Game of Divisional Thrones | P4P List

By David Matthew on September 16, 2012
Game of Divisional Thrones | P4P List
It’s time to reassert Sergio's stature as a pound-for-pound stalwart. (Naoki Fukuda)

That is the definition of a pound-for-pound great: a champion who finds a way to dominate and thrill, regardless of the divisional circumstances at hand…

As we delve into the final quarter on the 2012 boxing calendar, it’s time to dust off the pound-for-pound lists. While 2013 may witness some new pound-for-pound entrants exploding onto the scene (hint: Canelo, Brandon Rios, Gamboa)—consider this list highlighting the top four champions paving the way for the sport in the Now.

1. Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs)

As Mayweather readjusts his life after a short prison stint, one thing hasn’t changed since he entered prison after thrilling boxing fans with his Fight of the Year candidate stunner against Miguel Cotto—he is still the king of the sport.  Since coming out of “retirement” after defeating De La Hoya, Mayweather has only gotten better. He pitched a shutout against P4P stalwart Juan-Manuel Marquez; severely outclassed Shane Mosley; punished and tutored Victor Ortiz with a lesson on ring generalship; and outgunned a rejuvenated and technically improved Miguel Cotto, all in dynamic, definitive fashion. Mayweather’s next opponent remains a mystery, along with a number of other rumors circulating about pertaining to Mayweather’s brand influence on the sport. One thing however remains certain: When Mayweather fights, the world watches. He has distanced himself from all other fighters not just in achievement, but also in demand, generating stifling PPV numbers.

2.  Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KOs)

After capturing Fighting of the Year awards in 2011 for his dominance throughout the Super Six Tournament, Ward has catapulted to the very top of the sport after battering Chad Dawson in stunningly one-sided fashion. Ward could’ve easily taken an easy fight after the Super Six final where he was dealing with a myriad of injuries, but instead he stepped up immediately after Dawson called him out to defend his throne. Not only did he defend this throne, he expanded his kingdom to put all relevant divisions on notice.  Ward has been so dominant of recent vintage, that it’s difficult to point to any moments of real adversity where he was in danger of losing a fight. He’s barely even been hit, which is a testament to his adept ability to present an illusionist defensive shell that has bewildered every opponent. Dawson looked glaringly out of rhythm, Froch could barely put a combination together, and Kessler was stopped dead in his tracks every time he tried to gain momentum against Ward. It’s not just that Ward is beating top competition, it’s how he’s doing it that is so remarkable.

3. Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs)

While understandably falling a bit in a lot of pound-for-pound lists because of perceived inferior competition, it’s time to reassert Sergio’s stature as a pound-for-pound stalwart. Since his rapid ascent to the top of the sport after out-dueling Paul Williams in a classic pair of fights, Maravilla thoroughly outclassed Kelly Pavlik, knocked out Dzinziruk and Barker in electrifying fashion, and brawled it out with Macklin before ultimately battering him into submission. While Sergio has been unquestionably dominant, there have been moments of vulnerability, none highlighted more than his life or death struggle in round 12 against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., where Martinez was badly hurt and it even seemed for about 20 seconds that he wouldn’t be able to survive that epic war. However, lost in the story of that irresistible Chavez late-fight drama is the fact that Martinez put on a dazzling boxing exhibition for the 11 rounds prior to the 12th. It was flashy, technically stunning, crowd-interactive, and courageous. Maravilla’s dynamic versatility was on display as he fought well on the inside, from the outside, on the ropes, and in the center of the ring, showing off an uncanny ability to adapt and time his opponents with clever shots from all angles. While Chavez Jr. isn’t exactly the embodiment of technical craft, he nonetheless looked like a giant compared to Martinez, who likely was fighting an opponent who rehydrated to light heavyweight physicality. That is the definition of a pound-for-pound great. That is, a champion who finds a way to dominate and thrill, regardless of the divisional circumstances at hand.

