BoxingScene Pound for Pound Top Ten
By Cliff Rold
Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 KO)
Current Title: Lineal World Welterweight (2010-Present, 4 Defenses); WBC
Welterweight (2011-Present, 3 Defenses); WBA “Super” Light Middleweight
(2012-Present, 2 Defenses); Ring Welterweight (2013-Present, 2 Defenses);
Lineal/TBRB/Ring/WBC Jr. Middleweight (2013-Present, 1 Defense); WBA “Super”
Welterweight (2014-Present, 1 Defense)
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: 25-0, 10 KO (Overall, including lineal vs. Shane
Mosley); 21-0, 9 KO (Lineal Only)
Last Five Opponents: Marcos
Maidana (UD12, MD12), Saul Alvarez (MD12), Robert Guerrero (UD12), Miguel Cotto
(UD12), Victor Ortiz (KO4)
It was fun in spots, but where there could be
a little doubt the first time there was none in the sequel.
Using his legs more, attacking the body earlier, and aided by a Kenny
Bayless who had little interest in infighting, Mayweather ended the Marcos
Maidana rivalry. Now what?
Until he loses, there is no reason not to consider Mayweather the top
fighter in the sport but there are challenges looming.
Keith Thurman is promotable and physical.
Amir Khan can offer a challenge with his speed and range.
Danny Garcia is the reigning Jr. Welterweight king.
And, of course, there is Pacquiao.
No one expects it to happen but boxing sometimes surprises.
There has been a recent outbreak of rumors about the fight coming
together for 2015. Don’t start
caring until both parties announce they’ve signed an actual contract.
For now, there are no surprises when Mayweather fights.
He arrives. He wins.
2) Roman Gonzalez (41-0, 35 KO)
Current Titles: Lineal/TBRB/Ring/WBC
World Flyweight (2014-Present, 1 Defense)
Additional Titles: WBA
Minimumweight (2008-10, 3 Defenses); WBA Light Flyweight (2010-14, 5
Record in Title Fights: 11-0, 7 KO (12-0, 8 KO including interim title
fights); 2-0, 2 KO (Lineal only)
Last Five Opponents: Rocky Fuentes (TKO6), Akira Yaegashi (TKO9),
Juan Purisma (TKO3), Juan Kantun (TKO6), Oscar Blanquet (TKO2)
Next Opponent: TBA
The Take: The king of the most
exciting, and arguably best, current division in boxing is to offense what
someone like Guillermo Rigondeaux is to defense. He outboxes people while he
breaks them. This appears to be the
best fighter in the lower weights since the era of Mark Johnson, Ricardo Lopez,
and Michael Carbajal. Rocky Fuentes
hadn’t been stopped since 2005, and had lost only one decision since 2007.
Gonzalez ran him over to make his first Flyweight defense.
That’s seven stoppages in a row.
The only foe to last the distance in his last thirteen starts, Juan
Francisco Estrada, did it in a classic.
It’s the rematch every fan that follows the lower classes wants to see.
The Fuentes win follows Gonzalez handing Akira Yaegashi his first
knockout loss; he has a habit of doing things like that.
It was clear there was something to watch when he walked through Yutaka
Niida for his first title in 2008.
Niida had made seven straight defenses coming in and had never been stopped.
Gonzalez savaged him in four.
Former 108 lb. titlist Ramon Garcia and current unified 105 lb. titlist
Francisco Rodriguez have both been stopped once apiece; Gonzalez for both.
Rodriguez, Katsunari Takayama, and Estrada all won titles after losses to
Gonzalez. Across three weight
divisions, Gonzalez has been without peer.
While there was no doubt Gonzalez beat Estrada the first time, it was his
toughest fight. Estrada has done
nothing but excel since. They must
3) Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KO)
Current Title: WBO Welterweight (2014-Present, 1 Defense)
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: 18-2-2, 11 KO, 1 KOBY (Overall); 6-1-1, 5 KO, 1
KOBY (Lineal Only)
Last Five Opponents: Chris
Algieri (UD12), Timothy Bradley (UD12, L12),
Brandon Rios (UD12), Juan Manuel Marquez (MD12, KO by 6), Shane
Take: Rumors of his demise were ill founded.
