibly for a centre-back, he has been cautioned just twice since January 2018 and is yet to see red in the Premier League for Liverpool. Conversely, Maguire has 10 yellows and one red in the same period. Van Dijk is just shy of clean sheets in half of his games, keeping shut outs in 29 of 60 matches – with Maguire having 13 in 56. Teams Maguire has played in have also conceded double the amount those including Van Dijk have, 76 to 38. At the other end, each player has contributed but Van Dijk also holds the advantage in that regard with five goals and two assists to Maguire's respective three and zero.


    HOW'S THIS SEASON SHAPING UP?

    As you would expect, Van Dijk's numbers in the early stages of the Premier League campaign are pretty impressive. He has a flawless win percentage through eight games, although he has conceded in six of those. Encouragingly for Maguire and United, while the team are struggling his statistics compare pretty well to Van Dijk's with as many clean sheets and just two more goals conceded. Maguire has also only been dribbled past once compared to Van Dijk's two, while neither player has yet committed an error leading to a goal or even a shot.

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