Pound for pound: Top 10s of Fischer, Rosenthal
Kevin Iole, the boxing writer for our partner Yahoo! Sports, raised the question in his most-recent column: How does one determine the best fighter in the world pound for pound?
Iole’s method mirrors that of many thoughtful observers: “I have always viewed the poll as a manner of deciding who would win if all fighters weighed the same and they fought each other,” he said.
Others take a different approach.
Doug Fischer and Michael Rosenthal, Co-Editors of RingTV.com, agree that a combination of ability and achievements — with heavy emphasis on quality of opposition — is the best means of determining the No. 1 fighter on the planet regardless of weight.
In other words, that lofty title must be earned to a great degree, according to Fischer and Rosenthal.
Thus, it’s no great surprise that the RingTV.com editors rate Pacquiao higher than Mayweather in their respective pound-for-pound Top 10 lists, which they forward to Iole each month as members of the Yahoo! Sports voting panel.
“Accomplishment and quality of opposition are the key criteria for my pound-for-pound ratings,” Fischer said. “Going undefeated and winning multiple titles, even in separate weight classes, is not enough to automatically merit pound-for-pound consideration in my opinion. This isn't Henry Armstrong's era of eight divisions and one world title for each weight class. We have four 'major' titles, 17 weight classes, and a lot of very unworthy alphabet 'contenders' in this era of the sport.
“Now more than ever talented fighters must prove their elite status by seeking out the best possible opposition. In other words: They must challenge themselves. Pacquaio is a good example of a world-class talent who consistently challenges himself.”
So which is the better method? Neither.
The approach taken by Fischer and Rosenthal is similar to the manner in which fighters should be ranked by the sanctioning bodies, by wins and losses with emphasis on quality of opposition.
That’s the only objective means of determining who should fight who for the various titles.
The beauty of the pound-for-pound ratings is that they play little to no role in the business of boxing. They’re merely a fun way to compare the best fighters in the world to one another.
The point is that everyone has their own criteria in determining the mythical king and no one who has truly done his or her homework is necessarily wrong.
“The thing that always strikes me is how worked up people get over the pound-for-pound ratings,” Rosenthal said. “It’s a matter of opinion, nothing more. One can argue that Mayweather is better than Pacquiao and vice versa. And both arguments are likely to be valid.
“This is supposed to fun, not fodder for a nasty war of words.”
In that spirit, Fischer and Rosenthal give you their Top 10 lists in the first installment of what will be a monthly feature on the Web site. Enjoy and, as always, give us your thoughts.
Doug Fischer’s Top 10
1. Manny Pacquiao: Fighter of the decade proved mettle by going 5-1-1 against fellow future hall of famers Marquez, Barrera and Morales.
2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.:Boxing’s best blend of talent, skill and technique is undefeated over 14 years. Toughest foe may be himself.
3. Juan Manuel Marquez: 37-year-old lightweight champ is last man to give Pacquiao a fight. Only decisive loss was to Mayweather in a welterweight bout.
4. Wladimir Klitschko: Heavyweight champ, on 13-bout win streak, has completely dominated his division for last four years.
5. Vitali Klitschko: 39-year-old former champ is every bit as dominant as younger brother.
6. Paul Williams: Former welterweight titleholder has been a contender in three divisions. Nov. 20 rematch with Martinez is proof he seeks challenges.
7. Sergio Martinez: Middleweight champ is 1-1-1 in his last three bouts but most thought he beat Kermit Cintron and some believe he deserved the nod against Williams. Title-winning fight with Kelly Pavlik and rematch with Williams proof Martinez relishes a challenge.
8. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: Flyweight champ has lost once in his last 69 bouts. Majority decision over Kameda in March clinched future Hall of Fame induction.
9. Fernando Montiel:Talented three-division beltholder is unbeaten in last 11 bouts, including impressive stoppage of Hasegawa in a title-unification bout.
10. Tomasz Adamek: Former cruiserweight champ, now rated at heavyweight, has won 11 bouts since his only loss, a decision to Dawson at light heavyweight. Veteran has been a contender in boxing’s three heaviest weight classes, which is very rare.
Michael Rosenthal’s Top 10
1. Manny Pacquiao: Most-impressive combination of ability and achievements. The greatest fighter of his generation.
2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Most-gifted and polished boxer must do more to prove he’s best.
3. Paul Williams: Must beat Martinez in more-convincing fashion in rematch to solidify position here.
4. Andre Ward: Complete fighter might be next dominant figure in boxing.
5. Sergio Martinez:Victory over Williams lifts late bloomer even higher.
6. Timothy Bradley: Talented but has other 140-pounders on his heels.
7. Juan Manuel Lopez: The new Puerto Rican star, loaded with talent and power, could be tested by veteran Rafael Marquez.
8. Wladimir Klitschko: Utter domination of division speaks volumes.
9. Vitali Klitschko: See Wladimir.
10. Juan Manuel Marquez: Old man proved against Juan Diaz that he has plenty left.