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BoxingScene Pound for Pound Top Ten
By Cliff Rold
Floyd Mayweather (45-0, 26 KO)
Current Title: Lineal World Welterweight (2010-Present, 2 Defenses); WBC
Welterweight (2011-Present, 0 Defenses); WBA “Super” Light Middleweight
(2012-Present, 1 Defense); Ring Welterweight (2013-Present, 0 Defenses); Lineal/TBRB/Ring/WBC
Jr. Middleweight (2013-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: 23-0, 10 KO (Overall, including lineal vs. Shane
Mosley); 19-0, 9 KO (Lineal Only)
Last Five Opponents: Saul Alvarez
(MD12), Robert Guerrero (UD12), Miguel Cotto (UD12), Victor Ortiz (KO4), Shane
Next Opponent: TBA
Take: The vacation is almost over.
It looks like Amir Khan or Marcos Maidana is next…is that a good thing?
2013 was all good things for “Money.”
In defeating “Canelo” Alvarez, he laid claim to honors as the
outright king of the 154 lb. class, tying Manny Pacquiao as only the second man
ever to win four lineal world titles. For
a fighter often accused wrongly of avoiding challenges, he has defeated three
men (Alvarez, Cotto, and Mosley) who were rated by many as their division’s
leaders going in. In the fight
before that, he tuned up the then reigning lineal Lightweight king Juan Manuel
Marquez. Over that span of six
fights following a brief ‘retirement,’ Mayweather has lost less rounds than
he has had fights. In some fifteen
years of titles fights, only one man ever came close to beating him and the
first Jose Luis Castillo fight was over a decade ago.
Soon, Mayweather may have the record for most title fights without a
loss. All hail the king.
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: Ward lags behind some of
the men behind him in terms of career accomplishments.
After lopsided wins of increasing dominance over the best Super
Middleweight (Carl Froch) and Light Heavyweight (Chad Dawson) in the game, he
was closing the gap as quickly as he could.
An injury to his planned foe derailed a planned 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 has his
comeback foe. Rodriguez has earned
his shot and it’s not a bad match, though Ward will be favored.
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?
Or will the call of Light Heavyweight get too loud to ignore?
3) Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0, 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: TBA
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.
Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KO)
Current Title: WBO Welterweight
(2012-Present, 2 Defenses)
Career Titles: WBC Light Welterweight
(2008-09, 2 Defenses; 2011); WBO Light Welterweight (2009-2012, 4 Defenses)
Record in Title Fights: 9-0, 1 KO, 1
Last Five Opponents: Juan Manuel
Marquez (SD12), Ruslan Provodnikov (UD12), Manny Pacquiao (SD12), Joel Casamayor
(TKO8), Devon Alexander (Tech. Dec. 10)
Next Opponent: April 12, 2014 vs.
Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KO)
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’s done in the
two fights since have done more to define him than anything he’d done before.
In surviving a war with Provodnikov, he showed the grit, heart, and will
of a fighter. In outboxing Marquez,
he showed the skill of a champion in his prime.
Bradley could have returned to the top ten a slot higher but the Pacquiao
result is still out there. While
most didn’t like the verdict, he was hardly embarrassed and competed with the
Filipino icon. A reckoning between
the two is on tap. With that
rematch, Bradley has the chance to push away any remaining dark clouds and open
up all the sunny skies his hard work and professional class can bring him.
5) 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: TBA
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 once things shake out in the
Ruslan Provodnikov-Mike Alvarado and Pacquiao-Brandon Rios battles.
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.
6) Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KO)
Current Title: None
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: 16-2-2, 11 KO, 1 KOBY (Overall); 6-1-1, 5 KO, 1
KOBY (Lineal Only)
Last Five Opponents: Brandon Rios
(UD12), Juan Manuel Marquez (MD12, KO by 6), Timothy Bradley (L12),
Shane Mosley (UD12), Antonio Margarito (UD12)
Next Opponent: April 12, 2014 vs. Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KO)
Take: Despite suffering his first knockdown since 2003 in the third round,
Manny Pacquiao appeared to have finally found some of the technical answers he
needed to solve Juan Manuel Marquez. His
left was quick, his right was sudden, and both were landing.
Then Marquez put him to sleep. It
was an epic finish to an epic fight. Was
it the beginning of the end of an epic career?
The results of the Rios fight say no.
He might not be what he was at his dervish best, but Pacquiao can still
go. At 35, time isn’t on his side
and he has a tall order ahead. Sure,
it looked like he won the first Timothy Bradley fight but can he do it again?
And if he does, will a fifth Marquez fight materialize?
And, hey, will he make a move to make the Mayweather fight when his
contract opens up to allow it? Questions
remain. Pacquiao may not much
7) Roman Gonzalez (35-0, 29 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: Oscar Blanquet (TKO2), Francisco Rodriguez
(TKO7), Ronald Barrera (TKO5), Juan Francisco Estrada (UD12), Stiven Monterrosa
Next Opponent: February 15,
2014 vs. Juan Kantun (21-5-3, 15 KO)
The Take: It can be a mistake
to use outside results as an aid in appreciating a fighter, but this was one of
those occasions. When Juan Francisco
Estrada defeated Brian Viloria at Flyweight in 2013, he proved that his
performance against Roman Gonzalez last year was no fluke.
In doing so, he provided even more evidence 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 Yutaka 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.
With a possible rematch against Estrada, a potential showdown with Kazuto
Ioka, and even a still possible fight with Viloria someday, Gonzalez has the
talent around him to rise even higher. If
he defeats Kantun, he should have a mandatory crack at the lineal World
Champion, WBC titlist Akira Yaegashi. Gonzalez
may finally have his full coming out party in 2014.
8) Danny Garcia (27-0, 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: 5-0, 2 KO
Last Five Opponents: Lucas Matthysse (UD12), Zab Judah (UD12), Erik
Morales (UD12, KO4), Amir Khan (TKO4), Kendall Holt (SD12)
Next Opponent: March 15, 2014
vs. Mauricio Herrera (20-3, 7 KO)
The Take: Jr. Welterweight has
been one of boxing’s deepest and best classes for a few years now.
It’s champion for the moment is crystal clear.
Danny Garcia has shown considerable improvement since his close win over
Holt and now has toppled one of the most feared men in the sport.
Matthysse landed some bombs early but, like he did against Khan, Garcia
stuck to his game plan and found solutions.
His boxing ability, stiff left hook, and laudable mental focus and
toughness are the stuff of a special fighter.
The Matthysse fight was close but Garcia earned the win and now looks to
bigger things. Could he garner a
place on the Mayweather lottery wheel? If
so, he’s done as much to earn it as anyone and deserves the rewards of his
labors. Herrera is a victory lap
opponent, but one capable of the upset. Garcia
has little margin for error in 2014.
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: TBA
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. All signs point to Martinez
finalizing a clash with Miguel Cotto any day now in a fight that gives Martinez
the high-profile quality name that has often eluded him.
Chavez Jr. had the profile but not the pedigree in the ring.
Cotto, though undersized, brings chops and a big payday.
When it’s done, if Martinez wins (and he should even at what then will
be 39 years of age), 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: 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 may 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, kept on winning, and had a competitive mandate for a rematch
with Ward. 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 many felt they’d seen since Michael Dokes-Mike
Weaver I and the heat has been on Froch since to make the return.
Being Froch, it’s no surprise to see he appears to be doing the right
thing. He won’t be any younger if
the fight comes off, as currently proposed, in May.
Is Groves ready to finish what he started?
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, Kazuto Ioka, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org