Avila's Number 5 and Number 10, representing at the BWAA dinner in Vegas on May 6. (Hogan)
The sad loss by Roy Jones Jr. is a reminder of how difficult the world of prizefighting truly can be. While Jones was losing in Russia, Bernard Hopkins was winning in Canada and remains in the pound for pound list after all of these years.
For the past two years many asked why Hopkins is on this list and this past Saturday he personally answered that question: he can still beat world champion caliber fighters.
Several weeks ago Sugar Shane Mosley also attempted the same feat and was dismissed by Manny Pacquiao who is among the best pro boxers of the last 50 years.
Jones, Mosley and Hopkins were all on pound for pound list at the same time back in 2000. Only B-Hop remains on at least this list since that time and before. It’s a remarkable achievement and one that is often overlooked.
No major changes took place on the list but there were several exclamation points including Andre Ward’s big win over Arthur Abraham, Robert Guerrero’s domination over Michael Katsidis and Giovanni Segura’s second knockout of former pound for pound member Ivan Calderon.
Here’s the list:
1. Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) – Pacquiao was supposed to receive a somewhat tough test against Sugar Shane Mosley. Instead, the Filipino speedster mowed through former pound for pound champion Mosley like dry grass on a summer day. Round after round Pacman oblliterated Mosley’s defense with ease and remains at the top of the list and perhaps one of the greatest boxers of all time. Next up for Pacquiao will be old nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico in November.
2. Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) – “Money” Mayweather is still on this list because he still has a ton of legal problems that have kept him from the ring. Rumors of a match with new WBC welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz are floating and if it transpires look for the boxing wizard to return to the ring in September. Should he defeat Ortiz then a possible showdown with Pacquiao looms.
3. Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) – Lots of people criticized me, asking why Hopkins remained on this list. This past Saturday Hopkins proved why he belongs with a solid win over Canada’s Jean Pascal to take the light heavyweight world championship. Hopkins, 46, became the oldest ever to win a world title. He’s a true boxing master who is also a fitness freak. How else could he beat a 28-year-old? The Philadelphia prizefighter known as “the Executioner” is truly a living legend and is still among the best pound for pound boxers today. He’s a real master.
4. Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KOs) – The Mexico City wizard recently signed a deal to return to the ring against Pacquiao for a third time. This test will prove to be Marquez’s most difficult by far just because of the weight class. The last time Marquez fought as a welterweight he looked awful slow and not just because he was facing Mayweather. The extra weight seemed to weigh him down. The added weight has not slowed Pacquiao one bit. But if anybody can mount a fight plan against Pacman it’s going to be Marquez. He’s one of the real boxing masters of the sport like B-Hop, Mayweather or James Toney. It looks like Las Vegas will be the location for their third match.
5. Sergio Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs) – Martinez would love to fight Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao or even Alfredo Angulo. At 36, Martinez seems to be still in his prime and has an incredible workout routine that keeps him in top form. He deserves to be seen in a mega-fight where fans can witness his remarkable boxing abilities. Maybe he’s the next Hopkins? The big problem is the boxing world still doesn’t know who he is. Only the hardcore fans recognize his talent. Could he beat Mayweather, Pacquiao or Angulo? The boxing world would sure love to see those fights happen.
6. Timothy Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs) – The Palm Springs Desert fighter was supposed to fight fellow pound for pound boxer Amir Khan but contract disputes have put the fight in limbo. Too bad. His dominating win over Devon Alexander should have launched him to another plateau but fans will have to wait. Bradley reminds me of a young Sugar Shane Mosley with his speed and aggressiveness. Few other fighters are as committed to winning as Bradley. His willpower is his strength. Complaints about him head butting are always going to be there because he likes fighting inside. He’s shorter than most of his foes so heads are going to collide. It’s a bad rap but can’t be avoided.
7. Robert Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs) – Guerrero seems to be the most overlooked in all of pro boxing. The lanky boxer-puncher can do it all and because he’s a southpaw he is even tougher to figure out. Wins over Michael Katsidis, Joel Casamayor, and world titles at featherweight and junior lightweight have shown that the kid from Gilroy, California is a very unique and talented prizefighter. He can easily move up to junior welterweight or welterweight. So far he’s a hidden nugget just waiting to be discovered by the rest of the boxing world. He’s one of boxing’s most dangerous boxers.
8. Nonito Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) – When you see Donaire in street clothes he resembles a young college freshman on his way to class. Inside the ring he’s a terror who dismantles opponents with blinding speed and power. Just ask Mexico’s Fernando Montiel who lasted less than two rounds against the “Filipino Flash.” Donaire is ready to cause havoc once again whether its at bantamweight, junior featherweight or featherweight. He’s something special to watch with his blinding speed and crackerjack punching power. You can’t blink when Donaire is fighting cause you just might miss a knockout.
9. Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) – Ward is a consummate professional prizefighter who can battle inside as well as outside. His domination over Germany’s Arthur Abraham formed slowly when they met. Once Ward discovered he was the stronger fighter he showed he could stand right in front and punch at will. The Oakland-based boxer is just one step away from winning the Super Six tournament. Next for Ward is an appointment with another reputedly strong super middleweight in Carl Froch of Great Britain. It should be another great showcase for Ward.
10. Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) – Speed merchant Khan made short work of fellow Brit Paul McCloskey last April. Khan was supposed to fight the equally speedy Bradley in July but a promotional contract dispute has forced a change. Now Khan’s promoters Golden Boy are looking for another opponent. Those being mentioned are Erik Morales and Zab Judah. Khan and Marcos Maidana were recently awarded “Fight of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association for their encounter last December. Khan is trained by Freddie Roach and often spars with Pacquiao.
11. Giovanni Segura (27-1-1, 23 KOs) – Segura’s devastating knockout of former pound for pound fighter Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon proved that little guys can indeed punch. Segura has plans to move up in weight and win another world title. He’s fearless and fast and is always willing to trade punches as long as he can get his in. Though born and raised in Mexico he makes Southern California his training base. Segura is one of the most exciting prizefighters today and needs a showcase.
12. Paul Williams (39-2, 27 KOs) – Since losing by cold knockout last November the long limbed Mr. Williams has not returned to the ring. Still, he’s one of the best prizefighters in the world and can still fight in multiple divisions including welterweight or light heavyweight. A tentative bout against Cuba’s Erislandy Lara is scheduled for July. Williams turns 30 this summer.
Abner Mares, Wladimir Klitschko, Miguel Cotto, Lucian Bute, Yuri Gamboa, Chad Dawson, Vic Darchinyan, Marco Huck, Humberto Soto
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Chris Arreola (31-2) vs. Kendrick Releford (22-14-2).
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Carlos Molina (14-0) vs. Angel Chacon (30-9-2).
Sat. pay-per-view, Rampage Jackson (31-8) vs. Matt Hamill (10-2).
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV