Hear ye, hear ye! Ye olde Bad Left Hook Top 20 was in dire need of an update, so I put out the call to our 16 regular readers, and a few of them actually responded! In total, we had seven voters, a lot of opinions, and some borderline questionable calls. But boxing is all about borderline questionable calls, ol' friends o' mine.
Let's do it it! Let's do this! Let's play some footbowwwl.
Your Voting Squadron:
Scott Christ, Bad Left Hook
Matt Miller Bad Left Hook
Tim Starks, Ring Report
BLH Users: Option27, Brickhaus, sigidy21, BabyBull1289
SC: Pacquiao has become such a phenomenon that I dare say neither you nor I have ever truly seen the like of him before. Sure he has some weaknesses -- he's beatable because of his always-watchable style, and he's not a PPV draw without an attractive opponent, so he's no Oscar. But Oscar is a much bigger man than Manny (yeah, I'm going there right now, even when I don't need to). And Oscar was American. And Oscar was an Olympic gold medalist. And Manny is a Filipino kid that rose from the streets, has fractured English to communicate globally, and yet he's become one of the three biggest STARS in the sport (with Oscar and Floyd). He's also become a phenomenal, well-rounded fighter that deserves all of his fame and the recognition as world's best boxer.
MM: Like everyone else who gives a crap about boxing, I love watching Pac fight. Nobody is more exciting, nobody more ferocious. Despite his improvements in ring management, Pac is still basically an all-offense kind of guy, and our collective boxing adrenaline highs are all the better for it, even if it still occasionally leaves him vulnerable against the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez. I don't see how anyone can possible make an argument for Pac as lower than number two right now, and I'm guesing I'm the only one in this survey ranking Joe head of him.
TS: I think Pacquiao's going to be sitting pretty here for a little while, now that he won't have some weird pseudo-threat to his status from a significantly more gigantic man in Oscar De La Hoya. I have no clue what losing to ODLH would've done for the Pac-Man's pound-for-pound fiefdom. I don't see Humberto Soto threatening it, if that's who he fights next.
Option27: Pacquiao is actually starting to become a solid boxer.
sigidy21: For me a good test for a boxer is how they manage the rise in weight and who better than Pac. His speed is still there and his killer instinct maybe lacking in his last fights but he is a more intelligent fighter now.
BabyBull1289: If he fought Marquez tomorrow, I wouldn't be picking him, but you can't argue with his results and you can't argue that he makes every one of his fights worth watching more than once. In that respect, he is miles ahead of Calzaghe. Beating a tough lightweight like David Diaz was nice. Beating a hall of fame welterweight like De La Hoya would be really nice.
Brickhaus: I don’t see a way around Manny as No. 1, unless you think Marquez was robbed.
SC: At times I wish that Ricky Hatton had been blessed with Joe Calzaghe's gifts, and that it was Hatton up here as the contender for pound-for-pond king. While the Manchurian Hatton is an easy-going, affable, likable guy with a persona that could have come from Milwaukee or Fargo just as easily as the UK, the Welsh Calzaghe has a habit of sounding and appearing very smug. If this was Hatton, no one would argue a whole lot. But Calzaghe can be off-putting. If only he was uglier and more inclined to gain 50 pounds between fights. But social commentary aside, Calzaghe is a hell of a fighter. How's that for analysis?
MM: After Pacquiao's incredible performance against Diaz, the boxing world quickly arrived at the consensus that Pac--not Joe--is the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. Pac has the more passionate and vocal fans, and they, aided by Dan Rafael, seem to have won this argument. I say not so fast. Most of us had Joe ahead of Pac before they fought BHop and Diaz respectively, and while Pacquiao's win was certainly the more entertaining, looked at logically, was it the more impressive?
Certainly not. What are you people thinking, seriously? Ask yourself this question: is it more impressive to emerge with a win against David Diaz or Bernard Hopkins? If you answered Diaz, you're on crack. Where was Hopkins on YOUR P4P list prior to the Calzaghe fight? OK, now where was David Diaz on your list prior to the Paquiao fight?
