By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
LOST in the current squabble for the top post in the pound for pound ranking particularly of the Ring Magazine which started this tradition back in the fight sport’s early years is its former long time holder who continues to hug the cellar in the latest Ring rating.
Pacquiao got back in the Ring pound for pound list at number ten after a series of comeback wins after an upset losing his WBO title to Jeff Horn in 2017, culminating in a brilliant decision victory over erstwhile undefeated Keith Thurman for the WBA welterweight super title last July. That bout was even hailed as a strong fight of the year candidate at that time.
Prior to this, Manny won the WBA regular title by knockout over Lucas Matthysse in July of the previous year, 2018 which he convincing defended January of this year with a runaway points win over Adrien Broner, a former multi-division world titlist and pound for pound lister.
Even after his controversial fight with and defeat at the hands of Floyd Mayweather in the richest boxing match in history in 2015 and before his upset loss to Horn in Australia, Manny had been hovering in the Ring upper bracket of pound for pound fighters which he used to top from 2008 until Floyd got it back in 2012.
This was helped by his overall track record that saw him winning most of his bouts against prominent and rated fighters and champions including fellow or former pound for pounders as Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Sugar Shane Mosley between 2006-2011.
And wins over Timothy Bradley twice, Chris Algieri and Jessie Vargas between 2013 and 2017 after a forgettable 2012 which saw him get upset by Bradley by one of the most ludicrous split decisions ever made and by bitter arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez who finally got a win over him in four fights via Hail Mary punch knockout.
Some may argue that these happened years ago but originally, track record was a top criteria in the pound for pound reckoning from the time of the venerable Nat Fleischer in the 1920s to Bert Randolph Sugar in the 80s and 90s to Nigel Collins in the 2000s.
As should be as the fitness of the fighters for inclusion in the elite list must pass the tests of time as the likes of Robinson, Ali, Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard did in their time and Floyd and especially Manny did and continue to do till this time, despite their advancing age and status.
But the current Ring Magazine panel and editorial staff changed the priority of criteria in the recent years giving more weight to recent results and performance than track record.
Hence, after Floyd officially retired at the end of 2015 and with Manny on extended medical leave following a rotator cuff surgery, the Ring immediately came up with a new pound for pound cast headed by Roman Chocolatito Gonzales and Andre Ward who succeeded one after the other as pound for pound champion between 2016-2017.
When Ward retired in late 2017, then number two Vasyl Lomachenko was upgraded to the top position which he held until very recently when The Ring magazine elevated Canelo Alvarez to number one following his history making knockout victory over now deposed WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.
But Canelo is still not sure to hold on to the top spot for long as unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue is sure to enter into the pound for pound best discussion in the next reckoning with his brilliant win over the now also legendary Nonito Donaire in their World Boxing Super Series bantamweight finals in Saitama, Japan.
Without a doubt, Canelo who has been fighting at top level for almost a decade now and The Monster Inoue who has chalked up a sensational record in a comparably shorter time much like Lomachenko deserve to be in the conversation for the top totem pole position in the pound for pound.
And so are Lomachenko and Terrence Crawford, the former long time 1 and 2.
But Pacquiao certainly deserves a higher rating than his current number ten position.
His track record plus his recent results and performance certainly top those of others rated above him as Artur Beterbiev, Errol Spence, Oleksander Usyk and Juan Francisco Estrada.
He is also the first from his era to reenter the current elite list since then pound for pound champion Floyd who retired in 2007 came back to boxing in 2009 was re-inserted in 2010 in the upper bracket headed by Pacquiao himself.
Let us have some historical accuracy, credibility and justice here.