The inaugural Yahoo! Sports boxing pound-for-pound top 10 poll was released last week and, predictably, generated volumes of response.
So, too, did my offer to forward questions to boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. (who, I might add, was chosen No.1 pound-for-pound by our distinguished panel). Floyd has answered some of your questions in a separate column.
Given the predominance of Mayweather questions in the last two mailbags and the presence of a mailbag done this week by the champ himself, I've limited the Mayweather questions in this column to just a few.
This is quickly becoming my favorite column of the week because I love the diversity of opinion I'm hearing.
The mailbag, which is open to questions and/or comments on both boxing and mixed martial arts, appears each Tuesday. Click on the link at the bottom of any of my columns to submit your thoughts.
Letters with a first and a last name as well as a city and state or city and country will have the best chance of appearing.
Please note that my answers always appear in italics.
As a fan of boxing and also an amateur boxer, I think the welterweight division is the most exciting class right now. Do you agree? Do you agree that Paul Williams is the man to beat now because of his victory over Antonio Margarito, who at the time was the most dangerous man in the welterweight division? Do you think that any of the top fighters of that division are ducking a fight with Paul Williams?
David J. Thompson
I think the welterweights are at least as good as any division. Any class which includes Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Williams, Margarito, Kermit Cintron and Zab Judah, among others, is a good one.
I don't think any of the welterweights are ducking Williams. Right now, he's a tough match-up and he's not going to bring a lot of money for the big names like Mayweather and Mosley.
Maybe Cintron should be fighting him, but he's defending his IBF belt against Jesse Feliciano on Sept. 8 on pay-per-view.
This is a fraud. Fernando Vargas, who is promoting the card by himself and fighting Ricardo Mayorga in the main event, should have insisted on a more worthy opponent or not put Cintron on the card.
Not only doesn't this fight belong on PPV, Feliciano doesnâ€™t deserve a title shot. This is simply a fraud upon the public. It's little more than a sparring match which people shouldn't have to pay to see.
BOOM BOOM WENT BOOM BOOM
What do you think happened to Boom Boom Bautista on Saturday in his fight against Daniel Ponce de Leon? Why was Boom Boom beaten and unexpectedly fast? What should Boom Boom work on?
Cebu City, Philippines
The power-punching Ponce de Leon scored a first-round TKO at 2:30 on Saturday in Sacramento, Calif. The fight was on HBO and you might be able to catch a replay at some point this week.
Bautista hadn't faced anywhere near the kind of opposition he saw on Saturday and so his 23-0 record coming into the bout has to be considered somewhat suspect. As to what he has to work on, how about his defense. That would be a good start, wouldn't it?
HOW ABOUT COTTO
I would love to see a Mayweather-Cotto fight. What do you think, Mr. Iole?
I agree. I would love to see that fight, too, though Cotto first has to get past Mosley when they meet Nov. 13 in New York.
My opinion on that matter hasn't changed since I wrote this column in June after Cotto stopped Judah in New York.
HIT, DON'T GET HIT
I notice that most of the supposed boxing fans who write about Floyd are saying how he runs, is a coward, and doesn't like getting hit.
That is the point of the sport. The 'Sweet Science' that we hear so much about is the art of hitting and not being hit. That's how you win.
Muhammad Ali beat George Foreman by avoiding shots to the head. He took them to the body but avoided anything dangerous to the head. While doing that he wasn't very offensive. Once Foreman tired, Ali attacked and kayoed him. Ali used his best tool to win (his brain).
Floyd's best tools are his superior hand speed and defense. Floyd is smart and avoids punishment and I am convinced that he is the best. If you want to see brawlers, watch Arturo Gatti. But you see what Floyd did to him. He should've ducked a few times. Kevin, I enjoy reading your blogs because you give some good answers.
I don't see Floyd fighting past next year. Do you think Cotto will be ready by then to upset Pretty Boy?
AC2 Justin Brown(US Navy)
Pax River, Maryland
Nobody loves a back-and-forth fight more than I do. My favorite fights ever were Ali-Frazier III, Hagler-Hearns, Barrera-Morales III and Corrales-Castillo I, none of which was a boxing exhibition.
