Monday, June 29, 2009

The Boxing Bulletin Pound-For-Pound Top 15

With nearly two months worth of fights in the book since our last P4P list, we decided it was about time to update our top 15.

With many of the top names inactive since our last update, there isn't too much movement, but you'll notice there are some changes in position from #6 on down, as well as the reappearance of Rafael Marquez who returned to action after more than a year off.

Photos © Ray Kasprowicz

1. Manny Pacquiao

The Filipino Fighting Machine looks unstoppable right now. In May he added The 140 lb World Title to his collection with a spectacular 2 round destruction of Ricky Hatton and made himself the biggest star in boxing. Reported to be up next for Pacquiao is another P4Per in Miguel Cotto, who will have a significant size advantage over the Pacman when they meet.

2. Juan Manuel Marquez (vs Floyd Mayweather - September 19)

Marquez proved that fighting the Pacquiao even over 2 contests was much more than a style thing when he became the first to knock out both Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz. The World's Lightweight Champion now has his sights set on Money. He'll be taking on former P4P #1 Mayweather in September at 144 lbs. He's the best Floyd has fought in years.

3. Bernard Hopkins

He's got it all. Perhaps the most complete fighter to come along in the last 2 decades. We haven't seen the old master since his complete handling of Kelly Pavlik last year, but it seems like he's shopping around for a farewell.

4. Shane Mosley

Old Sugar Shane has some of the same stuff that made the old version of Sugar Ray Robinson so great. He's hitting like a truck right now and still has that granite jaw. You're not going to beat this guy with firepower. Sadly, he's stuck in a familiar spot- coming off a huge win with nowhere to go for another splash.

5. Paul Williams

You know what's scary about The Punisher? He hasn't even reached his peak yet. His mix of size, energy, body attack and will make him a dangerous opponent for anyone from 147-168. If he continues to improve, we could be looking at the future of P4P. I certainly think so.

6. Vic Darchinyan (up 1, vs Joseph Agbeko - July 11)

Darchinyan wasted no time rebounding from his first loss to Donaire. He got right back on the horse, took on the best available opponents, and that's why he's as high on the list as he is. In July we'll see his special brand of violent offense against a rugged bantamweight, King Kong Agbeko.

7. Chad Dawson (up 1, UD over Antonio Tarver - May 9)

Bad Chad has rare athletic talent that makes you think of a prime Roy Jones. He's loaded with gifts and appears to have a good head on his shoulders. The man knows his game, but he'll dig down and scrap with ya too, as we saw in his fight with Glen Johnson. We get to see it again later this year!

8. Ivan Calderon (down 2, Draw vs Rodel Mayol - June 13)

Iron Boy dropped a couple of notches after his 6 round technical draw against Rodel Mayol last month. Despite being so good for so long, he'll have to do better in his next outing to keep his name on the list. Still, no one else on here does the "hit and don't get hit" thing better than this guy. At 34, he's lasted longer than most fighters around his weight thanks to his impeccable defensive skills.

9. Nonito Donaire (up 1, vs Rafael Concepcion - August 15)

He destroyed #6, but hasn't done much since. Donaire is scheduled to fight for some interim strap in August against a guy he should definitely beat. Far from inspiring stuff. He's young and full of talent, but he'll need to get a little busier against better opposition if he's to keep moving up the list.

10. Juan Manuel Lopez (up 2, TKO 9 over Olivier Lontchi - June 27)

Lopez has had all the right moves so far. Earlier in the year he went loco on the cranium of Gerry Penalosa, and just pounded out the formerly undefeated Olivier Lontchi last Saturday night. While guys like Marquez and Vazquez are far more grizzled, and perhaps more respected, there are many who would pick the young stud to upset either man in the ring.

11. Fernando Montiel

Montiel made his debut on the P4P lists with a shocking blowout of Martin Castillo at 115 lbs a year and a half ago. Since that time he's moved up to bantamweight, but hasn't really done much more. At 30 years old, now is the time to make a serious move if he's going to make some good money and create a legacy.

12. Miguel Cotto (down 3, SD 12 over Joshua Clottey - June 13)

Cotto did just enough to eek past Clottey, and his reward is 12 rounds with Manny Pacquiao later this year. Many feel that perhaps Cotto has fallen off a little since the Margarito fight. While it's possible, I think you have to give Clottey's defense a lot of credit for shutting the Puerto Rican down. Either way, he's going to need all his ammo to deal with Manny.

13. Mikkel Kessler

Maybe the most frustrating situation in boxing. Kessler sits atop the absolutely loaded 168 lb division, yet he doesn't fight. Think of all the fun to be had at super middle right now... he might miss out on it because of some managerial issues that have kept him on the shelf for way too long now. UGH!

14. Rafael Marquez (NEW, TKO3 over Jose Mendoza - May 23)

The younger Marquez got back into the ring after a year or so, stopping his first opponent in 3 rounds. We're still not exactly sure where he's at, but his deadly power makes him dangerous for anyone. While a fourth fight with Vazquez is possible, I'm not sure it's for the best or if I'll be able to watch. The trilogy is as perfect as it gets in boxing. Let's leave it at that for their sake.

15. Celestino Caballero

His last effort was not his best at all. The struggle to make 122 lbs finally caught up with the lanky Panamanian bomber, who is now moving up to 126. Perhaps he's not the most popular choice in this "what have you done for me lately" business, but you can't argue with his overall resume. I think he'll do just fine at featherweight, and I'm looking forward to his debut there. Caballero-Gamboa anyone?

Just missing the cut...
David Haye, Lucian Bute, Glen Johnson, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham & Timothy Bradley
Also receiving votes...
Wladimir Klitchko, Ricky Hatton, Nate Campbell, Kelly Pavlik, Chris John, Jean Pascal, Hozumi Hasagawa, Joshua Clottey & Juan Diaz
Not ranked due to inactivity...
Israel Vasquez & Floyd Mayweather

To make our top 15, a fighter must have had at least 1 bout during the previous 12 months.


JRH said...

I like the list, but why no love for Tomasz Adamek? His only loss was a decision at light heavyweight against Chad Dawson. I'm a big Vic fan, but Donaire crushed him. Adamek has been accumulating wins over the top portion of a talented cruiserweight division.

He's beaten Steve Cunningham and O'Neil Bell, both of whom were top three fighters in the division at the time of the bouts. Though Johnathan Banks isn't much, Adamek still knocked out a previously unbeaten fighter.

I think Adamek's inclusion would be more warranted than Mikkel Kessler's.

Still, good work as usual.

Andy said...

I think Adamek was outclassed to such a degree against Dawson, that he still needs to do more than just edge out Cunningham and beat Bell to crack the list. Right now, on my list I'd rank him somewhere between 25-35, but if he can grab a couple more good wins in the next year or so, he'll be right up there.

JRH said...

He was definitely outclassed, but Darchinyan was knocked silly and is in the top 10. Cunningham is a very good fighter, the No. 1 cruiserweight in the world, and -- though it was a close decision -- Adamek still floored him three times. Pavlik was beaten worse by Hopkins than Adamek by Dawson, too. At least Adamek scored a knockdown in his only loss. I think 25-35 is a bit low considering others who are held higher. Kessler was beaten badly by Calzaghe despite the scorecards and really doesn't own any big wins other than Andrade. Adamek deserves more, but I respect your opinion.