Great fight and a great performance from Andre Ward. It was bittersweet for me because two of my favorite fighters were in the ring with each other and one guy had to lose, so be it. As for Ward, there's nothing left at 168 except Andre Dirrell. I suspect that fight won't happen anytime soon, as Dirrell probably mapped out his own path to a world title separate of Andre Ward. I think S.O.G. ought to consider a move up to light heavyweight. Some folks on Twitter mentioned Tavoris Cloud the IBF champion, you have Nathan Cleverly who holds the WBO belt, and of course you have Chad Dawson who because he went down in weight to fight Ward is being allowed to keep his undisputed titles at 175. Ward definitely shot up my rankings as you'll see below. As for Chad Dawson, I perhaps let my bias influence my decision to keep him as a bottom tier P4P fighter, which isn't a bad thing. He's still untouchable at 175, I don't believe for one second Cleverly, Cloud, or Shumenov threaten his reign. He's beaten Hopkins who was the #1 at the time. The only thing left that makes sense, and quite frankly the fight he should have waited for is a rematch with Jean Pascal. One thing is certain about Chad Dawson's future, 168 is not in it.
Pound for Pound Rankings:
1. Andre Ward (Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion)
2. Floyd Mayweather (WBC Welterweight Champion, WBA Junior Middleweight Champion))
3. Sergio Martinez (Undisputed/Ring Middleweight Champion)
4. Nonito Donaire (Lineal Junior Featherweight Champion)
5. Juan Manuel Marquez (WBO Junior Welterweight Champion)
6. Manny Pacquiao
7. Timothy Bradley (WBO Welterweight Champion)
8. Danny Garcia (Undisputed Junior Welterweight Champion)
9. Guillermo Rigondeaux (WBA Super Bantamweight Champion)
10. Chad Dawson (Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion)
Light Heavyweight Rankings:
1. Chad Dawson (Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion)
2. Bernard Hopkins
3. Gabriel Campillo
4. Jean Pascal
5. Tavoris Cloud (IBF)
6. Beibut Shumenov (WBA)
7. Zsolt Erdei
8. Isaac Chilemba
9. Karo Murat
My light heavy rankings changed a bit. I don't know if any UK fans on here would agree with my putting Tony Bellew at the #10 spot while dropping Cleverly out all together. Fact is Bellew has been more active, shown a lot more progress, and simply has fought better competition than his UK rival. Cleverly has shown time and time again that his willingness to fight as he puts it the "big names" is either pillow talk on his end or that of his promoter Frank Warren who is notorious for what he did during the majority of Joe Calzaghe's career. He hid Calzaghe away in Wales for the most part. Now, I don't know if Cleverly will suddenly make a huge statement against a legitimate opponent the way Joe did against Jeff Lacy. I'm inclined not to put faith in Cleverly as a credible champion or a threat at 175. The only fighter I think he could beat is the equally fraudulent Beibut Shumenov who seems equally content with hording his belt in an undisclosed location.
For me Bellew is the real story at 175. Here was a guy who Frank Warren discarded in favor Nathan Cleverly and who many people thought of as a fringe worthy domestic level fighter enviously obsessing over Nathan in order to make a name for himself. Instead what we found was a hard working, humble kid who was misunderstood and undervalued more than anything else. Bellew isn't a world beater by any means but his heart and willingness to learn and honestly improve as a fighter has endured him to UK fans and myself as an American.
I believe he's the best light heavyweight in Britain because he steadily improved and if you track his level of competition compared to Nathan Cleverly you'll notice that Bellew has gone from British, to European, to World level whereas Clev's opposition level has gone in the opposite direction. If Tony can somehow get a shot at Beibut Shumenov I wouldn't be surprised if he beat him. He's got two clear paths to a world title, it just depends on who gives him a chance.
1. Antonio DeMarco (WBC)
2. Ricky Burns (WBO)
3. Miguel Vasquez (IBF)
4. Kevin Mitchell
5. Mercito Gesta
6. Richard Abril
7. Adrien Broner
8. Gavin Rees
9. Ray Beltran
10. John Molina Jr.
135 is quite possibly the thinnest division in the sport right now. Even though Yuriorkis Gamboaand Adrien Broner are set to make their debuts, I put them in the rankings based mostly on projection and not current accomplishments. Mercito Gesta is the one to watch in my view because I hear he might fight Miguel Vasquez for the IBF title. As we move forward I think this division will start to get a lot better and the level of competition will improve, thus I believe the likelihood of guys getting exposed will increase dramatically. Thus far the lightweight regulars have been afforded a baron landscape with little challenge. With the addition of Broner, Gamboa, and Gesta, that is no longer the case.
Antonio DeMarco has now established himself as the real lightweight champion. I've been saying since he beat Jorge Linares, the man is underrated and folks need to start paying attention because this kid DeMarco can fight. He doesn't look like much but he finds ways to win. I have to put him in the same category as Andre Ward and Danny Garcia. These three champions aren't glaringly skillful or dynamic in anyway, but they have overall talent and they know how to win, plain and simple.
As for my pound for pound rankings some of you, or perhaps all of you will notice Danny Garcia at the eight spot. That might sound crazy but the reason why I put him there is because like Andre Ward he knows how to get it done against the very best competition within his reach. No one gave him a shot against Amir Khan who many felt was the best 140 pounder in the world. Swift knocked him out within five. Danny has always stood out to me as a fighter who despite being one of the most basic stylistically, there were things about his game that were underrated and you could tell his solid amateur background would provide a nice safety net for him as a professional. He's not "swift", he's not this athletic razzle dazzle fleet footed bolt of lightening like Amir Khan, on the other hand how did that serve Amir Khan?
Like I said he's basic, orthodox, standard. He makes mistakes but he doesn't make costly ones. He's got slow hands but great focus and timing. He's not a dancer but he knows how to position himself. At 24 the sky could be the limit for Danny Garcia if he keeps winning. So far he's won the fights he should win and won the fights he wasn't supposed to win. I say he's the 8th best fighter in the world P4P. I was tempted to put Robert Guerrero at #8 but he's only had one fight at 147.