Sure, Diaz went down harder than Hopkins. But Hopkins NEVER looks outclassed the way Diaz was. And that's the truth of it: Diaz was not in Pacquiao's league, and his defeat, no matter how decisive, can never be estimated a more important career victory than what Joe Calzaghe achieved moving up in weight, coming to the United States, and beating Bernard Hopkins.
TS: Calzaghe's taken on a lot of top fighters over the last two years or so, and he's won every time. I wish he was fighting Kelly Pavlik instead of Roy Jones. I think if Calzaghe beat Pavlik, he'd be the main man.
Option27: He's done it for too long now not to be recognized.
sigidy21: His rise in weight plus finaly fighting over seas proved to the few remaining people he is a top talent. No-one ever looks good against hopkins so im hoping the Roy Jones jr match will be a better view of how Calzaghe is looking at light-heavy. His hand speed is good even tho they are slappy they do the job.
BabyBull1289: I put him slightly ahead of Pacquiao for a few reasons. One is the fact that I believe, like many, that Marquez beat him in their rematch. I think boxing puts way too much stock into the "0", but it is something that you can't ignore. Embarrassing Jeff Lacy and easily outpointing Kessler and BHop with two other wins mixed in is a pretty good two years of work. With Jones next and Pavlik on the horizon, Calzaghe is seeking out the big fights and is a worthy #1.
Brickhaus: Number two by default. Still has a weak resume, and there’s probably no way to rectify that at this point.
SC: I'm wary of keeping Marquez up this high before he fights at 135 for the first time against a very dangerous opponent in Joel Casamayor. Marquez has always had a couple of flaws. He used to not be aggressive enough. Now he might be too aggressive, given that he's a natural counter-puncher. I expect him to bring the fight to Casamayor and try to knock him out. Joel was rocked around by Michael Katsidis, and Marquez probably feels he's the type of guy that can wail on Joel. It's a really interesting fight on paper. Not pay-per-view interesting, but interesting. At the end of the day, I do not think Pacquiao is a better fighter than Marquez. I also don't think Marquez is any better than Pacquiao.
MM: He fought not one but two razor-close fights with Manny Pacquiao. Nuff said.
TS: The top three, I think, is really easy. Marquez has gotten better and more exciting of late, despite the perception some have that he's slowed down. Maybe so, but he's made some nice adjustments. I think he beat Pacquiao in their rematch this year, and that Pacquiao won the first time. If he knocks off Joel Casamayor, I vault him to the two spot. (Crosses his fingers for Pacquiao rubber match.)
Option27: I know you can make a case for him being undefeated and all but he hasn't faced anyone besides Manny that I would consider him so high like everyone else. Barrera was older when he faced him.
sigidy21: His losses to Pac only showed he was a great boxer. He was able to counter and press the action when it was needed.
BabyBull1289: I thought about being stubborn and listing him at 2 above Pacquiao. I had him winning both of their fights. That said, heading into the rematch, Marquez had to avoid the canvas and Pacquiao sent him there again. Still, this is the best technician of the sweet science in the world and I expect him to not only beat Casamayor, but to shut him out.
SC: Those that are starting to throw some backlash at Pavlik are, I feel, missing out on a potentially great story in boxing. Kelly has the goods. I'm not saying he'll never lose a fight; I'm not even saying there's not a fair chance he loses his next one if he gets suckered into a Bernard Hopkins fight. But Kelly Pavlik has the potential to be the guy that leads a boxing revolution in America. Finally, there'd be an American champion that is pretty damn hard to dislike, and that's important. It also has nothing to do with race; Pavlik could be an orange alien now fighting out of Youngstown and he'd be my boy. He comes to fight. He's got knockout power. He's humble. Pavlik is the future of American boxing, if we're lucky.
