Some scribes and fans (I'm serious, there are quite a few of them) falsely equate pound-for-pound excellence with a lack of excitement. I look at the man above, light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, having joined this particular list of the best boxers in the world regardless of weight division as but one of many indicators that there's no relationship. Oh, it's true that sometimes good defensive fighters are better at winning than fighters who aren't. But for a long time, Manny Pacquiao was the consensus pound-for-pound king. He's still on the list, along with a whole host of fighters who have never or rarely been accused of being boring: Gennady Golovkin, Carl Froch, Juan Manuel Marquez, etc. There are some who have been saddled with the "boring" tag, but they're not even the majority. Basically, there are a ton of ways to be good at boxing in a p4p sense because, at least for this list, the main standard for qualifying is quality wins, especially of recent vintage. Only one of the ways of being a p4p boxer is is the "boring" way.
Anyways, we write hundreds of blog entries a year here at TQBR. Six of them are pound-for-pound updates. Welcome to the latest! Here is the one before this one. You'll notice Lucas Matthysse and Saul Alvarez are gone. Who replaced them? Stevenson and… and… (Go ahead, click to find out.)
1. Floyd Mayweather, junior middleweight
All Mayweather did in becoming junior middleweight champion of the world was kill any dissenting, minority notion that super middleweight champ Andre Ward deserved consideration for the #1 spot. Mayweather was as good as ever in taking down Alvarez. He'll be back in May, it would seem.
2. Andre Ward, super middleweight
After a long layoff, Ward will finally return to action this month against a quality contender in his division, Edwin Rodriguez. Even a wipeout win won't be enough to supplant Mayweather, though. Where once the gap was narrow, it is now wide. A loss by a rusty Ward would be highly damaging to his p4p stock, by contrast.
3. Timothy Bradley, welterweight
By defeating this list's #2 in October, Bradley bumped Ward up one spot and took a spot above the man he beat, Juan Manuel Marquez. It was a close win, but the best of his career — at least in the court of public opinion, what with few thinking Bradley defeated Pacquaio. His next step is up in the air.
4. Juan Manuel Marquez, welterweight
On achievement, I'd had Marquez above Ward, a rare sentiment. But after losing to Bradley, the 1-2-3 is now something like conventional wisdom. Interesting about that: All of them are Americans, two of them young-ish, putting to rest some of the usual panic about how American boxing is going down the toilet or whatever.
5. Carl Froch, super middleweight
Froch is another p4per who's fighting in November, against domestic rival George Groves. If he loses, I think it'll say more about the age gap — 36 vs. 25 — than about whether he belonged this high prior to the loss. Of course, he's the significant favorite against the young contender as of this moment.
6. Sergio Martinez, middleweight
I can't remember the last time I heard a word about Martinez's plans or health or anything. With his shaky win over Martin Murray earlier this year and being so innert, a win by #7 later this month means Martinez is sure to drop a slot.
7. Manny Pacquiao, welterweight
What with all the worries about boxers' health because of what happened to Frankie Leal, and then to Magomed Absulamov this past weekend, Pacquiao taking on a huge puncher like Brandon Rios this month after that KO by Marquez has more people thinking about the danger level of that fight than what Pacquiao's win would mean.
8. Wladimir Klitschko, heavyweight
Klitschko at long last took on a higher caliber of heavyweight, defeating Alexander Povetkin after taking on a string of nobodies. It still wasn't enough to get him above Pacquiao or Martinez, although I did give it a moment's thought for the now-heavyweight-champ-in-everyone's-eyes.
9. Danny Garcia, junior welterweight
On the same card where Mayweather became true junior middleweight champ, Garcia became true junior welterweight champ. Garcia had p4p top 20 stock before beating Matthysse, but considering how few picked him to beat the Argentinian, it's clear many of us underestimated him.
10. Guillermo Rigondeaux, junior featherweight
It took forever, but Rigo finally got himself a fight. He'll be back in December against Joseph Agbeko. Given Agbeko's rust and how unproven he is at 122, I'm hard-pressed to imagine a scenario where Rigo moves up the p4p standings with a win — but he could solidify his standing a little, anyway.
11. Nonito Donaire, featherweight
Vic Darchinyan has something left, for sure, but Donaire beating him this coming weekend simply isn't going to get him above the man who beat him earlier this year, Rigo.
12. Bernard Hopkins, light heavyweight
The 48-year-old just had one of his most fun bouts in years, and beat a contender-level fighter in Karo Murat. That and his body of work was enough to bump him a couple spots.
13. Roman Gonzalez, flyweight
Gonzalez is moving up to flyweight officially, and he's targeting Juan Carlos Reveco. A win over that caliber of opposition could get him into the top 10.
14. Adonis Stevenson, light heavyweight
This debut might seem high, but Stevenson was only on the outside of the top 20 because of doubts about whether he beat a "done" Chad Dawson. With the way he beat up Tavoris Cloud in September, he's clearly for real.
15. Adrien Broner, welterweight
In between appearing on sex tapes, apologizing for appearing on sex tapes and gaining weight, Broner has to be getting ready for the Marcos Maidana fight in December, right?
16. Mikey Garcia, junior lightweight
Garcia is making his official junior lightweight debut this weekend and his opponent is no joke: Rocky Martinez. It could buy him a spot or more. Could.
17. Juan Francisco Estrada, flyweight
Estrada might want a Gonzalez rematch (I might too!) but he might have to deal with a mandatory belt challenge from Giovani Segura, who beat Tyson Marquez this weekend in a thriller. Good fight, Estrada-Segura.
18. Gennady Golovkin, middleweight
What Golovkin did this weekend to Stevens was impressive, but his resume is still lighter than everyone else's above him. He's here still in part because of the secondary standard, "the eyeball test."
19. Jhonny Gonzalez, featherweight
Gonzalez crashed the top 20 after upsetting Abner Mares, although I was uneasy with the call. The rematch has been moved to 2014.
20. Abner Mares, featherweight
See above. But Mares had a top-10 resume prior to the Gonzalez loss, and I was uneasy about him departing even with the upset 1st round knockout loss.
Honorable mentions: Shinsuke Yamanaka; Vitali Klitschko (inactive); Saul Alvarez; Lucas Matthysse; Mikkel Kessler; Anselmo Moreno; Chad Dawson; Brian Viloria; Chris John; David Haye; Austin Trout, Miguel Cotto; Devon Alexander