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MAGNO'S TOP 10 AMERICAN FIGHTERS IN 2023

By Paul Magno | July 04, 2023
MAGNO'S TOP 10 AMERICAN FIGHTERS IN 2023

The Magno’s USA Top 10 has been a Fourth of July tradition for years, dating back to even before I started writing for FightHype.com. This year, however, inactivity among some of the nation’s top names made the rankings especially difficult, although many of the top dogs are set to return to the ring in the second half of 2023.

So, here I am with my yearly stab at who’s who and who’s where among American fighters. And, per usual disclaimer, this is all very subjective and 100% my point of view, based on my take on a fighter’s inherent talent/skill, recent body of work, and overall resume. If you disagree, good for you.

1. Terence Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs)

“Bud” Crawford has been at or near the top of this list for years already. Although his accomplishments have been there as a former lightweight world champ, unified 4-belt junior welterweight champ, and welterweight belt holder, his elite-level status has been calibrated by his clear inherent skill level and by passing the “eye test” of experts. This July 29, however, he gets a chance to prove his greatness beyond a shadow of a doubt against 3-belt welterweight champ Errol Spence. A brutal stoppage of David Avanesyan in December was enough to get him the top spot on this list, where several fighters had a legitimate case to be no. 1. If Crawford beats Spence, there’ll be zero doubt about his no. 1 status.

2. Gervonta Davis (29-0, 27 KOs)

“Tank” Davis once again confirmed his star power over the last year with a smash hit in Washington DC against Hector Luis Garcia in January and then via blockbuster in April with Ryan Garcia Competitively, he stopped both Garcias in very good performances and proved himself to be operating at an elite level. Neither Garcia, however, was an elite-level fighter and, so, there’s still some debate as  to how well Tank will do against the true top dogs of his weight range. 

3. Shakur Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs)

Last year’s no. 1 on this list slipped a bit because of his somewhat underwhelming level of opposition. Although he dominated Robson Conceicao in September and stopped Shuichiro Yoshino this past April, they were matchups not fitting of someone with Stevenson’s skills and abilities. It’s reportedly been difficult to find quality opposition for the former featherweight, super featherweight world champ and newcomer in the lightweight division. But, still, we can only judge a fighter by what he does in the ring and not by what happens in pursuit of bouts. This past year has been just alright for the mega-talent.

4. Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KOs)

This past year has been beyond solid for the unified 4-belt lightweight champ and has provided confirmation that he does, indeed, belong among the elite of the sport. In October, he easily beat former champ George Kambosos Jr. in a rematch of their 135 lb. title bout four months prior. This past May, he decisioned former unified lightweight champ Vasiliy Lomachenko. Although many felt the Lomachenko decision was a controversial one, Haney still proved his worth and his worthiness. 

5. Errol Spence (28-0, 22 KOs)

The reigning IBF/WBA/WBC welterweight champ hasn’t fought since April of 2022, when he brutalized Yordenis Ugas en route to a tenth-round stoppage. His body of work and clear high-end abilities, though, have earned him a ranking. His July 29 bout with Terence Crawford will be a legacy fight and a chance to confirm his status as the king of the welterweights in the post-Mayweather era. 

6. David Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs)

A dominant victory over Caleb Plant in March was the biggest accomplishment of the 26-year-old’s career and, arguably, his best performance. Benavidez emerged from that Plant fight as the consensus top contender to unified champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in the super middleweight division. Regarded as one of the best offensive fighters in the game, the two-time 168 lb. champ looks to have just entered his prime.

7. Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs)

The 25-year-old Lopez came back in a big way with his dominant 12-round decision victory over WBO   junior welterweight champ Josh Taylor on June 10. In sharp contrast to his tepid split decision victory over Sandor Martin in December, Lopez was strong and confident in beating Taylor, the former unified 4-belt 140 lb. champ. Since the signature win over Taylor, Lopez has publicly retired and has even gone so far as to relinquish the WBO belt he just claimed. Most likely, that retirement won’t stick.

8. Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs)

The unified 4-belt junior middleweight champ made headlines in recent days when he was announced as the September 30 opponent to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Sidelined with injury and inactive since May of last year, Charlo is looking to make a major splash in his comeback bout. 

9. Stephen Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs)

Fulton hasn’t fought since last year’s Fourth of July rankings, but his ability and overall body of work managed to keep him on this list. On July 25th, he’ll put his WBC and WBO super bantamweight titles on the line against former 3-division world champ and unified 4-belt world bantamweight champ Naoya Inoue in Japan. A win would bring Fulton into the pound-for-pound ranks.

10. (TIE) Regis Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) / Brian Mendoza (22-2, 16 KOs)

Although Prograis looked pretty bad in the first defense of his WBC junior welterweight title against Danielito Zorrilla on June 17, he looked damn impressive in winning the vacant title via eleventh-round KO of Jose Zepeda last November.

How could Mendoza NOT get a spot on these rankings after a stellar year that saw him score upset stoppage victories over former unified junior middleweight champ Jeison Rosario and rising contender Sebastian Fundora?

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