The five best boxers on the planet have all been in action since May, giving each man a chance to make a statement to the world about his place in the hierarchy. What we've seen is that a changing of the guard is occurring right before our eyes, with Andre Ward and Sergio Martinez inching ever closer to supremacy, moving ahead of the legendary Filipino icon, Manny Pacquiao, in the process.
While The Ring seems content with avoiding hard decisions and maintaining the status quo with their pound for pound rankings, in truth, it's time for some much needed shakeup. I currently have my top five pound for pound as Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward, Sergio Martinez, Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire, in that order.
Nobody is arguing that Pacquiao deserved to lose his June fight against Timothy Bradley. That said, the majority of observers feel he did deserve to lose his November 2011 fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. In fact, in The Ring's own reader poll, Pacquiao-Marquez III was voted as the robbery of the year for 2011. Yet, they have Pacquiao tied with Mayweather at number 2 in their pound for pound list, with Marquez at number 6.
Further, while Pacquiao seemed to easily win the Bradley fight, he wasn't the whirlwind of destruction he was circa 2009. That version of Pacquiao would have overwhelmed and stopped Bradley, never leaving open the possibility of such ridiculous scoring.
Before that two-fight stretch, Pacquiao beat three guys who had no business being in the ring against him. In reverse order, he took on a terribly faded Shane Mosley, a proven cheat coming off a knockout loss in Antonio Margarito, and a fringe contender in Joshua Clottey.
Meanwhile, Andre Ward routed Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch and Chad Dawson, along with Allan Green and Sakio Bika. Sergio Martinez bested Kelly Pavlik, obliterated Paul Williams, and has welcomed all challengers at Middleweight, taking care of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Matthew Macklin and Sergiy Dzinziruk.
Ward and Martinez certainly do not have the cumulative resume that Pacquiao has. However, over the past several years, they have beaten far superior competition, and have done so with ease.
As for Mayweather, he whitewashed Marquez, controlled Mosley, who was at a high after his underdog victory over Margarito, beat the then top available Welterweight challenger in Victor Ortiz, and handled a game effort from Miguel Cotto, doing so on Cotto's home turf of 154 pounds. That's enough to justify his position as the reigning pound for pound kingpin. However, Pacquiao simply hasn't done enough or looked good enough to maintain his status as the number 2.
Looking ahead, Donaire is set to face Toshiaki Nishioka in October, a top 10-15 pound for pound fighter himself, and Pacquiao is set to face Marquez for a fourth time in December. That means there could be quite a bit more upheaval before the end of the year depending on how those fights play out.
Sources: RingTV.com, Boxrec.com, ProBoxing-Fans.com
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com. You can find more of his writing, along with interviews, rankings and breaking news stories at the site, or you can follow ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.