Should Sergio Martinez be rated #3 in The Ring pound-for-pound ratings?

Sergio MartinezBy Jon Campbell: The prestigious pound-for-pound rankings have historically been a way of removing the variable of weight to provide a list of the current top ten boxers on the planet. The Ring magazine is that which possesses the most respected ranking, number 3 on the current one is 37 year-old Argentine Sergio Martinez (48-2-2) who has had great success considering he took up the sport at 20 years old.

The current 'The Ring' Middleweight champ despite his achievements up to now fails to make as much as an impression upon me to the point where I would see him as the third best boxer on the planet. His ability and record is unquestionable but I believe there are numerous fighters more deserving of such an accolade. I will begin my argument by firstly laying out two important things which should be considered when assessing a fighter's pound for pound ability. These are firstly, weight class domination at original weight class. Secondly, successfully moving up in weight..

Becoming the best in the world at a particular weight class is a sure-fire way for consideration to get on the coveted list. This could include the unification of multiple titles from the major sanctioning bodies; or simply defeating all comers to the stage that none other has a reasonable chance. Notable recent examples include Bernard Hopkins at Middleweight, Joe Calzaghe at Super-Middleweight, and my hometown hero Ricky Hatton at Light-welterweight. These three did eventually move up but were featured highly in the list simply due to year after year domination at their respected weight-class.

Currently we have the Klitschko brothers at Heavyweight, although they are the two best and will not fight, it is inconceivable to see them getting defeated for the remainder of their careers. Due to this they can both be said to have dominated the division for years and have earned position in the top ten in their own right.

Also we have undefeated Super- Middleweight Andre Ward. His reign over the division is secured following an excellent display of dominance in the super-six tournament which consisted of several impressive decisions over the divisionís best. The fighter he has not yet fought is the also undefeated IBF champ Lucian Bute, who for some reason was not part of the tournament and cannot be reasonably argued to be the best in the divisions due to the caliber of opposition he has faced, which considering he has been a titleholder since 2007 has been below par.

The reason why Martinez cannot be said to have dominated to the extent the above fighters have or are currently doing is simply because he has not defeated a long list of largely competent contenders to the stage where he can claim dominance. His draw against Cintron in itself shows that he is not one to be compared to the likes of Mayweather, Pacquiao, Marquez and Ward. Since then we have seen impressive displays against Williams and Pavlik but this short-lived success at the top should not warrant by any means P4P #3 spot when those such as Bernard Hopkins had done so for years before he ever reached the business-end of the P4P list. For this to become deserved in my opinion Martinez must first gain more wins over the likes of Zbik, Sturm, Pirog and certainly Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Although he would be the favorite against the majority of these (if not all), he must do more for consideration as P4P #3.

Another feature of those generally successful on the P4P rankings is the ability to move up in weight and defeat bigger men who are successful in their respected divisions. The top of the list has featured those who have earned titles and important wins at several weight-classes, Such as Roy Jones Jr. and Oscar De la Hoya. Currently the top two are perfect examples in Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. As I have mentioned Martinez would score points by cleaning up his division, but what would persuade me more would be for him to move up and defeat a number of those in the arguably stronger Super-Middleweight division, and then possibly taking on those contenders in the Light-Heavyweight division. Considering his natural size he is capable of doing this and by failing to do this suggests to me that others who have done so are must more deserving.

The clear examples are Firstly, Nonito Donaire, who has recently won a title in the fourth weight-class against Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. Who since blasting onto the scene with a great upset against Vic Darchinyan has demonstrated great skills and tremendous one-punch power? It is very exciting and inspiring to see fighters be eager to challenge themselves against bigger opposition and Donaire shows little sign of stopping.

Secondly there is Juan Manuel Marquez, who despite exhibiting exceptional defensive skills refuses to let this preventing him from displaying a level of excitement rarely seen even amongst Mexican fighters. A true gem that was unsung for a large part of his career but now has arguably surpassed the legends of Barrera and Morales. From Featherweight Marquez has competed at the top level up to Welterweight. He is a three-weight champion but could easily cherry-pick titles at Light-welter and Welter should he not have limited time and be only interested with top-notch fights. Since his loss to Chris John he has several impressive wins over both skillful and bigger guys including Katsidis, Casamayor, Juarez, Barrera and a great double over Juan Diaz. His losses have come to the much bigger and understandably more skillful Mayweather, who yet failed to stop Marquez. Also two debatable losses to Manny Pacquiao (which is a separate article altogether). His ability and achievements in my opinion completely justify putting him P4P #3.

Thirdly we have the legendary Bernard Hopkins, the 47 year-old who dominated the Middleweight division in a much more convincing fashion than Martinez until his two close defeats to Jermain Taylor. Since this he has become the WBC and 'The Ring' Light- Heavyweight champion, with wins against Tarver, Pavlik, Pascal, Winky Wright and a rematch with Roy Jones Jr. Due to such performances it would take a convincing argument to persuade me that he is any worse than when he defeated Trinidad. Surprisingly, in my opinion at this latter stage of the career It is strange he is not generally considered for the top ten list and is certainly in the same tier as Martinez, if not possibly more favorable.

To conclude, I hope this does not come off as too harsh on Martinez; I admire his achievements and believe he is most likely one of the top ten in the world, but most certainly not the number three. In contrast to the number of other viable contenders he has not reached the top and stood the test of time as since his only two high-profile victories to date are against Williams and Pavlik. I would curiously welcome any of those who disagree and in fact advocate the placing of Martinez as P4P #3 to please argue in favor but as of yet I myself have yet to have found this justified. I would consider him more suited in the tier containing the likes of Froch, Khan, Rios and Bradley, and would not object to him holding a position in between 8-12. I hope my views are enjoyed and as my first article I promise much more where this comes from.

Article posted on 14.03.2012

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