My Pound For Pound Rankings: Calzaghe, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Hopkins, Hatton, Marquez, Taylor, Vazquez, Cotto and Wright
13.08.07 - By Gerard Wilson: This is a topic that many people constantly debate over, who is boxing’s #1 man on the hill, Pound-For-Pound. There are many Pound for Pound lists out there with rankings that stir up debate. Below I have listed the top 10 fighters in the world Pound For Pound in my humble opinion. This list will definitely see some movement after the huge fights slated for the fall and winter of 2007 Feel free to chime in with your opinions in the comments section.
Article posted on 14.08.2007
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Welterweight)- The undefeated Welterweight champion recently relinquished the WBC Junior Middleweight strap that he won from Oscar De La Hoya. Although I don’t always agree with his choice of opponents, Mayweather is clearly the best boxer on the planet.
He is a five division champion who is dedicated to his craft and is still undefeated. A win over Ricky Hatton should quiet some of his critics. However, until he defeats a true welterweight “beast”, some will still be skeptical of the man with the “SKILLS THAT PAYS THE BILLS”
2. Manny Pacquiao (Jr. Lightweight)- How many guys can claim to have stopped Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales (twice)? On top of that, he put Juan Manuel Marquez on the deck three times (in an eventual draw). Manny Pacquiao fights at one speed, EXPLOSIVE HIGH ENERGY. Although he is basically a one dimensional fighter, many of the world’s best fighters have been unable to cope with this great champion from the Philippines. He currently sits at #2 on my list, but some other lists have him as #1. Another impressive win over Marco Antonio Barrera (Oct. 6th at the Mandalay Bay) and a Floyd Mayweather hiccup against Ricky Hatton, will elevate Manny to #1 on my list for sure.
3. Bernard Hopkins (Light Heavyweight)- We all seem to be waiting for “BHops” to become an “old man” in the ring. While we wait, Bernard just uses his ring savvy and his pugilistic knowledge to keep on churning. Although, his win over Winky Wright will never be mistaken for a “thing of beauty”; the way that he took Wink’s signature jab away was impressive. I don’t know where Hopkins goes from here, but I do know that he is looking for more legacy defining fights. His next move should be interesting.
4. Ricky Hatton (Jr. Welterweight)- The most popular fighter in the UK comes in at # 4 on my list. After a career defining win over Kostya Tszyu for the IBF Jr. Welterweight title and a stoppage of Carlos Maussa for the WBA Jr. Welterweight title; Ricky moved up to Welterweight to challenge Luis Collazo for the WBA Welterweight title. Even though Hatton seemed to struggle at welterweight, he was able to defeat Collazo (some saw this as gift decision for Hatton). Hatton moved back down to Jr. Welterweight and put people on notice, with a dominant 4th round TKO (via body shot) over Jose Luis Castillo. Hatton is moving back to 147 pounds to challenge Pound for Pound king, Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Dec.8th. This is the weight where Hatton struggled against Collazo. “Pro” Hatton fans will tell you that he struggled at 147 lbs. due to lack of motivation and that Mayweather will bring out the best in Ricky. The truth will come out on December 8th.
5. Juan Manuel Marquez (Jr. Lightweight)- Following his loss to Chris John, some doubted if Marquez was pound for pound material. His convincing win over fellow Mexican great, Marco Antonio Barrera gets him in my top 5. Plus, I am still amazed how he was able to shake off 3 first round knockdowns against Manny Pacquiao to skillfully box his way to a draw. Marquez was originally scheduled to fight Jorge Barrios on Sept. 15th. However, Barrios failed a physical. Rocky Juarez has now been penciled in to get a shot at Marquez on Sept. 15th.
6. Jermaine Taylor (Middleweight)- The recognized middleweight champion of the world has not looked impressive in his last several fights. However, I think much of that had to do with the level of opposition that he faced. He has fought in order Bernard Hopkins (twice), Winky Wright, Kassim Ouma, and Cory Spinks. At least 3 of the fighters that I mentioned (Wright, Ouma, and Spinks) have a tough time finding fighters to sign the dotted line for a reason. On September 29th Jermaine will be taking on a hungry young middleweight in Kelly Pavlik. This is a hardcore boxing fans type of fight. An impressive win for Taylor over Pavlik would be huge in the minds of his critics. A lackluster effort and loss will lead many to believe that Taylor was only a creation of the HBO hype machine. Phrase for JT leading up to the fight: MUST WIN FIGHT.
7. Ronald “Winky” Wright (Middleweight)- Placing Winky at #7 on this list was hard for me to do. In my mind he could easily be rated at 5 or 6. So basically to all of the Winky fans out there, I know that he is still one of the best boxers out there. The one thing that has me down on Winky is the way he took his foot off the pedal against Jermaine Taylor. That 12th and final round against Taylor really cost him and he was given a controversial draw. Although if you look Wink’s face after that fight, it seemed evident that Jermaine Taylor landed the more effective punches. That tends to win over many fight judges (whether we like it or not). Winky plans on moving back down to 160 or 154 pounds. The move up to 170 pounds did not look like a comfortable fit for Winky against Bernard Hopkins. His legs did not seem steady, but he still made it a close fight. The official scores of the judges were a joke. His next fight at 160 or 154 will prove if he still is one of the elite.
8. Joe Calzaghe (Super Middleweight)- The bottom line on Calzaghe is that a big win over Mikkel Kessler would put him in my top 5 hands down. I was impressed with the ease that he was able to handle Jeff Lacy back in March of 2006. He will be the underdog against Kessler, just as he was against Jeff Lacy. If he wins against Kessler, then we need to see Calzaghe in the ring against a top notch American opponent ASAP.
9. Israel Vazquez (Jr. Featherweight)- Vasquez showed plenty of heart and determination when he stopped Rafael Marquez in the sixth round earlier this month. This was a rematch from their March encounter, where Vasquez was unable to continue after a nose injury. In the rematch Vasquez suffered severe cuts above both eyes, but prevailed over Marquez (6th round TKO). The only match that now makes sense for Vasquez is a rubber match with Marquez. Their second fight is easily a candidate for 2007 fight of the year.
10. Miguel Cotto (Welterweight)- The new pride of Puerto Rico (previously held by Felix Trinidad) was impressive against a “game” Zab Judah in June. So far in his career, Cotto has proven that he is not a front runner, as he has overcome adverse situations to prevail in a handful of fights (including the Judah fight). One of boxing’s most explosive body punchers, his potential upcoming November 10th clash with Shane Mosley would be a big time test. A victory would definitely move Cotto up on my list.
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