Commentary

The top three pound-for-pound fighters

Updated: July 14, 2010, 1:21 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Who is the world's best fighter regardless of weight class? See my top 20 below.

And don't forget to check out the divisional rankings, which are updated weekly.

For a list of the current champions in all weight classes, click here.

Note: Results are through July 13.

1
Manny Pacquiao

Welterweight titlist
Age: 31 | Record: 51-3-2, 38 KOs

Hits: Pacquiao has agreed to a deal to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr., but Mayweather has not signed off on his side of it yet. But with or without Mayweather, Pacquiao plans to fight Nov. 13. Any time the pound-for-pound king and most exciting fighter in the world steps between the ropes, it commands significant worldwide attention.

Misses: Obviously it would be best for the sport (and Pacquiao's bank account) for the Mayweather fight to be finalized, but Pacquiao can't make him fight. So if the fight doesn't happen, Pacquiao will face either Miguel Cotto in a rematch or Antonio Margarito. Either would be a decent enough fight, but would pale in comparison to a Mayweather fight.


2
Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Welterweight
Age: 33 | Record: 41-0, 25 KOs

Hits: For those who have been critical of Mayweather for not fighting top welterweights, he answered those critics (including a certain ESPN.com boxing writer) in resounding style in May when he scored a near shutout of Shane Mosley. Mayweather looked fantastic and, at long last, not only talked the talk but walked the walk against a man his own size.

Misses: Maybe Mayweather will surprise us all before the July 16 deadline and agree to fight Pacquiao this fall, but after reading the tea leaves, it doesn't look good. If Mayweather declines the fight, what could possibly be a reasonable explanation? Like the man who calls himself "Money" doesn't want to make $40 million?


3
Paul Williams

Middleweight
Age: 28 | Record: 39-1, 27 KOs

Hits: Although Williams and promoter Dan Goossen know there is zero chance of Williams getting a fight with Pacquiao in the event the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight doesn't come off, they are still out there calling for it. They argue that the only reason Williams has fought at junior middleweight and middleweight over the past couple of years is because none of the top welterweights will fight him. That isn't about to change, but you can't blame Williams and Goossen for trying, can you?

Misses: As much as Williams would like to fight Pacquiao (or any other top welterweight), the fight HBO and many fans and media want to see is a rematch with middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, whom Williams owns a tight decision win against in a sensational fight. But Williams and his team have steadfastly refused to entertain overtures to make the fight.


Click here for Nos. 4-20. Insider