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Rankings: Time to play matchmaker

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

For the past year, the top question in boxing has been the same: Do you think Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will ever fight each other?

But with the latest Yahoo! Sports boxing rankings out and 28 boxers receiving at least one vote, there are a lot of other potentially exciting fights which could be made. Before we unveil the November ratings, let's take a look at eight potential fights which could be made between the boxers who received votes in this poll – and the odds of them ever occurring:

Bout: No. 1 Manny Pacquiao vs. No. 2 Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Division in which fight would occur: Welterweight.
Likelihood fight will happen, with 10 being definitely and 1 being no chance: 4.
Target date for fight: May 2011.
Fireworks quotient, with 10 being a Fight of the Century and 1 being a snooze inducer: 7.
Analysis: There are too many obstacles for making the fight, not the least of which are the legal woes of Mayweather and his trainer/uncle, Roger Mayweather. There is also great bitterness between Mayweather and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, as well as a growing feeling in the industry that Mayweather isn't that interested in fighting anyone anymore.

Bout: No. 5 Wladimir Klitschko vs. No. 21 David Haye
Division: Heavyweight.
Likelihood fight will happen: 7.
Target date: April 2011.
Fireworks quotient: 6.
Analysis: This is all up to Haye. He's been the difficult one to pin down, though he's repeatedly trashed Klitschko and his older brother, Vitali. If Haye steps up, there will finally be a heavyweight fight worth watching.

Bout: No. 3 Sergio Martinez vs. No. 10 Paul Williams.
Division: Middleweight.
Likelihood fight will happen: 8.
Target date:First half of 2011.
Fireworks quotient: 8.
Analysis: Martinez and Williams have fought twice already, and with Martinez fresh off a spectacular one-punch knockout, he wants to move on. But there are no really viable alternatives, so it's likely they'll meet each other for a third time next year. That's a good thing for boxing fans.

Bout: No. 7 Andre Ward vs. No. 11 Lucian Bute.
Division: Super middleweight.
Likelihood fight will happen: 9.
Target date: Late 2011.
Fireworks quotient: 7.
Analysis: Once the Super Six World Boxing Classic ends next spring, the winner will look to fight the other top super middleweight not in the tournament. Right now, that's Bute. Ward has been so much more talented than anyone he's faced, and he's more skilled than Bute. But Bute is a quality fighter and will make Ward work to win the fight. This one seems like a slam dunk.

Bout: No. 6 Juan Manuel Lopez vs. No. 17 Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Division: Featherweight.
Likelihood fight will happen: 9.
Target date: Summer 2011.
Fireworks quotient: 9.
Analysis: This fight is all but guaranteed to happen, assuming each man wins one more fight. It may be the most exciting match that could be made in boxing, with two young, fast, powerful and aggressive men going nose to nose. This would be a can't-miss bout.

Bout: No. 1 Manny Pacquiao vs. No. 8 Timothy Bradley.
Division: Welterweight.
Likelihood fight will happen: 7.
Target date: November 2011.
Fireworks quotient: 7.
Analysis: This would be a good test for Pacquiao and the first true megafight for Bradley. The only stumbling block? Themselves. Each man has to win other bouts first. Pacquiao will have to defeat whomever he meets in May and Bradley will have to get past Devon Alexander, a not-so-easy task, when they meet on Jan. 29. Bradley may also have one more stay-busy fight if he does beat Alexander before he'd be ready for the Pac-Man.

Bout: No. 2 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. No. 10 Paul Williams.
Division: Welterweight.
Likelihood fight will happen: 4.
Target date: Spring 2011.
Fireworks quotient: 7.
Analysis: If Mayweather and Pacquiao can't come to terms and Mayweather does want to fight, he'd find a willing opponent in Williams. Williams has insisted he's a welterweight but has been fighting at super welterweight and middleweight because he can't get welterweight matches. Williams would test Mayweather's greatness, as he'd put tremendous pressure on the undefeated star with his volume punching and extraordinary reach.

Bout: No. 9 Nonito Donaire Jr. vs. No. T27 Vic Darchinyan.
Division: Bantamweight.
Likelihood fight will happen: 5.
Target date: Fall 2011.
Fireworks quotient: 7.
Analysis: This would be a rematch of a 2007 bout in which Donaire knocked out Darchinyan in a result that was an upset at the time. Donaire has a Dec. 4 match with Volodymyr Sydorenko slated, and then a bout with No. 13 Fernando Montiel on deck. Darchinyan is competing in Showtime's bantamweight tournament. If they win their next two fights, a rematch for bantamweight supremacy would be one of the more significant matches which could be made for the final quarter of 2011.

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Pacquiao

1. Manny Pacquiao
Points: 439 (43 of 44 first-place votes)
Record: 52-3-2 (38 KOs)
Title: WBC super welterweight champion & WBO welterweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13
Previous ranking: 1
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Nothing left to conquer for Pac-Man other than a Mayweather fight.

