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Doghouse Boxing’s Pound-For-Pound Best of The Sport
By Alex Pierpaoli (June 5, 2004) 
Bernard Hopkins
Considering the fact that 2 of the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing see action tonight, and in light of the recent seismic shifts in boxing’s underpinnings, it seemed only fitting to list boxing’s best. It’s not as easy these days considering two of the best are side-lined with injuries (Tszyu and Toney). As of right now, here are thirteen of the best fighters on earth and how they stack up…

1. Bernard Hopkins—remember, we here at doghouse had Hard Nard atop the pound-for-pound BEFORE May 15th when Antonio Tarver dropped a left hand on His Royness and knocked him out of the P4P picture—for now at least. Breaking the record for middleweight title defenses is impressive. It’s not the flashiest or most thrilling of records to break. It’s more likely the one that proves consistency and longevity at a single weight class. It’s not a dramatic distinction, it’s the dependable one, and maybe that’s why Hopkins doesn’t excite and thrill people. He doesn’t overwhelm opponents with power or speed and flurries, Hopkins breaks opponents down, often psychologically first, as well as physically. 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.—Pretty Boy was magnificent against Corley. No, he couldn’t put him away but give Little Floyd a break. No one else on this list has faced as many bad asses and no one is still undefeated save for little Floyd. He bang-bang-bangs with both hands and throws some of the most spectacular combinations and flurries in the game. They may not all be hard punches but they look good and they get the job done. Forget Gatti, Mayweather needs to face the winner of Tszyu-Mitchell for supremacy at 140.

3. 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. Wright’s not a power-puncher and his hands aren’t the quickest in the division but no one except for Hopkins would challenge Winky within 15 pounds north or south of 154.

Tied at 4. Manny PacquiaoJuan Manuel Marquez—Tied as the two best fighters at featherweight until they have the chance to settle the score, Marquez and Pacquiao elevated each other with the brilliance of their 12 round draw. It doesn’t get much better than their fight of May 8. Watching it the first time I thought Pacman edged out Marquez simply because he hurt him more often. For me, if a round was close but one guy hurt the other more often then he won the round. That left me with Pacquiao winning. But watching the fight again—and who couldn’t watch it three or four times more—I think Marquez dominated rounds 2-11. The fight was really broken into two pieces: a brutal first round and then 11 rounds that looked distinctly different. It’s as if they’ve already fought twice. Pacquiao won the first fight by 1st round TKO, and then Marquez got him back in an easy unanimous decision. By that logic I just can’t wait for their rubber match.

6. Antonio Tarver—what can be said that hasn’t already? He’s not The Man but he is the man who beat The Man so that gets him into the top ten.

7. Erik Morales—just a shade behind the guys tied at 4, Morales solidified himself as the number three man in the very talented 130 pound division with his exciting win over Jesus Chavez.

8. Oscar DeLaHoya—agreeing to face the most dangerous opponent of his generation in Bernard Hopkins makes De La Hoya the gutsiest Grammy nominee in the world. He should have no trouble with Felix Sturm and will likely cruise to a points win—then it’s Bring on Hopkins and September 18!

9. Roy Jones Jr.—Well, he fell 6 spots on this list and maybe that’s too many but even the most rabid of Roy disciples must admit their guy hasn’t looked good since he spanked John Ruiz. Jones has got to face Tarver a third time and he must avenge himself to prove he is a fighter and not just a gifted athlete. The proverbial ball is in your court Roy…

10. Cory Spinks—one of the few undisputed champs in the sport, Cory Spinks is cut from the same cloth as Tarver, Winky Wright or Vernon Forrest before them. Spinks has always been on the fringe and when given the chance proved he’s one of the better craftsmen in boxing. He’s not a big puncher and he’s no flurry throwing Meldrick Taylor styled welterweight, but he is a solid champ who should make interesting match-ups with Antonio Margarito or even Floyd Mayweather.

11. Mark Johnson—this pint-sized Hall-of-Famer used bolo punches to the sternum to finished off previously unbeaten Luis 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. If only he could seduce Luis Perez into a fight…

Tied at 12. Diego CorralesJoel Casamayor—pretty much the same deal here as at number 4 above. Casamayor dominated fight one, Corrales controlled the rematch, so we need one more to break the tie. If Corrales beats up on Freitas in August he’ll slip past his Cuban rival on this list.

Stay tuned, anything can happen Tonight, no matter how unlikely; and this list is subject to change without notice.

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