Having said that, Justin is correct. If you're good enough to use your legs and your mind to avoid being hit, you should do it.
As for Mayweather-Cotto, I'll stick with my initial thought that Mayweather would win in a tough fight. But I'll reserve the right to change my mind if and when the fight is ever made.
SPIDER IS THE MAN
I agree that Paulo Filho looked sharp as he won the WEC middleweight title, but I disagree with Frank Mir's thought that Filho could beat UFC champion Anderson Silva. Joe Doerksen is not in Silva's league when it comes to striking and I do not think Filho will stand with him.
If that match ever happens, I'll give you Filho and I'll take Silva. The bet is a can of pride. It will be interesting to see how Rich Franklin comes back from such a beating from Silva, but he's another who could be a good fight although I like Filho in that one. I will tell you one thing, I'm going to be looking forward to Filho's next fight with anticipation that it will be Silva, but I'm not sure how well the WEC and UFC get along.
The WEC and the UFC get along just fine, since they're both owned by Zuffa, the Las Vegas-based company owned by Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. But I don't think that fight will happen for a while, because Zuffa is trying to build the UFC.
I would like Filho to win over Silva and I like Silva to repeat against Rich Franklin when they meet in a rematch in Cincinnati on Oct. 20.
MORE ON FILHO
With all due respect, Joe Doerksen isn't even a top 15 middleweight yet. Rich Franklin, Travis Lutter and Nate Marquardt are, so anointing Paulo Filho a top ranking and an assured victory over Anderson Silva is foolhardy.
I agree that Paulo has incredible jiu-jitsu skills, yet to proclaim him the one who will bring jiu-jitsu to the public's eye is disrespectful to Royce Gracie, who did so 13 years ago.
I didn't make any such proclamation.
Nor have I assured anyone of a Filho victory over Silva. I think Filho would beat Silva, but it would be a tense fight that Silva could easily claim. They're very close in skills
. As for the Royce Gracie comment, remember this: As great as Gracie was in 1993, relatively few people were paying attention as compared to today.
Mr. Iole, I don't know how many messages you get from overseas but I live in Italy helping the Italian Air Force.
I remember back before the UFC became popular they used to have tournaments where a man would fight as many as three times in a day. I've been out of it for a long time but do they still do those type of tournaments for UFC?
If not, why the change in rules? I understand athletes get tired and dehydrated but that's all part of training for the fight.
What's your opinion?
Thank you and Arrivederci.
Trapani, Italy The UFC has weight classes and champions in the classes, so it's hard to do those eight-man tournaments. A lot of state athletic commissions don't allow them, either, because of a fear a fatigued fighter could be seriously injured
. Personally, I'd rather see two guys go all out against each other for 25 minutes in a title fight rather than have to save something in each bout in the event he's moving on to another one in a tournament situation.
THE REAL RANKINGS
I know there are a lot of titles and different sanctioning bodies have different rankings. I also know that boxrec.com has its own rankings. Are their rankings legitimate? Is Ring Magazine the universal ranking system?
I ask this because boxrec.com has Hopkins the top pound-for-pound fighter and Manny Pacquiao not in the top 10. It has him 12th.
What rankings should I take as the real deal?
Elk Grove, Calif.
Which rankings should you take as the real deal? Are you serious? Yahoo's, of course.
By the way, for those wondering, I will definitely be adding voters from places other than the U.S. I want it to be a truly worldwide poll. We'll have worldwide representation in the next poll
MOLITOR A STUD?
I'm curious on your opinion on Steve Molitor. He's the IBF 122-pound champion, but I never hear anything about the guy. His latest fight was tremendous, but still no mention of him on either Yahoo! or ESPN.
Is he the real deal and could he seriously challenge the other top contenders at 122 pounds? Or is he just an average boxer who has had hand-picked opponents and just gets lucky?
I think he's more the former rather than the latter, but again you rarely hear anything about this guy from all you "experts" out there. How come?
You say former. I say latter. He hasn't faced much competition and he doesn't have much power. There are a lot of great fighters at 122. He's a decent boxer, but he's going to have to prove he can hang with better competition.
