Dougie’s Friday mailbag
POUND FOR POUND RANKINGS
What up Doug,
So I know nobody will ever agree on the P4P list…but a few questions for you.
1 – Why is Wlad Klitschko not number 1? He has been dominant for years and years and has beaten anybody and everybody put in front of him. No offence to GGG or Kovalev but what have they done in comparison? Although they are both great fighters
2 – How did Kell Brook make it into the top ten? Great fighter but apart from Shawn Porter who has he faced of merit? (Didn’t know Frankie Gavin and Jo Jo Dan were so good)
3 – Why is Andre Ward on the list?
Peace out. – Hassan, Leicester, England
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions about THE RING’s latest Pound-for-Pound Top 10 (even though “mythical” rankings is THE most meaningless thing that boxing fans get bent out of shape about).
You are absolutely right about pound-for-pound rankings – nobody will ever agree 100 percent with anyone’s top 10. That’s just the nature of mythical rankings. There are no set criteria. Fans should just have fun with ’em and engage in friendly, harmless debate, but that’s simply not what folks do in the social media age. LOL.
I gotta tell ya, though, I asked every Hardcore Harry who had a problem with THE RING’s P4P to give me their own mythical top 10 and EVERY ONE of those lists sucked a__! LOL.
But, hey, I’m an a__hole, so of course I would think that.
Anyway, I’ll answer your questions in order (and try not to spend too much time on this subject – seriously folks, if you’re day is ruined by somebody’s pound-for-pound rankings, you need to get out more):
1) I was surprised by the lack of respect Wladdy has among my fellow RING editors and members of the Ratings Advisory Panel. Personally, I think he could go as high as No. 2 (sorry buddy, now that Floyd Mayweather is gone NOBODY’s getting in front of my dear Chocolatito!). I’m impressed with his unbeaten streak, the fact that he holds all but one of the major belts, his title defense numbers (which are approaching all-time great status), and his recent dominant performances against top contenders (Povetkin and Pulev). However, others see his reign differently. They say part of his dominance is due to his size, and point out that he often has a significant weight advantage. (I don’t completely agree with this notion. I think his technical/nullifying style has as much to do with his dominance than his size, although one can argue that they work together – such as his grab and hold/mount tactics.) Others simply say that the heavyweight division is very weak (especially in comparison to some of the divisions that are represented in the P4P list – flyweight, junior featherweight, welterweight). Can’t really argue with that. I like Wladdy a lot but I have to admit that his detractors make valid points.
2) I was shocked by the amount of complaints about Brook making the No. 10 spot of the revised rankings (and it was mostly from UK fans!). He BARELY made the cut, folks! Calm down. We think highly of Special K. He’s never lost a fight (only really struggled once, against Carson Jones, which he made up for in the rematch) and looks like the goods to us. The Sheffield man had a wonderful blend of natural talent, athletic ability, technique and skill. Even so, we almost went with someone else. I think RING editor Michael Rosenthal was very clear about this in the Ring Ratings Update article that accompanied the new P4P top 10:
We considered a number of other fighters for No. 10, including Tim Bradley, Canelo Alvarez, Naoya Inoue and (Juan) Estrada, but decided upon Brook because of his recent dominance – including a clear decision over Shawn Porter – against good opposition.
The winner of the Alvarez-Miguel Cotto fight Nov. 21 is likely to crack the Top 10, particularly if he gives a strong performance.
I would have been fine with ANY of the candidates that Rosenthal mentioned (my personal choice was Inoue).
3) Ward was the No. 2- (or No. 3-) rated fighter on the P4P at the time we had to drop him for inactivity. Once he became active again, we put him back in the rankings. Rosenthal went into this in the article:
Ward met with some resistance because of his relative inactivity the past few years and weak opponent in his comeback fight, Paul Smith.
Our response to that is this. First, ask yourself, “Who are the best fighters in the world regardless of weight at this moment?” Second, ask yourself, “Can one truly argue that Ward – layoff or no layoff, Smith or no Smith – is not one of the two or three best fighters?”
We feel the answer to that question is obvious: Of course, he is. That’s why he re-entered the list at No. 2.
Personally, I thought Ward came back a little too high on the list. I also think everybody’s favorite Cuban, Guillermo Rigondeaux, is rated too high.
But ya know what? It’s not Dougie’s Pound-for-Pound Rankings. It’s THE RING’s Pound-for-Pound Top 10 and we (the editors) did our best to take everyone’s opinions into consideration before compiling it. I think we did a pretty good job.
Is it perfect? No. But hey, we never claimed to be the best boxing editors, pound for pound, in the business.
