Yes, boxing fans, I come to you while our great sport is in the midst of a nice winning streak. The night of Feb. 28 in Houston was a comprehensive tilt, the likes of which we have not seen in half a decade. It warmed my heart as a boxing fan to watch the drama and action of the JMM/JD fight.
I was watching the post fight interviews and the one thing that got a rise out of me and my friends was the fact that HBO Kept referring to JMM as the number one pound for pound fighter in the world at the very least two.
Of course, I will share my opinion subsequently but my boxing passion was aroused by the current state of the pound for pound discussion. Now, the P4P discussion is the BCS of boxing.
There are a certain number of fighters that can make a case, it is always subject to change, and finally is an extremely fickle situation.
Now it is a mythical being, however, it is perpetrated by human beings therefore it is subject to human feelings and error as oppose to absolute objectivity.
This makes for endless debate when determining who belongs. I think there are four fighters who have a case for being the No. 1 fighter out there.
I will present them and their cases and you the fans, my friends, can make your pick, I should say that since I consider FMJ Far and way the best fighter in the world I am going to omit him from this list because Floyd does not need to make his case where as these other combatants in different ways do.
In no particular order...
Juan Manuel Marquez
The super dangerous boxer puncher is currently in the final editing stages of a hall of fame resume He has displayed grit, technical brilliance, and the ability to pick himself off the mat, mentally and physically.
If we just look at his pugilistic merit and the strange but amazing arc of his career their be no doubt that we are entering the climax of a great warrior’s journey. I began watching him years ago when he lost to Manny in their epic first clash.
Now what happened next is interesting, because instead of taking a lucrative deal for a rematch with Manny, JMM handlers, for reason that defy logic and collective reasoning turned down the fight to go fight an unknown peach can named Chris John.
This decision set JMM back about three to five years. His emergence as a true boxing superstar is upon us, but the situation is dipped in irony because it is coming about four years late.
Even in light of the black hole that his stupid handlers threw him in he has come out of it cleaner then a preachers sheets. He has beaten Manny twice. Now I know officially it’s a draw and a SPDL, however:
1. Manny knocked him down THREE times in the first round and could only manage a draw in the first fight. Do the math fans that means for 11 rounds JMM was the better man.
2. JMM was knocked down again early in the second fight a knockdown that proved to be the difference But, I have never seen Manny look as shaky as he did down the strech of that fight.
So based on those two points and a few others JMM has effectively gotten the best of everyone’s No. 1. He beat Morales and RJ and many other decent to top-notch fighters but the fight that put him in the conversation was Feb. 28.
Correct, He entered the fight as the Ring Mag “Man” at 135 pounds; however, the way in which he cemented his status is sublime. He was getting pushed around by a younger bigger ad at times hungrier man.
The fight reminded me so much of Oscar’s dramatic victory over Vargas. You had the decorated veteran who exemplifies the sweet science, and, you had a young brutish warrior who can box as well.
The fight was a spectacular celebration of the traits that make JMM a cost effective buy in the pound for pound discussion. I have not always been the first one to give him dap but major league dap is in order per the last eight months.
I am not totally enthralled with dinamita, His extravagant claims after the fight concerning FMJ were slightly out of line at the very least over the top. He also got hit quite a bit by a lets face it pedestrian technician in Juan Diaz.
His problem with fighting Manny was the simple fact he took flush shots at inopportune times. Against Joel C. he was exposed at times by quick sharp counter punching. Another thing I noticed was his propensity to be overwhelmed physically.
That is a facet of his wheelhouse that must be corrected or contained as he moves up in weight. We shall see but at this point it is hard to argue against the guy.
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao
What words can I distribute that have not yet circulated amongst the masses? Boxing’s most exciting supernova is in his prime. Right now, this very second, I believe that this is something that slightly distances him from the list of nominees.
Manny is at the height of his powers at the moment where as most of the other fighters in this conversation have yet to reach that point or have already passed it to some degree.
Freddie Roach, the amazing man who fights a battle just to live every day has evolved Manny’s skill set to shocking dimensions.
Per his early career he first burst on to the boxing scene with his overwhelming hands of stone style. As he began taking on the boxing gods of Mexico he modified his style because of the amount of punches he was taking.