4. Manny Pacquiao 54-4-2 (38 KOs)

In what is a peculiar descent to observe, Manny Pacquiao’s star has recently dimmed. Some of it is out of his control, particularly when you consider the bogus judicial incompetence displayed in the debacle that was Pacquiao-Bradley. However, after steamrolling through Hatton, Cotto, Clottey, and Margarito with a typhoon of speed, punching power, and seemingly unlimited stamina, Pacquiao has looked more ordinary than expected in previous fights. He did thoroughly outclass Bradley, but he wasn’t able to put his finishing signature on the fight that fans have become accustomed to during his peak ascent. Prior to that, he dispatched a war-torn Mosley—but in his highly debated razor thin decision victory over Marquez he looked more vulnerable than ever. Whether it was leg cramps, political/familial distractions, or ring wear and tear from a high-mileage career, Pacquiao may need a fight with Mayweather more than ever to regain his dominance by having the opportunity to recapture pound-for-pound supremacy. This is not to say that Manny isn’t still Manny: a tremendous fighter who is a worldwide superstar. However, a fourth fight with Marquez that has lukewarm (at best) interest from the fans doesn’t seem to be a fight that will service his legacy. If he is mismanaged and continually restricted to fighting only in-house Top Rank fighters, it may continue to stunt Manny’s development and growth in a time where he should be seeking only the biggest fights possible to maximize what I perceive to be a waning shelf-life remaining on his pugilistic pursuits.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. the thresher 05:09pm, 09/19/2012

    The Nonpareil, I may have you mixed up with another guy who uses that same moniker. If so, my profound apologies. The other guy is a true sewer rat.

  2. the thresher 04:57pm, 09/19/2012

    Ratcatcher has the beat

  3. The Nonpareil 04:03pm, 09/19/2012

    I know he fought Mosley—read closer. I said he bought time in doing so. Cheated means he paid 600k to weigh more-deliberately. To outschool Juan to make Pacman look bad having common opponents. I said I owe it to Boxiana to spread wisdom and accuracy on Fraud Mayweather deceiving the public he’s “so great” Garcia Morales. In the least Morales did well 1st time out, but there are younger options—clearly. I agree. Please reply with substance instead of attitude. 9 comments 9 KO’s. Arum offered Floyd 8 mil to fight Marg in 06. Floyd took less $$ to fight Baldomir. (Don’t give me that he was the Ring Mag Champ either b/c Marg was threatening is why it didnt happen. ) Fact is the 11 opponents missing is the most in boxing history. No one on here is touching this fact. How can I be upset at Floyd? I never managed him or worked for him. I’m pointing out the obvious. All of you who credit him have the attitude. Your wonderboy has level c opposition credentials

  4. Cheekay Brandon 02:30pm, 09/19/2012

    LMAO.  Adorable.

    It’s pretty clear at this point that you’re a sensitive lad whose emotional attachment to Floyd outweighs mine. Not sure what he did to you personally, but you’d sound smarter if you didn’t let it color your boxing opinions, because they are downright hilarious(ly bad). 

    I mean, seriously—Floyd “cheated” on the scale vs. Marquez? LOL.
    You sound 8 years old. 

    And why did Floyd fight JMM instead of Mosley? LOL—did you check the time of year that the fight took place?  Google it. Look it up.  Yup.  Makes more sense now, doesn’t it?

    And LOL—Floyd *did* fight Mosley, made short work of him.  But you have an excuse there too, eh? LOL.

    And “Manipulative matchmaking?”

    LMAO—Not only did Floyd not invent it, he isn’t even the worst perpetrator in boxing today. 

    You want to see manipulative matchmaking?

    Who the hell is giving us Danny Garcia vs. Erik Morales again? 

    Who the hell just let Pacquiao sign up for a fourth Marquez fight?

    The matchup problems in boxing have nothing to do with Floyd and you know that.