GOING OUT ON TOP
Short question for you boxapedic brain. Has there been another time when the “recognized” P4P fighter retired while they were still considered the best in the sport? – Joel in Montreal
I can’t think of anyone. As far as I know, it’s just Floyd.
It’s possible that Sugar Ray Leonard was considered No. 1, pound for pound, by most sports writers when he retired (for a few years) in 1982, but the mythical rankings weren’t a big deal back then, so who knows? I’ve got issues of THE RING from the early- to mid-1980s and a pound-for-pound top 10 is not included with the magazine’s divisional rankings.
The term, “pound for pound,” was sometimes used in stories about the most talented and dominant boxers between 1980 and ’86 (Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Hector Camacho, Marvin Hagler, Donald Curry) but pound-for-pound rankings didn’t begin to appear in the mag until the later part of the decade when Mike Tyson emerged as a bona fide superstar (and topped the list until he lost to Buster Douglas at the start of 1990).
Happy Friday Doug.
I am fairly ignorant to how drug testing works and has worked in boxing so I’ll ask my questions and hope you can clear it up for me.
- Prior to the whole Floyd push for Olympic Style Testing (which it really isn’t since it’s not year round), how was drug testing conducted? Did the NAC test fighters during camp randomly? Blood and urine? Random? Some Manny detractors are quick to say Manny was on PEDs, but wasn’t he passing whatever tests were administered? Or are they angry he wasn’t submitting to the USADA/WADA tests during camp the way Floyd decided? Do all fighters submit to this “Olympic Testing?” Or can they just submit to whatever NAC requires?
- Floyd and USADA basically went behind the backs of WADA and NAC? So it’s safe to say he doesn’t even follow the testing program that he’s talked about incessantly over the years?
- I heard Oscar took an IV before the Manny fight. Would WADA and NAC ever grant a TUE for the amount of IV fluid Floyd took if the fighter went about it correctly? If so, what would the circumstances be and how would the fighter go about it?
Thanks. – Matt
Thanks for sharing your questions Matt. I’m not an expert on drug testing either, so I’ll try my best to answer them (in order). (If I don’t answer your questions to your satisfaction, you might want to try contacting former boxing writer Gabriel Montoya – who still weighs in on the sport through his podcast with Steve Kim, The Next Round – via Twitter. Golden Gate Gabe’s Twitter handle is @Gabriel_Montoya)
1) Until recent years, most commissions just tested a fighter’s urine prior to and after his or her fight. Boxing’s drug testing was basically non-existent in comparison to other major pro sports and amateur competitions. The commissions used to mainly screen for stimulants and banned/illegal recreational drugs (like cocaine – which is also considered a stimulant – and marijuana). The Nevada State Athletic commission began testing for anabolic steroids in 2002. The first notable boxer who was caught was Fernando Vargas after his showdown with Oscar De La Hoya. However, there were several drugs that were banned in other sports that boxers were not tested for. For example, Shane Mosley admitted that he injected the doping agent EPO into his body prior to his rematch with De La Hoya in 2003. However, that drug was not banned or screened for in the state of Nevada (or anywhere else at the time), so the result of that fight – a controversial unanimous decision for Mosley – still stands. (Had Mosley been busted for a drug that was banned by the NSAC the result would have been changed to a “No Contest.”) EPO, along with most of the PEDs on WADA/USADA’s prohibited list, are now banned by the NSAC (and by most of the major boxing commissions, California, New York, New Jersey, etc.) However, that doesn’t mean those commissions are regularly testing for those substances. Often the fighters involved in bouts that are not being handled by USADA or VADA are not randomly tested in the weeks leading into their bout, and are generally given announced tests the day(s) before and day of the fight (unless one of the fighter’s has a history of failing drug tests, such as MMA standout Alistair Overeem, who was nabbed by NSAC’s random testing in 2012). Yes, Manny Pacquiao has passed every standard drug test administered by a boxing commission that he’s taken, as well as two advanced testing periods administered by VADA. Are Pacquiao’s detractors “angry he wasn’t submitting to the USADA/WADA tests during camp the way Floyd decided?” Most “Manny Detractors” are really just “Floydiots,” so who the f__k knows what’s going on in their beady little minds? I don’t think they have original thoughts or opinions. They just follow whatever Mayweather directs them to think. The only boxer who has undergone Olympic-style drug testing is Nonito Donaire. Fighters can volunteer to be tested by VADA or USADA.
2) I wouldn’t say “Floyd and USADA basically went behind the backs of WADA and NSAC.” As I understand the situation, USADA allowed Mayweather to administer a practice prohibited by WADA (an IV fluid infusion of more than 50 ml during a six-hour period) due to a Therapeudic Use Exemption (TUE). So I wouldn’t say that Mayweather “doesn’t even follow the testing program that he’s talked about incessantly over the years.” I would say that he’s taking advantage of the legal loopholes of a flawed and overly lenient system (as countless MMA fighters have done).
