Mayweather's inactivity affects standing

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

Whether you love him or despise him, there is no denying that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is one of the world's elite fighters.

But, according to the voters in the monthly Yahoo! Sports boxing rankings poll, Money is a little less elite today than he was previously. He dropped to third in the March poll, following behind top-ranked Manny Pacquiao and new No. 2 Sergio Martinez.

The question, though, is whether Mayweather dropped because he hasn't fought recently and doesn't have anything scheduled for the foreseeable future, or whether he's dropping because voters believe Pacquiao and, now, Martinez, are better fighters.

Well, Pacquiao was a unanimous No. 1 this month, receiving all 31 votes cast. Martinez was also named on every ballot, while Mayweather was named on just 29 of 31 of the ballots. It's safe to assume that the voters who didn't include Mayweather didn't do so because they didn't believe he is one of the world's 10 best fighters, but rather because they believe he hasn't been doing anything.

The Yahoo! Sports boxing poll has a 12-month rule for fighter eligibility. A boxer is ineligible if he hasn't fought for 12 consecutive months unless he has a fight scheduled within a reasonable time frame. Andre Dirrell, for example, was newly ineligible for the current poll because he last fought in March 2010. Mayweather last fought in May 2010, so he'll be eligible to be voted upon in next month's poll, as well. In May, he'll be removed due to inactivity.

I tabulate the votes, but I have no more influence other than being one voter. I allow my members to vote as they choose, and two felt Mayweather's inactivity outweighed his enormous talent.

Interestingly, though, of the 29 voters who voted for both men, 16 of them voted for Martinez higher than they did Mayweather. That would suggest that Martinez's recent great performances, the latest of which was a five-knockdown, eighth-round stoppage of Sergiy Dzinziruk, is impressing voters enough that they believe he's now surpassed Mayweather.

I don't see that just yet. While I have great respect for Martinez and what he's accomplished, I still believe Mayweather is in another league when it comes to talent. My votes for March were Pacquiao first, followed by Mayweather, Martinez, Nonito Donaire Jr., Andre Ward, Timothy Bradley, Wladimir Klitschko, Juan Manuel Marquez, Juan Manuel Lopez and Vitali Klitschko.

Mayweather has a court date on April 28 in Las Vegas. We should know then if he'll fight again in 2011 or whether the only way to see him will be in a court room.

With that, let's take a look at the results of the March 2011 rankings. The same 10 men made it as in February, but the placements were shuffled a bit from last time.

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Pacquiao

1. Manny Pacquiao
Points: 310 (31 of 31 first-place votes)
Record: 52-3-2 (38 KOs)
Title: WBC super welterweight champion and WBO welterweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13
Previous ranking: 1
Up next: May 7 vs. Shane Mosley in Las Vegas
Analysis: Pacquiao has reeled off 14 consecutive wins

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Martinez

2. Sergio Martinez
Points: 259
Record: 47-2-2 (26 KOs)
Title: WBC middleweight champion emeritus
Last outing: TKO8 Sergiy Dzinziruk on March 12
Previous ranking: 3
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Some starting to believe he may be No. 1

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Mayweather

3. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Points: 242
Record: 41-0 (25 KOs)
Title: None
Last outing: W12 over No. 10 Shane Mosley on May 1
Previous ranking: 2
Up next:Nothing scheduled
Analysis:Legal woes put fight career in jeopardy

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Donaire

4. Nonito Donaire Jr.
Points: 190
Record: 26-1 (18 KOs)
Title: WBC, WBO bantamweight champion
Last outing: TKO2 over Fernando Montiel on Feb. 19
Previous ranking: 5
Up next:Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Signing with Golden Boy may cause lawsuit that idles him

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J.M. Marquez

5. Juan Manuel Marquez
Points: 168
Record: 52-5-1 (35 KOs)
Title: WBA, WBO lightweight champion
Last outing: TKO9 over Michael Katsidis on Nov. 27
Previous ranking: 4
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Moving toward free agency

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Bradley

6. Timothy Bradley
Points: 108
Record: 27-0 (11 KOs)
Title: WBO super lightweight champion
Last outing: TD10 over Devon Alexander in Pontiac, Mich., on Jan. 29
Previous ranking: 7
Up next:Likely on July 23 vs. Amir Khan
Analysis:Gets big fight with Khan if Khan gets past Paul McCloskey in April

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Ward

7. Andre Ward
Points: 105
Record: 23-0 (13 KOs)
Title: WBA super middleweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Sakio Bika on Nov. 27
Previous ranking: 8
Up next: Vs. Arthur Abraham, date TBA
Analysis: Now the clear favorite to win the Super Six

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W. Klitschko

8. Wladimir Klitschko
Points: 104
Record: 55-3 (49 KOs)
Title: IBF, WBO heavyweight champion
Last outing: TKO10 over Samuel Peter on Sept. 11
Previous ranking: 6
Up next: June or July vs. WBA champion David Haye
Analysis: Took 50-50 split to get Haye fight made

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Lopez

9. Juan Manuel Lopez
Points: 71
Record: 30-0 (27 KOs)
Title: WBO featherweight champion
Last outing: TKO8 Rafael Marquez on Nov. 6
Previous ranking: 7
Up next: April 16 vs. Orlando Salido in Puerto Rico
Analysis: Powerful puncher with an entertaining style

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Bute

10. Lucian Bute
Points: 29
Record: 27-0 (22 KOs)
Title: IBF super middleweight champion
Last outing: KO9 Jesse Brinkley on Oct. 15
Previous ranking: 10
Up next: Vs. Brian Magee in Montreal on March 19
Analysis:A showdown with Super Six winner awaits if he keeps winning

Others receiving votes: Bernard Hopkins, 28; Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, 18; Miguel Cotto, 16; Vitali Klitschko, 14; Yuriorkis Gamboa, 11; Paul Williams, 10; Amir Khan, 5; Andre Berto, 4; Chris John, 4; Carl Froch, 2; Tomasz Adamek, 1; Steve Cunningham, 1; Anselmo Moreno, 1; Giovani Segura, 1.

Voting panel:Raul Alzaga, Primera Hora; Damian Calhoun, Orange County Register; Dave Cokin, ESPN Radio, Las Vegas; Mike Coppinger, freelance; Gareth A. Davies, London Telegraph; Andrew Eisele, About.com; Steve Farhood, Showtime; Doug Fischer, RingTV.com; Scott Fyfe, Sunday Post, Scotland; Thomas Gerbasi, BoxingScene.com; Randy Gordon, Sirius/XM; Lee Groves, Ring Magazine; Thomas Hauser, Seconds Out; Rafael Hernandez Brito, freelance; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Max Kellerman, HBO; David Mayo, Grand Rapids Press; Gunnar Meinhardt, Die Welt; Marty Mulcahey, MaxBoxing.com; Kieran Mulvaney, Reuters; Santos Perez, Miami Herald; Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports; Cliff Rold, BoxingScene.com; Michael Rosenthal, RingTV.com; Lem Satterfield, Boxingscene.com; Tim Smith, New York Daily News; Tim Starks, The Queensbury Rules; Don Steinberg, Wall Street Journal/Philadelphia Inquirer; T.K. Stewart, BoxingScene.com; Dave Weinberg, Press of Atlantic City; George Willis, New York Post.