The Neutral Corner

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Neutral Corner top 10: Floyd No. 1

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, reacts toward his father

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, reacts toward his father Floyd Mayweather Sr. after defeating Robert Guerrero by unanimous decision during a WBC welterweight title fight, Saturday, May 4, 2013, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Credit: AP Photo Rick Bowmer)

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr., welterweight (44-0): Floyd is back in the top spot. Truth be told, it was an easy decision since Andre Ward has been inactive for so long. His win over Robert Guerrero on Cinco de Mayo proved he still has it. His September 14 bout against Canelo Alvarez is more proof that Mayweather is finally ready to put everything on the line.

2. Canelo Alvarez, junior middleweight (41-0-1): Alvarez is finally getting his due as a world class fighter. His last two wins –Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez– have earned him the right to square off against Mayweather on September 14. His win over Trout proved he can endure, while his fifth-round knockout victory over Lopez showed he had the power.

3. Andre Ward, super middleweight, (26-0): It wasn’t easy dropping Ward three places, but he hasn’t fought since September 8 and injuries have put his career on a mini hiatus. Inactive fighters need to earn their way back into the top spots. That said, Ward has beaten Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green and Mikkel Kessler in succession. No fighter can boast such a list of quality wins.

4. Abner Mares, featherweight, (26-0-1): If featherweights got more respect in the boxing world, Mares’ name would be in lights right now. Mares has beaten just about everyone worth fighting in the division. Two wins over Joseph Agbeko, and victories over Vic Darchinyan and Daniel Ponce De Leon have earned him a spot in the top four.

5. Sergio Martinez, middleweight, (51-2-2): Despite his age, Sergio Martinez, 38, remains one of the most skilled fighters in the game. But he has been put on the canvas in each of his last three fights. That doesn’t mean he still can’t beat world class fighters because his last five wins have been against quality fighters (Martin Murray, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Matthew Macklin, Darren Barker, Serhiy Dzinziruk). But his recent penchant for getting knocked down means father time is starting to take its toll.

6. Juan Manuel Marquez: light welterweight, (55-6-1): It took four fights, but Marquez finally got over the hump and scored an exciting 6th-round knockout of Manny Pacquiao last December. Recent wins over Serhiy Fedchenko, Michael Katsidis, and Juan Diaz shows that Marquez still has it. Next up is a great test against Tim Bradley on October 12.

7. Wladimir Klitschko, heavyweight, (59-3): The only thing Klitschko does is win. There isn’t much competition amongst the heavyweights, but you can’t blame Klitschko, the IBF, WBO and WBA champ, for that. He scored a sixth-round TKO against Francesco Pianeta in May and will face Alexander Povetkin on October 5.

8. Adrien Broner, lightweight (26-0): Yes, Broner could be higher on this list, but he has yet to score that primetime win. He was impressive against Gavin Rees and Antonio DeMarco, but those were fights he was expected to win. Next up for Broner is a welterweight bout against Paulie Malignaggi on June 22 at the Barclays Center.

9. Manny Pacquiao, welterweight (54-5-2): Pacquiao has been off his game for a couple of years now and it makes you wonder if he’s losing interest in the sport. He’ll need a big victory over Brandon Rios on November 23 to move back up on this list.

10. Timothy Bradley, welterweight, (30-0): Bradley is undefeated, but we have yet to really see a “WOW” type of fight. His win over Pacquiao was controversial to say the least, while his victory against Ruslan Provodnikov in March wasn’t anything to write home about. He’ll need a nice win against Marquez to get the boxing world back on his side.
 

Tags: Floyd Mayweather Jr. , Andre Ward , Canelo Alvarez , Sergio Martinez , Wladimir Klitschko , Tim Bradley , Juan Manuel Marquez , Abner Mares , Manny Pacquiao , Adrien Broner , Paulie Malignaggi , Barclays Center.

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