(Dec 1, 2012; New York City; Austin Trout celebrates his unanimous decision win over Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden. Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
Been nearly three months round these parts since we updated the pound-for-pound top 20 list of the best boxers in the world regardless of weight, which is informational about how the sport has been going: It means not much has happened to warrant significant changes. But as four men who were on the list to start 2013 have fought since, including one last weekend, now's as good a time as any. It's also just an excuse to catch up with the latest comings and goings of boxing's elite practitioners, a number of whom will be occupied between now and the next regularly scheduled update about every two months or so.
Here's the most recent past update, for comparison's sake. You'll notice our #20, featherweight Orlando Salido, is out after his loss to Mikey Garcia. But gee, I wonder who will replace him? Life is such a mystery.
As usual, the dominant criterion is quality wins, especially of recent vintage. Other criteria, such as the "eyeball test," factor in around the periphery.
1. Floyd Mayweather, welterweight
He'll fight in May against a quality welterweight, the below-mentioned Robert Guerrero, in what could solidify his standing at a time when some folk have Andre Ward ahead of him. It will probably depend on how he fares. His inactivity makes him vulnerable to being passed, but maybe his big new Showtime deal will change all that.
2. Juan Manuel Marquez, welterweight
Marquez is looking at Timothy Bradley for his next fight, unless it's all a pump-fake to drive up his asking price for another Manny Pacquiao clash, and either would be a swell for his overall p4p credentials rather than this list, because I can't see Marquez passing Mayweather based on their meeting. He's lower on some other lists, though.
3. Andre Ward, super middleweight
Ward was looking like LeBron to Mayweather's Kobe, but these days he's more like Kyrie. If he could stay healthy, he would be a bigger p4p force, but he can't so he isn't yet. No word on his next fight -- word is he's on the mend from his shoulder injury, but he's been in the news more lately for a media sparring session with Mayweather.
4. Sergio Martinez, middleweight
Since we typically do these updates every two months, Martinez figures to get into the next update because he's got a late-April meeting with Martin Murray. It'll be a test of the middleweight champion's dinged-up knee more than a bout that can move him up or keep him from moving down, even though Murray is a legit top-10 at 160.
5. Nonito Donaire, junior featherweight
Now here's a guy who could move up. Next month, 122-pound lineal champ Donaire is taking on the #1 contender in his division, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and if he wins without any controversy, it'll be hard to keep him below Martinez. He's also in the news for parting ways with Victor Conte, a boost to his image even though Conte quit.
6. Manny Pacquiao, welterweight
Pacquiao wants revenge on Marquez, but it's not clear when he'll get it. Every month or so, we seem to hear about what he might do next and how he might take an interim bout while waiting for Marquez, but I'd bet on inactivity until the fall. Since Top Rank is finally holding a card in Macau, talk of Pacquiao fighting there is getting believable.
7. Carl Froch, super middleweight
He's rematching Mikkel Kessler in late May, so don't count on him making the next update. By then, there's a chance he could be leapfrogged by someone, particularly Abner Mares. I still maintain that Froch is wildly undervalued on p4p lists because he is a little crude by comparison to the stereotypical p4p ideal.
8. Wladimir Klitschko, heavyweight
Klitschko is the dominant heavyweight of this era and hasn't beaten anyone even close to as good as his best win, over David Haye. That's why he's #8, and it's why he'll always be vulnerable on this p4p list. His next opponent, in early May, is Francesco Pianeta, for crissakes. I bet there are hardcores who had never heard of him.
9. Abner Mares, junior featherweight
As Mares is moving up in weight yet again to take on featherweight Daniel Ponce De Leon on the Mayweather undercard, a win could soon find him a couple spots higher on this list. It remains remarkable how murderous Mares' schedule has been the last few years, the only strength of schedule that compares with Froch's.
10. Brian Viloria, flyweight
Viloria's also been on a pretty impressive run against quality foes the past couple years, but he's taking a slight dip in April in Macau against Juan Francisco Estrada. Estrada gave junior flyweight Roman Gonzalez all he could handle, but four pounds can be the world in the lighter classes, and Viloria's better and more versatile than RG.
11. Timothy Bradley, welterweight
My pals over at the TBRB saw fit to dock Bradley for his near-loss to a lower-level Ruslan Provodnikov last weekend, and it's a reasonable call based on the eyeball test, but he stayed put here cuz, well, he won.
12. Vitali Klitschko, heavyweight
Bradley might be in trouble soon if Vitali was doing anything. Vitali isn't doing ANYTHING. He's just chilling out, thinking of quitting, not in any hurry to make up his mind apparently.
13. Bernard Hopkins, light heavyweight
However limited Tavoris Cloud is, Hopkins beat him, a clear top five fighter in his division, as an underdog at age 48. That warrants a bump up of several spots.
14. Adrien Broner, lightweight
Broner, don't "bite" people. "Fight" people. He doesn't move up for beating Gavin Rees, and won't fight again for a bit and might end up in some kind of promotional snafu in the meantime.
15. Robert Guerrero, welterweight
Obviously, beating Mayweather would do wonders for his p4p fortunes. More likely, we'll be debating shortly afterward whether he was competitive enough in a loss to remain in the top 20.
16. Brandon Rios, junior welterweight
A repeat this month of his victory over Mike Alvarado won't likely convince skeptics of my appointment of Rios here, but however rough he is around the edges, he wins.
17. Chad Dawson, light heavyweight
Dawson is looking at a dangerous fight in June against Adonis Stevenson. I'd give Dawson some p4p props for that win, even if Stevenson is moving up in weight.
18. Roman Gonzalez, junior flyweight
Had Gonzalez gotten the fight with Kazuto Ioka and won, he could've been climbing. Instead he didn't and doesn't have anything scheduled, either.
19. Mikkel Kessler, super middleweight
He beat Froch the first time, and he clearly still has some power and ability. But as good as the match-up is, it's hard to imagine Kessler beating Froch again.
20. Austin Trout, junior middleweight
This spot was a toss-up with Mikey Garcia, but Trout beat a more acclaimed p4per Miguel Cotto, so he gets the narrow edge. He can cement the spot or advance with an April win over Canelo Alvarez.
Honorable mentions: Mikey Garcia, Miguel Cotto, Anselmo Moreno, David Haye, Yuriokis Gamboa, Saul Alvarez, Chris John, Danny Garcia, Devon Alexander, Erislandy Lara
The Guardian appears to have wiped out the comments from the cross-posted article there, so I thought I'd copy and paste my last comment across...
"I don't know of many lists out there that don't have Mayweather as #1."
There's a tendency in the boxing media to reward people for what they did a long time ago and ignore the fact that their competition since hasn't been that great as long as they keep winning. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam is a great example... he clearly was a talented boxer and had some great wins but there was also an awful amount of dross there. Yet he was a near constant member of, for example, Ring's P4P top 10 before his recent losses.
Mayweather falls into the same boat. Because of what he achieved years ago he gets to keep his top spot despite the fact that if anyone else's list of victories read Mosely, Ortiz and Cotto they'd likely struggle to break the top 10.
"Who would you go with instead?"
One of Ward, Mares or Donaire most likely. Ward's arguably fought the best competition recently but has been inactive, Mares has had a great level of competition and boxed regularly but the manner of the wins hurts him somewhat and Donaire has been active but against somewhat limited opposition.
"I think Mares will get into my top 5 with a win over De Leon. He might be too low, but again, not that different than most other lists."
And I likewise disagree with most other lists. Name a boxer who's faced and beaten better competition than him within the last three years?
"I don't give Bradley much credit for his "win" over Pacquiao."
I'll risk dragging us off topic by saying that I think Bradley did beat Pac... and even if he didn't I struggle to see how most people have the bout as anything but a close one.
Moreover, even if you think he deserved to lose have you applied the same standards to everyone else? Is Pac being given credit for beating Marquez despite the controversial nature of those wins? Is Rios being given credit for Abril? Is Froch being given credit for Dirrell?
"I certainly don't think the Abregu win is much. Here's an area where I have Bradley lower than some, though."
Abregu is a natural 147lbs boxer who's been flattening everyone in his way (and in his last bout demolished well regarded prospect Thomas Dulorme with basically ease). Bradley's still a natural 140lbs boxer who soundly beat him... I think that's worth a pretty large amount of credit (especially if Mayweather beating Ortiz or shot Mosely gets him some).
"Would love to see how your list looked."
Doing this off the top of my head so there's certainly room for some changes:
5) Martinez (although some weak recent competition hurts him)
I'd probably move some names around as well as take some out and add some in if I really thought about it, but it's a rough first draft.
manny pacquiao still p4p king in the ring even lost to marquez cuz a lucky night one punch. mayweather still gay not fighting pacman. no one like manny pacquiao it's exciting boxer even the boxer is boring fight.