    Don’t know who are you. Don’t care.  Like I said—if Floyd did something to you personally, I’d suggest you keep that between you and him and leave the boxing talk to the grownups.

    And I mean that rather respectfully.

  5. The Nonpareil 10:59am, 09/19/2012

    Cheekay Brandon, I don’t work for anyone but Boxiana, I’m not under any obligation to “take” from Floyd, other than setting the record straight he has the most misses of threatening peers in Boxing History. I never say he wins or loses them. All I states is a good case no one ever disputes other than answer on emotions. The common denominator is Floyd. The list doesn’t lie- its factual. Like I said more than half those fights could’ve been made. You gave 2 or 3 names. ODLH got beat by most of his super fights, its still a credible win not a great win.  It was a close decision too. Juan is 2 division below and Floyd cheated on the scale. Mosley is credible but why did he by-pass him to begin w/ to fight Juann? People are failing to realize this is called manipulative matchmaking. Floyd announced return on May 2, 2009, Mosley was available, then fights him after being called out on May 2010. Buying time played into his hands like he did for Cotto and now Manny and perhaps Sergio. This is NOT P4P. Stop it! 8 comments 8 KO’S.

  6. Cheekay Brandon 06:32am, 09/19/2012

    We can debate the order of this for days.

    Floyd Mayweather’s accomplishments, however, are no longer up for debate.  You can say you’ve been more impressed by Ward, Martinez, or Pacquiao’s accomplishments.

    You cannot responsibly say that Floyd’s accomplishments are not substantial. 

    If someone has a personal problem with Floyd, fine, but masking personal problems as boxing arguments is silly and is on display in these comments. 

    Floyd fought Mosley literally the minute Mosley called him out (also right around the time that Arum said Floyd would not fight a real welterweight like Mosley).  Floyd dismantled him, we wrote it off to Mosley’s age.

    Floyd didn’t fight Margarito in 2006 because of the Bob Arum issue (Floyd was done with Top Rank in 2006 and waiting out that contract was the smartest financial move of his career). He was holding out for the De La Hoya fight (which Floyd took at 154, on Cinco De Mayo…no one gives Floyd boxing credit for that fight, but it was extremely dangerous, far more dangerous than fighting Margarito at the time).

    We also complained about him fighting Marquez, gave him no credit for that victory.  The problem here is Pacquiao was (in the eyes of many) effectively beaten by a Marquez who was two years *older* than the one that fought Floyd. 

    Said differently, Juan Manuel Marquez is only old and over-the-hill when Floyd beats him. When an older and more over-the-hill Marquez basically defeats Manny Pacquiao, pundits say nothing.  The Marquez who fought Mayweather was closer to his prime than the Marquez who fought Pacquiao. The difference? Mayweather is the only fighter in the world with a boxing IQ higher than Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez feasts on buzzsaw punchers. He had never, however, been in the ring with someone smarter. 

    But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    I don’t care for what anyone’s preferences are.  I just want people to study the fights.

    Discuss the science or be quiet.

  7. Rat Catcher 05:39pm, 09/18/2012

    I enjoy the hypocrisy of those who mock P4P lists engaged in a P4P debate. Doesn’t surprise me, though. These same types ridicule certain organizations while secretly campaigning for membership. Or they pretend to be on-line mean guys, but play “Toss the Salad” when anyone of note, even the lousiest of on-the-take creeps, speaks their name. Cowards, fakes and phonies.

  8. The Nonpareil 04:51pm, 09/18/2012

    Throwing glass while living in a glass house Mr. Typo Thresher you’re commenting on me and you do the same?????  I can see the resemblance btwn you and Floyd.

    the thresher 04:26pm, 09/18/2012
    your on-line articles- typo

  9. the thresher 04:51pm, 09/18/2012


  10. The Nonpareil 04:46pm, 09/18/2012

    Wow you sure know how to reply “We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges”. Why don’t speak on the subject of Floyd’s fraud career rather than chest pump buddy. Cyber chest pumpers? I didn’t threaten you I threatened your boxing IQ.  BWAA, my friend? This is about giving false accolades to Floyd…not about a spelling bee either. Primitive talk how do I delete from this comment feed I asked.???? Peace. I’m 5 Comments an 5 ko’s on here. Mark that on your calendar. Thank you for reading my work I honour Boxiana the best I can good brother.

