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Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Boxers After Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured Columnist IIIJanuary 9, 2017

Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Boxers After Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2

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    Isaac Brekken

    Manny Pacquiao showed his stuff against formerly undefeated titlist Timothy Bradley on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Pacquiao scored a 12-round unanimous decision to avenge his hotly disputed 2012 loss to Bradley.

    Judges at ringside scored the bout 116-112, 116-112 and 118-110.

    But did Pac-Man do enough to take over the top spot in Bleacher Report's pound-for-pound rankings? And where does Bradley rank after the loss? 

    We have you covered.

    Fighters are ranked by quality of opposition, strength of resume and how willing they are to accept all challengers.

25. Peter Quillin (30-0, 22 KOs)

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here:  Undefeated middleweight titlist Quillin is a tough fighter and a hard puncher. He’s a big slugger and has shown real skill against fairly decent competition. His big punches keep him in any fight, and he’s yet to taste defeat.

    Previous Rank: N/A

    2014 Highlight: Quillin has not fought yet in 2014, but his best performance of 2013 was his Round 7 knockout of Fernando Guerrero. Quillin put his opponent down twice in Round 2 and twice again in Round 7.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Quillin is scheduled to take on Lukas Konecny on April 19.  

24. Leo Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 KOs)

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Santa Cruz has endeared himself to fight fans because he throws punches at his opponents like he just found out they tried to kiss his girlfriend. But he isn’t just an offensive force. He’s shown good moves against good fighters and is steadily improving his footwork as he gains experience.

    Previous Rank: N/A

    2014 Highlight: Santa Cruz’s workmanlike win over Cristian Mijares in March showed he can even outfight good veteran boxers.

    Who He Should Fight Next: There are lots of good fights out there for Santa Cruz. Next up should be Carl Frampton, a Northern Ireland-based fighter who’d provide a stern test.

23. Takashi Uchiyama (21-0-1, 17 KOs)

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    Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Uchiyama just might be the best junior lightweight in the world. The hard-punching Japanese fighter holds the WBA title despite never venturing over to this side of the world to try his hand. Still, he’s a real force and shouldn’t be ignored.  

    Previous Rank: No. 25

    2014 Highlight: He hasn’t fought in 2014, but he won twice in 2013. First, he scored a Round 5 knockout over Jaider Parra. Next, he outfought Daiki Kaneko over 12 rounds, despite having to pick himself off the canvas in Round 10.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Uchiyama should shock everyone by making a move to America. He could take on Mikey Garcia to crown the lineal junior lightweight champion.

22. Marco Huck (37-2-1, 26 KOs)

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    Daniel Kopatsch

    Why He’s Here: Huck is probably the best cruiserweight in the world in a division that is often overlooked. He hasn’t lost a fight since a hotly disputed majority decision went to then-WBA heavyweight titleholder Alexander Povetkin. Huck went back down to cruiserweight afterward and has looked good since.   

    Previous Rank: No. 24

    2014 Highlight: Huck put the versatile Firat Arslan down twice en route to a Round 6 knockout win to start out 2014. The fight was a rematch of a 2012 bout that Huck won by 12-round decision.

    Who He Should Fight Next: A showdown with Yoan Pablo Hernandez would crown a lineal champion in the division, so Huck should look there before anywhere else.  

21. Sergey Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs)

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    TIM LARSEN

    Why He’s Here: Kovalev is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport. He has real power in both hands and is an aggressive stalker. He beat Gabriel Campillo, Cornelius White, Nathan Cleverly and Ismail Sillakh to burst onto the scene in fine fashion. He knocked each man out within four rounds.

    Previous Rank: N/A

    2014 Highlight: Kovalev brutalized the unheralded but undefeated Cedric Agnew in March. He had Agnew down in Round 2 and Round 6 before crushing him to the body for the finisher in Round 7.

    Who He Should Fight Next: In a perfect world, Kovalev would face lineal champion Adonis Stevenson next. But in the imperfect world of boxing, he’ll likely need to look elsewhere. A fight against Jean Pascal would be a huge test and could be a potential star-making performance.

20. Adonis Stevenson (23-1, 20 KOs)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Stevenson is the lineal champion at 175 pounds and has kept a busy fighting schedule. At age 36, he doesn’t have much time to make his mark in the sport, and he seems focused on doing so. He has ridiculous power and has shown the ability to keep his opponents at the end of his punches. 

    Previous Rank: No. 23

    2014 Highlight: Stevenson hasn’t fought yet in 2014, but he won four big bouts last year including the spectacular one-punch knockout of Chad Dawson to make him champion.  

