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Pound for Pound: Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, or None of the Above?

By Joe Wilson

Ranking a fighter pound-for-pound has never been easy for me.

Some fighters are exciting to watch whether they win or lose. It’s really hard to rank a fighter based on pound-for-pound.

What do you look for?

Some fighters are big punchers who knockout their opponents; then there are some fighters who are so skillful in the ring, that they can hit and don’t get hit. Meaning they give punishment, but taking very little punishment themselves, if any at all.

Should a pound-for-pound fighter be judged on how many opponents they knockout, or what kind of ring generalship they show in the ring? There have been some experts in the sport that don’t believe in a best pound-for-pound ranking. Hall of Fame Trainer and HBO boxing analyst Emanuel Steward does not believe in such a thing.

Steward feels that ranking a boxer pound-for-pound is something that’s been made up of lately. Steward has been involved in the sport of boxing for many decades and “when he’s asked that question” he quickly ops out of it. “I don’t believe in a pound-for-pound ranking,” he’d say without any hesitation.

I remember during a HBO telecast years ago, Hall of Fame Boxing Analyst Jim Lampley asked Steward to pick the pound-for-pound best fighter for that era. Steward quickly responded, “I don’t have one”. I just don’t believe in a pound-for-pound ranking. He then said, “If I had to pick a fighter, I would have to pick my all time favorite, and that is…Sugar Ray Robinson. He would be the only one worth such a title” pound-for-pound in his opinion, he said. 

That same year, during a Roy Jones, JR., fight, Lampley asked Former Heavyweight Champion and HBO boxing analyst at the time, George Foreman that same question. Foreman answered saying, “trying to rank a fighter pound-for-pound is pure garbage, there should be no such thing.” 

Lampley smiled and turn away.

I really share the same views as Emanuel Steward and George Foreman on this subject. Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to ranking fighters. I’m one that enjoys the “sweet science of boxing.”

I rank fighters high who display skills in the ring. No disrespect to the trainers, but–smart fighters who can think for themselves in the ring to pull off a win, gets my vote.

A fighter that is smart and can deliver punishment without taking much in return, while in the ring, and win, gets my vote.

Fighters such as; Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Aaron Pryor, Sugar Ray Leonard, Pernell Whitaker, Bernard Hopkins, Sugar Shane Mosley and Floyd ”Money” Mayweather. These fighters have displayed unbelievable skills in the ring. I usually can look at fighter’s face at the end of any bout and see the damage that was done in the ring

Very rarely did these guys show damage to their face after a fight.

I’ve just recently added Manny Pacquiao to these special names above; even though his defense is still a little suspect, but the excitement he always brings makes him worthy.

To place Pacquiao at the top of the current pound-4-pound list, will be based on how well he competes against Mayweather and Mosley should those fights take place.  

If there is a pound for pound list, this is what it would be:

1. Floyd Mayweather, JR

2. Shane Mosley

3. Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao

4. Bernard Hopkins

5. Juan Manuel Marquez

6. Paul Williams

7. Chad Dawson

8. Israel Vazquez

9. Miguel Cotto

10. Nonito Donaire

Some may agree or disagree with my picks, but this is how I rank the best fighters in the world today.

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