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.
Shawn Porter, 147 pounds (29-2-1, 17 KOs)
Shawn Porter ended a 10-month ring absence by winning a clash of former champions with a unanimous decision over two-division title-winner Danny Garcia for the WBC’s vacant crown on September 8 at Barclays Center, setting up a potential unification against undefeated left-handed IBF counterpart Errol Spence Jr.
The 30-year-old Porter’s third-straight victory earned his second world title at the same location where he won his first one. He defeated Devon Alexander by unanimous decision at Barclays Center in 2013 and lost the title to Kell Brook in 2014.
“Showtime” is 5-1 with two knockouts since falling to WBA champion Keith Thurman by unanimous decision in 2016, rising from a final-round knockdown for a unanimous decision win over four-division champion Adrien Broner in June 2015 and scoring a three-knockdown ninth-round TKO of former two-time titleholder Andre Berto in April 2017.
Jamal James, 147 pounds (24-1, 11 KOs)
Jamal “Shango” James ended a 25-punch salvo and his second-straight hometown victory by second-round knockout against Mahonry Montes in August before a packed house at the Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The 6-foot-2, James is 4-0 with two knockouts following his lone loss to 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Yordenis Ugas in August 2016. He is now a mandatory challenger to WBA champion Keith Thurman.
In December, James took less than three rounds to knock out Diego Chaves. It was a career-defining moment for James. He accomplished something faster than Thurman, who defeated Chaves by 10th-round KO in 2013.
Eleider Alvarez, 175 pounds (24-0, 12 KOs)
Eleider Alvarez ended three years of frustration as a mandatory challenger to left-handed WBC champion Adonis Stevenson with his devastating and career-defining, three-knockdown, seventh-round knockout of Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev to win the WBO light heavyweight world title in August.
“Everybody in the world thought Kovalev was going to win by knockout. Kovalev punches much harder than I do, but I was able to withstand his punches thanks to my sturdy chin,” said Alvarez, a 34-year-old 2008 Olympian from Colombia who moved to Montreal in 2009 to become a pro.
“After waiting almost three years for this title shot, never in my wildest dreams did I expect the spectacular knockout I got against Kovalev. Beating Kovalev the way that I did was a dream come true.”
Carl Frampton, 126 pounds (26-1, 15 KOs)
A 31-year-old two-division champion, Carl Frampton scored a body shot knockdown in the eighth stanza of a ninth-round TKO of previously undefeated 2012 Olympic team captain Luke Jackson in his native Belfast in August.
The triumph was a follow-up to Frampton’s unanimous decision over four-division title winner Nonito Donaire in April for the WBO’s 126-pound interim crown.
Frampton hopes to force a trilogy fight with WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz, having split bouts with Santa Cruz. He beat Santa Cruz by majority decision in 2016 and lost in the rematch the same way in 2017.
Mikey Garcia, 135 pounds, (39-0, 30 KOs)
In successive fights, Mikey Garcia scored unanimous decisions victories over previously unbeaten IBF 140-pound champion Sergey Lipinets and 135-pound champion Robert Easter Jr.
Although he is still the owner of the WBC’s 135-pound title after vacating his crown at 140, Garcia is seeking a 147-pound showdown against undefeated IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. But that bout will be on hold momentarily as Garcia agreed this week to meet mandatory IBF challenger Richard Commey in a lightweight title tilt with a date, venue and network still to be negoiated.
“I’m still focused solely on getting an Errol Spence fight. Nothing else excites me other than that one, so we’re working on that,” said the 30-year-old Garcia.
Mario Barrios, 140 pounds (22-0, 14 KOs)
The 6-foot Barrios debuted at 122¼ pounds in November 2013 but has steadily risen in weight, being most powerfully demonstrative by reeling off six-consecutive stoppage victories at 140 pounds.
“El Azteca’s” latest triumph was July’s two-knockdown, eighth-round stoppage of Jose Roman, who was knocked out for the first time in his career.
Roman was a follow-up to Barrios’ sensational second-round TKO of Eudy Bernardo before his hometown fans in San Antonio in March.
“I’ve definitely made a statement,” said Barrios. “I’ve shown the 140-pound division that I’m ready for any of them.”
Fabian Maidana, 140-147 pounds (16-0, 12 KOs)
Fabian Maidana, the 26-year-old younger brother of former WBA welterweight champion Marcos “El Chino” Maidana, scored his second-straight stoppage victory by ninth-round KO over former title challenger Andrey Klimov in July.
Armed with brutal power punching abilities and pinpoint accuracy, “TNT” stopped Klimov for the first time as he had previously gone the distance in a unanimous decision loss to two-time champion Jose Pedraza in June 2015.
Maidana’s victory was his second this year and second straight in the United States, the Argentine’s previous U.S. appearance being a third-round stoppage of Justin Savi at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. on the April undercard of a draw between four-division champion Adrien Broner and former two-division titleholder Jessie Vargas at 144 pounds.
Luis Ortiz, heavyweight (29-1, 25 KOs)
Luis Ortiz starched the nearly 6-foot-8 Razvan Cojanu by second-round knockout in July, rebounding from a three-knockdown, 10th-round TKO loss to 6-foot-7 heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
A 39-year-old southpaw nicknamed “King Kong,” the 6-foot-4 Ortiz maneuvered like a middleweight before his thudding straight right, left-cross to the head floored Cojanu, who tried in vain to rise only to fall forward several times.
Cojanu was coming off a unanimous decision loss in May 2017 to then-unbeaten WBO king Joseph Parker.
Errol Spence Jr., 147 pounds (24-0, 21 KOs)
Errol Spence scored his 10th- and 11th- straight knockout victories in his first and second world title defense with one-knockdown eighth- and first-round stoppages of two-division champion Lamont Peterson and previously unbeaten Carlos Ocampo in January and June.
“The Truth” Spence, 28, vanquished Peterson at Barclays Center, and Ocampo with a body shot in June at The Star in Frisco, Texas, near his home of DeSoto.
Spence earned his crown in May 2017 by 11th-round knockout of Kell Brook in Sheffield, England, making him the first American to earn a world title from an English champion on foreign soil since Tim Bradley upset Junior Witter in Nottingham, England for a 140-pound title in 2008.
Spence next desires a unification clash with WBC counterpart Shawn Porter, four-division champion Mikey Garcia, 2008 Cuban Olympic bronze medalist Yordenis Ugas or left-handed former titleholder Luis Collazo in December or January.
Adam Kownacki, heavyweight (18-0, 14 KOs)
The 6-foot-3 Adam Kownacki displayed power and confidence to win his most difficult challenge to date with a unanimous decision over former IBF heavyweight titlist Charles Martin before a boisterous partisan group of Polish fans at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on September 8.
The 29-year-old Kownacki’s run of four straight knockouts ended against Martin, who followed “Baby face’s” one-knockdown, fourth-round TKO of left-handed former title challenger Artur Szpilka in July 2017 and his sixth-round knockout of Iago Kiladze in January.
Kownacki’s stoppage of Szpilka was quicker than his Polish countryman was dispatched by both heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Bryant Jennings in the ninth and 10th rounds, and Kiladze’s streak of six straight wins, five by knockout, was ended.