Boxing

Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Boxers After Bradley vs. Marquez Bout

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2013

Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Boxers After Bradley vs. Marquez Bout

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Undefeated American welterweight Timothy Bradley boxed his way to a win over legendary champion Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas Saturday. But was it enough to move up to the top spot in the world? And what does Marquez's loss do to his position among the very best?

    Bleacher Report has you covered.

    Fighters are ranked by quality of recent opposition, strength of resume and how willing the fighter is to accepting all comers.

25. Marco Huck (36-2-1, 25 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Marco Huck has been in tough against the likes of Denis Lebedev and Firat Arslan and has come out the better of it. In addition, Huck almost outpointed former heavyweight titlist Alexander Povetkin in 2012, losing a hotly disputed majority decision.

    Previous Rank: 24

    2013 Highlight: He’s fought old rival Ola Afolabi twice since last May, picking up a draw and a close majority decision to go along with his 2009 unanimous decision win.

    Who He Should Fight Next: A bout against Cuba’s Yoan Pablo Hernandez would crown a lineal champion in the division, according to the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

24. Adonis Stevenson (22-1, 19 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: The Haitian-born Canadian has knocked out former champs Chad Dawson and Tavoris Cloud in succession. In the latter, he showed competent boxing skills that prove he’s much more than just a phenomenal puncher.

    Previous Rank: Unranked

    2013 Highlight: Adonis Stevenson’s one-punch knockout of Dawson was one of the most stunning Round 1 moments in boxing history. It will not soon be forgotten.

    Who He Should Fight Next: The most interesting fight out there for Stevenson would be a rumble with undefeated slugger Sergey Kovalev.

23. Devon Alexander (25-1, 14 KOs)

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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Devon Alexander is a tough, hardworking southpaw with a nice jab. His lone loss was a 10-round technical decision to Timothy Bradley, and he has defeated notable contenders along the way, including Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse.

    Previous Rank: 22

    2013 Highlight: Alexander defeated Lee Purdy in a stay-busy fight earlier this year in just seven rounds. Since then, he’s tried his hand chasing bouts against big names like Amir Khan and Floyd Mayweather.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Short of an improbable bout against Mayweather, Alexander’s best option at welterweight would probably be Khan.

22. Miguel Cotto (38-2, 31 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Miguel Cotto leaps into the Top 25 after his virtuoso performance against Delvin Rodriguez. At 32, Cotto looked like a younger version of himself, stalking and hurling devastating body blows at his retreating opponent for three minutes of every round.

    Previous Rank: Unranked

    2013 Highlight: Cotto’s TKO 3 over Rodriguez put him right back on the map in terms of lucrative megafights.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Team Cotto is hoping to get a crack at middleweight champion Sergio Martinez next year, and that’s exactly the right fight for him: big, important and winnable.

21. Austin Trout (26-1, 14 KOs)

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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Former titlist Austin Trout outclassed Cotto at MSG in New York last year, proving he’s near the cream of the crop in the staunch junior middleweight division. He was subsequently outboxed by Canelo Alvarez in his last outing, but the decision was razor-thin and could have gone either way.

    Previous Rank: 21

    2013 Highlight: Trout’s lone 2013 appearance was his loss to Alvarez in San Antonio. Had he not hit the deck in Round 7, he might still be undefeated.

    Who He Should Fight Next: There probably isn’t a more interesting fight in the junior middleweight division than Austin Trout vs. Erislandy Lara. It’d be a battle of dangerous southpaws no one else wants to face.

20. Adrien Broner (27-0, 22 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: The tremendously talented Adrien Broner has moved up in weight like an all-time great. He jumped two weight classes to defeat Paulie Malignaggi earlier this year, but he didn’t quite live up to the hype.

    Previous Rank: 20

    2013 Highlight: Broner’s TKO 5 over Gavin Rees was all flash, smash and dash, exactly what fans want to see when they turn on a Broner fight.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Broner appears to be on a collision course with Maidana next in what would be exactly the right fight for him right now. Maidana is a serious challenge.

