Floyd Mayweather Jr. has won all 47 of his fights. | Photo: Esther Lin/Showtime Boxing
One of the hottest debates in the boxing world revolves around which boxer deserves to sit atop the pound-for-pound list. Though the mythical title of pound-for-pound king dates back to the glory days when “Sugar” Ray Robinson was regarded as the world’s finest fighter, the argument remains as popular today as it was six decades ago.
After almost a year of covering the Sweet Science on a regular basis, Sherdog.com unveils its list of the world’s 10 best boxers regardless of weight class, as voted upon by its boxing experts:
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (47-0, 26 KOs)Critics argue that he plays it too safe inside the ring and, most importantly, when it comes to signing on to fight the other greats of his generation. Whatever the case may be, there is no disputing that Mayweather is at the pinnacle of the pound-for-pound list, and he has been there for several years. He has embarrassed virtually everybody he has faced, but the main gripe centers on the fact that he has yet to face his chief rival and supposed biggest threat: Manny Pacquiao. That could change in May.
2. Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs)A highlight-reel knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez and a dubious decision loss to Timothy Bradley aside, Pacquiao remains at the top of his game. Three straight wins over the likes of Bradley, Brandon Rios and Chris Algieri reaffirmed “Pac-Man” as one of the best fighters on the planet, just behind Mayweather. The world will hopefully see him try to wrest the throne from “Money” in May.
3. Wladimir Klitschko (63-3, 53 KOs)Though some consider him a boring fighter who painstakingly takes his time -- and regardless of whether or not you view the heavyweight division as a barren wasteland -- Klitschko has been cleaning house for a decade. He holds the majority of the recognized heavyweight crowns, and while he is not knocking out the second coming of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman or Ken Norton, nobody is even competitive against the hulking Ukrainian.
4. Guillermo Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 KOs)The Cuban defector’s coming-out party came when he dominated Nonito Donaire for 12 rounds in April 2013. Since then, “El Chacal” has been electrifying the boxing world with his inhuman speed and brilliant boxing. Age is not exactly on his side, but Rigondeaux has been dazzling the combat sports community since he finally turned pro in 2009, leaving behind one of the greatest amateur careers in history.
5. Timothy Bradley (31-1-1, 12 KOs)“Desert Storm” burst on the mainstream boxing scene when he was given a decision win over Manny Pacquiao in June 2012. It followed wins over top fighters Devon Alexander, Lamont Peterson and Joel Casamayor, albeit a past-his-prime version. His unthinkable war with Ruslan Provodnikov and decision triumph over Juan Manuel Marquez cemented Bradley as one of the world’s best. A loss to Pacquiao in their rematch dropped him a few spots, but Bradley clearly belongs on this list.
6. Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs)Unless he can land a fight with one or two of the other elite-level fighters in and around his weight class, it looks like his days near the top are numbered. A fifth fight with arch nemesis Manny Pacquiao seems less likely every day, and his lone victory in 2014 came at the expense of Mike Alvarado. Marquez is 41 years old and has no bout scheduled for the early part of 2015, so time is running out for one of the greatest fighters ever produced by the boxing-rich country of Mexico.
7. Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KOs)At one time, Ward was considered the most significant threat to Floyd Mayweather’s pound-for-pound mantle, his rise coming on the heels of victories over the likes of Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham and Mikkel Kessler. However, “S.O.G.” did not fight in 2014, and there is nothing looming on the horizon. Injuries and what appears to be poor management have curtailed his ascent to superstardom. Bradley is without question the world’s premier super middleweight, but inactivity places him in danger of falling out of the pound-for-pound discussion.
8. Gennady Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs)Easily one of the most exciting bombers to come around in years, “GGG” has been laying waste to his competition. Every one of his fights is expected to end in spectacular fashion, and he almost always delivers. Golovkin has not fought anybody on the elite level yet, but when he does, most believe he will do just fine.
9. Roman Gonzalez (41-0, 35 KOs)Not well-known by anybody outside of hardcore boxing circles, Gonzalez has been keeping the boxing tradition of Nicaragua alive and well. “Chocalito” has crushing power in his fists and has been tearing every flyweight he faces to smithereens. The only knock is that he does not yet have a strong pool of rivals upon which to draw, but Gonzalez is definitely a fighter worth keeping an eye on in 2015 and beyond.
10. Sergey Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs)Plenty of hype surrounds “Krusher,” the Russian having been celebrated as the Next Big Thing among light heavyweights. Not many of the better men at 175 pounds wanted to fight him, except for Bernard Hopkins. Many felt “The Alien” would take him to school, but Kovalev dominated Hopkins for every minute of every round, knocking him down in the first and staggering him several more times. If he can do the same to Jean Pascal in March, Kovalev will not be ranked at No. 10 for long.
OTHER CONTENDERS: Danny Garcia, Carl Froch, Miguel Cotto
The Sherdog Boxing Rankings Panel: Andreas Hale, Mike Sloan, Mike Fridley, Joseph Santoliquito, Jordan Breen, C.J. Tuttle and Gary Randall.
« Previous Road to Alvarado-Rios 3 Next Report: Robert Guerrero-Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner-John Molina to Headline NBC Boxing Debut »