MM: I had a hell of a time deciding between Juan Manuel Marquez and Kelly Pavlik for my three slot. Maybe I'm a sucker for that zero in the loss column, but it seems to me that being undefeated is still worth something, especially when you are clearly not dodging anyone, as is the case with Pavlik. Juan Ma has more formiddable potential opposition than Kelly does though, and that gives him more of a chance to pass Kelly and possibly move up even further, if he can ever get that third fight against Pac.
TS: Sometimes, a drubbing like the one Pavlik put on helpless Gary Lockett does go some way toward proving a fighter's caliber. Again, I wish Calzaghe-Pavlik was happening next, but Pavlik-Hopkins will give the pride of Ohio even more opportunities to establish his class.
Option27: Pavlik is the peoples' champion.
sigidy21: He is by far the top middleweight and would proberly be top super middleweight when he moves up. I had a hard decision about putting him 3 or 2 because i think he could win a match up with Calzaghe. He has shown good boxing skills and can stand and fire when given the oppertunity.
BabyBull1289: The rematch with Taylor was a bit of a disappointment. Gary Lockett was a joke. No matter what, the Hopkins fight figures to be less than thrilling. After an incredible 2007 and with a potentially great 2009 on the horizon (Calzaghe? Abraham?), 2008 has just been all business for Pavlik, who keeps winning.
SC: Again, he's my favorite fighter. He's the most exciting fighter in the game today. There is no more that needs to be said about Izzy Vazquez. He's a guy you wish you could rank higher.
MM: Vazquez or Hopkins at five? Another hard choice. Do you go with the guy with an overall more impressive career, or the guy who looks better at the moment? Because a P4P list is supposed to evaluate the present, not the past, I'm going with Vazquez. He has youth and a more impressive recent string of fights on his side.
TS: If there's one guy I wish I could find a higher spot for on my list, it's Vazquez. Not just because I'm sentimental toward him. But because he is that good, as cognitively dissonant as it still seems to me for him to be here at all. I just can't locate the best spot.
Option27: Not only an unbelievable fighter but an unbelievable performer as well.
sigidy21: A fighter who brings it all for every second of every round. He can chase around a slick boxer and make him fight his fight and make every chance up close count.
BabyBull1289: A perfect blend of power, speed and boxing ability. I'd rather see him and Marquez take a break from each other, but who is going to argue if they do it a fourth time?
6. Antonio Margarito, Welterweight
37-5, 27 KO
SC: It didn't quite take so-far Fight of the Year honors, but "wow" was really the only word to describe Margarito's performance against Cotto in July. The hard-hitting, deliberate, relentless Margarito laid down one of the most grueling beatings you'll ever see, crumbling Cotto with continuing fire instead of one big air strike. By the time it was over, Margarito had reduced the very, very tough Miguel Cotto to a helpless shell of the fighter he was when the opening bell sounded throughout the arena in Vegas. With Margarito, I'm not sure how long his reign of fame lasts, but he's earned this.
MM: With his amazing and brutal victory over Cotto, Margarito emerges in my top ten for the first time ever at number eight. I still have my reservations about him--if you can last the distance against this guy, you have a reasonable chance of beating him. But his juggernaught-like endurance and nearly unstoppable pressure cover up for a lot (namely, the fact that he is fairly slow and seems not to care much about defense). But none of the elites in boxing today have a better chin than Antonio Margarito, and few are as physically imposing.
TS: Since I had Miguel Cotto ranked third before he fought Margarito, I gotta put the certifiable Mexican badass pretty high. Wins over Kermit Cintron help, as do competitive performances against Josh Clottey (although I think Margarito was on his way to losing that one before pulling out the W) and Paul Williams (would Williams be the clear-cut favorite in that fight? I think not).
Option27: Finally gets his due with the Cotto win.
sigidy21: If I judged this on chin and will he would be top by a distance. He can walk a guy down then dig in with uppercuts and hooks and won't stop throwing until the opponent moves back or drops to the deck.
BabyBull1289: I had Cotto at No. 3 before The Battle and have no problem moving Margarito all the way up. I don't know whether it was just Margarito's night or he is entering a late prime, but no one was beating Margarito that night. Margarito combines an incredible workrate with an incredible chin - a pretty deadly combination in boxing.