HATTON AND BALDY
You said the following about Mayweather-Hatton: "Think of Mayweather-Baldomir and you have an inkling of what this fight will look like."
I am a big fan of Mayweather and think he will win, but to compare Hatton to the likes of Baldomir is irrational. Hatton is not as powerful or as big as Baldomir, but is much faster and can close the gap much quicker. Hatton has better skill, better body attack and better overall ring generalship. I see this fight being more like a poor man's version of Leonard-Duran. What comparisons do you see between Hatton and Baldomir?
That line was referencing the one-sided type of fight I expect Mayweather-Hatton to be, not a comparison of the styles of Hatton and Baldomir.
By the way, if you want to call it a poor man's version of Leonard-Duran, we ought to be fair and call it a poor, poor, poor, poor, poor, poor, poor … OK, I think you get the point.
Do you ever think we are going to see a federal boxing commission? I think it would be great. Imagine not allowing promoters to drag down boxing or take advantage of fighters. Also, who wouldn't love throwing out all the alphabet titles and have one ranking system?
Two out of three ain't bad (Didn't Meatloaf once do a song by that title?), Ben. No to the federal commission. The government might be the only entity able to make boxing a bigger mess than it already is.
I love the thought of eliminating the sanctioning bodies and have one ranking system. Come to think of it, though, we do have one ranking system: Yahoo's!
WHITHER THE NIGHTMARE?
What's going on with Diego Sanchez? When is he going to fight again? I was very disappointed with his fight against Josh Koscheck and figured we would see him sometime soon after that to redeem himself. I am a big fan of his and hope to see him fight again soon.
He's going to fight Jon Fitch at UFC 76 on Sept. 22 in Anaheim, Calif. He's had an amicable parting with coach Greg Jackson and is training in California with Rob Garcia.
GET A CLUE, DUDE
All of you so-called experts are the reason boxing is considered to be behind MMA. De LaHoya? De LaHoya! Are you kidding me? Winky Wright at least had one victory in the last three fights you all mentioned. When was De La Hoya's last victory? Why are you all not giving consideration to worthy fighters such as Kermit Cintron, Paul Williams, or the best heavyweight out there. But please let De La Hoya hand pick the old or too short fighters in a video game because he loses and then cries that he should have won.
Whose poll were you looking at, Al? De La Hoya didn't make our Top 10 nor did I vote for him in the top 10.
But for your edification, De La Hoya's last win was on May 6, 2006, when he stopped Ricardo Mayorga.
IS IOLE XENOPHOBIC?
Hello Kevin, Thanks for considering to make your Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound list truly global.
But why just limit international experts to a couple in Europe, one from Latin America and one from Asia? You already have 10 from the U.S., so why not 10 each from the other regions you mentioned? Is it out of fear that the likes of deserving pound-for-pounders like Hatton and Kessler will dislodge American boxers from your list? Or do U.S.-based boxing experts just consider international experts as not on the same par as them?
There is no sinister motive behind my choice of voters, Rands. And, I should add, I had Kessler in my top 10.
I simply don't personally know as many boxing writers outside of the States. I want to be able to guarantee a person's credentials. As I discover more and more qualified voters from other parts of the world, I will add them.
My goal is for the poll to be taken seriously and to do that, I need the best voters and voters who have a perspective on fights which occur everywhere, not just here.
WINKY'S TOO LOW
Winky may have lost his last fight, but he was fighting 11 pounds heavier than he normally does. I don't see how he can go from two or three all the way down to eight after a close loss to a champion in a division he doesn't belong in.
Would you really hold it against Miguel Cotto if he fought Jermain Taylor next month and lost? It doesn't seem fair to fault Winky for trying to do something incredible and taking a risk not many other fighters would take.
Why don't you guys give Winky the same respect? He has to be in the top five.
Chris, if you ever see promoter Gary Shaw tooling around his hometown of Wayne, N.J., tell him hi. He's too busy reading SEC regulations to talk to boxing writers much any more
. Anyway, here's why I marked Winky down: He's won one fight in the last year and that was against a welterweight
. End of story.
A WEST-COAST BIAS?
