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BoxingScene Pound for Pound Top Ten
By Cliff Rold

1) Floyd Mayweather (46-0, 26 KO)

Age:
37

Current Title: Lineal World Welterweight (2010-Present, 3 Defenses); WBC Welterweight (2011-Present, 2 Defenses); WBA “Super” Light Middleweight (2012-Present, 1 Defense); Ring Welterweight (2013-Present, 1 Defense); Lineal/TBRB/Ring/WBC Jr. Middleweight (2013-Present, 0 Defenses); WBA “Super” Welterweight (2014-Present, 0 Defenses)

Additional Lineal World Championships: World Jr. Lightweight (1998-2002, 8 Defenses); World Lightweight (2002-2004, 3 Defenses); World Welterweight (2006-08, 1 Defense)
Additional Titles:
WBC Super Featherweight (1998-2002, 8 Defenses); Ring/WBC Lightweight (2002-2004, 3 Defenses); WBC Super Lightweight (2005); IBF Welterweight (2006); Ring/WBC Welterweight (2006-08, 1 Defense); WBC Super Welterweight (2007)

Record in Title Fights: 24-0, 10 KO (Overall, including lineal vs. Shane Mosley); 20-0, 9 KO (Lineal Only)

Last Five Opponents: Marcos Maidana (MD12), Saul Alvarez (MD12), Robert Guerrero (UD12), Miguel Cotto (UD12), Victor Ortiz (KO4)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: For the second fight in a row, Mayweather left the ring with only a majority decision in his favor.  This time, the scores reflected the reality.  Maidana gave him the toughest fight he’s had since Miguel Cotto, and it was closer still than that.  This was the most anyone had challenged Mayweather since Jose Luis Castillo in 2002.  A second half surge insured Mayweather would continue on as Welterweight king and, for now, keeps him atop this list.  Were Andre Ward more active, the struggle with Maidana might be enough to see the top two switch places (again).  For now, the world might be looking at a rematch with Maidana and that sounds just fine.  We’ve seen plenty of fighters lose quietly to Mayweather.  Seeing the one who didn’t get a second crack rewards the merit of the challenge.

2) Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KO)
Age:
30
Current Titles: WBA Super Middleweight (2009-Present, 6 Defenses); WBC Super Middleweight (2011-12, 1 Defense); Lineal World/TBRB/Ring/Super Middleweight (2011-Present, 2 Defenses)
Record in Title Fights: 7-0, 1 KO; 3-0, 1 KO (Lineal Only)
Last Five Opponents: Edwin Rodriguez (UD12), Chad Dawson (TKO10), Carl Froch (UD12), Arthur Abraham (UD12), Sakio Bika (UD12)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: After lopsided wins of increasing dominance over Carl Froch and Chad Dawson, Ward looked like the best prime fighter in the game.  An injury to his planned foe derailed a defense against Kelly Pavlik and then a shoulder injury of his own kept Ward on the shelf some more.  The Super Middleweight king, after much consternation, finally had his comeback foe in Edwin Rodriguez.  In the absence of a big fight, a champion who wishes to rule a single class can only beat the top ten contenders around him.  Rodriguez fit that bill.  Could we see a bigger money rematch with Froch later this year?  Will the call of Light Heavyweight get too loud to ignore?  Do any of these questions matter while Ward loses precious time in his physical peak to a legal battle with promoter Dan Goosen?   

3) Guillermo Rigondeaux (13-0, 8 KO)
Age:
33
Current Title: WBA Super Bantamweight (2012-Present, 4 Defenses); WBO Super Bantamweight (2013-Present, 1 Defense); Lineal/TBRB/Ring World Jr. Featherweight (2013-Present, 0 Defenses);
Record in Title Fights: 5-0, 2 KO (6-0, 3 KO including interim title fights); 2-0 (Lineal Only)
Last Five Opponents: Joseph Agbeko (UD12), Nonito Donaire (UD12), Roberto Marroquin (UD12), Teon Kennedy (TKO5), Rico Ramos (KO6)

