Pound for Pound List (As Of 3/16/08)

16.03.08 - By Matt Yanofsky: 1. Floyd Mayweather {Welterweight}
Mayweather’s impressive tenth round knockout of previously undefeated Ricky Hatton On December 8th makes him the clear cut number one fighter in the world. Unfortunately, Mayweather will be fighting Oscar De La Hoya in a rematch on September 20th (which real boxing fans don’t care to see) instead of taking on the undefeated and eager Miguel Cotto. This is part of the problem with out sport and Mayweather is the man to blame in this instance. Boxing would be in much better hands if “Money Mayweather” took on tough fighters such as Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito or Shane Mosley..

2. Manny Pacquiao {Junior Lightweight}

Pacquaio earned an incredibly hard fought split decision to take the WBC junior lightweight crown from Juan Manuel Marquez in another thriller. Pacquiao’s third round knockdown ended up being the deciding factor as one judge’s score of 114-113 would have had the fight once again end a split draw if Marquez stayed on his feet. Pacquiao will be moving up weight and fight WBC lightweight champion David Diaz most likely toward the end of the summer.

3. Joe Calzaghe {Super Middleweight}

Calzaghe defined his greatness and is now arguably recognized as the greatest super middleweight ever after cruising to a unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated WBA/WBC champion Mikkel Kessler on November 3rd. In reality, Calzaghe, who is the current WBA/WBC/WBO and Ring Magazine Champion, owns all of the Super Middleweight belts since he did vacate the IBF belt which is now held by Lucian Bute. Following plenty of speculation and bad blood, Calzaghe will move up in weight to face Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins April 19th on HBO. Props to the network for forking over $6 million to keep the fight away from pay per view.

4. Bernard Hopkins {Light Heavyweight}

After retaining his Light Heavyweight World Title by defeating Winky Wright in a 12 round snooze fest, Hopkins showed that he is still an elite fighter at age 43 even if he has slowed down a bit. There has already been plenty exchanging of words between the two, including a racist comment by Hopkins about Calzaghe.

The Executioner must come through with an excellent performance on April 19th against the undefeated Joe Calzaghe if he wants to give the undisputed super middleweight champion his first loss.

5. Kelly Pavlik {Middleweight}

The undisputed middleweight champion used effective aggression and an improved defense to earn a unanimous decision victory over Jermain Taylor in a non title fight fought at 166 lbs as per Taylor’s request. Pavlik will be facing unknown Brit Gary Lockett June 7th on HBO. If Pavlik is victorious as expected, he could end up facing IBF champion Arthur Abraham who appears headed to fight on the June 7th TV undercard.

6. Miguel Cotto {Welterweight}

Cotto showed excellent versatility in defeating future hall of famer Shane Mosley. Cotto used a powerful jab along with his signature body punching to earn a close but deserved unanimous decision victory. Cotto, who is being ignored by Floyd Mayweather will fight Contender Season 1 star Alfonso Gomez April 12th on HBO. If Cotto is victorious, expect him to face the winner of the Antonio Margarito-Kermit Cintron rematch as it is no coincidence that the Margarito Cintron scrap will serve as the TV undercard to Cotto vs Gomez.

7. Israel Vazquez {Super Bantamweight}

Vazquez made it two out of three against the elite Rafael Marquez with his hard fought and well deserved split decision victory on March 1st. Vazquez showed an incredible amount of heart as he recovered from a fourth round knockdown and an early deficit on the scorecards to aggressively attack Marquez in the later rounds, and score a knockdown with just seconds remaining in the 12th to seal the fight. Vazquez will be taking some much deserved time off as he had taken some heavy punishment during the phenomenal trilogy. When he does return, the winner of the Daniel Ponce De Leon-Celestino Caballero fight appears to be his best candidate for an opponent if he elects to stay at 122 lbs.

8. Ricky Hatton {Junior Welterweight}

Hatton showed the heart of a champion and gave it his all against Floyd Mayweather before getting stopped in the tenth round of their December 8th welterweight title fight. Hatton tried mightily to cut the ring off and attack Floyd’s body. His strategy worked somewhat over the first six rounds but unfortunately, Mayweather was landed clean shots all night and connected with a monster left hook which basically spelled the fight for Hatton. The Hitman is expected to make his comeback fight against Juan Lazcano on May 24th. Hatton just signed a three fight deal with HBO but it is presently unknown if the deal starts before or after the Lazcano fight.

9. Juan Manuel Marquez {Junior Lightweight}

Marquez fell just short in his thrilling rematch against the elite Manny Pacquiao while losing his WBC junior lightweight belt. Marquez boxed well in spurts but the Filipino’s aggression and third round knockdown ultimately earned him the razor thin split decision which many thought could have gone to Marquez. There is a good chance that Marquez will end up fighting for the belt he just lost as Pacquiao is moving up in weight and most likely vacate the belt.

10.Winky Wright {Middleweight}

Wright fell just short against legend Bernard Hopkins this past July in a fight that has zero demand for a rematch. I scored the fight a draw {as did Harold Lederman of HBO} but the three judges came up with the ludicrous scores of 116-112 and 117-111 twice for Hopkins. There was some speculation that Winky would face Kelly Pavlik on HBO but Wright reportedly priced himself out of the fight (what else is new). There are some rumors circulating that Wright may face off against WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm in the near future but I somehow doubt it. Although Winky is an excellent fighter, he will be on the shelf until he understands his market value.

Honorable Mention: Rafael Marquez, Chris John, Shane Mosley, Cory Spinks, Wladimir Klitchko, Nate Campbell, Mikkel Kessler, David Haye, Ivan Calderon, Christian Mijares

Article posted on 16.03.2008

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