Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and Boxing's 20 Most Important People in 2010
As the year rapidly comes to an end, everyone is getting their lists together and pumping them out. They usually consist of a best of, and while I will be doing one, this is not it.
Instead, I am going to look back at the last 12 months and decide who the most important people to boxing were.
This list will consist of fighters, promoters, and guys that have never stepped in the ring. This list will provide some outrage, some pleasant head nodding, and one big surprise.
The question I had a hard time grappling with is what makes someone important in the boxing world? I tried my best and think that I churned out a fairly good list.
Well, enough of my yammering. There are only 2 days left in 2010, and these were the people that made it a special year.
20. Bob Arum
When you control the most famous fighter in the universe, you are going to be important, but Arum falls way short at No. 20.
He is important to the sport, but the fact that he won't let Pacquiao fight anyone outside of Top Rank is becoming a major problem.
If he didn't have Pacquiao as a fighter, I would have kept him off the list.
19. Golden Boy
Again, they control most fighters in the U.S. so they have to be on this list; but like Arum, they fail to make the biggest fights.
Nothing more to add.
18. Dmitry Pirog, Gennady Golovkin, and Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam
Those three names probably don't ring a bell, and if any does, it is Pirog. He is the most well known of the three after his crushing one punch knockout over Daniel Jacobs.
These men are lumped together because they are the best middleweight prospects out there and the middleweight division is totally dead at the moment.
They are a combined 62-0 with 48 knockouts. Golovkin is the WBA Champion and Pirog is currently the WBO Champion.
Deciding which one is the best is really personal preference, as they are all outstanding fighters.
N'Dam N'Jikam is the interim WBA title holder and is in line to fight Golovkin for the full WBA title. If the middleweight division makes a resurgence, these will be the faces we associate with it.
17. Al Bernstein
This guy is just damn good and deserves to be on this list. He is the only announcer I included on this list and that's the way it should be.
He is one of the most knowledgeable guys out there, knows how to call a fight, and doesn't need to tell you how good he is.
I really like his style, and as an aspiring broadcaster, this is the guy that I would model my style after. Just all around great for boxing.
16. the Brothers Klitschko
They could be much higher on this list, and quite frankly should be, but they aren't huge draws in America so they fall a little on my list (as I am American).
I love the Klitschkos' and think they are great talents that have no one to compete with. They are the two best heavyweights out there and are all but untouchable.
Americans are going to say they aren't important and hurt the sport, but they sellout 60,000 seats in Europe. They are important. Period.
15. David Haye
Haye is the other part of the heavyweight equation and should be lower than The Brothers Grimm, but he is more relevant in America so he sits one spot higher.
He may have a heavyweight title, but his heavyweight career so far has been lacking big time and if he doesn't fight a Klitschko this year, he is going to be irrelevant.
14. Jean Pascal
Pascal makes the list because he is a fan favorite in what might be the best fight city in the whole world. He had a letdown at the end of the year, but he is still a fighter that can make some noise.
He still has a title and a following, so his strong 2010 should make for an even better 2011.
13. Nonito Donaire
Donaire already sits in most pound-for-pound lists, and his 2010 was a good year that should build for a great 2011.
The little guys are always looking for TV time and he made sure that they got it. He destroyed his last opponent, and is looking to fight fringe pound-for-pound fighter Fernando Montiel next.
12. Giovanni Segura
We stick with the little guys and move on to Segura, who may be the most exciting fighter in the entire sport. He is a crude fighter with a massive punch.
Almost all of his fights are great action fights and he usually ends up landing the knockout blow. He became the true light flyweight champion when he knocked out Ivan Calderon.
This was the first loss for Calderon in his career. A talk of a rematch is buzzing and it is a fight that would have a lot more eyes on it this time.
11. Yuriorkis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez
They need to fight. Now. That's all. Next slide.
10. Tomasz Adamek
Adamek probably isn't the guy who is going to beat either Klitschko, but he can beat almost every other heavyweight out there.
A fight with David Haye is winnable and if nothing else, he has a great fanbase in Newark, New Jersey, which sells out his fights. To sell out fights in America is a hard thing to do these days.
9. Saul Alvarez
Some may think this is a little high, but I couldn't disagree more. He is 35-0-1 (26 KO), Mexican, and a whole ton of fun to watch.
If you know anything about boxing, you know it is good to have a good Mexican prospect. Alvarez looks like a good fighter, fights like a Mexican, and is already loved by his countrymen.
He may not look Mexican, but he looks like he could be the next Mexican Idol.
8. Andre Ward
Ward is another fighter building a good fanbase at home, although it isn't as big as they make you think. Other than that, he is a guy that is mean as hell, has good skills, and is willing to take risks.
If he wins the Super Six, as most think he will, he is going to be on a lot of pound-for-pound lists and has the chance to stay there for a long time.
7: Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley
Alexander is the new draw in St. Louis and Bradley is an old school fighter that will fight anyone to prove he is the best.
They are scheduled to fight in what should be one of the better fights in 2011. They are both world class and they are going to war next month.
6. Lucian Bute
Bute was left out of the Super Six, but he may be the best super middleweight out there and once the Super Six is over, we will find out.
He is so important because he is the best fighter in the best fight city in the universe. He has great skills, a big punch, and always guns for the knockout.
At this point it looks like no one at 168 is going to be able to touch him. A fight at 175 with fellow Montreal draw, Jean Pascal, could be huge.
5. Amir Khan
Khan is a guy that had a great 2010 and is looking like the next great fighter. I wasn't a believer until I saw him three or four times.
This guy has unreal hand speed, good power, and a great trainer in Freddie Roach to lead him to the top. He is going to dominate pound-for-pound lists for a long time and may not lose again.
4. Sergio Martinez
Martinez was the Fighter of the Year. Plain and simple. That makes you pretty important as far as I am concerned.
He won the lineal middleweight title and avenged his last loss with a crushing knockout that was the Knockout of the Year. All around great year for him.
3. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Don't really need to tell you why. He beat Shane Mosley this year and then ran into legal trouble.
Keeps boxing in the mainstream no matter what you think of him.
2. Manny Pacquiao
A big shock to most probably, as Pacquiao falls to the two spot. He is a big time fighter and I don't need to tell you why he is here.
He is a worldwide star and keeps boxing relevant in America. He fights guys way bigger and makes them look stupid.
1. Ken Hershman
Hershamn runs the boxing over at Showtime and did a hell of a job this year. He routinely beat HBO and quite frankly, made them look silly.
He put together The Super Six, which hasn't worked out perfectly but is still going and was a great idea. He put together the Bantamweight Tournament, which has the four best in the division in it.
He also singed Lucian Bute so he can fight the Super Six winner. All around a great year and one that should be rewarded.