Consecutive weeks of fights that leave me trembling means there’s a whole lot of shaking going on in my pound-for-pound list.
Obviously, it’s better to look back at the Diego (Chico) Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo thriller and the Winky Wright clinic than ahead to next weekend’s schlock that will sell out the Staples Center, proving once again that boxing fans don’t know diddly about boxing.
I mean, Captains Courageous put on what may have been the most exciting fight of all time — and it’s not like we didn’t tell you Corrales-Castillo was going to be a good one — and it can’t even sell 5,000 tickets at the Mandalay Bay. Then Felix Trinidad Jr., in with a real threat, doesn’t quite fill the MGM Grand in what turns out to be his farewell fight.
But Julio Cesar Chavez, who turned into a sore loser at the end, meets long-in-the- tooth Ivan Robinson for his latest "Adios" fight that will have a full house in Los Angeles. You can bet promoter Bob Arum is already trying to line up "Hasta la Vista" and other hot-selling farewell bouts for the Mexican icon. There are a couple of decent matches on the card — but Jesus Chavez beating Carlos Hernandez or Rafael Marquez successfully defending his bantamweight belt against Ricardo Vargas are not what I would call "betting" fights.
So let’s shake ’em up, baby, but not at the top.
1. Bernard Hopkins. How about some kudos for a 40-year-old champion on his final lap taking on the dangerous undefeated kid, Jermain Taylor, on July 16. B-Hop could have taken an easier way to go out; but that’s what makes him an all-timer.
2. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Hasn’t done much in the last couple of years, but two guys he’s 3-0 against (Corrales and Castillo) confirmed his high stature by putting on not only a thriller, but a classy thriller. Even an old-time trainer like Al Certo, 77, said it was the best fight he’s ever seen in his 61 years in the game. The reason that it was better than, say, the two Carmen Basilio-Tony DeMarco battles (please don’t mention Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward) was that "those guys were punchers, these kids (Corrales and Castillo) knew what they were doing. They were beautiful."
3. Winky Wright: Certo thought Wright’s steady diet of right-hand jabs to Trinidad’s nose was a beautiful display of the sweet science. Since I had Winky at No. 5 and Tito at 3, it was no great stretch to jump Wright over Kostya Tszyu into the third spot.
4. Tszyu: As mentioned.
5. Marco Antonio Barrera.
6. Erik Morales
7. Manny Pacquiao. Tough to separate five through seven.
8. Corrales. His miraculous tenth-round comeback against Castillo warrants not only his breaking into the top 10.
9. Castillo. Has to be just behind Corrales after that fight.
10-13: Rafael Marquez, the badly promoted bantom king; His featherweight brother, Juan Manuel; Glencoffe Johnson and Antonio Tarver in that order, respectively, pending their June 18 rematch.
14. Shane Mosley. His stature was enhanced by how much easier Wright defeated Trinidad than he did the Sugarman.
15. Kassim Ouma. I’m moving in my oversight ahead of Oscar de la Hoya.
16. de la Hoya: I think Oscar would lose to Ouma, whom I think the African fighter would beat.
17. Joel Casamayor. Flattered by the Corrales-Castillo slugfest after three close fights with the two lightweights.
18. Zab Judah. I’m still of the opinion that de la Hoya would beat him if that fight is made for this September, but Judah certainly is a much more mature fighter than the egocentric loudmouth of years past. There could be more improvement here.
19. Jean-Marc Mormeck: The biggest fighter on the list as the cruiserweight champion. Comes off a dominant performance against previously undefeated Wayne Braithwaite.
20. Vivian Harris.
21. Martin Castillo.
22. Fernando Montiel. Like Castillo, a talented 115-pounder.
23. Miguel Cotto. A 140-pound title holder.
24. Cory Spinks.
25. Chris Byrd. Okay, we’ll let in one heavyweight, mainly because he’s small. Pound for pound he’s better than any of those klutzes. Imagine how good he’d be if he weighed 240, instead of the guy he was fighting.