Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Boxers After Mayweather vs. Maidana Bout

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2014

Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Boxers After Mayweather vs. Maidana Bout

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    is Mayweather still the best?
    is Mayweather still the best?Harry How/Getty Images

    Floyd Mayweather defeated Marcos Maidana by majority decision Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

    Maidana was a force, but Mayweather used veteran guile to remain undefeated and unify the WBA and WBC welterweight titles.

    But was Mayweather's performance good enough to stay No. 1 in Bleacher Report's pound-for-pound rankings?

    Click through to find out. Fighters are ranked by quality of opposition, strength of resume and how willing they are to accept all comers.

25. Shawn Porter (24-0-1 , 15 KOs)

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    Porter is legit, folks.
    Porter is legit, folks.Luis M. Alvarez/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Shawn Porter replaces middleweight Peter Quillin at No. 25 because of his better wins and seemingly higher potential. Porter’s decision over Devon Alexander and technical knockout of Paulie Malignaggi are better than anything Quillin has done yet.

    Previous Rank: N/A

    2014 Highlight: Porter ran through Malignaggi the way no one had done before. He dominated the fight from the opening bell and won inside four rounds. He’s the real deal.

    Who He Should Fight Next: There is no more interesting matchup at welterweight right now than matching Porter against rising undefeated star Keith Thurman. The action would be explosive, and the winner would be an interesting option for welterweight king Floyd Mayweather.

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

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    Santa Cruz has a nice following.
    Santa Cruz has a nice following.Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Leo Santa Cruz is a tornado of punches and one of the best offensive fighters in the game. Fans like him because he always comes to fight, and he appears to have tremendous upside.

    Previous Rank: No. 24

    2014 Highlight: Santa Cruz’s decision win over Cristian Mijares in March was another step in the right direction. He outfought the veteran over 12 rounds and showed real skill and determination.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Santa Cruz should face Carl Frampton next, a Northern Ireland-based fighter who’d provide another stern test.

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

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    This might be the best junior lightweight in the world.
    This might be the best junior lightweight in the world.Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: It’s a shame American fight fans don’t get to see Takashi Uchiyama because he might be the best junior lightweight in the world. The hard-punching Japanese fighter is the WBA titleholder and one of the better boxers on the planet.

    Previous Rank: No. 23

    2014 Highlight: Uchiyama hasn’t yet fought in 2014. His last fight was a 12-round decision win over Daiki Kaneko, a bout he had to pick himself off the canvas in Round 10 to win.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Uchiyama should take on Mikey Garcia to crown the lineal junior lightweight champion of the world.

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

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    Huck is tops at cruiserweight.
    Huck is tops at cruiserweight.Daniel Kopatsch/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Marco Huck is the best cruiserweight in the world and hasn’t lost since being on the wrong end of a hotly disputed majority decision to then-WBA heavyweight titleholder Alexander Povetkin. After that fight, Huck went back down to cruiserweight, where he has continued his winning ways.

    Previous Rank: No. 22

    2014 Highlight: In January, Huck put old rival Firat Arslan down twice on the way to a Round 6 knockout win. The fight was a rematch of a 2012 bout Huck won by a 12-round decision.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Huck should fight Yoan Pablo Hernandez to crown the lineal champion in the cruiserweight division.

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

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    Kovalev demolished Agnew.
    Kovalev demolished Agnew.TIM LARSEN/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Sergey Kovalev, a light heavyweight, is an aggressive stalker with power in both hands. He’s been one of the most exciting up-and-comers in boxing over the last year or so and has a bright future so long as Kathy Duva and Main Events can keep finding folks brave enough to face him. 

    Previous Rank: No. 21

    2014 Highlight: Kovalev destroyed unheralded but undefeated Cedric Agnew in March. Agnew tried something no one else had tried yet, using a high guard to make Kovalev work. Kovalev unleashed fury on Agnew until he finished him with a hard body shot in Round 7.

    Who He Should Fight Next: In a perfect world, Kovalev's next fight would be against lineal champion Adonis Stevenson. But since boxing politics mean he’ll likely need to look elsewhere, let’s call for a fight against former titlist Jean Pascal.

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

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    Stevenson should fight Kovalev soon.
    Stevenson should fight Kovalev soon.USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Adonis Stevenson, the lineal light heavyweight champion of the world, has sick power as well as the ability to keep opponents at the end of his punches. He’s got a nice jab and a devastating cross. Even at age 36, he’s one of boxing’s most dangerous fighters.

