Michael Rosenthal

Pacquiao remains No. 1 pound for pound … barely

Who is No. 1 pound for pound?

That question became particularly difficult to answer after Manny Pacquiao’s controversial majority-decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

The knee-jerk reaction was this: Pacquiao, No. 1 pound for pound, gave a sub-par performance (for him, at least) and should have to pay a price.

No. 2 Floyd Mayweather Jr. was on Pacquiao’s heels going into Saturday, just waiting for a slip-up. And that’s what happened on Saturday. One could argue that Mayweather should supplant Pacquiao atop the rankings, particularly because more people than ever believe he’d beat Pacquiao head to head.

Another option we considered was to declare the No. 1 position vacant and demand that the principals fight one another to determine the pound-for-pound king, which would’ve been the easiest way to deal with this dilemma.

In the end, though, we decided to leave the pound-for-pound rankings as is for one simple reason: All but one member of the Ratings Advisory Panel who provided input and the entire RING Editorial Board believed it was the right thing to do.


  • Pacquiao wasn’t fighting a chump. Marquez is the No. 5 fighter in the world pound for pound. And Pacquiao beat him, at least officially.
  • A great fighter shouldn’t necessarily be demoted because another great fighter has his number. We didn’t think less of Muhammad Ali because he had trouble with Ken Norton three times. The same with Willie Pep and Sandy Saddler in their series.
  • A fighter shouldn’t necessarily be demoted because he has an off night, if that’s what it was on Saturday. Sergio Martinez didn’t look great against Darren Barker but no one clamored for him to be demoted.
  • Pacquiao has accomplished more than Mayweather in recent years. The Filipino is 9-0 against big-name opponents since the beginning of 2008; Mayweather is 3-0 in that time.
  • Mayweather isn’t exactly coming off a sterling performance. He looked good against Victor Ortiz for three-plus rounds but scored a knockout when Ortiz wasn’t looking.
  • And you can’t say that Mayweather should supplant Pacquiao because he defeated Marquez more easily. That doesn’t take into account styles and strengths. Plus, Pacquiao beat Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya more easily than Mayweather did.

All that said, we also feel we should add something here: Pacquiao survives as THE RING’s No. 1 fighter by a hair. Should he stumble again or Mayweather turn in an outstanding performance, a new king probably would be crowned.

And we still hold out hope that they’ll decide this once and for all by facing one another in the ring.

One more note: Marquez moved up in weight yet still fought on at least even terms with the No. 1 fighter in the world, which might merit a bump up in the pound-for-pound ratings under certain circumstances. However, we couldn’t justify placing him above Pacquiao, Mayweather, Sergio Martinez and Nonito Donaire, who don’t deserve to be demoted.


Welterweight: Pacquiao and Mayewather remain Nos. 1 and 2 for reasons stated above.

Junior lightweight: Juan Carlos Burgos defeated Luis Cruz (No. 10 last week) by a majority decision on Saturday. He takes Cruz’s spot in the ratings.

Junior flyweight: Omar Nino (No. 3 last week) exits because of inactivity. He hasn’t fought since Nov. 6 of last year. Unbeaten Jose Alfredo Rodriguez of Mexico enters at No. 10, pushing everyone up one notch.

Rated fighters in action this coming weekend (with current ratings)

Middleweight: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (No. 5) vs. Peter Manfredo Jr. (Saturday).

Junior lightweight: Argenis Mendez (No. 8) vs. Jose Palma (Friday)

Featherweight: Billy Dib (No. 10) vs. Alberto Servidei (Saturday)

Junior bantamweight: Hugo Cazares (No. 4) vs. Jhunriel Ramonal

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