Top 10

June 29, 2010 7:03 AM


Floyd Mayweather Jr., once again, at top of the list


With no bouts coming up this week for me to give poor advice, let’s take a timeout for some notes and bolts. By bolts, I don’t necessarily mean running away from the game, although I have had this recurring nightmare lately.

A bunch of poor kids, some who can’t afford shoes, are working out in the dingiest of gyms. They are surrounded by a sad chain of former fighters, some with no teeth, some with gnarled noses, some with blank stares. I wake up to read in Dandy Dan Rafael on that days after being inducted into the boxing hall of fame, Shelly Finkel has had enough of boxing after 33 incredible years in which he became the game’s must successful manager.

So it isn’t just me.

Maybe it’s age. Finkel is turning 66 and when I call to congratulate him I’ll remind him that it doesn’t get better at 70. Maybe we both have seen too many sad endings – he has been a lot closer to some of the saddest. He used to manage Meldrick Taylor and Evander Holyfield, among so many others in an incredible career. Many think Finkel was in it for money, but besides the fact that he started out rich, he loved his kids.

He stood by Alex Ramos and Johnny Bumphus long after they had passed the earning stages. He cried when Mark Breland was knocked out by Marlon Starling (so did Mike Tyson, who later was to be managed by Finkel, sitting right behind me at ringside).

He and Breland remain close. When he signed the great amateur star, first thing he did was set up an annuity to insure comfort for life.

Yeah, Shelly made a lot of money from boxing – but he was already rich – but he also made a lot for his kids.

Finkel’s departure is just another sign of the general malaise (you know General Malaise, he too was fired by Obama) affecting the business. Shelly said he got fed up with the politics. I am lucky. I don’t have to follow the scheming shenanigans of those who have polluted the business. I mean, Jose Sulaiman could be arrested by the Environmental Protection Agency. I’ll let Dandy Dan stay on his case while I contemplate more important stuff, like why didn’t I include the clever Ivan Calderon in my latest top 10 list of pound-for-pound fighters.

It wasn’t because the long-time junior flyweight champion was knocked down again in his latest demonstration of the manly art. I just find it difficult to vote for someone who weighs less than a Carnegie Deli sandwich.

Meanwhile, I should inform you of my so-called "mythical" list (why pound-for-pound rankings are called "mythical" is beyond my comprehension – "mythical" would better apply to the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF ratings) is again headed by Floyd Mayweather Jr., based on my humble opinion that he will defeat Manny Pacquiao in their eventual showdown this fall.

The Pac Man is of course second. I’ve put Nonito Donaire third, mainly to keep the ensuing fighters away from the Top Two. Andre Ward, coming off a shutout of the reticent Allan Green following his domination of Mikkel Kessler, is next and he’d be a strong contender for 2010 fighter of the year if he gets by his next opponent, the talented Andre Dirrell, though he would still be a runnerup to the Mayweather-Pacquiao winner.

Paul Williams, whom I suspect will never be challenged by Mayweather (who would have had gigantic problems with taller fighters of the past like Thomas Hearns and even Breland, though I believe the current star would have been good enough to beat another pound-for-pound giant, Pernell Whitaker), follows. The guy he beat narrowly in what I considered the 2009 fight of the year, Sergio Martinez, would be sixth, followed by another young American stalwart, Derrick Alexander.

I’ve got Chad Dawson, the fine light-heavyweight champion, eighth with Raoul Marquez, who could have a date later this year with Juan Manuel Lopez, returning to the top 10. I’ve kept Sugar Shane Mosley in the list because he did better against Mayweather than Juan Manuel Marquez did.

FYI, Tim Bradley and the older Marquez brother are just outside the Top 10.

Thankfully, my space is up.