While ranking organizations as Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Boxrec, World Boxing Network and ESPN have already included British WBC and lineal heavyweight king Tyson Fury in their elite pound for pound lists following his 7th round stoppage victory over erstwhile unbeaten American Deontay Wilder, the Ring Magazine is not ready to do so.
The reason? Most Ring staff members are not ready to drop Manny Pacquiao, tenth and last in their top ten best pound for pound fighters out of the list.
Why would they specifically single out Pacquiao when there are nine others including still largely untested Oleksandr Usyk, Errol Spence, Artur Beterbiev, and Juan Francisco Estrada whom can be subjected to closer scrutiny as also likely to be replaced by Fury.
Ring Magazine editor in chief Douglass Fischer who has said that as far as he is concerned Pacquiao has had his time and is now all but washed, aired his sentiment while answering a fan who was asking why Fury is still not in and Pacquiao is, in his most recent Mailbag column:
“I think Fury is worthy of a top 10 pound for pound ranking right now, but I dont know why he or anyone else would give a damn about the mythical rankings when he is “THE MAN” in boxing”, Fischer wrote.
Fischer contended that “the pound for pound concept was devised to shine a light on talented lighter weight fighters that were lost in the larger shadow cast by the heavyweight champion of the world”.
Nothing is farther from the truth. It was originated by Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer as supreme tribute to Walker Smith, better known as Sugar Ray Robinson whom he described as the best pound for pound fighter not only of his time, but of all time.
If the concept is mythical meant to shine light to lighter weight fighters under the huge shadows of heavyweight champions, why did the Ring also bestowed the pound for pound best fighter to Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield?
Fischer continued: “Traditionally, the heavyweight champ is the “world’s strongest man” or the “Baddest Man on the Planet”, as Mike Tyson put it. The heavyweight champ holds the what used to be called “The Biggest Prize in Sports”. In other words, he’s on top of the world, and Tyson Fury certainly is. He is the tallest, heaviest elite boxer in the sport. He’s the biggest of all world class boxers, so naturally, it’s assumed he can beat everyone. Why would a guy like that need to be ranked in the pound for pound conceivably between someone like Juan Francisco Estrada and old man Pacquiao? That’s pointless.
Fury is the Ring/lineal heavyweight champion of the world. He is bigger than pound for pound. Regarding Pacquiao, I agree with you, I’d have the 40 year old future first ballot hall of famer pushed out in favor of Josh Taylor…”
That’s the trouble, the current Ring editor in chief, Fischer, is ready to accept that Tyson Fury is currently THE MAN in boxing for beating Wilder and much earlier Vladimir Klitschko without proving that those two became THE MAN by beating the man who beat the man. They never even did establish their championship lineage to Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis as both Klitschko and Wilder just originally won vacant world titles.
And yet, Fischer accepts that Fury is not only the man but even bigger than pound for pound while belittling the pound for pound concept by insisting that it is just mythical.
The original proponent of the concept, the magazine’s founder Nat Fleischer thought of institutionalizing it inspired by Robinson and based on real feats of accomplishments of fighters as Mickey Walker, Henry Armstrong, Robinson himself, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr., Pernell Whitaker, Oscar de la Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao who all won between two and eight world championships in as many weight classes.
In fact, the Ring Magazine under succeeding editors in chief including Nigel Collins declared Whitaker, De la Hoya, Mayweather Pacquiao and Mayweather again as its pound for pound champions one after the other on the basis of their weight class hopping feats that started from the lower weight divisions, with Pacquiao as low as the flyweight, culminating in the welterweight and super welterweight.
Obviously, this ambivalent and vacillating stand by the present Ring Magazine editorial management and staff is influenced by the increasing commercial nature of pro boxing. It is either mythical or real, depending on how it suits the business interest of whoever the publication is supporting aside from its own.
It is real when they first booted out Pacquiao after his losses to Floyd and later Jeff Horn and recently decided to make as pound for pound numero uno Mexican Canelo Alvarez, a prized ward of Golden Boy promotions owned by Oscar de la Hoya (who also owns the Ring).
It is now mythical to justify their non inclusion of Tyson Fury, continued low ranking of Pacquiao and possible near future junking of Pacquiao to accommodate Fury should fans pressure or demand mounts or Josh Taylor or whoever catch their fancy based on whatever boxing business motives.
In summarizing the general sentiment of the Ring staff, Fischer wrote in the Ring Ratings Update:
“So, now that Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) is back on the throne, does he merit pound-for-pound inclusion?
Not just yet, according to the Ring Ratings Panel.
“Although not aesthetically pleasing on the eye, Fury is a heck of a fighter,” said panelist Anson Wainwright. “I’d like to see him enter the mythical pound-for-pound list off that outstanding win, but I don’t really want to see Manny Pacquiao drop out.”
I find it preposterous that the magazine known as bible of boxing and as original proponent of the pound for pound concept would even be thinking of ditching the only fighter, still active and reigning world champion of that who has essentially embodied and proved the ultimate testimony to the truth and practicability of such concept by winning a world record eight division world titles.