In April, 32 boxing journalists from around the world cast votes in the Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound rankings. All 32 voted for Manny Pacquiao as the top boxer in the world.
April was the last month that Floyd Mayweather Jr. was eligible because he had last fought in May 2010 and the poll's rules require a fighter to compete at least once in a 12-month span to be eligible.
But in that poll, Mayweather not only wasn't first, he wasn't second. He finished third, well behind middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, as well as behind Pacquiao.
After defeating Victor Ortiz in dramatic and controversial fashion on Sept. 17 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mayweather once again became eligible for the rankings. His fourth-round knockout of Ortiz clearly impressed the voters, as he received 17 of the 43 first-place votes cast to finish in second.
Still, Pacquiao, who fights No. 5 Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas, held onto the top spot by getting 26 first-place votes. Pacquiao was voted either first or second by every voter, but opinion was more divergent about Mayweather.
In addition to his 17 first-place votes, Mayweather received 16 seconds, seven thirds, two fourths and a fifth.
The choice of who should be first between Pacquiao and Mayweather has long been contentious. I've asked five poll members – Al Bernstein of Showtime and The Boxing Channel, Mike Coppinger of BoxingScene.com, Marty Mulcahey of MaxBoxing.com, Lem Satterfield of RingTV.com and Dave Weinberg of the Press of Atlantic City – to explain the thought process behind their votes.
Coppinger and Weinberg voted Mayweather first and Pacquiao second. Bernstein voted Pacquiao first and Mayweather second. Mulcahey had Pacquiao first, Martinez second and Mayweather third. Satterfield went with Pacquiao first, Martinez second, Nonito Donaire Jr. third and Mayweather fourth.
Their comments follow:
Al Bernstein: I kept Manny as No. 1 because he has been No. 1 and is still performing very well. Floyd is an amazing fighter and defies logic by coming back after these layoffs to fight so well, but I will keep Manny there for now, unless he loses or performs in a subpar way against Juan Manuel Marquez. Hopefully Floyd and Manny will decide who is best inside the ring."
Mike Coppinger: I chose Floyd Mayweather as No. 1 because I had him there prior to his inactivity, and I see no reason not to put him back after a knockout victory over the No. 2 welterweight. Controversy or not, Mayweather was dominating Ortiz and well on his way to a knockout or wide points victory. Also, these rankings are objective, and I thoroughly maintain that Mayweather would beat Pacquiao, should they ever meet, as Mayweather would use his effective counter-punching and defense to defeat the Pacman.
Marty Mulcahey: I voted Floyd Mayweather Jr. at No. 3 based mostly on lack of activity, with his aging (Ortiz excluded, of course) opposition a secondary consideration. I found Sergio Martinez's stoppage results to be more compelling, and Martinez also achieved this against an equal caliber of opponent – if his foes’ primes are considered. An average of one fight a year does not create an equal margin of error, because the sample size is too small to properly evaluate when compared with his contemporaries, in my opinion.
Lem Satterfield: I left Manny at No. 1 because he has not lost. As far as the rest, I believe that Mayweather could be better than the other two and also Pacquiao, but that his inactivity measured against the activity of those such as Martinez and Donaire should leave him behind them. In addition, Martinez and Donaire have each vanquished opponents who are better, in my mind, than Ortiz. Martinez beat Pavlik, Williams and Dzinziruk, and Donaire beat Montiel. I could easily see Mayweather above either of them , but that is my rationale.
Dave Weinberg: I voted Mayweather No. 1 before he became ineligible for the poll because of inactivity. Since he fought again and won again, I saw no reason to demote him. He's still the best in my eyes until someone beats him.
Before I unveil the updated rankings, many thanks to Scott Christ of the Bad Left Hook blog for joining the voting panel.
With that, the newest Top 10:
1. Manny Pacquiao
Points: 413 (26 of 43 first-place votes)
Record: 53-3-2 (38 KOs)
Title: WBO welterweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Shane Mosley on May 7
Previous ranking: 1
Up next: Nov. 12 vs. No. 5 Juan Manuel Marquez
Analysis:Pacquiao arguably game's best offensive fighter
2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Points: 390 (17 of 43 first-place votes)
Record: 42-0 (26 KOs)
Title: WBC welterweight champion
Last outing: KO4 over Victor Ortiz on Sept. 17
Previous ranking: NR
Up next:Nothing scheduled
Analysis:Can he be convinced to take on Pacquiao in a 1 vs. 2 in the spring?