7. Miguel Cotto, Welterweight
32-1, 26 KO
SC: Well, we know how good Cotto is. And loss or not, he's a great fighter. But now we get to find out what he's made of. There have been some fine fighters that have failed to ever fully recover from a beating like Margarito put on Cotto. I thought Cotto was still winning the fight on the card, though obviously momentum was Tony's. He was just beaten down and out. Cotto has every ability to rebound from this and still be the fighter we know he can be. A change in the corner would be a good start.
MM: Is Cotto's career going to parallel his countryman Felix Trinidad's, as he sticks with a trainer that seems less than ideal? Cotto's gameplan against Margarito was flawed. Wither the body attack, Miguel? If he quits headhunting and goes back to plan A, he can still be the hero Puerto Rico wants him to be.
TS: Yes, Cotto was beaten definitively, and yes, I think he made some mistakes along the way against Margarito. But look at what he's done over the last few years, look at how awesome he was early against Margarito, and tell me that one loss against a fighter who presents style nightmares for him should push Cotto down too far.
Option27: Nothing he did against Tony Margarito makes him worse off.
sigidy21: He had his first pro loss and was a man about it. He made a bad choice about how to fight Margarito, but still showed he can box and any man not made of lead would have been worn out. I'm looking forward to seeing him back.
BabyBull1289: He didn't go to the body enough, but Cotto being ahead on many scorecards at the time of his demise against that monster Margarito was one of the best losing performances I have ever seen. Unfortunately, it had the look of a career changing fight. Hopefully, he can bounce back.
8. Rafael Marquez, Super Bantamweight
37-5, 33 KO
SC: You know what sucks about Rafael Marquez? He finally got as famous as he deserves to be (actually, not even close to what he DESERVES) at an advanced age. Rafael's 33 -- with the way he fights, there's not a whole lot more we're going to get to see out of him. The same probably goes for his 30-year old rival. And his brother, too, really. A lot of our best fighters are getting up there. There's due to be a massive change of the guard in the next 2-3 years.
MM: I worry about who, aside from Vazquez, he can fight to further his legacy. Still, Marquez is undoubtedly one of the best out there--and probably the most underrated of the top 10 by most casual fans.
TS: Oh how I love the Marquez brothers, snakebitten though they may be. Despite the long layoffs of both Marquez and Vazquez, somebody'd have to do something amazing to kick them out of my top 10 while they're on vaca.
Option27: The thrillogy almost ranks him up there by itself.
sigidy21: He is a boxer with good power and just came up short against Vazquez in a fight that realy had no losers since they both looked good. He is big challenge for anyone right now. Will be interesting to see his next fight and to see who it will be against.
BabyBull1289: He's a great fighter but it appears that he is headed for another fight with Vazquez. It would be great theater, but I really can't see him ever beating the more powerful Vazquez. That would be 3 losses in a row and I can't put him higher than 10th.
Brickhaus: The fact that he moved up from his natural weight to win one of three extremely close fights helps him.
9. Ivan Calderon, Junior Flyweight
31-0, 6 KO
SC: The best pure boxer in the world. Still, I have some reservations. He's this high because he deserves to be. But at his age, it won't shock me if he loses to Hugo Cazares on August 30, and I would not bet on him to beat Ulises Solis.
MM: More than any other elite boxer, Calderon faces the perpetual glass ceiling of crap competition.
TS: Calderon's like Joe Calzaghe a few years ago -- he gets by on length of reign more than anything. And the purity of his boxing ability, somewhat. If he beats Hugo Cazares again in August, I put him back in the top 10. It's not his fault he ruled over a weak division, but there are opportunities for him at 108.
Option27: One of the best 33-year old, 108-pound fighters that ever existed.
BabyBull1289: It isn't his fault his little weight class has little competition. All the guy does is win and usually in dominating fashion.
