Boxing Awards for 2008

January 6, 2009

As we start a new year it seems appropriate now to officially hand out the awards for the Best in Boxing 2008. Remember, to win one of these awards you had to have participated in a truly significant fight which actually had some public appeal. Let's get started.


A) Manny Pacquiao 8th Round TKO over Oscar De La Hoya
B) Bernard Hopkins 12 Round UD over Kelly Pavlik
C) Antonio Margarito 10th Round TKO over Miguel Cotto
D) Nate Campbell 12 Round SD over Juan Diaz

Winner? Hopkins over Pavlik. This was perhaps the most dominant and impressive fight of the 43-year old's career. Probably only his performance against Trinidad could measure up to this. Fighting one of boxing's rising stars, the Executioner showed more speed, power, and activity than any fight in recent memory. Some dared to question what he had left after he faded in the second half of the Calzaghe fight. This time however, he held nothing back and battered Pavlik around throughout the last few rounds.


A) Nikolai Valuev v. Evander Holyfield
B) Manny Pacquiao v. Juan Manuel Marquez II
C) Joe Calzaghe v. Bernard Hopkins
D) Glen Johnson v. Chad Dawson

Winner? Pacquiao v. Marquez II. This was a tough call, especially since Pacquiao's decision wasn't the worst one of the year. Holyfield was robbed worse, but who really cares who won that fight? There was no way Hopkins lost 7 rounds to Calzaghe, but he did fade badly in the second half of the fight. Johnson probably deserved the decision, but Dawson's fast hands could understandably impress judges.

No, I picked this fight for several reasons. (1) Pacquiao lost the last 2 rounds of the fight and it seemed clear he was glad the fight was over; (2) Marquez, even in losing has earned tremendous respect that largely eluded him; and (3) it set the stage for the rest of year: Pacquiao has since looked great and become the king of the sport. Of course he did this by beating a very mediocre David Diaz and an over-the-hill Oscar De La Hoya while Marquez has received relatively little credit for moving up to lightweight and knocking out Joel Casamyaor, the most respected fighter in the division.


A) Miguel Cotto
B) Kelly Pavlik
C) Oscar De La Hoya
D) Kermit Cintron
E) Amir Khan

Winner? Miguel Cotto. It's about the depth of the fall. Sure Pavlik's stock plummeted too, but he stayed on his feet and lost to a legend. De La Hoya embarassed himself, but we all knew it would end some day soon. Cintron and Khan were never nearly that high to begin with. But watching Miguel Cotto get brutalized off his pedestal was a stunning sight. Before the fight he was possibly the pound-for-pound king, exuding mental intensity and ferocity. After the fight, you wouldn't be totally surprised if he just plain quit the sport.


A) Arthur Abraham
B) Paul Williams
C) Nate Campbell
D) Chad Dawson
E) Joshua Clottey

Winner? Paul Williams. The man can fight anyone between 147 and 160 pounds and you would be foolish to bet against him. Wanna fight him? Consider the problems: (1) He's 6'1";(2) he has an 82-inch reach; (3)he has fast hands; and (4) he has tremendous stamina. Oh yeah, he's more powerful than most people thought. His embarassing lackluster performance against Carlos Quintana was appropriately avenged with a 1st round TKO which he followed up with 2 more knockouts to close out the year. When a tough customer like Antonio Margarito ducks you, you know you've got everyone spooked.


A) Manny Pacquiao v. Oscar De La De La Hoya
B) Joe Calzaghe v. Roy Jones Jr.
C) Ricky Hatton v. Paulie Malinaggi

Winner? Pacquiao v. De La Hoya. Sure Calzaghe showed us how far Roy Jones Jr. had declined in his ugly one-sided victory. But you couldn't be totally surprised. After all, Jones had been brutally knocked out by Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson. No reasonable fight fan gives Calzaghe much credit for this victory. Hatton v. Malinaggi is in here because of the horrible and incredibly egotistical decision by Buddy McGirt to end the fight by unnecessarily throwing in the towel. Pathetic. His rationalization that he knew his fighter couldn't win was pretty lame considering everyone knew this fact about Malinaggi (and his whopping 5 career KOs) before the 1st round began.

No, the biggest disappointment has to be the biggest fighting event of the year. A total dud. Oscar De La Hoya produced the worst boxing performance of his career in what should be his finale. Hey, it takes nothing away from his legacy (remember Ali-Holmes?). Nonetheless, De La Hoya, despite his decline in recent years, had never been in a non-competetive fight and judging by his own high standards this performance was inexcusable. Pacquiao of course, is not to blame for any of this. Pac-Man seemed to be begging De La Hoya for a fight, but the Golden Boy's reflexes were shot and his focus was wandering. This fight made last year's De La Hoya v. Mayweather Jr. fight look like an all-time classic.


A) Antonio Margarito v. Miguel Cotto
B) Rafael Marquez v. Israel Vasquez III
C) Manny Pacquiao v. Juan Manuel Marquez II

Winner? Marquez v. Vasquez III. Altough I liked the first two installments of this matchup, I never viewed either of those as "Fight of the Year" candidates as others have. The first fight had great moments, but Marquez largely dominated. The second fight was similar, with Vasquez dominating. This fight however, was back and forth for 12 rounds with both fighters suffering knockdowns and a razor-thin split decision.

Margarito's knockout was certainly impressive, but was disturbing as well because Margarito was repeatedly hit with hard shots and seemed unaffected. You had to wonder if Cotto lacked punching power. The fight was almost silly watching Margarito chase Cotto down for every second of every round. Pacquiao v. Marquez was a tremendous fight by arguably the two best pound for pound boxers around. But I couldn't help but think as great as it was, it wasn't even better than the first fight. Oh well, you have to choose somehow.


A) Manny Pacquiao
B) Antonio Margarito
C) Juan Manuel Marquez
D) Joe Calzaghe

Winner? Pacquiao. Even though I don't think he beat Marquez and I don't particularly believe his wins over Diaz and De La Hoya speak volumes, you must give credit where credit is due. Pac-Man is now at the top of the sport because he is an all-action fighter who fights with incredible speed and power. He will forever be the fighter who ended Oscar De La Hoya's career and seems to actually be getting better as he goes up in weight. I expect an exciting fight in 2009 with the overrated Ricky Hatton.


A) Oscar De La Hoya
B) Felix Trinidad
C) Roy Jones Jr.
D) Evander Holyfield

Winner? All of them. Please. Sure they can all still beat somebody, but who wants to see them like this. Of course, De La Hoya would probably still draw a crowd, but it would be only about the money now.

Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.Com

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