3) De La Hoya reportedly had an IV after the weigh-in for the Pacquiao fight. If you recall, that fight took place at a welterweight catchweight. De La Hoya, who had been fighting at junior middleweight, had not made 147 pounds in more than seven years. He wound up overdoing it and came in at 145 pounds (which was not good). In that situation the IV makes some sense. I don’t get how Mayweather, who weighed 150.5 pounds 30 days prior to his fight with Pacquiao, drained himself to the point of needing two IV infusions totaling 750 ml of fluids after weighing in at 146. “Would WADA and NAC ever grant a TUE for the amount of IV fluid Floyd took if the fighter went about it correctly?” Um, dude, they did (USADA and NSAC). LOL. As far as they are concerned Mayweather did everything correctly. Case closed (if you’re a Floydiot).
WEIGHT GAIN AND FIGHTER SAFETY
Long time reader of your mailbag but this is my first query to you. Watching the Peter Quillin fight this past weekend the announcers noted he rehydrated to 182 lbs, putting on 22 lbs since the official weigh in, while his opponent only put on 6. So in essence it was a cruiserweight fighting a super middleweight. I know they moved the weigh-in to the day before a fight for fighter safety, but have the boxing organizations or commissions ever considered putting a limit to how much weight a fighter can add between weigh-in and fight time?
Thanks and keep up the great work covering the sport. – Eric
Thanks for finally writing to the mailbag, Eric. Sorry it took the near-murder of a grossly overmatched opponent on national TV to get you to do it.
In answer to your question, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) has a rule where the participants of their title bouts must take part in a “second-day” (morning of the fight) weigh-in in which they are required not to weigh more than 10 pounds over the contracted weight or divisional weight limit. (So a boxer fighting for the IBF light heavyweight title could not weigh more than 185 pounds the morning of the fight.)
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission (PSAC) has had the same rule for all bouts that take place in its jurisdiction for the past 11 years.
Greg Sirb, the Executive Director for the PSAC and former President of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), proposed that the ABC update the Unified Rules that most commissions follow for title bouts (or at the request of promoters/managers/participants) to include mandatory second-day weigh-ins after he was appalled by Orlando Salido’s blatant abuse of the previous-day weigh-in to gain a significant weight advantage against Vasyl Lomachenko last March.
I’m sure Sirb was disgusted by Quillin’s extreme weight gain on Saturday, as most viewers were.
What bothered me was that Quillin – who is universally regarded as a top-five middleweight contender – didn’t need to have that ridiculous weight advantage against the unheralded and unrated Michael Zerafa. The fight was a gross mismatch to begin with! The 16-pound weight advantage just added insult to injury (or would that be injury to insult?)
Whatever. It’s just plain WRONG.
I agree with Sirb. I think day-before weigh-ins are a joke. I wish the sport could go back to same-day weigh-ins.
THE HYPOTHETICAL MAYWEATHER
Where would you rank The Hypothetical Mayweather in your all-time rankings?
You’re not familiar with The Hypothetical Mayweather? Well, he fought and defeated: Casamayor at 130 or 135; Freitas at 130 or 135; Tszyu at 140; Cotto at 147; Williams at 147; Pacquiao a few years earlier; and de la Hoya a few years earlier. He also retired just before taking that ridiculous Berto fight.
By the way, as a Mayweather fan, I realize that his actual 49-0 record is vulnerable to criticism – some of which I think is entirely valid. But it’s relatively easy to diminish even the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard (who I rank above Mayweather and probably in the Top 10 all time). Ray defeated Hearns when Tommy was just a 22 year old pup without enough championship level experience to clinch after getting hurt by a dangerous SOB like Leonard (and Tommy out-boxed Ray both times). Ray intentionally timed the second Duran fight immediately after Duran blew up to 200 pounds celebrating his initial victory, and thus made sure that he was not fighting the same Duran. Ray delayed the Hagler fight until Marvin was an old 33 and past his prime, and then barely won or arguably lost (depending on your perspective). Oh, and there’s the fact that Ray fought a meager 40 times – the last two of which shouldn’t even count given his age. To be clear, even though I spent the 80’s rooting for Hearns and against Ray, and even though Ray’s record is subject to criticism, I still rate Leonard extremely high.