I see no reason why Floyd Mayweather Jr is on top when he is not even that active and when he just beat Cotto who is not even on your fantasy list. He did not even knock out Cotto and he almost lost that fight. You guys keep elevating this clown and this is the reason why he controls the media like you who keeps making a chicken fight like a hawk when in truth he does not and will not turn into a hawk and avoids the best competition out there. He should be on the bottom because that is where he should belong. Elevate him if he beats Pacquiao, Martinez, Ward and Trout but so far he will continue to avoid them. That is your number One in your books? The rest on the list is more realistic than your fantasized chicken.
How come you've got B-Hop ahead of Dawson?
Dawson beat Hopkins fairly handily not that long ago. I know that Dawson has since been soundly beaten by Ward but you shouldn't punish Dawson too much for that loss, seen as Ward is top 3 p4p and Dawson was going down to a weight he hadn't fought at for over 6 years.
I'd swap 2 and 3. I'd maybe swap 6 and 7. WRT 16, count me a skeptic. I have a feeling Trout will advance after his next fight and the just keep moving. Except for when he beat up Cotto, I really like him. He has a lot going for him stylistically, I think.
Sergio Martinez is fighting Martin Murray next not Mathew Macklin, though I can see how the confusion would arise.
I'd have both ward and Marquez ahead of may, with a sliver between them all. Marquez especially , what else does he have to do? A respectful question tim: has marqs ped possibility, unproven, entered your assessment? I'd also have Bradley a bit higher due to his last 2 wins, irrespective of the manner of victory. I think froch is too high. I must say though its much easier critiquing someone else's list than actually coming up with my own.
I hear you on Rios, Aaron Aponte. But it's not like I'm doing anything but keeping him where he was -- the love isn't any greater than last time I updated. He dropped a spot, even. Kessler-Froch II is a damn nice fight, can't blame you for your pick.
I think kessler beats froch again. Man you guys love you some brandon rios. Exciting fighter but can't box. Over all good list.
Not sure what happened at Guardian. Oh well. Thanks for writing me over here.
So my standard is "quality wins, especially of recent vintage." A fighter's history of wins does factor into things.
Mayweather, though, has racked up some quality wins of recent vintage. You can criticize some of them before the fact or after the fact, and there are mitigating circumstances to some of them, but on the whole, his body of work suffers in comparison only to what it COULD be had he faced certain guys earlier (Mosley, Cotto) or at all (Williams, Margarito).
Mares has beaten some excellent fighters in the last couple years. But he has only beaten one guy who even sniffed the pound-for-pound top 10 (Moreno), and maybe one or two other guys who were near the p4p top 20 (Perez [technically a draw, but I thought he won] and Darchinyan). He belongs in the top 10. But he's yet to beat a p4p fighter and that holds him back, and his overall resume is much, much, much shorter.
Mosley was old, but he was p4p top 5. Cotto was fading, but he was p4p top 10-15. Marquez was little, but he was p4p top 5. Hatton was moving up, but he was p4p top 10. De La Hoya was getting older, but he was p4p top 20. Of those wins since 2008, there's only one that wasn't at least a very good win against an elite opponent (Marquez). And if you go back to his junior lightweight days, his reputation is burnished even more.
I was one of them, by the way, who never rated Pong all that high. He had a LOT of wins, and at one point was really killing it, but in the past couple years, he'd also had a few good ones, like against Edgar Sosa and Koki Kameda. Still, he was never in my top 10 during that period. Bottom of top 20, actually.
As for who has fought and beaten better competition than Mares within the last three years, I think you can make a case for Froch. But, really, recent vintage is the emphasis, not the only standard.
What to do with questionable wins is always an issue in these kind of lists. I think it depends on how questionable, sometimes. Bradley would still be in my top 10 coming off the Pacquiao "win" if not for Mares and Viloria doing better work than a semi-win over Bradley. And of the wins you mentioned -- Pac-Marquez, Rios-Abril -- I thought Bradley-Pacquiao was the most egregious decision. Nevertheless, the official loss also helped make it so Ward jumped over him on my list when he beat Dawson, and without that, I think I might've -- might've -- left Pacquiao at #2. (And I understand you're talking about thinking Bradley won, but it is an extreme minority view.)
As for your list, I can understand having Ward #1, and most of the rest of it, but I think you have Mayweather and Marquez way too low. Thanks nonetheless for showing it to me, it's good fodder for thought.