    Previous Rank: No. 20

    2014 Highlight: Stevenson hasn’t yet faced an opponent this year, but he won four fights in 2013, including a spectacular Round 1 knockout of Chad Dawson.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Yes, the world wants Stevenson to face Sergey Kovalev next, but he’s set on fighting Andrzej Fonfara on May 24 at the Bell Centre in Montreal to set up a fight with Bernard Hopkins afterward instead. That’s not really that bad a consolation prize.

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

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    Cotto wants the middleweight crown.
    Cotto wants the middleweight crown.Elsa/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Miguel Cotto has been a great fighter. It’s hard to say how well his game will translate to middleweight, but his lone foray there against Delvin Rodriguez was enough to convince him he can become champion there. If he does, it’s just another great chapter in the excellent book of his career.

    Previous Rank: No. 19

    2014 Highlight: Cotto hasn’t fought anyone in 2014, but his Round 3 knockout of Rodriguez last year earned him a bout with lineal champion Sergio Martinez. That’s a historically significant fight for both men and the best-made fight of the year so far.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Cotto faces Martinez on June 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Is Martinez what he once was? Can Cotto be a top middleweight? It’ll be good to find out.

18. Lucas Matthysse (35-3, 33 KOs)

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    The Machine is alive and well.
    The Machine is alive and well.Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Lucas Matthysse is a fierce combination puncher who fights like he has an ax to grind with whomever is in front of him. He tends to come forward when hit rather than retreat, and he makes good on the promise of action.

    Previous Rank: No. 18

    2014 Highlight: Matthysse had to get off the floor twice early against John Molina to storm back to a Round 11 knockout. The bout is the early leader for Fight of the Year, and the win puts Matthysse right back in the limelight.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Matthysse would make an interesting matchup for Adrien Broner should the latter fail to secure a rematch against Marcos Maidana.

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

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    Froch is a top super middleweight.
    Froch is a top super middleweight.Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Carl Froch uses good distance, timing and an absurdly herky-jerky style to win bouts, but it works. Froch would probably be tops at super middleweight if Andre Ward didn’t fight there. But at age 36, he might be at the tail end of his career.

    Previous Rank: No. 17

    2014 Highlight: No fight for Froch yet in 2014, but he soundly whipped Mikkel Kessler last May to earn his finest win of 2013.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Froch is scheduled to face George Groves on May 31 in London, England. The bout is a rematch of Froch’s Round 9 TKO win over Groves last November, a bout many onlookers thought was stopped too soon.

16. Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs)

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    Is Hopkins really an alien or not?
    Is Hopkins really an alien or not?Associated Press/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: The thing about Bernard Hopkins nicknaming himself “The Alien” is that it’s sort of approaching the point where people might actually believe he’s not from this planet. Legacy already secure, Hopkins, age 49, keeps fighting and winning anyway. He is truly remarkable and one of the finest pugilists ever.

    Previous Rank: No. 16

    2014 Highlight: Hopkins dominated Beibut Shumenov last month to unify light heavyweight alphabet titles. The fight wasn’t close, though one judge incorrectly awarded it to Shumenov.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Hopkins should do everything he can to secure the fight with lineal champion Adonis Stevenson. Hopkins’ elite footwork and guile might earn him yet another historical feat to add to his already impressive ledger of accomplishments.

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

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    Lara is all smiles now that he finally gets Canelo.
    Lara is all smiles now that he finally gets Canelo.Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Erislandy Lara is an elite southpaw stylist who uses a solid jab and sharp counterpunching to defeat his opponents. He is a master of distance and timing, and he carries legit punching power.

    Previous Rank: No. 15

    2014 Highlight: Lara hasn’t yet fought in 2014, but his 2013 win over Austin Trout put him on the map as a potential superstar. Many thought Lara would be able to outbox Trout, but almost no one thought he’d dominate Trout like he did over 12 full rounds.

    Who He Should Fight Next: After years of calling for a bout against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Lara will finally get his wish on July 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

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

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    Alvarez is a good puncher.
    Alvarez is a good puncher.Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is one of the best junior middleweights in the world. He is a good boxer and a powerful puncher. At age 23, the sky’s the limit for Canelo, who consistently seeks out the toughest fights out there.

    Previous Rank: No. 14

    2014 Highlight: Alvarez dominated slugger Alfredo Angulo in a one-sided bout in March. Angulo was saved from what could have been an even more savage beating when referee Tony Weeks halted the fight in Round 10.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Alvarez will face Erislandy Lara next. It’s the best and most interesting fight at junior middleweight right now, so kudos to both camps for making it happen.