    Who He Should Fight Next: Everyone wants to see Stevenson face Sergey Kovalev next, but he’s set on fighting Andrzej Fonfara on May 24 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. More than likely, he’ll take on the winner of Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov after.  

19. Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs)

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Cotto has enjoyed a stellar career and has earned his place among the best fighters of his era. More often than not, he takes the biggest fights he can against the best competition possible. That's commendable. 

    Previous Rank: No. 21

    2014 Highlight: Cotto hasn’t yet fought in 2014, but his Round 3 knockout of Delvin Rodriguez last year at middleweight was spectacular. The win put him in position to secure a megafight with lineal champion Sergio Martinez.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Cotto will fight Martinez at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 7. It will be one of the biggest and best events of the year.

18. Lucas Matthysse (34-3, 32 KOs)

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    Mark J. Terrill

    Why He’s Here: OK, Matthysse lost a clear decision against Danny Garcia last September, but he looked downright unbeatable leading up to it. Matthysse is still one of the top aggressive fighters in the sport. He just needs chances to prove the Garcia fight was an aberration. 

    Previous Rank: No. 16

    2014 Highlight: Matthysse has been missing in action so far in 2014, but his three-round destruction of Lamont Peterson last May was one of the more shocking displays of dominance of the previous year.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Matthysse is scheduled to face John Molina in Carson, California, on April 26. Should he win as expected, he has every reason to gun hard for a Garcia rematch.  

17. Carl Froch (32-2, 23 KOs)

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    Sang Tan

    Why He’s Here: Froch might be the best super middleweight in the world besides Andre Ward, except we won’t know it until he faces George Groves again. Froch had trouble in the first fight but got the knockout. Groves had him in deep waters early on in the bout, and some consider the referee’s stoppage of Groves to be controversial.

    Previous Rank: No. 15

    2014 Highlight: Fans haven’t seen Froch in the ring yet in 2014, but he soundly outpointed Mikkel Kessler in a good tussle last May to earn his finest win of 2013.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Froch is scheduled for a rematch against Groves on May 31 in London. It’s a huge event in the United Kingdom and rightly so.

16. Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs)

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    Tim Larsen

    Why He’s Here: Hopkins is one of the best fighters of his time. Not only that, he’s one of the best fighters of all time. It’s amazing how excellent he still is at this ruthless craft at such an advanced age. Hopkins, 49, would be a household name if he participated in a mainstream sport that folks cared about.  

    Previous Rank: No. 14

    2014 Highlight: Hopkins hasn’t yet laced up the gloves in 2014, but his best 2013 performance was the destruction of Tavoris Cloud, a youthful fighter who figured to give Hopkins a real test. He didn’t.

    Who He Should Fight Next: He is scheduled to face Beibut Shumenov in Washington, D.C., on April 19 in a light heavyweight unification fight. That’s more history for Hopkins to try and add to his already impressive ledger. It’s the right fight.

15. Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: The oft-avoided Lara enjoyed his best year in 2013. He knocked out Alfredo Angulo in June before dominating Austin Trout in December to prove he belongs among the world’s elite. Lara is a southpaw who uses a solid jab and sharp counterpunching to beat his opponents, and he's a master of timing and distance. 

    Previous Rank: N/A

    2014 Highlight: Lara’s win over Trout wasn’t unexpected. Many folks thought Lara would be able to outbox Trout. But almost no one thought he’d totally dominate Trout, a very good fighter in his own right. But Lara won virtually every round and even knocked Trout down late to take the 12-round decision.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Lara is scheduled to face Ishe Smith on May 2 in Las Vegas.

14. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs)

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Alvarez has only one loss on his record, and it’s to the best in the business, Floyd Mayweather. Other than the Mayweather debacle, Alvarez, age 23, has made steady progress in his career and looks like a future superstar. 

    Previous Rank: No. 17

    2014 Highlight: He destroyed Alfredo Angulo with ease in March. The bout was so one-sided it was stopped in Round 10.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Alvarez should face southpaw stylist Erislandy Lara next. The two men are clearly the top two junior middleweights in the sport besides lineal champion Mayweather, who only sometimes fights at the weight.  

13. Nonito Donaire (32-2, 21 KOs)

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    Eric Gay

    Why He’s Here: Donaire was the BWAA Fighter of the Year for what he did in 2012, but he finished 2013 with one win and one loss. There’s no shame in losing to Guillermo Rigondeaux, but Donaire didn’t look good in his win over Vic Darchinyan until he got the Round 9 knockout.

