Popularity or sensational knockouts have no bearing on this list. If that’s your cup of tea, well, this list is not for you. Skill and intelligence are the basis for this list.
Imagine that everyone in this pound for pound category weighed the exact same. How would they fare against each other? That’s always the main underlining factor on my pound for pound list. Another major factor is if a fighter has captured world titles in different weight divisions. No better proof exists of a boxer’s skills and intelligence than winning in different weight divisions. Dominance in at least one weight division is also proof of excellence.
Here’s the list:
1. Floyd Mayweather (45-0, 26 Kos) – The big question now for Mayweather is who does he fight next? Rumors are swirling that next on Money’s hit list will be Amir Khan. Not many are enthusiastic about the fight though it would be interesting to see how Mayweather solves the speed question. The betting line would be even larger than it was with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or Robert Guerrero. Though Mayweather’s speed has slowed just a tick, he has plenty left to deal with anyone in the welterweight division. Two welterweights that could bring big money to the table would be Manny Pacquiao or Tim Bradley. Pacquiao has been gunning for Mayweather for several years and would bring a healthy pay-per-view audience. Bradley’s speed and cunning would give Mayweather a challenge too, but both Pacman and Desert Storm are Top Rank fighters. Another negative factor is Mayweather does not care to share 50/50 or even 60/40 with any challenger especially a Top Rank fighter. The Cold War continues.
2. Tim Bradley (31-0, 12 Kos) – After cleaning out the junior welterweight division “Desert Storm” moved into the welterweight division and has done just fine. Defeating the great Juan Manuel Marquez was not an easy feat. Bradley used his speed and intelligence to out-maneuver the always clever Marquez over 12 rounds last October in Las Vegas. The large pro-Marquez crowd was stunned by Bradley’s performance against the man who knocked out Manny Pacquiao. Many expected Marquez to do the same against Bradley but it was the Palm Springs fighter who dropped Marquez in the final round. Speed is Bradley’s primary asset and there may not be another welterweight that can match him in that department. He’s also one of the smarter fighters in the fight game, except when he opted to go toe-to-toe with Ruslan Provodnikov. He gambled and barely survived that brutal war with the Russian tank. Bradley gutted out a win that night and he’s still standing. He just wins.
3. Andre Ward (27-0, 14 Kos) – A few weeks ago Ward dominated Edwin Rodriguez the same way he’s dominated every super middleweight in the past five years. It’s time for Ward to move into the light heavyweight division. Ward usually has a height advantage over every opponent he’s faced. It’s remarkable that he can still make the weight. But clearly, he’s beaten every single 168-pounder out there worth watching. So why stay at super middleweight? The big money will come when he moves into the danger zone. There are plenty of light heavyweights that could pose a danger and that’s when fans will be interested. Not many like to see easy wins over and over. Ward needs challenges to be interesting to the fight fan.
4. Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 Kos) – The Argentine is gifted with speed, power, agility and intelligence. A match with Floyd Mayweather would make sense and give both fighters a huge payday if the fight could be made. Can it be made? Martinez has been racked with health problems and seems to be falling part. The slick southpaw doesn’t seem to have much time left as his 38-year-old body is failing him especially with his legs and fists. It makes sense for Mayweather to fight Martinez because it would allow him to possibly add the middleweight title to his resume and add a sixth weight division world title. Though the Argentine is not a household name, the fight fans know that it could be Mayweather’s most dangerous opponent and that could potentially bring pay-per-views. But it has to be done quickly before Martinez fizzles out.
5. Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 Kos) – Hopkins will be 49 years old this coming January. How much longer can he last? It’s really astounding. The Philadelphia warrior is one of the geniuses of the sport. Boxing is truly a dangerous sport and the ageing Hopkins seems to nullify danger with his ability to neutralize his opponent’s strengths and power. Two big potential matches would be a fight with Andre Ward who has dominated super middleweights the same way Hopkins once dominated the middleweights. Another big fight for Hopkins would be Canada’s Adonis Stevenson.
6. Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1, 40 Kos) – Losing to Tim Bradley by decision should not diminish his reputation as one of boxing’s most skilled prizefighters. Marquez, 40, is a former featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight, and junior welterweight world champion. He could easily have captured the welterweight title but Bradley beat him to it. Bradley also beat him to the punch when they met this past October. Speedy defensive fighters have always given Marquez problems and always will. But the Mexico City whiz still remains the sports premier counter-puncher.
7. Robert Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 Kos) – What’s next for “The Ghost?” After losing to the great Floyd Mayweather he was quickly dismissed by most of the media but looking back, the slender southpaw actually seemed to do better against Mayweather than Saul “Canelo” Alvarez did. Guerrero is looking for the big fight, not the gate-keeper variety. He’s a former featherweight, junior lightweight, and lightweight champion now fighting at welterweight. Guerrero went the distance with Mayweather. That’s not an easy feat. A fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, Victor Ortiz or Tim Bradley would be great. Even a match with Manny Pacquiao would be a good thing, but would Pacman take the fight? The Ghost still remains viable and could be trouble for anyone who meets him in the ring. His contract is nearing the end with Golden Boy Promotions so it’s going to be interesting to see what transpires.
8. Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 Kos) – Asia’s greatest boxer in history returned to the boxing ring and showed that he still has tools to stay with the elite. By using his skills and speed against powerful Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios and maintaining focus, Pacman easily out-pointed the Oxnard-based boxer. It was a crucial win for the Filipino superstar and puts him back in the fold as a viable opponent for Floyd Mayweather. Of course the big question is whether Mayweather will fight Pacman? Probably not. But there are other matches for Pacman including several on this list. The power in his punches may be gone, but the speed remains and incredibly the stamina was evident against Rios. Potential fights remaining for Pacman would be Tim Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Robert Guerrero or Mayweather.
9. Roman Gonzalez (37-0, 31 Kos) – Nicaragua’s crazy bomber known as “Chocolatito” has invaded the flyweight division this year. After three flyweight fights Gonzalez won all three by knockout. He’s looking to add the flyweight world title to his shelf. He already won the junior flyweight world title but had trouble making the weight. Gonzalez, 26, is very strong and has a great chin. Plus, he has good boxing skills when necessary.
10. Danny Garcia (27-0, 16 Kos) – The young Philadelphia warrior had a good year in 2013. Garcia won the battle of the junior welterweight titans convincingly when he defeated Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse. It’s also easy to envision Garcia moving into the welterweight division soon. But the kid is only 25 so there’s no rush. Garcia can box or bang and that’s a good combination to possess.
11. Nonito Donaire (32-2, 21 Kos) – One thing is obvious the “Filipino Flash” can still bang. Nonito has that equalizer in both fists and proved it against the always exciting Vic Darchinyan. He’ll need that against Guillermo Rigondeaux should they meet in 2014. Because Donaire has a very unorthodox style, it’s the classic boxers that have the best chance to defeat him. Rigondeaux’s a fundamentally sound boxer with power and that’s the Achilles heel for Donaire. A rematch with the Cuban southpaw is a natural. Can Donaire solve the Rigondeaux puzzle? That’s going to be a great fight.
12. Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 Kos) – The Ukrainian heavyweight has not looked the same since his trainer Emanuel Steward passed away. His recent win over Alexander Povetkin was not a pretty fight to watch. How much more does Klitschko have remaining?
Mikey Garcia – The Moreno Valley based boxer added the junior lightweight world title to his resume. Impressive.
Guillermo Rigondeaux – Cuba’s slick southpaw is fun to watch. Can he beat Donaire again? Can he beat Mikey Garcia?
Gennady Golovkin – All “GGG” needs is a chance against a marquee fighter so that he can be truly assessed by the boxing world.
Abner Mares – It’s tough to be a featherweight. A big rematch looms for Mares against Jhonny Gonzalez in January.
Carl Froch – If not for Andre Ward the British super middleweight would probably be high on the list.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV