Two pound for pound candidates breezed through recent tests to maintain their spot on the list and the guy on the top still remains.
Manny Pacquiao heads the list of pound for pound champions for 2011, with a couple of newcomers, United Kingdom’s Amir Khan and Mexico’s Giovanni Segura, replacing Fernando Montiel and Ivan Calderon.
Khan’s victory over Argentina’s hard punching Marcos Maidana in the talented junior welterweight division places him on the list. Hopefully, Khan will be fighting fellow pound for pounder Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley later this year.
The other newcomer is Segura, a junior flyweight from Acapulco, Mexico who powered his way to this list with impressive results. Forgive the comparison but he’s a 21st century version of Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez.
Just a few days ago middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez showed why he deserves to be on this list and a few months ago bantamweight Nonito Donaire blew out fellow pound for pound fighter Fernando Montiel.
On May 7, Big Bear, California’s Sugar Shane Mosley has a date with Pacquiao.
1. Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) – Pacquiao has been on a roll for quite a while. It’s akin to Roy Jones Jr. who dominated for several years in the early 2000s. Next up is Sugar Shane Mosley. Pacman has slight advantages in speed and stamina but Mosley still has the power. Despite what many think Mosley matches up very well with Pacman. Can Pacman retire without another loss? He’s on an incredible streak that may never be rivaled. And he still seems to be getting better even at 32. One of the reasons he’s on top is that he never cheats himself while training. When Pacquiao enters the ring he’s 100 percent ready to roll. Of all the fighters I’ve seen train there are only a handful that work at his rate of speed. One of them was the late Edwin Valero. Too bad we’ll never see that fight happen.
2. Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) – It’s been almost a year since “Money” Mayweather last entered the prize ring. With all of his problems in court it would be a major surprise if Mayweather jumps in the ring any sooner than August. If it were any other fighter there would be questions whether the layoff would erode his reflexes or skills. Mayweather, 34, never blows up in weight and still visits the gym regularly. When the judicial system is finally finished with “Money,” expect to see his return.
3. Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KOs) – Before Hopkins journeyed to Canada to fight Jean Pascal there were fans, fighters and promoters complaining about how the old guys keep clogging up the airwaves. More than a few said Hopkins was over-rated. Then he schooled Pascal on the art of boxing and here we go again. Hopkins will be fighting Pascal once more. Golden Boy Promotions won the purse bid and the fight will take place May 21st in Montreal. He truly is a master boxer even at age 46. He’s wickedly wise in the ring.
4. Juan Manuel Marquez (51-5-1, 37 KOs) – The Mexico City warrior was supposed to fight Erik Morales in Las Vegas but that is now on hold. Because of boxing politics Marquez may leave Golden Boy Promotions (like Mosley) in order to fight Pacquiao later this year. Marquez, 37, may want to stay busy but he’s in limbo at the moment. It’s not a good place to be at his age. He was seen this past weekend at the Miguel Cotto vs. Ricardo Mayorga fight as a television analyst. He’s trying to be careful not to destroy any chances of a rematch with Pacman.
5. Sergio Martinez (46-2-2, 25 KOs) – If there were any questions about Martinez’s abilities he just crushed them like he crushed Ukraine’s Sergiy Dzinziruk last weekend. More than a few expected Martinez to experience a difficult time with the undefeated southpaw Dzinziruk but that was clearly not the case. Martinez, 36, has developed a style all his own and actually seems to be getting better each fight. Can anybody in the 154 to 168 pound divisions beat the Argentine? The Oxnard-based boxer is becoming a phenomenon. He’s also one of the nicest guys in the sport.
6. Timothy Bradley (26-0, 11 KOs) – Fans forget that Bradley has never been beaten as a professional. The Palm Springs Desert fighter continues to surprise critics and opponents with his ability to beat the odds. His convincing win over a solid champion in Devon Alexander adds another notch to his growing list of conquests. Next up for Bradley will be Amir Khan should he defeat Paul McCloskey in April. If that Khan fight happens, the world will see two of the quickest prizefighters on the planet. Slow-motion replays will be necessary for accurate judgment.
7. Robert Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 KOs) – The Ghost was last seen dominating Cuba’s Joel Casamayor and beating a talented Vicente Escobedo. Very few can claim to have beaten the Cuban master so convincingly like Guerrero. Now the Gilroy prizefighter is moving up to the lightweight division to face Michael Katsidis. Guerrero continues to improve with every fight. His win over Jason Litzau was seen as ho hum. But Litzau toppled Celestino Caballero from the pound for pound list and also beat Rocky Juarez. Both Juan Manuel Marquez and Jorge Linares wanted no part of the Ghost. Who can blame them?
8. Nonito Donaire (25-1, 17 KOs) – When Donaire was penciled in to fight fellow pound for pound fighter Fernando Montiel of Mexico, it was expected to be a fearsome battle. Instead, it was another highlight clip for the ever dangerous Filipino Flash. It seems whenever Donaire faces a dangerous opponent, he slips into overdrive and annihilates them. Can anybody in the bantamweight division contend with Donaire? At the moment he’s deciding whether to fight the winner of the bantamweight tournament or move up to fight one of the junior featherweight world champions.
9. Andre Ward (23-0, 13 KOs) – The Oakland-based prizefighter is beginning to make each fight look easy though it obviously is not. The list of quality wins is growing for the former Olympic gold medal winner. Ward’s decisive wins over Edison Miranda, Mikkel Kessler, Sakio Bika and Allan Green prove that he may just be unbeatable as a super middleweight. He still has fights remaining in the tournament but right now it looks like he’s the cream of the crop. No longer is he a runner, he’s actually a well-rounded prizefighter now.
10. Amir Khan (18-0, 15 KOs) – Should Khan beat Paul McCloskey in April, it looks like the British speedster could meet Timothy Bradley in a mega junior welterweight battle in the summer. Can you imagine these two speedsters trading punches? Bradley and Khan are so fast it may be difficult for the fans to see the blows. The lanky Brit improves with every fight. Since joining forces with trainer Freddie Roach his defense has improved. He’s well spoken and has slowly become a fan favorite in the U.S.
11. Giovanni Segura (26-1-1, 22 KOs) – Mexico’s mini-bomber Segura showed how to beat former pound for pound fighter Ivan Calderon last summer and handed the Puerto Rican his first professional loss. Next month Segura meets Puerto Rico’s Calderon once again but this time in Mexicali, Mexico. Segura has the footwork, hand speed and firepower to slow down Calderon’s track shoes. He plans to move up in weight and show the flyweights what he can do. Expect more destruction.
12. Paul Williams (39-2, 27 KOs) – The one-punch knockout loss to Sergio Martinez may have been a good thing. Sometimes it’s worse to take a beating round after round like Dzinziruk last weekend. Williams is only 29 and may have a lot left. Nobody knows until he steps back in the ring. Don’t forget that he beat Winky Wright and that’s not easy to do.
Abner Mares, Rafael Marquez, Wladimir Klitschko, Miguel Cotto, Lucian Bute, and Yuri Gamboa, Chad Dawson, Yuri Gamboa, Kelly Pavlik and Felix Sturm.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2. 6 p.m., Chris Avalos (18-1) vs. Yan Barthelemy (11-2).
Fri. Telemundo, 11:30 p.m., Dante Jardon (15-1) vs. Humberto Martinez (20-5-1).
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Luis Ramos (17-0) vs. Jose Hernandez (10-4-1).
Sat. Showtime, 10 p.m., Lucian Bute (27-0) vs. Brian Magee (34-3-1)
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?