My Pound for Pound Dozen Right Now: Calzaghe, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Hatton, Marquez, Klitschko, Taylor, Vazquez, Cotto and others

floyd mayweather jr15.08.07 - By Ted Sares: These lists are extremely difficult to compile; they are subject to subjective analysis and to continual change. In fact, I have a top 100 list in my forthcoming book and it was pure torture to finally hit the send button. However, like many other on-line writers, I cannot resist the compulsion to do them. With this as my initial benchmark, my next will be posted on January 1, 2008 and then quarterly thereafter:

1. Manny Pacquiao (Jr. Lightweight)- This popular champion from the Philippines, at 44-3-2, has destroyed Mexican legends Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales with his in and out whirlwind style and heavy hands. Under Freddy Roach, he continues to improve adding new dimensions to his already formidable arsenal.

I expect him to beat (and retire) Barrera on October 6, 2000 and to do it in brutal fashion. Why Manny over Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Because he has engaged in brawls that truly test a fighterís warrior heart--- and he has passed those tests with flying colors.

2. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Welterweight)- The undefeated five-division champion, 38-0, recently beat Oscar De La Hoya in an uninspiring fight. While he has the best skill-set of any fighter alive, until and unless he steps up his level of competition, he will be not be first on this list. Of course, should he beat Hatton decisively, that could change things just as it could for Ricky if he upsets Pretty Boy.

3. Joe Calzaghe (Super Middleweight)- Still another undefeated fighter at 43-0, Calzaghe uses a great work rate, punch volume, and super hand speed to beat his opponents. If he beats undefeated Dane Mikkel Kessler, his legacy will be positioned for true greatness. And if he can subsequently notch a win over someone like Pavlik, Taylor or Hopkins, his legacy will be secured. But getting by Kessler is easier said than done.

4. Ricky Hatton (Jr. Welterweight)- Another undefeated fighter at 43-0, this in-coming all action warrior took out Jose Louis Castillo with one of his patented body shot. Moving back to 147 pounds to challenge Floyd Mayweather Jr. in December is the same weight that proved bothersome in his close win over Louis Collazo. If Pretty Boy can hurt Hatton like Collazo did, Ricky might not hear the final bell. We will find out on December 8, 2007. The difference between Calzaghe and Hatton is thin, but Joe gets the nod for his better all around skills.

5. Juan Manuel Marquez (Jr. Lightweight)- His win over Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera affirms his place on this list as does his courageous and remarkable draw with Manny Pacquiao. An upcoming fight with Rocky Juarez should present no problem for this tough and skilled fighter whose record is 47-3-1. However, a fight with Jorge Barrios would have been more revealing and would have showcased his boxer-puncher demeanor, with the emphasis on puncher. Que es masí macho? Juan Manuel Marquez, thatís who.

6. Miguel Cotto (Welterweight)- This LaMotta -like bull, 30-0, continues to make noise with his savage body attack and penchant for stalking and executing his prey. Not since Felix Trinidad has a fighter from Puerto Rico made such an impression. The fact he sometimes has defensive lapses only adds juice to the excitement. Like several of the fighters on this list, he has a big fight coming up that will reveal a lot about his future. Shane Mosley is the test, but I believe Cotto will pass with flying colors with his propensity to seek, trap and destroy.

7. Israel Vazquez (Jr. Featherweight)- A possible trilogy with Rafael Marquez will tell the final tale, but both warriors will need to rest their bodies and let the cuts heal before they go to war again, and the one thing certain about a potential third fight is that it would be a war. While Vazquez, 42-4, has put a lot of tough miles on his odometer, I think he has the wherewithal for at least one more big one.

8. Jermaine Taylor (Middleweight) - Makes the list for his willingness to take on all comers and for his record (27-0-1) of beating them, though in a less than convincing or exciting manner. A win over bomber Kelly Pavlik would go far in restoring the stock of "Bad Intentions." A loss would make him fade away. He ranks above Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright because he "beat" Hopkins twice and because Hopkins beat Wright. To say the Pavlik fight looms large in Taylorís career is an understatement.

9. Bernard Hopkins (Light Heavyweight)- You canít argue with success as this ring wizard uses whatever it takes to keep on winning. Just about the time I think he will succumb to the pressure of a younger guy (or the jabs of a Winky Wright), he proves me wrong. Like I said, you canít argue with success and his is reflected by a 48-4-1 record against very tough opposition. And oh yes, he genuinely seems to enjoy training and boxing.

10. Wladimir Klitschko (Heavyweight) - is on a seven-fight winning streak and improves with each outing. Some may argue a heavyweight should not be on a P4P list, but I say baloney to that. Under Emanuel Stewardís guidance, Klitschko, 49-3, has gone far in taking advantage of his innate athleticism. With a great jackhammer jab, sledgehammer right, solid left hook and much-improved stamina, he has become a more complete package. Heck, he has become a killing machine.

11. Jorge Linares (featherweight)- is from Venezuela, but like countryman Edwin Valero, lives and fights out of Tokyo. His record is 24-0 (15 KO) and his skill set is outstanding. He is the current WBC World Champion after having destroyed Oscar Larios with a classy display of boxing and punching, and after In Jin Chi recently renounced at his belt. Anyone who watched his brutal KO of Larios was probably still buzzing from the first fight between Katsidis and Amonsot, but aficionados surely were aware they were seeing something very special as this complete boxer-puncher landed beautifully leveraged punches with deadly and non-stop accuracy. Look for Linares to move up on this list and YOU CAN TAKE THAT TO THE BANK.

12. Ronald Winky Wright (Light Heavyweight- Though its difficult not to list Mikkel Kessler or Sugar Shane Mosley here, I will go with Winky, 51-4-1, who holds two wins over Sugar and had no trouble with Tito Trinidad. Winky still has enough to give any fighter at his weight fits. However, the manner in which Hopkins took him out of his game makes his spot on this list somewhat tenuous.

Article posted on 16.08.2007

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