In three fights since a knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao
shut out former titlist Brandon Rios, dominated Timothy Bradley, and then walked
through current Jr. Welterweight titlist Chris Algieri.
Rios and Algieri were treated like stay busy affairs, fighters that for
others are considered tough foes.
That’s the gap between a proven great and the rest of the field.
Pacquiao’s knockout numbers have 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. Pacquiao’s activity
in 2014, and his having lost only a few rounds since the Marquez defeat, is
enough to get him a bump past a Rigondeuax stuck in neutral.
4) Guillermo Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 KO)
Current Titles: WBA “Super” Super Bantamweight (2012-Present, 5
Defenses); Lineal/TBRB/Ring/WBO World
Jr. Featherweight (2013-Present, 2 Defenses)
Record in Title Fights: 6-0, 3 KO
(7-0, 4 KO including interim title fights); 3-0, 1 KO (Lineal Only)
Last Five Opponents: Sod
Kokietgym (KO1), Joseph Agbeko (UD12), Nonito Donaire (UD12), Roberto Marroquin
(UD12), Teon Kennedy (TKO5)
December 31, 2014 vs. vs. Hisashi Amagasa (28-4-2, 19 KO)
The Take: Rigondeuax defused
the talented Nonito Donaire for most of twelve rounds to make clear his place at
Jr. Featherweight. Now, the real
champion of the division finds himself with plenty of challengers who don’t want
to challenge him. It’s a sign of the
damage multiple belts can do when fighters can hide behind them and never have
to chase the real king of the mountain.
Rigondeuax might not draw, but no one can say they are the best at 122
lbs. without him. Even if they did,
his package of balance, defense, and punching accuracy is likely too 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 the easy outclassing of an Agbeko who would have been hailed a great win for
anyone else. Kokietgym was out of
his league and Amagasa will be too.
2014 is a lost year. Time will tell
if 2015 gets Rigondeaux a dance partner.
5) 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: December 13, 2014 vs.
Diego Chaves (23-2, 19 KO)
The Take: Does anyone think some
of the barbs thrown between Bradley and Algieri in the build to the
Pacquiao-Algieri fight were building something? Let’s hope not.
Bradley deserves better.
After making a case as the best Jr. Welterweight in the world, Bradley skipped
over a chance at outright confirmation of the claim 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.
He’s got a potentially tough but winnable match to end the year with an
uncertain 2015 developing.
6) 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: Mike
Alvarado (UD12), Timothy Bradley (L12), Sergiy Fedchenko (UD12), Manny
Pacquiao (L12, KO6), Likar Ramos (KO1)
Next Opponent: TBA
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 41, 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 and came off the floor in an otherwise brutal beating of Mike Alvarado.
Whenever he says he’s done, the five-year Canastota clock begins clicking
to the inevitable.
7) Carl Froch (33-2, 24 KO)
Current Titles: IBF Super
Middleweight (2012-Present, 4 Defenses); WBA “Unified” Super Middleweight
(2013-Present, 2 Defenses)
Additional Titles: WBC Super
Middleweight (2008-10, 2 Defenses; 10-11, 1 Defense)
Record in Title Fights: 10-2, 5 KO; 0-1 (Lineal only)
Last Five Opponents: George Groves (TKO9, TKO8), Mikkel Kessler (UD12),
Yusaf Mack (KO3), Lucian Bute (TKO5), Andre Ward (L12)
Next Opponent: TBA
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? 80,000 fans in a soccer stadium a global TV audience saw him
stop Groves with a single shot in a nip/tuck affair.
8) Sergey Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KO)
Current Titles: WBO Light Heavyweight
(2013-Present, 4 Defenses); WBA Super/IBF Light Heavyweight (2014-Present, 0
Record in Title Fights: 5-0, 4 KO
Last Five Opponents: Bernard Hopkins (UD12), Blake Capparello (TKO2),
Cedric Agnew (KO7), Ismayl Sillakh (TKO2), Nathan Cleverly (TKO4)
Next Opponent: TBA
The Take: Russia’s Kovalev
explodes into the ratings much the way he explodes on foes.
