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.
Mario Barrios, 140 pounds (19-0, 11 KOs)
Mario Barrios was already a tall order for 130 pounders, but the 6-foot tall, 22-year-old has been even more impressive since rising to 140. He will pursue his fourth consecutive stoppage in the new division when he meets Naim Nelson on FS1 Toe-to-Toe Tuesdays on September 19.
The match against Nelson represents Barrios’ fourth straight fight with trainer Virgil Hunter. In his last fight, Barrios stopped Jose Luis Rodriguez in the seventh round in June. The San Antonio native has strategically risen in weight since making his professional debut at 122¼ pounds in November 2013.
Barrios fought three times in 2016, including unanimous decision victories over Edgar Gabejan and Devis Boschiero at 135 and 130 pounds, respectively. Before facing Rodriguez, Barrios stopped Claudio Rosendo Tapia and Yardley Armenta Cruz.
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 on September 8. In doing so, he 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 7-fight winning streak (five by KO).
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 boxing's 2017 Knockout of the Year.
Jermell Charlo, 154 pounds (29-0, 14 KOs)
Jermell Charlo will be after his fourth straight stoppage and the second successful defense of his title against southpaw Erickson Lubin on SHOWTIME ON Oct. 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. In his last fight, Charlo scored a sixth-round KO of Charles Hatley.
Charlo made history with an eighth-round KO of John Jackson in May to win his world title, joining his twin, Jermall, as the first siblings to simultaneously hold 154-pound titles. Jermall has since vacated his 154-pound title to move into the 160-pound division.
Charlo sparred 50 rounds with welterweight champion Errol Spence, Jr., before the Hatley match. Charlo will again prepare for Lubin by sparring with Spence, with whom he shares trainer Derrick James.
Jermall Charlo, 160 pounds (26-0, 20 KOs)
Jermall Charlo wasted no time making his mark at 160 pounds after vacating his 154-pound title, scoring a fourth-round TKO victory in his division debut against Jorge Sebastian Heiland in July at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
With the victory Charlo became the mandatory challenger for one of the world titles held by unbeaten Gennady Golovkin, who will defend his unified championship against Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 16.
The stoppage represented the 18th in his past 20 fights and the second straight for Charlo, who was in his first fight since a gaining an impressive three-knockdown, fifth-round KO of previously unbeaten Julian Williams in December.
Gervonta Davis, 130 pounds (19-0, 18 KOs)
Baltimore-native Gervonta Davis went to London, England in May, where the 22-year-old defended his 130-pound title with a third-round stoppage that included a final round knockdown of previously unbeaten contender Liam Walsh.
The 5-foot-6 southpaw won the title with a seventh-round TKO over previously undefeated Jose Pedraza at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in January.
Davis lost that title on the scales before his fight against Francisco Fonseca, whom he stopped on an eighth round KO on Aug 26.
Mikey Garcia, 135 pounds (37-0, 30 KOs)
After nearly two years of inactivity, Mikey Garcia returned with a vengeance, competing in a fourth weight class with his unanimous decision over former four-division champion Adrien Broner in July.
The 29-year-old Garcia became a three-division world champion in January with a third-round KO of 135-pound champion Dejan Zlaticanin. With the victory, Garcia improved to 7-0 with six KOs against current or former world champions.
By defeating Broner in the highest-profile win of his career, Garcia set himself up to be a threat and a championship contender from 135 through 147 pounds.
Jarrett Hurd, 154 pounds (20-0, 14 KOs)
Jarrett Hurd has stormed to top of the 154-pound division by stopping his last six opponents and eight of his past nine. He won his current world title with a ninth-round TKO of Tony Harrison in February. The 6-foot-1, Accokeek, Maryland, native has a 76½-inch reach and possesses a splendid combination of speed, power and athleticism.
The 27-year-old Hurd will face his most difficult test in the first defense of his title against former champion Austin Trout at Barclays Center on SHOWTIME on Oct. 14.
“Trout has never been stopped - I’m looking for the stoppage and a statement that the other fighters couldn’t make,” said Hurd. “I didn’t have to take this fight since it’s a voluntary defense. But I wanted to stop Austin Trout, proving to the fans and people in general I’m the real deal and a true champion.”
Adam Kownacki, Heavyweight (16-0, 13 KOs)
Adam Kownacki continued to climb the heavyweight ladder with a devastating KO victory over fellow Polish heavyweight contender Artur Szpilka at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, N.Y., in July.
Kownacki’s third straight knockout win was quicker than the 28-year-old Szpilka was dispatched by both heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Bryant Jennings.
“It was a life-changing moment,” said Kownacki, 28. “My goal was to make a statement by stopping him faster than anybody. I did that.”
A Long Island resident who was raised in Brooklyn, the 6-foot-3, 242-pound Kownacki is attempting to become his native country’s first heavyweight titleholder.
Erickson Lubin, 154 pounds (18-0, 13 KOs)
Orlando, Florida, native Erickson Lubin will challenge unbeaten champion Jermell Charlo at Barclays Center on SHOWTIME on Oct. 14 for a 154-pound title. He defeated Jorge Cota by fourth-round TKO in a title eliminator in March.
Lubin, a southpaw who turns 22 on October 1, went 4-0 with two KOs in 2016 against fighters whose combined record was 99-9-2.
“The Hammer” was considered America’s best medal hopeful for the 2016 Olympics, but signed a professional contract as a high school senior on his 18th birthday and debuted the next month with a 35-second knockout.
“My right hook has knocked out 11 people - Every time I throw that right hook, I throw it with bad, bad intentions,” said Lubin, who has dubbed his right hand “Jack” and his left “Sledge.”
Errol Spence Jr., 147 (22-0, 19 KOs)
Errol Spence Jr. demonstrated he is “The Truth” when the highly skilled southpaw displayed two-fisted power, speed, accuracy, resiliency and athleticism on the way to an 11th round knockout victory over Kell Brook in Sheffield, England in May.
Spence, 27, became the first American to earn a title from an English champion on foreign soil since Timothy Bradley upset Junior Witter in Nottingham for a 140-pound title in 2008.
Spence has a fifth-round TKO victory 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.
“It’s a factor when guys go the distance with other fighters and I knock them out after they couldn’t,’’ Spence said. “Fans realize I’m doing better than a lot of fighters in the division after we’ve fought the same opponents."