Happy “almost” New Year! Boxing in 2015 has concluded, and we are about to move on to 2016. But let’s take a look back at the best and worst of boxing in 2015. I asked you, the readers, to vote on several categories and here are the results.
Worst Fight of the Year: Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Drian Francisco
Guillero Rigondeaux only fought once in 2015, and it was a putrid fight. This fight was thrown together at the last minute and it sure looked like it. Rigondeaux won by unanimous decision, but did the minimum to earn it. Rigondeaux, a super bantam weight, only landed 72 punches the entire fight. Francisco was even worse with 42 connects. The stats show why readers voted this the worst fight of the year.
Best Fight of the Year: Andrzej Fonfara vs. Nathan Cleverly
There was a lot of competition for this spot, but I think the readers got it right. Fonfara and Cleverly set the light heavyweight world record for punches thrown and landed. They threw a combined 2,524 punches and landed a combined 936 punches. I was at this fight and I can honestly tell you that this fight kept the crowd on their feet the entire time. Both boxers displayed courage and heart. I couldn’t believe the beating that Cleverly took in this fight. He was a bloody mess, but fought on. Fonfara won this fight, but Cleverly’s stock went up too.
Upset of the Year: Tyson Fury’s Defeat of Wladimir Klitschko
Most people thought that Fury had no chance of beating Klitschko, but I did. I bet on it too, which paid off handsomely. I didn’t think this was a huge upset. Yes, Klitschko hadn’t lost in 11 years at this point, but he didn’t have a lot of top-tier competition to face. Tyson Fury was a much better opponent than Klitschko was used to facing and it showed. Klitschko looked every bit of 39 years old and was unable to let his hands go. This one shocked many, but not me.
Fighter of the Year: Gennady Golovkin
This selection surprised me. There is no doubt that Gennady Golovkin is one of the best boxers in the world, but I didn’t think he did enough to earn this spot. Regardless of what I think, the readers have spoken and voted him the fighter of the year. Golovkin fought three times in 2015, knocking out all of his opponents. It will be exciting to see if a dream matchup between Golovkin and either Canelo Alvarez or Andre Ward will occur in 2016. These are the fights that boxing fans want to see, but I’m not sure many boxers want the challenge of Golovkin.
Trainer of the Year: Abel Sanchez
My readers are consistent and logical, and this proves it. It makes sense that the trainer of the Fighter of the Year would be deserving of Trainer of the Year honors. Golovkin has become a fan favorite and is absolutely dominant in the ring. Abel Sanchez has a lot to do with his success and is deserving of being the 2015 Trainer of the year.
KO of the Year: Canelo Alvarez’s KO of James Kirkland
Again, there were a lot of great knockouts in 2015, but this one was beautiful and devastating at the same time. As soon as this fight was signed, everyone knew that this fight wasn’t going the distance. I predicted the exact round this fight would end and who would be left standing. Alvarez never touched the canvas, but Kirkland was down once in the first round and twice in the third. Alvarez landed a demolishing overhand right that connected cleanly with Kirkland’s jaw. This punch ended Kirkland’s night and probably his dreams of ever being a legitimate title contender.
Best Boxing Film of the Year: Creed
This wasn’t even close. Creed received over 80 percent of the vote. The continuation of the Rocky legacy was just too much for Southpaw to overcome. Both movies were good, but the Rocky collection is legendary, and Creed took it to another level. Michael B. Jordan became a household name and looks like he is going to be a major player in Hollywood for years to come, or at least until the next Creed film comes out.