The top four fighters of the Pound for Pound list did not change. It almost did change, but Manny Pacquiao won a close split-decision over Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez and that kept the status quo.
Of course Floyd Mayweather Jr. maintains his top spot.
The bottom portion of the list saw several changes. The loss by former lightweight world champion Juan Diaz and Joan Guzman’s failure to fight caused them to slip out of these rankings.
Other fighters saw improvement or decline. Several, including Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton and Cristian Mijares proved they belong on the list with strong showings in their last fights.
Here’s the list:
Floyd Mayweather (39-0, 25 KOs) – Fighting once a year is going to prove a downfall for Money Mayweather. He’s following in the direction of Oscar De La Hoya and that could prove the difference when they fight again. Wrestling doesn’t count. Mayweather depends on timing and defense. Those are skills you have to work on repeatedly. It’s something that can’t be put in a corner and picked up later like a clothes hanger. He barely beat De La Hoya by split-decision. I see an upset coming.
Manny Pacquiao (46-3-2, 35 KOs) – His last fight with Juan Manuel Marquez was a doozy. He pulled out the win by kapowing the Mexican fighter to the floor in the middle of the fight and that proved the difference. Now he’s entering unknown territory and faces rugged lightweight David Diaz. He may have ventured too far. One thing the Filipino superstar has is quickness and power. Can he bring those attributes to the 135-pound division? We’ll see very soon.
Israel Vazquez (43-4, 31 KOs) – The Mexico City warrior who now lives in Los Angeles kept his place on the list by engaging in three of the most brutal wars in prizefighting history. By the slimmest of margins he defeated his fellow Mexico City warrior. Now he deserves a rest, at least until the end of the year. Does he have anything left? That’s the question.
Kelly Pavlik (33-0, 29 KOs) – Pavlik is the youngest fighter on this list and has the biggest margin for improvement. He’s not a complete fighter yet, but he’s like a bull among dogs, he rams his way through opponents with those sledgehammer fists. He’s up against Welshman Gary Lockett who is unknown to Americans. If he beats Lockett, then maybe he gets the other Welshman, Joe Calzaghe?
Joe Calzaghe (45-0, 32 KOs) – At times Calzaghe looks amateurish with his pitty-pat punches but after 45 professional fights nobody has been able to stop him. His split-decision win over Bernard Hopkins was not great, but he did go 12 rounds with a legendary fighter. He must get his props. Could Pavlik be next?
Miguel Cotto (32-0, 26 KOs) – Puerto Rico’s excellent fighter passed one big test in beating Sugar Shane Mosley. He obliterated Alfonso Gomez. Now he returns for a make or break contest against one of the toughest hombres in boxing, Antonio Margarito. Believe me, if he beats Mexico’s Margarito that will be his greatest feat. They’ll write songs about him.
Bernard Hopkins (48-5-1, 32 KOs) – When you lose a close split-decision the naysayers are going to call you old. It comes with the territory. But Hopkins showed tremendous skill and landed some great shots against Calzaghe. The judges ruled him the loser but it’s hard to rule Hopkins out of the fight game. However, at age 43, time is running out. Who can Hopkins fight next?
Juan Manuel Marquez (48-4-1, 35 KOs) – The Mexico City boxer is a technical master. When he fights, it’s like a beautiful painting to watch him pit his skills against the best. That knockdown he suffered against Manny Pacquiao proved the difference between winning and losing. There are several other opponents that boxing fans would love to see against Marquez.
Rafael Marquez (37-5, 32 KOs) – After engaging in three of the greatest fights ever seen, Rafael Marquez, the younger brother of Juan Manuel Marquez, wants a fourth match against Israel Vazquez now. This guy is fierce, and not in a Project Runway description. Inside or out of the ring Marquez has the fierceness and confidence of a Joe Frazier.
Winky Wright (51-4-1, 25 KOs) – Here’s a guy who really nobody wants to fight. Winky has them slinky. Whenever his name is mentioned as a possible foe, other fighters find an excuse to disappear. One guy who could make Winky’s career is Oscar De La Hoya. Wright deserves a shot at gold just like Steve Forbes. How about it Oscar?
Ricky Hatton (44-1, 31 KOs) – The Hitman had his bad moments, but hey, he was fighting Juan Lazcano. Believe me, Lazcano is tough and can hit. He had never been knocked out and wasn’t going down for Hatton either. It was a well-deserved victory for the British junior welterweight. Welcome back to the rankings.
Cristian Mijares (35-3-2, 15 KOs) – The Durango Kid makes his first appearance on this list. He’s one heck of a boxer. His last three wins proved that he’s a superior fighter with wins against Jorge Arce, Jose Navarro and Venezuela’s Alex Munoz. Those guys were very good fighters. The speedy southpaw from Mexico is a very smart fighter who knows how to dissect an opponent and go to work. He kind of reminds me of the great Ricardo “Finito” Lopez.
Joan Guzman – The Dominican boxer was dropped down in the list for inactivity and failing to engage in his scheduled fight. He’s too good to be messing around. Guzman announced he’s moving up to the lightweight division. It will be very interesting with him aboard.
Nate Campbell – The Galaxxy Warrior is one fight away from cracking the top 12. He’s always had the tools. A win against any of the other top lightweights such as Joel Casamayor, Manny Pacquiao, Michael Katisidis or Juan Manuel Marquez will put him on the map for good.
Antonio Margarito – People chide the Tijuana fighter for his lack of defense, but that’s his style. The amazing thing is he’s been fighting professionally since 14. If he beats Cotto, not only will he be considered an elite fighter, he could become the mayor of his town.
Nonito Donaire – Nobody cracks like Donaire nor has that attacking style that makes fans want to pay big bucks to watch him fight. He’s two big wins away from making the world notice. The Filipino cherry bomb has speed, agility and power plus in both hands. He just may be the most exciting fighter today.