Doghouse Boxing’s Pac-Man Top Pound for Pound List
By Alex Pierpaoli (January 25, 2006) 
Parody © icheehuahua
After Manny Pacquiao’s knockout victory on Saturday night, it seemed like a good time to reassess the top dozen, or so, fighters in the sport. So without further adieu:

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. - He is the most naturally talented fighter on this list and it’s that alone that keeps him at number one after a 2005 that was hardly a Pound-for-Pound quality year. In January he defeated the top-ranked but not so impressive, Henry Bruseles, in July he thrashed the woefully outclassed Arturo Gatti, and in November Mayweather flattened Sharmba Mitchell, who looked already half beaten up even before the opening bell. If Floyd ends up meeting the painfully inconsistent Zab Judah rather than foes like Ricky Hatton or Antonio Margarito it’s going to be difficult to justify leaving Floyd at number one. Pretty Boy, it’s your move.

2. Winky Wright-This year he showed everyone how dominant he could be by utterly controlling Felix “Tito” Trinidad and then turning back the spirited effort of Sam Soliman while fighting an upper respiratory infection. But as has been the case for so much of his career it seems Winky may be left without a dance partner in 2006, while champion Jermain Taylor looks for lesser opposition. If given a shot it’s very likely Winky will dismantle Taylor, which of course makes the fight less likely to be made until HBO’s darling, promoter Lou DiBella, can make some easy money for himself and Taylor versus middles like Felix Sturm or even Wright’s last opponent, Sam Soliman. How Soliman ends up getting a shot at Taylor after losing to Wright—as is currently being suggested—is mind boggling. But a quick glance at HBO’s upcoming Miguel Cotto versus Gianluca Branco bout should convince most fans that the best match-ups aren’t always what HBO brings home.

3. Manny Pacquiao- He’s got spectacular knockout wins over two of the most celebrated Mexican warriors of the past five years and a draw versus the featherweight heir apparent, Juan Manuel Marquez. And considering his recent performances, is there anyone out there that wouldn’t favor Pacquiao in a rematch with Marquez? Pacquiao is a breath of fresh air for the sport and if ever there was a fighter with marketing appeal, it’s the Pac-man. His is a household name in the Philippines, and after watching Pacquiao’s post fight interview with Larry Merchant, it seems like a no-brainer for Madison Ave to scoop the pint sized bruiser up and get him to sell chewing gum, motor oil or even Pentium processors. Pacquiao is a mini Mike Tyson without the dark side and for so many fans that’s exactly what they’ve been waiting for.

4. Marco Antonio Barrera- Barrera has got to be getting old and perhaps this will be the year we see it. He was kayoed by the Pac-man, reborn again vs. Morales before the end of 2004; in 2005 he looked to be at the top of his game all over again. In 2006 will he rematch with Pacquiao and reverse the only defeat that really mars his post-Junior Jones career? Will we ever see J.M. Marquez vs. MAB? MAB vs. Morales 4? Barrera vs. Chavez is penciled in for March and with a win Barrera will claim a piece of the 135 title and even more accolades for an already Hall-of-Fame career.

5. Jose Luis Castillo- If there was a single fighter you could pick to help you out in a street fight it would be wise to choose the rough and relentless Castillo. His style is simply oppressive. Add to it the enormous pride- which undoubtedly contributed to his "inability" to make 135 in his rematch with Corrales- and Castillo is probably the most consistently dangerous fighter on this list. Factor in his close and controversial first fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and there’s simply no denying Castillo is one of boxing’s best.

6. Ricky Hatton – Hatton led the charge for 2005’s fighter of the year honor after his destruction of Kostya Tszyu and then follow-up kayo win over Carlos Maussa. The Hitman is one of the fight game’s most aggressive ruffians and he’s a major factor in why Floyd Mayweather decided to hop up to 147 before meeting Manchester’s Monster. This writer would love to see Hatton in against Jose Luis Castillo. On paper at least; that match-up looks as good as Corrales-Castillo, and like that classic, Hatton-Castillo could be fought in a phone booth as neither man would be willing to give any ground to the other.

