Don’t get me wrong, Zoro is undeniably the stronger of the 2. But the difference just isn’t as significant as some people think it is. Plus when you factor in their different fighting styles the whole thing becomes even more debatable. But I’m not here to debate who’d win. However since the introduction of Sanji the pair have been portrayed as rivals and if Oda was to ever widen this gap it would honestly kinda ruin their dynamic. To explain my point let’s look at what Oda has given us.
Firstly, Sanji and Zoro instantly take a disliking with each other with a kinda love hate rivalry with one constantly trying to one up the other. This back in forth would be alot less comedic and meaningful if Zoro was on a higher tier than Sanji. It even translates to their enemies who all share similar relationships to their SH counterparts. Mr 1 and 2, Kaku and Jabra, etc…
Secondly, there’s the fact of their abilities. Zoro has greater physical strength, durability, and Armament Haki. But Sanji has superior speed, Observation Haki and is smarter. They each are Masters in their own respective styles of combat, hinting that if they fought a victory between the 2 would be highly circumstantial. If Zoro hits Sanji it would devastating, but if Sanji can avoid Zoro there’s really nothing he could do to end the fight.
Thirdly, we’ll go into some blatant examples in the story. The earliest I believe was the Little Garden arc with the dinosaur measuring contest. In said contest both caught dinosaurs that were close in size with Zoro having a caught one that that was heavier, but Sanji’s was longer. Which in itself references that Sanji’s a lighter more agile fighter and Zoro being more powerful. But at the end of the day the difference was miniscule.
Lot of fans claim that Zoro is now stronger and the gap has increased since the New World but consider this……have they been fighting opponents on the same level? The answer is NO!
Vergo could murder Monet and Doffy is obviously stronger than Pika. Most of Zoro opponents have either been severely weaker or ran from him where as Sanji had legit hard to fight opponents.
So I feel like people are quick to jump on the whole Zoro is waaay stronger wagon when there is no info to support that as a fact.
*Theory by Spidey-Jackson