Johnny Nelson picks his top five pound-for-pound boxers

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Sky Sports boxing pundit Johnny Nelson has ranked his best pound-for-pound boxers in the sport.

There are some notable bouts coming up in the next few weeks and months, with Anthony Crolla taking on Vasyl Lomachenko on Saturday, while Saul Alvarez fights Danny Jacobs in Las Vegas in the coming weeks.

And ahead of those big fights which will soon hit our television screens, Nelson has hand-picked his top five P4P fighters.

Pound-for-pound is the ranking that is used within combat sports to determine who the better fighters are relative to their weight class.

Below are Nelson’s choices published in his latest opinion column featured on Sky Sports’ website.

5) Terence Crawford

At number five, is American welterweight Terence Crawford, aged 31.

Of Crawford, Nelson said: “Crawford is like a surgeon, who can punch, and who can box. Against Amir Khan, who has some of the fastest hands in the sport, we're going to see how he deals with that. It might change my mind, but so far he's done little wrong.

“There's some massive fights at welterweight such as Errol Spence Jr, Keith Thurman and Manny Pacquiao that will bring even more out of him. The bigger the challenge, the more we'll see.”

4) Gervonta Davis

Nelson has gone for 24-year-old Baltimore-native Gervonta Davis as his fourth choice on his list.

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He said: “There's something about him that excites me. When you think it's going to be a tough fight for him, he surprises everyone with his speed, his class, and he's a good finisher. We have only just scratched the surface with him.

“He's 24 years old, he's got a lot of growing to do, but he will get even better. It depends on which direction he wants to go, for the size of him, and how he navigates through his next few opponents. I think he can mix it with the very best in the sport, and it's just a matter of time before he becomes top dog.”

3) Vasyl Lomachenko

The Ukrainian, 31, takes on Mancunian Crolla this weekend in a light-welterweight bout between the pair, and comes in at number three according to Nelson.

Nelson said: “At 31-years-old, he's only had 13 fights, but he looks like a mini-version of Oleksandr Usyk, and at times, it looks like he doesn't even have to extend himself.

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“I'm picking guys on technique, I'm not looking at brute force, I'm not looking at crash, bang wallop type of fighters like Mike Tyson. There are those guys out there, but I'm going on what I know, going for what I like, and the art of boxing is to hit and not be hit. Lomachenko has that down to a fine art. He could take that No 1 spot, without a doubt.”

2) Saul Alvarez

Mexican Alvarez fights Jacobs next month, and having served his suspension following a drugs ban, he has returned to the ring looking to pick up where he left off.

Nelson said: “Alvarez has improved in every facet. There's a shadow over him, because of the drug suspension, but skill-wise, he's simply brilliant. Every fight he learns, every fight he comes back and you think 'how can Canelo be any better?' And he was.

“He seems to be able to adapt like it's a computer game, and he does it perfectly. Alvarez will continue to move up and down the weights, because he can, and look dominant and strong as well. I'm impressed by his speed, the way he reads a fight, and everything about him.”

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1) Oleksander Usyk

But Nelson’s top choice is another Ukrainian boxer in the form of Usyk, who he regards as the best in the business.

Nelson said: “Even seeing him in his seventh professional fight as a sparring partner for Wladimir Klitschko, he caught my eye, I said 'this guy is going to dominate the world'. So far, so good. His demeanour, even though he's 32-years-old, he fights young, he looks young, he's fresh.

“He's skillful, a puncher, a mover, the way he reads a fight. His attitude is very matter of fact, but I think we've not even seen a fraction. We could see that at heavyweight. Some heavyweights are humongous, you've got Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Anthony Joshua, who are big, tall units, so it will be harder to box and look so good against guys like this.”

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