1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER
There are plenty of holes to pick in Mayweather’s unbeaten record; like the exceptionally rare controversial decision, and the absence of certain opponents. No matter, Floyd is an absolute lock to make it to Canastota, whether he retires unbeaten or not. Astonishingly gifted, and a marketing dream, Mayweather has crafted his own chapter in boxing history.
2. MANNY PACQUIAO
The rise from flyweight to light-middleweight is the stuff of legend, and the Filipino has achieved more in his career than any other active fighter.
3. BERNARD HOPKINS
This lunatic, unquestionably the greatest time bandit in history, has been an elite fighter for 21 years, and remains so aged 49. FORTY FREAKIN’ NINE!
4. ROY JONES JNR
The man who beat Hopkins all those years ago refuses to retire, and though his form over the last decade undoubtedly affects his legacy, what came before was a joy. The sooner he accepts the ride is over, the sooner they can carve his plaque.
5. JAMES TONEY
Like Jones, Toney needs to quit. And fast. The ring master of old is lost beneath an offensive gut, thick speech, and creaking reflexes. All we want to remember is yesterday’s glorious technician, handsomely going about this brutal business.
6. JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ
The Mexican, though slowing down, continues to impress at the age of 40. Anyone wishing to create a modern-day manual on the noble art should do so with his back catalogue at hand.
7. MIGUEL COTTO
The Puerto Rican warrior’s win over Sergio Martinez, that secured his fourth divisional world title, put the icing on a cake already layered with Hall of Fame ingredients.
8. WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO
Those who scoff at his entry form should put their personal tastes to one side and look closer. Klitschko has been at the top of the heavyweight division, and unbeaten, for a decade. Only Joe Louis’ war-interrupted reign can compete with that.
9. NONITO DONAIRE
This is where the applications become harder to evaluate. Already a champion at four weights, the Filipino Flash’s recent dip in form is the kind that makes us wonder if we were wrong about him all along. Needs to rediscover his hunger to solidify his case
10. CARL FROCH
Deserves to be there, and if he’d beaten Andre Ward his place would already be assured. The fact he hasn’t ruled his division is the only thing going against him, but several inductees have been forgiven for that.However, the absence of Benn, Hamed and Eubank in Canastota might be an ominous sign.