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Pound-for-pound rankings: Death, taxes and Mayweather

Photo: Robert Beck/SI

Floyd Mayweather improved to 45-0 with his majority decision victory against Canelo Alvarez.

It has been said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but you can add another item to that list: a Floyd Mayweather win. After another one-sided whipping, this time over flavor of the month Saul Alvarez, this time at 152 pounds, this time against a younger, bigger opponent whom far too many people expected a fight from, Mayweather has established himself as a near certainty in the sport.

There is no opponent who can touch him, save for Father Time, and that fight doesn't appear to be coming anytime soon.

Another month, another pound-for-pound list, another place at the top for Mayweather.

Records through Sept. 15:

1. Floyd Mayweather, 45-0-0

The inimitable Mayweather claimed win No. 45 -- along with a check for $41.5 million -- with another lopsided victory, this time over Saul Alvarez on September 14. Facing a younger, bigger opponent, Mayweather was masterful, showcasing his trademark elusiveness and connecting on more jabs (138) than in either of his previous two fights. Mayweather says he will return to the ring in May, with the most likely challengers being unified junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia or popular Brit Amir Khan.

O'BRIEN: Mayweather deserves all-timer label

2. Andre Ward, 26-0-0

It has been a forgettable year for Ward, who missed the first half with a shoulder injury and has been on the shelf in the second due to a conflict with HBO over his next opponent. Ward's options at super middleweight are limited -- negotiations for a fight against Edwin Rodriguez are ongoing and after that Ward would love a matchup with Top Rank cash cow Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. At 29, Ward may find his future is at light heavyweight.

3. Juan Manuel Marquez, 55-6-1

Marquez, idle since his stunning knockout of Manny Pacquiao last December, is scheduled to return in November against Tim Bradley. Despite turning 40 in August, Marquez has shown no signs of slowing down. A win over Bradley could set up a lucrative fifth fight with Pacquiao in 2014.

4. Manny Pacquiao, 54-5-2

Pacquiao has been quiet since being knocked out cold by Marquez in December, but he will return against Brandon Rios in Macau on November 24. If he bounces back, a showdown with the winner of Marquez-Bradley looms next year.

5. Sergio Martinez, 51-2-2

Martinez looked ordinary in a decision win over Martin Murray, and members of his team have acknowledged that Martinez's time in the sport is limited. Still, one bad win doesn't diminish what Martinez has accomplished. A knee injury, though, will keep Martinez out of the ring until early next year.

6. Wladimir Klitschko, 60-3-0

Klitschko continued his near decade of dominance in May, stopping Francesco Pianeta in the sixth round. Next up: An anticipated showdown with Alexander Povetkin on October 5. Povetkin's manager, Vladimir Hryunov, won the purse bid for Klitschko's mandatory defense against Povetkin for a whopping $23.3 million, which finally got both sides to lock up a fight.

7. Nonito Donaire, 31-2-0

Donaire struggled in a loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux in April, blaming an injured shoulder and improper preparation. Shoulder surgery has sidelined Donaire since, but he will look to bounce back in November in a rematch against Vic Darchinyan.

8. Guillermo Rigondeaux, 12-0-0

Is Rigondeaux, at times, hard to watch? Yes. Is he effective? Yes there, too. In April, Rigondeaux was brilliant in outpointing Donaire, moving in and out, potshotting Donaire with blurring speed. Still, Rigondeaux's defensive style has made it difficult for Top Rank to get HBO interested in him. He simply isn't television friendly.

9. Abner Mares, 26-1-0

Mares' rise up the pound-for-pound ladder came to a crashing halt in August, when hard hitting Jhonny Gonzalez flattened him in the first round. Mares' success against elite opponents--from the Showtime bantamweight tournament to quality wins over Anselmo Moreno and Daniel Ponce De Leon--keeps him from slipping too far, and he will get a chance to avenge his loss, quickly: Mares exercised his rematch clause and will fight Gonzalez again in the next few months.

10. Gennady Golovkin, 27-0-0

Yup, I'm officially on the Golovkin train. Golovkin wiped out veteran title challenger Matthew Macklin in June, a one-sided drubbing that ended with one of the most crushing body shots in recent memory. In the amateurs, in the pros and probably in street fights as a kid, Golovkin has dominated. He is powerful and skilled, and it's hard to see too many of the current 160-pounders hanging with him. He will face his biggest-punching opponent to date on Nov. 2, when he defends his middleweight belt against Curtis Stevens.

11. Timothy Bradley, 30-0-0

Bradley won a whole bunch of fans during an entertaining slugfest with Ruslan Provodnikov in March, but may have exposed some weaknesses with his willingness to stand and trade. Bradley showed toughness and heart, two things he will need in September when he defends his WBO welterweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez. A win could position Bradley for a big money rematch with Pacquiao next year.

12. Danny Garcia, 27-0-0

Too young? Ask Erik Morales. Too one-dimensional? Check with Amir Khan. Can't box? Ask Zab Judah. No chin? Go see Lucas Matthysse. Garcia has made a habit of quieting his critics, most recently with a victory over Matthysse on Sept. 14. The unified junior welterweight champion, Garcia says he is headed to 147-pounds, where a fight with Mayweather could be in the offing.

13. Carl Froch, 31-2-0

Froch won an entertaining slugfest against Mikkel Kessler in May, positioning himself as perhaps the most appealing 168-pounder out there. Froch brings a huge British fan base and a lorry-load of TV money, and there are no shortage of options (Ward, Kessler, Bernard Hopkins) for him to fight. First, though, a mandatory title defense against countryman George Groves in November.

14. Roman Gonzalez, 35-0-0

The junior flyweight star continued his romp through the sport, moving up in weight and stopping Ronald Barrera last May. There has not been a huge market for fighters in Gonzalez's weight class(es), but at 26, Gonzalez could make new fans, quickly. He will face Francisco Rodriguez Jr. on Sept. 21.

15. Adrien Broner, 27-0-0

The outlandish Broner irritates many with his out-of-the-ring antics, but there's no denying his talent. Last June, Broner climbed two weight classes to claim a welterweight belt with a decisive decision over Paulie Malignaggi. There are shades of Mayweather in Broner -- most notably his shoulder roll defense -- and an aggressive style that has made him television-friendly. Next up: a showdown with Argentine slugger Marcos Maidana in December.

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