(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Divisions Affected: Pound-for-Pound (not that P4P is a division, but you get me), Junior Middleweight, Welterweight
Our pound-for-pound rankings change this week, and they change right at the top. Junior middleweight gets a minor shakeup, while welterweight welcomes a new top-end fighter.
But this is mostly about Manny and Floyd now, as should be the No. 1 focus of Top Rank's Bob Arum. Only Manny can beat Floyd, in my estimation. Only Floyd can beat Manny, too. I could do a big, rambling feature article on the Manny-Floyd thing, boxing's need for that fight, but why bother? We all know it. It should be done. If either side clearly ducks it, then we'll get going for real. At this point it's such a no-brainer, it'd be like writing an article where one reveals the fact that Peyton Manning is good, or that the Detroit Lions aren't.
Let's do a full, quick look at the updated P4P, then the two divisions that changed this week. All this after the jump at the bottom of this post (under the poll), and as always:
1. Manny Pacquiao (1-T)
I had Floyd and Manny tied last time. Floyd had earned that on past accomplishments and the fact that he retired as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, and never lost a minute of the fight against Juan Manuel Marquez (more on that in a moment). But what Pacquiao did to a terrific fighter in Miguel Cotto trumps what Floyd did to Marquez and then some. He demoralized and broke Miguel Cotto. Pacquiao keeps taking hard fights and going up, and he's proven himself a destructive force in every weight class he's tried, and willing to fight the class of that division, too. You can say he didn't at 135, but 135 was a clear get in, get out division, like Floyd at 140.
2. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (1-T)
Can we stop having to lead everything with, "I know Floyd's a wizard of a fighter, but..."? It's old. The fact that you have to do that with Floyd should say something to even his biggest fans. The man doesn't take challenges. The Marquez "fight" was a sparring session against a bloated, aging guy. In my view, none of Manny's losses really matter for where he is now as a fighter, even the last one in his first fight with Morales. He's five times the fighter that Manny Pacquiao was, and about fifteen times the fighter that lost to Medgoen Singsurat and Rustico Torrecampo. Really compare their resumes, and whose is better? It's Manny's, and it's not close.
3. Juan Manuel Marquez (3)
4. Paul Williams (4)
5. Bernard Hopkins (5)
6. Shane Mosley (6)
7. Hozumi Hasegawa (8)
8. Chris John (10)
9. Chad Dawson (13)
Chad Dawson's probably never going to thrill anyone, but he's as fluid a fighter as there is outside of Mayweather. Things just come naturally to him in the ring, and like Floyd, he's also put in the work to get better, or at least is starting to really do that. He routed Glen Johnson in their rematch, and with everything shuffling a bit around this point in the P4P, Chad regains his spot in the back end of the top 10. He never dropped out for being unimpressive, really, just a victim of other guys looking better. Antonio Tarver is probably shot, but Glen Johnson had shown no evidence of being so. Chad made him look old and slow, and his stock rises, at least in this regard.
10. Juan Manuel Lopez (9)
Some might drop Lopez more than this, and I've admitted I'm Lopez crazy, even probably a fanboy. I think he proved plenty against Rogers Mtagwa, a fighter infinitely better than his lousy record. He got into a war he shouldn't have, and even though it got touch-and-go at moments, he survived it and won a great fight. He proved his chin is good at the least, perhaps even great. And he showed he won't crack under pressure. Both of those are very big deals.
11. Ivan Calderon (11)
12. Nonito Donaire (12)
13. Miguel Cotto (7)
I don't even remember the last time Cotto wasn't in my pound-for-pound top ten. I think he's still a completely legitimate fighter and a very good one, but he just couldn't deal with Pacquiao. Then again, who can?
14. Mikkel Kessler (15)
15. Arthur Abraham (16)
16. Kelly Pavlik (14)
This is one of those instances where Pavlik dropping two is less to do with him and more to do with Abraham looking really good at 168 against Jermain Taylor, while Pavlik hasn't looked particularly good since the last time he beat Jermain Taylor, which was almost two years ago. Kelly takes another soft touch on December 19 against Miguel Espino. We'll know more about Kessler this Saturday, when he faces Andre Ward.
17. Rafael Marquez (17)
18. Celestino Caballero (18)
19. Vic Darchinyan (19)
20. Edgar Sosa (20)
Welterweight Division: Manny Pacquiao moves in at No. 2 in the division, just behind Floyd. Shane Mosley drops to No. 3, which might bother some of you, but oh well. That could also change if Mosley is really impressive in January against Andre Berto. As always, my rankings are constantly re-evaluated. Guys don't just stay in spots because they win, and don't always drop because they lose. The top six: Mayweather, Pacquiao, Mosley, Cotto, Clottey and Berto. Notice something? They all fight each other except one guy.
For the record, Pacquiao also stays No. 1 at 140 pounds for the time being -- he's still the lineal champion there and we'll wait to see if he makes a firm decision to stay at welterweight or not. I'm guessing he will since that's where the money is.
Junior MIddleweight Division: Yuri Foreman moves in at No. 7, and Daniel Santos (previous sixth) just falls out entirely. Santos is incredibly inactive and looked horrible against Foreman. Part of that was due to Foreman being spry and aggressive, part of it was due to Santos being just awful.
Following last night's fight, who's your No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in boxing?
Manny Pacquiao (714 votes)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (91 votes)
Too close to call (65 votes)
870 total votes