We'll be doing this on (most) Monday mornings (unless there are really no notable fights at all from the prior weekend) from now on.
Fighter of the Week: Wladimir Klitschko
Will anyone ever challenge Wladimir Klitschko again? Probably not. Maybe if he seriously gets way too old and just stays to the point that his reflexes are shot and he basically can't move his head or even clinch effectively anymore. Like, if Klitschko (63-3, 53 KO) is fighting at 50, someone might beat him then.
For now, though, and even considering I don't believe he's an all-time great, Klitschko is in a class of his own. Pulev (20-1, 11 KO) was the latest "serious challenger" to fall far short of expectations, though at least unlike Alexander Povetkin and David Haye, Pulev was out there trying to do something. Whereas Povetkin moved his head nicely and forced Klitschko into the worst damned fight they could have possibly put on, and Haye dove at Wladimir a lot and had a hurt toe, Pulev was trying to knock Klitschko's block off.
Sadly for Pulev -- who humorously described Klitschko as "lucky" after the fight -- the only blocked knocked anywhere was his own, as he was dropped four times in total and brutally knocked out in round five, leaving him with a concussion and surely a pretty bruised ego. So much for the fragile "girl" he thought he was fighting, I guess.
Honorable Mentions: Jorge Heiland, who upset Matthew Macklin in Dublin; Rod Salka, who beat Monty Meza-Clay in a war on Friday.
TV Fight of the Week: Rod Salka UD-10 Monty Meza-Clay
This Iron Mike Productions fight, televised on beIN Sports in the United States and via live streaming video on the promoter's site, was easily the fight of the week, and gives Meza-Clay (36-4, 22 KO) two of the best televised fights on American soil this year.
Salka (20-4, 3 KO) rebounded nicely from what he himself has described as an "embarrassing" loss to Danny Garcia in August, a fight that was dumped on when signed, dumped on in the buildup, and dumped on after it was over, when Garcia did indeed mow over an unqualified opponent in two rounds.
But the same sort of grit and desire that Salka showed in his fruitless effort against Garcia -- he was KO'd so brutally because, as is often the case, he was trying to win -- showed up against Meza-Clay, and he managed to outbox his local rival for a blood-soaked victory in Pittsburgh.
Weekly POWER 25!
Come at me, bros. And sisters. I might not really argue much with you, because it's not really my style to get all bent out of shape about P4P rankings, but I might rationally discuss. (Quick note: Andre Ward just passed into inactive territory, with a year having gone by since his last fight. He would be No. 2 if not for that.)
1. Floyd Mayweather (147-54)
Still the king until someone does something about it.
2. Sergey Kovalev (175)
Rout of Hopkins was not merely physical or due to age -- it was a surgical breakdown by an elite, well-rounded fighter.
3. Manny Pacquiao (147)
Still elite, but no longer really close to Mayweather in this discussion.
4. Roman Gonzalez (112)
Like many at 105-112, remains overlooked. One of the best in the sport.
5. Carl Froch (168)
His résumé stacks up to anyone's over the last five years.
6. Timothy Bradley (147)
Will probably never get his due thanks to robbery win over Pacquiao in 2012.
7. Juan Manuel Marquez (140-47)
At 41, still a fierce competitor and an immensely skilled boxer-puncher.
8. Guillermo Rigondeaux (122)
Will soon be all but a forgotten man, as he now lacks a power promoter and has no U.S. TV interest.
9. Wladimir Klitschko (Hvy)
Dominant but without great opposition, which is not uncommon anymore.
10. Gennady Golovkin (160)
Has same issue as his promoter, in many ways -- won't soon find elite comp at 160.
11. Juan Francisco Estrada (112)
Has been a force at flyweight since moving up in 2013.
12. Danny Garcia (140)
Has lost some momentum this year, but still unbeaten and the champ at 140.
13. Takashi Uchiyama (130)
The real best super featherweight in the world.
14. Terence Crawford (135)
Could have his hands full with Beltran on 11/29, or could smoke another solid foe.
15. Adonis Stevenson (175)
Like Garcia, has lost some momentum in '14, but winning and fighting.
16. Mikey Garcia (130)
Ultra talented boxer currently sidelined with promotional beef, featuring Arum playing dumb as always. "Someone got in this kid's ear! I've never done nothin'!"
17. Bernard Hopkins (175)
Turns 50 in January, but would you pick him to beat Stevenson if they fought in April?
18. Shinsuke Yamanaka (118)
Strong southpaw puncher who has worked his way into No. 1 spot at bantamweight.
19. Omar Narvaez (115)
Will never be a fan favorite, but he's effective and he wins. The new Chris John.
20. Nicholas Walters (126)
Destructive wins over Donaire and Darchinyan made him a breakout star this year.
21. Canelo Alvarez (154)
His very good skills are often lost in the mega-hype, which is now a strong four years running.
22. Kell Brook (147)
Beating Shawn Porter on the road legitimized Brook. He's the real deal.
23. Naoya Inoue (108)
21-year-old prodigy is taking a huge risk moving to 115 to face Narvaez on 12/30.
24. Carl Frampton (122)
Barry McGuigan told us so all along, and he's now convincingly passed press rival Quigg.
25. Miguel Cotto (154-60)
Seems rejuvenated under Roach, but there are still legitimate questions after wins over Rodriguez and worn-out Martinez.