Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Boxers After Mayweather vs. Pacquiao

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2015

Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Boxers After Mayweather vs. Pacquiao

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    Did the pound-for-pound rankings change after Mayweather-Pacquiao?
    Did the pound-for-pound rankings change after Mayweather-Pacquiao?Al Bello/Getty Images

    With all it’s glory, glitz and glamour, the Fight of the Century has come and gone.

    Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s victory over Manny Pacquiao finally gave boxing fans the answer to the much-debated question: Who’s the best boxer of this era?

    Saturday’s win not only gives Mayweather a significant boost to his historical standing, but it also puts him beyond reproach atop this list. But where does Pacquiao land now? 

    And with both Mayweather and Pacquiao nearing the end of their careers, the best of the rest matter as much as ever. Where does the long-dormant Andre Ward sit in the pound-for-pound picture? What about Gennady Golovkin and his terrifying punching power? Is the popular Canelo Alvarez a top-10 fighter yet?   

    Click through to find out how the top boxers in the world rank against one another after Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Boxers are ranked by quality of opposition faced as well as their perceived willingness to engage all comers. A special emphasis is given to how fighters have performed over the last calendar year.

Ins and Outs

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    It's time for Santa Cruz to fight someone with a pulse.
    It's time for Santa Cruz to fight someone with a pulse.Associated Press

    Out: Leo Santa Cruz and Mikey Garcia drop off the list for different but rather similar reasons: Neither one is fighting anybody. For Santa Cruz, it means a long list of nondescript opponents apparently designed to pad his undefeated record. For Garcia, it means he has literally not fought anybody since January 2014.

    In: Terence Crawford and Amnat Ruenroeng enter the rankings based on their willingness to fight and beat good opponents. It’s what boxing is all about, and both have shown that they are among the very best boxers in the world by doing it over the last few years. Crawford, in particular, has shown the potential to one day ascend to the very top of the sport.

25. Amnat Ruenroeng (15-0, 5 KOs)

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    Small fighters are often overlooked but shouldn't be.
    Small fighters are often overlooked but shouldn't be.Kin Cheung/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: The 35-year-old deserved Fighter of the Year consideration last year with three impressive wins over top-notch flyweight competition. Ruenroeng is a solid boxer with good power. His frenetic style and solid technical skill make him a tough out for anyone.

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    Last Fight: Ruenroeng defended his IBF flyweight belt on the road against China’s Zou Shiming. Ruenroeng’s piston-like jab and long reach helped him notch the win and vaulted him onto this list.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Ruenroeng is scheduled to defend his title in his home country of Thailand against John Riel Casimero in June. Down the line, it’d be nice to see Ruenroeng against fellow elites Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada.

24. Marco Huck (38-2-1, 26 KOs)

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    Huck is one of the best cruiserweights in the world.
    Huck is one of the best cruiserweights in the world.Daniel Kopatsch/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Huck is the forgotten cruiserweight of the world. He’s proved himself elite in the division, has good power in both hands and enjoys a penchant for being in high-drama fights. But Huck hasn't been in the ring since last summer, giving space for other fighters to leapfrog his position. 

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Last Fight: Huck earned a unanimous decision over Mirko Larghetti in August 2014 to defend his WBO title belt.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Huck was scheduled to defend his belt in Chicago against undefeated contender Krzysztof Glowacki in June. It would have been Huck’s first bout in the United States, but the fight no longer appears on BoxRec.com.

23. Takashi Uchiyama (22-0-1, 18 KOs)

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    Uchiyama is one of the best fighters mainstream fans hardly know about.
    Uchiyama is one of the best fighters mainstream fans hardly know about.Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Uchiyama is the best junior lightweight in the world. The tough knockout artist is undefeated and the WBA champion of the division. He fights in Japan, which makes it convenient for American-based stars to avoid fighting him.

    Previous Ranking: 23

    Last Fight: Uchiyama stopped Israel Hector Enrique Perez in nine rounds at the end of 2014 to retain his WBA champion status.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Uchiyama faces undefeated prospect Jomthong Chuwatana in a title defense May 6.