10. Bernard Hopkins, Light Heavyweight
48-5-1, 32 KO
SC: It would not shock me if Hopkins beat Pavlik, but it has to be the exact right circumstance where Pavlik just as much beats himself. I get the feeling we're about to see the definitive end of Bernard Hopkins. He ran out of gas in a bad way against Calzaghe. He is 43 years old. But in a world where boxers say one thing and do another, Hopkins' version of that is kind of nice. He said he wasn't interested in fighting young guns. But here he is about to take on Pavlik. Kudos, Hop.
MM: He is the best fighter in the world who I could care less about ever seeing box again.
TS: It sounds crazy to have Hopkins very high (No. 4) because of how old he looked last time out, but in his last five fights, he arguably beat Calzaghe and Jermain Taylor twice and cleanly beat two other top-10 pound-for-pounders in Antonio Tarver and Winky Wright. I rank career achievement and recent quality of competition, even with some losses, very high in these charming little lists. P.S. Ring magazine has B-Hop here, too. I'm not crazy!
Option27: He fared well against Calzaghe but that's the most I guess you can hope for.
BabyBull1289: Hanging on for too long but you have to include him.
Brickhaus: He can still give lots of great fighters a tough night, but I’m not sure he can actually beat them anymore. Also, the LHW senior division is just supremely overrated.
SC: A very fine fighter, a classy boxer with good skills. But I don't mind saying I think folks are a little too ready to proclaim him the hot ticket at 115. Fernando Montiel is just as good, I think. And outside of Alexander Munoz, what's this current streak of his in bare facts? Arce is a one-dimensional, very limited fighter. Franck Gorjux was a joke that made Teppei Kikui look good. Jose Navarro is an OK fighter but no one to get excited about -- though that fight did give us the great 120-108 Navarro card that should have gotten Doug Tucker banned for life. All respect to Mijares, but questions linger.
MM: Mijares is on a roll, but is he as good as the current hype?
TS: Honestly, I think a lot of people have this guy too high. Mijares has beaten, what, two formidable but limited brawlers and one muti-ran title contender? I do think he belongs in the top 10 because he's fared well in one of the three best divisions in the sport, and because I think he'd fare well against everyone in the division, but I need to see him do more before I get carried away.
Option27: This kid is so smooth, and modest.
BabyBull1289: The 115 pound division has a long list of interesting fights and I would take the emerging Mijares in any of them. Hopefully the powers that be realize that boxing fans would love to see the big matchups in this division in 2009.
Brickhaus: 115 is the best weight class nobody’s talking about.
12. Paul Williams, Welterweight
34-1, 25 KO
SC: I still don't think he can beat Margarito again. And I can't read a whole lot into his one-round win over Carlos Quintana. One-round KOs are so fluky that it's impossible to get much from them. It's impressive, yes, but hard to take seriously from an analytical standpoint. Who knows if he really felt good that night? Had Quintana pushed him again, would Paul have worn out? True, he didn't, but hey. I think it's worth considering. I would LOVE to see Margarito-Williams II, though.
MM: He beat Margarito. His only loss was avenged in a major way. With his frame and skillset, this guy has as much potential as any fighter in the world. And don't question his toughness. Proof? Review the first sentence of this paragraph.
TS: Unbelievable, the way he obliterated Carlos Quintana in one round. You can't make the argument, not that I do, that he should be ranked #1 at welterweight. You know what would settle that? Williams-Margarito II.
Option27: He beat Margarito and demolished Quintana in the rematch. You can make a case that he's the best welterwieght actively.
sigidy21: Anyone who is as physically out of place as Williams will have a few extra advantages over few fighters in the same weight class. The first round KO of Quintana was a shocker. You can't say he learned much from his first loss as the revenge win was so fast, but helped him move up the P4P list.
BabyBull1289: That win over Margarito will now forever be his meal ticket but how many great fighters would be battered for 12 full rounds by Carlos Quintana? Even with his revenge on Quintana, this is a tough guy to judge.
