The Pound-for-Pound debate
There has been significant Pound-for-Pound (P4P) debate over the past month. Several strong cases have been made; although some fans and pundits are fed up and want the fictional title forgotten.
Do these lists add an element of clarity to the sport? Not really. Most people just have fun discussing the topic, so don’t expect P4P recognition to go away anytime soon.
Minutes after dominating David Lemieux, middleweight king Gennady Golovkin was asked by HBO analyst Max Kellerman if he thought he was the new P4P king. Golovkin didn’t claim to be and replied that the designation is currently up for grabs.
Earlier on the same show, Kellerman asked WBC flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez the same question. Speaking through an interpreter, Gonzalez responded by thanking his fans and the people of Nicaragua without addressing the P4P query. Perhaps he doesn’t care.
Is Terence Crawford too new on the scene to lead the pack? Crawford’s WBO 140lbs title defence against Dierry Jean on Saturday will be his fifth world title contest. Perhaps we need more proof from him and it really should come in a glamour fight against an opponent posing a real threat.
Why not proclaim Wladimir Klitschko as top dog? He hasn’t lost a fight in more than 10 years and has cleaned out a generation of heavyweights, albeit mainly mediocre opposition. Regardless, Klitschko prepares mentally and physically as well as any other champion.
You may have a personal preference in this debate, a fighter not listed above, but I think it’s clear that the boxing community has not yet universally agreed on who should wear the P4P crown.
Floyd Mayweather Jr left the sport on top, but he is now ‘retired’. Here’s hoping Floyd rides off into the sunset, to enjoy his money, accomplishments, and health - and keeps on riding.
Guillermo Rigondeaux has taken on a mythical Keyser Soze status, his named only dropped when it suits one of his ambitious peers. But as none of the belt holders in his weight class are willing to fight him, the Cuban is rarely seen in the ring. Management issues haven’t helped either.
Andre Ward rarely fights and has really divided opinion. No one denies his talent, but too many believe he is just plain boring. This should be the prime of Ward’s career and his handlers must find a way to get him into marquee fights or he’ll never fulfil his potential.
Manny Pacquiao, a future Hall of Famer, hasn’t had many votes for P4P boss since his loss to Mayweather. Who’d have thought losing to his talented rival would have such a detrimental effect on his status?
The general mood seems to be that we have several worthy contenders for the P4P best boxer title and this is refreshing for the sport.
If you don’t like the P4P debate, don’t join in. If you do, have fun with it - as it’s not a real title! But if you are a sanctioning body or have a degree of clout, please don’t give out another belt. The sport is already confusing enough.
Photo credit: Naoki Fukuda