Mayweather overtakes Pacquiao as best fighter?

Natashya Gutierrez

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Pacquiao, Donaire drop in the Ring's May 2012 pound-for-pound rankings.

MANILA, Philippines – As 8-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao starts training for his June bout against Timothy Bradley, reports of the Filipino losing his pound-for-pound crown surface.

On Monday, April 1, Manila Bulletin sports writer Nick Giongco reported that undefeated American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. has toppled Pacquiao from the no.1 spot on the pound-for-pound list of the Ring Magazine’s May 2012 issue.

This, according to votes cast by 10 boxing reporters from all over the world polled by the Ring’s editor-in-chief, Michael Rosenthal. Giongco was one of those polled.

The Ring is widely considered as the ‘bible of boxing’ while pound-for-pound lists rank the world’s best fighters.

End of 3-year run

Pacquiao has dominated the list for 3 straight years, from 2008 until 2010 — until Mayweather has reportedly taken back the top spot. The poll was conducted in 2011.

Mayweather also topped the survey from 2005 to 2007 until Pacquiao took it from him.

He registered 2 top votes more than Pacquiao.

In November 2011, after Pacquiao’s fight against his arch rival Juan Manuel Marquez, the Ring Magazine was the sole publication that kept Pacquiao atop of their pound-for-pound rankings. Rosenthal published a piece explaining the decision to keep him on top of the list, but highlighted that Pacquiao “barely” kept his no.1 spot.

Sports Illustrated, ESPN and Yahoo! Sports all demoted Pacquiao to no.2 in favor of Mayweather after Pacquiao’s disappointing showing in his second rematch against Marquez.

While Pacquiao won the fight, controversy ensued afterwards due to the bout’s tight nature.

Mayweather and Pacquiao on the other hand, have yet to meet in the ring after negotiations have continously fallen through due to disagreements on drug testing and purse split.

Donaire falls too

Also dropping on the list is Filipino fighter Nonito Donaire.

Donaire was impressive in 2011, destroying Mexican boxer Fernando Montiel via a 2nd round knockout that won Donaire “Knockout of the Year” from Ring Magazine.

The Filipino then continued to dominate Omar Andres Narvaez later that year, and scored a split decision win over Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. in February 2012.

Despite the wins, Donaire has allegedly fallen 2 spots from no.4 to no.6.

STILL ON TOP. On the Ring's website, Manny Pacquiao is still on top of the pound for pound list, as of April 2, 2012.

According to Giangco’s report, Sergio Martinez, Andre Ward, Juan Manuel Marquez (who went up a spot following his fight against Pacquiao), Nonito Donaire, Wladimir Klitschko, Tim Bradley (who Pacquiao will face in June), Pongsaklek Wonjongkam and Lucian Bute are the new occupants of the 3rd to the 10th spot respectively.


Several boxing analysts expressed doubt over the alleged drop of Pacquiao from the top pound-for-pound spot.

Filipino sports analysts Ed Tolentino and Ronnie Nathanielz implied that the new rankings smacked of bias favoring Golden Boy Enterprises, which is Mayweather’s promoter.

Tolentino questioned the timing of the results, saying it comes right before Mayweather’s May 5 bout against Miguel Cotto.

Nathanielz agreed, saying the standings should have been changed after the May fight. He also said Mayweather does not deserve the promotion on the list, since he has not done anything since his last fight against Victor Ortiz in September 2011.

There have also been much discussion on how the Ring’s new ratings broke its own guidelines. On its website, the magazine states that boxers are ranked on the basis of their fight records.

Examiner’s Brad Cooney suggested bias as well, and emphasized that a boxer can only drop in rankings if he loses a fight.

“Manny Pacquiao is the pound-for-pound king regardless of what any magazine may say. Until somebody can knock him off the hill, he’s number one,” said Cooney.

He complained of what he thought was unfair treatment against Pacquiao.

“Frankly I’m getting a little bit tired of Pacquiao getting spit on all the time. He’s done so much for this sport, and what does he get in return? He gets racial slurs thrown at him, he gets accused of taking steroids, all kinds of garbage,” added Cooney.

Cliff Rold, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America also put in his 2 cents on why Pacquiao has led Mayweather.

“While his last time out was a hotly debated call against Marquez, Pacquiao is 9-0 versus Mayweather’s 3-0 since 2008,” Rold said. ”While that includes a Mayweather retirement, and another lengthy layoff, the greater activity and similar level of foe keeps Pacquiao a step ahead.”

Additionally, none of the reasons given by Rosenthal in his previous article on why Pacquiao should stay on top of the list have changed, raising questions on the modified rankings.

As of April 2, 2012, the online pound-for-pound rankings still had Pacquiao sitting on the top spot, and Donaire on the 4th. –

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.