Next Opponent: July 19, 2014 vs. Jonathan Guzman (16-0, 16 KO)

The Take: There will be some who say ‘too soon.’  Sometimes, it’s better to trust the eye test.  It didn’t look too soon in April 2013 when Rigondeuax defused the talented Nonito Donaire for most of twelve rounds.  The amateur pedigree is now a firmly established professionalism and while his already advancing age may not mean we get a long look at the Cuban in the paid ranks, its clear he’s everything advertised since the day he turned pro.  Rigondeuax presents a package of balance, defense, and punching accuracy that will be tough for anyone to solve in the foreseeable future.  His performance against Donaire wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but accusations of running were comical.  He stood in front of Donaire for long tracts of the fight and outfought Donaire when he had too.  The same was true in an easy outclassing of an Agbeko who would have been hailed a great win for anyone else.  There are three fighters in the sport who would be strongly favored over anyone in their class and the classes one below and above them.  The other two occupy the top two slots above. 

4) Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KO)
Age: 35
Current Title: WBO Welterweight (2014-Present, 0 Defenses)
Lineal World Championships: World Flyweight (1998-99, 1 Defense); World Featherweight (2003-2005, 2 Defenses); World Jr. Lightweight (2008); World Junior Welterweight (2009-10)

Additional Titles: WBC Flyweight (1998-99, 1 Defense); IBF Jr. Featherweight (2001-03, 4 Defenses); WBC Super Featherweight (2008); WBC Lightweight (2008); Ring Jr. Welterweight (2009-10); WBO Welterweight (2009-12, 3 Defenses); WBC Super Welterweight lbs. (2010-11) 

Record in Title Fights: 17-2-2, 11 KO, 1 KOBY (Overall); 6-1-1, 5 KO, 1 KOBY (Lineal Only)

Last Five Opponents: Timothy Bradley (UD12, L12), Brandon Rios (UD12), Juan Manuel Marquez (MD12, KO by 6), Shane Mosley (UD12), Antonio Margarito (UD12)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: Rumors of demise were ill founded.  In two fights since a knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao shut out former titlist Brandon Rios in what was for him a tune-up and then proved still more than capable of handling the very good Timothy Bradley.  Pacquiao’s power has waned as he ages at Welterweight, but his speed and footwork still combine with more than enough explosion to make him one of the best.  The future Hall of Famer has big choices ahead as he considers a contract extension with Top Rank.  Does he sign or look at offers from other places?  Would other places make the offer to, finally, get the fight everyone (still) wants to see?  For now, it’s enough to know Pacquiao is back in the belted ranks at Welterweight and still not done building on his Hall of Fame credentials.     

5) Roman Gonzalez (39-0, 33 KO)
Age:
26
Current Titles: None
Additional Titles: WBA Minimumweight (2008-10, 3 Defenses); WBA Light Flyweight (2010-14, 5 Defenses)
Record in Title Fights: 9-0, 5 KO (10-0, 6 KO including interim title fights)
Last Five Opponents: Juan Purisma (TKO3), Juan Kantun (TKO6), Oscar Blanquet (TKO2), Francisco Rodriguez (TKO7), Ronald Barrera (TKO5)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: There aren’t a lot of guys going out of there way to find Gonzalez in the lower weight classes.  Gonzalez has largely been spinning his wheels since a win over Juan Francisco Estrada in 2012, but that win still carries weight.  It can be a mistake to use outside results as an aid in appreciating a fighter, but this was one of those occasions. Juan Francisco Estrada defeated Brian Viloria at Flyweight in 2013, and two defenses since prove he is no fluke.  He is evidence, along with wins for Gonzalez against titlists Francisco Rodriguez, Ramon Garcia, Katsunari Takayama, and Yutaka Niida, that Gonzalez may be the most special fighter in the lowest weight classes since the heyday of Michael Carbajal and Ricardo Lopez.  Since walking through Niida for a title at 105, the only stoppage loss Niida ever suffered, Gonzalez has had few fights that have even been close.  He can box and punch and, at 26, may only be hitting his stride.  A mandatory crack at the lineal World Flyweight Champion, WBC titlist Akira Yaegashi, looks likely for the summer of 2014 and with it a chance to reign in his third weight class.  If he gets past the tough Japanese veteran, a unification rematch with Estrada could be the best Flyweight clash in years.

