1. Floyd Mayweather Jr., welterweight (45-0): Is there really any reason to even explain why Mayweather is No. 1 in the world? After taking apart the sport’s top young fighter in Canelo Alvarez, Mayweather, 36, proved he still has it. His next bout is scheduled for May. Amir Khan is rumored to be the opponent.
2. Andre Ward, super middleweight (27-0): Ward returned to the ring in November after a 14-month layoff due to a shoulder injury and dominated previously undefeated Edwin Rodriguez. His still style may not excite everyone, but he might be the most technically sound fighter in the world.
3. Timothy Bradley, welterweight (31-0): Three straight wins over Manny Pacquiao, Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez has made Bradley a hot commodity. With Top Rank and Golden Boy still at odds, is there a chance we could see a Bradley-Pacquiao or Bradley-Marquez rematch this year?
4. Wladimir Klitschko, heavyweight (61-3): Klitschko’s destruction of Alexander Povetkin, probably the only viable challenger left, firmly cements him as one of the world’s best boxers. His competition leaves something to be desired, but you can’t blame him for fighting in a weak heavyweight era.
5. Sergio Martinez, middleweight, (51-2-2): With wins over Matthew Macklin, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and Martin Murray in succession, Sergio Martinez remains one of the most skilled fighters in the game. But his penchant for hitting the canvas (he’s been knocked down in each of his last three bouts) is beginning to take a toll. Martinez will get a chance to really make his mark if a reported deal to fight Miguel Cotto is reached.
6. Juan Manuel Marquez: light welterweight, (55-7-1): His split-decision loss to Timothy Bradley notwithstanding, Marquez’s stock as risen in recent months. With possible rematches against Bradley or Manny Pacquiao on the horizon, Marquez, 40, will have an opportunity to etch himself among the all-time greats.
7. Manny Pacquiao, welterweight (55-5-2): A dominant win over Brandon Rios, who later tested positive for a banned substance, has made a believer out of many that Pacquiao is back. If Pacquiao’s tax problems are as massive as reported, he’ll be looking for a big payday. A bout against Mayweather is still a long shot, but rematches against Bradley or Marquez are certainly in the realm or possibilities.
8. Saul Alvarez, junior middleweight (42-1-1): Alvarez’s loss to Mayweather was a setback, but not a major one. His next opponent can’t be a patsy. Alvarez has worldwide appeal now.
9. Guillermo Rigondeaux, junior featherweight (13-0): Rigondeaux’s easy win over Joseph Agbeko in Dec. proves he is head and shoulders above all of his competition. The question isn’t who he fights next. The question is anyone even in his league. Could Mikey Garcia be next on Rigondeax’s list?
10. Danny Garcia, junior welterweight (27-0): Alvarez has been labeled the top young fighter in the game, but Garcia can also make that claim. He was dominant against Lucas Matthysse and Zab Judah and put on an awesome display of power in his fourth-round knockout of Amir Khan in 2012. Could Garcia be on Mayweather’s radar?