22. Adonis Stevenson (26-1, 21 KOs)

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    Stevenson is the lineal champion at 175 pounds.
    Stevenson is the lineal champion at 175 pounds.Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Stevenson is a southpaw boxer-puncher with tremendous power in his left hand. He is the lineal champion at light heavyweight as well as the WBC belt holder. Stevenson is, by and large, considered one of the best one-punch knockout artists in boxing.

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Last Fight: Stevenson outfought tough former 168-pounder Sakio Bika over 12 rounds in April. It was a clear, decisive win over decent competition, but not quite the fight fans expect from a lineal champion.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Stevenson would fight Sergey Kovalev in a perfect world. Those two are clearly the best light heavyweights, and many consider Kovalevholder of several alphabet beltsthe best at 175 pounds. Could Stevenson prove them wrong?

21. Erislandy Lara (20-2-2, 12 KOs)

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    Lara is underrated by most pundits.
    Lara is underrated by most pundits.Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: The slick southpaw is a master boxer. He uses movement, a sharp jab and constant counterpunches to keep his opponents guessing, and he is one of the more underrated fighters in the sport today. Lara will need to get better opposition into the ring if he hopes to move up on this list moving forward.

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Last Fight: Lara won a wide decision over former titleholder Ishe Smith to round out 2014. The two did not appear evenly matched, though it’s hardly the fault of Lara, who seems anxious to test himself against all comers.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: According to ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, Lara will face Delvin Rodriguez in his next fight. Lara will have to bide his time against the likes of Smith and Rodriguez until more lucrative prey or junior middleweight titleholders such as Demetrius Andrade come along.

20. Lucas Matthysse (37-3, 34 KOs)

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    Matthysse is an excellent fighter.
    Matthysse is an excellent fighter.Alex Menendez/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Matthysse is a hard-punching fighter with solid enough footwork and boxing skills to be one of the better aggressors in the sport. The junior welterweight has won three straight since his decision loss to Danny Garcia in 2013. If Matthysse hopes to stay in the top 20, he'll need to prove his excellence against elite-level competition. He last two wins were good, but both were brawling types he could outbox in skill alone. 

    Previous Ranking: 19

    Last Fight: Matthysse appeared as good as ever in his close decision win over expert brawler Ruslan Provodnikov. While both men are active punchers, Matthysse’s footwork gave him the mobility and balance to come out on top.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Matthysse has earned a rematch with Garcia. Short of that, it might be time to match him against rising star Terence Crawford, a former lightweight king now campaigning at 140 pounds.

19. Bernard Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs)

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    Hopkins is still one of the best at 175 pounds even at age 50.
    Hopkins is still one of the best at 175 pounds even at age 50.Tim Larsen/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: The ageless wonder is still one of the better fighters in the sport. His technical precision is unmatched, as is his cagey determination. Hopkins, age 50, is one of the best fighters ever.

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Last Fight: Young star Sergey Kovalev beat Hopkins in a way no one had ever done prior. But Kovalev appears special, and while Hopkins’ age has slowed him down a bit, he still looks good enough to give most other top light heavyweights a run for their money.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Hopkins should go after lineal champion Adonis Stevenson. A bout between the two would be smart for both. It’d be a big enough fight for people to stop asking Stevenson about Kovalev for a while, and it would give Hopkins the chance to show that the Kovalev loss was an aberration.

18. Nonito Donaire (34-3, 22 KOs)

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    Donaire is hard to beat at junior featherweight, and he's back there now.
    Donaire is hard to beat at junior featherweight, and he's back there now.Kin Cheung/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Donaire has been a perennial pound-for-pound performer for years now. His fast hands and exceptional power make the counterpuncher fun to watch, and his precision punching gives him a solid chance to score big every second of every fight. Donaire’s last two losses were against the very best: Guillermo Rigondeaux and Nicholas Walters.

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Last Fight: Moving back down to junior featherweight was good for Donaire. He dominated William Prado in a one-sided Round 2 knockout win, something he badly needed after getting beaten up by Walters at featherweight.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Now that he’s back at junior featherweight, Donaire would be wise to rematch Rigondeaux. The two met in 2013, and Rigo was too sharp. But Donaire appeared sluggish that night. Would things be different a second time around? It’d be fun to find out.

