Here’s a list of some of PBC's top rising stars. Boxers on this list are on a hot streak, like a slugger in baseball on a hitting streak or a running back in football who keeps posting 100-yard rushing games. They’re not ranked in any particular order. We’ll leave that to you—the reader.
Jermell Charlo, 154 pounds (30-0, 15 KOs)
Jermell Charlo flattened previously unbeaten southpaw Erickson Lubin (18-1, 13 KOs) with a right uppercut at 2:41 of the first round, securing his second successful defense at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Oct. 14.
In his previous fight, the 27-year-old Charlo similarly starched left-hander Charles Hatley, knocking him cold with a right hand in the sixth round. Trained by Derrick James, Charlo sparred with left-handed welterweight champion Errol Spence, Jr., before each of his wins over Hatley and Lubin, rising to 4-0, all knockouts, against southpaws in the past five years.
Charlo made history with an eighth-round KO of John Jackson in May 2016 to win his crown, joining his twin, Jermall, as the first siblings to simultaneously hold 154-pound titles.
Jarrett Hurd, 154 pounds (21-0, 15 KOs)
“Swift” Jarrett Hurd rose to the occasion in his first world title defense and most difficult career fight as the 27-year-old came from behind for a 10th-round TKO of left-handed former champion Austin Trout at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Oct. 14.
The first man to stop Trout in a Fight Of The Year caliber affair, Hurd overcame a deep, bloody cut over his left eye to secure his seventh consecutive stoppage victory. Hurd won the title with a ninth-round TKO over Tony Harrison in February.
A 6-foot-1, Accokeek, Maryland, native with a 76½-inch reach, Hurd wants a title unification against Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) but would first like to defend against left-handed mandatory Cedric Vitu (46-2, 19 KOs) of France.
Abner Mares, 126 pounds (31-2-1, 15 KOs)
Abner Mares battered Andres Gutierrez (35-2-1, 25 KOs) in his first defense and second reign as a 126-pound world champion en route to a 10-round technical decision victory at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on Oct. 14. Their bout was stopped because of cuts over Gutierrez’s left eye caused by accidental head butts.
A 31-year-old three-division champion, Mares lost his 126-pound title in August 2015 by majority decision to three-division champion Leo Santa Cruz in a Fight Of The Year caliber affair.
Mares rebounded to dethrone southpaw Jesus Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) by split-decision in December, and entered his fight with Gutierrez having already agreed to a March or April rematch with Santa Cruz.
Sergey Lipinets, 140 pounds (12-0, 10 KOs)
Sergey Lipinets, 28, is a rising contender seeking his fourth straight stoppage victory when he battles Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16 KOs) of Japan for a vacant world title on November 4.
The Kazakhstan native is coming off an seventh-round TKO of Clarence Booth in March, and will face the 32-year-old Kondo on the undercard of Deontay Wilder’s heavyweight title defense against Bermane Stiverne at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Kondo brings an eight-fight winning streak that includes six knockouts into the bout, including stoppages against his past five opponents.
Mikey Garcia, 135-140 pounds (37-0, 30 KOs)
Mikey Garcia returned with a blistering intensity from two years of inactivity, competing in a fourth weight class with his unanimous decision over four-division champion Adrien Broner in July. The win improved his record to 8-0 with six KOs against current or former world champions.
In January, the 29-year-old Garcia became a three-division world champion with a third-round KO of previously unbeaten 135-pound champion Dejan Zlaticanin.
By defeating Broner in the highest-profile victory of his career, Garcia set himself up to be a threat and a championship contender from 135 through 147 pounds.
Leo Santa Cruz, 126 pounds (34-1-1, 19 KOs)
Leo Santa Cruz bludgeoned and dominated Chris Avalos on the way to an eighth-round knockout victory and successful defense of his 126-pound world championship at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on Oct. 14.
A three-division champion, Santa Cruz, 29, lost and regained his crown over the course of back-to-back Fight Of The Year-caliber majority decisions with two-division title winner Carl Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) in July 2016 and January.
Santa Cruz entered the Avalos fight having already agreed to a rematch in March or April against three-division title winner Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs), whom he defeated by majority decision in August 2015.
David Benavidez, 168 pounds (19-0, 17 KOs)
David Benavidez overcame an injured middle left knuckle and rose from a final round knockdown for a split decision victory over Romanian slugger Ronald Gavril in September. In doing so, Benavidez became the youngest world champion in division history at 20 years old, and boxing’s youngest current titleholder.
Trained by his father, Jose Benavidez Sr., “El Bandera Roja” (The Red Flag) surpassed 22-year-old Darrin Van Horn’s accomplishment in May 1991, and ended the 31-year-old Gavril’s seven-fight winning streak (five by KO). Benavidez will face Gavril in a mandated return bout on a date and at a location to be determined.
Benavidez was 7-0 - all knockouts - before his 18th birthday. He has also registered 13 of his 17 career stoppages within two rounds. Benavidez displayed two-fisted power on the way to securing his 10th straight knockout, scoring three knockdowns during an eighth-round stoppage of former title challenger Rogelio Medina in May.
The finish to that fight is widely considered a candidate for 2017 Knockout of the Year.
Errol Spence Jr., 147 pounds (22-0, 19 KOs)
Southpaw Errol Spence Jr. will pursue his 10th straight knockout victory and his first world title defense against 33-year-old, two-division champion Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) in mid-January at a site to be determined.
The versatile 27-year-old demonstrated he is “The Truth” when he displayed two-fisted power, speed, accuracy, resiliency and athleticism on the way to an 11th round knockout of Kell Brook in Sheffield, England in May.
Spence became the first American to earn a world title from an English champion on foreign soil since Timothy Bradley upset Junior Witter in Nottingham, England for a 140-pound title in 2008.
Spence owns a fifth-round TKO over Chris Algieri and a sixth-round stoppage of Leonard Bundu - fighters who went the distance with Manny Pacquiao and current unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman, respectively.