He passed the eye test in walking through the skilled and tricky Gabriel
Campillo. The eyes weren’t lying.
While his overall resume is still somewhat shallow, he dominated and beat
up the aged Hopkins, scoring a knockdown and nearly forcing a stoppage in the
final round. While he may not be the
lineal king at 175 lbs., Kovalev is the people’s champ now.
History’s king, Adonis Stevenson, shames himself if there is no showdown
in 2015. Kovalev can also keep an eye out for Andre Ward whenever Ward gets back
in the ring. The three belts he
holds now could be powerful bait to get Ward out of the comfort of the Super
9) Juan Francisco Estrada (30-2, 22 KO)
Current Titles: WBA “Super”/WBO Flyweight (2013-Present, 3 Defenses)
Additional Titles: None
Record in Title Fights: 4-1, 2 KO
Last Five Opponents: Giovani Segura (TKO11), Richie Mepranum (TKO10),
Milan Melindo (UD12), Brian Viloria (SD12), Roman Gonzalez (L12)
Next Opponent: December 6, 2014 vs. Joebert Alvarez (14-0-1, 6 KO)
The Take: Sometimes, a loss
can be a win. It was the case for
Estrada when he gave Gonzalez hell in a 2012 Fight of the Year contender.
Raising his stock, he got a crack at unified Flyweight titlist Brian
Viloria and hasn’t looked back.
Tabbed by Juan Manuel Marquez as perhaps Mexico’s finest young champion, Estrada
followed his win over Viloria with a knockdown and decision over the previously
undefeated Melindo. In his last
outing, he took the veteran Segura apart, stopping him for only the second time
and shaking off the few power shots Segura got in.
It was a thorough beating full of skill and precise punching and evidence
that Estrada is at full stride. His
only other defeat is an eight-round loss in 2011 where he and future 115 lb.
titlist Juan Carlos Sanchez exchanged knockdowns.
Further unification is possible with Gonzalez in the best Flyweight match
in a long time. It’s as must-have as
any fight in 2015. The youngest
fighter on this list, Estrada has a chance to stick around awhile.
Klitschko (63-3, 53 KO)
IBF Heavyweight (2006-Present, 17 Defenses); WBO Heavyweight (2008-Present, 13
Defenses); Lineal/Ring World Heavyweight (2009-Present, 10 Defenses); WBA
‘Super’ Heavyweight (2011-Present, 7 Defenses); TBRB Heavyweight (2013-Present,
WBO Heavyweight (2000-02, 5 Defenses);
24-2, 19 KO, 2 KOBY; 11-0, 8 KO (Lineal Title Only)
Opponents: Kubrat Pulev (KO5), Alex Leapai (TKO5), Alexander Povetkin (UD12),
Francisco Pianeta (TKO6), Mariusz Wach (UD12)
The Take: The most dominant division ruler in the
sport all but erased the ugly Povetkin memory with one of his best career
performances. Kubrat Pulev was the
best of the available contenders he hadn’t faced.
Four knockdowns were punctuated with a Knockout of the Year finish.
His jab, right hand, and left hook are historically impressive weapons in
the Heavyweight division. His skill
set and vulnerabilities (the chin remains iffy as evidenced by a Pulev jab that
hurt him in the first round) don’t necessarily translate in loftier
pound-for-pound terms. Who cares?
It works at Heavyweight. He
is literally the best fighter in the world and has been for years.
The way he responds to turbulence now, as opposed to a decade ago, speaks
to how far he’s come. Can he make 9
more defenses to challenge Joe Louis’s all-time consecutive defense record?
It’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Five More Who Could Easily Be Here:
Miguel Cotto, Danny Garcia, Gennady Golovkin, Donnie Nietes, Takashi
Five for the Future: Terrence
Crawford, Naoya Inoue, Adonis Stevenson, Nicholas Walters, Shinsuke Yamanaka
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
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