I think this is an interesting topic as it helps us appreciate the modern greats who are still active now and as a boxing fan its a fun topic to discuss. I think a lot of people in the boxing media like to downplay how good active boxers are and perhaps look with rose tinted glasses at the previous greats that have now retired. I’ve found that fighters don’t get the credit they deserve until they retire and I think a big part of this is that while they are active people will try and push agenda’s on whether they are good or not depending on what promotional outfit they are fighting for. I think we have quite a few boxers that can compete with the old guard of legendary fighters but it is perhaps hard to know until they finish their careers and we can compare them.
The first fighter that will be in the hall of fame once he retires is Terence Crawford. He’s a three weight world champion and was undisputed at Super lightweight which in of itself is enough to get into the Hall of Fame. Beating Ricky Burns in Scotland for his first world title is also a good achievement and then defending that title versus an undefeated Yuriorkis Gamboa is even better. Gamboa is a gold medalist in the Olympics and Burns is also a three weight world champion. His next two fights were versus notable names in Raymundo Beltran and Thomas Dulorme which add to his resume and also conclude what is in my opinion one of the best periods of his career in terms of good opponents especially back to back. Beltran would later go on to win a lightweight world title while Dulorme has stayed a top contender at both super lightweight and now Welterweight. In beating Dulorme Crawford became a two weight world champion as that fight was for the vacant WBO Super lightweight title.
He then went on a great run at Super lightweight beating Henry Lundy, Viktor Postol, John Molina Jr and Julius Indongo. His fight with Viktor Postol was a unification and his fight with Indongo was for all the super lightweight belts and made him undisputed a feat only achieved by him and Usyk in the four belt era. Having cleared up at super lightweight he moved up to Welterweight and beat Jeff Horn the WBO champion who had actually beat Manny Pacquiao somewhat controversially for the title. He has then gone on to beat Jose Benavidez Jr, Amir Khan and most recently Egidijus Kavaliauskas. His run so far at welterweight has been somewhat underwhelming however it is worth noting that Khan is a former champion at super lightweight who has fought multiple big names in his career and Kavaliauskas is a two time Olympian.
A lot of people critisise his resume saying he hasn’t fought anyone but I don’t agree with that as while he doesn’t have a big standout name his resume actually has a lot of depth to it. With him being a three weight world champion and also undisputed in one combined with wins over Gamboa, Postol, Burns and Indongo he will be inducted into the hall of fame when he retires.
The next fighter who I think will get into the Hall of Fame is Canelo Alvarez. Canelo is a three division champion and has a resume full of great names all at the age of 29. I’m going to list all of the notable names and it’ll be very obvious hes a lock for the hall of fame. Carlos Baldomir, Matthew Hatton, Shane Mosley, Josesito Lopez, Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, James Kirkland, Miguel Cotto(Cottos brother as well), Amir Khan, Liam Smith, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Gennadiy Golovkin twice, Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev. All of those names by the age of 29 is an incredible feat and will surely get him into the hall of fame. Another reason he has guaranteed himself a spot is because he went up to Light heavyweight after defending at middleweight and beat Kovalev who himself will likely be inducted into the hall of fame.
While a few of his victories are controversial I don’t think you’ll find many fans that would disagree that Canelo deserves to be in the hall of fame when he retires as he really is a special fighter who has an incredible resume.
The next fighter who i’m sure will get into the hall of fame is the most obvious one in Manny Pacquiao. He isn’t just a hall of famer but also an all time great who will be remembered as one of the best to ever do it. He has been fighting at the top level for over two decades and has the best resume of any active fighter. He is a stunning 8 division champion who even in his 40’s is beating long reigning champions like Keith Thurman. I’m not going to list all of the great names on his resume as my keyboard may break before i’m finished but a few notable fighters he has faced are Marco Antonio Barrera X2, Juan Manuel Marquez X4, Erik Morales X3, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Timothy Bradley Jr X3, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Keith Thurman.
Manny Pacquiao is the fighter that I am most certain will get into the hall of fame when he eventually decides to retire whenever that is as people have been saying he will retire soon for the last 7 or 8 years. I really am in awe as to just how good of a fighter he is and how much hes achieved in the sport and i’m just glad that I’ve been able to watch him fight live even if its on TV.
Another fighter that i’m certain will get into the hall of fame is Roman Gonzalez better known as Chocolatito. He is a four division champion who dominated and KO’d most of his opponents. The way he puts his punches together when at mid and short distance is incredible and great to watch. He did a lot for getting the lower weight classes recognised in the USA but he was fighting at the top level long before he was discovered in America.
Just a few of the names he has beat are Juan Francisco Estrada, Carlos Cuadros and Khalid Yafai. The Yafai victory further cemented his place in the hall of fame as he was considered done by a lot of people and then to go and put on a vintage performance and KO Yafai is incredible. If you haven’t watched him yet go back and do it as hes a joy to watch and has some amazing fights. I don’t know how much longer he will go on for but i’m very happy to watch the last part of his historic career in the coming years and i’m also glad at how much recognition he gets from boxing fans.
Those are the four fighters who I am sure will get into the hall of fame but I also want to mention others that have a good chance to get in but might not be first ballot. When I was thinking about fighters who have a chance of getting in I realised that theres actually quite a few that I can see getting in now if they retire.