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

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    Donaire got the job done against Darchinyan.
    Donaire got the job done against Darchinyan.Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Nonito Donaire was on top of the world in 2012, but he finished the next year with one win and one loss. There’s no shame in losing to elite boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux, but Donaire didn’t look like himself in his come-from-behind Round 9 knockout win over Vic Darchinyan.

    Previous Rank: No. 13

    2014 Highlight: Donaire hasn’t seen any action in 2014, but his knockout win over Darchinyan last year was at least partial evidence he can still be elite. Darchinyan is a good fighter who came into the fight with a good plan, but Donaire still found a way to land the punches he needed to land late.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Donaire will face WBA titlist Simpiwe Vetyeka on May 31 at the Venetian Resort in Macau.

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

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    Garcia needs to sort out his promotional issues.
    Garcia needs to sort out his promotional issues.Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Mikey Garcia had a busy 2013, but 2014 looks to be stalled by virtue of him suing his promoter, Top Rank. Still, wins over Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez and Rocky Martinez in recent history will keep him on fight fans’ minds until he can get back into the ring.

    Previous Rank: No. 12

    2014 Highlight: Garcia’s lone 2014 outing was a points win over Juan Carlos Burgos. It was a clear victory, and Garcia showed patience in his approach, something important as he moves forward.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Garcia should settle his promotional issues first and then see which side of boxing’s equator he ends up on. That will determine his next opponent more than anything.

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

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    Garcia (left) got the win but probably didn't deserve it.
    Garcia (left) got the win but probably didn't deserve it.Ricardo Arduengo/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Danny Garcia is a good counterpuncher who throws his punches with high velocity. He’s faced good opponents and remains undefeated. He’s also the lineal junior welterweight champion of the world.

    Previous Rank: No. 11

    2014 Highlight: Garcia didn’t look great in March when Mauricio Herrera clearly beat him in Puerto Rico. Still, Garcia got the nod and likely doesn’t want a rematch. Herrera probably should have won a pretty close decision, but in boxing the star and champion usually gets the benefit of the doubt.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Garcia should have a rematch with Herrera next. But if he won’t, he should at least take on Lamont Peterson. Peterson is one of the best junior welterweights in the world, and the bout would be compelling because their styles suit each other.

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

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    This guy needs to be on television in the U.S.
    This guy needs to be on television in the U.S.Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Flyweights get almost no attention whatsoever, but if anyone can change that, it might be Roman Gonzalez. He’s a knockout artist who is fun and exciting to see fight. More importantly, he’s one of the best fighters in the world.

    Previous Rank: No. 10

    2014 Highlight: Gonzalez has already notched two knockout wins in 2014. He clobbered Juan Kantun in February and demolished Juan Purisima in April.

    Who He Should Fight Next: The most interesting fight for Gonzalez would be against American Brian Viloria, who might make the fight interesting enough for an American television programmer to snag.

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

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    GGG is a force.
    GGG is a force.Al Bello/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Gennady Golovkin is a beastly middleweight who’s won 16 straight bouts by knockout. That’s almost unbelievable, and he just seems to be getting better and better. Golovkin is the future of the middleweight division and maybe the sport of boxing as a whole.

    Previous Rank: No. 9

    2014 Highlight: Golovkin destroyed Osumanu Adama in Monte Carlo, Monaco, in February. The fight was stopped in Round 7.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Golovkin may move up to super middleweight to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. next. That’s as good a fight as can be made in boxing. Golovkin is more skilled and would be the favorite, but Chavez is larger and has a granite chin.

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

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    Rigo was too skilled for Donaire.
    Rigo was too skilled for Donaire.Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Guillermo Rigondeaux might be the best boxer in the world right now. Regardless, some have soured on his propensity to play it safe in the ring rather than go for the knockout. Rigondeaux needs fights against solid competition in order to move up on this list, though, and he’s having a hard time getting them.

    Previous Rank: No. 8

    2014 Highlight: Rigondeaux has not fought in 2014. He has one fight left on his contract with Top Rank, something both he and Top Rank seem happy about.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Rigondeaux is someone who needs opponents to come forward and be aggressive in order to make his fights appealing to boxing’s broadest base of consumers. Vic Darchinyan fits the bill, and the bout would be an HBO-worthy fight.

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

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    Martinez (right) will be the bigger man versus Cotto.
    Martinez (right) will be the bigger man versus Cotto.Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Sergio Martinez has consistently been one of the better active champions of the last few years. He’s carried the lineal middleweight title admirably since lifting it off Kelly Pavlik back in 2010, and he’s bravely taken on good challengers since. At age 39, though, his body may be failing him.

