Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Boxing Bulletin Pound-For-Pound Top 15

By Lee Payton

Photo © Justin McKie

It's time for another update to The Boxing Bulletin's list of the best fighters in the world.

With none of the top 5 in action since our last vote, there are no changes to the upper third of our list, but Vic Darchinyan who was number 6 last time has slipped all the way down to 15 after his unanimous decision loss to Joseph Agbeko.

There are also a couple names appearing for the first time as Timothy Bradley (pictured) and Carl Froch have cracked our top 15.

Bradley got a boost from his abbreviated and controversial victory over Nate Campbell this past weekend, while Froch benefited from my instruction to our writers to go with their gut this time out. I think it usually takes most P4P lists a little bit of time to catch up with the current reality, as past accomplishments are given too much weight relative to present ability.

Also effected by those instructions have been Ivan Calderon who slipped from 8 down to 11, and Juan Manuel Lopez who jumped from 10 up to 7.

1. Manny Pacquiao (vs Miguel Cotto - November 14)

He's used to this spot by now. Negotiations for a fight with Miguel Cotto are currently ongoing, although it seems certain that the fight will get done. Pacquiao is the fastest fighter on this list. Thinking about it, I'm struggling to come up with someone who ever had faster fists.

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

Boxing's Maestro is set to show off his stuff against slippery former P4Per, Floyd Mayweather. Don't be surprised if he adds Money's '0' to his trophy case.

3. Bernard Hopkins

Hard 'Nard can do it all, even well into his 40's. Apparently, he's ready to square off with the winner of the Dawson-Johnson rematch next time he steps into the ring. A true master in all things fistic, including picking his big money (and glory) spots.

4. Shane Mosley

Perhaps the hardest hitter on this list. Shane is nothing more than a tank these days. He's got brutal power, a titanium chin and a willingness to war. That seems to be enough to scare the big names away.

5. Paul Williams(vs Kelly Pavlik - October 3)

Many feel Paul Williams is the most dangerous guy on the block. They may be right. The details haven't been finalized, but word is he'll be doing battle with Kelly Pavlik in October, and in my opinion he should probably be the favourite.

6. Chad Dawson (up 1, vs Glen Johnson - November 7)

Bad Chad is in for another gut check against a guy who gives you no choice but to fight. Will it be the same thing we saw last year, or has the young man learned a thing or two along the way? If he can convincingly beat Glen Johnson, he could very well find himself in the top 5.

7. Juan Manuel Lopez (up 3, vs Rogers Mtagawa - October 10)

The big punching Puerto Rican is here more on style and potential than anything else. One of the very best things about this fighter is how often he fights compared to the others on the list. When the next big fight comes, he'll be ready.

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

Finally seems to be getting his career back on track. This is a guy who has all the physical tools, he just needs the opportunity to prove his worth. We haven't forgotten what he did to Darchinyan, but the memory is getting a little fuzzy.

9. Miguel Cotto (up 3, vs Manny Pacquiao - November 14)

Some would argue that he is the most vulnerable fighter on the list right now based on how he looked vs. Clottey last time out. The opponent deserves a lot of credit for that, but there might be something to the Margarito theory. He has a massive opportunity in front of him in Pacquiao...

10. Fernando Montiel (up 1)

Another guy who can do plenty in the ring, but whose career has been rather frustrating. He's got a lot of miles out of the win over Martin Castillo, but you wonder how long that will last. It seems further away with each list we do.

11. Ivan Calderon (down 3, vs Rodel Mayol - September 12)

Had a tough one last time out. He can clean that up with a rematch that is on the table. Probably the best pure boxer on here. He hits and doesn't get hit as well as anyone in the sport.

12. Mikkel Kessler (up 1, vs Gusmyl Perdomo - September 12)

We rejoiced when his participation in the Super Six tournament became official. It's recently come out that some old promotional issues have resurfaced, but let's all hope he remains a part of the awesome event.

13. Timothy Bradley (NEW, TKO3 over Nate Campbell - August 1)

The Campbell fight was far too short to get a real handle on, but it's possible that we were too late in adding him to the top 15. What he lacks in power he makes up for in conditioning, quickness, a solid jab and a good head on his shoulders. Those attributes combined mean more than the ability to end things quickly.

14. Carl Froch (NEW, vs Andre Dirrell - October 17)

The Cobra is going to make you earn it. There is no easy way out against him. He'll be there for 12 and he swinging to take your head off. He takes on young, undefeated Andre Dirrell in the first round of the 168 lb tourney. If he's a true P4P player, he'll introduce the newcomer to a whole new realm of pain.

15. Vic Darchinyan (Down 9, Lost UD to Joseph Agbeko - July 11)

Vic manages to stay on the list after his failed attempt to add a title at 118 lbs. However, that doesn't erase his quality work to this point. He can still be a beast at 115, and could also probably beat some other top bantamweights not named Agbeko.

Just missing the cut...

Celestino Caballero, Lucian Bute, Rafael Marquez, Wladimir Klitschko & Kelly Pavlik

Also receiving votes...

Hozumi Hasagawa, Glen Johnson, Jean Pascal, David Haye, Ricky Hatton, Tomasz Adamek, Chris John, Joshua Clottey, Arthur Abraham & 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.