It’s almost not even worth publishing a boxing pound-for-pound (P4P) list for January 2011. Out of the seven websites monitored each month, three elected to take an extended holiday break and not publish an updated list. Alternatively, those publishers may have realized that nothing significant in boxing has occurred over the last thirty days; therefore, why bother to reevaluate the P4P standings? Regardless, four of the websites made the effort. After averaging the voting from those sites, here are the top 10 fighters in the world:
- No. 10: Fernando Montiel. Montiel makes his first appearance on the P4P list published here and is the primary beneficiary of only having voting data from four of seven websites. It doesn’t matter because Montiel deserves to be on this list and has deserved such for many months now. He meets No. 6 below next month in what will likely be the early favorite for fight of the year.
- Nos. 8 and 9: Andre Ward and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. If things go as predicted, Ward will win the World Boxing Classic in 2011. If so, he sure as Hades better be ranked higher by P4P voters. While a date has not yet been confirmed, Ward meets Arthur Abraham first and then, if successful, will take on the winner of Carl Froch vs Glen Johnson for the championship. As for Wonjongkam, who last fought a six rounder and scored a TKO over a guy with a 1-3-0 record, nobody cares.
- No. 7: Juan Manuel Lopez. Juanma appears to have a date and venue reserved for April; however, he doesn’t have an opponent yet. It might be premature to think that Yuriorkis Gamboa will fill the slot, but look for the two to meet later this year for The Ring’s featherweight title.
- No. 6: Nonito Donaire. Donaire faces Fernando Montiel next month in a fight that will likely be so good that fans will demand a second one. Without question, it will be the toughest test for both men to date and precisely what both fighters need to increase their fan base and pocket some good scratch. It’s just too bad that one of them has to lose.
- No. 5: Wladimir Klitschko. As much as Wladimir probably deserves to be on a P4P list, it is becoming harder to make the case. Dr. Steelhammer is set to fight Dereck Chisora (14(9)-0-0) in April, which is what it is. Nobody else wants to fight Klitschko, so it’s hard to knock a guy for taking fights—even if the opponent isn’t David Haye, Tomasz Adamek, or Alexander Povetkin.
- No. 4: Juan Manuel Marquez. In what is shaping up to be a very busy April, Marquez will face Erik Morales at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Not sure that is the best possible contest for Marquez with Humberto Soto’s WBC’s title fracturing the lightweight division, but the Morales fight will generate a peso or two.
- No. 3: Sergio Martinez. Finally we have a middleweight champion who is not afraid to actually defend his title. After stopping Paul Williams in November, Sergio has invited Sergei Dzinziruk up from the junior middleweight division to dance the pugilistic Salsa. Yes, there are tougher fights for Martinez, but most options result in a junior middleweight moving up in weight. Martinez vs Dzinziruk goes down in March.
- No. 2: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. “You have the right to remain silent,” and so does this author.
- No. 1: Manny Pacquiao. Yes, his selection of Shane Mosley as the next opponent was not exactly what the boxing world was hoping for, but everyone needs to let go of the Mayweather fantasy. It’s not going to happen and Manny doesn’t need it. Mosley is still a bigger draw than Andre Berto and Timothy Bradley, and he arguably represents a step up in competition from Antonio Margarito.