13. Shane Mosley, Welterweight
44-5, 37 KO
SC: I think Shane Mosley is still a great fighter. Think. I don't know for sure. Smoking Mayorga won't show a lot. Shane is one of my favorite guys in the sport, but I'll tell you something -- he fights once a year, and I don't know how much older in boxing years he's gotten with the layoff.
MM: I scored his fight against Cotto as a draw. I'm psyched about his impending beatdown of Mayorga, but can Mosley land the big fight he needs to climb back up the ladder again? Margarito seems his best bet, and I see no reason why it can't happen soon.
TS: I hope Mosley enjoys thrashing Ricardo Mayorga. That he wants Margarito next speaks to what kind of fighter he is. Oh, and he might win. I hope Mosley-Margarito happens, even though I think Williams-Margarito II is the one that should be on deck. Bob Arum's vendetta against a Williams adviser stands between fans and one of the best fights in the sport, and he's not taking enough heat for it.
Option27: Still unbelievably gifted but I think the Cotto fight was his best ever, and he still lost.
sigidy21: Still a top welterweight, he showed grit against Cotto and will have an easy night of work with Mayorga. He still has speed and power and has become a ring veteran with the extra knowledge that only comes with experience.
BabyBull1289: The guy proved he can still box with the best against Cotto. After he dispatches Mayorga, he'll likely land another big fight (Margarito, Williams, Cotto, Pacquiao) and will be very dangerous.
Brickhaus: He was really hurt by the Cotto loss. While he’s looked pretty decent lately, his recent resume is overrated, other than the loss to Cotto, and now that Cotto doesn’t look like an indestructable force, his stock took a major hit.
14. Joan Guzman, Lightweight
28-0, 17 KO
SC: Guzman could be the best fighter on the planet if he hadn't wasted so much time. He's 32 years old now. He has been avoided by good and great fighters. Why would you want to fight this guy? He can give anyone fits. He's also sort of a jerk, so it's not like anyone ever wanted to champion his cause, either. It's sad, but when the history books come up, stories of Joan Guzman won't be told. He'll be a footnote. And I do think that's sad, because he's unbelievably talented.
TS: Beating Nate Campbell could get him near the top 10. He's got all the speed in the world, a slick style and a glossy record.
BabyBull1289: He has been inactive lately but he's incredibly skilled and I expect him to beat Campbell and be a real factor in the lightweight division.
Brickhaus: Making a living out of beating high-risk low-reward fighters and making it look easy. I do think he has flaws, and he hasn’t always fought the toughest fighters (in part because he’s been ducked by everyone and their mother), but he gets underranked by a lot of people because the guys he’s faced have a lot of losses.
MM: Toss up between Hatton and De La Hoya. With Hatton resolute at 140, I'll take the Hitman.
TS: Hey, I agree, Hatton looks shaky a lot. A lot. But he keeps finding ways to win, with the exception of, say, one of the best fighters of the past 15 years or so, Mr. Floyd Mayweather. The first time Hatton loses to someone below that class of fighter, he should get dropped really low on the pound-for-pound list. But barely pulling out wins over top competition leaves him treading water.
BabyBull1289: He's heading towards the twilight of his career but few fighters active today have Hatton's resume.
Brickhaus: Is looking old lately, but his resume is underrated if anything.
SC: Dollar-for-dollar, Ricky might be behind just Oscar and Floyd. As far as popularity and celebrity goes, he's up there with Oscar, Pacquiao and Floyd (who has lovers and haters, but everyone watches). I don't think, personally, he's a P4P top 20 guy anymore. Years of crash diets, tough fights, and just plain living have taken their toll. I had to look at it like this: barring a hand injury, I think Malignaggi beats Hatton. Am I sooner to think that makes Malignaggi great or makes Hatton kind of washed-up? No disrespect to Paulie, but it's the latter. I wouldn't have Paulie ranked top 40, probably. It's a weak division and Ricky's aging quickly. But my friends? There is only one Ricky Hatton.
