There is a lull in the action, which gives us time to contemplate navels and pound-
for-pound lists, one being more exhilarating than the other.
There is so little order to boxing, I believe ranking the fighters — as if they all weighed the same — helps put some perspective into the game. Then again, maybe it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter because it’s fun.
1. Floyd Mayweather: A colleague of mine from maxboxing.com, Doug Fischer, has been very harsh on Junior lately for not facing any real challenges. Pretty Boy, after victories this year over Henry Bruseles and the vastly over-rated Arturo Gatti, is now set to face the washed-up Sharmba Mitchell on Nov. 19.
I am beginning to see Dougie’s point. However, give Little Floyd credit for his early victories over such worthies as Jose Luis Castillo and Diego (Chico) Corrales and leave him at No. 1, which is where he was last time I fooled around with this list back in July.
2. Winky Wright: Holding at No. 2, Wright has the same problem as Mayweather. No worthy opposition is stepping up to face the left-handed genius and he has almost a walkover against Australia fighter Sam Solimon in December. Pity.
3. Bernard Hopkins: I’ve kept Hopkins third. For one, though his slippage is obvious, I still think he did enough to outpoint Jermain Taylor. For two, his previous good works warrant that respect. Even if I think next time, Dec. 3, Taylor may be a good bet to win more convincingly.
4. Marco Antonio Barrera: Following his almost easy victory over Robbie Peden, he stays fourth.
5. Jose Luis Castillo: I’ve been critical of Jose Luis Castillo for in effect cheating on the scales. At any weight, I think he is superior to the brave Chico Corrales. If the Mexican doesn’t want to make 135 pounds any more, or can’t, let him fight Mayweather again — this time at 140. Castillo has to be fifth so I can give a high ranking (later on) to Corrales.
6. Manny Pacquiao. Even before Erik Morales’s shocking loss to Zahir Raheem I thought the Filipino would surprise everyone in their rematch next year.
7. Rafael Marquez: The best boxer in his family and finest bantamweight in the world. Has an exciting challenge Nov. 5 with undefeated South African Silence Mabuza.
8. Juan Manuel Marquez: Before I call big brother the best featherweight in the world, I’d like to see him in a rematch at 126 pounds with Pacquiao.
9. Erik Morales: I can’t put him lower because of one desultory performance at too high a weight.
10. Chico Corrales: Has become one of everybody’s favorite fighters. Not only for allowing the show to go on despite giving Castillo a weight advantage, but because of his amazing comeback in their first meeting.
The second 10
Roy Jones Jr. has been rightly criticized for not trying to win, but just going the distance against Antonio Tarver (11) recently. Tarver didn’t look like he was too interested in the gusto, either. Past performances puts Tarver ahead of Glen Johnson (12). But I’ll move Johnson ahead of him if they meet again in the only light-heavyweight match that means anything and he prevails.
Jermain Taylor (13) has a chance to improve on ranking Dec. 3 when he faces Hopkins again. He is followed by Zab Judah (14), Ricky Hatton (15) and the too-often overlooked super flyweight Martin Castillo (16). Sugar Shane Mosley (17), is there for old time’s sake, followed by Joel Casamayor (18) and Miguel Cotto (19), whose chin may be questioned, but not his heart or brain.
Jeff Lacy (20) could jump a lot higher if the undefeated supermiddle decides to move up to fight Tarver at 175. Problem is, they’re neighborhood buddies from Tampa Bay area.
Cory Spinks (21), remember him? Antonio Margarito (22), who is so tough Floyd Mayweather Jr. is not anxious to take the big risk for small rewards against him. Jean-Marc Mormeck (23), the cruiserweight tank, is biggest guy on the list. I conclude with Kassim Ouma (24) though he lost to Roman Karmazin, I am convinced that was only because he foolishly fought while ill. I’d still like to see Ouma vs. Winky.
The 25th and final spot is vacant because it represents the lack of quality heavyweights. Not listing the heavies is not a principle, but a sad admission that none of the big guys are worthy. The closest would probably be the smallest, Chris Byrd and James Toney. They might make an interesting fight, but I don’t think they’d remind anyone of Ali-Frazier.