By Bob Smith: The ESPN pound for pound list is a much better alternative to the Golden Boy Pound for Pound list, as Golden Boy is a major promoter of boxers in addition to being the owner of Ring Magazine. Yet in my view, certain fighters are consistently underrated by the list, and certain fighters consistently overrated.
Like most serious boxing fans, I view Floyd Mayweather Jr as the #1 pound for pound boxer, and Manny Pacquiao as the #2 pound for pound boxer. Yet after this, my list diverges considerably from the ESPN list. Am I suggesting that I am a better boxing critic than the ten member ESPN panel?
by Bob Smith: For nearly a year and a half, your noted author has written informative and incisive articles and occasionally has even made predictions of upcoming matches, the majority of which were correct, with the notable exceptions of the Martinez-Cotto match up and the recent domination of Hopkins by Kovalev.
In researching the Pacquiao-Algieri fight, I came across a very insightful video that compared and contrasted Pacquaio and Mayweather, I thought very effectively.
By Bob Smith: It is unquestionably the case that Manny Pacquaio has declined as a boxer over the last few years, partly due to the aging process, partly due to his wars with Marquez and Bradley, as well as the cumulative effect of all his difficult fights. However, he is not yet to the point where Floyd Mayweather actively seeks to fight him, and this more than anything should tell the reader about his chances of being upset by Algieri.
First, off who is Chris Algieri? He is a very talented athlete, who started training in martial arts at the age of 10, and received a black belt at age 15. He is a former undefeated professional kick boxer, who was a welterweight world champion before deciding to retire and to move on to boxing. As if this were not enough, he was also a nationally ranked wrestler in high school, and has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition.
by Bob Smith: The light heavyweight championship bout between Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev is perhaps the most intriguing match-up of this boxing year. It pits a devastating knockout artist in his prime against an ageless wonder, a skilled fighter for 20 years now, who has never been knocked out even a single time in his 65 fight career. Will the power and skill of the Krusher prove to be too much for Hopkins, or with the Ageless Wonder, the Alien, somehow find a way to win, even nearly pushing 50 years old?
The first thing to ask is: should Bernard Hopkins even be in the ring with such a devastating puncher as Kovalev, much less do so at 49 years old. Hopkins is a former middleweight, and it was in this division, 15-20 years ago, that he made his greatest mark. The short answer is, yes. Hopkins went the distance against a devastating and much quicker puncher in Roy Jones Jr.; he defeated Trinidad and Oscar de la Hoya; went the distance with Calzaghe and Chad Dawson; and defeated Tavoris Cloud and Jean Pascal. While it may be true that Kovalve is a bigger puncher and man than any of them, it still shows that skill of Bernard Hopkins against world class fighters.
By Bob Smith: Like many Americans, I was ignorant of a virtually unknown middleweight titlist for all of the 2000s, and all the way into late 2012. Back then, the two major fights were Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Manny Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Sergio Martinez, and both were great and even electrifying fights.
On you tube in early 2013, I saw a tremendous victory of this nearly unknown fighter against Gregory Proksa, a fighter who fights in a style quite similar to Sergio Martinez and who was a top 20 middleweight.
By Bob Smith: There has been a tremendous amount of scientific and technical development since the turn of the last century (by this I mean 1900), but unfortunately very little of it has penetrated the boxing world, or even sports in general.
By Bob Smith: First off, I will define “generation” as the last 25 years, which as of the writing of this article would be late September 1989. The world was quite a different place then, but boxing quality endures throughout the ages, even if perhaps the capacity to recognize it ebbs and flows. There have been some great fights in the past 25 years, but what was the greatest?
By Bob Smith: Though it is almost certainly the case that Cotto will fight Canelo next May, with or without a tune up fight, many boxing fans want to see who truly is the best in the middleweight division. Perhaps Cotto’s decision not to face Golovkin is due to financial reasons; perhaps at this point in his career he feels he has nothing to prove – and as the first four division Puerto Rican champion why would he?
But perhaps also he is aware that Martinez was slipping or shot by the time that he fought Martinez, so his title is less than legitimate, and so he wants to avoid fighting a true middleweight until his cash out fight.
(Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime) By Bob Smith: Boxing fights can be watched in many ways, but the best way of course is live and with a group of people. For the wealthy among us who have money and time, in person is best. For those who have some money (or perhaps like to think that they do) PPV is a good option.
A lesser but still decent option is to watch the fight in a movie theater if and when it is available. Cheapskates (including your author) opt to watch the fight live at a bar or a casino for free.
By Bob Smith: In honor of the occasion of writing this article, and also to refresh my memory, I re-watched the fight between Marco Antonio Rubio and then undefeated middleweight David Lemieux.
Though Lemieux was the favorite and the harder puncher, and is still a top 10 or top 20 middleweight even now, four or five years later, the cunning, technique, defense, boxing skill, endurance, and confidence of Rubio were enough to allow him to weather the early onslaught from an overconfident Lemieux and come back with the beautiful win. Can Rubio repeat this feat in his fight with Golovkin?
First, before anything else, I want to say on a personal level that Marco Antonio Rubio is one of my favorite middle weights of this era. Sure, I like Golovkin best, and a few years ago, it was Martinez who was perhaps my favorite overall fighter, but Rubio was always in the top 6 or so. And the reason is that if I ever were a boxer, I would fight like him – he has a swimmers body, even more so than does Golovkin – broad shoulders, thin, long arms, respectable punching power for weight but nothing incredible, but more than anything else, he is a very well conditioned athlete, skilled defender, and a very intelligent fighter who sizes up his opponents well and has excellent game plans. (Yes, you guessed it, legendary writer Bob Smith is a former skilled swimmer who holds records from childhood that have lasted 20+ years.)