BEFORE the big fights in 2010 come rolling in, let’s take a look at how our very own pound-for-pound rankings stand:

1.)Manny Pacquiao—Not only has he occupied the top spot in our rankings for the past two years now, Manny has recently been awarded the Boxer of the Decade by the BWAA (Boxing Writers Association of America).

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2.) Floyd Mayweather Jr.—Breathing down his neck for the top spot and a close second to the Fighter of the Decade award is the “Pretty Boy.”

3.) Shane Mosely—Too bad the “Sugar” Man was unable to be more active the past year after beating Antonio Margarito. But that was enough to secure this spot in the ratings.

4.)Paul Williams—The “Punisher” is looking pretty impressive in the middleweight division with four straight wins, two of them via the short route.

5.) Nonito Donaire Jr. —The “Filipino Flash” recently moved up in weight to become the WBA interim super flyweight champion

6.) Arthur Abraham—A frontrunner in the ongoing Super-middleweight tournament, Abraham is undefeated and peaking nicely.

7.) Miguel Cotto—Sure he couldn’t beat Manny. But is there anybody out there who can? Plus, if damage were to be our metric, this surly and burly Puerto Rican definitely did better than most.

RALLY DOES IT FOR PACQUIAO. While I believe that the BWAA got it right in naming Manny as the fighter of the decade, this writer also believes that he shaded it over his closest rival, Floyd Jr. and that the latter was truly worthy also of consideration.

Both started out the decade quite well although Floyd definitely had a strong headstart by annexing the WBC super-featherweight belts and lightweight belts. He also defeated Diego Corralles and Jose Luis Castillo twice although the first installment was quite close.

In contrast, Manny didn’t step up until 2003 when he came out of nowhere to pancake Marco Antonio Barrera in 11 rounds. Unfortunately, he got derailed in 2005 by the loss to Erik Morales in the first fight but bounced nicely with a stoppage win in the rematch.

Floyd didn’t do too shabby either as he collared the WBC and IBF junior welterweight belts, along the way beating the likes of Demarcus Corley, Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti.

In 2006-2007 I thought Floyd took it easy by fighting sporadically and netting only decision wins against Carlos Baldomir and Oscar dela Hoya. I even thought Oscar deserved the nod in that fight.

Manny was right there with him as as he chalked up victories in rematches against Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera and a third bout with Morales.

But then in 2007, Floyd Jr. took a sabbatical after being “bored” and this is where his legacy hurt him. In contrast, Manny went on a tear, by moving up in weight and scoring stoppage wins over David Diaz, Oscar dela Hoya and Ricky Hatton.

Floyd did return triumphantly in 2009 with a decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez but Pacquiao topped that with a TKO over Miguel Cotto to win an unprecedented seventh title in as many weight classes.

In my book, I think it probably came down to the last fight. Manny starched a bigger fighter emphatically, while Floyd won a boring decision against a smaller fighter coming up in weight.

LAST ROUND. It’s on Justin Gorne of SHS-B who celebrates his birthday this week. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)