SI Now: Michael Buffer reflects on iconic boxing moments
On Monday's SI Now, On Monday's SI Now, ring announcer Michael Buffer reflects on photos from major boxing events that he has introduced.
One of Adrien Broner's first fights in a ring was against a kid from his neighborhood named Rau'shee Warren. Broner was six, and Warren, who would go on to become a three-time U.S. Olympian, was two years older. Broner was fast (like he is now) and cocky (ditto) and figured he would handle Warren with ease. He didn't. Warren beat him up so bad, Broner left the gym in tears.
Here's why that matters: Before last Saturday night, that was the last time Broner's friends and family can remember him taking a beating.
In a one-sided whipping by Marcos Maidana, Broner received his first professional humbling. Knocked down twice, Broner was overwhelmed by an opponent that used pressure and blunt force to get inside Broner's shoulder roll defense and a relentlessness that lasted for all 12 rounds.
Broner will bounce back, perhaps at 140 pounds, which may be a more effective weight.
On to SI.com's December pound-for-pound rankings:
1. Floyd Mayweather, 45-0-0
The inimitable Mayweather claimed win No. 45 -- along with a check for $41.5 million -- with another lopsided win, this time over Saul Alvarez on Sept. 14. Facing a younger, bigger opponent, Mayweather was masterful, showcasing his trademark elusiveness and connecting on more jabs (138) than in his previous two fights. Mayweather says he will return to the ring in May, and it's looking more and more that his next opponent will be Amir Khan.
2. Andre Ward, 26-0-0
After watching Ward's lopsided decision win over Edwin Rodriguez in November, it was fair to wonder which fighter was coming off of a 14-month layoff. Ward looked masterful against Rodriguez, dissecting the undefeated challenger and re-establishing himself at the top of the super middleweight division. Ward would love a matchup with Top Rank cash cow Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. sometime next year. If that doesn't happen, Ward's future may be at light heavyweight, where high profile fights with Adonis Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev and perhaps Bernard Hopkins wait.
3. Manny Pacquiao, 54-5-2
The relentless, pressuring Pacquiao that terrorized boxing from 2007 to 2010 is gone, and he isn't coming back. But the '13 version that wiped out Brandon Rios is pretty good, too. Pacquiao looked sharp in his first fight since getting knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez. A rematch against Tim Bradley or a fifth fight with Marquez could come in April.
4. 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 him out of the ring until early next year, when he could be in line for a lucrative showdown with Miguel Cotto.
5. Wladimir Klitschko, 60-3-0
For years, Alexander Povetkin was considered Wladimir Klitschko's most skilled potential opponent. After Klitschko's whitewashing of Povetkin -- a fight in which Povetkin was knocked down four times -- it's fair to wonder if there is any contender that can give Klitschko much of a fight. Behind a potent jab, Klitschko dominated, once again establishing himself as the best heavyweight in boxing. A mandatory title defense against Alex Leapai or Kubrat Pulev could be next.
6. Guillermo Rigondeaux, 13-0-0
There may be no better pure boxer today than Rigondeaux, who put on a boxing clinic in a lopsided decision win over Joseph Agbeko in December. Rigondeaux's sleep-inducing style is a real problem for his promoter, Top Rank; the win over Agbeko drew just 550,000 viewers to HBO, all but ensuring that Rigondeaux won't appear on the network anytime soon. But that doesn't change the fact that Rigondeaux is a magnificent talent.
7. Juan Manuel Marquez, 55-7-1
If Manny Pacquiao is an ideal opponent for Marquez, Bradley is one of the worst. The counterpunching Marquez struggles against fighters with a similar style (see Mayweather, Floyd), and against Bradley in September, Marquez had to be the aggressor more often than he likely preferred. Marquez hardly embarrassed himself though, and at 40 there are still plenty of possibilities for him, including a rematch with Bradley, which Marquez says is his top option.
8. Tim Bradley, 31-0-0
Say what you want about Bradley-Pacquiao, but Bradley now officially owns wins over Pacquiao, Marquez and Devon Alexander and was in a Fight of the Year candidate bout against Ruslan Provodnikov. Bradley made a guaranteed $4.1 million to fight Marquez and is in line for another big payday against Pacquiao, Brandon Rios or Mike Alvarado next year.
9. Nonito Donaire, 32-2-0
In stopping Vic Darchinyan in November, Donaire created more questions about his future than answers. Against an aging Darchinyan -- who had lost two of his previous four fights -- Donaire struggled, possibly saving himself from a decision defeat with a ninth round knockout. Donaire says he wants a rematch with Guillermo Rigondeaux or a featherweight title fight.
10. Gennady Golovkin, 28-0-0
Golovkin padded a possible Fighter of the Year resume with another one-sided beating, this time against the heavy handed Curtis Stevens in November. Golovkin is the gold standard at 160 pounds, though politics and purse-hunting will likely keep Peter Quillin, Sergio Martinez or Felix Sturm from getting in the ring with him. Golovkin will return to the ring in February, in Monte Carlo, against journeyman Osumanu Adama.
11. Abner Mares, 26-1-0
Mares's 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's 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 February.
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 win over Matthysse on Sept. 14. The unified junior welterweight champion, Garcia could be headed to 147 pounds, where a fight with Mayweather could eventually be in the offing.
13. Roman Gonzalez, 35-0-0
The flyweight star continues his romp through the sport, wiping out Oscar Blanquet in two rounds in November. There has not been a huge market for fighters in Gonzalez's weight class(es), but at 26, he could make new fans, quickly. Up next could be a rematch with unified titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada, who Gonzalez outpointed last year.
14. Mikey Garcia, 33-0-0
There are not many weaknesses to Garcia. Technically sound with potent one-punch power, he can win in a variety of ways. He pushed his streak of stoppages to 11 in November with an eight-round beating of Roman Martinez that netted Garcia a super featherweight belt. Top Rank is angling to match Garcia with lightweight Yuriorkis Gamboa early next year.
15. Erislandy Lara, 19-1-2
Like his Cuban countryman, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Lara doesn't have a style that's particularly pleasing. But it is effective. In December, Lara dominated former junior middleweight titleholder Austin Trout, dropping him once in a lopsided decision. Lara is a brilliant counterpuncher, accurate with surprising power. Lara hopes to fight Saul Alvarez in his next fight.