  11. the thresher 04:26pm, 09/18/2012

    your on-line articles- typo

  12. THE THRESHER 04:23pm, 09/18/2012

    Look The Nonpareil, a number of us are wise to your game here. We know you dissed Robert and Be careful pal or I will tear you a new rear end like you never imagined could happen. I don’t like spies; I don’t like rump kissers, and I most assuredly don’t like you and your ilk.  That said, some of your on-articles are compelling and I truly enjoy them, but the crap that you post on the back up threads is bile-inducing.

    Now why don’t you send this to your buddy at the BWAA so he can be made further aware of your documented distaste for, as he continues to edit for other on-line sites while at the same time rejecting out of hand some of our writers into the BWAA? But then, that’s no conflict, is it?

    As for journalism, must I count the spelling and grammar mistakes in your post?

  13. The Nonpareil 03:45pm, 09/18/2012

    All of you fail to honour Hagler-Hearns, Leonard-Duran1 type of risk and audacity. All of you further ignore the fact that I have a great case outlining facts dates and analogies pointing to Floyd’s fraud carreer. This is what’s wrong with journalism. Credit goes to “low-risk popularity contest high definition manipulative matchmaking fighters” Do you all comprehend the risk and dare to be great P4P used and overcame versus SADDLER in their 2nd meeting?? How do I delete myself from this “Mayweather deception hangers-on list of nothingness comment feed”?

  14. the thresher 03:26pm, 09/18/2012

    And with names like Cotto, De La Hoya, Hatton, Castillo (twice), Mosley, JMM,  Chico, etc on his victim’s list, he has nothing for which to be ashamed.

  15. the thresher 03:23pm, 09/18/2012

    Mayweather is a once-in-a lifetime type of fighter who has no weaknesses that I can perceive. Ward may be another, but it is too early for that assessment. Sanchez, SRL, Jofre, Monzon are examples of this type. They stand out from the rest.

    Now it’s waaaaaaaaaay toooooooo soooooon for GGG to fit this mold, but he has the potential to do just that. For now, we need to watch Mayweather dazzle us even if he has preserved his body with great training and cautious inactivity. It is what it is. It’s his MO. If you accept it, then just sit back and enjoy what you witness. He is a purist delight and he won’t be around that much longer.

    Had he fought all the opponents that one poster below suggested, we might be seeing a different Mayweather as his body would not have been as preserved as it is. Woulda, coulda, mighta, are all nice, but I like reality much more.

    Good stuff David.

  16. raxman 01:28pm, 09/18/2012

    i’m halfway thru these comments and i can’t believe how many of you are giving ward props for beating dawson. guys he fought dawson at 168 - dawson couldn’t throw a punch at that weight let alone win a fight. ward is every bit as bad as floyd - the whole oakland thing is compounded by not just stepping up and beating chad at his weight - which is what ward would’ve done he’s that good. but he is as adverse to taking risks as floyd or pac for that matter - thats what happens when boxing becomes a sport that 1 loses is viewed as end of the world.  ward, floyd and pac, they’re not fighters worth following except to marvel at their skills. if you want fighters who challenge themselves they’re not on this list - froch, cotto - they’re the guys who should get the props

  17. the thresher 04:57pm, 09/17/2012

    1) Ward

    2) Mayweather

    3) Martinez.

