COMMENTARY | Ring Magazine's recent update to their pound-for-pound rankings has created a buzz among fight fans throughout social media and boxing message boards.
According to the "Bible of Boxing," Adrien Broner (25-0, 21 KOs) is now no. five on their pound-for-pound list, one slot ahead of Nonito Donaire, two slots ahead of Manny Pacquiao and behind only Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Sergio Martinez.
Of course, any such listing of fighters is highly subjective and open for debate, criticism, and flat-out ridicule. It's easy to discredit any particular list and just as easy to discredit the entire concept.
Ideally, pound-for-pound rankings are to determine the best fighters in the world, assuming size were not an issue. The question to be asked is always: "If fighter A and fighter B were in the same weight class, who would win?" The two major factors in consideration should be: Inherent ability and relative level of competition. Without considering those factors, no real comparison between fighters in different divisions could be made.
Given this logic, sometimes it's truly puzzling when gigantic leaps of faith are made when it comes to certain fighters.
For instance, Nonito Donaire was getting Top Five P4P love after his knockout of Vic Darchinyan, despite a paper-thin resume with no other world class opposition on his record. Since then, Donaire has proven his merit and has earned his spot among the sport's elite, but at the time, his inclusion on any such list was truly bizarre.
And that brings us to Adrien Broner.
There's no denying Broner's talent and the development of his skill over the course of his brief four-year professional career. However, even the 23-year-old's greatest supporters would have to accept the fact that his resume is, right now, still relatively light.
Broner has the resume of a young fighter well ahead of the professional curve for someone his age, but still very much lacking in world class depth.
As of right now, the biggest name on Broner's hit list is Antonio DeMarco, a defending WBC lightweight champion and overall solid, tough competitor. DeMarco was never considered en elite fighter, nor was he considered a proven world class competitor. His eight-round destruction at Broner's hands was hardly a surprise to many.
After DeMarco, Broner's resume is especially light. The biggest wins of his career have come against Vicente Escobedo, Eloy Perez, and Jason Litzau. Before that, a controversial decision victory over Daniel Ponce de Leon must be added to his career perspective as a mark in the negative column.
Sure, Broner has looked utterly dominant recently and has looked similarly brilliant for all but his one fight with Ponce de Leon, but level of opposition has to be taken into consideration. The difference between "good" and "great" is tremendous in boxing.
There are many fighters who have looked brilliant against lower-level fighters, but have failed when stepping up in class. From the looks of things, this won't be the case with Broner, who does appear to be "for real," but, still, the leap of faith from Ring Magazine is puzzling. Why not wait a bit before falling all over yourself to place a fairly unproven 23-year-old among the five best fighters in the world? What's the hurry?
Broner is tentatively scheduled to face Richard Abril next and, even then, a dominant victory shouldn't cause any mad rush to place Broner among the sport's pound-for-pound best. Maybe after beating Abril and WBO lightweight champ, Ricky Burns, a Top Ten placement could be discussed, but it's too early right now.
If the P4P list is supposed to be about elite fighters, then make them earn their place on the list. Inclusion shouldn't be based on potential.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Ring TV, Pound for Pound Rankings