19. Chris John (48-0-3, 22 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Chris John is undefeated and a longtime featherweight titleholder. While he fights almost exclusively halfway around the world, he does have wins over former title challenger Rocky Juarez and all-timer Juan Manuel Marquez.

    Previous Rank: 19

    2013 Highlight: Fans saw very little of John in 2013. His bout against Satoshi Hosono was ruled a technical draw due to a head-butt which caused a Round 3 stoppage.

    Who He Should Fight Next: John should buck the trend and come to the United States for a bout against rising star Mikey Garcia. A win for either man would mean more than any other possible opponent this year.  

18. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Alvarez, 23, lost a majority decision to Mayweather in September. He fought a tough and competitive bout but didn’t come into the fight with a good game plan. Still, Alvarez is probably the best junior middleweight in the world not named Mayweather.

    Previous Rank: 18

    2013 Highlight: Nothing could have been bigger for Alvarez in 2013 than sharing the stage with the preeminent athlete on the planet, Mayweather.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Alvarez should do everything in his power to lure Cotto into a bout. He’d make a tremendous amount of money and likely nab the biggest win of his career.

17. Lucas Matthysse (34-3, 32 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Matthysse lost a close but clear decision against Danny Garcia last month. Still, the 31-year-old showed well and is still one of the scariest fighters in the world. Had he not gotten cut early in the fight, it might have been a different story.

    Previous Rank: 17

    2013 Highlight: Matthysse’s bone-rattling TKO 3 over Lamont Peterson in May was the type of win fans expect when the Argentinean steps inside the ring.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Matthysse should gun for a rematch with Danny Garcia. There are no other names in the junior welterweight division that move the needle right now for either man.

16. Mikey Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Garcia has just about everything you want in a young fighter. He’s smart, punches hard, has fast hands and feet, and is a student of the game. Wins over Orlando Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez impress, even if the latter was somewhat spoiled by Garcia not making weight.

    Previous Rank: 16

    2013 Highlight: Garcia’s shellacking of Salido was surprisingly easy. The win put Garcia on the map as a potential elite-level star.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Garcia is moving up to junior lightweight against Roman Martinez next. The bout is scheduled for November 9 in Corpus Christi Texas and is just the right kind of fight for Garcia until he’s ready for a showdown with fellow Top Rank star Nonito Donaire.

15. Danny Garcia (27-0, 16 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Garcia had defeated some of the biggest names in the sport, and he’s usually the underdog. He’s beaten Erik Morales twice, Khan, Zab Judah and Matthysse. The latter win made him the lineal champion of the junior welterweight division, according to the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

    Previous Rank: 15

    2013 Highlight: Garcia outboxed Matthysse in the biggest win of his increasingly impressive career. At just 25 years old, the future is bright for Garcia.

    Who He Should Fight Next: A bout against Mayweather makes the most sense right now for both fighters.  

14. Gennady Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Middleweight Gennady Golovkin demolishes everyone put in front of him. The 31-year-old made tough guys Matthew Macklin and Nobuhiro Ishida look like rank amateurs in his past two outings, destroying each in less than three rounds.

    Previous Rank: 14

    2013 Highlight: The body punch Golovkin cracked Macklin with to end things last June was the kind of punch to make fight fans leap for joy. He’s a beast, this Golovkin.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Golovkin needs to prove himself against top-tier middleweight competitors. A bout against fellow alphabet champion Peter Quillin would be explosive.

13. Bernard Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: At the ripe old age of 48, Bernard Hopkins has shown himself to be one of the best fighters in boxing history. His dismantling of Tavoris Cloud last March keeps him more than just relevant, and the old master doesn’t seem ready to retire anytime soon.

    Previous Rank: 13

    2013 Highlight: Hopkins systematically destroyed Cloud over 12 rounds to continue his long, long career at the top of the sport. It was a brilliant display of all the things Hopkins does best. He landed his punches without letting Cloud get anything off in return, and he did it for all 12 rounds.

