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Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Boxers After Pacquiao vs. Rios Bout

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2013

Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Boxers After Pacquiao vs. Rios Bout

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Welterweight Manny Pacquiao returned to form against former lightweight champion Brandon Rios. Pacquiao scored a 12-round unanimous decision. 

    But was it enough to move back toward the top of Bleacher Report's pound-for-pound rankings? And how do the other fighters slot in around Pac-Man?

    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. Takashi Uchiyama (20-0-1, 17 KOs)

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    Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Takashi Uchiyama is the best junior lightweight in the world. The hard-handed puncher from Japan is undefeated and scary enough to keep highly regarded boxers on this side of the planet from traveling over there to try their luck. 

    Previous Rank: N/A

    2013 Highlight: Uchiyama kept his KO Dynamite nickname intact with a Round 5 knockout of Jaider Parra.

    Who He Should Fight Next: In a perfect world, Uchiyama would take on Argenis Mendez of the Dominican Republic. The bout would crown the lineal Transnational Boxing Ranking Board champion at 130 pounds.

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

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    Why He’s Here: Marco Huck is a solid enough cruiserweight to almost have outpointed former heavyweight titlist Alexander Povetkin in 2012, losing a hotly disputed majority decision. He’s rough and tough but also has the skill to stay on top of the division for years to come.  

    Previous Rank: 25

    2013 Highlight: Huck capped his trilogy with Ola Afolabi in 2013, picking up a draw and a close majority decision to go along with his 2009 unanimous-decision win over the same fighter.

    Who He Should Fight Next: The heavyweight division is running out of contenders. Huck’s good showing in 2012 means he should consider moving up to heavyweight again, perhaps for a rematch with Povetkin.

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

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: The Haitian-born Canadian, Adonis Stevenson, knocked out former champs Chad Dawson and Tavoris Cloud in succession in 2013, making him a Fighter of the Year candidate. He’s breathed fresh life into the light heavyweight division.  

    Previous Rank: 24

    2013 Highlight: Stevenson’s one-punch knockout of Chad Dawson is absolutely the most stunning knockout of the year. The win also netted Stevenson the lineal light heavyweight championship.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Should Stevenson defeat Bellew as scheduled, Bernard Hopkins would be a big name for the hard puncher to add to his ledger. If he’s the real deal, he takes Hopkins out. If not, Hopkins embarrasses him.

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

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Devon Alexander is a tough, hardworking southpaw whose lone loss was a 10-round technical decision to the undefeated welterweight Timothy Bradley. Alexander appears to be on his way up the charts, but he’ll need another opportunity against a top-rated boxer to prove it.

    Previous Rank: 23

    2013 Highlight: Alexander defeated Lee Purdy in a stay-busy fight earlier this year in just seven rounds.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Alexander is set to face Shawn Porter in December for the IBF welterweight title belt. If he wins that encounter, he should be in the running to fight Floyd Mayweather next May.

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

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Miguel Cotto appeared as solid as ever in his virtuoso performance against Delvin Rodriguez. The 32-year-old 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: 22

    2013 Highlight: Cotto’s TKO 3 over Rodriguez was spectacular. The win put him in line for another megafight.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Cotto would be wise to fight Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, who is still green enough to give Cotto plenty of chances to win rounds.

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

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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Former titlist Austin Trout outclassed Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden last year in New York, proving he’s one of the elite talents in the junior middleweight division. He subsequently lost to fellow elite Canelo Alvarez in San Antonio, but the decision was razor-thin and could have gone either way.

    Previous Rank: 21

    2013 Highlight: Trout’s only appearance thus far in 2013 was his loss to Alvarez in San Antonio.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Trout is scheduled to take on fellow southpaw Erislandy Lara next month in Brooklyn. That’s the right fight for both men, as each will hope to earn a shot at Floyd Mayweather or Canelo Alvarez.

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

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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Adrien Broner jumped two weight classes to outpoint Paulie Malignaggi earlier this year in a fairly lackluster performance. It’s fair to wonder if he’s really ready for the welterweight division.

    Previous Rank: 20

    2013 Highlight: Broner looked his best this year in his TKO 5 over Gavin Rees.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Broner is scheduled to take on tough slugger Marcos Maidana next month in a bout that will go along way in telling fans just how good Broner really is at welterweight.  

18. Chris John (48-0-2, 22 KOs)

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    Why He’s Here: A longtime featherweight titleholder, Chris John fights almost exclusively halfway around the world. His best career win is over Juan Manuel Marquez in 2006.

    Previous Rank: 19

    2013 Highlight: John’s lone ring work of 2013 was a bout against Satoshi Hosono that was ruled a technical draw due to a headbutt.

    Who He Should Fight Next: John is scheduled to face Simpiwe Vetyeka next month in Australia. If he wins as expected, John should consider coming to America again to show his stuff before it’s too late.

