Boxing Power Rankings April 2010: Juan Manuel Lopez Now on Top
This latest installment of power rankings is about a week late thanks to my birthday. There's a new No. 1 this month, which is significant, because Arthur Abraham has been atop the list for over a year.
Alas, Andre Dirrell knocked him a few spots south, and Abraham has more tough fights awaiting him in the Super Six World Boxing Classic. It's possible he may never make it back to No. 1.
If you've never seen these rankings before, let me assure you that I don't think Juanma is a better boxer than Manny. This isn't a pound-for-pound list, but a different method of measuring performance over the last few years with a formula we devised at BoxingWatchers.com.
The formula rewards staying active, winning, and knocking people out... but only if those wins come against opponents with good records. Some top fighters (Floyd Mayweather, for one) haven't been active enough since April 2007 to be ranked by the formula.
Someone pointed out last month that this list is inherently weighted toward younger boxers who fight more often, but that's the way it goes. On with this month's scores!
1. Juan Manuel Lopez - 24.16
I think we're starting to get a good feel for what Juanma is really all about. In the last six months, we saw his heart tested by Rogers Mtagwa and his skills tested by Steven Luevano, and he passed in both cases.
My formula only counts the last nine fights if a boxer has fought more than that in the last three years, but Lopez is 9-0 with eight KOs in those nine bouts. His competition has been getting tougher, and Bernabe Concepcion should not be a pushover when they battle in July.
2. Manny Pacquiao - 20.66
Remember what I said about inactivity hurting some of the veteran fighters in these rankings? That hasn't been the case for Pac Man, who is 8-0 with five KOs over the past three years against foes who only have a combined 19 losses.
Still, no one expects Manny to remain as busy in the boxing ring over the next few years, with politics, music, acting and other interests competing for his time. I'm still holding out hope that he revisits the idea of fighting Floyd Mayweather, though, and I know I'm not alone in that regard.
3. Edwin Valero - 20.00
As awesome as Valero has been, he needs to forget about boxing for now and get his personal life in order. He has both domestic and substance abuse issues dogging him, and those things are simply more important than sports.
Don't expect Valero to remain high on this list for too much longer, as inactivity will inevitably eat away at his score.
4. Arthur Abraham - 19.13
Surprised that Abraham didn't tumble even lower than this? I was too, except that he was carrying one of the highest scores ever under our formula going into the Dirrell fight, and he was disqualified, not knocked out, which would have cost him a few more points.
King Arthur has a tough road ahead of him. He's facing legitimate questions about his character after whacking Dirrell on the mat, and the remainder of his Super Six appearances will all be tough fights.
5. Nonito Donaire - 18.60
The Filipino Flash is well-positioned to take over the hearts of his countrymen if Manny Pacquiao decides to take a break or even call it a career. Now if we could just find Donaire some compelling foes.
Gary Shaw seems to have had a change of heart about letting his man Vic Darchinyan face Nonito for a second time. I know I'd pay to watch that fight.
6. Wladimir Klitschko - 18.50
If nothing else, Klitschko's appearance on this list is a good excuse to squeeze in a picture of Hayden Panettiere in a skimpy dress. All joking aside, Wlad's latest victory over Eddie Chambers exemplified why he's so frustrating.
I was angry that no U.S. network wanted to broadcast the fight, but 11 fairly boring rounds later I thought they made the right call. Then in the final round, Klitschko dropped the Steelhammer on Chambers and brought over 50,000 fans to their feet.
The Wladimir Klitschko experience is quite simply a roller coaster ride.
7. Kelly Pavlik - 17.46
A few years back when I ran this list only on BoxingWatchers.com, Pavlik held down the top spot. But "The Ghost" has had more go wrong than right since then, and his place in these rankings is now much more tenuous.
I sometimes wonder if Team Pavlik always makes the wisest decisions for Kelly's opponents (Bernard Hopkins being Exhibit A), and now they've given him what looks like another tough out in Sergio Martinez. Though Sergio isn't well known to most U.S. sports fans, it will go a long way toward restoring Pavlik's place in the hearts of hardcore boxing fans if Kelly emerges triumphant.
8. Tomasz Adamek - 15.94
It's funny that Adamek has won all of his bouts since moving up to Heavyweight and I still don't have a good read on him outside of the fact that I enjoy watching him fight. Like many other would-be Heavyweight challengers, he seems too small to bother either Klitschko.
Maybe we'll know more in a few weeks. Adamek is set to face Chris Arreola on April 24 in what should be an entertaining scrap.
9. Celestino Caballero - 15.71
Caballero has just barely fought twice in the last year, but he's heading back into the ring this Saturday on the Andre Berto-Carlos Quintana undercard to square off with young Daud Yordan. It will be interesting to see how Celestino handles stepping up to Featherweight, where there would seem to be more lucrative opportunities down the road.
10. Lucian Bute - 15.62
As Bute keeps winning, fans will continue to wonder if the world's best Super Middleweight is perhaps not among the Super Six. The Romanian certainly has won over the hearts of the people in Quebec, where he now calls home.
You also can't say Bute isn't staying busy fighting dangerous opponents. After thrashing Librado Andrade in November, Lucian is preparing for the brash and powerful Edison Miranda on April 17.
Oh, and just in case anyone is wondering, here are the next 10 boxers in our power rankings this month: David Haye, Felix Sturm, Vitali Klitschko, Andre Ward, Timothy Bradley, Robert Guerrero, Devon Alexander, Fernando Montiel, Paul Williams and Chris John.