Rankings: Quality of opposition matters

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You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI

Tyron Brunson, a young super welterweight fighter from Philadelphia, gained some notoriety in 2008 when he knocked out Francis McKechnai in the first round. It was the 19th consecutive first-round knockout of Brunson's career, setting a modern boxing record.

It was an impressive feat by any measure, but it also needs to be put into perspective. McKechnai, for example, entered the bout with Brunson with a 3-14 record.

In his fight before that, Brunson knocked out the 18-21-1 Jamie Waru in the first. And in the one before that, he stopped Lee Hunter, who was making his pro debut, in the first. Since that 19-0 start, Brunson has gone 2-1-1 and was knocked out in the third round in his last outing by Carson Jones.

Brunson's record is impressive, but no one I know of would consider him one of the elite fighters in the world.

The point isn't to knock Brunson, but rather to point out that the best fighters need to be rewarded for fighting stiff competition.

The April Yahoo! Sports rankings reflect that thinking. Arthur Abraham, who was ranked seventh in the previous poll, dropped out after his loss to Andre Dirrell in Showtime's Super Six tournament.

Bernard Hopkins, who beat the way faded and over-the-hill Roy Jones Jr. on April 3, dropped from fifth to ninth. And Sergio Martinez, who bested Kelly Pavlik on Saturday to win the middleweight title, debuted in the Top 10 at No. 8.

Martinez and Hopkins each won impressive victories over Pavlik, but Hopkins is coming off victories over Jones and journeymen Enrique Ornelas, while Martinez defeated Pavlik off of a hotly disputed loss to No. 4 Paul Williams.

The voters have sent the message – and I hope they will continue to do so – loud and clear to the fighters: You're going to be rewarded for tackling tough competition.

No longer are they going to be rewarded, however, for fighting second-rate opponents in what are little more than glorified exhibitions.

And that is as it should be.

With that, let's get to the rankings and examine the new Top 10.



1. Manny Pacquiao
Points: 298 (28 of 30 first-place votes)
Record: 51-3-2 (38 KOs)
Title: WBO welterweight champion
Last outing:: W12 over Joshua Clottey on March 13
Previous ranking:: 1
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis:Running for Congress in the Philippines next month



2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Points: 271 (2 of 30 first-place votes)
Record: 40-0 (25 KOs)
Title: None
Last outing:: W12 over No. 5 Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 19
Previous ranking:: 2
Up next: May 1 fight vs. No. 3 Shane Mosley in Las Vegas
Analysis: The game's best defensive fighter



3. Shane Mosley
Points: 221
Record: 46-5 (39 KOs)
Title: WBA welterweight champion
Last outing:: TKO9 over Antonio Margarito on Jan. 24, 2009
Previous ranking:: T3
Up next: May 1 vs. No. 2 Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas
Analysis: Will fight on 17-month layoff



4. Paul Williams
Points: 211
Record: 38-1 (27 KOs)
Title: WBO junior middleweight champion
Last outing:: W12 over Sergio Martinez on Dec. 5
Previous ranking:: T3
Up next: May 8 vs. Kermit Cintron
Analysis:Will likely meet Martinez for middleweight title with a win


J.M. Marquez

5. Juan Manuel Marquez
Points: 113
Record: 50-5-1 (37 KOs)
Title: WBA, WBO lightweight champion
Last outing:: L12 to No. 2 Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Sept. 19
Previous ranking:: 6
Up next: Vs. Juan Diaz on July 31 in Las Vegas
Analysis: Needs big win to reinvigorate his career



6. Chad Dawson
Points: 112
Record: 28-0 (17 KOs)
Title: Interim WBC light heavyweight champion
Last outing:: W12 over Glen Johnson on Nov. 7
Previous ranking:: 8
Up next: Vs. Jean Pascal Aug. 14 in Montreal
Analysis: Hasn't faced fighter younger than 39 in more than two years.


W. Klitschko

7. Wladimir Klitschko
Points: 73
Record: 54-3 (48 KOs)
Title: IBF, WBO heavyweight champion
Last outing:: TKO12 over Eddie Chambers on March 20
Previous ranking:: 9
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Campaigning for bout with WBA champion David Haye



8. Sergio Martinez
Points: 65
Record: 45-2-2 (24 KOs)
Title: WBC, WBO middleweight champion
Last outing:: W12 Kelly Pavlik on April 17
Previous ranking:: NR
Up next: Nothing scheduled
Analysis: Owes Pavlik a rematch if Pavlik wants it



9. Bernard Hopkins
Points: 58
Record: 51-5-1 (32 KOs)
Title: None
Last outing:: W12 over Roy Jones Jr.
Previous ranking:: 5
Up next: vs. Roy Jones Jr. on April 3 in Las Vegas
Analysis:Looked old for first time in his career



10. Timothy Bradley
Points: 47
Record: 25-0 (11 KOs)
Title: WBO super lightweight champion
Last outing:: W12 Lamont Peterson on Dec. 12
Previous ranking:: NR
Up next: July 17 vs. Marcos Maidana in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Analysis: Solid all-around fighter in a tough division

Others receiving votes: Juan Manuel Lopez, 42; Vitali Klitschko, 24; Miguel Cotto, 20; Nonito Donaire, 19; Lucian Bute, 15; Ivan Calderon, 14; Yuriorkis Gamboa, 13; Celestino Caballero, 9; Andre Ward, 7; Hozumi Hasegawa, 7; Arthur Abraham, 3; Israel Vazquez, 3; Andre Berto, 2; Chris John, 1. Voting panel: Raul Alzaga, Primera Hora; Steve Cofield, Yahoo! Sports; Dave Cokin, ESPN Radio 1100, Las Vegas; Andrew Eisele, About.com; Doug Fischer, Ring; Scott Fyfe, Sunday Post, Scotland; Thomas Gerbasi, Boxingscene.com; Carlos Gonzalez, Primera Hora; Lee Groves, BoxingScene.com; Thomas Hauser, Seconds Out.com; Keith Idec, Herald News, New Jersey; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Max Kellerman, HBO; Scott Mallon, Asian Boxing News; 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; Brett Okamoto, Las Vegas Sun; Santos Perez, Miami Herald; Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports; Lem Satterfield, Fanhouse.com; Tim Smith, New York Daily News; T.K. Stewart, Boxingscene.com; John Whisler, San Antonio Express-News; George Willis, New York Post.