One last note. I’ve read the recent press. If it turns out that Mayweather used PEDs, then my opinion of his place among the ATGs will change dramatically. But until there’s actual evidence of PED use, as opposed to an IV of saline and vitamins that may or may not have been against the rules (depending on whose rules we’re discussing), I hope you will stop suggesting in your columns that he’s a cheater. I know, you said you’d give him the benefit of the doubt just like with Margarito, but after that you’ve made not-so-subtle suggestions to the contrary. Just because many of his fans are annoying, and just because he has done some deplorable things in his personal life, does not mean he used PEDs. And just because Hauser passes himself off as an objective journalist does not mean he has no axe to grind. – Marc
Whether Hauser has an “axe to grind” or not, he shed light on a lot of sketchy practices by Mayweather’s anti-doping agency of choice and he has posed a lot of legitimate questions about the manner in which USADA handled Floyd’s post-weigh-in IV use (among other PED-testing situations during their relatively brief time in professional boxing). I’m suspicious. I don’t trust Mayweather and I don’t trust USADA. And none of the statements I’ve read from USADA, the NSAC or Mayweather have answered the questions I have about that IV use (or USADA’s mishandling of the testing for the Danny Garcia-Erik Morales rematch and the Peter Quillin-Winky Wright fight).
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(By the way, do you think Mayweather and his dad had an “axe to grind” with Pacquiao when they insinuated that he was a PED user?)
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Regarding Leonard’s “meager” 40-bout pro career, he faced the absolute best fighters of the late 70s/early ’80s when his peers (Benitez, Duran, Hearns) were at their most formidable. Yeah, Hearns was 22, but he won the WBA welterweight title by obliterating a feared Mexican legend (Cuevas) and he had defended it three times (including a 13th-round stoppage of top-10 contender Randy Shields) before facing Leonard (the WBC titleholder). Hearns had also thrashed former titleholders Angel Espada and Saensak Muangsurin, and tough contenders like Bruce Curry and Harold Weston, on his way to winning his first title. Leonard and Hearns were the Nos. 1 and 2 welterweights when they fought in 1981. It was the right time for the bout (Hearns had wanted it earlier!) and they combined to produce the Fight of the Year and an all-time classic. It’s not Leonard’s fault that Duran pigged out after their savage first encounter. He didn’t put a gun to Duran’s head and force him to accept the rematch that quickly after the first fight. (Besides, even the rematch-version of Duran that got overly frustrated was a badass!) And yeah, I guess you could have called the 33-year-old Hagler “old” as long as you also called him the undisputed middleweight champ of the world, the pound-for-pound king and a 3-to-1 favorite to beat Leonard (who you forgot to mention was coming off a three-year layoff and had never fought at 160)! LOL.
Now, let’s get to this Hypothetical Mayweather. Wow! THIS guy is amazing! I have no problem recognizing Hypothetical Mayweather as an all-time great.
But is he TBE? I don’t know. It all depends. Do you think Hypothetical Mayweather is better than Hypothetical Roy Jones Jr.? You know, the “RJ” that unified middleweight titles against Gerald McClellan and John David Jackson, then beat Britain’s Dynamic Duo – Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank – at super middleweight, before unifying 168-pound belts against amateur rival Frankie Liles, and then jumping to light heavyweight, where he challenged and bested Dariusz Michalczewski right after the lineal champ unified WBO-WBA-IBF belts (against Virgil Hill). And then, just for s__ts and giggles, he beat undefeated 1996 Olympic gold medalist (and fellow Val Barker Award winner) Vassiliy Jirov to nab the IBF cruiserweight title.
Hey, what do you think about Hypothetical Sugar Ray Robinson? Oh waitÔÇª that’s rightÔÇª we don’t have to hypothesize Ray.
MAYWEATHER VS. THE ATGS
In the wake of Floyd Mayweather’s second retirement (he first retired in 2008), I was wondering how he matches up to other Welterweight Champions from the past.
Please let me know your thoughts on Floyd Mayweather (at 147, with both boxers at their peaks) vs:
Sugar Ray Robinson
Sugar Ray Leonard
Julio Cesar Chavez
Many thanks. – Nav Sandhu, Leicester, UK
You’re most welcome, Nav. Here are my picks for your mythical Mayweather matchups at welterweight:
Mickey Walker – Walker by mid-to-late stoppage
Barney Ross – Mayweather by competitive decision
Sugar Ray Robinson – Robinson by mid-to-late stoppage
Carmen Basilio – Basilio by late TKO or clear decision
Thomas Hearns – Hitman early to mid-rounds KO
Sugar Ray Leonard – Leonard by late stoppage or decisive decision
Wilfred Benitez – Benitez by close decision
Pernell Whitaker – Whitaker by close decision
Julio Cesar Chavez – Mayweather by close but clear decision (Note: Chavez never won a major title at 147 pounds)