Boxing: Who Will Replace "Money" Mayweather on Pound-for-Pound List?

James FoleyCorrespondent IMay 1, 2011

LAS VEGAS - MAY 01:  Floyd Mayweather Jr. sits in his corner during his welterweight fight against Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

This week marks the one-year anniversary of Floyd Mayweather's last fight and that means "Money" should be subjected to the same fate as Joshua Clottey was last week, expungement from the list upon a year's inactivity. Currently, Ring Magazine's top 10 reads as follows:

1) Manny Pacquiao

2) Floyd Mayweather Jr.

3) Sergio Martinez

4) Nonito Donaire

5) Juan Manuel Marquez

6) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam

7) Wladimir Klitschko

8) Timothy Bradley

9) Giovanni Segura

10) Andre Ward

I previously wrote that I felt Wonjongkam, Bradley and even Segura were less deserving than some people not on the list, including Bernard Hopkins, Miguel Cotto, and Yuriorkis Gamboa. At the time I wrote that article, Juan Manuel Lopez was still a top-10er. I had him 10th on my own list. Andre Ward ended up taking JuanMa's spot, a selection I myself would not have made.

Now, as Floyd becomes exempt for not being active enough, another spot opens up, and surely Hopkins, Cotto, and Gamboa will be among those under consideration. Vitali Klitschko and Amir Khan are two guys who will also get a look.

For Cotto, Hopkins and Klitschko, this is nothing new. They've hovered at or around the Top Ten for years, with Cotto and Hopkins being top three guys at different points in their careers. Miguel is two fights into his post-Pacquiao comeback, with two decisive victories over decent, if not great, competition. If memory serves, Cotto held the tenth spot just a few months ago, before Segura violently stopped the great Ivan Calderon for the second time. Coming off a win, looking good against a resurgent Mayorga, he is the logical choice to replace Mayweather.

Hopkins is, in my mind, the most deserving choice, but why put him on the list now when he can fight his way on the list on May 21st? With the Pascal rematch just three weeks away, it's doubtful Ring Magazine gives Hopkins the spot, knowing the upcoming fight will greatly define Bernard's situation. If he wins, and becomes unified champ at Light Heavy, he's a lock to rejoin the top 10.   

Yuriorkis Gamboa is also knocking right on the door, and Lopez' loss to Salido only increases Gamboa's stock. He was spectacular in his last outing, a total drubbing of veteran Jorge Solis, showing speed, power, and ring smarts. Gamboa passes the eye test and he has a solid, if not great, quality of opposition.

Another outside candidate is Lucian Bute. I don't believe he's done enough to warrant consideration, especially when guys like Cotto and Hopkins have been fighting world-class opponents for years with a high success rate. But it can't be denied, Bute is on a roll, one of the hottest fighters in the sport. His thumping of Brian McGee was impressive, but he needs one or two more big-time wins before truly earning his place.

Or will Ring make a special exception and decide to leave Floyd on for the time being? I thought they were pretty clear that after a year of inactivity, a fighter would be removed. But in the boxing world, would anything surprise you?