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Neutral Corner top 10: Floyd No.1

Floyd Mayweather Jr. blows kisses to the crowd

Floyd Mayweather Jr. blows kisses to the crowd after knocking out Victor Ortiz Floyd during their WBC welterweight title fight. (Sept. 17, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0): Floyd is No.1. He earned it after his brief fight with Victor Ortiz. Cheap shot or not, Ortiz was struggling to stay away from Mayweather’s straight right and his jab. Manny Pacquiao fans would bristle at this, but Mayweather has fought a better class of fighters the last few years. He beat Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Shane Mosley before Pacquiao got to them.

2. Manny Pacquiao, welterweight, (53-3-2): The WBO welterweight champ is set to take on Juan Manuel Marquez for a third time in November. Pacquiao is still considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. If he struggles against Marquez, which is a real possibility, it could jeopardize a potential mega-fight with Mayweather next spring.

3. Sergio Martinez, middleweight, (47-2-2): Martinez earned this ranking with dominating wins over Kelly Pavlik, Paul Williams and Serhiy Dzinziruk. Martinez will face undefeated European champion Darren Barker on October 1 in Atlantic City.

4. Nonito Donaire, bantamweight, (26-1): Donaire, the WBC and WBO champ, made himself a household name after a second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel in February. The question is when does he get into the ring next and against who.

5. Wladimir Klitschko, heavyweight, (56-3): It could be a little too generous of us to have a heavyweight this high on the list, but Klitschko, now the IBF, WBO and WBA champ dominated the No.3 heavyweight in the world in David Haye with relative ease. The dearth of quality heavyweights notwithstanding, you can’t ignore his results.

6. Amir Khan, junior welterweight (26-1): Yes, Amir Khan has earned this ranking. His fifth-round knockout of Zab Judah, his domination of Paul McCloskey and triumph against Marcos Maidana could put him oh-so close to being the next guy for Mayweather or Pacquiao.

7. Andre Ward, super middleweight, (23-0): Ward hasn’t broken a sweat in the ring in over four years, with easy wins over Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green and Mikkel Kessler. He’ll face Carl Froch in Showtime’s Super Six final in December. An easy win in the fight will vault him up on this list.

8. Yuriorkis Gamboa, Featherweight, (21-0): There’s little debate over who the best featherweight in the world is. Gamboa destroyed Jorge Solis last March and barely broke a sweat in a win over Ponce de Leon at the Boardwalk on September 10.

9. Juan Manuel Marquez, lightweight, (52-5-1): Marquez will get one more chance to topple Manny Pacquiao on November 12. If he does it, he moves up on this list. And we mean way up on this list. Marquez is the only fighter in the last half-decade to really test Pacquiao.

10. Timothy Bradley, junior welterweight, (27-0): He’s considered by most to be the best fighter in what is arguably the best weight class in the world. But he hasn’t fought since January 29. His promoter, Gary Shaw, is suing him for breach of contract, so when he’ll fight again is anyone’s guess. His inactivity forced the Neutral Corner to drop him from 6th to 10th.



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