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Doghouse Boxing's Pound-For-Pound: The Best of the Sweet Science
By Alex Pierpaoli (April 14, 2004) 
Bernard Hopkins
With James Toney and Kostya Tszyu on the shelf for at least the next 3-6 months, it’s time we removed them from the top ten pound-for-pound. Maybe it’s the wrong thing to do but it’s unfair to the healthy active fighters out there who are getting things done.

But don’t fret, fans of Light’s Out and the Thunder from Down Under can rest assured that their heroes will get their just due when they heal up and climb back into the ring. Until then let’s take a look at the top ten pound-for-pound as it stands now…

1. Bernard Hopkins—This may be one of the few places you’ll find Hard Nard atop the pound-for-pound list and from the e-mails I’ve gotten we’re not winning any popularity contests with our choice. But here at Doghouse we value record breaking title defenses, staying king of one division forever, and the rough-hewn craftiness of a suspicious ex-con. He’s ornery, outspoken and one of the toughest middleweights in history, whether you like him or not...and we love him.

2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.—He’s leaving the lightweight division with a little bit of unfinished business in Lazcano and Spadafora but it seems the powers that be won’t let those matches take place. If he gets past Demarcus Corley next month, which is likely, a welterweight showdown with Cory Spinks is an attractive match-up that seems almost probable, especially if you catch the clip of the vociferous exchange between them at the Spinks-Judah post fight presser on

3. Roy Jones Jr.—Next month Roy gets to erase the specter of doubt which hangs over his bout with Antonio Tarver. Never had an opponent come as close to defeating the Prince of Pensacola as Antonio Tarver did back in November for the light heavyweight championship. Judging from his slim appearance and narrow wrists poking out of his shirtsleeves on the HBO tux he wore during this weekend’s telecast; Roy looks like a light heavyweight again. If he’s right and the reason he didn’t dominate Tarver was because of the drop in weight from heavy, we’ll find out if Roy can perform as well in this rematch as he did with Montell Griffin.

4. Winky Wright—After years of toiling in relative obscurity on the undercards of Roy Jones mismatches, the crafty old fixture at 154 soundly defeated the courageous but recently one-dimensional Sugar Shane Mosley to become the Undisputed champ. Whether he faces a come-backing Tito Trinidad, Mosley in a rematch or #1 contender Kassim Ouma in his next bout, it is very unlikely anyone but Bernard Hopkins poses much threat to King Winky. Wright’s not a power-puncher and his hands aren’t the quickest in the division but no one except for Hopkins is as complete a fighter from 160 on down.

5. Erik Morales—After an exciting bout with Jesus Chavez at 130, Morales solidified himself as the number three man in that very talented division and added another title to his impressive record. With several Superfight opportunities on the horizon at 126(Pacquiao or Marquez) or 130(Casamayor, Corrales, or Freitas) it’s good to be El Terrible these days.

6. Manny Pacquiao—The Filipino destroyer is reportedly clobbering his sparring partners in preparation for his meeting with Juan Manuel Marquez on May eighth and the same is being said about his Mexican opponent. This writer is leaning toward the Pac-man in that match-up but it’s no easy fight to pick. Pacquiao’s swarming offense might overwhelm Marquez early as it did Barrera, but Marquez doesn’t have the wear and tear on him that Barrera did, and what happens if Marquez is unfazed by the Filipino’s assault? In just a few more weeks we’ll find out who the best featherweight is, and we may need to adjust our list.

7. Oscar DeLaHoya—Although it is getting hard to justify the Golden Boy’s position due to inactivity alone, he has agreed to face the most dangerous opponent of his generation in Bernard Hopkins. De La Hoya has a June date with middleweight Felix Sturm which is as much a tune-up as it is the chance to acquire the obligatory lightly regarded alpha-belt so that the Hopkins showdown can be considered a Unification Bout. Whatever. As long as it happens we’re happy…But let’s not forget, Oscar has postponed quite a few important fights in the past and it’s a long time till fall.

8. Cory Spinks—His victory over Judah looked more like a draw to this writer, but the fact remains that Spinks controlled the first half of the fight and survived Judah’s late rally to secure the win. Add his dominant win over the overrated and much ballyhooed Ricardo Mayorga in December and we’ve got another well-rounded fighter in the top ten who is more tactician than tyrant, more craftsman than killer. A rematch with Judah is certainly a possibility considering their promoter has no problems with seemingly endless rematches for some of his fighters (i.e. Holyfield-Ruiz, Nelson-Leija) but Floyd Mayweather has thrown down the proverbial gauntlet for a Spinks bout and Pretty Boy versus the Jinx would be an instant classic for the undisputed welterweight title.

9. Mark Johnson—His recent undercard win over undefeated Luis Bolano was almost lost in the headlines about Goosen and Corrales’ victory over Team Casamayor which was unfortunate because it was a signature kayo from this pint-sized Hall-of-Famer. Bolo punches to the sternum finished off Bolano in about as spectacular a stoppage as this writer has seen this year. Like Bernard Hopkins, Mark Johnson is another fighter who reminds us that getting old isn’t about a number; it’s more about lifestyle and this ex-con turned entrepreneur looks to be turning back the clock with each win.

10. Diego Corrales—Chico slips right into the same slot occupied by Casamayor just a few months ago. In his rematch effort, Corrales rediscovered his jab under the tutelage of Joe Goosen, and scored a close but impressive win over the Cuban southpaw. Corrales and Casamayor will need to meet once more to settle things between them but in the meantime terrific match-ups could be made versus Freitas or Morales in the talent rich 130 pound weight class.

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