Boxing


My Pound For Pound Rankings - July 2006

21.06.06 - By Neil Thompson: What a difference a couple of months make. My last P4P list was at the end of April and since then there have been some big changes. In April my list was 1.Floyd Mayweather 2.Winky Wright 3.Manny Pacquiao 4.Marco Antonio Barrera 5.Ricky Hatton 6.Joe Calzaghe 7.Jose Luis Castillo 8. Antonio Tarver 9. Jermain Taylor 10. Bernard Hopkins. Since the end of April De La Hoya has re-entered; Hopkins easily beat Tarver; Taylor drew with Wright; Hatton was unimpressive against Collazo and Barrera seriously struggled with Juarez.. With all this happening, this list was hard to collate. So where does all this leave us? Well below is the P4P top ten as I see it.

1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER (1) – Still at number one and a superfight with Oscar De La Hoya looks likely. Floyd really has to start taking fights worthy of the Pound 4 Pound number one. He passed through the junior welterweights without facing the best and has yet to face the best at welterweight aswell. An Oscar De La Hoya fight should answer all his critics as this would a huge test for Floyd.

Floyd has never faced anyone like Oscar, who is bigger, stronger, more powerful, almost as fast and every bit as good a boxer as Floyd himself. It’s a fight that I can actually see Floyd losing and it’s a fight that will divide the opinions of boxing fans right down the middle. Floyd has been ‘talking up’ this fight ever since he was a champ at super featherweight and at the time most people thought it would never happen, now it seem quite possible. If Floyd beats Oscar, no one can doubt his greatness.

2. MANNY PACQUIAO (3) – Thanks to Winky Wrights draw against Taylor, Pacman has jumped to his old place at number 2. His two knockout victories against Barrera and Morales will guarantee his entry into the ‘Hall of Fame’ no matter how his career pans out from here.

3. WINKY WRIGHT (2) – Managed to hold Taylor to a draw but failed to take his middleweight title. His tactics against Taylor were effective although I believe Taylor won the fight by the narrowest of margins. Wright struggled with Taylor’s power, size and strength but the old warrior still held his own, forced the fight and kept the fight very close. Wright’s workrate was exceptional and his tactics were excellent. It was a tight decision, almost every round was close and could have gone either way. I was disappointed with Wright storming out of the ring as soon as the result was announced. There was no robbery and Wright should be gracious enough to accept this. Also holding his hands up at the end of every round didn’t fool the judges as much as it fooled many fans. Don’t let the ‘haters’ fool you, the Taylor – Wright fight was a very close decision and a draw may have been the fairest result. Due to the draw I have dropped Winky Wright by one place.

4. JERMAIN TAYLOR (9) – Having now faced two ‘all time great’ fighters in his last 3 fights, Jermain Taylor has earned his right to be an classed as an ‘elite’ champion. Taylor turned in a good performance against Winky Wright to retain his middleweight title. In a closely contested fight, I felt Jermain had done enough to win but a draw was a fair result. Taylor is a big middleweight and could move through the weights if he wanted. A fight with Calzaghe at 168 would be interesting, though I think Taylor will stay at 160 for a while yet. The middleweight division is improving and there are good fights for Taylor at this weight such as Felix Sturm, Arthur Abraham and Edilson Miranda. Jermain Taylor could be a future mainstream star, but for some reason many hard-core boxing fans seem to have taken a dislike to him. Many believe he has benefited from 3 gift decisions from his last 3 fights - this is complete rubbish. In reality, Taylor has faced two of the most difficult fighters to look good against and he is still undefeated. Taylor has the potential to be a great middleweight champion. Hopefully, over the next couple of years he will prove the ‘haters’ wrong.

5. BERNARD HOPKINS (10) – On my last ‘Pound 4 Pound’ article I stated that Hopkins had an outside chance of upsetting Tarver, which in hindsight was an under-statement. Hopkins wiped the floor with Tarver and possibly won almost every round. Tarver may have proven himself to be a ‘one hit wonder’. I do not want to see a rematch, as the fight wasn’t even close. Hopkins may well retire from here although don’t be surprised if he comes back again. At 41 years of age Hopkins is still a threat to anyone from around 160 to 175 pounds.

