Among boxing fans, few things provide quicker kindling for an argument than a pound-for-pound list. While there is often general agreement among writers and serious fans about who belongs at the very top of such rankings, with minor quibbles about placement, once you get outside of the top five to 10, opinions start to vary fairly widely.
Opinions, of course, are like legs: Almost everybody has them. And just like legs, some people's opinions are more solid than other's.
Still, if you look at enough pound-for-pound lists, it can be edifying and reassuring to see how much consensus there often is even further down on lists. When certain names repeatedly reappear anywhere between 13 and 25 it is a pretty good indication that the fighter has done enough to earn at least serious consideration.
This list is based entirely on my opinion, but my opinion has been informed not just from watching 95 percent of the major fights broadcast each year, along with reviewing many more fights on YouTube, but also from having collected and collated two different consensus rankings last year, based on the ballots of a number of top Bleacher Report writers.
My ultimate judgement for this kind of ranking has also to some degree been influenced by the large number of reader comments I see month to month. I take anything I read anywhere on an Internet message board with a grain of salt, but there are definitely Bleacher Report boxing readers who have written enough to establish themselves as credible and knowledgeable, and so when I see certain fighters consistently getting love from the more well-balanced segment of my readership, I take note.
And, of course, The Ring rankings are a resource I regularly refer to myself. While it is important to consider that the venerable boxing bible is now owned by Golden Boy, the overall international coverage it does, along with the historical importance, makes it automatically one of the authoritative lists.
I have to say that the Boxrec.com pound-for-pound rankings can only make serious fans shake their heads in disbelief. Nevertheless, the site itself is the most important resource ever created for boxing fans and writers, and compiling a list like this would be much more difficult and less accurate without it.