Boxing Power Rankings: March 2010
Pound-for-pound lists of the top boxers in the world are great, and everyone seems to do one. That's also the problem: pound-for-pound lists are literally everywhere.
At BoxingWatchers.com, the site I started with two of my brothers a little over two years ago, we wanted to do something different.
So we came up with our own power rankings, a pseudo-scientific way of determining which boxers have been turning in the most impressive performances.
While the exact formula is known only to a select few, the basics aren't too complicated.
A boxer earns points by taking and winning fights, with more decisive wins earning more points (a KO is worth more than a unanimous decision, which is worth more than a split decision).
Each win is modified by the recent winning percentage of the opponent, so fighters aren't rewarded for beating up on stiffs. A loss deducts points from a boxer's score in similar fashion.
The scores only consider the most recent three years of a boxer's career (on a rolling basis). Why three years? It just seemed right.
Altogether, the scores reward activity, fighting foes with good records and winning emphatically. And in my opinion, those are things most fans like to see from their favorite boxers.
Is it perfect? Of course not. The formula probably punishes inactivity a little too much, and as a result, some fantastic fighters (Floyd Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins, to name two) won't be found in the top 10.
Still, it's a fun and harmless way to look at some of the sport's best from a slightly different angle. If you think of it as a measure of who's "hottest" instead of who's "best," you're on the right track.
On with this month's rankings:
1. Arthur Abraham—26.13
King Arthur has been holding down the top spot in our rankings for quite some time.
Though he isn't a household name in the U.S. yet, he's trying his best to change that by participating in the Super Six World Boxing Classic against some of the world's best super middleweights.
It's hard to argue with the former IBF middleweight titleholder's recent run of dominance. Over the past three years, he's 9-0 with eight knockouts.
2. Juan Manuel Lopez—24.16
Perhaps all Juanma needs to become a bona fide superstar is a career-defining fight.
He got his first real test by gutting out a decision win over Rogers Mtagwa last October, but he still hasn't found the right opponent to truly capture the public's imagination.
Though some of his fights don't count toward his score in these rankings because of poor opposition, he's still ranked highly. Since March 2007, he's gone 13-0 with 12 stoppages.
3. Edwin Valero—20.00
When it comes to pure excitement, Valero ranks right near the top of the sport.
His streak of 18 straight KO victories to start off his pro career is the stuff of Internet legend, and he's finally getting more exposure to the American audience.
Various issues have kept him from fighting as often as he'd probably like, but his record over the last three years is as good as it gets: six bouts, six wins, six knockouts.
4. Manny Pacquiao—18.99
The Filipino phenom is earning his just due as one of the top boxers in recent memory, regardless of weight. It's been almost five years since his last loss, a unanimous decision to Erik Morales. He's become a much more complete package since then thanks to the teachings of Freddie Roach.
Pacquiao has reached the stage of his career where he doesn't need to fight that often, but he's still been pretty active since 2007, going 7-0 with five knockouts.
5. Nonito Donaire—18.60
If Manny Pacquiao calls it quits in the next year or two, Donaire has an excellent chance at becoming the new hero to his countrymen.
The aptly nicknamed Filipino Flash lost his second pro fight but is perfect since then. He's currently the interim WBA super flyweight titleholder.
Over the last three years, Donaire has gone 7-0 (with one eight-round victory that doesn't count toward his score here), including an impressive TKO win against powerful Vic Darchinyan.
6. Celestino Caballero—17.49
Of everyone on this list, Caballero's place is probably the most tenuous. He was fortunate to escape his April 2009 bout with Jeffrey Mathebula with a split decision. His inactivity is likely to move more of his wins outside of the three-year rolling window.
Despite that, the Panamanian has racked up an 8-0 record since 2007, with all of the wins coming in world title fights.
7. Kelly Pavlik—17.46
There's a good chance that thanks to suffering his first career loss and having serious health issues, Pavlik won't look back on the last three years as the fondest of his career.
Or maybe he will because he claimed the WBC and WBO middleweight titles for the first time during that same span. He's yet to relinquish the belts.
Bernard Hopkins may have exposed some weaknesses in The Ghost's overall game, but losing to The Executioner is hardly a cause for shame.
Despite his troubles, Pavlik is 6-1 with five KOs in fights that count toward his score.
8. Wladimir Klitschko—17.07
Though his love life has attracted more recent headlines than his ring battles, Dr. Steelhammer is still sitting pretty atop the heavyweight world.
It's been difficult to find a big man who can challenge him, and he's disposed of his recent challengers fairly easily.
Klitschko's last loss came back in 2004 to Lamon Brewster, a fight that seems like a lifetime ago. Only one of his last six opponents has made it the distance.
9. Tomasz Adamek—15.94
Is Adamek fooling himself by thinking he's big enough to challenge for the heavyweight titles? He's doing pretty well so far, and he can almost always be counted on for an action-packed fight whenever he hits the ring.
A loss to Chad Dawson just recently slipped outside of the three-year window, making Adamek 8-0 in fights that count toward his score.
10. Lucian Bute—15.62
He's the best super middleweight on the planet not taking part in the Super Six. Maybe he'd removed that qualifier if he was.
Bute has yet to taste defeat, though critics would probably point out he was lucky to survive a crazy final round against Librado Andrade in October 2008.
But he erased any doubts with a fourth-round KO in the rematch, part of his 6-0 record over the past three years.