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

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Why He’s Here: Canelo Alvarez lost a majority decision to Mayweather in September, though the fight wasn’t as close as the scoring indicates. Still, he learned much in his 12 rounds against the best in the business. He’s probably the best junior middleweight in the world not named Floyd Mayweather.

    Previous Rank: 18

    2013 Highlight: Alvarez beat Austin Trout in April in what was his best win of 2013. Regardless, his biggest moment was sharing the stage with Mayweather.  

    Who He Should Fight Next: Alvarez seems to be on a collision course with the resurgent Miguel Cotto. It’s exactly the right move. A win over Cotto solidifies Alvarez as a legit star.  

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

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Why He’s Here: Matthysse lost a close but clear decision against Danny Garcia in September, but he provided two highlight-reel knockouts this year as well in wins over Mike Dallas Jr. and Lamont Peterson.

    Previous Rank: 17

    2013 Highlight: Matthysse’s TKO 3 over Lamont Peterson in May was one of the best knockouts of the year and one of the better wins of Matthysse’s career.  

    Who He Should Fight Next: Barring an improbable rematch with Garcia, Matthysse should target the winner of next month’s Zab Judah vs. Paulie Malignaggi bout.

15. Carl Froch (31-2, 23 KOs)

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Carl Froch has proved himself the best super middleweight in the world besides Andre Ward. His wins over Mikkel Kessler and George Groves kept him in the hunt for a Ward rematch, but he had more trouble with Groves than expected.

    Previous Rank: 7

    2013 Highlight: Froch soundly outpointed Kessler in a good tussle in May in his finest win of 2013.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Froch, 36, is badly in need of a rematch with division kingpin Andre Ward before he ages out. He was in trouble against Groves before he got the knockout. Age may be catching up with him, which is why he dropped eight spots.

14. Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs)

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Bernard Hopkins, 48, still competes at an incredibly high level. He dominated Tavoris Cloud last March before outslugging Karo Murat in October.

    Previous Rank: 13

    2013 Highlight: Hopkins' best performance of 2013 was his dismantling of Cloud, though he also looked solid against the unheralded Murat.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Hopkins should target lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson to try to make history yet again.

13. Roman Gonzalez (37-0, 31 KOs)

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    Jeff Bottari /Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Roman Gonzalez is a knockout artist, even if no one ever really sees him fight.  Competing around the flyweight division doesn’t lend itself to attention, but Gonzalez is making lots of noise anyway. He knocked out all three opponents he faced in 2013 to remain undefeated.

    Previous Rank: 11

    2013 Highlight: Gonzalez destroyed Oscar Blanquet in just two rounds earlier this month.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Gonzalez is great, but he needs a dance partner who can last more than just a few rounds so he can show his quality. Perhaps a tussle with American Brian Viloria would suffice.

12. Nonito Donaire (32-2, 21 KOs)

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Nonito Donaire was the BWAA Fighter of the Year last year but has had trouble keeping pace in 2013. He’s 1-1 on the year.

    Previous Rank: 10

    2013 Highlight: Donaire was being outboxed by Vic Darchinyan this month before pulling the late-round knockout out of his hat to pull off the important victory. Still, he hasn’t looked the same since being dismantled by Guillermo Rigondeaux in April.  

    Who He Should Fight Next: Donaire should aim for a rematch with Rigondeaux. That’s the fight that could help him find his mojo, but it’s also the one that could permanently erase it.

11. Mikey Garcia (33-0, 28 KOs)

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    Mikey Garcia with trainer (and brother) Robert.
    Mikey Garcia with trainer (and brother) Robert.Rachel McCarson

    Why He’s Here: Mikey Garcia’s busy 2013 included wins over Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez and Rocky Martinez. All were impressive knockouts.

    Previous Rank: 16

    2013 Highlight: Garcia moved up in weight to dominate Rocky Martinez in surprisingly easy fashion. Despite being put on the deck in Round 1, Garcia was in control the rest of the bout until the Round 9 knockout.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Garcia is steadily building an impressive resume. Next up should be undefeated slugger Yuriorkis Gamboa, who has the speed and power to present an interesting matchup.   

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

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Why He’s Here: Danny Garcia’s win over Lucas Matthysse solidified him as the absolute best in the world at junior welterweight. He also has wins over Zab Judah, Erik Morales and Amir Khan.

    Previous Rank: 15

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

    Who He Should Fight Next: A bout against Floyd Mayweather makes sense for Garcia, who probably has the best resume of Mayweather’s potential opponents.   

9. Gennady Golovkin (28-0, 25 KOs)

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Middleweight Gennady Golovkin has won 15 straight by knockout, and he hasn’t even seemed to break a sweat doing so. This guy is legit, and he won four bouts this year, including wins over Gabriel Rosado and Curtis Stevens.