    Previous Rank: No. 12

    2014 Highlight: Donaire hasn’t fought yet in 2014, but his knockout win over Darchinyan last year was good evidence that elite fighters like Donaire can pull off spectacular knockouts just when they need them most.   

    Who He Should Fight Next: Donaire is scheduled to face Simpiwe Vetyeka on May 31 in Macao, China. That’s the right fight for someone who is looking to get back to his best.

12. Mikey Garcia (34-0, 28 KOs)

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    Gregory Payan

    Why He’s Here: Garcia has slowly built himself up into a star. His busy 2013 included wins over Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez and Rocky Martinez. All were impressive knockouts that appear to have Garcia on his way up the ladder.

    Previous Rank: No. 11

    2014 Highlight: His great 2013 made his 2014 debut win over Juan Carlos Burgos seem lackluster. Still, it was a clear victory, and Garcia showed patience in not forcing the knockout.

    Who He Should Fight Next: He should face undefeated slugger Yuriorkis Gamboa, a former Cuban amateur star who has the speed and power to give anyone problems.    

11. Danny Garcia (28-0, 16 KOs)

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    Matt Rourke

    Why He’s Here: Garcia’s win over Lucas Matthysse solidified him as the top junior welterweight in the world. He’s undefeated and also has wins over Zab Judah, Erik Morales and Amir Khan.

    Previous Rank: No. 10

    2014 Highlight: Garcia had a bad outing in March when he was clearly outboxed by Mauricio Herrera in Puerto Rico, but Garcia got the nod anyway and likely doesn’t want a rematch.  

    Who He Should Fight Next: Unless he wants Herrera again, Garcia should face Lamont Peterson to show the Herrera bout was just a fluke. Peterson is likely the top guy in the division that Garcia has yet to face and would present an interesting matchup.    

10. Roman Gonzalez (39-0, 33 KOs)

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    Jeff Bottari /Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Roman Gonzalez is a beastly flyweight who knocks out fighters left and right. It’s a shame that American television audiences seldom get to see fighters like him, who are both exciting and exceptional.

    Previous Rank: No. 13

    2014 Highlight: He has scored two more knockout wins in 2014 already. First, he demolished Juan Kantun in February, and then he destroyed Juan Purisima in April.

    Who He Should Fight Next: As noted before, Gonzalez is great, but he needs someone to show his quality against. The best fit would be American Brian Viloria, and the two together might be interesting enough for an American television broadcast.

9. Gennady Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs)

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: The age of Golovkin is here. He’s won 16 straight bouts by knockout, and he’s had such a hard time finding willing competitors that he has to go up to 168 pounds for his next fight. This guy is legit. Fans should hope he gets his deserved chance at Sergio Martinez's middleweight crown. 

    Previous Rank: No. 9

    2014 Highlight: Golovkin knocked out Osumanu Adama in Monte Carlo, Monaco, in February. He knocked Adama down in Round 1, Round 6 and Round 7 before the fight was halted.   

    Who He Should Fight Next: He is likely to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on July 19 in California. That’s exactly the right fight for both men and will probably be the best fight of 2014.

8. Guillermo Rigondeaux (13-0, 8 KOs)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Poor Guillermo Rigondeaux. He might just be the best fighter on the planet, but he just doesn’t get many opportunities to prove it. Regardless, he dominated perennial pound-for-pounder Nonito Donaire in just his 12th professional fight to prove he’s elite.

    Previous Rank: No. 8

    2014 Highlight: Rigondeaux has been put on ice so far this year and likely won’t see action again until his promoter Top Rank finds a worthwhile pay-per-view undercard to stash him on.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Rigondeaux would face Leo Santa Cruz in a perfect world, but he’ll likely have to settle for a fighter who is promoted by someone that Top Rank likes to do business with instead. A bout with Vic Darchinyan would be fantastic.

7. Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 KOs)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: You might not like watching him fight, but Wladimir Klitschko is one of the most effective heavyweights in the history of boxing. He hasn’t lost a fight since 2004, and he likely won’t lose anytime soon. His long reach and devastating power make him a tough out for anyone.

    Previous Rank: No. 7

    2014 Highlight: Klitschko hasn’t yet fought in 2014, but his 12-round domination of previously undefeated Alexander Povetkin last October proved beyond a shadow of a doubt he’s one of the better champions in history. He has faced and defeated every notable contender.  

    Who He Should Fight Next: Klitschko is scheduled to face Alex Leapai on April 26 in Germany.

6. Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs)

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    Victor R. Caivano

    Why He’s Here: Martinez is one of the better active champions in boxing. He’s carried the lineal middleweight title since lifting it off Kelly Pavlik in 2010, and he’s bravely fought tough challengers since. At age 38, his body may be failing him, but he’s still the man to beat at middleweight until someone knocks him off.

    Previous Rank: No. 5

    2014 Highlight: Martinez hasn’t fought this year. Last year, he outlasted Martin Murray in Buenos Aires, Argentina to win a tough decision. Since then, he’s rested up his ailing body in hopes of securing a big-money bout.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Martinez is scheduled to take on Miguel Cotto on June 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York. It’s the perfect fight for him in that if he’s close to what he was, he should run right through Cotto. But if he’s not, Cotto will take the strap but leave Martinez with one last nice payday. Should he beat Cotto, Martinez must fight Gennady Golovkin to prove he’s the best at 160 pounds.

5. Timothy Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs)

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    Reed Saxon

    Why He’s Here: There is no shame in losing to Manny Pacquiao. Bradley still has wins on his ledger over Devon Alexander and Juan Manuel Marquez, and he’s still an elite-level force. Against Pac-Man, Bradley fought with skill and courage but was ultimately just beaten to the punch too much. 

    Previous Rank: No. 3

    2014 Highlight: Bradley’s lone 2014 outing was the rematch with Pacquiao, but he enjoyed a fine 2013. He outboxed Marquez in probably the best win of his career and went toe-to-toe with Ruslan Provodnikov in a war.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Bradley should go after Brandon Rios next. The two would make for good television, and a win over Rios could get him back in line for shot at Pac-Man.

4. Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs)

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    Julie Jacobson

    Why He’s Here: Marquez has great credentials. He knocked out nemesis Manny Pacquiao in late 2012 before being outpointed by slickster Timothy Bradley in 2013. The fight was close, though, and Marquez showed he’s still top-level competition.

    Previous Rank: No. 4

    2014 Highlight: Marquez has mostly moped around since losing the close decision to Bradley. He’s now scheduled to face Mike Alvarado on May 17 in Inglewood, California, in a bout that will help him secure whichever rematch he wants more: Bradley or Pacquiao.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Marquez takes on Alvarado next, but should he win that one, the only real fight for him is against Pacquiao. It will get him the most money and give him a chance to show his last knockout wasn’t just a lucky punch.

3. Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Pacquiao once vied for the top spot on this list, but he’s no longer that kind of force. Regardless, he’s still quite elite and one of the better fighters on the planet. His win over Tim Bradley solidified his standing among the world’s elite. He has fast, powerful hands and a style that is built to win. 

    Previous Rank: No. 6

    2014 Highlight: Pacquiao defeated Bradley via unanimous decision to start off 2014 on a high note. He wasn't prime Pac-Man, but he's still something to be reckoned with. 

    Who He Should Fight Next: He should focus all his energy on securing a fifth fight with archrival Juan Manuel Marquez. It’s the only fight left that makes sense.

2. Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KOs)

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    Reed Saxon

    Why He’s Here: Super middleweight champion Ward fought only once last year after a long layoff. He dominated Edwin Rodriguez but hasn’t fought since. Still, he’s clearly the No. 2 man behind Mayweather so long as guys like Bradley, Marquez and Pacquiao keep knocking each other off.

    Previous Rank: No. 2

    2014 Highlight: Ward has not fought in 2014 and isn’t scheduled to as of publication. Still, his win over Rodriguez showed he’s as good as ever when he is in the ring.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Ward should move up to 175 pounds now that he’s shown himself to be top dog at 168. A fight with either lineal champion and WBC titleholder Adonis Stevenson or WBO titleholder Sergey Kovalev would be huge.

1. Floyd Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs)

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    Isaac Brekken

    Why He’s Here: Mayweather has outlasted all his contemporaries, most notably Manny Pacquiao, to reign as the king of boxing. There is no doubt he will go down in history as one of the best fighters who ever lived. With likely just a handful of fights left, though, fans hope to see him test himself against the very best. Will he oblige?

    Previous Rank: No. 1

    2014 Highlight: Mayweather hasn’t fought since last year, when he defeated Canelo Alvarez and Robert Guerrero. Both wins were impressive, but the easy work he made of the naturally larger Alvarez was one of the better outings of his career.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Mayweather is scheduled to face Marcos Maidana on May 3 in Las Vegas. Maidana is a hard-charging slugger who will make Mayweather defend himself for 36 minutes. 

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