Pacquiao, Mayweather top pound-for-pound list

BY foxsports • December 22, 2009

With the significant results for the year tallied, and the anticipation for 2010 already building, this marks the final look at the top fighters in the boxing this year.

The focal point remains the top two slots. The clock is ticking and the world will know soon enough whether Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather comes together for March 13 or not.

Until they lock horns, it’s highly unlikely anyone climbs higher than third.

Here are the latest pound-for-pound rankings.

10. Ivan Calderon (33-0-1, 6 KOs)

Sliding a couple of spots to ten after Timothy Bradley and Hozumi Hasegawa’s closing efforts in 2009, there is a temptation to drop the 34-year-old Calderon from the ratings altogether after a blase year.  Arguably the best pure boxer of the decade, Calderon is certainly aging but his highest profile fights yet could be coming together in 2010. A showdown with fellow 2000 Olympian and IBF junior flyweight titlist Brian Viloria could, probably will, happen and give Calderon his biggest stage to date.

9. Timothy Bradley (25-0, 11 KOs)

The exit of Miguel Cotto from this list makes room for Bradley, the best active fighter in arguably boxing’s deepest pool of talent — junior welterweight. Bradley burst from the pack in 2008 with an upset win, on the road, over the long-avoided Brit Junior Witter to win the WBC belt. Since then, Bradley found ways to look better in each outing. He has become a genuine jack of all trades, a combination of elite speed, footwork, defense, and offensive activity who reminds that the application of the sweet science need not be dull.

8. Hozumi Hasegawa (28-2, 12 KOs)

For five consecutive fights, Hasegawa sent his opponents home early. It’s not that they have been world beaters. They have merely been good, solid professionals — but two of them had never been stopped. Hasegawa finished both in the first round.  The way he is dispatching of foes speaks to a fighter who, with ten bantamweight title defenses under his belt, has reached the peak of his powers.

7. Juan Manuel Marquez (50-5-1, 37 KOs)

It may seem unfair for Marquez to drop in the ratings. He made a bold move, challenged the scale, and lost to a Floyd Mayweather Jr., who probably beats him at any weight. History says his best days will be behind him, particularly faced with the speed of young ightweights.

6. Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KO)

After taking over a year off, Hopkins returned in December with an easy win in his hometown. Hopkins slides to this slot (from third) if only because the men above him are seeking out the toughest challenges rather than coasting on past accomplishments.

5. Chad Dawson (29-0, 17 KOs)

This light heavyweight star in the making has put together an impressive run since toppling veteran Eric Harding in 2006. His win over Tomasz Adamek was almost bell-to-bell control; Adamek has since established himself as the best Cruiserweight in the world and is now busting up Heavyweights. Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver give him wins over two recent light heavyweight champs. Johnson was hell the first time around but Dawson showed his learning curve in a decisive technical victory in their November rematch.

4. Paul Williams (38-1, 27 KOs)

Williams continues to find new ways to impress. In his last outing, he was hurt badly and dropped at the end of the first round and yet found a way to earn a controversial win over Sergio Martinez. Now we’ve seen just how much heart he has in the Martinez war. He’s a fluid, exciting offensive fighter but his lapses in defense could prove problematic.

3. Shane Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs)

Mosley can’t be blamed if his mind wanders already to some late date in 2010, to a moment when he might be able to snare a shot at the winner of Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather. For his sake, he’d better not let it wander when next he steps in the ring. Andre Berto is a more serious threat than most realize, the first man Mosley has faced in years who will be markedly quicker of hand and young enough to have something to prove.

2. Floyd Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs)

Mayweather has taken so many lumps for his choices of opposition over the last few years that the general quality has become underrated. The underwhelming 2003-05 run was a disappointing waste of prime, but most his last five wins have come against good, sometimes very good, if not great opposition. If Mayweather fights Pacquiao, he has the sort of dance partner who can push his legacy towards the levels which Mayweather would claim he’s already reached.

1. Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs)

This is Pacquiao’s spot to lose and Mayweather’s to take. Some would say take back, but unlike Pacquiao, Mayweather never made the demands on the top slot Pacquiao has. Mayweather sort of inherited it based on past accomplishment and visible talent as Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. faded from their peaks, later strengthening his position with a solid 2006-07 campaign. Conversely, Pacquiao has become nothing short of a phenomenon. His knockout win over Cotto in November gave him a title in his seventh weight class  — a record.

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