6) Timothy Bradley (31-1, 12 KO)
Age:
30
Current Title: None
Career Titles: WBC Light Welterweight (2008-09, 2 Defenses; 2011); WBO Light Welterweight (2009-2012, 4 Defenses); WBO Welterweight (2012-Present, 2 Defenses)
Record in Title Fights: 9-1, 1 KO, 1 NO Contest
Last Five Opponents: Manny Pacquiao (L12, SD12), Juan Manuel Marquez (SD12), Ruslan Provodnikov (UD12), Joel Casamayor (TKO8), Devon Alexander (Tech. Dec. 10)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: After making a case as the best Jr. Welterweight in the world, Bradley skipped over a chance at outright confirmation of the claim that could have come then with a fight against Amir Khan.  He had bigger designs.  Aiming his sights on Pacquiao, Bradley won a belt in his second weight class under a cloud of controversy.  What he did in the two fights after did more to define him than anything he’d done before.  In surviving a war with Provodnikov, he showed the grit, heart, and the will of a fighter.  In outboxing Marquez, he showed the skill of a champion in his prime.  That he again failed to handle Pacquiao is no shame.  He lost to one of the greats.  He’s proved plenty against everyone else he’s faced.

7) Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KO)
Age:
40
Current Title: None
Lineal World Championships: World Lightweight Champion (2008-12, 3 Defenses)
Additional Titles: IBF Featherweight (2003-05, 4 Defenses); WBA Featherweight (2003-05, 3 Defenses); WBC Super Featherweight (2007-08, 1 Defense); WBO/WBA Lightweight (2009-Present, 2 Defenses); WBO Jr. Welterweight (2012-13)
Record in Title Fights: 10-5-1, 4 KO (13-5-1, 6 KO including interim title fights) (Overall); 4-1-1, 3 KO (Lineal Only)
Last Five Opponents: Timothy Bradley (L12), Sergiy Fedchenko (UD12), Manny Pacquiao (L12, KO6), Likar Ramos (KO1), Michael Katsidis (TKO9)

Next Opponent: May 17, 2014 vs. Mike Alvarado (34-2, 23 KO)

The Take:  An attempt at history was denied.  Marquez attempted to become the first Mexican national to win five belts in five weight classes and fell just short in a fascinating, if not always scintillating, chess match with Timothy Bradley.  It was the sort of fight that could have been scored a number of ways but the marked face of Marquez told how hard a night it had been.  At 40, Marquez isn’t likely to continue for much longer (though who knows in this ageless era).  Despite the sting of defeat, he continues on as the man who screwed Manny Pacquiao into the floor one bout prior and he will have options should he get past the rugged and larger Alvarado.  Marquez has always struggled with men who can back off and force him to lead.  He’s handled just about anyone else and remains one of the genuine legends of Mexican boxing.  Whenever he says he’s done, the five-year Canastota clock begins clicking to the inevitable.

8) Danny Garcia (28-0, 16 KO)
Age:
26
Current Titles: Lineal/TBRB Jr. Welterweight (2013-Present, 0 Defenses); Ring/WBA “Super” Jr. Welterweight (2012-Present, 3 Defenses); WBC Super Lightweight (2012-Present, 4 Defenses)
Record in Title Fights: 6-0, 2 KO
Last Five Opponents: Mauricio Herrera (MD12), Lucas Matthysse (UD12), Zab Judah (UD12), Erik Morales (UD12, KO4), Amir Khan (TKO4)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: After a strong run that included wins over Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse as an underdog, a letdown was bound to come.  But was it just a letdown?  Or did Maurico Herrera lay down a blueprint for future Garcia challengers?  In a close and debated decision, Garcia retained his crown but gave reasons for skeptics to wonder about where he’s headed.  Could the destination be a rematch with Matthysse?  The Argentine has never been more popular following an epic win over John Molina and the first fight was more than competitive enough to merit a return.  Will Herrera, who surely earned it, ever get his second chance?  

9) Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KO)
Age:
39
Current Titles: Lineal World Middleweight Champion (2010-Present, 6 Defenses); WBC Middleweight (2012-Present, 1 Defense)
Additional Titles: WBC Super Welterweight (2009-10); WBC Middleweight (2010-11, 1 Defense); WBO Middleweight (2010)
Record in Title Fights: 9-0-1, 6 KO including interim title fights (Overall); 7-0, 4 KO (Lineal Only)
Last Five Opponents: Martin Murray (UD12), Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (UD12), Matthew Macklin (RTD11), Darren Barker (KO11), Sergiy Dzinziruk (TKO8)
 
Next Opponent: June 7, 2014 vs. Miguel Cotto (51-2-2, 28 KO)

The Take: Talk about making it interesting.  Martinez has danced on the edge in each of his last two fights.  He came of the floor officially in round eight to salvage a win over the rugged Murray in a raucous homecoming.  Martinez was boxing the brakes off of Chavez for eleven rounds before being dropped hard and showing a champion’s will to survive and finish the final round firing back.  At 39, he’s taking a cash-out clash with the much smaller Cotto in June.  When it’s done, if Martinez wins (and he should even with recent wear), there is one opponent with a mandate waiting for him: Gennady Golovkin.  It’s the fight that should be and no excuse should be allowed for any other option after Cotto.    

10) Carl Froch (32-2, 23 KO)
Age:
36
Current Titles: IBF Super Middleweight (2012-Present, 3 Defenses); WBA Super Middleweight (2013-Present, 1 Defense)
Additional Titles: WBC Super Middleweight (2008-10, 2 Defenses; 10-11, 1 Defense)
Record in Title Fights: 9-2, 4 KO
Last Five Opponents: George Groves (TKO9), Mikkel Kessler (UD12), Yusaf Mack (KO3), Lucian Bute (TKO5), Andre Ward (L12)

Next Opponent: May 31, 2014 vs. George Groves (19-1, 15 KO)

The Take: He doesn’t do a lot of things perfect but he wins anyways.  After a rousing rematch victory over Mikkel Kessler, only Andre Ward has one up on Froch.  A rematch would give Froch a chance to reverse that outcome as well, though most would see his chances as long.  Regardless, Froch deserves all the credit in the world for the way he continually challenges himself.  Dating to Jean Pascal, only Yusaf Mack would count as a stay busy affair.  Even bad asses need a breather.  He bounced right back from Ward and kept on winning.  Then came George Groves.  In a fight that looked like a brewing classic, Froch got up from a nasty first round knockdown and was down on the cards when he appeared to be turning the tide.  Referee Howard John Foster issued one of the worst stoppages since Michael Dokes-Mike Weaver I.  The heat was on Froch to make the return and, being Froch, he did.  The reward?  Some 80,000 fans in a soccer stadium and a global TV audience will tune in to what has become the biggest fight of Froch’s career.  Does he have another big win in him or is this a passing of the torch in the UK?

Five More Who Could Easily Be Here: Nonito Donaire, Juan Francisco Estrada, Wladimir Klitschko, Leo Santa Cruz, Takashi Uchiyama

Five for the Future: Gennady Golovkin, Naoya Inoue, Sergey Kovalev, Erislandy Lara, Adonis Stevenson

As always, feel free to agree…and disagree.  This list is for entertainment purposes only and based purely on imagination, hypotheticals, and conjecture just like every other pound for pound list ever written.  Neither it nor any other such list made up of such illusory ingredients should be used to forward corporate agendas of any kind. 

That doesn’t make it any less fun to argue about.

For the latest BoxingScene Divisional Ratings: http://www.boxingscene.com/forums/view.php?pg=boxing-ratings

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com


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