I looked over your 'pound-for-pound' rankings and have a couple of disputes. How is it that Sugar Shane Mosley could possibly crack the top 10? He's won one single competitive fight in the last couple years, against Luis Collazo, who isn't ranked.
Normally, this wouldn't bug me too much, but Ricky Hatton didn't even make the top 10, and he's been defending his 140-lb title for a few years now. His one venture to 147 didn't go very well, but he still won the fight. Against who? Oh yeah? Collazo!
The same guy Sugar Shane beat to crack the top 10!! Now, I know everyone is looking forward to Mayweather/Hatton to really see where Ricky rates, but at this point in time, right now, he should be rated higher pound-for-pound than Mosley because he's done SO much more in the last few years.
For now, it seems the West Coast-heavy board of voters you polled have plenty of love for Mosley and none for Hatton. Are you sure Jin Mosley wasn't on the voting panel? LOL! Take care, Kevin, and keep up the excellent work on the site.
Belle Plaine, Minn.
Now that you mention it, Scott, I'm going to have to call to complain to Jin. She didn't call me to thank me for voting Shane onto the poll, but she never hesitates to complain if she feels her hubby is short-changed!
Mosley did KO Fernando Vargas twice last year and he beat Collazo. I personally think he's a more skilled and more complete fighter than Hatton and would be a big favorite if they met.
I'm not sure what any of the other voters felt about Mosley and/or Hatton, because I didn't ask. As for it being West Coast heavy, I beg to differ. We have three from the Metro New York area (Keith Idec, George Willis and Tim Smith), one from Buffalo (Tim Graham), two from Metro Washington, D.C. (Chuck Johnson and Kieran Mulvaney), one from Boston (Ron Borges), two from Metro Los Angeles (Carlos Arias and Robert Morales) and one from Las Vegas (me). That's seven out of 10 from east of the Mississippi. We're sending you back to fourth-grade geography.
GIVE ME MMA
When I look at your top 10 list of boxers, I realize why boxing is a dying sport. It's not that MMA is more exciting or that boxing is corrupt and that most fights are damn near unwatchably boring, which although both true is still not the reason.
It's the fact that I read your list and there isn't one name on that list that anyone I know could give a damn about.
There isn't one name on that list that I identify with, sympathize with or even think is a likeable person. I'd much rather cheer (and pay to watch) a guy like Kenny Florian or Randy Couture, who reminds me of a friend I went to college with or some guy I work with than a crazy, low-class family like the Mayweathers, who remind me more of the reason why this country is going down the tubes.
Even though I disagree with some of Mike's points, he's right about the fact that the dearth of recognizable stars hurts the business.
Fewer fights on PPV would be a great start.
Are you listening Ross Greenburg?
WHERE IS IRON BOY?
I agree with the professionals who chose your top 10. However, credit should be given to the small fighters who may not show that much punching power but who really show lots of boxing capabilities and good state-of-the art conditioning.
I sure think that there should be a space for Ivan Calderon, who has shown lots of good qualities not only as a boxer, but as a gentleman and an example for today's youth.
Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Calderon may be the best pure boxer in the business. But he fights at 105 pounds and that is a very obscure division
. He's a good kid with a great sense of humor. If you know him, you like him.
The Klitschko brothers are the best fighters ever. It's too bad they are white or they would be called the best fighters.
Have you read any American history books, Vytas?
MORE ON KLITSCHKO
C'mon, Kevin! It's not Wladimir Klitschko's fault nobody is good enough to challenge him.
Klitschko is very good, but I have a hard time forgetting some of his performances in fights against Corrie Sanders, Lamon Brewster and DaVarryl Williamson.
Trainer Emanuel Steward has done amazing work rebuilding his confidence, but it's time he fights someone other than a punching bag.
That is the worst list I have seen. Bernard Hopkins? Come on, he fights 30 seconds of each round. What a joke! Winky Wright? Please. He is a shot fighter.
As for Mayweather, he's another joke. Hatton is the first legitimate fight he is having. He was a nobody until he had the Arturo Gatti fight, and a club fighter from The Contender knocked Gatti out. But no one will tell it like it is.