7. Rafael Marquez – The younger Marquez hasn’t lost a fight since 2000 and has racked up six successful defenses of his IBF Bantamweight title since crumpling former P4P claimant, Tim Austin in 8 rounds in 2003. With 31 of his 35 victories coming by way of the knockout, Rafael is a bantamweight bruiser who would be a major star if he weighed 154 or more, and fought in some of the sports more glamorous divisions. A unification tournament at Bantamweight would add credibility to Marquez as it is more than likely he’d emerge as undisputed champion if the belts were consolidated through a tournament or box-off.

8. Juan Manuel Marquez – The elder Marquez is skilled, crafty, and slightly more controlled in his breakdown of opponents than his knockout punching brother. J.M.M. seems to have been left out of the Morales-Pacquiao-Barrera sweepstakes and it’s likely getting a fight, or a rematch, with one of them is the only way Marquez will be able to scramble his way up this list. Marquez meets the undefeated Indonesian Thin Man, Chris John, on February 4th and a win there would get him the WBA version of the 126 pound title, a decent bargaining chip in the bling-bling business of professional boxing.

9. Erik Morales- Whether or not we’ve seen the last of El Terrible remains to be seen but it’s likely he’ll be back to thrill fans after recovering from the Pac-man’s little fists of fury. Morales is a modern day gladiator who never fails to bring ferocity into all of his fights. Morales slugs when he shouldn’t and takes tough opponents when he could coast and it’s those qualities that make him the Pride of Tijuana. El Terrible has given us chills versus so many tough opponents and even in defeat versus Pacquiao on Saturday night he kept right on coming even when it was clear things were looking bleak; there are no words to quantify heart like that of Erik Morales.

10. Diego Corrales- Yes, he was knocked out cold by Castillo in their rematch but history shows people count out Chico Corrales at their own peril. After Mayweather defeated him and he went to prison many thought he’d never be back on top again. The first fight with Casamayor was another heartbreaking defeat that seemed more like an ending than anything else. But the human spirit can come back hard through effort and sacrifice and hard work and Diego Corrales, along with trainer Joe Goosen, has shown that there is nothing out of reach if you want it bad enough. The always gregarious Corrales is probably one of the most popular fighters on this list, perhaps because he is the one who seems most human; a warrior, who when he’s not in the ring, seems the most like one of us.

11. Jermain Taylor- They were both very close fights but it was Taylor who got the nod twice and deserves to pull ahead of the Executioner. But Taylor still has plenty to prove and it certainly seems he has the athleticism and the love of competition to become even better. Some suggest that after the two tough fights with Hopkins; doesn’t Taylor deserve an easier fight next instead of being dumped in versus Winky Wright? In this writer’s opinion, it’s because the fights with Hopkins were so close and controversial that Jermain Taylor needs a win over Winky to solidify his claim on the 160 pound crown.

12. Bernard Hopkins- By the time Hopkins started to put the screws to Jermain Taylor with his choppy roughhouse style in rounds nine, ten, eleven and twelve, of their first fight in July, he had too much work to do to make a convincing case for victory. That was the case, for the majority of the official judges anyway, in both fights with Jermain Taylor. In 2005 it was clear that Hopkins, though still formidable, is simply not the fighter he used to be. “I’m fresh as a daisy” Hopkins said to trainer Nazim Richardson at one point versus Taylor in their rematch. No B-Hop, sadly, you’re not so fresh anymore.

Tied at 13. Jeff Lacy & Joe Calzaghe – Boxing fans have been looking forward to this match-up of undefeated bruisers for a very long time. Finally, the super middleweight kayo-artist of tomorrow, Lacy, meets the hundred sixty-eight pound destroyer of yesterday, Calzaghe. Let’s hope the result is definitive and not controversial as was the case with Calzaghe’s wins over Omar Sheika and Byron Mitchell. It’s doubtful that this fight will end any other way than with a knockout.

The P4P potentials; guys one or two wins away from being in the top twelve; in no particular order: Antonio Margarito, Israel Vazquez, Jorge Arce, Jose Navarro, Brian Viloria, James Toney, Kostya Tszyu, Antonio Tarver, Glencoffe Johnson, Zahir Raheem, Joel Casamayor, Ivan Calderon and maybe even Ike Quartey.

By the way, while we’re on the subject of pound-for-pound stars, whatever happened to Cory Spinks and Vernon Forrest?
© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing 1998-2005