Boxing, like all sports, is ultimately a form of entertainment. While some might find the idea of two men throwing punches at one another being classified as entertainment bizarre, perhaps even a little twisted, boxing is currently ranked as the eleventh most popular sport in the world and Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao had 4.4 million PPV buys, highlighting the popularity of the sport.
Boxing has come under attack from some quarters in recent years for the supposed decrease in entertainment. The heavyweight division in particular has certainly come under scrutiny under the Klitschko dominance, in stark comparison to the excitement surrounding the division particularly in the 60s and 90s. Furthermore, the much-anticipated bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio was deemed by many as something of an anticlimax, especially given its label as the 'Fight of the Century'.
Here is a list though that proves that boxing is very much still alive and kicking. This list features fifteen fighters who provide blockbuster entertainment almost every time they enter the ring. Some are thrilling up-and-comers, whilst others are established pro's with world titles. Here are the top 15 most exciting boxers in the world right now:
15 Lucas Matthysse
Currently the top ranked light welterweight fighter in the world right now by The Ring magazine, Lucas Matthysse cemented his standing as one of the divisions great fighters with a win over Ruslan Provodnikov in April, having failed to capitalize on his title-opportunity against Danny Garcia in 2013. Matthysse has one of the best jabs in the welterweight division right now, and Oscar de la Hoya believes that his next fight should be against either Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, after all, few believe that the former is really going to end his career following his defeat of Miguel Berto.
14 Terence Crawford
Undefeated light-welterweight fighter Terence Crawford has really announced himself as a thrilling and highly skilful boxer over the last couple of years. His ninth round KO of the previously undefeated Yuriorkis Gamboa was one of the fights of 2014, and he followed it up with two impressive victorious of Raymond Beltran and Thomas Dulorme. To date, Crawford has a record of 26 fights, 26 wins and 18 knockouts. He is already the WBO Light Middleweight champion and a former WBO Lightweight champion, and his power when throwing with both his left and his right make him a potential superstar of the American - and world - boxing scene.
13 Ruslan Provodnikov
Ruslan Provodkinov is a boxer who displays just how far pure grit and determination can take you in the sport. He is not the most technically gifted and his defense is often found wanting, but no-onecould question his attitude and desire, and that is what has made him a hugely exciting fighter who has battled his way to the top. Provodkinov has four losses to his name, more than most on this list, but that hasn't thwarted his reputation, especially in Russia where he is a hero.
Provodkinov won the WBO Light Welterweight title against Mike Alvarado, before losing it to Chris Algieri. He went the distance with the far more talented Lucas Matthysse, before losing by majority decision in what was a fight of the year contender.
12 Leo Santa Cruz
Mexican boxer Leo Santa Cruz may not boast the same kind of knockout percentage as some of the other fighters on this list, but his high intensity makes him just as much of a crowd pleaser. In his 32 professional bouts to date, Santa Cruz has won 31, drawn 1 and lost none, with 17 knockouts. While his power is still impressive for a man of his weight, the Mexican is best known for his sheer relentless desire and speed which make him a nightmare opponent. Former IBF Bantamweight and WBC Super Bantamweight champion, Santa Cruz is the current WBA (Super) Featherweight champion.
11 Saul Alvarez
Saul Alvarez, more commonly referred to as 'Canelo', have fast become one of the most popular fighters around, and it's not difficult to see why. After 47 career fights, still aged just 25, Alvarez's only career defeat was at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr, which was arguably the least entertaining bout of his career to date. Alvarez won three Light Middleweight titles before stepping up to the Middleweight division. He faces Miguel Cotto in November for the WBC and The Ring Middleweight titles in what is likely to be a blockbuster fight and probably the fight of 2015.
10 Luke Campbell
Luke Campbell is one of the finest prospects in British - if not world - boxing right now. Nicknamed 'Coolhand' due to his tact and nous, Campbell is a well-rounded fighter who has made light work of his first 12 professional opponents. He won gold at the 2012 London Olympics in the bantamweight division, and has a record of 12 fights, 12 wins and 10 knockouts as a pro. Hailing from Hull, England, Campbell is yet to fight to a top class opponent, with his most recent bout against local boxer Tommy Coyle his biggest bout to date.
Campbell has been carefully managed in his early professional career, but his class is there for all to see, and it won't be long before Coolhand gets a chance to prove himself as a world-level fighter with a world title fight in the offing.
9 Sergey Kovalev
Sergey Kovalev is a devastating all-round boxer. His years of experience as an amateur fighter mean that when he took to the professional game in 2009, he was already 26 and a well-schooled fighter. This patience and tactical nous twinned with his extraordinary punching power make him a force of nature in the ring. He is a relentless fighter who dictates the tempo of his fights before launching into a flurry of hard punches, which has seen him win 28 of his 29 fights, drawing once and knocking out 25 of his opponents.
