The Nottingham native conjured a career performance against Lucian Bute, scoring a fifth-round TKO to win the IBF 168-pound title. He defended it with a crushing knockout of Yusaf Mack on Nov. 17 and doubts the expected March rematch with Bute will take place.
2 of 15Ana Martinez/Reuters
14. Orlando Salido
Long perceived as a journeyman, Salido blasted his way into pound-for-pound consideration with a pair of crushing knockouts of Juan Manuel Lopez to win and defend the WBO featherweight title. He faces undefeated contender Mikey Garcia on Jan. 19 on HBO.
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13. Austin Trout
Trout had been unknown to all but hardcore boxing fans, an unbeaten 154-pound beltholder who'd been toiling in obscurity, before a Dec. 1 defense of his WBA title against Miguel Cotto at the Garden. After a convincing points win, he's one of the division's hottest names.
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12. Vitali Klitschko
The other Klitschko brother walked through Manuel Charr on Sept. 8 for his ninth title defense. Retirement for a political career may be next: Vitali's party won seats in the election last month. If not, a lucrative showdown with British bigmouth David Haye could loom.
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11. Adrien Broner
The brash 23-year-old, for years regarded as talented but untested, converted at least a few skeptics with a knockout of Antonio DeMarco for the WBC lightweight championship. A unification bout with WBO titleholder Ricky Burns in February could be next.
6 of 15Steve Marcus/Reuters
10. Yurorkis Gamboa
Gamboa was ahead on all three cards when his Sept. 10 fight with Daniel Ponce De Leon was stopped due to a cut. He's since inked a deal with 50 Cent's upstart company and will return against Michael Farenas on the televised undercard of Pacquiao-Marquez IV.
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9. Abner Mares
The winner of Showtime's bantamweight tournament moved up to win a 122-pound title, then defended it with an impressive win over Anselmo Moreno on Nov. 10. He wants Nonito Donaire (and Donaire wants Mares) but will Golden Boy and Top Rank let it happen?
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8. Timothy Bradley
Bradley was fortunate to get the decision against Pacquiao and the WBO welterweight title that came with it. He's been inactive since, but Pacquiao's loss hurts the chances of a rematch anytime soon. He is rumored to be returning to action Feb. 9 on HBO against a TBD opponent.
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7. Wladimir Klitschko
The younger Klitschko defended his WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring magazine titles on November 10 against Mariusz Wach with a unanimous-decision victory, the champ's first outing since losing trainer Emanuel Steward. It's been more than eight years since he lost.
10 of 15Robert Beck/SI
6. Manny Pacquiao
Pacquiao tasted the canvas for the first time in nearly a decadde and suffered his first knockout loss since 1999 against Marquez when he got reckless in a fight he was winning. Bob Arum wasted no time floating the possibility of a fifth fight between the two longtime rivals.
11 of 15Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images
5. Nonito Donaire
The Filipino Flash scored a 29th consecutive victory with a ninth-round knockout of Toshiaki Nishioka on Oct. 13. Despite an injured left hand that required nine stitches, Donaire returns on Dec. 15 against Jorge Arce in an HBO-televised bout -- his fourth fight in 2012.
12 of 15Steve Marcus/Reuters
3. Sergio Martinez (tie)
The recognized middleweight champion will defend his title against England's Martin Murray on Apr. 27, marking Martinez's first fight in his native Argentina since 2002. If he wins, look for Martinez to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a rematch of their interesting September fight.
13 of 15Robert Beck/SI
3. Juan Manuel Marquez (tie)
Marquez took his place within the top tier of Mexican legends by coming off the floor to knock Pacquiao unconscious with a "perfect" counter right. If the news of the fourth meeting between the two fighters elicited yawns, a fifth fight would be one of 2013's most anticipated events.
14 of 15Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
2. Andre Ward
The world's top 168-pounder, coming off a clinical TKO of fellow pound-for-pounder Chad Dawson, suffered a shoulder injury in sparring that postponed his Jan. 26 title defense against Kelly Pavlik in Los Angeles. Look for it to be rescheduled for Feb. 23 or early March.
15 of 15Robert Beck/SI
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather said on Dec. 5 that he plans on fighting twice in 2013: on May 4 and Sept. 14. The most likely opponents are Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Robert Guerrero. A long-fancied megafight with Pacquiao further lost its luster with the Filipino's knockout loss.
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