Yes, even in somewhat of a down era, there are legends amongst us. There are fighters today who, when they finally retire, will be regarded as all-time greats and listed among the very best to ever enter the ring.
Leaving out boxers like Bernard Hopkins, Erik Morales, and Marco Antonio Barrera who are either semi-retired or on the verge of retirement, here's a look at seven active fighters who have earned all-time great status or will soon do so.
Eight titles in eight divisions is a nifty tag to put on a t-shirt or bumper sticker, but the greatest argument for Pacquiao's inclusion among the all-time greats is the roll call of great fighters he has beaten. On the Filipino icon's hit list are hall of fame names such as Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, and Ricky Hatton as well as more than a handful of other quality fighters.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Forget the putrid "Money" persona, Mayweather has the skills of an all-time great and a resume that has been greatly underrated. The five-division world champ has victories over 18 current or future world champions and, even when not acting with class outside the ring, has always treated the sport of boxing with respect.
It's certainly not Klitschko's fault that the heavyweight division is flat. The unified WBO/WBA/IBF world champ has faced everyone he needs to face and has turned back all challenges. Since teaming with legendary trainer, Emanuel Steward, Klitschko has been beyond dominant and when the dust settles on his career, he should be listed among the very best big men.
Cut everything said about Wladimir Klitschko and paste it here, sans the Emanuel Steward part. The elder Klitschko brother executes a different style than Wladimir, but has been no less effective. As reigning WBC titlist, Vitali has looked unbeatable.
Ward is still a work in progress, but has already made his mark on the sport by winning the World Boxing Classic super middleweight tournament. If the Oakland native can beat Chad Dawson this coming Saturday, he will move one full step closer to all-time consideration. With a world of ability and plenty of quality opposition upon which to make his case, Ward seems to be a no-brainer for inclusion among the greats.
Donaire is also a work in progress gifted with supreme natural ability. While not as accomplished as Andre Ward, he's also in a weight range stacked with quality opposition. A Donaire more active and more eager to take on the very best will very likely fight his way to all-time great consideration.
Juan Manuel Marquez
Skilled, tough, and with two close, dubious losses to Manny Pacquiao on his record, Marquez could retire today and be regarded among the very best. However, the 39-year-old four-division world champ is fighting on, with either a possible fourth bout with Pacquiao or a defense of his WBO junior welterweight title on the horizon. He may be at the end of a long, distinguished career, but Marquez's legend is still growing.
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 The BoxingTribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Boxrec, Boxing Records and Biographies
- Sports & Recreation
- Manny Pacquiao
- Marco Antonio Barrera
- Wladimir Klitschko
- Juan Manuel Marquez
- Erik Morales
- Andre Ward