There are so many young talented superstars making their way through the ranks at this current time and 2013 could be the year when some of them launch themselves to the very top and start mixing with the elite fighters in the sport. The Pacquiao-Mayweather-Marquez-Cotto era is gradually coming to an end so expect to see the tide changing a lot in the coming months!
The Current Top 10:
- Floyd Mayweather
- Andre Ward
- Sergio Martinez
- Juan Manuel Marquez
- Nonito Donaire
- Wladimir Klitschko
- Manny Pacquiao
- Timothy Bradley
- Carl Froch
- Adrien Broner
Who will drop out?
There's only one fighter that I really expect to drop out of the top 10 in 2013 and that is the Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. The 34-year old had a terrible 2012 losing twice to Timothy Bradley and then Juan Manuel Marquez, the latter being a devastating 6th round KO, and is clearly on a decline. How low he will drop on the list depends solely on how fast his decline goes. I still believe there are winnable fights for 'Pacman' at world level but I can't see him reaching the heights that he was once at.
Juan Manuel Marquez is contemplating having just a few more fights and then retiring so that could mean him leaving this list too. And then there is Timothy Bradley and Adrien Broner, two very talented fighters who have not yet cemented their place in this list. They just make the top 10 because of their natural talent and the hype around them, but both look set for a very tough year against some of the best fighters in the world. If they perform well against these challengers then they could move even higher in the list, but one loss could mean an instant drop out. 2013 is a make or break year for them.
Who will come in?
Like I said, there are tons of talented fighters coming through but there are only a few that I can see breaking into the top 10 this year:
Abner Mares (Ranked No.12) - My first choice without a doubt. The 27-year old fan favorite beat fellow pound-for-pound contender Anselmo Moreno decisively in November of last year and now looks set for some real big fights in the coming months. He is in a rare position where he is already ranked so high but still has a lot of opponents that could easily catapult him into the top 10. A win over Nonito Doanire or Guillermo Rigondeaux will push him almost to the top 5. It's just depends on if these fights happen.
Saul Alvarez (No.13) - The 22-year old Mexican has looked unstoppable in his career so far but still hasn't stepped in the ring with an elite fighter. There are some mouth-watering match-ups out there for him but at this current time it is hard to imagine them happening. Some people believe (not me) that he will be the one to hand P4P King D Floyd Mayweather his first loss and if this was to happen then 'Canelo' will no doubt break into that top 5, let alone the top 10.
Yuriorkis Gamboa (No.15) - I'm still not sold on Gamboa. I think he's got bags of talent but is also very vulnerable to intense pressure fighters and hard hitters. Already a fully-fledged world level boxer, 2013 will no doubt be a big year for the Cuban. There are already talks of a showdown with highly-rated WBA super-featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama. A win over him would push Gamboa close to the top 10, but I think his best bet is to step up to 135lb and challenge some of the champions there.
Danny Garcia (No.18) - The young unified champion was the breakthrough star of 2012 with three fantastic victories (once against Amir Khan and twice against Erik Morales). These wins have also shown Garcia to be one of the most devastating punchers in the sport today. If he carries on his ruthless march through the ranks then he can easily find himself in the top 10 in 12 months time.
Austin Trout (No.20) - An unknown quantity to many fight fans at the start of 2012, Austin 'No Doubt' Trout became our pound-for-pound highest climber with a career-boosting win over Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto. Fights with Saul Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather have been mentioned for 2013. I really can't see him beating Mayweather, or that fight taking place but a win over Canelo is a realistic target for the New Mexican. I believe Trout is one of the most likely to make it into the top 10.
Others that could come close: Robert Guerrero, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Gennady Golovkin.
Here is a list of some fights that I believe could really shake up this pound-for-pound list if they did happen. Obviously there a lot of fights that the fans want to see but I'm only going to pay attention to the realistic ones.
Floyd Mayweather Vs Saul Alvarez - I don't believe that Alvarez would cause Mayweather a lot of trouble but there are a lot of people who do, so this fight has to be mentioned. If this match-up does get made and Alvarez does win then obviously it would cause one of the biggest pound-for-pound changes in recent years; Mayweather would be knocked off his top spot and a 22-year old young superstar would take his place and maybe even become the man to beat in boxing.
Juan Manuel Marquez Vs Danny Garcia - People like Timothy Bradley and Lucas Matthysse have also been mentioned for Marquez but I believe that this fight is the most realistic. It may be because I am a big fan of Garcia, but I do believe that he has the potential to cause the Mexican some trouble. Marquez would be the huge favorite and probably would win but a win for Garcia would turn things upside down in the light-welterweight division.
Nonito Donaire Vs Abner Mares - It would be tough to pick a clear winner in this one. Donaire is already a serious pound-for-pound contender and one of the best technical fighters in the world but Mares just gets better and better every time. If Donaire wins then he would become the new No.2 on my list and if Mares was to win then he would come from outside of the top 10 straight into the top 5. This is mouth-watering fight and hopefully it gets made.
Vitali Klitschko Vs David Haye - Vitali seems to be there for the taking for up and coming heavyweights right now. It just depends on who gets him first. A fight with David Haye is what everyone wants to see and hopefully we will get it. A win for Vitali, currently rated at No.17, would push him up a little higher again as Haye is considered by most as the best heavyweight outside of the Klitschko bro's right now. But a win for Haye would shake things up even more. A decisive win could mean 'The Hayemaker' finding himself in the P4P top 5.
Carl Froch Vs Mikkel Kessler - 'The Cobra' has spent the whole of 2012 working his way up to the top 10 with impressive victories but a loss against Kessler could see him straight back out. Kessler wouldn't take Froch's place at No.9 but would come close to the top 15. If Froch was to win then it wouldn't make much difference to his placing, maybe up to No.7 or 8. This is the fight out of the list that I think is the most likely to take place in 2013.
Other Fighters To Look Out For:
Here are some fighters that will most likely not come near the top 10 but could start to make their way through the rankings and make a big impact on the top 50:
Brandon Rios, Lucas Matthysse, Tyson Fury, Nathan Cleverly, Tony Bellew, George Groves, Peter Quillin, Kell Brook, Sharif Bogere, Mikey Garcia, Scott Quigg, Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, David Price, Keith Thurman.