Thursday, January 21, 2010

The top three pound-for-pound fighters

Manny Pacquiao

Welterweight titlist
Age: 31 | Record: 50-3-2, 38 KOs
Hits: Pacquiao is boxing's biggest star and the Fighter of the Year in three of the past four years. When he (and his team at Top Rank) and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (and his people, along with Golden Boy) screwed up the biggest fight in boxing, Pacquiao at least moved on to the next best available welterweight: former titleholder Joshua Clottey. It should be a good fight, and the fact that it will take place at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas adds a bit of sizzle to the promotion.
Misses: Pacquiao could have made the Mayweather fight, made boxing fans around the world ecstatic -- and earned perhaps as much as $40 million for the match -- if he had just agreed to drug testing (via blood) up to 14 days before the fight. He wouldn't budge off an arbitrary 24-day window. This is not an accusation that Pacquiao uses performance-enhancing drugs, but it's easy to understand why many believe he should just take the test if he has nothing to hide.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Age: 32 | Record: 40-0, 25 KOs
Hits: Since the fight with Pacquiao has fallen apart, there's a chance that Mayweather will face Shane Mosley in the spring instead. Aside from a fight with Pacquiao, Mosley is the biggest match Mayweather could possibly make -- and one that many fight fans have wanted to see for a long, long time.
Misses: Even if Mosley-Mayweather happens -- still a big "if" because Mayweather has avoided the top welterweights for years -- it's still not Pacquiao-Mayweather. Both camps screwed up that fight. We might eventually forgive, but we do not forget. Mayweather deserves a giant share of the blame for the fight falling apart because he wanted additional drug testing for Pacquiao (as well as himself) that isn't covered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Bernard Hopkins

Light heavyweight
Age: 45 | Record: 50-5-1, 32 KOs
Hits: Even at 45, Hopkins remains a physical marvel. Six weeks before his Jan. 15 birthday, Hopkins ended a 14-month layoff and looked very good rolling to a near-shutout decision against a game Enrique Ornelas. Hopkins may be an old man, but he remains a master technician. He is one of the greatest fighters in history and would have had success boxing in any era.
Misses: Even though Roy Jones Jr. got blasted out in one round by Danny Green on the same day that Hopkins beat Ornelas -- which should have killed the Jones-Hopkins rematch that had previously been agreed to -- Hopkins still pressed for the fight. Jones, with nowhere else to go after such a pathetic loss, reworked their deal. The result is a spring rematch on pay-per-view. What a miserable idea.


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