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Friday, February 12, 2010

The contenders to Manny Pacquiao's pound for pound throne

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Pittsburgh Fight Sports Examiner | Scott Heritage

Manny Pacquiao has been the consensus number one pound for pound fighter in the world for the past couple of years now and has few rivals. When he either retires or gets beaten though, there will no doubt be new names vying for the top position in the sport.

In the immediate future, the only real contender there appears to be if Floyd Mayweather Jr. who has been at the top of the rankings before. His only path back to the top would probably be to get through Pacquiao though which could be problematic given the result of the last time the pair tried to put a fight together.

Should they come to terms in the future though, and should Mayweather win, which he was an early favorite to do, then he would once again top the list. Someone like Mosley or even Josh Clottey might beat Pacquiao, but have too many losses on their records for much to be made of it outside the welterweight division. Not to mention they have size and strength advantages against Pacquiao anyway.

Bernie Walker, Pittsburgh PA: "Pacquiao's fans will all be crying when their little roid monster gets picked apart by a real boxer like Floyd Mayweather. He might have balut (aka drug) power but he won't catch Mayweather all night long, if he don't back out of the fight again"

(Scott: Bernie, I would advise you not say any of that stuff out loud if you find yourself in the Philippines anytime soon.)

Fellow Freddie Roach disciple and now latest Golden Boy signing Amir Khan is a fighter tipped for great things by many. Coming from an Olympic silver medal and now boasting a record of 22-1 and the WBA light welterweight title, Khan looks to be going places. Reportedly he even gets the better of Pacquiao sometimes in training when the pair are sparring, although of course this isn't much of an indication of how a real fight would go.

Khan is unquestionably still a work in progress at the moment, and although he has almost every tool he needs for greatness, he has yet to face any top fighters. This might change in May when he fights in America for the first time, as he will look to quickly build up his name with a marquee opponent, and that means a big step up in skill as well.

Amir and Manny are said to be friends, and coming from the same gym are very unlikely to fight each other. By the time Khan is ready for someone of Pacquiao's caliber, not to mention weight class, Manny will probably have retired anyway. Someday though, so long as Khan continues to progress under Freddie Roach as much as he has already, he might make it to the top.

Eric Waters, Pittsburgh PA: "Khan isn't the best out there, but he does have al the makings of a great champion in the future. He works with Freddie Roach, spars with Manny Pacquiao and has a great background from his amateur days"

Edwin Valero is another exciting fighter who many have pegged as an eventual successor to Manny Pacquiao, although the Venezuelan would prefer to fight him instead. Holding a slightly padded record of 27 wins and 27 KO's, Valero nevertheless proved there is some substance to his hype with a one sided crushing of Antonio DeMarco last time out.

So Valero has the desire to keep climbing the divisions and taking belts from whoever he comes across, but does he have the skill?

Not so very long ago I would have said definitely not, but it seems there is a lot more to Valero than meets the eye. In his next few fights when he will again take on bigger, stronger opponents we will see just how good his skills are if his power doesn't do the job for him. But it's a case of so far so good from Valero overall.

Suntok, via email:"Valero’s record is impressive, but I don’t know if he really fought skilled fighters. Also can Valero move to the Welterweight division? If ever Pacquiao wins over Clottey I think the next step of Pacquiao is to fight the winner of the Mosley-Mayweather bout. If Valero will get lucky he would be getting a fight with Pacquiao in 2011. Nevertheless, we really can’t say who will win but it would all defend on skills in the welterweight division. Regards to all."

At the moment then, outside of Floyd Mayweather, all Pacquiao's other challengers look to be a couple of years away from being ready at the least. The chances are pretty good that Pacquiao will retire as the pound for pound champion. But who will take the reigns from him when he's gone is an interesting thought.


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