clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bad Left Hook Pound-for-Pound Top 20 Update: Welcome back, Floyd

Guess who's back in the pound-for-pound rankings? Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s return win on Saturday has crashed the Pacquiao party at the top of Bad Left Hook's rankings. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Guess who's back in the pound-for-pound rankings? Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s return win on Saturday has crashed the Pacquiao party at the top of Bad Left Hook's rankings. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

We always knew he'd be coming back. Manny Pacquiao may be the hottest property in boxing, but Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s return to the ring has opened up a ton of debate. Who's really No. 1? Well...

1. Manny Pacquiao (Junior Welterweight) and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Welterweight) -- Tie

I don't even like scoring 10-10 rounds, but the truth here, I think, is that there is ONE FIGHT out there that will truly decide the pound-for-pound crown, and it's Mayweather-Pacquiao right now. That might not even be true in two months. If Miguel Cotto upsets Pacquiao, then the pound-for-pound ruler is Mayweather, no questions about it.

A Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would be the perfect storm. Guys like Ricky Hatton and many others have talked about "winning" the pound-for-pound "title" in past fights, but it doesn't really work that way. Should Pacquiao beat Cotto, we would potentially have a fight that is literally to crown the world's top boxer. It's very rare that you get a chance like this, and should that fight come about, I hope boxing fans cherish the opportunity to see a fight of that magnitude and importance take place.

Of course, I still don't think the fight will, for any number of reasons. But I still like to hope.

3. Juan Manuel Marquez (Lightweight)

Until someone more his size can take him down besides (arguably) Manny Pacquiao, Marquez isn't dipping lower than this for me. He didn't look shot, he looked outclassed and out of his range weight-wise. It happens. Lots of great fighters have taken that risk, and while some make special things happen, many just don't, because the weight is too big an obstacle. That's what happened to Marquez. I think he's very vulnerable even at 135, but he's taken out Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz at that weight, neither an easy task.

4. Paul Williams (Middleweight)

We'll see exactly what Williams can do against a young, strong, big-punching opponent on December 5. Williams' fight with Kelly Pavlik will be a decider in some ways. Either I'm really overrating Williams on the strength of how horribly he embarrassed an aged Winky Wright, plus his disposals of Verno Phillips and Carlos Quintana and a near-forgotten gutsy win over Antonio Margarito, or he becomes cemented up here with the top guys in the world.

5. Bernard Hopkins (Light Heavyweight)

Calling B-Hop a light heavy is kind of a fib, as he has looked more comfortable cutting down to 170 and beating Kelly Pavlik and Winky Wright in two of his last three, and a full 175-pound fight with Joe Calzaghe didn't go near so well. Guys that can make Bernard work really hard and use their speed can still give him fits, which is why I think even the shot Roy Jones Jr. would be a dangerous opponent for Hopkins. And I'm not sure he has the frame to work well at cruiserweight, as has been discussed for a bout with Tomasz Adamek. But Hop has earned his spot up here, and he won't lose it until he loses or retires, and I'm not sure which is more likely to happen first.

Mosley-mayweather_medium 6. Shane Mosley (Welterweight)

It's very close between Shane and Cotto. Thing is, if they rematched right now, I'd lean toward Mosley just a little bit. I had him losing a clear, tight decision to Cotto when they fought back in 2007. Last time we saw Shane, he beat the hell out of Margarito, and you can asterisk plenty about Margarito, but one thing is not his chin. He's taken some absurd shots in his career, and no plaster helped him in that regard. Mosley beat him mercilessly until he caved.

7. Miguel Cotto (Welterweight)

A win over Manny Pacquiao would leapfrog Cotto higher than he's ever been, maybe even a shot all the way up to No. 2 depending on how it came about. Cotto isn't in a make-or-break situation or even close to it, but he's never had a bigger fight than this one, and if he loses, he might not get the chance to ever have one this big again.

8. Hozumi Hasegawa (Bantamweight)

Hasegawa jumps from No. 10 for me thanks to a couple of guys dropping after lackluster performances, and the fact that he's just plain been a bulldozer at 118 pounds the last couple of years. He's been ripping guys apart. He may be the most underrated and overlooked fighter out there.

9. Juan Manuel Lopez (Junior Featherweight)

Like Williams, you might think I simply have Lopez too high, but he's got such enormous talent that I can't help but be mesmerized by what he could do. Facts are facts, though, and Lopez needs to face the music against Celestino Caballero. The fight has been discussed for January. If he skips up to featherweight, it'll always be a bit of a question mark on his ledger.