    Who He Should Fight Next: It should be big fights or nothing for Hopkins. A bout against ferocious lineal light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson is dangerous but intriguing. Could Hopkins defensive wizardry keep Stevenson off balance over the full set?

12. Vitali Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOs)

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    Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Vitali Klitschko has just two losses on his record. Each was over 10 years ago against notable titleholders who he was beating at the time of stoppage. A shoulder injury did him in against Chris Byrd way back in 2000, and superstar heavyweight Lennox Lewis stopped Klitschko on cuts in 2003. Besides that, Klitschko has barely lost a round, much less a fight.

    Previous Rank: 11

    2013 Highlight: Klitschko did not make an appearance in the ring in 2013 but was in the corner with his younger brother, Wladimir, as he defeated Alexander Povetkin in October.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Klitschko, 42, should fight David Haye before calling it a career. It’d be the most compelling fight that can be made in the heavyweight division because of the sheer vitriol between them.

11. Roman Gonzalez (36-0, 30 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Roman Gonzalez is as exciting as any other fighter in the sport. Fighting at junior flyweight doesn’t lend itself to attention. In fact, he’s probably the best fighter most fight followers wouldn’t recognize on the street. The 26-year-old clobbered Francisco Rodriguez Jr. earlier this year to earn a TKO in Round 7 and stay undefeated.

    Previous Rank: 10

    2013 Highlight: Gonzalez stayed undefeated and knocked out both opponents he faced this year so far, which is exactly what a junior flyweight needs to do to garner more attention.

    Who He Should Fight Next: A bout against American Brian Viloria would be volatile and garner more eyeballs than any other fight he could sign right now.

10. Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Nonito Donaire, the 2012 BWAA Fighter of the Year, is hard punching showman. With fast hands and devastating power, Donaire was a top-five pound-for-pounder until he was outpointed by purist Guillermo Rigondeaux last April.

    Previous Rank: 9

    2013 Highlight: After the loss to Rigondeaux, Donaire was inactive as a fighter as he and wife Rachel welcomed their first child into the world, Jarel. The healthy baby boy was born July 16, just days after the new mom rescued a drowning child.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Donaire needs to get his mojo back before stepping back inside the ring with Rigondeaux, so his November 9 rematch with Vic Darchinyan will do just fine.

9. Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0, 8 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Rigondeaux might be the best fighter in the world. He just needs the fights to prove it. After a historically great run as an amateur competitor in Cuba, Rigondeaux is now linear champion as a professional after just 12 bouts. Moreover, he absolutely dominated perennial superstar Nonito Donaire this year, proving himself as a top level champion.

    Previous Rank: 8

    2013 Highlight: Rigondeaux’s win over Donaire was a masterpiece. He neutered the feared puncher with precise punching and devilish defense.  

    Who He Should Fight Next: In a perfect world, Rigondeaux would face the ever-punching Leo Santa Cruz. Could Rigo’s defense ward off the avalanche?

8. Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 KOs)

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    Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Wladimir Klitschko is one of the most accomplished heavyweights in the history of boxing. Klitsckho’s numbers are impressive: His title reign of over seven years is the second longest in history, his 15 consecutive title defense is third most ever and he is now tied for second-most total title bout wins at 22.

    Previous Rank: 7

    2013 Highlight: Klitschko’s 12-round domination of the previously undefeated alphabet champ Povetkin in October made him the lineal heavyweight champion, according to the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. Moreover, Klitschko announced his engagement to actress Hayden Panettiere.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Klitsckho’s running out of competitors at heavyweight, but a bout in America against someone like Chris Arreola would move the needle as much as any other possibility.

7. Carl Froch (30-2, 22 KOs)

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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Carl Froch has faced tough competition in his career. He holds impressive wins over Jean Pascal, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson and Lucian Bute, and he avenged one of his two career losses last May when he outslugged Mikkel Kessler.

