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Now for the first time ever, and not to be repeated until next December, the TFG pound for pound top ten. It contains names which haven't yet appeared in the monthly top five.
- 1.Roman GonzalezHe's tracking toward an eventual rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada at 112 pounds, then maybe a showdown with Japan's Naoya Inouye at a higher weight.
- 2.Gennady GolovkinSome thought David Lemieux, with his spectacular power, could endanger Triple G in a war. Not even an issue, as Golovkin threw forty six first round jabs, landing more than half of them, and dictated every second of the technical knockout win.
- 3.Sergey KovalevHis style is so fiercely destructive you don't at first think of subtle skills, but he's got those too. The rematch with Jean Pascal should show us his predatory instincts at work.
The year end Gatti List focuses on the six fighters who fueled the three best high profile fights all year.
- •Ruslan ProvodnikovRuslan Provodnikov remains as dependable as any entertainment commodity in boxing. He knew in April he'd have to go to war with Lucas Matthysse to win, and he did.
- •Lucas MatthysseMatthysse boxed just enough to win the fight, and retain for that moment his own warrior identity. Later in the year when Matthysse gave in against pure boxer Viktor Postol, you had to wonder how much the Siberian Rocky had taken out of him.
- •Marco HuckMarco Huck came to America from Germany to defend his cruiserweight championship, and lived up to his rock 'em, sock 'em identity.
Things are shaken up on the TFG Pound for Pound list after Wladimir Klitschko's shocking loss causes him to vanish from the list. A few years from now, Britain's Anthony Joshua will likely be the next heavyweight to appear.
- 1.Roman "Chocolatito" GonzalezAnd for now number one is still Chocolatito Gonzalez, finishing up the year of Chocolatito. He's our number one and the consensus number one too.
- 2.Gennady GolovkinNumber two is Triple G. And if he gets the Canelo fight and wins it, he goes to the top. Incomparable combination of craft and power, as he demonstrated against Lemieux.
- 3.Sergei KovalevNumber three is Sergei Kovalev, whose rematch with Jean Pascal January 30 is again in Pascal's hometown of Montreal. Nothing dents the Krusher's self belief.
This list reminds us of the five fights that most inculcated the Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry into the lore of the sport.
- •January 14, 1979. Wilfred Benitez decisions Carlos Palomino.Title fights were still fifteen rounds at the time. Victory for Puerto Rico.
- •August 21, 1981. Salvador Sanchez knocked out Wilfredo Gomez in the eighth.The Mexican Sanchez was the James Dean of boxing, dead in a car crash less than a year later, career record 44-1-1.
- •December 3, 1982. Wilfredo Gomez knocked out Lupe Pintor in the fourteenth.Gomez gets a form of revenge for his loss to Sanchez.
We offered an argument last month for why Andre Ward deserved to be number one. That was before he chose to fight obscure 38-year-old Colombian Alexander Brand on the undercard of Cotto-Canelo, a fight now cancelled due to Ward's subsequent knee injury. Ward will get his chance to claim number one if he fights Kovalev. Here's the TFG top five.
- 1.Roman "Chocolatito" GonzalezSo yes, we have joined the Chocolatito groundswell. Feels weird to be in the establishment with RING and ESPN.com and various others, but the evidence is compelling. Among all fighters tracked by Compubox, he is first in total punches thrown and landed, first in power punches thrown and landed. Simply the best.
- 2.Gennady GolovkinPrediction: he will get to the top and he will stay there at least a couple of years. But he still needs better opponents. Ironically, Glolovkin somewhat penalized his own upside by making us forget all those Lemieux knockouts.
- 3.Wladimir KlitschkoWith a title defense coming Thanksgiving weekend against British giant Tyson Fury, Wladimir is coming off an injury and still answering questions about going the distance with Bryant Jennings.
This month's Gatti List is informed by opponents who never quit.
- •Eamonn O'KaneO'Kane went down twice in the first round against Tureano Johnson and at that moment you wouldn't have bet much on him to go twelve rounds. But he did, and his appetite for punishment never waned.
- •Tureano JohnsonJohnson himself broke a Compubox record for middleweight power punches landed, formerly held by Bernard Hopkins, and showed us why his manager calls him "the Bahamian Arturo Gatti".
- •Brian ViloriaViloria was nothing if not valiant against Chocolatito Gonzalez. In the same tenth round in which Gonzalez ultimately finished him, Viloria took the pound for pound number one's breath away with a liver shot.