    Previous Rank: No. 6

    2014 Highlight: Martinez hasn’t fought this year and has been resting his ailing and aging body in hopes of securing a big-money bout. It worked. He takes on Miguel Cotto this summer.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Martinez fights Cotto June 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York. It’s a great fight between two excellent fighters. What more could you ask? If he wins the fight, though, it’s high time he gives Gennady Golovkin a shot at the lineal crown.

6. Wladimir Klitschko (62-3, 52 KOs)

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    Klitschko is dominant at heavyweight.
    Klitschko is dominant at heavyweight.Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Wladimir Klitschko is one of the most dominant forces in heavyweight history. He’s big, strong and powerful. He keeps opponents at arm’s length with his pulverizing jab and clobbers them with his straight left until they hit the deck.

    Previous Rank: No. 7

    2014 Highlight: Klitschko looked good enough against Alex Leapai last month to move up this list. Leapai is no world-beater, but he’s aggressive and strong. Klitschko won with ease and deserves to be considered one of the top fighters in the sport today.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Klitschko should lure Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder into a bout. The two are physically imposing and undefeated prospects who can counter Klitschko’s size and strength with their own.

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

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    Bradley couldn't outwork Pacquiao in April.
    Bradley couldn't outwork Pacquiao in April.Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Timothy Bradley suffered the first official loss of his career against Manny Pacquiao last month, but he’s still one of the premier forces in the game. He has legit wins over Devon Alexander and Juan Manuel Marquez.

    Previous Rank: No. 5

    2014 Highlight: Bradley lost the rematch with Pacquiao this year, but he enjoyed a fine 2013. He outboxed Marquez in a close, competitive scrap to show he can compete at the very highest levels of the sport.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Bradley always takes on tough challengers, and that isn’t likely to change going forward. Next up for him should be tough slugger Brandon Rios. Rios comes forward hard but isn’t elite. It’d give Bradley a chance to show he can come back from the Pacquiao loss.

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

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    Marquez lost a close fight to Bradley last year.
    Marquez lost a close fight to Bradley last year.Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Juan Manuel Marquez is one of the best boxers in history. He’s a great combination puncher and is one of the most accurate counterpunchers in the sport. That makes him dangerous, and he’s adept at almost all facets of the game.

    Previous Rank: No. 4

    2014 Highlight: Marquez hasn’t fought yet in 2014. He lost a close decision to Timothy Bradley in 2013 in his lone outing of the year.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Marquez is scheduled to face Mike Alvarado on May 17 in Inglewood, California. The winner, presumably Marquez, would face Pacquiao next.

3. Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs)

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    Pacquiao boxed well against Bradley.
    Pacquiao boxed well against Bradley.Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Manny Pacquiao is no longer the force he once was, but he is still one of the elite fighters in the sport. That’s impressive stuff and will do well for his historical legacy. Pacquiao still possesses absurdly fast and powerful hands, and he seems to be getting better and better as a technician.

    Previous Rank: No. 3

    2014 Highlight: Pacquiao soundly defeated Bradley by unanimous decision in April. He remains a force to be reckoned with in the welterweight division.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Pacquiao should hope Marquez beats Alvarado in May so he can avenge his 2012 knockout loss to his great rival. That's the best fight out there for him unless Floyd Mayweather comes calling.

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

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    Remember this guy or not?
    Remember this guy or not?Reed Saxon/Associated Press/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Andre Ward is the lineal super middleweight champion and, when active, the clear No. 2 fighter in the sport behind Floyd Mayweather. He’s a hard puncher, an exceptional boxer and knows how to fight inside and out.

    Previous Rank: No. 2

    2014 Highlight: Ward has not fought yet in 2014 because of promotional issues. His lone venture in 2013 was a shellacking of Edwin Rodriguez over 12 one-sided rounds.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Anyone! Ward needs to get back in the ring soon or risk losing his prominent stature among followers of the sweet science.

1. Floyd Mayweather (46-0, 26 KOs)

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    Mayweather is the No. 1 fighter in the sport of boxing today.
    Mayweather is the No. 1 fighter in the sport of boxing today.Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Floyd Mayweather is the king of boxing. He’s the highest-paid fighter in the sport as well as its biggest star. His exceptional talent and incorruptible skill set make him a puzzle no one has yet been able to solve.

    Previous Rank: No. 1

    2014 Highlight: Mayweather defeated Marcos Maidana by majority decision in a closer-than-expected slugfest.

    Who He Should Fight Next: It’s Manny Pacquiao. Of course, that fight likely won’t happen, and it will be Mayweather’s historical legacy that will suffer for it. It’s a shame because Mayweather would always have been the favorite. But after seeing Mayweather struggle with Maidana, is there any more interesting fight for him than Pacquiao?