Boxing is near concluding a periodically exciting, although often controversial, summer season.
As summer begins transitioning into autumn, below are the five preeminent prizefighters in the world as of July 28.
1) “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather – The longstanding WBC world welterweight champion, named The Ring “Fighter of the Year” in 1998 and 2007, defeated powerful Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision to gain the WBA world light-welterweight belt on Cinco de Mayo at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs), who since June 1 has been behind bars serving an 87-day sentence at the Clark County Detention Center for beating his sweetheart and the mother of his children, is an obnoxious blowhard whose insane, and frequently racist rants, make him a legitimate villain.
Roger “Pit” Perron is a venerable boxing trainer from Brockton (Mass.) who now works with Mike and Rich Cappiello at their gym, Cappiello Brothers Boxing and Training.
Perron contends that Mayweather, who is set to be released on August 3, clearly sits atop the sport of boxing.
“Floyd is the best there is today,” said Perron, 75, who worked with International Boxing Hall of Famer Marvelous Marvin Hagler at the Petronelli Brothers Gym. “He can’t be touched.”
“Pretty Boy,” who earned a bronze medal as a featherweight at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, is an utter defensive virtuoso and one of the preeminent pugilists to ever step into the squared circle.
Despite his unlikable nature, it is simply inarguable that “Floyd is the best there is today.”
2) “Dr. Steelhammer” Wladimir Klitschko – The IBF, IBO and WBO champion outclassed and pummeled mandatory challenger Tony “The Tiger” Thompson en route to a dominant sixth round TKO to successfully defend his titles in their rematch on July 7 in front of 32,000 fans at the Stade de Suisse in Berne, Switzerland.
Klitschko (58-3, 51 KOs), who has triumphed in 15 consecutive bouts since being TKO’d by Lamon Brewster in April 2004, hasn’t been overcome since the end of George W. Bush’s first term in office and has now managed to defend his belts on 13 straight occasions.
The massive, and indomitable, 36-year-old Ukrainian has improved with age and could threaten Joe Louis’ longstanding record of safeguarding his crowns against 25 straight challenges.
Still, somewhat surprisingly, Mike Cappiello, who earned the New England super featherweight title in 1990 and finished his professional career with an impressive record of 33-6, believes the 1996 Olympic gold medalist could be upset at any time.
“Wladimir Klitschko can be beat,” said Cappiello, who once fought for the flyweight title and retired with an impressive mark of 33-6. “He is always fighting on the outside because he knows he doesn’t have a solid chin.”
“Dr. Steelhammer” has been trumped so, obviously, he “can be beat.”
Nevertheless, Wladimir Klitschko is a heavyweight icon and it’s difficult to envision any active fighter competing with him.
3) Sergio Martinez – The Ring and WBC Diamond middleweight king, an Argentinean who also dabbled professionally as a cyclist and soccer player and only began boxing at the late age of 20, is ranked by Ring Magazine as the third pound-for-pound boxer today.
The 37-year-old Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs), a 2010 “Fighter of the Year” winner who is extremely involved in domestic violence and anti-bullying causes, is a dominating southpaw whose shown zero signs of aging.
“Sergio is an elite fighter,” said Perron. “He could take anyone except Mayweather.”
Martinez hasn’t entered the squared circle since bloodying and battering Matthew Macklin of Ireland on Saint Paddy’s Day.
However, the athletic and electrifying Argentinean is preparing to fistfight WBC middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (46-0-1-1, 32 KOs) on September 15 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Regardless of Chavez’s decent skills, expect Sergio Martinez to ultimately emerge victorious in a sound fashion this fall.
4) Andre “Son of God” Ward – The Ring, WBA, WBC and super middleweight champ will throw fists September 8 with Ring Magazine and WBC Light Heavyweight titleholder “Bad” Chad Dawson at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
Ward (25-0, 13 KOs), a Bay Area native who became the first American to capture boxing gold in eight years as a light heavyweight at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, unified two belts and won The Super Six World Boxing Classic when he trumped Carl Froch by unanimous decision on December 17 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
The 28-year-old Ward, voted in the wintertime as the 2011 “Fighter of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), has unbelievably not vacated the squared circle on the losing end of a bout since he was a 12-year-old amateur.
“The Son of God,” currently rated by Ring Magazine as the fifth pound-for-pound boxer in the world, is now in position to become a national superstar and household name like fellow American gold medalists Muhammad Ali, “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya.
Perron praised Ward and predicts “The Son of God” will outclass all challengers for the foreseeable future.
“Ward clearly sticks out in the division,” said Perron. “He had just a great performance his last time out. There’s no telling when, or if, he’ll next lose.”
5) Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao – WBO light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley unwittingly stole Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao’s belt after incompetent judges awarded “Desert Storm” an asinine split decision victory on June 9 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
A few weeks after the notorious match, a five-member international scoring panel for the WBO all declared Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) to be the rightful the victor over Bradley.
“The fight was an absolute disgrace,” said Perron. “Corrupt officials and decisions like this one are destroying boxing.”
The 33-year-old “Fighting Pride of the Philippines,” voted “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s by the BWAA, is blessed with superior hand-speed, accuracy and punching power and his footwork is utterly elite.
Against an opponent to be determined on November 10, Manny Pacquiao will emerge victorious and jumpstart another round of dominance.
* Honorable Mention – “The Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire