A stunningly easy victory by Kostya Tszyu last week means a new boxing pound for pound list, November's edition.
1. Bernard Hopkins: The undisputed middleweight champ is on a vacation after his September knockout of Oscar De La Hoya. The victory heightened Hopkins' star power, and he will likely be matched with a big name like Antonio Tarver sometime in 2005. Meanwhile, he'll feast on longshots like Howard Eastman.
2. Floyd Mayweather: Not much has been heard from “Pretty Boy” Floyd since his May decision over DeMarcus Corley. Could it be he is again allowing his brittle hands to heal? Possibly. He is also waiting to see what happens now that Tszyu is back in the picture; as well as the result of January's Arturo Gatti-Jesse James Leija battle.
3. Felix Trinidad: “Tito” is also planning his next plan of attack after destroying Ricardo Mayorga in October. More than likely, after another possible tuneup, its either old foe Oscar De La Hoya or another stab at pound for pound king Hopkins – still his only loss. Or both. Can you imagine how big Hopkins-Trinidad 2 would be if Tito beats De La Hoya again?
4. Antonio Tarver: Could be in his prime after his May stunner over Roy Jones Jr. But he probably should have fought again by now. He'll close out the year with an intriguing showdown against fellow Jones-basher Glencoffe Johnson in December.
5. Erik Morales: What more can you ask of the Tijuana native? He's won titles in three divisions, and beaten every formidable fighter between 122 and 130 pounds. The winner of Morales-Barrera 3 on Nov. 27 will be called the greatest little guy of their generation.
6. Manny Pacquiao: Like Tarver, “Pac-Man” should have probably stepped in the ring again by now, even though his May showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez was brutal. Save for a mandatory title defense, Pacquiao's boxing career seems on hold until Morales and Barrera finish their business. 7. Kostya Tszyu: The “Thunder from Down Under” was away for almost two years, but he's back with gusto after his shellacking of Sharmba Mitchell last week in Phoenix. True, Mitchell didn't put up much resistence, but that may be due to Tszyu's punching power. Now, he looks forward to showdowns with Gatti, Mayweather and Cory Spinks.
8. Marco Antonio Barrera: The Mexican great returned with a splendid performance against Paulie Ayala in June. Now, he hopes to continue his comeback against rival Morales on Nov. 27. It will be the third time Barrera and Morales hook up, and this one will be for all the marbles. Could this be Ali-Frazier 3, in which neither fighter is the same afterwards. Quite possibly.
9. Winky Wright: Wright's future was thought to be full of multi-million dollar showdowns against the De La Hoyas, Hopkinses and Trinidads of the world, but all he's getting is a ho-hum rematch with Shane Mosley, who he dominated in March. Expect a repeat victory, and a fight against one of the “Big Three” in 2005.
10. Oscar De La Hoya: Okay, so the “Golden Boy” was crushed with a single left to the liver against Hopkins. Until then, De La Hoya was putting up a pretty decent fight against a guy who was much bigger. He's still the sport's biggest name, and, regardless of who he fights, it will be a pay-per-view bonanza. Don't think Trinidad and Wright don't know it.
11. Juan Manuel Marquez: Marquez broke into the top 10 after his May war with Pacquiao. But after a September snoozer with outclassed Orlando Salido, Marquez may have taken a step backward. Not that it matters. He'll get a chance to redeem himself eventually against Pacquiao, Morales or Barrera.
12. Jose Luis Castillo: The tough Mexican showed his resilience in his June victory over favored Juan Lazcano. Now, Castillo has signed for a relatively quick December showdown against multi-talented Joel Casamayor. Castillo is bigger and stronger, but Casamayor is as dangerous an opponent as the champ could find.
On the brink: Diego Corrales, James Toney