Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pacquiao is still #1

A lot of people have been making a big fuss over the recent remodification Yahoo! Sports has made (read: Kevin Iole) on their pound-for-pound rankings. While this writer never really wanted to join in on the mix, a number of people have sent their questions with regards to the issue and would like to hear the thoughts of yours truly. So in view of a large public demand (more or less 6 people), here are my two cents.

The pound-for-pound list is a glorified catalogue ranking the best fighters of today if they were in their prime and of the same size, height, weight, and reach. Aside from abilities and overall boxing skills, the quality of opposition is also scrutinized and how they won against their opponents is also looked at very closely.

The top dog remains the top dog until he is either beaten, retires, or somebody from another division has outperformed him. As for the case of Floyd Mayweather, who was the holder of the P4P throne until he semi-retired in 2007, he was (still is) on the top of his game and was undefeated. His feats inside the ring and the quality of opponents he fought (Castillo, Gatti, Judah, Dela Hoya, and Hatton) and the way he defeated them are stuff of legend to say the least.

But the vacuum he created after going into a 2-year layoff was quickly filled by Manny Pacquiao, the consensus #2. Pacquiao started his run with a split decision victory over archrival Juan Manuel Marquez and along the way, bested former Mayweather foes Dela Hoya and Ricky Hatton in a much devastating fashion, and defeated two top welterweights, Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey. Pacquiao also achieved two difficult feats within the same period – to become the first boxer to win seven titles in seven different weight divisions and the only fighter with four lineal (the man who beat the man) championships under his belt.

In contrast, Mayweather only fought twice since his return. Those two bouts are not enough to catapult him to the top rankings. For one, Mayweather fought an aging lightweight champion in Juan Manuel Marquez. Virtually, Marquez was not just a bloated fighter at welterweight; he was slower, sluggish, and obviously smaller than Money May. Add to the mix is the fact that Mayweather went two pounds over the catch weight agreement and opted to keep them instead and pay the penalty.

Simply put, despite the boxing clinic Mayweather put on Marquez, you cannot really credit Money May if you look at it pound for pound.

Mayweather’s victory over Shane Mosley is much more different despite the latter’s advance in age. Mosley is the lineal champion at welterweight (the division where they fought) and coming off from a knockout victory over then much feared Antonio Margarito over a year ago. Mosley was a real threat and he showed it on the second round. Mayweather’s domination of Mosley thereafter showed how truly great Mayweather is. The victory also gave Mayweather the lineal championship, whether he acknowledges that or not.

But one has to wonder, since you can’t count the Marquez victory, does the Mosley win really enough to overtake Pacquiao? Quite simply, no.

Pacquiao’s the top dog until he is either beaten, retires, or somebody from another division outperforms him in terms of the quality of opponents and the fashion of their victories.

Enough said.