Now that 2009 is getting close to wrapping up, it means this decade is almost over. Before the end of the year, I hope to get through all the weight classes, presenting to you some choices for the best fighter in a given weight class in the decade. I'm not going in any particular order here, but we'll get through all 17 weight classes.
When voting, please only consider the time that the fighter was in the specified weight class during this decade. Also, I'm not going to count obvious ballot stuffing when I tally these up at the end of the year.
In the 00's, the 130 pound weight class was mostly a transition division. Lots of the top fighters of the decade passed through the division at one point or another, but very few top fighters stayed there for an extended period of time. Most of the guys who did stick around in the weight class are actually in the other options for consideration - there are probably about 20 guys at least marginally worth a mention in this weight class, but the poll only holds 10 spots.
Marco Antonio Barrera - The Baby Faced Assassin went only 5-2 at the weight, but all of them were title fights, and he unified belts at one point during his reign. He also fought only the highest level of competition at the weight. His wins came against Erik Morales, Robbie Peden, Rocky Juarez (twice) and Mzonke Fana. His two losses came near the tail end of his career, when a clearly faded Barrera lost to Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Diego Corrales - Chico went 6-2 at the weight in the decade, including three title defenses. His best wins include Angel Manfredy, Derrick Gainer, Joel Casamayor and Justin Juuko. His losses came to Floyd Mayweather and Joel Casamayor.
Acelino Freitas - "Popo" went 9-0 at the weight, most of them title defenses, during the decade before moving up and also capturing a title at lightweight. He also unified titles and became lineal champion for a while. Brazil's best boxer of the last 20 years, Popo's best wins came over Joel Casamayor, Jorge Barrios, Daniel Attah, Javier Jauregui and Barry Jones. All but two of the victories came by way of knockout.
Juan Manuel Marquez - Marquez only had three fights in the weight class, but two of them were dominant wins against Marco Antonio Barrera and Rocky Juarez, and the third was a split decision loss to Manny Pacquiao in a fight that many felt Marquez won.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. - Mayweather only spent two years at the weight during the decade, and many of his better wins in the weight class came in the '90's, but he's here because many think he was the greatest 130 pounder of all time, and because he does own a couple of very good wins at the weight. Pretty Boy went 4-0 in the weight in the decade, including decisive victories over Chico Corrales, Carlos Hernandez and Jesus Chavez.
Erik Morales - Morales went 6-3 in the weight class, although the fights were almost exclusively against top competition, and the losses came after he was well faded. The best win of this period (and in retrospect, possible the best win of his career) came against Manny Pacquiao, Pacquiao's only loss this decade. Other key wins include Jesus Chavez, Carlos "El Famoso" Hernandez, Guty Espadas Jr. and Rodney Jones. The losses came to Pacquiao (twice) and Marco Antonio Barrera.
Manny Pacquiao - Pacman went 7-1 at the weight, and during the course of his time at the weight, ascended up the pound for pound charts. He went 2-1 against Erik Morales and also earned wins over Marco Antonio Barrera, Oscar Larios, Jorge Solis and Hector Velasquez. The biggest of his wins, however, was a highly contested decision over fellow pound for pound entrant Juan Manuel Marquez that many felt Pacquiao lost.
Others for consideration: Jesus Chavez, Carlos Hernandez, Humberto Soto, Sirimongkol Singwancha, Joel Casamayor, Jorge Barrios, Joan Guzman, Rocky Juarez, Robbie Peden, Nate Campbell, Mzonke Fana, Malcolm Klassen