8 Marcos Maidana
Marcos Maidana is a prime example of a fighter who always provides first rate entertainment. He may not be the classiest of opponents, the most tactical or the most skilled defensively, but he is a scrapper with undoubted ability to match. A relentless puncher, if Maidana can dictate the tempo of a fight, few can match him. His fight against Amir Khan and his first bout with Floyd Mayweather were some of the greatest in recent boxing history. Maidana's place among the elite in the highly competitive welterweight division make him a very attractive fighter, although he hasn't fought since his rematch defeat to Mayweather back in September 2014.
7 Nicholas Walters
Nicholas Walters is fast establishing himself as a world class fighter and has a number of exciting potential opponents against whom he could really cement such a reputation. Walters is an offensive fighter, capable of mixing it up. He packs explosive power in his fists and can throw punches in flurries to devastating effects. He is currently undefeated, having won all 26 of his bouts to date, with 21 knockouts. Despite being the WBA (Super) World Featherweight champion, Walters is yet to fight someone who would establish him as a truly top fighter, but that could all change should he beat someone of the calibre of Vasyl Lomachenko or even Gary Russell Jr.
6 Deontay Wilder
Deontay Wilder is a hugely entertaining heavyweight fighter, and there will always be demand for them, especially for someone as talented as Wilder. The 29-year-old American who hails from Alabama has an incredible 97% knockout percentage after 34 bouts, 34 wins and 33 KOs. Nicknamed the 'Bronze Bomber' due to his titanic punching power, he became the WBC Heavyweight world champion in January 2015, and will be hoping to fight whoever emerges victorious from the fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury.
5 Naoya Inoue
The potential of Naoya Inoue is truly frightening. If managed correctly, there is no reason why he couldn't become one of boxing's all-time greats. Having turned professional at the age of just 19, Inoue has taken to the pro game in extraordinary fashion. He won the Japanese Light Flyweight in just his fourth fight, he won the WBC Light Flyweight title in his sixth fight and the WBO Super Flyweight title in his eighth and last bout. His record currently stands at 8 fights, 8 wins and 7 KOs. The Japanese star is still only 22 but talks of a matchup with Roman Gonzalez are already on the horizon.
4 Gennady Golovkin
Since winning his first professional title in 2009, Gennady Golovkin's career has snowballed to the point where he is now one of the hottest fighters in the world. With a 90.9 knockout percentage, it's not difficult to see why the fans love Golovkin, who is explosive and throws his punches in flurries. Undefeated, in his 33 bouts, Golovkin has won everyone, knocking out 30 of his opponents. Aged 33, in his 375 fights as an amateur and professional, and during sparring, Golovkin has never been knocked down, earning himself a reputation as having one of the hardest chins in boxing. He is currently the WBA (Super) and IBO Middleweight champion.
3 Vasyl Lomachenko
Vasyl Lomachenko has one of, if not the, most impressive record of any amateur in history. When he made the step up to professional boxing, he left the amateur ranks with a record of 296 wins and only 1 defeat, which he avenged twice. He won gold in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics in the Featherweight division, and won gold once more in 2012 at the London Olympics, where he was victorious in the Lightweight division.
Once he stepped up to professional boxing, Lomachenko was already a big name, and he won the WBO Featherweight title in only his third fight. Hi-Tech, as he has been nicknamed, has fought 5 times professionally, winning four and controversially losing once. The featherweight division is a highly competitive one, and Lomachenko is probably the most well-rounded, skilful and exciting fighter in the division right now, huge fights against the likes of Nicholas Walters and Evgeny Gradovich could be to come.
2 Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua continued his incredible boxing record so far against the unbeaten heavyweight Gary Cornish to win the Commonwealth Heavyweight title recently, maintaining his record of 14 fights, 14 wins and 14 knockouts, with none of his opponents managing to go more than three rounds against him. Joshua announced himself to the world when he won gold at the 2012 Olympics, becoming the heavyweight Olympic champion, but many Olympians struggle with the step up to professional boxing, AJ has not.
The 25-year-old packs in incredible power, he is already one of the most powerful boxers in the world, as well as throwing his punches with great speed. He is yet to face a top class opponent, and no-one has survived long enough in the ring with Joshua to truly test his chin. Wladimir Klitschko described him as the most promising heavyweight in 25 years, and Joshua already has his eyes set on dethroning the big Ukrainian. The heavyweight division has been crying out for a quick, exciting and powerful fighter to give it a new lease of life, and Joshua could be just that man.
1 Roman Gonzalez
Currently ranked as the second greatest pound for pound fighter in the world by The Ring magazine, behind only Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roman Gonzalez would be a world superstar if he happened to be a little taller, a little heavier and fighting in a more popular weight division among casual fans. That being said, the lower weight divisions are growing in popularity, and rightly so, and Gonzalez is at the forefront of that. A Flyweight, Gonzalez weighs in at just 112 pounds, and stands at just 5-foot-3.
Hailing from Nicaragua, Gonzalez has the power of a man twice his weight, and his incredible power have made him a destructive force and a fan favorite in the flyweight division. His current record stands at 43 fights, 43 wins and 37 knockouts. He is currently the WBC and The Ring Flyweight champion, as well as a former Flyweight and Minimum weight world champion.