It’s our first ever Pound for Pound list. Let the debate begin.
1] Manny PacquiaoThere can’t be really any argument for whose the number one pound for pound fighter in the world when the closest legitimate contender has had so few fights over the last couple of years. Controversial win over Juan Manuel Marquez aside, Pacquiao is still at the top of the sport although his last two fights have had people beginning to ask questions about the Pacman’s ability. The Mayweather fight is obviously the biggest question on the horizon, but I’m not holding my breathit will ever get made so instead I think in 2012 we see another rematch with Marquez in Pacquiao’slast chance to clearly prove himself superior. Then end the year off with a fight against Tim Bradley.
2] Floyd Mayweather Jr. “Money” continues to be the most controversial figure in the sport. His win over Victor Ortiz only cemented that status. But Mayweather looked good in the few rounds the bout lasted, showing no signs of ring rust or weakness in his defensive game that has put him at the top of the sport. Where does Mayweather go from here? After a short stint in jail he still has a date at the MGM Grand on May 5th. Everyone wants to see the Pacquiao fight but there’s no way he’s coming out of jail and doing this fight right away. I’ve heard mumbles about Canelo Alvarez (who has said he wants the fight) and Robert Guerrero. Alavrez isn’t experienced enough for the fight yet and I don’t think Guerrero is enough of a marquee opponent for Mayweather so I’m not sure who he fights in May. It’ll be a spectacle whoever it is.
3] Andre Ward Our 2011 FOTY and Super Six winner, Ward cemented himself in our top three this year. As far as we’re concerned he’s proven himself to be the best in a extremely talented weight class, and he did it in style. His emphatic victory over Carl Froch was an absolute masterclass and did much to showcase a skill level far above what many believed he was capable of. Not to say that Ward was underwhelming before, but it goes to show just how talented he is. Bothhim and Sergio Martinez have mentioned a desire to fight, with a catchweight being the most likely probability. I’d love to see it. If not, a fight against Lucian Bute should certainly take place over the coming year.
4] Sergio Martinez Deciding between who was going to be 3 and 4 this year was tough. Sergio Martinez is the Ring Champion in his weight class and won his fights this year quite comfortably. But at the end of the day, Andre Ward has a much bigger year so I had to give it to him. Martinez is still an incredibly talented boxer but unfortunately for him this makes it hard to find another credible contender in the middleweight division not afraid to mix it up. Matthew Macklin looks like the next fight for Martinez, and that looks to be a good one for him. After that it’d be great to see the proposed fight between him and Andre Ward. Unfortunately it isn’t the marquee match up that Mayweather/Pacquiao would be, but I don’t know a fan of the sport that isn’t salivating over the idea of Ward/Martinez.
5] Nonito Donaire At For The Suits, we love Donaire. His knockout of Fernando Montiel in 2011 was one of the more brutal we’ve seen. It also proved his dominance at bantamweight. His fight against Omar Narvaez did a lot to prove just how scared some are of his KO power. Now he’s moved up in weight once again seeking a challenge. His first fight at that weight, against Wilfredo Vasquez Jr., should provide some great entertainment and prove a good indicator of Donaire’s ability at the weight. The big fight in his new division is a showdown with Toshiaki Nishioka though. It’s another fight we’d absolutely love to see in 2012. If he wins that, a move up in our pound for pound rankings is almost a definite.