Inoue Or Crawford – Who’s The Current Pound-For-Pound King?

Boxing purists like to use the theoretical pound-for-pound list in their quest to decipher who is the best boxer on the planet—regardless of weight class. Given that there’s no strict framework for deciding this ranking, it’s open to subjective opinions, and one boxing fan’s top 10 could look completely different from the other. 

Throughout the years, modern-day greats like Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Lennox Lewis, and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez have commanded this top spot—an opinion shared by many boxing publications and fans. So, while it is not definitive and certainly up for debate, the current landscape pits undisputed junior featherweight champion Nayoa “The Monster” Inoue and Terence “Bud” Crawford. 

Both of these fighters have been in most people’s top five since 2018/19, but over the last 12 months, they’ve both made strong claims as the sport’s number one fighter. Let’s boil down some facts and statistics that put them at the sport’s zenith—and which one deserves the crown, despite hardly anything to differentiate them at the top. 

The P4P Mentality – Separating The World Class From The Elite

Crawford and Inoue have a steely, unbreakable spirit that allows them to thrive in the heat of battle. Crawford’s demolition of Errol Spence was the boxing performance of 2023, and his smooth demeanor and poker face heading into the ring highlighted a man who was born ready for that moment—ready to prove to the world he was the King. 

Japanese megastar Inoue recently fought at the Tokyo Dome—the first boxing event since Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson back in the late 1980s. However, his laser focus and calm poker face in the ring is something he and Bud have in common. Another common trait they share is living a clean lifestyle outside of the ring, especially in between fights. Neither Bud nor Inoue are known for their antics outside of boxing, with Crawford’s only advice being a hand or two of poker that he enjoys with friends in his downtime. 

Given that Crawford hails from Omaha, Nebraska—which is, of course, the home of the famous poker variant—it’s no surprise he is partial to a poker game or two. While many players opt for digital versions of video poker instead of classic variations, Bud still has plenty of time for friends and family and a game of poker – which speaks volumes about how grounded he is. Video poker online for real money includes several variations. So, while Bud might opt for the in-person version – if you’re partial to a game yourself, you can find plenty of poker tables, video poker games, and gambling options online. Terence’s poker face in the ring is something he has perfected over the years, and it’s held him in good stead on the biggest nights of his career. 

Looking At The Timeline

Bud’s main problem is his inactivity. There are few commentators and analysts who would’ve argued with him being the number one P4P fighter after he dismantled Errol Spence last July. Still, the fact he hasn’t fought since has allowed Inoue to dislodge him in the eyes of many since Crawford’s career-best win against Spence, where he became undisputed in 2 different weight classes, happened over ten months ago. In doing so, he became the first fighter to do so in the four-belt era. 

However, The Monster was quick on his heels – and quickly matched this feat by becoming undisputed king at both bantamweight and junior featherweight in the same period as Bud’s inactivity. Inoue destroyed Stephen Fulton and Tapales by knocking out both within the space of a few months to unify the division. His most recent knockout performance against Luis Nery has meant that the precocious Japanese knockout merchant has essentially cleaned out two divisions in the same timeframe as Bud’s last fight. 

Nobody can knock Inoue for his commitment to staying sharp. It’s not just about staying in the gym and doing the necessary drills. The championship fight night experience is invaluable, and for many people, this puts Inoue ahead of Bud as it currently stands.

Inoue Or Bud? Our Final Say

If Crawford can dismantle Israil Madrimov in August and win another world title, there could be another renewed push for him to be crowned the top name in the sport. If Oleksandr Usyk defeats Tyson Fury next week, he’d also be well within his rights to throw his name in the hat. 

However, if we’re put on the spot, we would say Inoue is currently ahead of Bud – purely on activity – in terms of natural skill and ability, they’re impossible to separate. They are undeniably future Hall of Famers and have proven themselves among the best fighters to ever exist in and around their respective weight class. When all is said and done, and they’re both retired, we will be able to make a better judgment about which one has the grander legacy. 

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