As promised, the Bleacher Report Boxing Pound for Pound rankings are in. I asked the top 10 writers to submit their personal rankings and averaged them out. The results may surprise you.
So drumroll please...
1. Manny Pacquaio
There was no doubt about this one. Manny received all the first place votes, and deservedly so. Since Floyd "retired," nobody has gone at the throne quite like Manny. The only other guy that could even stake a claim to the top spot is our number two guy.
2. Joe Calzaghe
Calzaghe actually might not be on this list much longer. With retirement rumors lingering and no real competition for Joe, he is left with few options. He can fight a rematch with Hopkins, or take on the up and coming Chad Dawson. He has sworn against fighting the former again, and the latter is not a big enough matchup at this point.
3. Bernard Hopkins
Just his mere name appearing on this list is a credit to a genetic wonder. At an age when most adult males experience a midlife crisis, B-Hop schooled a young, hungry middleweight champ in Kelly Pavlik, making him look like an amateur in the process. What's left for Bernard in '09? Not much if he can't secure a rematch with Calzaghe. Maybe a fight with Dawson?
4. Juan Manuel Marquez
The skilled craftsman who has gone toe to toe with Pacquaio twice comes in at number four. While he has actually won more rounds against Pacquaio than he has lost, numerous knockdowns cost him wins in both fights. Still, Marquez is an offensive virtuoso who throws great combinations and possesses every punch there is.
5. Israel Vasquez
After his brutal wars with Rafael Marquez, Vasquez has taken some much-needed time off. A return in '09 against either Marquez or old nemesis Larios might be on the horizon after a tune-up fight.
6. Antonio Margarito
Margarito might be able to climb this list significantly in '09 if he stays busy. An upcoming showdown with Shane Mosley and a rematch with Cotto are good steps toward the top spot. If he can win both and close out the year with a win against Paul Williams, Margarito will be in the argument for the top spot.
7. Paul Williams
Paul was all over the place on the rankings. Some had him as high as number two, some as low as 10. Seven is a nice place for him, considering he does have a win over Margarito, who resides at number six. Williams will continue to be hurt in the pound for pound rankings by the fact that fighters avoid him like the plague. Let's hope this changes in '09.
8. Kelly Pavlik
OK, so Pavlik got schooled by Hopkins. Like we haven't seen that before. B-Hop has made a career out of exposing weaknesses in fighters, and he exposed some in Pavlik. Problem is, who at middleweight can follow his lead? From the looks of things, if Abraham or Williams don't fight Pavlik, don't look for him to lose again in '09.
9. Ricky Hatton
An upcoming matchup against Pacquaio may move Hatton up this list, or off it completely. Either way, it should be an explosive fight.
10. Wladimir Klitschko
Does Dr. Steelhammer have top 10 pound for pound talent? Yes.
Does Dr. Steelhammer have top 10 pound for pound competition to fight at heavyweight? No. Not even close.