After some lackluster fights in recent years, boxing might be staging a comeback thanks to a solid list of boxers who are showing more interest in competing against one another.
The most notable returning boxer is Floyd Mayweather, as he gets set to face Victor Ortiz on September 17th after several months of inactivity. Ortiz is a left-hander, and that might mean that Mayweather is looking at Ortiz as a tune-up fight for a potential mega-bout with southpaw Manny Pacquaio.
Amir Khan is looking to fight Erik Morales at 140 pounds after beating Zab Judah. Should a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight not happen after each boxer's respective fights, Khan could face Mayweather. Khan's other option is a possible mega-fight with Timothy Bradley who handed Devon Alexander his lone loss.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao faces Juan Manuel Marquez for the third time on November 11th in what promises to be the best fight of 2012. Pacquiao is the most recognized name in boxing, and Marquez, even at age 37, is still one of the best in the business.
Current middleweight champion Sergio Martinez is interested in fighting the winner of the heavily anticipated Antonio Margarito - Miguel Cotto fight. Martinez must first get by undefeated Darren Barker on October 1st.
Not a bad list of potential fights, as the heavyweight division has been weak for so long that fight fans have been eager to watch pound-for-pound stars square off.
Here is a list of some of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world:
10. Bernard Hopkins. Age is just a number, as Hopkins has proven time and time again. One of the greatest middleweights of all-time, Hopkins has so many tools: strength, defense, a good chin, and excellent balance. His ability to compete at age 46 will be tested against southpaw Chad Dawson on October 15th.
9. Andre Ward. An elite super middleweight champion, Ward is an extremely aggressive boxer, and his punches carry a lot of weight. He takes risks, but his risks pay off. His upcoming battle with Carl Froch could be a classic.
8. Amir Khan. He's about as fast as it gets. After almost losing in a memorable fight against Marcos Maidana, Khan fought back but questions persisted about his chin. Still Khan is a very technical and accurate puncher. The sky is the limit for Khan after outworking Zab Judah.
7. Timothy Bradley. Undefeated, but somewhat untested, Bradley is an extremely effective boxer with an incredible work ethic. However, his domination of Devon Alexander showed what he can do when faced against an elite opponent. Few boxers know how to outwork their opponents like Bradley. He would be higher on the list if he didn't have the reputation of head butting.
6. Nonito Donaire. This switch-hitter is effective fighting either southpaw or orthodox. Donaire's only loss was his second fight. He has completely dominated opponents, and has excellent ringmanship. His second-round TKO of Fernando Montiel has skyrocketed his stock.
5. Wladimir Klitschko. He is the surprise pick on this list, because the heavyweight division lacks a great boxer to test the thoughful fighter. But the 6-foot-6 Ukranian has been an excellent boxer over the past six years. Though he sometimes shows a lack of aggressiveness, Klitschko has tremendous balance, and might have the greatest jab amongst heavyweights over the past 25 years. He had little trouble with David Haye.
4. Juan Manuel Marquez. The lightweight from Mexico has won eight world titles in three different weight classes. Marquez, the older brother of Rafael, has very good power and all-around skills. When fighting as a lightweight, he has excellent speed. Marquez could give any fighter ahead of him on this list a run for their money.
3. Sergio Martinez. "Maravilla" is certainly the best middleweight alive and proved it with wins against Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams, the latter being hit with a Martinez left hand in a stunning second-round knockout. Ring Magazine named Martinez, "2010 Fighter of the Year." He seems to get better with age.
2. Floyd Mayweather. Because "Pretty boy" Floyd has ducked Manny Pacquiao for so long, there's no way he can be listed first on this list. Mayweather's future was in doubt, as he faced numerous felony counts charged against him stemming from a domestic battery report by his former girlfriend. He's back now, but there may be rust after a long layoff. However, Mayweather is brilliant at defending himself, and utilizing his speed with his signature double left hook. He can be mentioned with the all-time greats should he continue his success.
1. Manny Pacquiao. It's a no brainer to have him at the top of the list. Pacquiao is so good that the No. 2 guy, Mayweather, has spent the better part of two years dodging him. Pacquiao is a living legend, with great power, balance, and intelligence. Best of all, he shows little sign of slowing down. His upcoming bout with Marquez could be a classic.