Even though it seems that they will never face each other, everyone is still wondering if and when Mayweather vs. Pacquiao will take place. Then again, some may ask if anyone will ever defeat Wladimir Klitschko. Will Juan Manuel Marquez ever get the decision over Manny Pacquiao? Will James Kirkland ever hold a world title? Will Julio Cesar Chavez Junior ever defeat someone as impressive as Sergio Martinez?
That is the beauty of boxing. Opportunities will arise, and titles will surely change hands.
So where are we at now? Who are currently the best boxers in each division?
Below, I give you today’s best boxers in every weight division beginning with the best heavyweight all the way down to the best strawweight. Plus, our list is concluded with today’s pound-for-pound king.
Wladimir Klitschko -
IBF, WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine Champion:
The only other heavyweight who may be as good as Wladimir Klitschko is his brother Vitali Klitschko (WBC). Together, they have mostly cleaned out the heavyweight division. A champion since 2006, Wladimir continues to defeat every opponent placed in front of him.
CRUISERWEIGHT (200 POUNDS)
Yoan Pablo Hernandez -
Hernandez finally dethroned Steve Cunningham last October to snatch the IBF title. How Hernandez matches up against the other champions, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (WBC), Guillermo Jones (WBA), and Marco Huck (WBO), remains to be seen. Then again, if Hernandez can defeat Cunningham twice, then it’s fair to say that he can beat anyone.
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (175 POUNDS)
Chad Dawson -
Upon his defeat of Bernard Hopkins, Dawson took the throne of the 175-pound division. Although his next fight will be against 168-pound king Andre Ward, few will argue that Dawson is the man to beat in the light heavyweight division in comparison to Tavoris Cloud (IBF), Beibut Shumenov (WBA), and Nathan Cleverly (WBO).
SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT (168 POUNDS)
Andre Ward -
With wins over names such as Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch, Ward is undoubtedly in a class of his own. It was unfortunate that he decided not to face another popular champ in Lucian Bute, but now that Bute has lost to Carl Froch (IBF), perhaps Ward knew more than most of us after all. Another champ is Robert Stieglitz (WBO), but he’ll have plenty on his plate in the form of Arthur Abraham.
MIDDLEWEIGHT (160 POUNDS)
Sergio Martinez -
The Ring Magazine Champion:
Upon his victory over Kelly Pavlik in 2010, Martinez became the world’s best middleweight. This was confirmed as Martinez knocked out Paul Williams in the second round of their rematch later that year. Martinez continues to defeat each opponent, and despite being stripped of his WBC belt, Martinez is clearly the best 160-pounder in the world. Other top names in the middleweight division are Julio Cesar Chavez Junior (WBC), Felix Sturm (WBA), Daniel Geale (IBF), and Dimitry Pirog (WBO). Gennady Golovkin is making a splash as well.
JR. MIDDLEWEIGHT (154 POUNDS)
Floyd Mayweather Junior -
It remains to be seen if Mayweather plans on defending the belt that he won from beating Miguel Cotto, or if he will return to welterweight, if he even returns to the ring. The other champs in the division include Saul Alvarez (WBC), Cornelius Bundrage (IBF), and Zaurbek Baysangurov (WBO).
WELTERWEIGHT (147 POUNDS)
Manny Pacquiao -
Even though Pacquiao failed to look impressive with his controversial win over Juan Manuel Marquez last November, Pacquiao is still one of today’s best boxers if not The Best. There is only one name that fans wish to see Pacquiao face, and that is obviously Floyd Mayweather Junior (WBC). Other top names in the division include Paulie Malignaggi (WBA) and Mike Jones.
JR. WELTERWEIGHT (140 POUNDS)
Timothy Bradley -
With wins over names such as Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander, Bradley has proven to be the best in the division. He received massive criticism for failing to meet Amir Khan in the ring, but since Khan lost to Peterson (WBA/IBF), Bradley is looking just as good as we all thought he was. Other top names include Danny Garcia (WBC) and Juan Manuel Marquez.
LIGHTWEIGHT (135 POUNDS)
Miguel Vazquez -
In a division without Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios, Miguel Vazquez is basically the best 135-pounder by default. He won his title in 2010, and he has made three successful title defenses. If anyone wants to prove that they he is the best, then this is the man to beat. Other top lightweights include Antonio DeMarco (WBC) and Ricky Burns (WBO).
