(Andre Ward pops Chad Dawson)
It's been three months since we updated the pound-for-pound list of the best fighters in the world, but one of those months, July, featured literally nothing happening for anyone who could be considered one of the 20 best, so we waited for a more reasonable two-month interval to pass. Those other two months had a few things going for them.
For instance: No longer is Manny Pacquiao the first or second best boxer alive, at least not according to us and some of the other people who find lists like this a worthwhile endeavor. Featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa hit one year of inactivity, leading to his removal from the list altogether. And a lot is about to go down over the remainder of 2012, starting next weekend, so expect a couple more updates before the year ends -- along with a preview of some of that action here.
As usual, the most important standard for p4p placement is quality wins, with an emphasis on wins of recent vintage. The last update is here.
1. Floyd Mayweather, junior middleweight
Talk of Mayweather fighting again in 2012 was, after all, just talk. Aside from the occasional run-in with the law or gossipy items about his relationship with rapper 50 Cent, all is quiet for the pound-for-pound king as fresh blood nips at his heels.
2. Andre Ward, super middleweight
It's come to this. Ward is so exceptional, and has beaten so many good fighters, that he has finally supplanted long-time pound-for-pound top-2er Pacquiao. The win over Chad Dawson may get docked a bit for the potential that Dawson was weight-drained, but he still beat another borderline top-10 fighter.
3. Manny Pacquiao, welterweight
Pacquiao, though, has made himself more vulnerable with an official loss against Timothy Bradley that wasn't much his fault and a consensus loss to Juan Manuel Marquez and just generally not looking like the killer of old. He'll get a chance to prove his doubters wrong with another Marquez showdown in December.
4. Juan Manuel Marquez, junior welterweight
See Pacquiao, above. I was tempted to move Sergio Martinez above him, but it's hard for me to shake my belief that Marquez has beaten Pacquiao twice at a time when Pacquiao was the #1 man, no matter what the judges said. That's not the only thing he has done, of course, but it's a heck of a start.
5. Sergio Martinez, middleweight
Martinez was excellent for 11 rounds in September against Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., arguably the top middleweight challenger to the champ, but the magnificence of that performance suffered in the 12th when he got dropped. He might be off for a while recovering from various injuries, and that will leave him vulnerable to getting overtaken by a man fighting next weekend...
6. Nonito Donaire, junior featherweight
Donaire is taking on the top man at junior featherweight, Toshiaki Nishioka, who's in the ESPN pound-for-pound top 20. A spectacular, top-of-his-game Donaire performance could bump him over Martinez.
7. Carl Froch, super middleweight
For once, Froch isn't taking on as good an opponent as he possibly can: In November, he'll face Yusaf Mack in something of a breather. If anyone's earned it, he has.
8. Wladimir Klitschko, heavyweight
This is why, as deep as his resume is, Wlad has trouble staying in the top five of my p4p list: His November opponent is Mariusz Wach, an honest pug to be sure but the kind of fighter who, if he was shrunken to proportional sizes in any other division, wouldn't be a top 20 contender. David Haye is about the only opponent on Wlad's resume with any real pound-for-pound quality, and even then he was near the bottom of the top 20 at the time.
9. Timothy Bradley, welterweight
Bradley will fight Dec. 15 against Lamont Peterson or Robert Guerrero or Ruslan Provodnikov or somebody. None of those names are bound to get him climbing this list.
10. Vitali Klitschko, heavyweight
Is the big man finally going to retire for good? Or will he try to take on Haye? We might not know for a long time, so Vitali's return to the top 10 could be short-lived, based on what happens between #11 and #12.
11. Abner Mares, junior featherweight
One of the fall's underrated fights is Nov. 10, when Mares squares off against Anselmo Moreno. Absent a draw, it's going to be hard for the winner not to be in the top 10 thereafter.
12. Anselmo Moreno, junior featherweight
See Mares, above.
13. Miguel Cotto, junior middleweight
Also, Cotto could be angling for a top 10 spot again if he beats Austin Trout Dec. 1. Cotto has been in the news more for denying things his former promoter Bob Arum is saying about a rematch with Paquiao, but Cotto-Trout is a typical high-risk fight for Cotto, one of boxing's most fearless fighters.