17. Terence Crawford (26-0, 18 KOs)

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    Crawford stopped Dulorme in Round 6.
    Crawford stopped Dulorme in Round 6.Credit: Rachel McCarson

    Why He’s Here: The former lineal lightweight champion is now WBO champion at 140 pounds. More importantly, Crawford appears to have all the goods required to be a future boxing superstar. He’s strong, fast and superbly skilled. Moreover, he thinks as fast as he punchesa trait almost all great fighters share.

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    Last Fight: Crawford easily dominated Thomas Dulorme in April. He systematically broke the puncher down before knocking him out in Round 6, proving he’s the real deal at junior welterweight.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Crawford should find the biggest name at 140 pounds who will agree to fight him and make it happen. He’s that good.

16. Naoya Inoue (8-0, 7 KOs)

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    A new boxing power rises from the East.
    A new boxing power rises from the East.Koji Sasahara/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: If only all young fighters were like Inoue. The 22-year-old Japanese junior bantamweight is a fast and monster puncher with solid skills. He won a junior flyweight alphabet title in just his sixth professional fight, then jumped up two divisions to do the same two fights later.

    Previous Ranking: 25

    Last Fight: Inoue moved up in weight to capture the WBO junior bantamweight world title over Omar Andres Narvaez last December. He dominated Narvaez and stopped him in two rounds.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Hopefully, Inoue is on a collision course with elite flyweight and lineal champion Roman Gonzalez. That fight would be as good as it gets in boxing.

15. Nicholas Walters (25-0, 21 KOs)

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    Walters is one of the hardest punchers in boxing.
    Walters is one of the hardest punchers in boxing.Kin Cheung/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: There’s a shark roaming the featherweight waters, and his name is Nicholas Walters. Walters is an exceptional puncher with wins over Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan. Walters is a legitimate force with worlds of elite megastar potential.

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Last Fight: Walters dominated and stopped Donaire in six rounds last October to become the WBA featherweight champion, his most impressive win to date.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Walters against WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko would be one of the best fights in boxing.

14. Saul Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs)

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    Alvarez is only 24 and already elite.
    Alvarez is only 24 and already elite.John Locher/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Alvarez is one of boxing’s most popular fightersand for good reason. At age 24, he is already fighting at an exceptionally high level, and his skill set has room to grow. Alvarez is a solid boxer with good power. He throws in combinations when he has his feet set and should continue to develop as a top-flight star.

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Last Fight: Alvarez earned a split-decision win over crafty southpaw Erislandy Lara last summer in probably the best fight of his career.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Alvarez returns to action May 9 against dangerous slugger James Kirkland. The bout will be a solid action fight, one sure to produce fireworks as well as provide a good test for a rising superstar.

13. Danny Garcia (30-0, 17 KOs)

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    Garcia slipped by Peterson just barely.
    Garcia slipped by Peterson just barely.Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Garcia took the hard road to the lineal junior welterweight championship. His win over Lucas Matthysse solidified him as the best in the division, and he’s remained unscathed since, albeit barely. Still, Garcia is an excellent counterpuncher who has enough power to do real damage with every punch.

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Last Fight: Garcia outpointed Lamont Peterson in a welterweight contest. His last three wins were two disputable decisions over Peterson and Mauricio Herrera and a Round 2 drubbing of an overmatched lightweight, Rod Salka.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Garcia should move up to welterweight to fight a top-level opponent such as Shawn Porter, since he seems to have no interest in defending his lineal title at 140 pounds. It's the right thing to do.

12. Juan Francisco Estrada (30-2, 23 KOs)

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    More fans should pay attention to Estrada.
    More fans should pay attention to Estrada.Dennis Ho/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Estrada is the WBA and WBO flyweight champion. He’s a durable, tough and skilled boxer with superb talent. Estrada could rise in the rankings by tackling other top-flight competition in and around flyweight. There's plenty of it.