JR. LIGHTWEIGHT (130 POUNDS)
Takashi Uchiyama -
Victories over Juan Salgado and Jorge Solis provide evidence of this Japanese boxer’s potential. With four defenses under his belt, the knockouts continue to pile up. Unfortunately, it does not appear that he will be facing the fastest rising star in the division, Adrian Broner (WBO). If Broner continues to look impressive, then most folks will argue that he is the man to neat in the the 130-pound division, unless Broner moves up in weight of course. The other champions consist of Takahiro Aoh (WBC) and Juan Carlos Salgado (IBF).
FEATHERWEIGHT (126 POUNDS)
Chris John -
Even with names like Yuriorkis Gamboa and Orlando Salido (WBO) attempting to become the best featherweight in the world, Chris John is still the man to beat. John has been full champion since 2004 and has defeated everyone he has ever faced including Rocky Juarez and even Juan Manuel Marquez. Besides Gamboa and Salido, other top names include Jhonny Gonzalez (WBC), Billy Dib (IBF), Celestino Caballero (WBA “interim”) and Mikey Garcia.
JR. FEATHERWEIGHT (122 POUNDS)
Nonito Donaire -
As one of boxing’s pound-for-pound best, it is assumed that Donaire is the best at 122 pounds. He has yet to face a name such as the division’s WBC or WBA champ, but at least it appears that he will be facing the IBF champ (the least popular of the titleholders). Other top names include Abner Mares (WBC), Guillermo Rigondeaux (WBA), Jeffrey Mathebula (IBF), and Toshiaki Nishioka.
BANTAMWEIGHT (118 POUNDS)
Anselmo Moreno -
Now that Nonito Donaire and Abner Mares have moved up to 122 pounds, Moreno has claimed the throne of the 118-pound division. A champion since 2008, Moreno is looking unstoppable at this point. Other top names include Shinsuke Yamanaka (WBC), Jorge Arce (WBO), and Leo Santa Cruz (IBF).
JR. BANTAMWEIGHT (115 POUNDS)
Omar Andres Narvaez -
Despite a recent loss to Nonito Donire, Narvaez has shown time and time again that he can compete with the best in boxing, especially at junior bantamweight as well as flyweight, where he previously held a championship belt. He already has four successful title defenses at 115 on his resume, and he is ready to move forward. Other top jr. bantamweights are Yota Sato (WBC), Tepparith Singwancha (WBA), and Juan Carlos Sanchez (IBF).
FLYWEIGHT (112 POUNDS)
Brian Viloria -
This former two-time junior flyweight champion is now claiming the flyweight division. With wins over Giovani Segura, Julio Miranda, and now that Wonjongkam has been defeated, Viloria is the division’s best. Other top names include Hernan Marquez (WBA), Moruti Mthalene (IBF), and Sonny Boy Jaro (WBC).
JR. FLYWEIGHT (108 POUNDS)
Roman Gonzalez -
Still undefeated, this former strawweight champion continues to score knockouts as the junior flyweight champion. Other top names include Kompayak Porpramook (WBC), Ulises Solis (IBF), and Donnie Nietes (WBO).
STRAWWEIGHTS (105 POUNDS)
Nkosinathi Joyi -
As strawweight champion, Joyi remains undefeated in 22 bouts, and he seeks a worthy challenger. Other top names include Kuzuto Ioka (WBC), Akira Yaegashi (WBA), and Moisés Fuentes (WBO).
Floyd Mayweather Jr. -
WBC Welterweight Champion:
WBA Super Welterweight Champion:
If the end of 2011 was any indication, we all know that Pacquiao struggled yet again with Juan Manuel Marquez, a fighter who Mayweather beat in a one-sided bout back in 2009. Also, Mayweather won his fight over Victor Ortiz by a questionable knockout, but still a knockout nonetheless in a bout that Mayweather was clearly winning anyway. Also, Mayweather defeated Miguel Cotto to win the WBA super welterweight title. What does this all mean? Well, if Mayweather was a favorite to beat Pacquiao before, he certainly is now more than ever.
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