16. Wladimir Klitschko, Heavyweight
51-3, 45 KO
SC: He's so much better than the field that it's not funny. I think he beats the crap out of Sam Peter if those two rematch, because Wlad is a better fighter now than he was then, while Peter has really done nothing new. I've said this before, and I'll say it again right now. There is no heavyweight in history I would make a prohibitive favorite against Wladimir Klitschko, today's edition. He's smart, big, strong. When he unleashes his right hand, it's devastating. And he knows how to jab all night, too. He would be a tough matchup for anyone in history.
MM: It's ironic that the smallest and the biggest men on my list share the same problem: domination over weak divisions.
TS: Seriously, there's nobody on my list that I've ranked more reluctantly, because he just looks so piss-poor all the time. But come on, doesn't the guy get credit, like Hatton or Calderon, for beating everybody in his division you put in front of him?
BabyBull1289: He's been winning and he's been active. I consider him to be the true heavyweight champion considering he has the win over Peter. That is certainly good enough to be in my Top 20.
17. Floyd Mayweather Jr., Welterweight
39-0, 25 KO
20 points, 1 first-place vote
Option27: Until 2009 goes by without a fight, he'll always be on top.
SC: Option27 was the only one of us that ranked Mayweather, and I debated on how to handle that. On the one hand, he's taking up a spot that an active fighter could have, which would be Winky or Abraham or Oscar, I guess. But then I considered the right to believe that Mayweather is not freaking retired at all, and that dimes-to-donuts we see him in the ring again. If Mayweather had never uttered the words "I'm retired," I'd still have him No. 1. And sure, retirement should end your status as the P4P king, but retirement in boxing is almost never retirement.
18(t). David Haye, Heavyweight
21-1, 20 KO
TS: Dominating the cruiserweight division like he did is good enough to be in the top 20. The heavyweight experiment should be interesting, but it might be a while before he gets a chance to climb my P4P rankings.
BabyBull1289: How many heavyweights would you bet on to beat him? 1, maybe 2? This guy has been an undisputed champion of one division and has untapped potential in another. I think he is here to stay.
18(t). Jermain Taylor, Super Middleweight
27-2-1, 17 KO
SC: I love Jermain at 168. It's a division he can take over, partially because I never see Mikkel Kessler fighting Jermain. Taylor has taken criticisms over the years, but how many guys were willing to fight Hopkins twice? How many would have come right back at Pavlik after getting knocked the hell out? How many would move up to a new division by taking on Jeff Lacy? Granted, I think Lacy's half a bum, but he's a name and people think he can fight, so hey. I hope Jermain shoves that criticism right back in everyone's face. He's one of the good guys.
MM: He still has the goods. Losing to Pavlik is no shame.
SC: I really like Nate Campbell. But I don't think he beats Juan Diaz if Diaz has a decent cutman. I don't think he could beat Diaz again. I absolutely don't think he'll beat Guzman. I don't think he beats Pacquiao or Marquez. What's good, though? Those are just "I think." I also think he stands a chance against any of them. He's an underrated puncher and a tough guy with a tough mindset that knows how hard he's worked to get where he's at. Long may you run, Nate.
TS: Beating Joan Guzman could get him near the top 10. His path has been bumpier than Guzman's, but don't forget that a lot of people had his last victim, Juan Diaz, in the top 10.
Option27: Much better than Casamayor, if you ask me.
BabyBull1289: He finally got his title, with a major assist from the cut Gods. He works damn hard but I still think Diaz (and Pacquiao and Guzman and Marquez and Casamayor) beats him 8 out of 10 times.
Others Receiving Votes:
Winky Wright 15 ... Arthur Abraham 13 ... Oscar de la Hoya 12 ... Fernando Montiel 9 ... Andre Berto 6 ... Chris John 6 ... Ulises Solis 5 ... Amir Khan 4 ... Paulie Malignaggi 3 ... Chad Dawson 3 ... Mikkel Kessler 2 ... Yuriorkis Gamboa 1 ... Hozumi Hasegawa 1 ... Joel Casamayor 1.