By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Andre Ward brought something that was much needed in boxing since the temporary retirement of Floyd Mayweather in September 2015—and that’s a clear No. 1 pound-for-pound best right now in boxing.

Some may dispute Ward’s 8th-round over Sergey Kovalev over the weekend, but the fact is Ward beat Kovalev twice, and on Saturday night stopped someone many in the boxing world felt couldn’t be stopped.

“I think it was plain to see that I broke [Kovalev] mentally and physically,” Ward said after the fight Saturday night. “I’m not a person that demands respect or none of that. You don’t have to respect me and I don’t demand anything, but at a certain point and time, you got to give a person their just do. I’m 13 years in and I’ve been doing it against the best.

“What’s next? Cruiserweight? Heavyweight? I dream big. Anything is possible when you have God.

“If there are questions marks after this that has nothing to do with me.”

Right after Ward (32-0, 16 KOs), however, there is some debate. Many consider Gennady Golovkin, the IBF, WBA, WBC middleweight champion, who is 37-0 (33 KOs) the second-best fighter in the world. Some place super flyweight dynamo Roman Gonzalez (46-1-0, 38 KOs), despite his highly controversial loss to Wisaksil Wangek in March.

Making a strong case is WBO junior lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs). Yes, you read that right, he’s only had nine fights. But once anyone sees him, the eyes don’t lie. He’s immensely talented and he’s dominating his opponents, whereas Gonzalez just lost to Wangek (though he didn’t in the minds of most respected observers), and Golovkin won by decision over Danny Jacobs, who showed that “GGG” can be outboxed.

Rounding out the top 5 is Terence Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs). The WBC/WBO junior welterweight champion was the Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year in 2014. The only thing Crawford is lacking is another big fight to throw him back into the spotlight again.

Fight fans know Crawford. It’s time for the rest of the mainstream sports fan to get familiar with the talented 29-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska.