It's always a glorious event when boxing's greats are inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. But the Hall may be on the brink of some lean years.
There are few slam-dunk choices among active fighters for induction; indeed, of the men in the top 10 of Yahoo! Sports' June rankings, only three are a cinch to make the Hall.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is not eligible for the poll until after he fights Victor Ortiz on Sept. 17 in Las Vegas – and he's been inactive for more than a year. Thus, only top-ranked Manny Pacquiao, No. 4 Juan Manuel Marquez and No. 8 Bernard Hopkins can safely begin working on their acceptance speeches.
Among active boxers, only Pacquiao, Mayweather, Marquez, Roy Jones Jr., Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Evander Holyfield and Hopkins are locks for induction among active fighters.
There are a number of other active fighters who are very likely to gain induction, but the pool isn't as deep as you might think. So, before we unveil the newest ratings, ponder these potential Hall of Famers:
Lead-pipe cinches (8) – These men will earn induction into the Hall of Fame five years after their retirement even if they never win another fight: Marco Antonio Barrera, Evander Holyfield, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao.
Very likely (8) – These men will most likely make it, but a few more quality wins would help the cause: Ivan Calderon, Miguel Cotto, Carl Froch, Chris John, Vitali Klitschko, Wladimir Klitschko, Rafael Marquez and Shane Mosley.
More likely than not (4) – These fighters have had good careers and will probably make it, even though their résumés could use some help: Joel Casamayor, Vic Darchinyan, Fernando Montiel and Giovani Segura.
Andre Ward, Juan Manuel Lopez, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Sergio Martinez are putting together résumés which gain the attention of Hall of Fame voters. Each, though, still has a considerable way to go before becoming a realistic consideration.
Let me know what you think, and whom I've missed, and we'll discuss it in the mailbag next week. In the meantime, here is the updated Top 10:
1. Manny Pacquiao
Points: 410 (41 of 41 first-place votes)
Record: 53-3-2 (38 KOs)
Title: WBO welterweight champion
Most recent outing: W12 over Shane Mosley on May 7
Previous ranking: 1
Up next: Likely Nov. 12 vs. No. 4 Juan Manuel Marquez
Analysis: Perhaps boxing's pound-for-pound hardest puncher
2. Sergio Martinez
Record: 47-2-2 (26 KOs)
Title: WBC middleweight champion emeritus
Most recent outing: TKO8 Sergiy Dzinziruk on March 12
Previous ranking: 2
Up next: Likely Oct. 1 vs. Darren Baker
Analysis: Would love a shot at Pacquiao, however unlikely it may be
3. Nonito Donaire Jr.
Record: 26-1 (18 KOs)
Title: WBC, WBO bantamweight champion
Most recent outing: TKO2 over Fernando Montiel on Feb. 19
Previous ranking: 3
Up next: TBA
Analysis: Shooting photos at fights, but not boxing
4. Juan Manuel Marquez
Record: 52-5-1 (38 KOs)
Title: WBA, WBO lightweight champion
Most recent outing: TKO9 over Michael Katsidis on Nov. 27
Previous ranking: 4
Up next: July 16 vs. Likar Ramos
Analysis: Size is biggest question mark against Pacquiao
5. Andre Ward
Record: 24-0 (13 KOs)
Title: WBA super middleweight champion
Most recent outing: W12 over Arthur Abraham on May 14
Previous ranking: 5
Up next: Fall vs. Carl Froch for Super Six championship
Analysis: 2004 Olympic gold medalist hasn't lost a fight in 13 years
6. Wladimir Klitschko
Record: 55-3 (49 KOs)
Title: IBF, WBO heavyweight champion
Most recent outing: TKO10 over Samuel Peter on Sept. 11
Previous ranking: 6
Up next:July 2 vs. WBA champion David Haye
Analysis: Only question is the quality of his chin
7. Timothy Bradley
Record: 27-0 (11 KOs)
Title: WBO super lightweight champion
Most recent outing: TD10 over Devon Alexander in Pontiac, Mich., on Jan. 29
Up next: TBA
Analysis:Could be squeezed out of big-fight mix for time being
8. Bernard Hopkins
Record: 52-5-2 (32 KOs)
Title: WBC light heavyweight champion
Most recent outing: W12 over Jean Pascal on May 21
Previous ranking: NR
Up next: Likely vs. Chad Dawson in late 2011
Analysis:Showing few signs of decline, even at age 46
9. Lucian Bute
Record: 28-0 (23 KOs)
Title: IBF super middleweight champion
Most recent outing: TKO10 Brian Magee on March 19
Previous ranking: 8
Up next: July 9 vs. Jean Paul Mendy
Analysis:Classy boxer-puncher may get fall bout with Kelly Pavlik
10. Yuriorkis Gamboa
Record: 20-0 (16 KOs)
Title: IBF/WBA featherweight champion
Most recent outing: TKO4 Jorge Solis on March 26
Previous ranking: 9
Up next: TBA
Analysis: The better his defense gets, the more dangerous he becomes
Others receiving votes: Vitali Klitschko, 45; Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, 38; Carl Froch, 20; Miguel Cotto, 19; Paul Williams, 19; Amir Khan, 16; Chris John, 13; Giovani Segura, 10; Victor Ortiz, 8; Tomasz Adamek, 6; Robert Guerrero, 4; Marco Huck, 3; Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, 2; David Haye, 1; Juan Manuel Lopez, 1; Anselmo Moreno, 1.
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 1100, Las Vegas; Mike Coppinger, freelance; Gareth A. Davies, London Telegraph; Tris Dixon, Boxing News; Andrew Eisele, About.com; Corey Erdman, Sirius/XM; Steve Farhood, Showtime; Doug Fischer, RingTV.com; Thomas Gerbasi, BoxingScene.com; Randy Gordon, Sirius/XM; Lee Groves, Ring Magazine; Thomas Hauser, Seconds Out; Rafael Hernandez Brito, freelance; Keith Idec, The Record; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Max Kellerman, HBO; Scott Mallon, Boxing Digest; Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated; Rich Marotta, Fox Sports; David Mayo, Grand Rapids Press; Franklin McNeil, ESPN.com; Gunnar Meinhardt, Die Welt; Robert Morales, Los Angeles Daily News; Marty Mulcahey, MaxBoxing.com; Kieran Mulvaney, Reuters; Peter O. Nelson, freelance; 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, The Wall Street Journal/Philadelphia Inquirer; T.K. Stewart, BoxingScene.com; Dave Weinberg, Press of Atlantic City.