Pound for Pound: Mayweather, Pacquiao, Marquez, Hatton, More

By Andrew Walker: The term pound for pound is something that is starting to really grate with me in the boxing world right now. I understand what it means and how the ranking is arrived at but I think it is a meaningless title or moniker for any boxer to attain to. It can’t be proved in the ring so why do the fans and the media give it so much importance? Floyd Mayweather Jr. is universally ranked as the pound for pound number one right now but if you put him in a boxing ring against Joe Calzaghe who is somewhere in the top ten of this mythical list depending on who wrote it, Mayweather would lose big time to Joe..

I know the list is pound for pound and not if the fighters were at their respective weights but that is bunkum. Boxers should be judged against those in their respective weight class or thereabouts not on some mythical sliding scale that cannot be proved surely? The attributes needed to win as a heavyweight are different to those of a welterweight so how can we even begin to compare the two? In my opinion you can’t, certainly not with any degree of accuracy anyway. It is often said that one of the reasons that boxing is less popular nowadays is because there are too many titles that confuse the issue of who is the “champion” to the casual viewer so why do we need to go adding another one to the list?

To me it is similar to asking the question who would win if a prime Cassius Clay got in the ring with a prime Mike Tyson? You could discuss that all night but it can never be proved so would the result that proved more popular be valid? At least that discussion would have some validity as you would be matching two men of a similar weight but again it could not be proved either way. I have had a look at a few pound for pound ranking lists whilst writing this piece but as an example I have taken the names from the BBC’s list on their boxing site.


1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. – Welterweight United States (39-0-0, 24KOs)

2. Manny Pacquiao - Super-featherweight Philippines (45-3-2, 35KOs)

3. Juan Manuel Marquez - Super-featherweight Mexico (47-3-1, 35KOs)

4. Joe Calzaghe - Super-middleweight Wales (44-0-0, 32KOs)

5. Bernard Hopkins - Light-heavyweight United States (48-4-1, 32KOs)

6. Miguel Cotto – Welterweight Puerto Rico (30-0-0, 25KOs)

7. Israel Vazquez - Super-bantamweight Mexico (42-4, 31KOs)

8. Ricky Hatton - Light-welterweight England (43-1, 31KOs)

9. Winky Wright - Light-heavyweight United States (51-4-1, 25KOs)

10. Rafael Marquez - Super bantamweight Mexico (37-4, 33KOs)

Using that list as a talking point how can a forty three year old Hopkins with four losses and one draw to his credit be ranked as the fifth best boxer in the world today? Think about it? Do you really think that Bernard Hopkins is the fifth best boxer in the world right now? He may be arguably the best light heavyweight in the world today but maybe that’s a reflection on how weak comparatively that particular division is, no? And how is Winky Wright ranked ninth best in the world?

We could go on and argue the points and merits for each fighter and the justifications on why they should or should not be on the list but none of it can be proved? Pound for pound lists should be nothing more then a way to provide a talking point and no real weight should be placed on them. So can we please drop the term pound for pound for a while now and concentrate on matters that can be proved in the ring. Anyway we all know that Joe Calzaghe is the pound for pound king in boxing today. Just ask Enzo he knows.

Andrew Walker.

Article posted on 27.02.2008

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