    Previous Rank: 6

    2013 Highlight: Froch’s decision win over Kessler was another huge win over a big-name opponent. The tough slugger showed real skill over all 12 rounds of the fight and helped further his case for a rematch with previous conqueror Andre Ward.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Froch, 36, is smartly staying busy against fellow UK super middleweight George Groves November 23 while he awaits another crack at Ward.

6. Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Manny Pacquiao’s resume as a fighter is as good as it gets. His multiple fights against rival Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales in mostly lighter weight classes along with his incredible run at welterweight and beyond is historically great. In his last fight, a KO loss to Marquez, Pacquiao appeared to be on his way to a win before getting caught on the chin.

    Previous Rank: 5

    2013 Highlight: Pacquiao has not appeared in the ring in 2013 but will face Brandon Rios in Macau, China this November.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Rios is exactly the type of fighter Pacquiao should be in against right now. He’s tough but doesn’t have the hand speed to compete with Pacman should the latter be anything close to what he was before the KO loss to Marquez.

5. Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Since defeating Kelly Pavlik in 2010 for the linear middleweight championship, Sergio Martinez has become a virtual lock for the Hall of Fame. Undersized for a middleweight, Martinez has staved off his stiff competition despite seeing his skills diminish as he heads further down the wrong the side of 30.

    Previous Rank: 4

    2013 Highlight: In April, Martinez outlasted UK’s Martin Murray in an open air stadium in Buenos Aires to win a tough decision in front of his adoring countrymen.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Martinez, 38, is resting for the remainder of 2013 due to injuries he sustained against Murray last April. On his return, he should try to lure big names from smaller weight classes to maximize his time in the sun. A bout against either Mayweather or Cotto would be riveting TV.

4. Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Marquez lost a close but competitive bout against undefeated Timothy Bradley in October at welterweight. But Marquez is still one of the very best in the sport of boxing, and the fight was a split decision that could have gone either way. His KO win over Pacquiao last December was the best win of his storied career.

    Previous Rank: 3

    2013 Highlight: His only appearance this year was in the ring versus Bradley where he lost a close but competitive decision. Marquez showed well at age 40. 

    Who He Should Fight Next: Marquez would be best served by facing Pacquiao for the fifth time. The two make great fights together and are forever linked as rivals. 

3. Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: With his win over legendary champion Marquez, Bradley makes a huge leap into the upper echelon of the sport. Sure, Bradley technically already defeated Pacquiao, but his win over Marquez was uncontroversial. Was it close? Yes. But was it legit? Absolutely.  

    Previous Rank: 13

    2013 Highlight: Bradley's split-decision win over Marquez is the best win of his career. He outfought and outboxed Marquez over the 12-round encounter to prove himself elite. 

    Who He Should Fight Next: Should Pacquiao defeat Rios this November as expected, there is no bigger bout for Bradley than the popular Filipino who most people thought bested Bradley in 2012. 

2. Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KOs)

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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Super middleweightchampion Ward has earned his place among the very best in the world by defeating Kessler, Abraham, Froch and Dawson. At just 29 years old, Ward appears to be the next big thing in boxing. In fact, he may already be exactly that.  

     Previous Rank: 2

    2013 Highlight: Ward has been inactive in 2013 to date but hasn't laid as low on social media where he’s gaining a bit of a reputation for having thin skin.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Ward had surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder in January, but he’s ready for a comeback fight November 16 against undefeated knockout artist Edwin Rodriguez. After that, it’s time to rematch Froch or head up to light heavyweight.

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (45-0, 26 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: Mayweather is absolutely the best fighter on the planet. The 36-year-old will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as soon as he’s eligible, and his win over Alvarez in September made him the lineal champion of the junior middleweight division. Can anyone beat this guy?

    Previous Rank: 1

    2013 Highlight: Mayweather’s performance over the younger, stronger and naturally larger Alvarez was one for the ages. He was simply untouchable.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Mayweather should take on junior welterweight king Garcia or middleweight champ Martinez next May. Anything else would be a needless exhibition.

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