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WHAT MAKES A FIGHTER A P4P CONTENDER?

Like many of you reading this, I frequent the boxing groups and forums on Facebook. I interact more on some than others but I’m always having a nose at what people think of specific fights and/or boxers. One thing that comes up a lot is people’s P4P lists and I like seeing the reactions that those lists get from other people who think they know better.

The point of a P4P list is to say who would be the best overall boxer in the world if you took two fighters from opposing weight classes, made their weights the same and then decide who would beat whom. For example: if Deontay Wilder and Naoya Inoue were the same weight class, who would be ranked higher and/or who would win if they fought? As you can tell, it has a lot of ifs and buts and a huge dump of opinion thrown in.

Another thing that helps a boxer shoot up an individual’s P4P ranks is the amount of weight classes said boxer has won world titles in. An example is Terrence Crawford is for many higher on the P4P lists than Errol Spence Jr, after all Bud is a 3 weight world champion and was undisputed in one of those divisions and Spence is “only” a unified world champion at one weight. Does that mean Crawford would beat Spence if they fought? No it doesn’t. Doesn’t it mean that if Spence won if they fought he’d take Crawford’s place on the P4P list? For some it doesn’t but for others it does.

I’ll stick with Errol Spence Jr for my example – many had Mikey Garcia as a top 5 P4P fighter and when Garcia stepped up to face Spence in a bid to become a five weight world champion he was pushing to be P4P number 1 if he won. We all know that Spence won their 12 round battle and many believed this allowed Spence to jump into the top 5 of the P4P ranks. Which in my opinion isn’t how the P4P rankings work. Yes it was a big win for Spence but beating a man who had never fought at the weight before but had been prolific at lower weight classes does not make Spence a P4P top 5 fighter.

There are many factors that allow a fighter to be considered a P4P fighter – after all it can’t all be done on the amount of divisions a boxer has fought in, that would be unfair to the heavyweight greats. But it does count.

Other factors for many are the number of divisions a fighter has fought and won world baubles in, if they’ve been undisputed in any division and how strong the division was that they unified/dominated.

I’ll give some examples: Billy Joe Saunders is a two weight world champion having won both the WBO Middleweight and Super-Middleweight World Titles. But he won’t be on many peoples P4P top 10 lists because of the names he has beat to get those titles. Many will have Josh Taylor above him, a man who has only won world honours in one weight division but is seen as the man at 140lbs.

Another example is Manny Pacquiao – the 8 division world champion. Many of Manny’s accomplishments are quite historic now and people seem to give these achievements a shelf life – disregarding them after so many years. But according to what many see as the primary rule of P4P, by those rules Manny Pacquiao should be the unquestionable P4P number 1.

The overriding factor, regardless of what people say, is personal preference. You could have two fighters with (almost) identical records but one would be seen as higher than the other in the observer’s eye purely down to personal preference.

That last point is why, 99% of the time, no two people will agree on their P4P lists; and why each different P4P list should be taken with a pinch of salt. Some are ridiculous, some are good, some are exceptional. But all are just a persons opinion.

Enjoy the debate, talk about why you think fighters should be in certain positions. But don’t take it too seriously.

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