@pacman007 Lucky punch. LOL
Mayweather's gay, therefore not the #1 man. LOL
Exciting fighting having anything to do with pound-for-pound. LOL
Like Manny all you want. I like him, too. But he's not the pound-for-pound king anymore except amongst people who have blind allegiances and absurd criteria.
@RicHernandoHe beat Cotto when Cotto WAS on my "fantasy" list. You had to have known that Cotto was still a pound-for-pound fighter when Mayweather beat him.
Knockout or not, he won. Like I said in the first couple paragraphs, "quality wins" matter most.
I didn't "keep elevating him." He's been at #1 on my list for a while. There's no spot higher. Pacquiao was #1 for a couple years. He's not anymore.
It makes total sense for a welterweight to avoid middleweights and super middleweights. I guess Pacquiao is a chicken for avoiding Andre Ward, too.
@DCwongjongkam Hopkins was behind Dawson even after Ward beat Dawson. But I thought Hopkins deserved to jump a few spots because he got a good win against Cloud. If Dawson fights and beats Stevenson, I would expect Dawson to be above Hopkins again.
@beccapooka I always catch hell for Rios. He did move down a spot because of B-Hop's win, FWIW.
Trout is going to be a tough out for anyone.
@DCwongjongkam Silly alliterative M UK fighters. :)
Thanks for that. I've corrected it and your comment shall serve as a record of the error. It was a simple mental mistake, by the way -- I was AT the Martinez-Macklin fight, so I know better.
@gavaniacono Marquez didn't beat Mayweather, and that holds him back from the #1 spot for me right now. It isn't always a consideration (note that B-Hop is above Dawson right now) but often it is.
The Marquez PED question has not entered my assessment.
Funny thing about the Bradley performance -- you can make a case for him moving up or down. So I left him as-is.
I don't know how much more Froch has to do to warrant his spot! Bute was in a lot of top-10s before Froch crushed him. Besides, beating or fighting on near-even terms with Pascal, Taylor, Abraham, Dirrell, Johnson, Kessler and losing definitively only to Ward is plenty even without the Bute win.
I'm not diminishing Mayweather's overall career at all; he's clearly a spectacular and very successful boxer. My concern is this; why are we considering wins from 2007 (Hatton and Oscar) or far earlier (his brilliant 130 and 135lbs runs) for his rating in 2013? We're talking bouts that happened over five years ago at the best and in some cases over a decade ago (him splattering Corrales for example).
Of his recent wins I can't give as much credit to Mosely as you do. In the three year period prior to the Mayweather bout he had four bouts (and that's stretching the three years to include Collazo) and gone 3-1. The wins over Mayorga and Collazo were solid enough but fairly meaningless on the P4P level and while his win over Margarito was excellent, it was well over a year prior to the Mayweather bout. His loss to Cotto may have been close... but it was still a loss.
Ortiz is basically meaningless at a pound-for-pound level; he'd had one bout at 147lbs against the equally unimpressive Berto and before that was struggling to be a contender at 140lbs. Marquez is a good win, although as we both note the size diminishes it somewhat and Cotto is again a good win, albeit against a Cotto removed from his absolute peak.
With regard to Mares, surely he deserves some credit for two wins over Agbeko (who's recent bouts included a split series with Perez and Vic), even if the first was a travesty of refereeing.
I rate and like Froch and there's no doubt he's faced an incredibly high level of competition; but his wins in that three year period go Abraham, Johnson, Bute, Mack. I think we can discard Mack and Johnson as being anything special which leaves good wins over Abraham and Bute... both of whom have a case of quantity over quality in their records. He's arguably faced the tougher competition than Mares and if he'd been able to beat Kessler and Ward he'd doubtless be up there... but he didn't.
As for Marquez I wish I could have him higher as I'm a fan. But the reality is in a three year period (and any longer only includes him losing to Mayweather which doesn't hurt much but certainly doesn't help) his only true win of note is the recent stoppage of Pac (which loses some impact from Pac having just lost). Outside of that I think we can basically dismiss Fedchenko and Ramos which leaves a past-his-best Diaz (who Marquez had already beaten), a past his best Katsidis (who's brother had just died) and the controversial third loss to Pac. It's still an impressive list of opponents and victories... but I don't think it quite compares to what Martinez, Mayweather, Donaire, Ward or Mares have done in that same period.
As an avid of Pacquiao (who has suffered two consecutive loses) I never would expect him to be the one on top of the list. But as a person who loves boxing more than NBA or any other sports, It would be abominable (not only for me and all the fans but also to the sport itself) to have a semi-retired and partially handicapped boxer who spent more his time in jail and has beaten women than inside the ring and beaten tough opponents respectively to make it on the list.
