Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Boxing Bulletin Pound-For-Pound List

I thought we would start things off by posting The Boxing Bulletin list of the 12 best fighters in the world as these are always good for getting a discussion going. Included in the list is the fighter's record and a brief explanation of his placement.

The site's pound for pound list is based on the lists that the contributing writers created. All lists were then averaged out and the result is what you see before you.

Photos © Ray Kasprowicz

The criteria is as follows, in no particular order:

Skill level
Accomplishments to date
Excellence in different weight classes
Performance in most significant fights

1. Manny Pacquiao
General Santos City, Phillipines
48-3-2 (36)

The Filipino icon continues to tear through everyone they throw in front of him. Ricky Hatton in Vegas is next. Should the Pacman add the 140 lb championship to his collection, we are looking at the fighter of this decade, without doubt.

2. Juan Manuel Marquez
Mexico City, Mexico
49-4-1 (36)

Avoided for many years, Marquez is now getting the recognition he deserves as an elite fighter. Fighting even with the best fighter in the world twice is enough to have him at #2. Being the first man to stop the excellent Joel Casamayor didn't hurt, either. Can't wait to see how he deals with the punching machine, Juan Diaz.

3. Joe Calzaghe
Newbridge, Wales, UK
46-0 (32)

Until Joe officially announces his retirement, here he is. He put a stamp on his dominance of the supermiddleweight division with an impressive win over the classy Dane, Mikkel Kessler and then took the light heavyweight crown by edging out the great Bernard Hopkins in America. Hopefully he sticks around for another fight or two, because he can still fight and there are interesting matches to be made.

4. Bernard Hopkins
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
49-4-1 (32)

Hopkins has it all, even at 44 years of age. There's nothing he can't do inside the ring. Stung by the razor thin loss to Calzaghe, he came back as a significant underdog to toy with current middleweight champion, Kelly Pavlik. It was the type of flawless boxing that will stay with fans of the sweet science forever. You'd call it the performance of a career if not for his equally unforgettable schooling of Felix Trinidad in 2001. He's likely the most complete fighter on this list.

5. Israel Vazquez
Mexico City, Mexico
43-4 (31)

Vazquez is living proof that hard work and a fighting heart the size of Mexico can take you to the top. The current jr featherweight king is enjoying some time off after competing in what many believe was the greatest trilogy in the history of the sport, with rival Rafael Marquez. His willingness to walk through fire and swing back make him a tough fight for anyone at 122 lbs.

6. Rafael Marquez
Mexico City, Mexico
37-3 (33)

It says here that Marquez loses nothing by not getting the decision in that classic third fight with Vazquez. Both are great fighters who gave their all at the highest level, and there is little to choose between the two. The trilogy was so amazing to watch that you almost forget that Rafael was a fantastic bantamweight, as well. With the competition as deep and scary as it is at 122 lbs, we're probably in for more fireworks from the younger Marquez.

7. Antonio Margarito
Tijuana BC, Mexico
37-5 (27)

The Tijuana Tornado is a terminator. The adversity he has faced seems to have made him impossibly strong and resilient. He is coming off an entertaining stoppage of Miguel Cotto that put him in the pound for pound conversation. His unreal ability to soak up punishment and keep coming is what makes him a nightmare for the other top welterweights in the world. He also has wins over Joshua Clottey and Kermit Cintron. A fight with Sugar Shane Mosley is set for Jan 24.

8. Paul Williams
Augusta , Georgia, USA
36-1 (27)

The Punisher burst onto the scene when he won a close decision over Margarito in 2007 as an unproven underdog. He showed guts in losing a decision to Carlos Quintana and avenged it with a vicious first round knock out. He recently took apart top jr middleweight, Verno Phillips and is now negotiating a fight with middleweight, Winky Wright. At 6'2 and in his prime, Williams is a hard puzzle to solve at any weight.

9. Ivan Calderon
Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
32-0 (6)

What the undefeated Iron Boy lacks in size and power, he makes up for in slickness and ring smarts. Always out-gunned, he keeps finding a way to win with sharp countering and masterful defensive footwork. A long time title holder at minimumweight, the Puerto Rican has moved up and recently scored a decisive win over Hugo Cazares, who had troubled him in the past. You wonder just how long he can keep it going at 33, but he seems as fresh as ever.

10. Chad Dawson
Hartsville, South Carolina, USA
27-0 (17)

Bad Chad looks like something special. He has all the tools a fighter could ask for and brings a fierce competitive spirit to the ring as well that has carried him to wins over Tomasz Adamek, Glen Johnson, and Antonio Tarver. He is a mix of athletic specimen and gutsy warrior that makes you think long and hard about his potential. Next up is a showcase rematch with Tarver that may set up business with Calzaghe.

11. Miguel Cotto
Caguas, Puerto Rico
32-1 (26)

Now we really get an idea of what Cotto is made of. We've seen him come back to win after being hurt in the ring, but we don't know how he'll come back from a devastating defeat. The way Margarito beat him can stay with a fighter for some time. His next opponent, Michael Jennings, probably won't answer too many questions about where Cotto is at, but he may help heal any of the wounds that are left. Whatever happens with this fighter, he's always worth watching.

12. Ricky Hatton
Manchester, England, UK
45-1 (32)

The lovable Brit is back on track after his TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2007. He recently stopped Paulie Malignaggi in Las Vegas and is set to face the best fighter in the world, yet again, in Manny Pacquiao. The current jr welterweight champion is a rough guy who swarms his opponents with quickness and makes it hard for them to breathe. While he's not the most skilled fighter out there, he knows his strengths and fights to them. His physicality could be hard for the Filipino legend to handle and a win there would go a long way in helping people forget the way Mayweather took him out.

Those who received votes:

Arthur Abraham- A top middleweight stationed in Germany. He's strong, hits very hard and has some impressive athletic ability, but needs to start making some big fights to get on the list.

Mikkel Kessler- The Dane is probably the best supermiddleweight in the world. Showed his class in losing a very good fight to Calzaghe, while injured. Hopefully he forget about the belts and dives head first into the very deep 168 lb class or moves up a step.

Glen Johnson- The light heavyweight you can't help but feel sorry for. Many people thought he should have received the nod over Dawson in their memorable fight. A rematch or a fight with Calzaghe is something fans would like to see soon.

Vic Darchinyan- This little guy is as mean as they come inside the ropes. He's out to destroy and did just that against highly rated Christian Mijares as an underdog. Next up is the colourful Jorge Arce.

Fernando Montiel- Seen by some as the best super flyweight in the world, as he shockingly destroyed Martin Castillo. A fight with Darchinyan would clear that up.

Nonito Donaire- This Filipino came out of nowhere by blowing Darchinyan away with counter left hooks. He's young, physically talented and big for his weight class. We'll get a better idea of how good he is in the future, but he is worth keeping an eye on.

Joan Guzman- Times have been tough for the lightweight from the Dominican Republic. He didn't make weight for his shot against Nate Campbell and has taken a ton of heat from the media and fans, as a result. However, that doesn't change the fact that he has some solid wins and is extremely talented. The clock is ticking for Guzman, but he is still a dangerous fight for anyone at lightweight.

Photo © Ray Kasprowicz