He might be getting older but the universally recognised pound for pound king is still sitting pretty at the top. After fighting just once in 2012 after defeating Miguel Cotto in a 12-round victory, Mayweather has upped the stakes in 2013 by defeating Robert Guerrero in May and now setting his sights on the unbeaten Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Mayweather is of course the favourite to beat Alvarez but the 22-year-old Mexican is no pushover and is a serious threat to the 36-year-old’s unblemished record.
It’s been a frustrating time for the 2004 Olympic gold medal-winning star. The 29-year-old has been plagued by injury since defeating Carl Froch in December 2011 and more recently Chad Dawson in September 2012. To add insult to injury, Ward was stripped of his WBC super middleweight title in March due to a lengthy spell of inactivity and failing to meet his mandatory challenger.
However, despite his bad luck, “S.O.G” is still a level above the rest of those in his division. There is still talk of a rematch with Froch, possibly in the UK, after “The Cobra” defeated Danish warrior Mikkel Kessler at The 02 in London to unify the WBA and IBF belts.
Ward is a victim of his own success in a way as there are now very little opponents left for him to face after previously beating both Froch and Kessler during the Super Six tournament.
In December 2012, Juan Manuel Marquez exacted sweet revenge over bitter rival Manny Pacquiao with a devastating right hand which knocked the Filipino out cold. The 39-year-old is now getting the same recognition that legendary compatriots and enemies Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera received after four attempts at beating Pacquiao.
The possibility of a fifth fight with Pacquiao was mentioned by promoter Bob Arum but now Marquez has opted to face unbeaten American Timothy Bradley in October in Las Vegas.
Time appears to be catching up with Sergio Martinez but that does not stop him from being recognised as the best middleweight in the world. The 38-year-old Argentine had a memorable 2012 with a stoppage win over Matthew Macklin and coming back from a late onslaught to topple Julio Cesar Chavez Jr for the WBC title. Martinez had a difficult first fight of 2013 when he fought another Brit in the form of Martin Murray in front of over 40,000 fans in Buenos Aires in his home country of Argentina.
However, Martinez won a narrow points decision after the previously unbeaten Murray dropped the champion and should have had a second knockdown recorded but it was not given by the referee. Martinez will now take a break from the sport in order to heal underlying injuries.
Despite the low quality of his opponents, Wladimir Klitschko still deserves a place in the pound for pound rankings. His sheer dominance of the heavyweight division along with big brother Vitali is down to technical brilliance and a sledgehammer right hand. Recent opponents Francesco Pianeta, Mariusz Wach, Tony Thompson and Jean Marc Mormeck did nothing to bother the 37-year-old Ukrainian in any way.
Klitschko was set for a unification showdown with WBA regular champion Alexander Povetkin in October but that fight has been thrown into jeopardy over Klitschko’s insistence on German style drug testing as opposed to the testing in Russia. Klitschko is still in search of a career defining fight but the likes of Tyson Fury, David Price and Deontay Wilder are waiting in the wings and ready to pounce on the ageing champion.
Even after losing to Guillermo Rigondeaux earlier this year, the future remains bright for the “Filipino Flash”. Many publications and websites voted the 30-year-old super bantamweight as their fighter of the year for 2012 after impressive victories over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, Jeffrey Mathebula, Toshiaki Nishioka and Jorge Arce.
Donaire was bold in fighting the largely avoided Rigondeaux but the Cuban’s style was all wrong for Donaire and won via a unanimous points decision. Donaire’s next move is likely to be a step up in weight after apparently struggling to make the 122lb weight limit.
The current WBO welterweight champion has already been involved in one of the fights of the year after edging out a brutal but narrow points victory over Ruslan Provodnikov back in March. The 29-year-old has been criticised in the past for being in boring fights but “Desert Storm” bravely rose from the canvas to trade with the hard-hitting Russian.
It has been over a year since Bradley won a controversial decision over Manny Pacquiao to win the title and he will defend the belt against the Filipino’s bitter rival Juan Manuel Marquez on 12 October in Las Vegas.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist has made a rapid ascension in the professional ranks after winning the WBA super bantamweight title in only his ninth fight and now in 2013, has dethroned one of the pound for pound best in Nonito Donaire. The 32-year-old Cuban put on a clinical display to beat the Filipino but only time will tell if he progresses any further as he is likely to be avoided even further.
The first eight-division world champion is running out of time. He had a year to forget in 2012 with a controversial loss to unbeaten American Timothy Bradley and a devastating knockout at the hands of Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez. Arguably, the 34-year-old from the Philippines has not been at his best since he beat Miguel Cotto in 2009 and has not put on a truly impressive display since battering Antonio Margarito in 2010.
The opportunity for a much-hyped fight with Floyd Mayweather has well and truly gone after a series of failed negotiations and Pacquiao will be looking to bounce back against Brandon Rios when he fights him in Macau, China in November.
Mexican starlet Alvarez has made steady progress over the past couple of years but overcame his biggest test to date in April when he beat American rival Austin Trout to unify the WBC and WBA light middleweight titles in front of over 40,000 people in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. “Canelo” has now earned a megabucks showdown with Floyd Mayweather on 14 September at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will certainly be the biggest threat yet to Mayweather’s unblemished record.
The unbeaten 22-year-old is starting to show signs of maturity after failing to amaze critics with some lacklustre performances. However, the win over Trout was a legitimate one and will stand him in good stead when he comes to fight Mayweather