The signs are vividly clear. There will be no action next Saturday as the lull before boxing 2007’s fantastic finish continues.
Two reasons: First, never bet on anything smaller than George Foreman’s leftovers. This is a pay-per-view light flyweight (108-pound limit) bout from Puerto Rico between Hugo Cazares and Ivan Calderon. Second, never wager when the contestants are named "Hugo" and "Ivan."
Taking advantage of the brief respite and having no other way to fill this space, I offer my latest pound-for-pound ratings in the hopes that they will be not only entertaining but informative as we prepare for the let’s-get-even portion of the year.
1. Floyd Mayweather: Junior faces the talented, scrappy, slower and smaller Ricky Hatton on Dec. 8. Pretty Boy is a 7/2 favorite.
2. Manny Pacquiao: He’s a hell of a lot more entertaining than Mayweather. Pac Man has what also looks like an easy assignment when he gives the somewhat aged Marco Antonio Barrera a rematch. The Filipino obliterated the classy Mexican a few years ago.
3. Juan Manuel Marquez: He has a draw with Pacquiao and most recently beat up Barrera. Marquez took advantage of the slips by kid brother, Rafael, and Winky Wright. Juan Manuel at 130 should get by Rocky Juarez next month, but it’s no walk in the park.
4. Joe Calzaghe: The Welsh left-hander has a major test Nov. 3 against Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler, another undefeated supermiddleweight.
5. Bernard Hopkins: Now a once a year fighter, Hopkins has been revived as a 42-year-old light-heavyweight.
6. Winky Wright: Losing at 170 pounds when you’ve fighting at 154 and 160 your whole career should not be heavily punished. Winky will return to 160, where he should be No. 1.
7. Jermain Taylor: Current middleweight champ. Taylor, who got two decisions over Hopkins and a gift draw with Wright, has not been impressive lately. He says he will not try to make 160 after his defense next month with hard-hitting Kelly Pavlik. The fight is pick ”˜em.
8. Sugar Shane Mosley: An oldie, but smoothie. Mosley gets to try a leading representative of the new generation of welterweights, Miguel Cotto, in November.
9. Israel Vazquez: Off spectacular stoppage of Rafael Marquez in what is currently top choice as Fight of the Year. In their first fight, Vazquez was stopped and came away with a damaged nose. The third fight is sometime in 2008.
10. Rafael Marquez: Losing to elite does not lower you to one of Dante’s circles. Marquez had 7-year undefeated streak ended against Vazquez.
11. Miguel Cotto: t Not because undefeated Cotto beat Zab Judah, but that so many believe he and Mosley are about even.
12. Ricky Hatton: Could move up even with a loss to Mayweather in December if competitive.
13. Joel Casamayor: A fighter conveniently forgotten by the entire lightweight division. Not by me.
14. Joan Guzman: He’s been clamoring for 130-pound biggie against Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez or Barrera. Guzman shows he’s serious by taking on a very dangerous assignment in Humberto Soto in November.
15. Oscar de la Hoya: Hey, he was kind of competitive against young Mayweather.
16. Chris John: The Indonesian featherweight has a questionable decision over J.M. Marquez,.
17-20: Alexander Munoz, Chad Dawson, Paul Williams, Cristiuan Mijares.
20-25: Pavlik, A.Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Kessler, Barrera.
On the cusp: Humberto Soto, Martin Castillo, Noburo Nchiro, Celestino Caballero and that guy named Ivan "Senor" Calderon. No, you can’t bet on him.