    4) Pac

  18. The Nonpareil 01:00pm, 09/17/2012

    David this would’ve been an impresssive list; Casamayor, Freitas, Johnston, Mosley in ‘99. Kostya and Winky in ‘04, Margarito in ‘06, Williams ‘07, ‘08, Cotto ‘08, Pacman ‘09, ‘10, ‘11, Mosley ‘09, Maravilla ‘10, ‘11. They were all available. As easy as Chad called out Andre boxing’s cash cow could’ve made more than half these fights. But for one reason or another they’re ALL missing from Floyd’s dossier (ON THEIR BEST DAY including Cotto andMosley)? It’s not a coincidence. Bruseles, Mitchell, Hatton, Baldomir, Gatti, Judah and cheating on the scale to fight Juan, fighting Cotto and Mosley when the upside is a definite that he’ll win in his mind. These 2 lists don’t compare to one another. WHY CANT PEOPLE SEE THIS ???? No other boxer in the past 30 years has this many holes on his record.

  19. The Nonpareil 12:33pm, 09/17/2012

    No disrespect but what “evidence shows that he has actually taken more dangerous fights than Sergio and Pac in recent years”? Sergio has handled his mdlwght contenders - simply put ! Pac doesn’t go around deceiving people “he’s great” which is why people single out Floyd. He’s a fraud simply put brother. David he doesn’t belong on any P4P list. I have established a super case in just 2 replies to this article. Fact based- not opinionated. It’s not Manny’s fault Margarito couldn’t fight tall and utilize his reach better and Cotto stopped using his jab (which was giving Manny fits) and they both got demolished. Bradley clearly didn’t beat Manny. How is Little Juan, 1-1/2 shelved Mosley and a green Ortiz better comp? If Cotto put up that fight in ‘11 how much better it would’ve been in ‘08. I just appreciate fighters who fight. Any list should begin with Pac (based on longevity), Maravilla (based on ruling his division), Ward (based on just arriving to dominance), then Nonito… By the way my previous statement is accurate to your previous statement. Any writer disguising Floyd’s “accolades” is either accepting the “norm” in conversation or doesn’t have a clue what is true P4P audacity and risks required to be on such a list. Floyd doesn’t belong in the same breath with Toney, McClellan, Norris, Barrera, Ward or Maravilla . These guys fight anyone anytime.

  20. the thresher 12:09pm, 09/17/2012

    David, we are not far apart here. I just don’t like cherry picking using time between fights as the main factor. Mayweather simply does not fight often enough to get my top nod. Ward does.  It’s razor close, however.

    Being Old School, I like at least some semblance of activity from our best fighters. I give Ward a pass based on the uncommon level of his oppostion.

  21. David Matthew 11:32am, 09/17/2012

    I think Floyd will once again fight a top fighter in his next fight.  Would I have preferred him to fight Cotto in 2008? absolutely.  But I think it’s unfair to be overly critical of Floyd’s last 4 fights.  If he keeps things interesting and fights another top guy in 2013, I’ll be content.  Of course we all want the Pac fight, but I wonder if your criticism of Pacquaio’s opponents is just as scathing.  Or do you also give him and Sergio a pass for fighting less than the best competition? It seems the focus on allegedly “ducking” match-making is always singularly focused on Floyd, when recent evidence shows that he has actually taken more dangerous fights than Sergio and Pac in recent years.  I can understand those who argue Ward is #1 p4p - given his recent unbelievable string of wins against top guys, but who would you have ranked above Floyd?

  22. The Nonpareil 10:53am, 09/17/2012

    Cut it out David “fresh off his win over Margarito” Shane bout was May 1 2010. I mentioned Juan b/c Floyd chose Juan over Shane Sept 2009. Floyd announced his comeback PacHatton fight night May 2009. Come on - little Juan - 2 divisions below Juan. I love Juan but this isn’t about him. It’s about Santa Claus Mayweather’s deception on the general public. Cotto after Marg and Pac is credible, but the fresher Cotto, Floyd “retired” on in 08. Mosley had to bully his post fight interview, credible win but not P4P “Chad towards Andre conversation as far as audacity challenge”. 1-1/2 yrs later he fights Mosley. Fight when the man is threatening, stop deceiving folks. Ortiz was the wrong southpaw, Pac or Maravilla were suppose to be in there that night. Ortiz - come on? Canelo is doing the same avoiding Lara. Broner better fight Guerrero next. Too many choosy boxers. Chad surrendered but at least he chased Ward down. Who has Floyd cornered on their best day—NO ONE !! Give credit to audacity and “dare to be great” attitude and accolades. Floyd is waaaay to choosy and full of excuses.

