This list was last updated on November 10, 2008 -- a lot has happened since, and a lot is coming up in February. I get the feeling it won't be too long before we do another update, but with such a drastic shift coming out of last night, an update was completely necessary.
There are some real shake-ups. Time is moving very fast in boxing right now -- guys are rising and falling not just based on their fights, but because of out-of-the-ring circumstances and inactivity.
Ranking on the previous list is in parentheses.
1. Manny Pacquiao (1)
Since Last We Spoke: Pacquiao manhandled, dominated, embarrassed, and stopped Oscar de la Hoya in awe-inspiring fashion on December 6 in his 147-pound debut. He so thoroughly demolished the "Golden Boy" that if anyone had any question about his status as reigning pound-for-pound king, it either ended that night or you just hate Pacquiao. It's nothing against any other fighter, but Pacquiao has made his case time and again since his loss to Erik Morales.
Upcoming: Pacquiao will fight 140-pound champion Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas on May 2.
2. Joe Calzaghe (2)
Since We Last Spoke: Calzaghe has done a lot of talking, but nothing serious has come up for his future. The retirement talk is always there, but hard to take seriously.
3. Juan Manuel Marquez (3)
Since We Last Spoke: Marquez has been off since his September knockout of Joel Casamayor.
Upcoming: A big test against young Juan Diaz, a former three-body lightweight titlist with just one loss on his record. Marquez will have his hands full on February 28 in Diaz's hometown, Houston.
4. Bernard Hopkins (4)
Since We Last Spoke: Hopkins hasn't fought since destroying Kelly Pavlik in October.
Upcoming: Nothing set, nothing looks like it'll be set. There's been talk of a Calzaghe-Hopkins rematch, but Calzaghe seems disinterested, and frankly, so am I. The first fight was ugly. It's rare I don't want to see two top five P4Pers square off, but this is one of those cases. The fight has no aesthetic appeal whatsoever.
Since We Last Spoke: Mosley just beat the daylights out of Antonio Margarito in one of the most sensational performances of his storied career. Maybe some wouldn't jump to put Sugar Shane this high, but this is one of those that has other things affecting it, too. Mosley was going to make a huge leap regardless, but we're now talking about 147-pound Mosley, and not 154-pound Mosley, and that's a huge difference. Plus, inactivity and other things on the part of other fighters pushes him up a few more sports. But Shane is back home near the top of the sport either way.
6. Paul Williams (11)
Since We Last Spoke: Williams was gearing up for a 154-pound title fight with tough veteran Verno Phillips on November 29, which he won with relative ease. A cut opened, but Williams never got wild. He took Phillips apart and became the first man to stop him inside the limit in 20 years.
Upcoming: Williams is now preparing for a 160-pound fight with the returning Winky Wright, which won't be easy. Even with ring rust, you have to (for now) take into account Wright's great defensive abilities and his southpaw stance. Williams deserves to be the favorite, but I won't count Wink out until we see what he's got left.
7. Antonio Margarito (6)
Since We Last Spoke: Oh, the shine came off some last night, but not completely. Margarito is still a big, dangerous fighter at 147 pounds, though the plaster controversy is huge. This is a ranking made with best wishes for Margarito. Believe me, I don't want to see his name disgraced. He tumbles if the worst case scenario comes to light, because then you have to question him in a big, big way.
Upcoming: A lot of things are TBA in this case.
8. Miguel Cotto (7)
Since We Last Spoke: Cotto has been inactive.
Upcoming: A fight on February 21 at Madison Square Garden against Brit welter Michael Jennings for the title Paul Williams vacated. Cotto is a huge favorite in the fight and should rightfully walk through Jennings.
9. Israel Vazquez (5)
Since We Last Spoke: Vazquez has been off almost a year, has had eye surgery, and right now, his future is still up in the air. He's only going to be on this list so much longer, I assume.
10. Ivan Calderon (9)
Since We Last Spoke: Calderon has been inactive.
