1. Canelo Alvarez - There can be no dispute as to who deserves the #1 spot following Canelo's destruction of Callum Smith to claim Smith's WBA and the vacant WBC titles. Before Smith, Alavarez KO'd Sergey Kovalev for the WBO title at light heavyweight and the four-division champion performed even better moving down to 168 pounds.
2. Billy Joe Saunders - This will not be a popular choice for the #2 spot because of Saunders' frustrating attitude and inconsistent performances, and the ranking does not mean we would favor Saunders to defeat Benavidez if they ever met. Ranking Saunders #2 is more of a criticism of Benvidez, who, though undefeated, has lost the WBC title twice, once due to missing weight and once due to drug use. And some credit is due to Saunders, who performed well last time out, retiring perennial contender Martin Murray in a WBO title defense.
3. David Benavidez - Last time out, he lost his title on the scales but defeated Roamer Angulo to reach 23-0. The 23 year-old says he wants to remain at super middleweight, but losing the title twice outside the ring is definitely a "Red Flag." His best wins are Anthony Dirrell and Ronald Gavril (twice).
4. Danny Jacobs - Despite the lack of a world title around his waist, Jacobs had a strong case to be ranked ahead of Caleb Plant... until his lackluster performance in a debatable win over Gabriel Rosado. We need to see Jacobs' next fight in order to accurately assess where he stands in the division and in his career.
5. Caleb Plant - His IBF championship run has not been awe inspriring: Jose Uzcategui, Mike Lee and Vicent Feigenbutz. Next up is Caleb Truax, which is only a little step up from the last two. Plant seems content to bide his time until a Canelo fight falls in his lap.
6. Callum Smith - The comprehensive punishment he suffered against Canelo Alvarez does not totally negate the good work he did in winning the World Boxing Super Series. But that could have been career-altering punishment he suffered in losing to Canelo.
7. John Ryder - Some felt this British southpaw deserved the decision when he challenged Callum Smith in late 2019. Ryder stayed busy with a 2020 win over Mark Guy. He deserves at least an eliminator to show whee he really stands in the division. Next: probalby David Morrell.
8. Anthony Dirrell -The current state at 168 is pretty weak when your #8 contender hasn't won a fight in nearly two years, but as the say, it is what it is. Dirrell has a win over Avni Yildirim in early 2019, a semi-recent win over Caleb Truax, and a stoppage loss to David Benavidez.
9. Lionell Thompson - Didn't fight in 2020 but ended 2019 in big fashion, with a win over ex-title holder Jose Uzcategui. Thompson has five losses, but deserves an eliminator vs. someone like John Ryder.
10. Fedor Chudinov - Since losing to George Groves in 2017, this Russian has put together seven straight wins over decent competition, maybe the best current run in the division. His only fight in 2020 may have ended the career of Umar Saadiq. Put Chudinov in the mix with Ryder and Thompson for an eliminator.
11. Aidos Yerbossynuly - After stopping previously unbeaten Issah Samir in December, this Kazakh is now 15-0 against solid opposition.
12. David Morrell - Forget about the bogus WBA belt he has, it means nothing. The Cuban Morrell is a huge prospect but is only 5-0 (including the Wolrd Series of Boxing). Still, his win over previously undefeated Lennox Allen is meaningful. Next: John Ryder seems likely next for Morrell.
13. Carlos Gongora - Ecuador's finest is riding high after winning the IBO title by stopping previously unbeaten Ali Akhmedov.
14. David Lemieux - Ex-IBF middleweight title holder moved up to 168 and had one fight in each of 2019 and 2020. He's a big puncher but seems to be waiting for a cash-out fight.
15. Gabriel Rosado - He has 13 losses, but his surprisingly strong performance in a split-decision loss to Danny Jacobs resurrected the Philadelphia warrior's career.
16. Caleb Truax - Former IBF champion's finest moment - a split-decision win over James DeGale- is now three years behind him. His upcoming fight vs. Caelb Plant is likely his last shot at the big time.
17. Vladimir Shishkin - 12-0 Russian doesn't have the flashy KO streak like Edgar Berlanga, but at this moment, he has fought slightly tougher opposition. Next up: Sena Agbeko on Feb. 17 ShoBox.
18. Edgar Berlanga -16-0 with 16 first-round KOs... who doesn't want to see more of this guy?
19. Bektemir Melikuziev - From Uzbekistan, "Bully" lost a great chance to jump up to the world level when ex-light heavyweight champion Serey Kovalev tested postitive for PEDs, causing their fight to get cancelled. We'll have to see what weight class Melikuziev decides to campaign in going forward.
20. Zach Parker - Former British champ is 19-0 but avoided a rematch with Darryll Williams after squeaking out a split-decision win. (In fairness, Williams hasn't fought since). Had a quality win over Rohan Murdock in March 2020, but hasn't fought since.
21. Jose Uzcategui - Ex-IBF champ from Venezuela lost his last fight, to Lionell Thompson in December 2019 and hasn't fought since.
22. Andre Dirrell - Lost to Jose Uzcategui in early 2018, took more than a year and a half off but stopped Juan Cabrera in December 2019.
23. Steven Nelson - Undefeated Nebraskan had two decent wins in 2020 - Cem Killic and DeAndre Ware, and that's enough for the top 25 in this weight class.
24. Stephan Haertel - German is 19-1 overall, 3-0 in this weight class, including a win over Robin Krasniqi, whoi is now a rated light heavyweight.
25. Ievgen Khytrov - Russian has a strong amateur background. He moved up from middleweight at the end of 2018 and had two decent wins in 2019 but no fights in 2020.
26-40: 26.Ronald Ellis, 27. Juergen Braehmer, 28. Aslambek Idigov, 29. Rocky Fielding, 30. Tyrone Zeuge, 31. Ronald Gavril, 32. Roamer Angulo, 33. Erik Bazinyan, 34. Evgeny Shvedenko, 35. Felix Sturm, 36. Ali Akhmedov, 37. Istvan Szili, 38. Vladimir Hernandez, 39. Sherzon Khusanov, 40. Petro Ivanov.
41-51: 41. Kevin Sadjo, 42. Giovanni DeCarolis, 43. Billal Akkawy, 44. Leon Bauer, 45. Rowan Campbell, 46. Maksym Bursak, 47. William Scull, 48. Christian Mbilli, 49. Steve Rolls, 50. Lennox Allen, 51. Demond Nicholson.
INELIGIBLE LIST: Avni Yildirim (inactivity)
WATCH LIST: Caleb Plant defeated Caleb Truax; John Ryder vs. David Morrell; Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim; Ievgen Khytrov vs. Christian Mbili (top 15 spot likely for the winner); Aidos Yerbossynuly vs. Evgeny Shvedenko (top 10 spot likely for the winner);