  23. David Matthew 10:41am, 09/17/2012

    Frankie - good point re: cruiserweight for Jr. lol - it’s absurd how big he was in the ring Sat. night.  Also - you’re right, if Pac can KO Marquez in their 4th installment it will indeed boost his stature.  However, I think that lofty challenge is the only way the fight can be good for him.

  24. David Matthew 10:20am, 09/17/2012

    Martinez also suffered torn ligaments in his knee - along w/ stitches/staples on his dome.  Dude is an absolute warrior.

  25. David Matthew 10:20am, 09/17/2012

    Nonpareil - I used to agree with you - years ago when Floyd was fighting Baldomir, Gatti, and those guys you mention from history.  However, you ignore modern history.  Floyd fought Marquez (who at the time was considered top p4p fighter), Mosley (fresh off his destruction of Margarito when he was still dangerous), Ortiz (fresh off his win of Berto where he looked rejuvenated), and Cotto (who in my eyes was better than ever after rehabilitating his career)—so I think your narrative of Floyd ducking tough fights is outdated.  Also, Thresher—- Floyd fought in May.  As long as he fights again in 2013, he will remain on my list.

  26. the thresher 10:00am, 09/17/2012

    I’ll go with Ward as Number one since he actually fights.

  27. the thresher 09:58am, 09/17/2012

    This just in: Martinez’s trainer Pablo Sarmiento said to ESPN “I’d offer credit for not showing that he [Martinez] was compromised [injured] during the tussle. He suffered a broken left hand in round four.”

  28. The Nonpareil 07:16am, 09/17/2012

    David, you’re under the Mayweather ether. Floyd has missed Casamayor, Freitas, Johnston, Mosley in 99’. Kostya and Winky in 04, Margarito in 06, Williams 07 08, Cotto 08, Pacman 09 10 11, Maravilla 10 11. Bypass Mosley for little Juan in 09. Where is this P4P? Floyd was never P4P ! He’s missed the most threatening peers in boxing history. This isn’t coincidence. Floyd quickly makes Hatton, De La, Judah, Baldomir and Gatti bouts b/c he’s comfortable winning these in his mind—that’s not all time great material. Floyd is like a WWE wrestler than captures the imagination and like Santa Claus has captured yours. Ward Dawson was made instantly. Floyd runs when Pac, Maravilla or a threat is near.

  29. procopy 09:04pm, 09/16/2012

    i’m a long time pacquiao fan and it hurts to see pacmans status getting lower and lower. i want to disagree with this but i think i cant because i can see that hes diminished and people see it too. while other boxers are now at their ascendant, manny is descending not slowly but rapidly. although im still interested to see him fight JMM, i think i have to expect less in order not to be disappointed. back when they fought for the 3rd time, i was hoping he can KO him, given the fact that he looked spectacular on the couple of fights he had before but i was disappointed. when he fought bradley i hoped for the KO again, and again i was disappointed. maybe this time around i’ll expect for another boring decision or worse a defeat from his urine drinking rival. though its unfair to look down on him, maybe i should stop expecting more from him anymore.

  30. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 05:44pm, 09/16/2012

    David Matthew-This report is clean as a whistle….in my view just two mild exceptions…(1) “rehydrated to light heavyweight physicality” only if you mean a light heavyweight who made weight (175) and then rehydrated to cruiserweight. (2) If Pacquiao finally kayos Marquez that will indeed “service his legacy”.

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