Pound for pound: Has Juan Francisco Estrada supplanted Canelo Alvarez as top Mexican fighter?

The question now might be: Who is the best active Mexican boxer?

The answer has been obvious in recent years. Canelo Alvarez has been both the most-accomplished fighter from his country and arguably the face of the sport.

Now? Well, we it’s not so clear.

Juan Francisco Estrada defeated an all-time great in Roman Gonzalez a second time on Saturday, this time more convincingly than their second meeting in March of last year.

He went into the fight on Saturday at No. 8 on Boxing Junkie’s pound-for-list, one spot below Alvarez.

Meanwhile, Alvarez is coming off the worst year of his career since he lost a wide decision to Floyd Mayweather in 2013. He lost a clear decision to Dmitry Bivol in May, which cost him his No. 1 position on many pound-for-pound lists. And he gave a so-so performance in a unanimous-decision victory over 40-year-old rival Gennadiy Golovkin in September.

Obviously, the future Hall of Famer’s hasn’t been in his best form.

He attributed that in part to the fact he had been fighting with an injured left wrist, which was surgically repaired in October and on the mend. Still, the fact is he hasn’t looked good.

Critics of Estrada will point on that most observers thought “Chocolatito” deserved the decision in the fight last year. And Estrada looked flat in his unanimous-decision victory over Argi Cortes in September. Also, it’s fair to ask whether Gonzalez has declined — even just a bit — at 35.

So where does that leave us?

The bottom line is that when Estrada was faced with a significant challenge, he emerged victorious. Alvarez didn’t. Alvarez remains the most-accomplished boxer in the world but Estrada arguably is better at this moment.

Thus, Estrada and Alvarez switch places, Estrada moving to No. 7, Alvarez to No. 8.

Of course, they could be repositioned again. Alvarez is expected to fight Bivol a second time, perhaps in September. If he wins, an argument can be made that he should rise again. And there has been talk of a fourth Estrada-Gonzalez fight.

So stay tuned on the battle for Mexican supremacy.

That’s not all, as this is a busy time for pound-for-pounders. Our Nos. 1 and 2 fighters are in action in the next few days, Terence Crawford against David Avanesyan on Saturday and Naoya Inoue against Paul Butler on Tuesday. And No. 10 Gervonta Davis will face Hector Garcia on Jan. 7.

Here’s what the list looks like at the moment:

BOXING JUNKIE
POUND-FOR-POUND

Terence Crawford – Scheduled to defend his WBO welterweight title against David Avanesyan on Dec. 10  in Omaha, Nebraska.
Naoya Inoue – Scheduled to meet fellow titleholder Paul Butler for the undisputed bantamweight championship on Dec. 13 in Tokyo.
Oleksandr Usyk – No fight scheduled.
Errol Spence Jr. – No fight scheduled.
Dmitry Bivol – No fight scheduled.
Tyson Fury – No fight scheduled.
Juan Francisco Estrada – No fight scheduled.
Canelo Alvarez– No fight scheduled.
Jermell Charlo – Reportedly has reached an agreement to defend his undisputed junior middleweight championship against Tim Tszyu on Jan. 28 but no official announcement has been made.
Gervonta Davis – Scheduled to fight Hector Garcia on Jan. 7 in Washington, D.C.
Vasiliy Lomachenko – Reportedly in talks to challenge undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney but no official announcement has been made.
Artur Beterbiev – Scheduled to defend his light heavyweight titles against Anthony Yarde on Jan. 28 in London.
Shakur Stevenson – No fight scheduled.
Roman Gonzalez  No fight scheduled.
Devin Haney – Reportedly in talks to defend his undisputed lightweight championship against Vasiliy Lomachenko but no official announcement has been made..

Honorable mention (alphabetical order): David Benavidez (reportedly has reached an agreement to fight Caleb Plant early next year but no official announcement has been made); Jermall Charlo (no fight scheduled); Stephen Fulton Jr. (no fight scheduled); Kazuto Ioka (scheduled to face Joshua Franco in a junior bantamweight title-unification bout on New Year’s Eve in Tokyo); Josh Taylor (scheduled to defend his WBO junior welterweight title in a rematch with Jack Catterall on Feb. 4 in Glasgow, Scotland).

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