For the eighth consecutive month, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao run 1-2 in the Yahoo! Sports rankings, a poll of boxing writers around the world. Mayweather and Pacquiao are as close to a sure thing as there is in the sport.
But with both fighting within a month of each other against elite opponents, the possibility exists that when the June rankings come out, neither will hold the top spot. Mayweather fights Miguel Cotto, who came in 12th, on May 5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. On June 9, Pacquiao will take on No. 8 Timothy Bradley at the MGM.
Mayweather and Pacquiao are favourites to win, but neither Cotto nor Bradley are pushovers. In Cotto's case, he didn't balloon up in weight after his Dec. 3 victory over Antonio Margarito, as is often the case. Cotto never got much higher than about 168 pounds and so was well within range of making the 154-pound limit months before his super welterweight title bout against Mayweather.
Pacquiao has had all sorts of personal issues in the Philippines and can't be 100 percent focused on his preparations.
While most would likely elevate the current No. 3, Sergio Martinez, into the top spot in the event Mayweather and Pacquiao both lose, I'd propose Andre Ward instead. Ward may be the most physically gifted fighter in the world, though he's far from the most exciting. Exciting fights come when there is an exchange of punches, and Ward is difficult to hit.
The super middleweight champion is the best combination of offense, defence and ring intelligence besides Mayweather. If the sport's two superstars come up short the next time out, Ward is awaiting his coronation.
With that, let's head to the newest rankings:
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
2. Manny Pacquiao
3. Sergio Martinez
4. Juan Manuel Marquez
5. Andre Ward
6. Nonito Donaire Jr.
7. Wladimir Klitschko
8. Timothy Bradley
9. Vitali Klitschko
10. Lucian Bute