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Andre Ward trains for his Nov. 19, 2016, (Credit: Roc Nation Sports/Khristopher SandiferKhristopher Sandifer)

Andre Ward trains for his Nov. 19, 2016, fight against WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.

Top 10 pound-for-pound boxers

Newsday's Robert Cassidy ranks the best pound-for-pound boxers in the sport as the 2016 fight calendar ends and 2017 begins. The top 10 are presented below in countdown order.

10. Kell Brook

Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) was solid during
(Credit: AFP/Getty Images/Adrian Dennis)

Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) was solid during his reign as IBF champion, so let's not penalize him too harshly for climbing two weight classes to challenge Gennady Golovkin. Particularly since many middleweights aren't rushing into the ring to meet "Triple G." Golovkin scored a predictable fifth-round TKO. It's possible Brook will fight British rival Amir Khan in early 2017, probably at welterweight. Possibly at junior middleweight.

9. Carl Frampton

It was a strong 2016 for Carl Frampton
(Credit: Getty Images / Anthony Geathers)

It was a strong 2016 for Carl Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs). He beat Scott Quigg in a 122-pound unification bout, then moved up to featherweight and hung the first career loss on Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Center. That contest is a strong contender for Fight of the Year honors. The two will meet again on Jan. 28, 2017.

8. Terence Crawford

Terence Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs) scored wins over
(Credit: Getty Images / Steve Marcus)

Terence Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs) scored wins over previously unbeaten Viktor Postol and a very tough John Molina Jr. In December, the WBC and WBO super lightweight champion was sentenced to 90 days in jail in connection with a disturbance at an Omaha body shop. So he could be on the shelf for a while.

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7. Danny Garcia

\Danny Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs) was solid in
(Credit: Getty Images / Drew Hallowell )

\Danny Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs) was solid in his welterweight title win over Roberto Guerrero in January 2016. He followed that with a non-title TKO of Samuel Vargas. But it's his showdown with fellow welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman that should alter both fighter's standing here.

6. Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez

The year 2016 provided something new for Ramon
(Credit: Getty Images)

The year 2016 provided something new for Ramon Gonzalez (46-0, 38 KOs). Yes, he remained unbeaten but also he went the distance in two straight fights for the first time since 2009. He scored decisions over McWilliams Arroyo and Carlos Cuadras. There are reports that "Chocolatito" and Cuadras will fight again as the main undercard bout to the Gennady Golovkin-Danny Jacobs middleweight unification bout at the Garden.

5. Keith Thurman

Keith Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) scored a thrilling
(Credit: Getty Images / Ed Mulholland)

Keith Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) scored a thrilling win over Shawn Porter in June at the Barclays Center. Thurman and Porter went toe-to-toe for much of the 12 rounds with "One Time" winning a narrow but unanimous decision, 115-113 on all three cards. He faces fellow welterweight champ Danny Garcia in March 2017.

4. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez

Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) notched a pair
(Credit: Getty Images)

Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) notched a pair of predictable knockouts over Amir Khan and Liam Smith. But the real showdown fans want for the WBC middleweight champion is a unification match with Gennady Golovkin.

3. Sergey Kovalev

There are plenty of ringside observers who felt
(Credit: Getty Images)

There are plenty of ringside observers who felt Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) beat Andre Ward in their light heavyweight unification title bout. He dropped Ward but lost as close a unanimous decision as one can lose: 114-113 on all three judges' scorecards. Main Events, Kovalev's promoter, already exercised the rematch clause, so look for this fight to happen again in 2017.

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2. Andre Ward

Undisputed light heavyweight champion Andre Ward (31-0, 15
(Credit: Roc Nation Sports/Khristopher Sandifer)

Undisputed light heavyweight champion Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) rose from the canvas, stayed composed and turned back the biggest challenge of his career in his fight against Sergey Kovalev. The unanimous decision was widely disputed and the rematch looms for these two warriors.

1. Gennady Golovkin

IBF/IBO middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs)
(Credit: Getty Images)

IBF/IBO middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) will finally get a high-profile match when he meets WBA champ Daniel Jacobs in a unification match at the Garden on March 18, 2017. On paper, this fight presents the biggest challenge to Golovkin's reign to date.

The next 10

11. Danny Jacobs 12. Vasyl Lomachenko 13. Guillermo
(Credit: Getty Images)

11. Danny Jacobs
12. Vasyl Lomachenko
13. Guillermo Rigondeaux
14. Deontay Wilder (pictured)
15. Adonis Stevenson
16. Erislandy Lara
17. Viktor Postol
18. Shawn Porter
19. Miguel Cotto
20. Wladimir Klitschko

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