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Mayweather

2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Points: 383 (1 of 44 first-place votes)
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: Needs to fight Pacquiao. Period. End of story.

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Martinez

3. Sergio Martinez
Points: 329
Record: 46-2-2 (25 KOs)
Title: WBC middleweight champion
Last outing: KO2 No. 10 Paul Williams on Nov. 20
Previous ranking: 5
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: May have tough time landing top opponent.

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J.M. Marquez

4. Juan Manuel Marquez
Points: 261
Record: 51-5-1 (37 KOs)
Title: WBA, WBO lightweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Juan Diaz on July 31
Previous ranking: 4
Up next: Nov. 27 in Las Vegas vs. Michael Katsidis
Analysis: Still one of game's most complete fighters.

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W. Klitschko

5. Wladimir Klitschko
Points: 164
Record: 55-3 (49 KOs)
Title: IBF, WBO heavyweight champion
Last outing: TKO10 over Samuel Peter on Sept. 11
Previous ranking: 6
Up next: Dec. 11 in Germany vs. Dereck Chisora
Analysis: Only realistic threat to beat him is his older brother, Vitali.

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Lopez

6. Juan Manuel Lopez
Points: 151
Record: 30-0 (27 KOs)
Title: WBO featherweight champion
Last outing: TKO8 Rafael Marquez on Nov. 6
Previous ranking: 9
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Classy veteran moves up three slots.

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Ward

7. Andre Ward
Points: 126
Record: 22-0 (13 KOs)
Title: WBA super middleweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Allan Green on June 19
Previous ranking: 8
Up next: Nov. 27 in Oakland, Calif., vs. Sakio Bika
Analysis: Now the clear favorite to win the Super Six.

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Bradley

8. Timothy Bradley
Points: 125
Record: 26-0 (11 KOs)
Title: WBO super lightweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Luis Carlos Abregu on July 17
Previous ranking: 7
Up next: Jan. 29 vs. Devon Alexander
Analysis: Win over Alexander would make him a prime candidate for a Pacquiao fight.

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Donaire

9. Nonito Donaire Jr.
Points: 67
Record: 24-1 (16 KOs)
Title: Interim WBA super flyweight champion
Last outing: TKO8 over Hernan Marquez on July 10
Previous ranking: 10
Up next: Dec. 4 in Anaheim, Calif., vs. Volodymyr Sydorenko
Analysis: Dynamic puncher developing all-around game.

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Williams

10. Paul Williams
Points: 62
Record: 39-2 (27 KOs)
Title: None
Last outing: TKO by 2 to No. 3 Sergio Martinez on Nov. 20
Previous ranking: 3
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Will have to prove he can rebound after being viciously knocked out.

Others receiving votes: Lucian Bute, 53; Vitali Klitschko, 47; Fernando Montiel, 44; Bernard Hopkins, 38; Celestino Caballero, 23; Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, 23; Yuriorkis Gamboa, 20; Miguel Cotto, 14; Jean Pascal, 10; Chris John, 9; David Haye, 8; Devon Alexander, 7; Andre Berto, 6; Israel Vazquez, 6; Shane Mosley, 4; Tomasz Adamek, 3; Vic Darchinyan, 2; Anselmo Moreno, 2.

Voting panel: Raul Alzaga, Primera Hora; Al Bernstein, Showtime; Ron Borges, Boston Herald; Damian Calhoun, Orange County Register; Steve Cofield, Yahoo! Sports; Dave Cokin, ESPN Radio, Las Vegas; Gareth A. Davies, London Telegraph; Tris Dixon, Boxing News; Andrew Eisele, About.com; Steve Farhood, Showtime; Doug Fischer, RingTV.com; Scott Fyfe, Sunday Post, Scotland; Thomas Gerbasi, BoxingScene.com; Carlos Gonzalez, Primera Hora; Randy Gordon, Sirius/XM; Lee Groves, BoxingScene.com; Thomas Hauser, Seconds Out; Keith Idec, Herald News, New Jersey; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Michael Katz, Gaming Today, Las Vegas; Max Kellerman, HBO; Scott Mallon, Boxing Digest; Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated; Rich Marotta, Fox Sports; David Mayo, Grand Rapids Press; Franklin McNeil, ESPN; Gunnar Meinhardt, Die Welt; Robert Morales, Los Angeles Daily News; Marty Mulcahey, MaxBoxing.com; Kieran Mulvaney, Reuters; Peter Owen Nelson, freelance; Brett Okamoto, Las Vegas Sun; Santos Perez, Miami Herald; Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports; Cliff Rold, Boxingscene.com; Michael Rosenthal, RingTV.com; Lem Satterfield, Fanhouse.com; Tim Smith, New York Daily News; Don Steinberg, Philadelphia Inquirer & Wall Street Journal; T.K. Stewart, Boxingscene.com; Chino Trinidad, GMA-TV, Philippines; Paul Upham, Seconds Out; Dave Weinberg, Press of Atlantic City; George Willis, New York Post.

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