I think the fight that convinced Manny it was time for a change was the first Erik Morales tussle. He got beat up very badly and while he did dish out punishment I think the period between that fight and the rematch was the turning point that lead to now.
I think Manny said to himself that simply being crazier then your opponent was not going to take him to rarefied air.
I saw on film that he began to evolve from a wild brawler to a precision boxer puncher. The defining moment of this new style was not the Oscar victory. Instead, it was the David Diaz promotion.
That night I saw a man quicker then grease lightning, amazingly accurate with his shots, and a man that had made a commitment to side-to-side movement. Against Oscar, as I predicted three months in advance, he again showed that he is no longer a fighter.
He is not a skillful boxer who would give anyone active or inactive a fight to the death. He also has shown due diligence in his commitment to the teams game plan. He is not a prima dona in the gym (certainly outside of it) from what I can tell which is key to his technical improvement.
What is fabulous about Manny right now is that he still could get better. Yes, I said he is at the height of his powers but those heights can always be adjusted. I stated in September that somewhere in the last year he made the decision that he wants to be the preeminent fighter of his generation.
I cannot give him that mantle, not yet. But, Look at the resume, multiple wins over Morales and Barrera, and three lineal titles. Amongst his five world-title belts. His weight ascent is mesmerizing.
He started at 108 pounds and over time and hard work has come all the way up to 140 pounds but already fought at 147. With all that said there is work to be done. He must first dispense with Manchester’s finest which by the way will be no easy task.
Ricky is not a pure boxer like Oscar, nor is he a paper champion like Diaz. He is a big puncher at 140 pounds and with FMS in tow looks to have better movement head and feet. He also will learn how to clinch and presumably will display a higher level of ring intelligence then in recent years.
Manny better think about this fight and only this fight. Yes there is money to made literally and figuratively (=, but, he faces his toughest test in Richard Hatton in May. If he can win this fight which is very possible that would give him his forth Lineal title and sixth world title belt overall.
This would force FMJ to put up or shut up. If he does it, Pulls it off I mean. The conversation may be a moot point no matter what the exploits of JMM or FMJ may be.
Paulie Williams. Let me first apologize for all the blind writers, fans, and promoters that actually hesitate to put you in this debate. I am not sure if they don’t have HBO or simply don’t understand the sport.
You, right now, are the most physically gifted fighter in the sport. You didn’t know it at the time, but I stood next to you at an event recently, and while I have read you are 6'2", I know for a fact that your closer to 6'3". I myself am 6'8" and have spent my entire life playing basketball.
I know height. You are for sure taller than that. I also noticed your arms hung out at your sides like an orangutan. You have demonstrated the ability to fight at an absurdly high level in multiple weight classes.
He has a worker-bee punch output, long straight heat-seeking jab. Punches down at smaller opponents something that is actually tough to do. His biggest ally outside of his tremendous power is his hand speed He can put together five and six punches before the other man can get off, again and again over the last four fights.
I would also venture that being a tall active southpaw is something somewhat difficult to cope with. One thing that jumped out to me when he adjudicated Verno Phillips was the massive relationship he established to Verno’s body.
In boxing, tall men have a given predisposition to become head hunters. Not because they can’t dig to the body, but more because they are simply above a smaller opponents head level.
So, in effect, Paul punches down to deliver HEAD shots...that said, it is a marvel to watch this Redwood crouch down and do straight thug damage to another mans body.
Verno was not stopped. He quit. A proud veteran who is no one to sneeze at could not stomach Paul Williams for 12 rounds more due to the body punching. Just loud smacking shots. Paulie at this point is 34-1 loss avenged.
He was a welterweight champion but gave that up because everyone was ducking him. He next assignment is something that could upset the apple cart. I am not sure where wink is right now.
But his style, arrogance, and stubborn refusal to back down could spell doom for Paul Williams.
Winky has something to prove homeys He sued HBO and as part of the settlement he got this April Date. This is Dinky’s last chance at super star status. Winky also resides in Las Vegas, which, to me, matters.
Paulie must stay true to his physical gifts and make an effort to not get caught up in Winkys inevitable antics. If he can win this fight I cant think of anyone in boxing 160 and under that would fight this man.
