Usain Bolt has already made it known that he is the greatest athlete to live. And the Olympic decathlon champion has traditionally earned the moniker of "world's greatest athlete," which means a strong case can be made for American Ashton Eaton.
But it's possible the best pound-for-pound athlete in these Olympics is a female boxer. And if not, she certainly could be the most popular.
Ireland's Katie Taylor won her country's first gold of the 2012 Olympics -- and first at all since 1996 -- by beating Russia's Sofya Ochigava 10-8 in the title bout taking place in front of a raucous pro-Taylor crowd. Even before the gold medal match the IOC confirmed that one of Taylor's previous bouts was measured as the loudest event of the entire Games.
In terms of popularity, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt might be the only ones in the same neighborhood as Taylor, though American audiences would have no way of knowing it without tracking down the written accounts from witnesses on the scene.
Though it may sound like a case of classic Guinness-lacquered Irish hyperbole to suggest that Taylor is the best athlete at these Olympics, this type of talk is not coming from the corner stool at the local pub.
Former world light welterweight champ Amir Khan believes Taylor's superior technical style would allow her to compete with men at 132 pounds.
"She's a brilliant fighter. I really believe that she could beat a lot of the men at that weight," Khan told an Australian newspaper. "I think it's the great footwork she has, great hand speed, she throws great combinations as well. She's got a great eye."
Boxing isn't the only sport where Taylor has showed tremendous prowess, by the way. She also plays on the Irish national women's soccer team, which means it's probably a good thing they didn't qualify for the Games. I do pity the fool that tries to give her a dirty slide tackle, though.
This is the first year women have boxed at the Olympics, and many cite Taylor's huge popularity in Ireland with helping get the sport accepted into these Games. Certainly the crowds she brought in show that it belongs.
It's merely a parlor game to compare athletes across disciplines, but there's no doubt Katie Taylor is one of the very best in these Games. And if you don't think so -- well, you might not want to say it to her face.
PHOTO: Alberto Pizzoli, AFP/Getty Images