Solution for Boxing Rankings and My Pound for Pound Best

09.12.04 - By Umar ben-Ivan Lee: There are a lot of pound for pound ratings being circulated around. All of them are based on opinion and none of them hold any real meaning and having said that I have decided to compile one of my own. One reason that I am doing so is that I believe that most of these rankings are using flawed logic and have given too much credit to some fighters such as Floyd Mayweather and James Toney and not enough to others.

It is my belief that boxing should have a media poll, similar to the AP poll in College football and basketball that would be the official rankings, or at least the universally recognized rankings. Many in the boxing media seek to dismiss the rankings of the sanctioning bodies, and I am one of the most critical of the ridiculous alphabet soup rankings, but that does not mean that I feel Ring Magazine should have some sort of monopoly over rankings.

A poll can exist consisting of the major boxing websites, boxing beat writers for newspapers, boxing magazine writers, and boxing TV and radio broadcasters with everyone having voting power. This would be a way that would tally the opinions of all of the best minds in boxing journalism. We have a situation today where one magazine, and possibly just one individual at that magazine, has the responsibility for producing the rankings that HBO, ESPN, FOX and others take as the Holy Grail and this is not logical at all.

Why should great boxing minds like Mike Katz, Dan Rafael, Bernard Fernandez, Max Kellerman, Tim Smith, Larry Merchant, Steve Farhood, Mark Chekhanovskiy , Tom Gerbasi, Thomas Hauser, Flattop, Karl Freitag, Bert Sugar, Kevin Iole, Al Bernstein and others be denied a vote? What sense does that make?

The system needs to change and there needs to be a poll emerge in the boxing media that will rate the divisions and the pound-for-pound rankings. Having said all of that, here are my PFP rankings.

My new top-twenty pound for pound.

Bernard Hopkins: This one is a no brainer given his 11 year undefeated streak and his stoppage of De La Hoya.

Kostya Tszyu: Can you name any other fighter who has stopped two top-notch fighters in the early rounds like Tszyu has done to Sharmba Mitchell and Zab Judah?

Manny Pacquiao: Promoter Murad Muhammad has big plans for him next year as he will take on Juan Manuel Marquez in January and possibly Erik Morales in the summer.

Marco Antonio Barrera: After his stunning victory over Morales, Barrera has once again established himself as a pound for pound best.

Winky Wright: Wright has two dominant performances over Shane Mosley and should get big fights is 2005.

Juan Manuel Marquez: Looking to his rematch with Pacquiao.

Erik Morales: After losing his trilogy to Morales, el terrible may be looking to head to the lightweight division or fight Pacquiao.

Floyd Mayweather: For two years Mayweather has not fought a legit contender and now he is fighting Henry Brussels, sorry that does not justify being number one or two PFP. He may be of top-talent but he is not fighting the fights that would justify his rankings-period.

Antonio Tarver: He ruined Roy Jones Jr. and that is enough to put him in the history books, but only having that one big win I can only rank him ninth.

Diego Corrales: He could have been the 2004 fighter of the year had he agreed to fight Jose Luis Castillo after winning against Acelino Freitas and Joel Cassamayor, but took the bad advice of manager James Prince. It is still good enough to get him in the top-ten PFP.

Rafael Marquez: One of the most devastating punchers in boxing he will have to go up in weight to find a competitive fight.

Jose Luis Castillo: The guy who outfought Mayweather but didn't get the decision got a little luckier in his bout with Cassamayor, and is looking to fight Corrales and Tszyu next year.

Joel Cassamayor: Three fights that could have went his way but didn't and that may be why he isn't ranking in the top-five PFP.

Shane Mosley: Sugar Shane has only lost to Winky Wright and Vernon Forrest and looked very well in his rematch with Wright, what will the future bring?

Oscar De La Hoya: Looked good enough against Hopkins to how he still has a lot left, a move back to the welterweight division may help.

Felix Trinidad: Tito looked great against Ricardo Mayorga, and if he fights like that in 2005 he will rapidly move-up in the PFP rankings.

Cory Spinks: Slipped in my mind after his lackluster win over Miguel Angel Gonzalez, may redeem his reputation in the Judah rematch that many are predicting him to lose.

Oscar Larios: Dominating win over Nedal Hussein could send him up to the featherweight division after dominating the Jr. Feathers.

Kassim Ouma: Exciting, action-packed, a life story fit for an indie movie, and a possible match-up with Kofi Jantuah creates a lot of interest in Ouma.

Vitali Klitschko: Heavyweights don't usually get PFP respect, but how can you not rank someone who owns his division the way he does?

Umar ben-Ivan Lee may be contacted at

Article posted on 09.12.2004

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