1. Manny Pacquiao, welterweight, (53-3-2): The WBO welterweight champ is set to take on Juan Manuel Marquez for a third time in November. Barring some unforeseen issue, this is likely a prelude to a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. next May.
2. Sergio Martinez, middleweight, (47-2-2): Martinez earned this ranking with dominating wins over Kelly Pavlik, Paul Williams and Serhiy Dzinziruk. Martinez will face European champion Darren Barker on October 1.
3. Floyd Mayweather Jr., welterweight, (41-0): It’s official. Mayweather will take on southpaw Victor Ortiz on September 17 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It’s significant because Ortiz, like Pacquiao, is a southpaw. This could set up what we’ve all been waiting for. The only reason Mayweather is third on this list is because he hasn’t fought since May 1, 2010.
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 just 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. Timothy Bradley, junior welterweight, (27-0): He’s the best fighter in what is arguably the best weight class in the world. We still don't have an official reason why he turned down a guaranteed $1.4 million offer and fight Amir Khan on July 23, although talk around the industry is that he wants to free himself from promoter Gary Shaw.
7. 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.
8. 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 sometime this fall. An easy win in the fight will vault him up on this list.
9. Yuriorkis Gamboa, Featherweight, (20-0): There’s little debate over who the best featherweight in the world is. Gamboa destroyed Jorge Solis last March. Unfortunately, the next best fighter in the division was Juan Manual Lopez, but he got knocked out.
10. Miguel Cotto, junior middleweight (36-2): Cotto can still bring it. He’s slated to fight Antonio Margarito on December 3. Ok, it’s not the most anticipated fight (we’d like to see him against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Sergio Martinez). But Cotto is out to prove his previous loss to Margarito wasn’t because he was a lesser fighter.