Two-division world champion Carl Frampton has weighed in on boxing’s current top five pound-for-pound fighters after a series of stellar performances in 2023 have caused many pundits and fans to reshuffle their lists.
‘The Jackal’ won the well-respected Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year award back in 2016 for his wins over British rival Scott Quigg to unify the WBA and IBF Super-Bantamweight titles, as well as his victory against Leo Santa Cruz to win the WBA Featherweight world title just five months later.
Now, on TNT Sports’ Instagram, Frampton has revealed his selections for the current top five in the pound-for-pound rankings, following stand-out performances from some of the sport’s biggest names in recent months.
“I’d say [Devin] Haney number five, undisputed fighter, a quality lightweight. He looks to be maybe moving up now, there’s talk of it anyway, certainly. It’s hard not to have someone who has been undisputed at the weight in your top five.
Devin Haney is moving up in weight to challenge 140lbs world champion, Regis Prograis, this December. One man competing for a belt he will leave vacant is Shakur Stevenson, next on Frampton’s list.
Number four is Shakur [Stevenson]. I think that Shakur is going to be number one, one day, but just not quite yet. I love watching him, he needs to keep going through the divisions as he has been. I’ve just seen him going to congratulate Terence Crawford in the changing rooms after the [Spence] fight, he is a big lump, there’s not much between him and Crawford in terms of size. I think that he can clean up the lightweight division, which is no mean feat and then he can go up to light-welterweight and possibly welterweight at some point in his career too.
Stevenson will compete for the WBC lightweight title in November against top contender, Edwin De Los Santos.
The one heavyweight – formerly undisputed at 200lbs- on Frampton’s list is Oleksandr Usyk, who comes off a successful title defence against the UK’s Daniel Dubois.
Number three, [Oleksandr] Usyk. Undisputed cruiserweight champion moved up and got some big wins at heavyweight, he has the majority of the belts at heavyweight. So, two-weight champion, once undisputed, almost undisputed at heavyweight, just one title to go. I love everything about him, his character, how he fights, his persona, he is a quality fighter.
Next up is Naoya Inoue, ‘The Japanese Monster’ who has recently added a fourth division to his world title success with a victory over Stephen Fulton.
Number two, [Naoya] Inoue, only because of what Terence Crawford has just done to Errol Spence. Four-weight world champion, inside twenty-five fights, I’m trying to describe how unbelievable hard that is to do in boxing, it’s difficult. He is looking to become undisputed at this weight division and then move up to featherweight and he’s probably likely to do the same in that division.
At number one Frampton, alongside most other observers, has undisputed welterweight champion Terence Crawford. ‘Bud’ became four-belt champion at a second weight class with a one-sided win over Errol Spence Jr – a fight many felt was 50/50 beforehand.
Crawford number one, I imagine that the majority of people, boxing fans, sports fans worldwide, would agree with me. Three-weight world champion, he has been around such a long time, he is still competing at a really high level and seems to be improving, which is mad. His destruction of an elite fighter in Errol Spence was spectacular, that’s why he is at number one.”
One notable absence from the list is the man who was formerly regarded as the greatest fighter on the planet, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
The Mexican superstar has underwhelmed in three consecutive performances but plans to silence his doubters and prove that he is the ‘king of boxing’ with his display against Jermell Charlo on Saturday night.