Climbing Clay Berg's
Top pound-for-pound fighters as of July 8:
1. Roy Jones Jr. (48-1, 38 KOs)
Hits: It's one thing to fight an average
heavyweight such as John Ruiz, but it's another to fight the best and one of
the biggest in Lennox Lewis. If Jones gets the fight and wins, he will be
recognized as the best boxer ever.
Misses: With Lewis seemingly leaning toward a
rematch with Vitali Klitschko for the fall, Jones could be out of luck for
2. Marco Antonio Barrera (57-3, 40 KOs)
Hits: Recent signing with Oscar De La Hoya's
promotional company should give his marketability a huge boost.
Misses: Rubber match with rival Erik Morales
won't happen in 2003. Best we can hope for is next spring.
3. Bernard Hopkins (42-2-1, 31 KOs)
Hits: Considering he's fought only two soft
touches since beating Felix Trinidad in late 2001, what's there to get
Misses: With a combative attitude, poor
judgment and lengthy list of major fights blown, he's the poster child for
how to wreck a career.
4. Oscar De La Hoya (36-2, 29 KOs)
Hits: When not in the ring, devoted to
promoting a sport that needs his star power.
Misses: When you fight a tough fight you don't
need to take — as in his rematch with Sugar Shane Mosley —
there's nothing to complain about.
5. Kostya Tszyu (30-1, 24 KOs)
Hits: Showed he is a true champion by agreeing
to a rematch with Sharmba Mitchell when he didn't need to go near that tough
Misses: A Tszyu foot injury will force the
fight to be postponed from September to February.
6. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (30-0, 20 KOs)
Hits: Give him credit for asking for big
fights against Arturo Gatti at 140 or De La Hoya at 154.
Misses: If he moves up in weight before facing
any of these fighters — Leonard Dorin, Phillip N'dou, Stevie Johnston,
Joel Casamayor or Juan Lazcano — he hasn't taken care of business at
Second six: Erik Morales, Ricardo Mayorga,
Vernon Forrest, Shane Mosley, Acelino Freitas, James Toney.