The question: Where do we put Floyd Mayweather Jr. in THE RING pound-for-pound and welterweight ratings after his bizarre fourth-round knockout of Victor Ortiz on Saturday night in Las Vegas?
The answer: Tough question.
We’ll start off by saying that a decision in the pound-for-pound ratings was much easier to make than that in the welterweight division, where one Manny Pacquiao has resided for some time.
Mayweather can’t leave boxing for 16 months, defeat a good (not special) opponent in a less-than-satisfying manner and expect to regain his status as the No. 1 fighter in the world. He’ll have to do more than that to earn it.
We don’t approve of Pacquiao’s last three opponents, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley, each of whom probably was less qualified to face the Filipino icon than Ortiz was to face Mayweather. However, Pacquiao has obliterated seven big-name opponents in the time Mayweather has done the same to three.
Thus, there is no reason Mayweather should leap frog Pacquiao to the top. So it’s Pacquiao No. 1 and Mayweather No. 2 in the pound-for-pound ratings.
Now on to the trickier question: What do we do about the welterweight division?
Pacquiao and Mayweather have each had three welterweight fights over the past two years. Pacquiao has faced Miguel Cotto, Clottey and Mosley. Mayweather fought Juan Manuel Marquez, Mosley and Ortiz.
Who faced stiffer competition? Cotto, Clottey and Mosley were rated Nos. 3, 5 and 3 by THE RING at the time they fought Pacquiao. Marquez, a beefed-lightweight, wasn’t rated at 147 pounds while a slightly better version of Mosley than Pacquiao faced and Ortiz were both rated No. 2 when they met Mayweather.
Pacquiao has a slight edge there.
Mayweather’s inactivity doesn’t work against him here as much as one might think because they both have had the three welterweight fights over roughly the same time period, Pacquaio 1 year, 10 months and Mayweather two years.
That’s a push.
Pacquiao biggest advantage is the fact he’s the incumbent, who can be overtaken only if he slips up or if your recent accomplishments are far superior to his. Neither of those criteria apply here.
Pacquiao has dominated his opponents just as thoroughly as Mayweather has.
So we can come to only one decision: Pacquiao remains at No. 1, with Mayweather a very close No. 2.
We have an idea that would take this out of the hands of those who compile such rankings, though: Pacquiao and Mayweather should actually fight one another, which would determine once and for all who is the better boxer.
Just a thought.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
Pound for pound: Mayweather enters at No. 2, pushing everyone previously at No. 2 and below down one notch and knocking Bernard Hopkins out of the Top 10. A victory over Chad Dawson on Oct. 15 could him put him right back in.
Junior middleweight: Saul Alvarez remains at No. 3 after his sixth-round knockout of game but smallish Alfonso Gomez on Saturday night.
Welterweight: Mayweather also enters at No. 2 here, pushing everyone down one place and No. 10 Selcuk Aydin out of the ratings.
Junior welterweight: No. 7 Erik Morales made history by becoming the first Mexican to win major titles in a fourth weight division but opponent Pablo Cesar Cano wasn’t rated going into the fight. No. 6 Lamont Peterson is coming off a nice victory over Victor Cayo. Thus, Morales remains where he is.
Featherweight: No. 8 Jhonny Gonzalez stopped Rogers Mtagwa in two rounds, his 10th consecutive knockout. However, he stays put because Mtagwa was not rated and has now lost three of his past four fights (albeit to Juan Manuel Lopez, Yuriorkis Gamboa and now Gonzalez).