Updating my pound for pound list

Apr 5, 2005 2:44 AM

I refuse to buy, view or even think about the Marco Antonio Barrera pay-per-view card coming up April 9 in El Paso. I don’t know who the heck he is fighting, I don’t care and there are a lot better ways to spend my Social Security payments.

Which gives me time to update my very own special pound-for-pound list. The opening quarter of 2005 has been okay, though the second four-month span promises to be much better. The action has been good enough to create a few scrambles in my now-and-then attempt to give the game some order.

1 Bernard Hopkins: No change at the top. Hopkins apparently will open the third quarter July 16 with a defense against the talented Jermain Taylor. The Executioner is nearing retirement, but being undefeated since 1993 keeps him No. 1.

2 Floyd Mayweather: Junior barely had to take a deep breath against Henry Bruseles in January to remain second. Pretty Boy is awaiting his June 25 date with Arturo Gatti.

3 Felix Trinidad: Felix is getting ready to face Winky Wright in a May 14 bout at MGM Grand.

4 Kostya Tszyu: Has a June 4 appointment with Ricky Hatton in Manchester, England.

Now comes the switches:

5 Winky Wright: I’m moving Winky ahead Manny Pacquiao, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. Wright is a strong lean as a betting proposition since he was +190 to Trinidad’s -240 last time I went by the book at Mandalay Bay.

6 (tie) Morales, Barrera, Pacquiao: I’d have to put Barrera ahead of El Terrible and then I’d have to put Pacquiao ahead of Barrera. For the interest of clarity, I’m making No. 6 all three of the great rivals in this circle jerk. This enables me to sneak in a couple of extra guys onto my list.

9 Rafael Marquez: No change. The bantam king is fighting on the latest Julio Cesar Chavez farewell card May 28 in Los Angeles, and the opponent doesn’t matter.

10 Juan Manuel Marquez: The featherweight title-holder and big brother to Rafael. JM has a much tougher assignment May 7 against Victor Polo.

11 Jose Luis Castillo: Easily got past Julio Diaz and on May 7 faces Diego Corrales. Last time, I put Miguel Cotto in this spot, saying it might be premature. It was. Cotto was wobbled seriously by Chop Chop Corley but has a chance to return after facing Olympic champion Mohammed Abdullaev on June 11.

12 Corrales: His matchup with Castillo should produce a Fight-of-the-Year candidate. Corrales replaces Cory Spinks, who was knocked out rather convincingly by Zab Judah.

13 Glencoffe Johnson and 14 Antonio Tarver: Their rematch is scheduled for June 18.

15 Sugar Shane Mosley: Has an April 23 assignment against tough David Estrada.

16-20 In this order: Oscar de la Hoya, Judah, Joel Casamayor, Vivian Harris and Cory Spinks.

21-23: Cotto, Chris Byrd (my first heavyweight), James Toney. The last two I’m keeping unnamed for a total of 25, which is more than necessary.

Other observations

Morales, of course is Fighter of the Year after three months. Shame on HBO for filling up its dance card with all its contracted fighters so that the network might not be able to find a date this year for the inevitable rematch with Pacquiao.

I mean, giving Wladimir Klitschko a date April 23, the first night of Passover. I can hear Shelly Finkel at the seder beginning a new version of the Four Questions: "Is this night different from all other nights because I’m in Germany?"

But if Eliseo Castillo can’t make the trip (Chris Byrd and Sergei Lyahkovich already having begged off for fear of foul play in Germany),

HBO says it will not allow somebody named Leo Nolan to take the assignment.

”¡ Fernando Vargas, off his desultory performance against Ray Joval, does not look as if he’s going to regain the pound-for-pound list any time soon, if ever.

”¡ There is a betting fight on the Barrera card. But you find the line on a superflyweight test between Ivan (Choko) Hernandez and Fernando Montiel. I won’t even look.

My mother taught me never to bet on anyone who doesn’t outweigh my lunch.