The first one of these fighters is Gennadiy Golovkin who I feel will most likely get in but i’m not as sure as the four fighters above. Golovkin made 20 defences of his middleweight titles and also unified the division which is most likely enough to get him into the hall of fame. If you then count his silver medal at the 2004 Olympics as well as all his other amateur achievements then it would seem remarkable if he didn’t get in. He has also beaten notable names in Daniel Jacobs, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Kell Brook and David Lemieux. He has a controversial draw with Canelo Alvarez where most people felt he won and his only loss to Canelo in the second fight was also one where many felt he won. I imagine he will get credit for having two fights with Canelo one being a draw and that people will remember that he was robbed of a career best win.
He was also openly ducked in his prime which people may take into account when considering if he should get into the hall of fame or not. I think he will get in and deserves it but some people may hold him only being a champion in one weight class against him though I personally wouldn’t as I value clearing out a division higher than skipping from alphabet title to alphabet title.
The next fighter who I think will likely get in is Vasiliy Lomachenko a three weight world champion who has achieved so much in so little fights. He is a two time Olympic gold medalist and is likely one of the best amateur boxers to ever live. He then turned pro and fought for a world title in only his second fight where he lost by split decision after his opponent came in overweight and spent the fight hitting him with low blows. He bounced back in his third fight to win a title at featherweight and the rest is history.
The way he creates angles and his style of fighting is extremely unique, he is one of the best technical boxers on the planet and could easily get into the hall of fame just based off that. However he can also boast an impressive resume with names such as Jorge Linares, Gary Russell Jr, Nicholas Walters, Guillermo Rigondeaux as well as a host of other good names. I personally feel with the way hes dominated the vast majority of his opponents at the highest level that he will get a deserved spot in the hall of fame especially considering hes done it all in 15 pro fights.
The next fighter I could see getting in is Tyson Fury after his win over Deontay Wilder. I’m not sure that he currently deserves to get in but I can understand why he would get voted in. Hes stopped the long reigns of both Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder and has shaped the current course of the heavyweight division. I have two problems with him getting into the hall of fame currently one being that his resume lacks depth and the other being that he hasn’t defended the titles hes won yet.
If he beats Wilder again and actually defends his titles then I think he should get in but right now I think putting him into the hall of fame when Dereck Chisora is likely his third best win isn’t the right option. Also the only reason hes being considered is because hes a heavyweight and they are held to a lesser standard than the other weight classes.
Another fighter in the bigger weight classes that I think will get in to the hall of fame is Oleksandr Usyk. He was the undisputed cruiserweight champion and actually defended his undisputed title once. In 16 pro fights he ran through one of the most stacked divisions in boxing and beat every champion in their home country. He beat Krzysztof Glowacki, Thabiso Mchunu, Michael Hunter, Marco Huck, Mairis Bredis, Murat Gassiev and Tony Bellew with most of those wins coming on the road. This is an incredible achievement and also makes him one of the best cruiserweights of all time which you would think would get him into the hall of fame.
The only reason I can see for people not voting him in is because the cruiserweight division has been one that has historically not been very popular in America. This is only a problem because most of the people who can vote people into the hall of fame are American and may choose other fighters because they have personally seen them fight live.
A fighter that i’m not sure will get in to the hall of fame is Leo Santa Cruz as hes had a strange career. Hes a four division champ but doesn’t have the resume of one and outside of Carl Frampton, Kiko Martinez and Abner Mares doesn’t really have any notable names on his resume. Hes a good fighter but often has workman like performances which don’t endear him to fans or make him stand out from other boxers. I’m divided on this one as he arguably should get into the hall of fame considering hes a four division champ and he has a few good names on his resume. At the same time his resume is extremely weak for being a four division champ and the fourth title is questionable because he fought for the vacant WBA title when the WBA should have upgraded their regular champion.
I still think he’ll likely get in because there are very few boxers who become champions in four divisions and they’d have to find three people better than him consistently every year he gets nominated.
The last active fighter who I think will likely get into the hall of fame is Japan’s Naoya Inoue. Hes a massive puncher who is also a three division champ and has a very good resume for only having 19 fights. One of his most impressive victories was when he went up two divisions and KO’d Omar Andres Narvaez in two rounds to win his second world title. He defended that title numerous times before moving up to Bantamweight. Since moving up hes beaten Juan Carlos Payano and Jamie McDonnell before winning his third world title versus Emmanuel Rodriguez and then unifying with the legend Nonito Donaire in 2019’s fight of the year. Talking about Donaire he will very likely be inducted into the hall of fame as well though hopefully the voters understand that fighters can lose and still be great. Inoue is going to now fight John Riel Casimero in another hard fight to unify the division again and further cement his legacy.
I personally feel that he would get in now but I understand like a few other names on this list that the lower weight classes have to do more to be recognised so he may need to become undisputed at bantamweight to guarantee himself a spot in the hall of fame.
I enjoyed writing this piece and I hope you enjoyed reading it even if it is one of my longer pieces of work. When I was writing this I realised just how many great fighters we have currently boxing and it made me appreciate them all a bit more as I delved deeper into their resumes and achievements. Boxing can create legends and legacy’s like no other sport, over its long illustrious history we have witnessed true greats fight for our entertainment and I think all of the fighters above are part of that legacy.