14. Brian Viloria, flyweight
Viloria feels high here, but he can prove he belongs by beating Hernan Tyson Marquez Nov. 17, in a fight that is arguably between the two best men in the division.
15. Chad Dawson, light heavyweight
How much do you dock a guy for taking on the champ in a division south who proved that he is in the discussion for "best fighter alive?" This much, it turns out.
16. Bernard Hopkins, light heavyweight
B-Hop's plans are unknown at this point, although every now and then he surfaces to bark at some other fighter, like, recently, Nathan Cleverly, to explain how much better he is than them.
17. Brandon Rios, junior welterweight
He's making his official junior welterweight new home debut next weekend, and he's taking on an opponent who will be no daisy: Mike Alvarado, a big, unrelenting 140-pounder who very well could knock him off if Rios isn't as good at the new weight.
18. Roman Gonzalez, junior flyweight
"Chocolatito" fight this weekend, but he beat an overmatched opponent in a stoppage that has been questioned. I'd love it if he could fight Ulises Solis but Solis has been recovering from injuries for a long, long time.
19. Mikkel Kessler, super middleweight
Kessler can't decide if he's a super middle or light heavy these days, but he continues to take on good, not great, competition -- his next opponent is Brian Magee on Dec. 8.
20. Orlando Salido, featherweight
Too bad about Salido having to pull out of that Mikey Garcia fight Nov. 10. That one, too, would've been a doozy. But he squeaks in here thanks to the departure of Gamboa.
Honorable mentions: Yuriorkis Gamboa; Lucian Bute; Danny Garcia; Lamont Peterson; Chris John; Giovani Segura; Andre Dirrell; Erislandy Lara; Robert Guerrero; Juan Manuel Lopez; Toshiaki Nishioka; Devon Alexander; Pongsaklek Wonjongkam; Adrien Broner
what the fuck is this list??i think you're a mayweather fan.. please stop this stupid and shitty list
mr writer this list is disrespectful to ALL boxing fans and WOMEN. mr mayweather BEAT UP HIS GRILFRIND!!!!!!!!!!!!! he chieckens out of fighting PACMAN to beat HIS GF!!
you are just a biased BLOGGER!
a very biased list.. why is floyd on #1? he struggled with cotto whom pacquiao demolished, almost got knocked out by mosley whom pacquiao also toyed with.. struggled with oscar and hatton whom pacquiao retired recently.. i don't get this biased american stereotype bradley? top 10? martinez who was only recently saved by the bell? maravilla who fought tomato cans? nonito donaire should be #1, why hasn't anybody acknowledged his greatness?
Rios is the one that's gotten a little static, and I respect it. He was at the bottom of my top 20 on a combination of accomplishment and the eyeball test -- I really figured he could beat Marquez at 135 at the time I put him there -- but that pick has aged poorly, and I'm stuck with it. Still, I didn't want to penalize him for the Abril "loss" for reasons Patrick said, and he's moved up quite by accident with others dropping beneath him. I will feel a bit better about him being there if he beats Alvarado next weekend, but if he loses, he'll be out, so the problem will be solve one way or another, I think.
Timothy Bradley is NOT a top 10 pound for pound fighter, and that rating is disrepectful to ALL boxing fans!! Pacquiao pitched shut out and I'm black!
i believe floyd and manny are separated by a hairline and they're interchangeable in positions. floyd hasn't done much. sucker-punched an overrated ortiz and struggled against a declining, non-p4p cotto. pac also hasn't been impressive. struggled, possibly lost to a highly-ranked p4p in marquez but toyed with another p4p fighter but lost in the cards with bradley. IF floyd is still #1, i think pac should still be #2. that said, i believe ward is already #1 with either pac or floyd at #2 and 3. but i agree that jmm at #4. sergio himself hasn't done much. struggled early with b-level barker and macklin and almost slipped with a plodding chavez. that 12th round with jr. was amateurish. none of the your top 6 p4p would have been caught that way. but i do agree with your top 10 with a few alterations (ward #1, froch #10) pretty good list.
Mayweather is a great boxer, but how can you be #1 p4p if you're not fighting(ducking) the best, or worse not even fighting at all...i'm just saying...
