Those who said the alliance of Golden Boy Promotions and The Ring magazine’s top-10 pound-for-pound rankings would make them biased would have a tough time making a case for that based on the latest rankings.
With Manny Pacquiao’s return to the top five, the upper half of the ratings are very much as they should be, with Floyd Mayweather at No. 1, the East Bay’s Andre Ward No. 2 and the still-underrated heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko at No. 3. Pacquiao is No. 4 following his April 12 victory over Timothy Bradley, and Bradley rightfully slid only from No.3 to No. 5 with the gritty performance in that loss.
With Ward, Klitschko, Pacquiao, Bradley, No. 6 Juan Manuel Marquez, No. 7 Sergio Martinez and No. 8 Guillermo Rigondeaux forming a bloc of HBO regulars, four of whom are aligned with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, there’s if anything an under-representation of fighters in the Showtime-Golden Boy-Al Haymon end of the elite ranks of boxing. Only Mayweather and No. 9 Canelo Alvarez are part of that faction. No. 10 Carl Froch also has been more of a Showtime guy than HBO
Top Rank’s Marquez and Martinez (Lou DiBella) are the shakiest members of the top 10. Rigondeaux, the conqueror of Nonito Donaire in 2013, should be No. 6, and Canelo might belong ahead of Marquez, whose out-of-nowhere knockout of Pacquiao in a 2012 fight Manny was dominating is the only reason Marquez still belongs. And there’s reason to believe Martinez has faded a lot in the past 18 months since his victory over the plodding but still only once-beaten Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Marquez is at least somewhat vulnerable in his May 17 bout with Mike Alvarez, but winning wouldn’t necessarily mean he’s as worthy as he used to be. Alvarez has lost two of his past three fights.
Martinez, battling undersized and seemingly over-the-hill Miguel Cotto on June 7, is even less likely to be exposed, but his middleweight reign isn’t likely to last another 18 months, not if he’s really going to fight Gennady Golovkin.
So who should be in the top 10 instead? I’m already sold on IBFwelterweight champion Shawn Porter, who is formidable in every way former top 10 member Andre Berto used to be. Porter has thrashed Devon Alexander and Paulie Malignaggi in recent months. And Donaire, if he looks like his old self May 31 against Simpiwe Vetyeka, would be more than eligible to return to the top 10. There are others.
Bay Area fighters Donaire and Robert Guerrero each entered April 2013 in the top 10, but Guerrero’s presence there seemed to be orchestrated by Golden Boy. It added allure to Guerrero’s (unsuccessful) May 2013 loss to Mayweather. There’s nothing in the current top 10 that smells like that.