Pound-for-Pound - There is no Debate

BY Joey Knish ON January 11, 2004
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The beauty of writing a pound-for-pound article is that, unlike arguing with my lady, I can't be wrong. But with her I just can't be right.

If we are discussing the fastest route home, her new hairstyle, or whether a dress "makes her look fat" or not, I simply can't win when it comes to the lady. When it comes to a boxing pound-for-pound list she can argue, but I can't be wrong. Am I? 1. Floyd Mayweather - An undefeated fighter is a nice place to start with a pound-for-pound list, right honey? Okay, so we already agree on something. Mayweather has fought, and beat, the best fighters that were available to be put in front of him. This is a minimum requirement for a P4P champion. There isn't a fighter who you could say Floyd has ducked, and defeating the likes of Diego Corrales, Jesus Chavez, and many others in the way has dominated them is testament to how skilled he is. With age, power and speed on his side it seems that only troublesome hands can keep Mayweather from being a mainstay at the top of our list. Bernard Hopkins - Hopkins seems to be like fine wine, very unlike my lady-friend, in that he keeps getting better with age. Physically he is an incredible specimen and is nothing but business inside the ring, and nothing if not outspoken outside of it. Some people let their bodies deteriorate as the calendar changes - no honey, this is not about you - while others find ways to eat themselves into the next division - yes James Toney, that is about you. 'The Executioner' delivered a pure beating on Felix Trinidad, and the way he dominated Antwun Echols with just his jab for nearly an entire round (after hurting his right) in their rematch was the sweet science at its sweetest. Erik Morales - 'El Terrible' is another fighter who has really delivered a whoopin' on some fighters much like my Momma did to me. You know . . . the kind you remember for a long, long time. I still wince sometimes when I sit down and while my lady thinks the mark on my butt is a cute birth mark, well, all I can say is that I must've been born with a wooden spoon on my fanny. As far as Morales is concerned, you could argue that his decision loss to Marco Antonio Barrera could have, or even should have, been a decision win. Other than that blemish Morales is an undefeated boxer with a 75% KO percentage, and he hasn't slowed down as he has stepped up his opposition. Roy Jones Jr. - Jones is deservedly on everybody's pound-for-pound chart, but not many have him this low. Moving up in weight to beat heavyweight John Ruiz was not as impressive as one might think and coming back to squeeze out a decision over Antonio Tarver leaves some ammo for his detractors. Jones has suffered from a lack of top-notch opposition which isn't his fault, but the way he sometimes carried opponents leaves a sour taste for some people. If he hadn't recorded a rap CD we may have Jones rated a bit higher, but he did . . . and he's not. Kostya Tszyu - "The Thunder from Down Under" makes this list because of a moniker like that, and the kid has some skills too. Coming up Tszyu was thought of as a big banger and not much else but his stellar amateur background and recent display of boxing ability show the Russian-born Aussie is definitely one of the pound-for-pound best. While his 'Russtralian' accent is often near impossible to understand he leaves little doubt when he gets in the ring and let's his fists do the talking. Now if we could only get someone to cut off his Samsonesque ponytail we may have reason to move him up the list. Note: Knish has now used ballet and bible references in boxing articles, a literary first! (The Samson reference being from the 'Samson and Delilah' stories in the bible, of course, but you knew that). Manny Pacquiao - The PacMan simply walked through Marco Antonio Barrera, and it says here would do so again should the two meet again. Pacquiao carries sleep drops in both hands and that, couple with his shaky chin, means he will never be in a bad fight. Unlike Ricardo Mayorga who landed on the boxing scene with a bad attitude, poor habits, good punch and not much else - Manny has devastating power, a good trainer, and can box. Mounting problems with local tax authorities suggests we will get to see more and more of the Philippine slugger. Oscar De La Hoya - Based on market power and his overall attraction to even the slightest boxing fan Oscar has to be on the list. The three losses that stain his resume were all of the "controversial" type. Every fight he is in is a 'mega fight' and the level of opposition has been very, very good. Not much more needs to be said, he's Oscar De La Hoya damn it! Juan Manuel Marquez - Another fighter who you could say has never lost a fight. My wallet and his record each took a hit when Marquez was jobbed of a decision versus Freddy Norwood and the previous loss was a DQ in his first professional appearance. The only knock you might make against him is that he doesn't have star-studded list of opponents. Problem is that with 33 whacks in 42 wins not many bigger names wanna tangle with him and those that do run like Gainer did. Shane Mosley - Okay, so to be the man you have to beat the man and using that analogy Mosley should be ahead of Oscar. Well, he isn't. Shane has incredible speed and strength but he struggled mightily with Vernon Forrest twice and Forrest lost to Mayorga, also twice. If we played 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon' we would therefore have to make a case for Forrest being on the list and he lost to Mayorga. That means putting Mayorga up here too and a fighter who lost to the waiter at my favorite pizza joint (Humberto Aranda) just isn't going to happen. Wayne Braithwaite - We may have saved the best for last. Wayne Braithwaite is a monster, period. The "Big Truck" has rolled over all 20 opponents he has faced and 17 of them were sent to Queer Street, most of them all the way to the last house on the block. While most opponents have bowed out early, Vincenzo Cantatore lasted until the 10th round when he made the mistake of turning to the ref, seemingly to complain about how hard and often Braithwaite was hitting him. Braithwaite showed what he was made of and clocked the defenseless Italian until the ref stepped in and did what Cantatore wanted, stop the fight. It says here that Braithwaite would beat Toney at 190.

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