As the summer closes out, the sport of boxing has found itself in desperate need of some help. However there are several major fights on the horizon that promise to provide some much needed positive vibes. In addition to a fight between Vitali Klitschko and Chris Arreola, two of the top 5 heavyweights in boxing, there are two major matches, each with pound for pound implications.
The first is between Juan Manuel Marquez and Floyd Mayweather, Mayweather’s first fight after an 18 month hiatus. The second is a scrap between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto. In preparation for these two contests and the major implications they will have on the best boxers on the planet, here’s a look at the top 10 pound for pound boxers in the sport.
1a. Manny Pacquiao – Manny Pacquiao is coming off lopsided victories over Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton. The next fighter on his dance card is welterweight champion Miguel Cotto, a sterner test than most seem to be realizing, despite Pacquiao’s thus far unlimited bounds.
1b. Juan Manuel Marquez – Marquez officially received an L on his record after the second Pacquiao fight, but is that really what happened? He has recent wins over Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor, and his bout with Mayweather can only boost his credentials.
1c. Floyd Mayweather – He was the undisputed number 1 pound for pound boxer in the sport until his brief stint with retirement. His return automatically warrants a top spot, but the spot can’t just be handed back over to him.
Is having three fighters tied for the top ranking in the sport a copout? Maybe it is… but until this mess gets sorted out there’s no clear hierarchy. Pacquiao has the buzz and the attention, but my eyes saw Marquez beat him in their last encounter. Mayweather was the incumbent, but his hiatus leaves his status in question. Taking Mayweather vs. Marquez and Pacquiao vs. Cotto and turning it into a tournament with the winners facing each other is the only way to resolve this mess.
4. Bernard Hopkins – Hopkins toyed with middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik but has since been inactive. Rumored bouts include scraps against the number 5 and number 8 fighters on this list, and one of those needs to take place if Bernard still wants to be considered an active fighter.
5. Paul Williams – After edging Antonio Margarito for a welterweight title, Williams was chased out of the division from a lack of willing opponents. Since, he captured an interim 154 lb title and whitewashed Winky Wright at middleweight.
6. Shane Mosley – Mosley completed his long climb back to the top of the sport by knocking out Antonio Margarito. A rematch against Miguel Cotto and fights against Mayweather and Pacquiao all are of interest to him before he puts an end to his career.
7. Chad Dawson – The rematch against Antonio Tarver was a waste, but blame HBO for that, not Dawson. Dawson is showing his chutzpah by rematching Glen Johnson, against whom he previously took home a disputed decision.
8. Tomasz Adamek – Besides being outclassed by Dawson, Adamek has met and beaten a string of top fighters at light heavyweight and cruiserweight. Game changing power and a great chin to match.
9. Ivan Calderon – Chances are that you haven’t seen Ivan Calderon fight before, as he’s spent his career toiling away in weight classes that would make super models jealous. Undefeated for his career and a champion for six years running, Calderon recently moved up from 105 lbs – the straw weight division to 108 lbs, the junior flyweight division.
10. Miguel Cotto – The crushing loss against Antonio Margarito is hard to forget. But sandwiched around that setback are highlights including a win against Joshua Clottey and a win against Shane Mosley.
The next five: Arthur Abraham, David Haye, Mikkel Kessler, Wladimir Klitschko, Juan Manuel Lopez
Absentee Members: Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez – Marquez has only been in the ring one time since the end of their trilogy, and Vazquez hasn’t had a fight at all.
Interesting Stat: Six of the top 10 pound for pound boxers on this list can say they fight in the welterweight division.