While admittedly unofficial, the data pulled every month for this article represents the average of the five top boxing pound-for-pound (P4P) rankings. While this report will never be used for historical purposes, January 2010 is the first time that the legitimate bookends of the list are fighters from the Philippines.
According to the self-labeled boxing gurus from around the world, here are the P4P best fighters for January 2010:
Number 10. Nonito Donaire. Donaire cracked the top 10 in November by way of a three-way tie with Ivan Calderon and Rafael Marquez for the number 10 spot. What’s interesting, however, is the publication responsible for Nonito’s rise in the rankings, The Ring magazine, has him as the number six P4P fighter and the number seven junior bantamweight. Vic Darchinyan has no interest in getting knocked out again; therefore, the Filipino Flash should move up to bantamweight where he will find Hozumi Hasegawa, Yonnhy Perez, Joseph Agbeko, Abner Mares, and Fernando Montiel.
Number 9. Israel Vazquez. If BoxRec is correct, Vazquez will meet Rafael Marquez in May 2010 for the fourth time. The first three fights were all time classics and Vazquez won two of them. Should Marquez prevail in May, look to see a fifth and final installment (assuming the Red Cross has enough inventory).
Number 8. Miguel Cotto. Cotto dropped a position this month given his unsuccessful shot at number 1 below. A year ago, you would have been hard pressed to find a welterweight who could defeat Miguel. Now the exact opposite is true. Cotto has perhaps one more shot at relevancy and such probably begins with a 2010 rematch against a licensed and plaster-free Antonio Margarito.
Number 7. Chad Dawson. Dawson is a fantastic fighter who is more good than “bad.” This author’s 2010 wish list includes Dawson dropping down to super middleweight. If that doesn’t happen, then it’s time for Tavoris Cloud, Jean Pascal, and Adrian Diaconu. What about Bernard Hopkins? Yeah, right.
Number 6. Paul Williams. The once self-proclaimed “most avoided man in boxing” got slapped around last month by Sergio Martinez. Yes, Williams won the fight; however, it was Martinez who won over the fans. Paul doesn’t need Kelly Pavlik right now. Give us another fight against Martinez first and let Pavlik keep his promise of middleweight unification by fighting Felix Sturm.
Number 5. Juan Manuel Marquez. There is a lot of speculation surrounding who Marquez will fight in May. According to James Slater of EastSideBoxing.com, the two names coming up the most are Michael Katsidis and Ricky Hatton. Move up, fight Hatton, and then seek out some Roach revenge against Amir Khan.
Number 4. Bernard Hopkins. Is he a future hall of famer? Yes. Is he a top P4P fighter today? No.
Number 3. Shane Mosley. Mosley will face Andre Berto later this month and he will need a convincing win if he is going to remain in contention to fight the winner of numbers 1 and 2 below.
Number 2. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. We may have lost “The King of Pop” in 2009, but we still have the drama queen of talk. The Ring magazine recently declared Money May to be one of the greatest welterweights of all time. Floyd, now it’s your turn to prove it.
Number 1. Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao is not only the unanimous number 1 P4P fighter in the world, but he also leads by example. He fights multiple times per year and he faces the best. Manny had every reason not to fight Miguel Cotto in November. He could have stayed at 140lbs and faced Paulie Malignaggi or Juan Diaz–something Mayweather would have done. Instead, he faced the most dangerous guy out there and dominated him. That is the DNA of a number one P4P fighter in a nutshell.
It doesn’t matter what Floyd wants as a pre-fight test: blood; urine (keep Marquez away); field sobriety; SAT; vision; hearing; or the whole “feats of strength” battery that George Constanza’s dad required to be performed on Festivus. The results will all be conclusive and show nothing more than–100% Grade A Filipino bad arse.
Happy New Year everyone.