Upcoming: TBA, but there's FINALLY some talk of Calderon taking on Ulises Solis.
11. Rafael Marquez (8)
Since We Last Spoke: Nothing, and no serious talks about anything in the future. This is another inactivity drop, plus I have to wonder how much the Vazquez wars have taken out of both fighters.
12. Kelly Pavlik (10)
Since We Last Spoke: Kelly Pavlik has been inactive, but made the logical decision to go back to middleweight even if it means losing 15-20 pounds for the weigh-in, and to step back and fight there for a while.
Upcoming: Pavlik faces hard-punching Mexican brawler Marco Antonio Rubion on February 21 in Youngstown.
13. Chad Dawson (12)
Since We Last Spoke: Dawson hasn't fought since creaming Antonio Tarver, but he has moved from Showtime to HBO, and the network is looking to back him huge.
Upcoming: A rematch with Tarver at the same empty building that housed their first fight.
14. Ricky Hatton (14)
Since We Last Spoke: Hatton creamed Paulie Malignaggi on November 22, and Buddy McGirt throwing in the towel meant that Hatton became the first man to stop the double-tough Brooklynite with the bad hands. More press has been generated by the on-and-off, stop-and-start negotiations with Pacquiao, though.
Upcoming: A mega money showdown with Pacquiao on May 2.
15. Nate Campbell (13)
Since We Last Spoke: Campbell's career got straightened out enough for him to finally get another fight signed.
Upcoming: A dangerous fight with tall, rangy banger Ali Funeka in Florida on February 14.
16. Arthur Abraham (15)
Since We Last Spoke: King Arthur knocked out veteran Raul Marquez two days before the last update, and hasn't fought since.
Upcoming: Scheduled to fight on March 14 in Germany, but no opponent has been named. The mud-slinging between Abraham and fellow German middleweight titlist Felix Sturm has continued.
17. Vic Darchinyan (16)
Since We Last Spoke: Darchinyan leapt back into the P4P ranks just before the last time out, destroying Cristian Mijares. Since then, he's had a lot of funny quotes about Jorge Arce.
Upcoming: An all-action slugfest with Arce on February 7.
18. Celestino Caballero (NR)
Since We Last Spoke: Caballero crushed Steve Molitor on the road in Canada, unifying the WBA and IBF junior featherweight titles with a fourth round knockout. The two were considered the unsung heroes of the top-heavy 122-pound division, and Caballero made his case as arguably the division's most dangerous fighter.
Upcoming: Caballero will defend his titles in Panama on March 20, against Jeffrey Mathebula (22-1-2, 12 KO).
19. Chris John (NR)
Since We Last Spoke: John finally agreed to come to the States. It'll be his first fight since his October win over Hiroyuki Enoki in Japan.
Upcoming: Of all the places for Chris John to visit, he's being sent to Texas? I keed. John faces Houston boy Rocky Juarez on February 28.
20. Wladimir Klitschko (19)
Since We Last Spoke: Klitschko slaughtered Hasim Rahman in Germany on December 13. It was a non-fight.
Upcoming: Haye, Macarena! Looks like June.
Drop-Outs: Fernando Montiel (17) didn't look great when he took a stay-busy fight at 118 pounds, and now he's officially moving up after having great trouble making 115 pounds for a fight with Nonito Donaire, which is off. Montiel has something to prove with the jump. ... Jermain Taylor (18) is a good fighter that dominated Jeff Lacy in November, but if you've followed BLH at all you know I'm not exactly impressed by Lacy and haven't been for years. The win was easy pickings for Taylor. As sharp as he looked, Lacy did hurt him, and Jermain doesn't have a truly big win since beating Bernard Hopkins. He can easily jump back in, but right now he's out.
Honorable Mentions: Taylor, Cristian Mijares, Mikkel Kessler, Roman Gonzalez, Hozumi Hasegawa, Juan Manuel Lopez, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Steven Luevano, Montiel, Juan Diaz, Ulises Solis, Nonito Donaire, David Haye