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Last Fight: In March, Estrada took Rommel Asenjo out in three rounds. It was an elite performance by an elite prizefighter, one whom more people should be paying attention to.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: A rematch with Roman Gonzalez would be a flyweight war between two of the best fighters in boxing.

11. Carl Froch (33-2, 24 KOs)

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    Let's hope Froch is back in the ring soon.
    Let's hope Froch is back in the ring soon.Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Froch has an awkward style, but he uses it to deliver power shots and has an excellent grasp of distance and timing. He’s one of the better super middleweights in boxing history and might still have some big fights ahead to secure his historical legacy.

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Last Fight: Froch knocked out George Groves in Round 8. The bout was a rematch of the 2013 fight that also saw Froch score the knockout win.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Froch would be a good match for middleweight Gennady Golovkin if the latter wants to move up to 168 pounds to chase more big-money fights than he's getting at 160.

10. Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs)

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    Cotto crushed Martinez last year for the lineal middleweight crown.
    Cotto crushed Martinez last year for the lineal middleweight crown.Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Fans of the aging Cotto seem to forget all the tough fights the former junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight titlist has had. Now the lineal champion at middleweight, Cotto hasn’t seemed super interested in defending the mantle. But his recent change in promoters should yield big fights again soon.

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Last Fight: Cotto’s last win was his one-sided beatdown of former middleweight king Sergio Martinez in June 2014.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Cotto is scheduled to face Daniel Geale in June. The bout should be a good barometer for Cotto. Golovkin annihilated Geale in three rounds last year.

9. Sergey Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs)

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    Kovalev took Hopkins apart like no one had done before.
    Kovalev took Hopkins apart like no one had done before.Tim Larsen/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Kovalev is one of the top offensive forces in boxing. He has good footwork, knows how and when to punch and has knockout power in both fists. Kovalev is a unified champion at 175 pounds. He dominated Bernard Hopkins over 12 rounds last year in his best win to date.

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Last Fight: Kovalev knocked out Jean Pascal in eight rounds. In the bout, Kovalev proved he could take some good shots on the chin from a really good puncher and still close the show.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Kovalev against lineal and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson is one of the best matchups in boxing. Short of that, a catchweight bout against 168-pounder Andre Ward is probably the best fight out there for him.

8. Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs)

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    Marquez has been a top fighter for years now.
    Marquez has been a top fighter for years now.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Marquez is one of the best fighters of his generation. Even at age 41, the excellent counterpuncher is trouble for any welterweight in the world. Marquez is a terrific combination puncher and has the kind of footwork and balance other fighters only dream about.

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Last Fight: Marquez defeated Mike Alvarado almost a year ago by unanimous decision. He will need to return to the ring soon if he hopes to stay on this list.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Marquez should press Pacquiao for a fifth fight. It’s the only fight that really makes sense for him at this point, and his knockout win in the last one should help him get a better split of the money.

7. Gennady Golovkin (32-0, 29 KOs)

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    GGG is maybe the most feared fighter in the world today.
    GGG is maybe the most feared fighter in the world today.Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: WBA middleweight champion Golovkin is the most balanced and perhaps the most feared fighter in the sport. His punches are short, fast and powerful. His footwork is phenomenal, and he wears a smile on his face as he bludgeons his opponents down to the canvas.

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Last Fight: Golovkin stopped Martin Murray in Round 11 earlier this year to keep his tremendous 19-fight knockout streak going.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Golovkin faces solid boxer Willie Monroe Jr. on May 16. Monroe should give Golovkin a different look than he’s seen recentlybut one he should still be able to chop down to the canvas.

6. Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KOs)

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    Rigo has a great jab.
    Rigo has a great jab.Ken Ishii/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: There might not be a better fighter in the sport right this second than lineal junior featherweight champion Rigondeaux. The southpaw is an excellent boxer and the walking epitome of the Cuban style of boxing. But Rigo has trouble getting the fights he needs to prove it, so he languishes in a bit of obscurity. The same thing keeps him from ascending toward the top spot in Bleacher Report's pound-for-pound rankings. 