3. Sergio Martinez
Record: 47-2-2 (26 KOs)
Title: Ring, WBC middleweight champion emeritus
Last outing: TKO8 Sergiy Dzinziruk on March 12
Previous ranking: 2
Up next: Oct. 1 vs. Darren Baker
Analysis: Doesn't have a lot of great options to face at middleweight
4. Nonito Donaire Jr.
Record: 26-1 (18 KOs)
Title: WBC, WBO bantamweight champion
Last outing: TKO2 over Fernando Montiel on Feb. 19
Previous ranking: 3
Up next:Oct. 22 vs. Omar Narvaez in New York
Analysis:May be sport's most complete fighter, and with most upside
5. Juan Manuel Marquez
Record: 53-5-1 (39 KOs)
Title: WBA, WBO, Ring lightweight champion
Last outing: TKO1 over Likar Ramos on July 16
Previous ranking: 4
Up next: Nov. 12 vs. No. 1 Manny Pacquiao
Analysis:If he can stay off the canvas, may have style to defeat Pacquiao
6. Andre Ward
Record: 24-0 (13 KOs)
Title: WBA super middleweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Arthur Abraham on May 14
Previous ranking: 5
Up next: Oct. 29 vs. Carl Froch for Super Six championship
Analysis: 2004 Gold Medalist hasn't lost fight in 13 years
7. Wladimir Klitschko
Record: 56-3 (49 KOs)
Title: Ring, IBF, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion
Last outing: W12 over David Haye on July 2
Previous ranking: 6
Up next:Likely on Dec. 10 vs. Jean Marc Mormeck in Germany
Analysis: Punches like a heavyweight, as agile as a middleweight
8. Timothy Bradley
Record: 27-0 (11 KOs)
Title: WBO super lightweight champion, WBC super lightweight champion in recess
Last outing: TD10 over Devon Alexander in Pontiac, Mich., on Jan. 29
Analysis:Has only fought twice in last 21 months
9. Bernard Hopkins
Record: 52-5-2 (32 KOs)
Title: WBC light heavyweight champion
Last outing: W12 over Jean Pascal on May 21
Previous ranking: 8
Up next:Vs. Chad Dawson in Los Angeles on Oct. 15
Analysis:Showing few signs of decline, even at age 46
10. Lucian Bute
Record: 29-0 (24 KOs)
Title: IBF super middleweight champion
Last outing: KO4 Jean Paul Mendy on July 9
Previous ranking: 9
Up next: Vs. Glen Johnson in Quebec City on Nov. 5
Analysis:One of boxing's best body punchers
Others receiving votes: Vitali Klitschko, 47; Yuriorkis Gamboa, 33; Amir Khan, 27; Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, 23; Carl Froch, 16; Miguel Cotto, 7; Chris John, 5; Giovani Segura, 3; Marco Huck, 2; Steve Cunningham, 1.
Voting panel:Al Bernstein, Showtime; Ron Borges, Boston Herald; Damian Calhoun, Orange County Register; Scott Christ, Bad Left Hook; Steve Cofield, Cagewriter; Dave Cokin, ESPN Radio 1100, Las Vegas; Mike Coppinger, BoxingScene; Gareth A. Davies, London Telegraph; Andrew Eisele, About.com; Corey Erdman, Sirius/XM; Steve Farhood, Showtime; Doug Fischer, RingTV.com; Thomas Gerbasi, BoxingScene.com; Nick Giongco, Manila Bulletin; Carlos Gonzalez, Primera Hora; Randy Gordon, Sirius/XM; Lee Groves, Ring Magazine; Thomas Hauser, Seconds Out; Rafael Hernandez Brito, Univision; 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; Santos Perez, Miami Herald; Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports; Cliff Rold, BoxingScene.com; Michael Rosenthal, RingTV.com; Lem Satterfield, RingTV.com; Tim Smith, New York Daily News; Tim Starks, The Queensbury Rules; Don Steinberg, Philadelphia Inquirer/Wall Street Journal; T.K. Stewart, BoxingScene.com; Dave Weinberg, Press of Atlantic City; George Willis, New York Post.
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