I don't agree 100% with the list, but I have to chime in and say that I think Rios is getting sold a bit short in the wake of the Abril fight. I felt Abril won, but I don't think Rios should necessarily get penalized for an official win. On top of that, I think he's more skilled than he's often made out to be, and that Abril's style just wasn't a good one for him. Abril's style isn't really a good one for anyone. The ranking could be justified with a big win against Alvarado, though.
well thus far....this is a good top 20 p4p listings. as we know that floyd is happy now really happy as of this moment. a moment that he crave to be on top (p4p king), well it's done. so in that regard d boxing fans will bet for their life to hope that pacquiao vs mayweather will happen in d near future.
Bwahahahahaha! Beat your wife and go to jail and be the #1P4P fighter! what a STUPID rating from a BLOGGER!
Why is brandon rios up there? You could put adrien broner , danny garcia, lamont peterson , gamboa, canelo or anyone ahead of him. otherwise its a pretty good list.
marquez never fight the best in the 140lbs-147lbs fighters..so he is not on the top in the list..floyd also not cozz he is chery picker
@tqbr not a fan of klitchko.but I think donaire should be lower than..ward#1 and moreno top 5 especially if he wins. #not that your care lol
@rrobb90 LOL. He was nearly p4p top 10 even before that "win."
@rasec I totally can see Ward as #1. I really, really can. It was tempting, not gonna lie.
@torchie I dunno, a revived Cotto, top welterweight Ortiz, p4p #3 Mosley is pretty good.
NEVER GONNA HAPPEN COZZ FLOYD WILL CHOOSE TO GO IN PRESON CELL THAN TO FIGHT MANNY @rbdiga
@Dong yes like what floyd mayweather do to his GF .. nieghbor..and guard..he loves to fight outside the ring
@reyocs He's beaten pretty good opponents at 147/154 of late.
@reyocs I don't know why not.
@phillutton Gotta say I agree. This list is Tim, @tqbr's. I think the two wins in Germany make a good case. What has Bute done?
@pcaz23 Of course I do! I'm a regular Care Bear. Most people have Wlad and Vitali higher than me. You'd have them lower?
@tstarks @torchie hmm. i quite disagree that cotto has been revived. his wins at jr middle were mediocre. struggling early against an ordinary foreman and beating an over-the-hill mayorga is hardly impressive. while his win over cheato was good, targeting marg's eye wasn't difficult at that point. big credit to that win actually goes to pac for damaging that eye. cotto is slow and sluggish at 154 and his punches lack snap. his best was by far in 147.
on floyd, his wins aren't "pretty good" we rank p4p AFTER a performance and not BEFORE right? floyd's performance with ortiz was a sucker-punch while mosley was obviously shot when the fight came about despite still being #3 at the time. granted that ortiz was considered a top ww when the fight was signed but it is clear as day NOW that he isn't really much of a real challenge to the elite. his berto win was a fluke or berto is also overrated. but ok, i can give the mosley win a pass. but floyd's last 2 bouts weren't #1 worthy.
@tqbr lololol mr.care bear...no..id have them higher then nonito..he is the one I'm not to high on..
@axmcc @phillutton Like Chris John -- used to be on the list, then fell off due to inactivity/lackluster comp. One good win from either...
@phillutton @perfectjet @axmcc Good points on Geale -- Maybe he deserves an honorable mention. Will consider further.
@perfectjet @phillutton @axmcc ...feels a lil awkward, after Abril, but didn't want to dock him for an official win. It'll work itself out.
@perfectjet @phillutton @axmcc Yeah, Rios' inclusion was due to a few good wins and perceived potential dominance at lightweight. Now...
@phillutton @perfectjet @axmcc @tqbr and cant pretend rios did not lose his last fight to abril. He got taken to school.
@perfectjet @axmcc @tqbr Yeah reckon he has a fair claim to that list at the moment. Good runs on the board of late.
@phillutton @axmcc @tqbr id slot geale in before rios, who hasnt made weight in his last two fights. But lists are only opinions, all good.
@pcaz23 Oh, misunderstood. Gotcha. Donaire is so uneven -- when he's at his best, he's unbelievable. Other times, lackluster.