Note: This feature originally appeared in the October edition of THE RING magazine. The November issue, with Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the cover, is on newsstands now. The cover story is titled: “10 Guys Who Would Have Kicked Mayweather's Butt.”
It was out with the old and in with the new as THE RING composed this year’s All-Star Report Cards. Gone from last year’s survey are such old warhorses as Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Chris John and Israel Vazquez. In place of those fighters were newer, fresher names like Yuriorkis Gamboa and Timothy Bradley, a sign that new blood is being pumped into the sport. Meanwhile, names like Sergio Martinez and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam show that our All-Star list always has room for veterans, provided they’re still producing in the ring.
Aside from the youth movement, other trends have emerged this year. For instance, there is a noticeable dip in Mexican or Mexican-American fighters among our 20 All-Stars. When THE RING first compiled this roster in 2003, there were five such fighters listed; this year, there is one. Also, the number of fighters born in the United States shrunk from 13 in 2003 to a measly four this year. Lopez and Miguel Cotto are U.S. citizens by way of Puerto Rico, but they didn’t learn their stuff in the American amateur system, so they can’t be counted. Brits are on the rise, though. There was only one Brit All-Star in 2003, but three made the list this year, sans Hatton.
Perhaps you’re wondering why some of your favorite fighters didn’t make the list, but rest assured that many other fighters were given close consideration. It’s just that some fighters seem to lose fights as we’re creating our list, and others just fall a bit short in terms of box office and general excitement value.
The 20 fighters who made it weren't chosen solely on their ability to sell tickets and attract cable customers but the ability to fill seats definitely plays a big part in our selection process. Some fighters, Nonito Donaire for example, might not yet be a legitimate star on the level of Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao, but we felt he can compete with the best in terms of talent, and is certainly on his way to stardom.
Those who were removed from last year’s list are gone because they simply didn’t do enough to merit inclusion this year. The one exception is the late Edwin Valero. He made it last time, and there was every reason to believe he’d repeat.
With that in mind, here are the 2010 All-Star Report Cards. The fighters are judged on talent, achievement, marketability, support system, and growth potential. They are presented in order of weight class, starting with the heavyweights.
Today: Floyd Mayweather Jr. Tomorrow: Manny Pacquiao.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
TALENT: He might be the only fighter working today who could be described as an artist, but he tends to work in miniature rather than create epics. The 33-year-old doesn’t use his legs as he once did; he’s content to stand in front of opponents and make them miss with his superb defensive skills. He compliments his slipperiness with a sharp right lead, a good left hook and an under-appreciated ability to punch to the body. As he gets older, we can anticipate a more traditional approach, with more body punches and inside fighting. Many defensive fighters, from Pernell Whitaker to Bernard Hopkins, become grinders as they age, and we might see the same from Mayweather. His power is adequate – Ricky Hatton learned you cannot walk blindly into Floyd’s left hook – and his ring generalship is unparalleled. Grade: A
ACHIEVEMENT: Since his return from “retirement,” Mayweather has put in two commanding performances, winning unanimous decisions over an undersized Juan Manual Marquez and a game but slightly faded Shane Mosley. Mosley gave Mayweather some hairy moments in the second round of their bout, cracking him with a few hard rights to the jaw. Mayweather rode out the storm and went on to win the bout easily. The winner of THE RING championship at lightweight and welterweight, plus six alphabet belts from junior lightweight to junior middleweight, Mayweather is one of the most decorated fighters of modern times, as well as a successful pay-per-view attraction. Grade: A
MARKETABILITY: Mayweather has done well for a fighter of this era, but his “crossover” appeal has probably peaked. Grade: A-
SUPPORT SYSTEM: Although the core of the Mayweather camp remains solid – advisors Leonard Ellerbe and Al Haymon aren’t jumping off the gravy train anytime soon – and Golden Boy Promotions has happily aligned with Mayweather, there are problems concerning his uncle/trainer Roger, who has been embroiled in legal trouble all year. Should Roger end up “going away for a while,” the ubiquitous Floyd Sr. might step in to oversee Mayweather’s training. Mayweather had his own legal issues recently when he was arrested on domestic violence charges. Still, when one considers Mayweather’s love of gambling, his mouthy attitude, his hip-hop background, his own collection of guns and bulletproof vests, and his financial woes (he paid $5.6-million to the IRS last September), he’s actually surprised us by the degree that he has stayed out of trouble. Grade: B+
GROWTH POTENTIAL: There are no signs of a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight being made any time soon, so the world awaits. Mayweather has once again irritated you with his refusal to fight Pacquiao for what potentially stands to be the richest fight of all time. As far as growth goes, it’s not like he needs a job. Grade: A-
Previous All-Star Report Cards
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. http://www.ringtv.com/blog/2396/the_ring_allstar_report_cards_julio_cesar_chavez_jr/