6. OSCAR DE LA HOYA (new) – What a performance that was against Mayorga. Oscar was expected to box Mayorga, maybe even run from him, but Oscar did what I never expected and went to war from the opening bell. In fact it was Mayorga that was forced back. It was Oscar who looked like the puncher, who looked the stronger and Mayorga couldn’t cope with De La Hoya’s aggression, power and speed.

7. MARCO ANTONIO BARRERA (4) – Marco looked beaten up after his last fight with Rocky Juarez. Looking at both fighters’ faces it appeared that Juarez deserved to have his hand raised. In fact I am in the minority that believed Juarez had done enough to take the decision. However the general consensus seems to think that Barrera had just about held onto his title but most admit Juarez came very close to pulling off an upset. The last time I’d seen Barrera take such a beating was against Pacquiao. It appears that Barrera maybe coming to the end of his career but then again I have predicted that before only for Marco to come back with renewed determination.

8. RICKY HATTON (5) – One bad performance doesn’t make a bad fighter. At the new weight of 147 lb’s, Hatton looked vulnerable and too easy to hit. At junior welterweight Ricky Hatton is a monster and his strength and workrate is too much for most 140 guys to deal with, but at 147 lb’s he couldn’t bully Collazo. Collazo hit Hatton more than he’s ever been hit before. Maybe it was the southpaw stance, maybe it was Collazo extra size and strength or maybe it was just that Collazo is very under-rated. It appears that unless some big fights arise at 140, Ricky will be staying at 147, which I feel is a mistake. Hatton can be an ‘all-time great’ at 140 but I fear that this might not be true at 147. On the up-side, the welterweight division is full of ex-junior welterweights. Floyd Mayweather, Zab Judah, Auturo Gatti are not true welterweights and with Miguel Cotto moving up to 147 maybe Hatton is right to stay at this weight. The Collazo fight was very, very close and the hardcore boxing fan’s seem to be split 50-50 on whom actually won. I thought Hatton won it by a single point but I wouldn’t have complained had the result gone the other way.

9. JOE CALZAGHE (6) – Another injury to the Welsh Dragon has not done Joe any favours. I would imagine that it’s going to get very hard for any ‘big names’ to sign up and fight Calzaghe. Would any elite fighter risk it when there seems to be a 50-50 chance Joe will pull out. Calzaghe’s continuous ‘pull outs’ could harm his future in this sport. Hopefully Calzaghe will fight again in September and against somebody with a bit of credibility. Winky Wright says he’d like to avenge his friend Jeff Lacy although I cannot see Wright moving up to 168 as he struggled with Taylor’s extra strength and power at 160. The only fighter I think could possibly beat Calzaghe from 160 to 168 would be Jermain Taylor. A Calzaghe v Taylor fight would be very tough to call.

10. JOSE LUIS CASTILLO (7) – Castillo retains his top 10 ‘P4P’ ranking eventhough his name is mud at the moment. Castillo tried pulling another ‘fast one’ and came in well over weight. Now he is likely to face a ban, a fine and a number of possible lawsuits. His potential big fights with Cotto and Hatton are now in tatters.


THE BEST OF THE REST:

11. RAFEAL MARQUEZ – Another fighter needing a big fight or a move up in weight.

12. PONGSAKLEK WONJONGKAN

13. MIGUEL COTTO – Should move up to 147 next. A Hatton fight would be ideal.

14. DIEGO CORRALES – The world’s best lightweight.

15. ANTONIO MARGARITO – Big, strong and powerful but he needs a big fight.

16. CHRIS JOHN – Not too sure about this guy but you cannot argue with his last win.

17. MANUEL MARQUEZ – Possibly taking an eliminator for the WBO title. Look out Scott Harrison.

18. ROMAN KARMAZIN – Very under rated. The best active Russian fighter today.

19. MIKKEL KESSLER – Needs a big fight and American exposure to progress any further.

20. WLADIMIR KLITSCKHO – Can he continue his improvement under Emanuel Steward? Let’s get a Klitsckho v Valuev fight on.

Article posted on 21.06.2006



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