I pray that he does not become to big for his britches and push the envelope to 168. I find it funny that Kelly Pavlik turned down millions to fight Paulie. I fid it funny that M. Cotto’s English is getting markedly better yet, he still has yet to pronounce the word Paul Williams.
Marga, before he was exposed, turned down $4 million to fight this man. Shane Mosley has yet to respond to trash talk spewed his way by Paul’s camp. No one wants anything to do with this man and that tends to be a sign of just where Paul stands at the moment
It is hard to be a fighter in two acts. Only two fighters have done it to my eye to a tee. Ali after his draft defection and subsequent layoff came back to win the title twice in the '70s and become a Massive global figure.
George Forman, after being ousted from his perch by the like of ALI and Jimmy Young returned to have a legendary run back to his coveted position. Now we have Shane Mosley.
In the first act, he was the second greatest lightweight of all time. He had knockout power in both fist and ran through the 135-pound division like a hot knife through butter.
He then stepped up and ousted Oscar in a modern day super fight. The rest is history of course but when he lost to Cotto, a lot of people wrote and postulated on the end of his career and how it had been a great run.
What mystified me at the time was the fact that he didn’t get beat up, pressured the ultimate pressure fighter (at the time), and dominated the action down the stretch with the exception of the 11th round.
He then moved on to stop a very game El’ Matador knocking him out in the waning seconds of a tough fight. I don’t need to again detail the events of Jan. 24 but this much is clear.
Shane Mosley is as strong and as fast as ever. He has modified his style many thanks to NR. He has gone from a boxer with punching power to a puncher who fights out of the Philly shell.
You could see it during the Margarita fight that he was cupping his arms close to his body, ducking and weaving but getting together with his man at the same time. If you couple the Philly shell with a masterful understanding of counter punching you have a new breed of fighter.
One that I have not seen before. AM was not prepared for what he saw that night. I don’t think anyone was. The thing that makes me laugh is that no one is stepping up to fight this guy this side of Paul Williams.
I think he would over power some of the men on this list and he has the mental toughness to negotiate a potential fight with Mr. Williams. That said the time is now.
He has been ducked by Cotto officially who is opting to fight JC. Ricky Hatton and Manny both have in a roundabout way turned their shoulders to a potential fight with Shane. Shane’s best bet is to hope that Paul Williams takes care of his end of the deal next month.
Shane could have a fantastic chance to cement his claim to the throne. At this point fighting B level fighters is no longer an option. With an amazing trainer and a dominant resurgence in the welterweight division one has to wonder...just who is better than Shane Mosley?
Christian’s Pick: Paul Williams
It just so happens that the top four fighters in the world today have all fought near or around welterweight. When deciding whom my current pick was in this discussion I closed my eyes and imagined a round robin tournament. A tournament contested at welterweight.
I pictured all four fighters fighting each other.
After thinking about it for a good while I came to one conclusion. Paul Williams would whup everyone’s ass on this list. He would Evaporate Manny with length strength and athletic ability.
He would be too big and strong for JMM. And with his proven boxing prowess and ACC two guard stature he would be way too much for Shane Mosley to overcome. I stated that this is a fickle situation.
One fight or one punch for that matter can take this argument for a ride at any moment.
But right now the biggest threat to Floyd's vacated position is Paul Williams. Now fans with generic opinions will argue that the other men have more tangible boxing accolades, however, that’s nonsense to me because right now, in the ring, I take Paul over any of the other three, head to head.
I thought about doing an honorable mention list. But after thinking about it, I decided that there was no need. This is not fourth-grade softball. Not everyone can win.
This is the top men in a certain field each with an argument to be the best at what they do. I may catch heat for weight bias, FMJ positivity, and as always not putting every fighter in boxing on a very short list.
The upside of this though is I learn more about boxing and you. Feel free to give me your vote although I would rather you voice a specific opinion with me rather then hitting up the poll.
I will banter back I promise but be forewarned. If you don’t know boxing, at least do some research before you jump out there.
I would love to leave you guys with random thoughts, but I recently noticed that fat DR of ESPN has been using the words “random thoughts” for a while now so while I think of a new name for my loose thoughts.
I hope you enjoy my effort and I thank everyone for their kind words.