The boxing writers, bloggers, and pundits from around the globe have voted on the top 10 pound-for-pound (P4P) fighters for February 2010. What they tell us, however, is that nothing has changed. In fact, Boxingscene.com has elected to do nothing since December 2009, but who can blame them? Nothing really happened. Paul Williams and Chad Dawson are polling slightly higher this month, even though their overall standing has not changed. That’s it. There is no other drama to report.
To recap January 2010 and restate the same for February 2010:
Number 10. Nonito Donaire.
Number 9. Israel Vazquez.
Number 8. Miguel Cotto.
Number 7. Chad Dawson.
Number 6. Paul Williams.
Number 5. Juan Manuel Marquez.
Number 4. Bernard Hopkins.
Number 3. Shane Mosley.
Number 2. Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Number 1. Manny Pacquiao.
Do not get excited about March ratings because February will be another down month and the March list will be published before Pacquiao meets Joshua Clottey. It is understood that Donaire is scheduled to face Gerson Guerrero on February 13th, which should have little overall impact other than perhaps Donaire will gain a more respect and overtake Vazquez and Cotto.
According to BoxRec.com, Juan Manuel Marquez is set to meet Michael Katsidis in March. Not so fast. The current buzz is that Marquez will face Amir Khan instead and Katsidis will take on Robert Guerrero. Wait, Khan has been calling out Paulie Malignaggi on a variety of social media sites. If Khan jumps at Marquez, which he should, then that leaves Paulie with Timothy Bradley. Doh!
Arthur Abraham is registering just outside the top 10 P4P fighters, but he could crack the elite with a win over Andre Dirrell in March. Juan Manuel Lopez probably should have received a voting bump after defeating Steven Luevano a few weeks ago, but he didn’t. Interestingly, Yuriorkis Gamboa received no love from the P4P voters even though he destroyed Rogers Mtagwa and Mtagwa almost KO’d Juanma last October. Edwin Valero, Carl Froch, Andre Ward, and Timothy Bradley, all undefeated, are either P4P non-existent or are barely registering in the P4P stratosphere.
Remove the subjectivity. Remove the obvious bias in favor of what a fighter has done in the past and insert plain logic. In a Mayweather, Williams (says he can still make 147), Cotto, Mosley mini-tournament who wins? How does your answer relate to the current P4P list? What about Dawson versus Hopkins? Should Hopkins continue to be rewarded when he reneged on his promise to face the winner of Dawson-Johnson II or should he be penalized for avoiding Bad Chad in favor of Roy Jones, Jr.?
A P4P fighter takes fights he is not supposed to win and wins or takes on the best available and wins. He may win ugly (see Paul Williams) or he may win convincingly (see Manny Pacquiao), but he wins. If he loses, which is rare, then he comes back and wins in what is hopefully a rematch. He fights at least twice a year and he is always looking forward to new challenges rather than recycling through opponents he has already defeated. That is the template (or should be) for a top P4P fighter. We should be arguing impossibilities like whether Nonito Donaire is better than Bernard Hopkins rather than wondering why Mosley is ranked higher than Cotto and Williams and why Antonio Margarito is not ranked at all.
In the end, P4P lists are as subjective and messed up as our sport is. Titles are meaningless, judging controversies abound, networks are propping up those who shouldn’t be and ignoring those who should. No true uniform organization exists and the American media that would rather cover Michael Vick’s World Dog Fighting Federation than the sport that spawned athletic icons. Herschel Walker’s mixed martial arts “victory” is a story of the day while the Lopez-Gamboa victories barely register on any traditional news medium. Regardless, it is our sport and we love it just the same–legitimate P4P lists or not.