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Last Fight: Rigondeaux got off the deck twice in the seventh round to stop Hisashi Amagasa in Round 11 and remain undefeated in 15 professional prizefights.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Rigondeaux needs fights against Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz and Vasyl Lomachenko to gain fame and fortune, even if it means moving up to featherweight to do so.

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

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    Bradley is good at all facets of boxing.
    Bradley is good at all facets of boxing.David Becker/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Bradley isn’t great at any one thing, but he’s good at all of them. He can be a brawler when he needs to be, a boxer when that’s better or something in between. Bradley even out-counterpunched Juan Manuel Marquez in 2013, in maybe the best win of his career. He has all the tools.

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Last Fight: Bradley dominated Diego Chaves in December 2014 but was handed a draw by the ringside judges.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Bradley would be a good matchup for Marquez again if the Mexican legend decides to keep fighting in 2015. The first fight was a high-intensity chess match.

4. Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 53 KOs)

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    Klitschko is one of the most accomplished heavyweight champions ever.
    Klitschko is one of the most accomplished heavyweight champions ever.Credit: Rachel McCarson

    Why He’s Here: Klitschko is one of the most accomplished heavyweight champions ever. His jab-cross is simple but effective, and he has the power to hurt and knock out opponents with every punch he lands. Klitschko has just about cleaned out the heavyweight division.

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Last Fight: Klitschko won a 12-round decision over the previously undefeated Bryant Jennings. Jennings made him work, but it was a clear and dominant win for the champion.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: The most intriguing matchups for Klitschko are fellow giants Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. The latter is the WBC titleholder. No matter which comes first, Klitschko should fight both. No other heavyweights make sense.

3. Roman Gonzalez (42-0, 36 KOs)

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    Gonzalez is an excellent pressure fighter.
    Gonzalez is an excellent pressure fighter.Koji Sasahara/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: The lineal flyweight champion might be the best pressure fighter in the sport. Think of him as a smaller version of Gennady Golovkin, someone who attacks and pummels his opponents down to the canvas with the demeanor of a predator.

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Last Fight: Gonzalez knocked out Valentin Leon in three rounds in February to keep his flyweight championship.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Gonzalez will be featured on HBO this month against Edgar Sosa, in what will be many fans' first look at one of the absolute best fighters in the sport.

2. Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs)

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    Pacquiao has enjoyed a historically great career.
    Pacquiao has enjoyed a historically great career.Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Pacquiao's elite offense is fast, powerful and hard to defend against. He flies to his opponents from distances at angles typically not seen and punches with tremendous force. Pacquiao's defense, footwork and ring intelligence are underrated aspects of his long success in boxing. 

    He had a chance to finally secure bragging rights, and the top spot on this list, against Mayweather, but he had tremendous difficulty cutting off the ring and tracking down his elusive foe. Despite his protestations to the contrary, Pacquiao just wasn't active or aggressive enough and found himself on the wrong side of a historic decision.

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Last Fight: Pacquiao dropped a unanimous decision against Mayweather on May 2.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Where do you go from a loss in the biggest fight in boxing history? Manny could move back down to 140 pounds and try to establish himself once again as a star in the junior welterweight ranks. Terence Crawford awaits down there, and that could be Pacquiao's chance to rise again or put a young star over.

1. Floyd Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs)

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    Mayweather has one of the best defenses ever.
    Mayweather has one of the best defenses ever.John Locher/Associated Press

    Why He’s Here: Mayweather has been at the top of the sport for a long time. His excellent defense, educated footwork, tireless work ethic and precision punching have helped make him one of the best fighters the world has ever seen.

    His decisive win over Pacquiao put a stamp on their seven-year rivalry and clearly solidifies his position as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. 

    Mayweather's ability to control Pacquiao with his left jab and straight right hand, keeping the fight in the center of the ring and at his preferred pace, as he's done to so many others, was a truly impressive display. 

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Last Fight: Mayweather scored a unanimous-decision win over Pacquiao in boxing's most anticipated fight in history.

    Whom He Should Fight Next: Unless it's a rematch with Pacquiao, which seems unlikely, Floyd doesn't have a ton of options for what he says will be his swan-song fight in September. Rising welterweight star Keith Thurman could be the best bet.