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BoxingScene Pound for Pound Top Ten
By Cliff Rold
Floyd Mayweather (46-0, 26 KO)
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
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
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)
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
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)
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)
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
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)
Current Titles: None
Additional Titles: WBA
Minimumweight (2008-10, 3 Defenses); WBA Light Flyweight (2010-14, 5
Record in Title Fights: 9-0, 5 KO (10-0, 6 KO including interim title
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.
Timothy Bradley (31-1, 12 KO)
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
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)
Current Title: None
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
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
8) Danny Garcia (28-0, 16 KO)
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)
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)
Current Titles: IBF Super
Middleweight (2012-Present, 3 Defenses); WBA Super Middleweight (2013-Present, 1
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
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 email@example.com