A little over a year ago, RING #3 pound for pound and WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez got lit up and turned to ashes by Miguel Cotto. Never mind the fact that Martinez had already shown serious signs of slippage in recent bouts, but he clearly demonstrated no desire to defend his title (or pound for pound status) against “GGG”, aka Gennady Golovkin.
After he was summarily dismissed rather rudely by Cotto, Martinez was then dumped like he was a J. Lo boyfriend by RING, in a break-up that should’ve come long before he proved what he no longer was — which is one of the world’s best fighters. The RING editorial staff, in essence, treated him like a sacred cow, albeit a popular one, and attempted to cover up their gaffe by getting rid of him all the way around. The question then became, if he was ranked #3 and Cotto was unranked prior to bashing Martinez, why has he never been included in there ranks since? To wit, Cotto (a great fighter) doesn’t belong that high and never has, but by the criteria used by RING he would rate at that spot.
As such, they cannot hide a consistent mantra in determining a pound for pound list predicated on who’s winning the popularity contest and sentimental feelings. If there’s no crying in baseball, then certainly, there’s no emotions in the cold-blooded sport of boxing. The latest examples of fashion faux-pas on a list which needs to be addressed and undressed following the departure of world #1 Floyd Mayweather, reveals the flawed mechanics of selection. Let’s take a look at THE RING’s latest list and hear how editor-in-chief Michael Rosenthal explains himself (or doesn’t).
re: The Fantastic 9: The best pound for pound fighters on the planet
1. Roman Gonzalez
2. Andre Ward
3. Sergey Kovalev
4. Gennady Golovkin
5. Guillermo Rigondeaux
6. Wladimir Klitschko
7. Terrance Crawford
8. Manny Pacquiao
9. Shinsuke Yamanaka
10. Kell Brook
Yeah. Scratch your head and try not to break a nail. How is there no Saul Canelo Alvarez on this list instead of the rather elite-level unaccomplished Kell Brook? Does beating Shawn Porter via UD a year ago give him that much props? Of course not. How the hell does the ordinary bantamweight champion ShinsukeYamanaka rate higher than Juan Francisco Estrada? Beyond that, how is Keith Thurman Jr. somehow not on this list in place of Yamanaka? Mayweather just fought and beat his mandatory in Andre Berto after passing him over for reasons only “Money” can answer. That respect alone from former #1 Mayweather, including the general feeling that Thurman would’ve stopped Berto, should warrant inclusion.
In making the decision to place Kovalev slightly ahead of Golovkin, Rosenthal states that GGG ‘probably has more upside’ but that he ‘hasn’t faced the stiff tests necessary’ and that Kovalev has ‘proven more in the ring’ than Golovkin. Both men shared the same ring – where everything counts – and according to multiple sources GGG ran Kovalev out of the ring. We’re imagining that the same line of thought prevailed when applied to Manny Pacquiao being passed over by Terrance Crawford. Rosenthal states that Crawford ‘seems to be as complete as any fighter’ but has only recently ‘begun to face top-tier opponents’. By that logic, it would [seem] to not make sense that Crawford trumps Pacquiao – or – that Pacquiao should slide all the way down to #8 on that list.
Rosenthal states that Pacquiao is ‘coming off a loss to Mayweather and is only 3-3 in his past six fights’. But RING had him at #2 just five months ago before the Mayweather fight, a fight in which he was not blown out (there are those who believe he actually beat Mayweather) and fought through injury. That had him rated this high despite knowing he was 3-2 in his previous five contests, all against elite opposition (while knowing he really didn’t lose to Tim Bradley and was well on his way to stopping Juan Manuel Marquez).
The most egregious outrage on this list concerns the placing of Ward at #2. But before we get into that, RING absolutely nailed flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez, 43-0 (37KO), as the best fighter on the planet. At 27, the Nicaraguan badass (known as “Chocolatito”) will absolutely demonstrate why this is the case in a few weeks, when he takes apart the fierce challenge of a Freddie Roach trained Brian Viloria in the co-feature of Golovkin/Lemieux at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
This is hardly what Ward showed this past June, supporting evidence why his high ranking is not only flawed- but flat out wrong. There’s no denying Ward’s all-world talent, still, he’s done nothing to clearly demonstrate it since a comprehensive 10th round TKO clinic over Chad Dawson in September 2012. Ward was off the shelf and fully mended when he witnessed Adonis “Superman” Stevenson butcher the same Dawson at his more natural light heavyweight (he lost his belt to Stevenson, while coming down in weight for Ward). Ward then ducked (there’s no other way to say it) Stevenson and irritated HBO by wanting to face lessor opposition (namely, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.).
They finally agreed to a bout with Edwin Rodriguez, but seriously, he wasn’t exactly Sergey Kovalev, a fearsome fighter that a 50 year-old Bernard Hopkins had no problem facing. In fact, he (Ward) was stripped of his RING status entirely (pound for pound and divisional) for inactivity and only reappeared to face (clear your throat) Paul Smith. Smith, a consummate journeyman, seemed (there’s that word again) to have prepared for Ward by lifting cans of Budweiser and curling a few fries. Ward cannot be ranked that high because of what we “think” he can do. We have to know.
Other individually based professional sports (namely tennis or golf) follow this same guideline, as you have to prove your status with active performance over elite competition. We all enjoy THE RING for what it means to boxing, the excellent features and the fighter in general- but let’s call a spade a spade. Perhaps a standing eight count is in order before they reconvene and decide to revisit its pound-for-pound list.
For more news and information related to the world of boxing, please visit my friends at Real Combat Media, or visit me online via Facebook or e-mail.