It's amazing how many people think size was the difference between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez in their fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas last week.
Mayweather won 33 of the 36 scored rounds on the judges' cards in one of the most impressive victories of a Hall of Fame career.
Yet, Mayweather's legion of critics dismissed his victory as simply a matter of picking on a smaller man.
And while it's true that Marquez was a smaller man, size had little to do with the outcome of this fight. One would expect, particularly at the highest level of the sport, that the smaller man would be quicker and faster. Instead, however, it was the bigger man who had the quicker hands and feet, the faster reflexes and the superior boxing sense.
Mayweather expertly walked Marquez into shots. He used his blazing speed to pop off combinations that had ended before Marquez had even begun to react. And he used his phenomenal reflexes and exceptional ring savvy to hold Marquez to a ridiculously low 12 percent connect rate.
Mayweather has reclaimed his position atop the monthly Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound rankings, one he was forced to vacate upon his announced retirement in June 2008, by virtue of the victory.
He grabbed first by the smallest of margins. He earned 266 points and gained 15 of the 28 first-place votes. Manny Pacquiao, who had been No. 1, received 13 first-place votes and gained 265 points.
To keep the top spot, though, Mayweather isn't going to be able to avoid men like Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Paul Williams.
His first priority should be to fight Pacquiao, assuming Pacquiao defeats Cotto when they meet Nov. 14.
A fight with Mosley would be excellent, but Mosley lacked class by bumrushing Mayweather in what appeared to be a pre-planned move while Mayweather was being interviewed postfight by HBO's Max Kellerman.
Mayweather and his team, led by manager Leonard Ellerbe, were extremely agitated by Mosley's actions. Ellerbe said, "I haven't forgotten being down in [Carson, Calif.,] last year and seeing barely 3,800 people in the place to watch Shane struggle to beat [Ricardo] Mayorga."
And be sure that Mayweather remembers full well challenging Mosley in 2006 and having Mosley decline the fight and go on vacation instead.
Mayweather has phenomenal physical gifts, but where he lacks compared to recent all-time greats like Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns is the top-caliber opponents.
There has been nobody so far who can give him the kind of fight that Hearns gave Leonard or that Leonard gave Marvelous Marvin Hagler. He needs to make certain to include at least the Pacquiao-Cotto winner and either Mosley or Williams on his 2010 dance card.
Mayweather is joined as a newcomer to the top 10 by International Boxing Federation/World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, who slipped to the 10th spot.
Dropping out of the top 10 were Ivan Calderon and Rafael Marquez.
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Points: 266 (15 of 28 first-place votes)
Record: 40-0 (25 KOs)
Title: No title
Last outing: W12 over No. 6 Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 19
Previous ranking: Unranked
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Was brilliant in one-sided beatdown
2. Manny Pacquiao
Points: 265 (13 of 28 first-place votes)
Record: 49-3-2 (37 KOs)
Title: Ring Magazine super lightweight champion
Last outing: TKO2 over Ricky Hatton on May 2
Previous ranking: 1
Up next: vs. No. 7 Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14
Analysis: A Pacquiao-Mayweather fight in 2010 could be the richest bout ever
3. Paul Williams
Record: 37-1 (27 KOs)
Title: Interim WBO junior middleweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Winky Wright on April 11
Previous ranking: 3
Up next: vs. Kelly Pavlik on Dec. 5
Analysis: Can fight and compete in three divisions simultaneously?
4. (tie) Bernard Hopkins
Record: 49-5-1 (32 KOs)
Title: Ring light heavyweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Kelly Pavlik on Oct. 18
Previous ranking: 4
Up next: TBA
Analysis: Trying but failing to land a significant fight
4. (tie) Shane Mosley
Record: 46-5 (39 KOs)
Title: WBA welterweight champion
Last outing: TKO9 over Antonio Margarito on Jan. 24
Previous ranking: 5
Up next: Welterweight unification fight with Andre Berto in January
Analysis: On outside looking in on Pacquiao, Mayweather sweepstakes
6. Juan Manuel Marquez
Record: 50-5-1 (37 KOs)
Title: WBA, WBO, Ring lightweight champion
Last outing: L12 to No. 1 Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Sept. 19
Previous ranking: 2
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Had nothing to offer against Mayweather
7. Miguel Cotto
Record: 34-1 (27 KOs)
Title: WBO welterweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Joshua Clottey on June 13
Previous ranking: 6
Up next: vs. No. 1 Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas
Analysis: Showed much moxie fighting for 10 rounds with deep gash above eye.
8. Chad Dawson
Record: 28-0 (17 KOs)
Title: IBF light heavyweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Antonio Tarver on May 9
Previous ranking: 7
Up next: Rematch with Glen Johnson on Nov. 7 in Hartford, Conn.
Analysis: Hopes to make statement with clear win over veteran Johnson
9. Juan Manuel Lopez
Record: 26-0 (24 KOs)
Title: WBO super bantamweight champion
Last outing: TKO9 Olivier Lontchi on June 27
Previous ranking: 10
Up next: Vs. Rogers Mtagwa on Oct. 10 in New York
Analysis: Fast climbing power-puncher
10. Wladimir Klitschko
Record: 53-3 (47 KOs)
Titles: IBF, WBO heavyweight champion
Last outing: TKO9 over Ruslan Chagaev on June 20
Previous ranking: NR
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Recovering from surgery and won't fight until early 2010
Others receiving votes: Ivan Calderon 31; Rafael Marquez 24; Arthur Abraham 20; Chris John, 11; Nonito Donaire 5; Timothy Bradley, Mikkel Kessler, Vitali Klitschko 4; Celestino Caballero 2; Hozumi Hasegawa 1.
Voting panel: Raul Alzaga, Primera Hora; Carlos Arias, Orange County Register; Ron Borges, Boston Herald; Steve Cofield, Yahoo! Sports; Dave Cokin, ESPN Radio 1100, Las Vegas; Brian Doogan, London Sunday Times; Andrew Eisele, About.com; Scott Fyfe, Sunday Post, Scotland; Thomas Gerbasi, Boxingscene.com; Lee Groves, MaxBoxing.com; Thomas Hauser, Seconds Out.com; Keith Idec, Herald News, New Jersey; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Michael Katz, Gaming Today; Scott Mallon, Asian Boxing News.com; Rich Marotta, KLAC-AM; David Mayo, Grand Rapids Press; Franklin McNeil, Newark Star Ledger; Gunnar Meinhardt, Die Welt; Robert Morales, Los Angeles Daily News; Kieran Mulvaney, Reuters; Santos Perez, Miami Herald; Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports; Tim Smith, New York Daily News; T.K. Stewart, Boxingscene.com; Paul Upham, Seconds Out.com; John Whisler, San Antonio Express-News; George Willis, New York Post.
- Juan Manuel Marquez
- Miguel Cotto
- Manny Pacquiao
- Floyd Mayweather Jr
- Shane Mosley
- Sugar Ray Leonard