Where is Paul Williams, Kessler or Klitschko on this so-called top list?
I voted for Kessler, Dan. I don't think Williams has fought enough top competition to make the list, though he's closing in.
You're off base about Mayweather, though. He destroyed Genaro Hernandez in 1998 when Chicanito was considered the best super featherweight in the world.
He also knocked Diego Corrales down five times and stopped him in 2001. He's also beaten Jose Luis Castillo twice, Zab Judah and Jesus Chavez.
Those were only a few of the 'legit' fights he had before Hatton.
WINKY WUZ ROBBED
You failed to mention the reason why Winky is 1-1-1 in his last three is that he was absolutely raped by the judges in the Hopkins fight. He won that comfortably in my opinion and in the opinion of any sane person who wasn't on the take who watched it.
I think he was robbed against Jermain Taylor. He beat Taylor hands down, in my opinion.
But you weren't watching the same fight I was, Al, if you think he beat Hopkins. Nearly every boxing writer I spoke to after that fight agreed that Hopkins won.
OSCAR AND JC SUPERSTAR JUNIOR?
Before Oscar De La Hoya retires, I would like to see him fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Chavez could avenge the two losses Oscar gave his father.
It would be a great fight that would generate a lot of money.
San Jose, Calif.
It would not be a great fight but I agree it would generate a lot of money.
If Oscar takes it, it would prove he is fighting for nothing but money. Don't believe any b.s. he'll tell you otherwise if he ever signs for that fight.
Chavez is fighting a lot of half-baked farm boys and isn't near ready for a world-class guy like De La Hoya. It would be an insult to the integrity of the sport if that fight were made.
That being said, it will probably be made.
CALZAGHE TOO HIGH
Calzaghe at No. 3 on your p4p list seems crazy to me. How do you justify that considering he just fought a guy who came up in weight after losing on The Contender?
How do I justify it? I think I probably should have voted him No. 2, ahead of Pacquiao.
He's 43-0 with 32 KOs. He has been a world champion since 1997. He has 20 successful title defenses.
He dominated a very good Jeff Lacy in a title unification fight.
How could I not include him in the list, John?
GIVE JCC CREDIT
Why doesn't anybody give Julio Cesar Chavez the credit he deserves?
If you're talking about Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., I give him plenty of credit. He's one of the best of all-time, no worse than top 20 and maybe top 10 all-time.
His son, though, is living off his father's name and hasn't fought anyone with a pulse.
He'll get credit when he begins to fight, and defeat, the kind of men his Dad did. Now, it seems he's living off Papa's reputation.
Conspicuously absent from the list was Roy Jones Jr., who for many years was lauded as the best fighter pound for pound of the last 50 years. Where did he rank on your list?
Colgate was one of the best teams in college football in the 1920s, but that doesn't get them any votes in the current AP poll.
The poll was a poll of best current fighters. Roy Jones Jr. isn't one of them.
LONGING FOR PAVLIK
Where is Kelly Pavlik? Winky Wright before Kelly? No way, Jose. And in a few weeks, you may want to rethink the Jermain Taylor ranking.
I wasn't going to answer this question because I'm tired of answering the same type of question.
But you're from Pittsburgh, my home town, and I'm assuming you're a Steelers fan. That automatically makes you cool in my opinion and so I'll answer.
A win over Taylor would vault Pavlik into the top 10, in my opinion. He's a big banger, but he has to be careful because his style plays into Jermain's hands.
Wow! The heavyweight division is still a joke!
No arguments there, Joe. Unless, of course, we're talking MMA, when it would then be so wrong as to not even be funny.
WHERE ARE THE LEGENDS?
What about Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in your poll? Maybe I didn't read the article correctly. There must've been a limit on knowledge of boxing you fighters possess.
Joseph, it is a poll of active fighters. Maybe we'll come up with a special all-time poll sometime down the road.
NO VIPER FAN
Whoever put Vernon Forrest in the top 10 of your list should be banned from his opinion on anything, including the presidential election.
I take it you didn't see the Forrest-Baldomir fight, Jerome. Too bad, because you would have seen that Forrest is now nearly recovered from his surgery and is approaching his 2001-2002 form.
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