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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: And now, a vacation.
The cash and fistic king of boxing is finished with what likely will be,
even adjusted for inflation, the richest fight in history and history is again
his. 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 (26-0, 14 KO)
Current Titles: WBA Super
Middleweight (2009-Present, 5 Defenses); Lineal World/TBRB/Ring/ Super
Middleweight (2011-Present, 1 Defense)
Record in Title Fights: 6-0, 1 KO
Last Five Opponents: Chad Dawson
(TKO10), Carl Froch (UD12), Arthur Abraham (UD12), Sakio Bika (UD12), Allan
November 16, 2013 vs. Edwin Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KO)
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 fits the bill. Could
we see a bigger money rematch with Froch next year?
3) Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0, 8 KO)
Current Title: Lineal//TBRB/Ring
World Jr. Featherweight (2013-Present, 0 Defenses); WBA Super
Bantamweight (2012-Present, 3 Defenses); WBO Super Bantamweight (2013-Present, 0
Record in Title Fights: 4-0, 2 KO
(6-0, 3 KO including interim title fights); 1-0 (Lineal Only)
Last Five Opponents: Nonito
Donaire (UD12), Roberto Marroquin (UD12), Teon Kennedy (TKO5), Rico Ramos (KO6),
Willie Casey (TKO1)
Next Opponent: December 7,
2013 vs. Joseph Agbeko (29-4, 22 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. 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. After
much haggling about a return to TV, Rigondeuax is set for a fight that could be
one of his most entertaining. Agbeko
always comes to fight and has been one of the best Bantamweights of recent
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
Five Opponents: Juan Manuel Marquez (SD12), Ruslan Provodnikov (UD12), Manny
Pacquiao (SD12), 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’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 may be in order in 2014 if Pacquiao can win his comeback bout in
November. With that rematch, Bradley
would have 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: WBO Jr.
Welterweight (2012-Present, 0 Defenses)
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)
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) Carl Froch (31-2, 22 KO)
Current Titles: IBF Super
Middleweight (2012-Present, 2 Defenses); WBA “Super” Super Middleweight
(2013-Present, 0 Defenses)
Additional Titles: WBC Super
Middleweight (2008-10, 2 Defenses; 10-11, 1 Defense)
Record in Title Fights: 8-2, 3 KO
Last Five Opponents: Mikkel Kessler (UD12), Yusaf Mack (KO3), Lucian Bute
(TKO5), Andre Ward (L12), Glen Johnson (MD12)
Next Opponent: November 23,
2013 vs. George Groves (19-0, 15 KO)
The Take: He doesn’t do a
lot of things perfect but he and 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. In his last ten fights,
only Yusaf Mack would count as a stay busy affair.
Even bad asses need a breather. He
bounced right back, kept on winning, and now has a competitive mandate for a
rematch with Ward. If it doesn’t
happen, a third war with Kessler would be a welcome substitute.
In the meantime, it’s just more of the same as far as tough fights as
Froch prepares for a Groves who looks like a real threat. Froch
is one of boxing’s gems, a genuine take on all comers warrior.
We’ll miss him when he’s gone.
7) 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. Middleweight is showing new signs of life with Peter Quillin knocking guys
around and Gennady Golovkin carrying two bombs in his gloves.
But we continue to be reminded of how subtly good this reign has been;
case in point, Darren Barker is now a titlist in class.
Still, Quillin and Golovkin could be serious threats to a champion who
looked very much a 38-year old man in spots in his last outing.
Miguel Cotto, a former titlist in the three classes below him, could also
prove a threat and one that pay better than the established Middleweights around
him. There is speculation of a
showdown. Martinez remains rated for
now, but the end may be near.
8) Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 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: Juan Manuel Marquez (MD12, KO by 6), Timothy Bradley
(L12), Shane Mosley (UD12), Antonio Margarito (UD12), Joshua Clottey (UD12)
Next Opponent: November 23, 2013 vs. Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 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?
At 34, Pacquiao has a steep mountain to climb and plenty of Internet
memes to ignore. It might not be as
bad as those memes look. He appeared to do well more than enough to beat the
undefeated Timothy Bradley and eked one out in his third fight with Marquez
before that. The sport is moving on
in his absence and he slips as others rack up wins.
He’s picked a high-risk foe for his comeback later in the year.
Rios is younger, can punch, and has nothing to lose in the biggest
opportunity of his life.
9) Roman Gonzalez (35-0, 29 KO)
Current Titles: WBA Light Flyweight
(2010-Present, 5 Defenses)
Additional Titles: WBA
Minimumweight (2008-10, 3 Defenses)
Record in Title Fights: 9-0, 5 KO (10-0, 6 KO including interim title
Last Five Opponents: Francisco Rodriguez (TKO7), Ronald Barrera (TKO5),
Juan Francisco Estrada (UD12), Stiven Monterrosa (TKO3), Ramon Garcia (KO4)
Next Opponent: November 10,
2013 vs. Oscar Blanquet (32-6-1, 23 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 earlier this year, 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 25, 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.
10) 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: TBA
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 be next on
the Mayweather lottery wheel? If so,
he’s done as much to earn it as anyone and deserves the rewards of his labors.
Five More Who Could Easily Be
Here: Nonito Donaire, Juan Francisco
Estrada, Wladimir Klitschko, Leo Santa Cruz, Takashi Uchiyama
Five for the Future: Adrien
Broner, Gennady Golovkin, Kazuto Ioka, Peter Quillin, 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