Monday, June 29, 2015

Pound-For-Pound 6-29-15

When Andre Ward was removed from the Saturday Night Boxing Pound-for-Pound list at the end of 2014, I had him rated as the second-best boxer in the world. In the ring, he was a spectacular talent and had essentially wiped out a generation of fighters in the super middleweight division. However, his inactivity grew as his contract status went through various legal proceedings. Meanwhile, other elite prizefighters were actually...fighting. After a year of inactivity and with nothing scheduled for the immediate future, it was time for Ward to be dropped from the Rankings. 
Ward finally returned to the ring earlier this month, his first fight since November of 2013. His opponent was Paul Smith, a former title challenger but a fighter not considered to be a threat for Ward. Dominating the action throughout the match, Ward scored a ninth-round stoppage. He still seemed to be in top form.
Now, several questions present themselves regarding Ward and the pound-for-pound list: Does Ward deserve to re-enter the Rankings just off of beating a super middleweight gatekeeper, and one who was wildly out-of-shape? If Ward were to be reinserted, does he still warrant his previous placement? Should there be a deduction for his inactivity? If so, how severe?
There are no easy answers here. I certainly believe that Ward's accomplishments from 2009-2013 should continue to be recognized. However, I also realize that other top fighters have faced and beaten worthy opponents while Ward was on the sidelines. Wladimir Klitschko added to his memorable reign as heavyweight champ by defeating contenders Kubrat Pulev and Bryant Jennings. In total, he has made 18 defenses of the title that he won from Chris Byrd in 2006. Roman Gonzalez picked up a belt in his third division, defeating number-one flyweight Akira Yaegashi. The undefeated Gonzalez also made notable defenses against ex-champ Edgar Sosa and contender Rocky Fuentes.
In the last Saturday Night Boxing Pound-for-Pound update, Gonzalez and Klitschko were my second- and third-ranked boxers, respectively. I think that their ring accomplishments and recent form warrant that they remain in those positions. For me, Ward slips in below those two and above Manny Pacquiao, who won a few rounds against Floyd Mayweather but wasn't particularly competitive in the fight. Pacquiao now drops to number five in the Rankings and Bradley, Kovalev and Rigondeaux all move down a spot.
Finally, Carl Froch has been removed from the pound-for-pound list because of inactivity. (He was previously ranked eighth.) Froch's last fight, a rematch win over George Groves, was over a year ago and nothing presently is scheduled for him. It's possible that retirement is his next move. The complete Saturday Night Boxing Pound-for-Pound list follows:
  1. Floyd Mayweather
  2. Roman Gonzalez
  3. Wladimir Klitschko
  4. Andre Ward
  5. Manny Pacquiao
  6. Tim Bradley
  7. Sergey Kovalev
  8. Guillermo Rigondeaux
  9. Juan Estrada
  10. Naoya Inoue
  11. Adonis Stevenson
  12. Gennady Golovkin
  13. Miguel Cotto
  14. Danny Garcia
  15. Saul Alvarez
  16. Takashi Uchiyama
  17. Shinsuke Yamanaka
  18. Terence Crawford
  19. Donnie Nietes
  20. Nicholas Walters
Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
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