10. Chris John (Featherweight)

John (43-0-2, 22 KO) got the W he probably deserved in February when he again survived a late charge from Rocky Juarez on Saturday night. John was nearly out on his feet in the 12th round, rocked by a short left hook that buckled his knees. He held on for dear life and won a clear decision. John's two fights with Juarez have finally made it clear that yes, this guy is one of the best boxers in the game. His late-fight struggles with Juarez are nothing to be alarmed about, either. Even though he's never gotten over the hump, Juarez is a powerful, legit fighter at 126 pounds.

Calderon-mayol 11. Ivan Calderon (Junior Flyweight)

I know Ivan has yet to lose, but he's just not the same guy he was a couple years ago. Age is taking a toll on him, as is the recurring cut issue that has plagued his recent fights, including two tight, early-ending decisions against Rodel Mayol, one a split decision win, the other a draw. He's still one of the better pure boxers in the sport, but while at one point in the recent past you could say he was even slicker than Mayweather, that is no longer the case.

12. Nonito Donaire (Junior Bantamweight)

Donaire's move up to 115 pounds wasn't terribly impressive, and he's never had a performance that equaled what he did to Vic Darchinyan. But it's also worth taking into account that his opponent, Rafael Concepcion, was notably overweight and heavier on fight night. Donaire is still in need of another big win, and he's willing to move in weight to find it. I don't think it's a lack of guts that's been keeping Nonito from landing top opposition.

13. Chad Dawson (Light Heavyweight)

His November 7 rematch with Glen Johnson will let us know plenty. Antonio Tarver is fairly well-worn and a perfect matchup for Dawson, who was stronger, faster, younger and fresher. But Johnson gave Dawson all he could handle and more last year.

14. Kelly Pavlik (Middleweight)

The lingering, ugly loss to Hopkins is still the focal point of Pavlik's career, which has been rocky at best in 2009. A year-end fight with Paul Williams is just what the doctor ordered. An impressive win vaults Pavlik back into the top ten, even if at the lower end. Another loss sends Pavlik to a point where it's time to re-evaluate what he's done. His two best wins came over Jermain Taylor, and we all know that Taylor has had his issues over the last few years.

15. Mikkel Kessler (Super Middleweight)

Kessler got back on American TV this month, his first appearance in the States since his 2007 loss to Joe Calzaghe. He wiped the mat with Gusmyl Perdomo, a decent fighter. He'll face Andre Ward in November, the first serious test of Ward's career as a professional. Ward has the physical tools to hang with Kessler, but we know Mikkel can fight in the face of adversity, as he gave Calzaghe one of his toughest tests. Can Ward overcome Kessler's strong, fast jab and the right hand that follows it?

Fbafdb9384cbfec2d369d11946dcabf1-getty-box-ibf-middleweight-ger-abraham-oral-500x333_medium 16. Arthur Abraham (Super Middleweight)

It's going to be interesting to see how Abraham does jumping to 168 for the Super Six. His style mixes great defense with powerful offense, sort of a right-handed Winky Wright who can bang. But he's by far the shortest man among the six fighting in the tournament, and though he's a big favorite against Taylor on October 17, a loss to the taller, more athletic man would not be the most shocking thing ever. Taylor, even in a down period, is still the best fighter Abraham's ever faced.

17. Rafael Marquez (Featherweight)

Soon, if Israel Vazquez is successful in his October 10 comeback, Marquez's great rival should join him on this list. But I don't expect either of them to climb back into the top ten. There's a lot of talent out there, and both guys are almost surely severely damaged by their series. But until we find out that they're beaten up too badly to compete at the top level, both deserve the benefit of the doubt, I feel.

18. Celestino Caballero (Junior Featherweight)

Still not a fan, still can't argue that he's earned it. If Lopez-Caballero is made as we all hope it is, there'll be a lot of people picking Caballero. I think Lopez busts him up awful, personally.

19. Vic Darchinyan (Junior Bantamweight)

One tough loss at a weight that seemed too much for him, and Vic drops all the way down here now? It's simple: This list is really, really competitive. There is very little separating most of these fighters. Darchinyan might beat Joseph Agbeko seven times out of ten, but the one time they fought, Vic just didn't make the most of it.

20. Edgar Sosa (Junior Flyweight)

Sosa's run of title defenses is impressive, and you can't really knock the competition as much as you might in other weight classes. There's not a lot of depth at these lower weights, and Sosa is doing his job every time out.

Honorable Mentions: Wladimir Klitschko (Heavyweight), Lucian Bute (Super Middleweight), Tomasz Adamek (Cruiserweight), Joseph Agbeko (Bantamweight), Daisuke Naito (Flyweight), Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Flyweight), Omar Narvaez (Flyweight)

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bad Left Hook Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your global boxing news from Bad Left Hook