    Previous Rank: 14

    2013 Highlight: The body punch Golovkin cracked tough guy Matt Macklin with to end things last June was the kind of punch to make fight fans leap for joy.  

    Who He Should Fight Next: Golovkin should be doing everything he can to get lineal champion Sergio Martinez in the ring. Martinez has pulled off great wins as his skills have declined, but Golovkin is the kind of fighter who would probably stop that streak.  

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

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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: In just 12 professional bouts, Guillermo Rigondeaux has proven to be world class. He dominated perennial pound-for-pounder Nonito Donaire in his only bout of 2013.

    Previous Rank: 9

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

    Who He Should Fight Next: Rigondeaux is scheduled to meet Joseph Agbeko next month in a bout that should help the Cuban show his skill off to both Top Rank and HBO. Winning is one thing, but Rigondeaux needs to show he can also entertain.

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

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    Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Big brother Vitali might have exited the list because of inactivity, but Wladimir is still inching toward the top spot. Klitschko might not have the most pleasing style, but he’s one of the most effective heavyweights in the history of the sport. He hasn’t lost a fight since 2004.

    Previous Rank: 8

    2013 Highlight: Klitschko’s 12-round domination of previously undefeated alphabet champion Alexander Povetkin in October showed he’s clearly the best heavyweight in the division, and one of the better champions ever.  

    Who He Should Fight Next: Klitschko hasn’t fought in the U.S. since 2008. A return bout against aggressive puncher Chris Arreola might help him gain more traction on this side of the pond.  

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

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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Sergio Martinez staved off Martin Murray but has been on the shelf since, suffering injuries that will keep him out of action until next year. Still, Martinez has been a fighting champion and has defeated notable challengers since picking up the lineal championship back in 2010.

    Previous Rank: 5

    2013 Highlight: Martinez barely outlasted Murray in an open-air soccer stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to win a tough decision in front of his adoring countrymen.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Martinez, 38, is resting the remainder of 2013 due to injuries he sustained last April. When he returns, his best course of action would be to fight Gennady Golovkin, who would provide the sternest test since Martinez became champion.  

5. Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs)

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    Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Manny Pacquiao showed his quality against Brandon Rios. Pac-Man won virtually every round and looked as good as ever. Speed, angles and power: this was vintage Manny Pacquiao. 

    Previous Rank: 6

    2013 Highlight: Pac-Man's 12-round domination showed he is still as good as he's ever been. More importantly, Pacquaio proved he can be patient in a fight he might be able to win by knockout. 

    Who He Should Fight Next: If Pacquiao can't get Mayweather in the ring (who has been quite reluctant through the years), he should look to get the rematch with Timothy Bradley. 

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

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    Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out nemesis Manny Pacquiao last December, then was outpointed by slickster Timothy Bradley in 2013. Still, Marquez is one of the best in the business at what he does.

    Previous Rank: 4

    2013 Highlight: Marquez has only faced Bradley in 2013. He lost, but it was a close bout against someone who would rather box than fight. Marquez does best when he has someone coming right at him.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Marquez reportedly wants a rematch with Bradley, but he’ll likely need to earn it with a win over Ruslan Provodnikov first. That’s just the right fight for Marquez, assuming the 40-year-old isn’t over the hill yet.

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

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    Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

    Why He’s Here: Timothy Bradley has won every fight he’s ever been in, and he’s been in the ring with some of the best boxers in the sport: Devon Alexander, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.

    Previous Rank: 3

    2013 Highlight: Bradley outboxed Marquez in October in probably his best win to date. It vaulted him into the upper echelon of the sport. Unlike his win over Pacquiao, the Marquez fight wasn’t disputable: Bradley won the fight.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Bradley has options, but his most lucrative one will probably be a return bout against Manny Pacquiao.

2. Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KOs)

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Why He’s Here: Super middleweight champion Andre Ward returned to action in 2013 after a long layoff by dominating Edwin Rodriguez. That’s par for the course for Ward, who has defeated really good fighters in his march up toward elite status.

    Previous Rank: 2

    2013 Highlight: Ward only had one fight in 2013, but the win over Rodriguez showed he’s as still good as ever.

    Who He Should Fight Next: Ward has proven all he can at super middleweight. A move up to light heavyweight is the logical next step. Powerful marauder Sergey Kovalev would present Ward with a formidable test.

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

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Why He’s Here: Floyd Mayweather will go down in history as one of the best fighters who ever lived. He’s dominated almost everyone he’s ever faced, and his resume is littered with future Hall of Famers like Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Juan Manuel Marquez.

    Previous Rank: 1

    2013 Highlight: Mayweather’s dominant performance over the younger, stronger and naturally larger Canelo Alvarez was one of his best outings ever, and that says much about the 36-year-old’s devotion to the fight game.  

    Who He Should Fight Next: Mayweather will likely return in May. Of all potential challengers, junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia probably makes the most sense.  

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