How Our Rankings Work

In just a few minutes, I'll be posting the first monthly power rankings for BoxingWatchers.com. You can't have a boxing site without rankings, after all, and they're great for sparking debate, which is a nicer way to say arguments.

To help explain our rankings, it's easiest to start with what they are not. The power rankings are not an attempt to put together a pound-for-pound list of the best boxers in the world. A lot of people with a lot more experience watching boxing already do that, and "best" is so subjective in boxing that it's almost absurd.

Instead, think of these rankings as a pseudo-scientific way of measuring who's recently been performing the best against the best competition. For recently, I decided on the past three years, just because that seemed like a good period of time to define the state of a boxer's career right now.

The numbers that go into the rankings are a combination of math and arcane magic - like the BCS formula! - but they are designed to reward some things the Boxing Watchers like:

1) Activity - You can't score points if you don't fight. This hurts some boxers who are unquestionably fantastic, like Bernard Hopkins. Those are the breaks.

2) Winning decisively - Thus, a KO win is worth more points than a unanimous decision, which is worth more than a split decision. A loss gets you negative points.

3) Quality of competition - All wins aren't created equal. To account for this fact, the points a boxer gets for a win are adjusted based on the winning percentage his opponent had over the three years prior to that particular fight.

There are a couple more things that go into it, and the list of people to rank in the first place is subjective - there's no getting around that. Is it perfect? Probably not, but we're OK with that. Enjoy the rankings, or don't, and be sure to let us know what you think either way.

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