Reviewing the pound for pound picture
By James Sexton: It was a long time ago that the ‘pound for pound’ rankings were created to put Ray Robinson’s performances and achievements into perspective. Today, Ring magazine, (owned by Golden Boy Promotions) and many other sporting writers and websites use the formula to keep track of the most decorated athletes in the sport.
After the success of boxing in 2013, 2014 has seemed like a lackluster year and many find their lists are starting to take a different shape for the first time in a while.
Firstly I will briefly explain my reasons for the placing of my personal top ten, then in the same fashion I will explain why some of the more popular choices were left out.
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr – Like him or not, you have to respect the man who can stay on top for so long. Whilst I cant say two wins over Marcos Maidana has done much to improve his already outstanding credentials, it has kept the cash machine rolling. With two fights left on his showtime contact it could be a legacy defining year for the man next year.
2. Wladimir Klitschko – Underrated. What more can I say about this man. I have never seen this man placed in the top two of any pound for pound list and he is often left outside the top five. People like to talk about the ‘good old days’ of heavyweight boxing, but what they don’t realize is that those good old days are happening now. History is made every time this man fights. 420 – 22 – 8. This is the combined record of Klitschko’s last 14 opponents. He has also bested 11 undefeated fighters. Maybe with some more interesting fights presenting themselves in the next two years (Fury, Wilder, Stiverne, Glazkov, Joshua, Jennings) he may start to receive the respect he deserves. If this does not happen it may be a case of his retirement before people begin to really appreciate his truly breathtaking accomplishments.
3. Guillermo Rigondeaux – Completely dominated the 2012 fighter of the year in a one sided exhibition of his skills. Donaire has not looked the same for even a single moment since this crushing defeat. 14 – 0 – 0 (9KO) unified WBA (super) and WBO super bantamweight champion. I would love to see this man against the likes of Carl Frampton or Leo Santa Cruz.
4. Manny Pacquiao – Everyone knows this story. He is now on a three win streak but is still without a knockout (the last being in 2009.) I love to watch this man fight and I still believe he would beat anyone from 135 – 147 who isnt named Floyd Mayweather Jr. I would just love to see him in better fights and hopefully the reported low pay-per-view buys from his Algieri matchup will prevent his promoters trying that mismatch again.
5. Gennady Golovkin – Maybe a controversial pick seeing as this man has not beaten a top opponent in his entire career. Nevertheless the numbers speak for themselves. 31 fights. 31 wins. 28 knockouts. 13 world title fights. I am convinced this guy will be top three for a long time in terms of pound for pound and pay per view buys, live gates etc. We have seen Rubio go 12 rounds with Chavez Jr. We have seen Geale go 12 with Barker and Sturm. We have seen Macklin go 11 with Martinez and 12 with Sturm and we have seen Ishida KO James Kirkland in 1 round and go the distance with Paul Williams. Golovkin brutally knocked out all of the aforementioned men in brutal fashion. This man is for real. I would bet on him to beat Cotto, Alvarez, Quillin, Martinez, Jacobs, Chavez Jr, Abraham or mostly any other man between 154-168lbs
6. Sergey Kovalev – One of the men with a chance for fighter of the year 2014. Two knockouts of undefeated opponents before a shutout of the ageless wonder and all time great Bernard Hopkins. A great guy and a great fighter with many more exciting matchups to come.
7. Danny Garcia – A man who has had a terrible year as a professional. I do not need to make this article even longer going over why this man has dropped down the list for many people (or removed altogether.) However he is the lineal champ at 140. He has wins over names such as Morales, Khan, Judah and Matthysse, and he is still undefeated. Unless he loses his next fight he can only go up from where he is now.
8. Carl Froch – Other than the loss to Andre Ward this Brit has dominated the 168lb division. His resume is an extremely impressive one and his fights are always exciting to watch. His only other loss was to Mikkel Kessler and was avenged in 2013. Froch should seek a big payday and farewell fight against Chavez Jr (a very winnable fight for him) and retire.
9. Roman Gonzalez – The things this man is doing are largely going unnoticed as the lower weight classes don’t get the attention they sometimes deserve. I wont go into why this man belongs in the top ten (and probably higher on it) just look him up, you will not be disappointed. His record is currently 41 – 0 – 0 (35KO) and he has world titles in 3 weight classes.
10. Terence Crawford – Another fighter who could possibly be enjoying fighter of the year honors for 2014. This man is an undefeated champion at 135lbs and is reportedly ready to move into the mix at 140. I would like to say that his win against Ricky Burns was very impressive however when he fought Gamboa they looked as though they were at least 2 weight classes apart. Crawford looked far too big on the night.
Note-worthy omissions from this list include the following fighters and for the following reasons;
Canelo Alvarez – In my opinion a talented, young, hungry fighter, with a huge fan base. Clearly this guy is going to become a PPV star but in my eyes he hasn’t had a single impressive win in his career. Before the Mayweather bout the highlights of his career came against an aging Mosley and a narrow points decision win over Austin Trout. He was then shutout by Mayweather and despite an impressive domination of the one-dimensional Angulo, he was pressed by Lara and won despite Lara connecting more frequently.
Bernard Hopkins – An all time great career. Despite this I cannot see him beating a top level operator again and wouldn’t want to see the old master mixing it up with lower ranked opponents.
Adonis Stevenson – Tough year for the man with much of the interest in his weight class going on without him.
Kell Brook – Terrific record and a world champion in the sports most stacked division. However despite several impressive performances, I would like to see him come back from his injury to a successful defense of his title before I consider placing the man in the top ten in the world.
Andre Ward/ Mikey Garcia – Big fan of both of these former pound for pound stars but you cannot maintain your spot at the top without fighting. As a fan I can only hope they squash their problems outside the ring and get back in it before too much of their prime passes. (Dan Rafael and ESPN wont include fighters if they are not active for a year and I agree with this policy.)
Juan Manuel Marquez – Another all time great. I would like to see this man retire especially as he is coming off a win.
Miguel Cotto – One of my favorite fights of the year was his against Sergio Martinez and he is one of my favorite fighters of all time. Despite this I cant help but feel that the man cant survive at 160 and no matter which opponent I see him picking it could very well spell a loss for him. I would love to see him go out on top as the first Puerto Rican 4 weight world champ, but at the same time the Alvarez fight could prove to be an exciting one.
Timothy Bradley – This one may be a big shocker for some. Maybe it is just because I personally am not a fan of him in ring. I say in ring because during interviews he present himself well and by all account he is a great guy. On top of this his work ethic is one of the best today. However how good is this man really? By all accounts he has TWO losses to the great Pacman, squeezed past Provodnikov by the skin of his teeth and head butted most of the other contenders around him to death. I wish the best for this champ in the future but Diego Chavez will do little to prove this man is a top ten talent. (boxrec computerized rankings have Bradley at 13)
Adrien Broner – who has he ever beat?