Take the “expertise” of the boxing media with a grain of salt. Take pound-for-pound ratings with an even larger grain of salt. But the exclusion of Manny Pacquiao from pretty much every major pound-for-pound Top 10? That’s worthy of some righteous scorn.
The Filipino icon and multi-division world champ (and still WBA welterweight champ) was nowhere to be found in the ratings of Ring Magazine, ESPN, or the immensely self-important, self-deferring Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. Of the major media outlets, only Yahoo has Pacquiao in their pound-for-pound rankings at a conservative, but alright no. 7.
So, what gives?
These “experts” could make the case that Pacquiao hasn’t fought in 17 months. But that would make their universal inclusion of guys like Gennadiy Golovkin and Saul Alvarez, who’ve been inactive nearly as long, seem more than a bit hypocritical. And, honestly, in this age of Covid and considering all the craziness that has been going on the last 10 months or so, how can inactivity be held against anyone right now?
Could they be dissing Pacquiao for his recent body of work? If so, they’d be wrong. Pacquiao’s last fight was a victory over Keith Thurman, a consensus Top 3 welterweight at the time. He’s 4-1 in his 5 fights before that, with dominant victories over Adrien Broner, Lucas Matthysse, Jessie Vargas, and Timothy Bradley. His lone loss in that span was against Jeff Horn and, if you cared to be honest about that one, it was a robbery– a dubious home field decision for the Australian. Meanwhile, fighters included in the Top 10, across the board, have done noticeably less. Not to point any fingers, but Oleksandr Usyk, for example, has done nothing but beat two heavyweight journeymen in dull affairs in two year’s time.
They couldn’t be disregarding and downplaying Manny’s pound-for-pound worthiness for his in-ring ability and/or performance. While there’s bound to be some slippage in a 40-year-old-plus fighter, Pacquiao has hardly looked old or tired in recent performances. As a matter of fact, he looked razor-sharp against Thurman and nearly impeccable against Broner and Matthysse.
Was it the loss (on paper) to Horn that did in his pound-for-pound status for the media folk? It can’t be that. Vasiliy Lomachenko just suffered a loss, yet remains on everyone’s Top 10.
With Pacquiao snubbed, it is especially egregious in the Ring Magazine rankings where Josh Taylor sits in the no. 9 slot, existing in the Top 10 rather than the first-ballot Hall of Famer. Taylor got that spot on the weight of a razor-thin decision victory over Regis Prograis last year and a small, small handful of quality victories over solid– but not illustrious by any stretch of the imagination– opposition.
The answer as to why Pacquiao is not ranked by these people may be painfully simple. These media “experts” know less about the sport than what they presume to know and are chronically swayed by whatever prevailing popular opinion that seems to be floating along among so-called boxing intelligentsia. They are distracted and distractible by any proverbial shiny object, “next big thing” that pops up in their line of vision. And, to make matters worse, they are almost all victims of lazy-minded group-think when it comes to what they feel and hold dear as “knowledge.”
Pacquiao Snubbed: Bottom Line
The bottom line, though, is that they’re wrong. If pound-for-pound is a “thing” and worthy of some level of seriousness, Manny Pacquiao deserves a spot on all Top 10 lists. Period.