As far as I know Mayweather vs. ODLH fought at 154lbs. (middle weight). Pacquiao has never fought (and said that he will never go) above 147lbs. Your comparison is LAUGHABLE!
It was like that Cotto wasn't a p4p'er and a quality fighter when Pacquiao beat him single-handedly.
@tstarks fair enough on froch. He has faced and done well against those fellows. He has lost to two of them though at the end of the day, and in my subjective criteria that matters.
@Consortium_11 @tstarks I can't believe I'm going to defend Froch. I have been a huge detractor in the past. But to be fair WRT his loss to Ward, he won rounds against Ward. Nobody does that! But an interesting discussion.
No, I didn't jump to any conclusion. Though I find Klitschos boring but they aren't Peter Buckely type, in fact their lack of exciting fights is most likely due to their lack of tough challengers in heavy weight division and they both dominated the division.
"the more unexciting the fight, the better someone is p4p", .I never said that, and I never even implied it"
Perhaps you never implied but apparently, you have just said it.
Since it came from the fish's mouth. You can try google 'most boring boxer' , but please don't, you might can't stand what you'll find.
And....you said: "When Trout beat Cotto, Cotto looked sluggish, faded."
But I said, 'The weakness of a fighter submerges through the strength of his opponent.'
@TIMbuktu You make really broad presumptions about what I'm saying that make it difficult to have honest discussions with you.
"So Klitscho bros. should have shared the number 1 spot then?"
No, or else I would've put them there. If I say, "exciting fights have nothing to do with p4p," why do you then jump to the odd conclusion that my position is that "the more unexciting the fight, the better someone is p4p?" I never said that, and I never even implied it. It's unbelievable that I have to clarify this at all. "Whether someone fights in an exciting style, or not, has nothing to do with p4p either way."
You ask why Trout is clinging to the bottom of my list, since Mayweather beat Cotto and so did Trout. Absurd. As if beating Cotto was the only reason Mayweather had a better record of quality wins than Trout? That beating Cotto is all it takes to be p4p king? Even then: When Mayweather beat Cotto, he was higher on my p4p list than after. When Trout beat Cotto, he beat a fighter whose value was at least partially diminished by the loss to Mayweather. When Mayweather beat Cotto, Cotto fought as well as he ever had. When Trout beat Cotto, Cotto looked sluggish, faded.
You are making disingenuous points about what I supposedly believe to such a degree that I am beginning to think you are deliberately trolling.
Let me help you understand what I was saying through 5 things that have something to do floyd:
2.) Early retirement
4.) Sub-par performances:
4.a) Can't even finish the weight-cheated Marquez.
4.b) Almost had a set back on the 2nd rd. on the rumored fix fight against the aged Mosley.
4.c) Spent most of his time on the rope against Cotto. And lastly but not the least...
5.) Long lay-off after each fight.
Though for me (as a fans) role model (in and inside the ring) type of fighters have been a huge plus factor for me but sorry, that's not what I mean when I compared floyd's performance in and outside the ring. What I was trying to say is, a fighter should be more active to make it on the list.
I'm really puzzled how you biased, I'm sorry, I mean..based your list.
You said the ff:
a.) "Exciting fighting having anything to do with pound-for-pound. LOL"
So Klitscho bros. should have shared the number 1 spot then?
b.) "He beat Cotto when Cotto WAS on my "fantasy" list. You had to have known that Cotto was still a pound-for-pound fighter when Mayweather beat him.
Knockout or not, he won. Like I said in the first couple paragraphs, "quality wins" matter most."
Then why Trout is clinging at the bottom?
c.) If you would lay floyd's undefeated record on the table, then, I would be anxious to know in what spot did you put Joe Calzaghe during his career.
@tstarks Pacquiao said that he won't go over 147 limit. I'd never thought of it but he said it. I don't know what part of it that is hard for you to understand.
"How far up should a guy have to go to prove himself?"
No, the (million dollar) question is...What else Pacquiao has to prove?
And please name one fighter who held championship belts in 8 divisions. You can take it from ATG, GOAT, active, inactive, living or dead, etc. and go back to me.
So what if Mayweather fought at junior middleweight before? So has Pacquiao, in fact, against Margarito.
How far up should a guy have to go to prove himself? You don't think Pacquiao should have to go up to super middleweigh but can somehow explain how Mayweather should????