It's the end of the year and a slow time in boxing. 2009 looks to be a great year for the "Sweet Science" and 2008 was a very entertaining one that had many upsets. The heavyweight division is still a mess but a few fighters stepped up to challenges which makes fight fans happy.
I decided to do my pound for pound rankings which is something I always enjoy doing. My number one and two fighters will make for a pretty good debate because nobody else will have them as high as I do. Let's get to it. 1. Paul "The Punisher" Williams (36-1)
He is the most feared fighter in the world. He owns a victory over Antonio Margarito and is willing to fight anywhere from 147 to 168 pounds. Insisted on a rematch with Margarito and was turned down. Kelly Pavlik passed on him also. A guy who will fight anyone and be willing to bounce around divisions with his talent is the best in the business to me.
Next fight: TBA
2. Juan Manuel Marquez (49-4-1)
No Manny Pacquiao at number one? That's correct. I had Marquez winning both fights head to head so he's on top of Manny for that reason. This guy is an assassin and had pin point accuracy. I love his style and he is at the top of his game and the sport right now.
Next fight: Feb 28 vs Juan Diaz3. Manny Pacquiao (48-3-2)
The face of boxing right now after a complete destruction over Oscar De La Hoya. His crowd pleasing style is just what boxing fans need. Speed and power that is unmatched by anyone his size. Simply amazing.
Next fight: TBA, possibly Ricky Hatton in May4. Antonio Margarito (37-5)
His performance in handing Miguel Cotto his first loss was a thing of beauty. He wore down a fighter that nobody thought could be worn down. The only flaw he has is that he didn't accept the rematch with Williams
Next fight: Jan. 24 vs Shane Mosley5. Joe Calzaghe (46-0)
Defeated two legends in 2008, Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins. He seems to be unwilling to take on a young up and coming star and might retire with that perfect record in tact. Great hand speed and work rate makes him entertaining.
Next fight: TBA6. Israel Vasquez (43-4)
One of the most entertaining fighters I have seen in the past decade. His trilogy with Rafael Marquez was out of this world. He lost the first installment and then rattled off two wins in a row, very impressively.
Next fight: TBA7. Chad Dawson (27-0)
One of the most promising fighters to come along in awhile. Speed, power, and solid defense has him climbing the rankings. Just beat Antonio Tarver silly. Look for him to keep moving up. He wants to fight Joe Calzaghe, and has been turned down.
Next fight: Feb. 14 and it's rumored to be a rematch with Tarver.8. Ricky Hatton (45-1)
His only loss was against former pound for pound king, Floyd Mayweather Jr. Looked to be back in form in a very impressive win over Paulie Malignaggi. I have been impressed with him over the last few years since he made his US debut back in 2006.
Next fight: Possibly Pacquiao in May9. Miguel Cotto (32-1)
Suffered a beating at the hands of Antonio Margarito. He will look to rebound next month and it will show what he is really made of. Other fighters have not been the same after a loss like the one he had. Very skilled, a rare combination of speed and power.
Next fight: Feb. 21 vs Michael Jennings10. Rafael Marquez (37-5)
His trilogy with Vasquez propelled him to new heights and proved just how tough he is. If those two fought every six months, fight fans would be in heaven.
Next fight: TBA
The best of the rest:
Bernard Hopkins: Great performance over Kelly Pavlik but he has nothing else left to prove. A hall of famer.
Kelly Pavlik: Moves back down to 160 pounds to defend his belt where he might be unbeatable.
Wladimir Klitschko: The heavyweight king. Has the best jab in boxing. Needs to be tested.
Jermain Taylor: Moved up to 168 and destroyed Jeff Lacy. Can make some noise in the higher weight divisions.
Juan Diaz: One of my favorite fighters. Has a huge test coming up against Juan Manuel Marquez. That one should be a classic.
Nate Campbell: Owns a victory over Juan Diaz. Very talented fighter who is looking for a few big fights to prove he's legit.
There we have it fight fans, my year end pound for pound rankings. I hope that 2009 will be just as good to the boxing world as 2008 was.
Happy Holidays to all and lets hope the "Sweet Science" lives up to that title in the new year.