By Charles C.B: With the year in boxing coming to an end as a boxing fan and posters such as myself (Chuck_TheBoxingGuru), we’ve been blessed to have witnessed some excellent boxing. On the contrary, we’ve been subjected to some disappointments, be it controversial decisions or bouts that did not get made due to the usual politics that go with
My objective in my first piece is to give a comprehensive and objective round-up of boxing in 2019 from a fan and boxing posters perspective and spotlight some of the good, the bad and ugly of our favorite sport this year. And lastly, highlight the wish list of fights that would keep us all intrigued going into the coming year of 2020.
KO OF THE YEAR:
So let’s get right into it, May 25th, 2019, on DAZN/Skysports Devin Haney KOs Antonio Moran in the 7th round with a looping lead overhand right that could have stopped a truck, winning with a walk-off. As far as high profile fights, this is my pick for KO of the year for 2019.
Wilder vs. Breazeale May 5th, 2019 PBC/FOX 1st round walk-off KO which we have come to expect from Wilder. Stopping Breazeale for the second time in his career with a KO that set social media on fire.
Israel Madrimov v Frank Rojas March 9th, 2019 DAZN/Skysports 2nd round KO after a flurry of punches in only the second bout his career Madrimov empathetically stopped Rojas who took 12 minutes to get off of the canvas!
PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR:
Canelo Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs May 4th, 2019 DAZN, I chose this fight because, on paper, it was the most 50/50 fight of Canelo’s career due to styles. Danny is in his prime, elite @ 160, has a sound defense, and could hurt and stop Canelo objectively speaking. Canelo put on the without question the best performance of his career. Canelo landed at an outstanding 40% of total punches and 45% of power punches, which are Whitaker and Mayweather type numbers. While subsequently only allowing Jacobs to land at 20% and 25% in total punches and power punches respectively, which are both career lows for Danny Jacobs, no question about it Canelo put on a clinic vs. Jacobs.
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Anthony Crolla April 12th, 2019 Toprank/ESPN, Loma was just simply too much for the overmatched contender and former World Champion in Crolla. A fight on paper certainly favored Loma but proved to be nothing short of an utter mismatch. Loma outclassed his opponent with the most balanced and technical attack of the year. One of the best performances of the year for any boxer in a single bout in 2019.
Julian Williams vs. Jarrett Hurd May 11th, 2019 PBC/FOX. A story of redemption for the once highly touted prospected in Williams, after being stopped and outclassed by Jermall Charlo before his inevitable move to middleweight. Julian dethroned the Former WBO, IBF, IBO, Champ at 154lbs in Jarred Hurd. Williams battered Hurd in front of his hometown fans picking apart his often mentioned weight bully and unidimensional boxing attack, dropping and hurting Hurd on multiple occasions. Easily a fight of the year candidate and one of the best performances of the year.
FIGHT OF THE YEAR
This category was the most difficult pick to make for the year of 2019, so I won’t even attempt to, no honorable mentions will be needed all of the following are my picks for a fight of the year.
Errol Spence vs. Shawn Porter, September 28th, 2019 PBC/FOX. This fight had it all, history, smack talk, both fighters in a version of there primes, a unification and most of all RESPECT for one another. Let me preface that I was wrong about this fight, on paper it seemed like a highly competitive fight that Spence would win going away, I felt like Spence was too versatile and Shawn would fold to a late stoppage. Boy was I wrong after the first round feel out period, this fight turned into a full out BRAWL. Both warriors threw a career-highs in punches and they had a career-high in punches landed on them; even with the promotion, unification, and magnitude of the fight, I underestimated Porter. Spence’s high accuracy and a late knockdown of Porter in the 11th round sealed the victory for him in a barn burner and unquestionable fight of the year standout.
Artur Beterbiev vs Oleksandr Gvozdyk, October 18th, 2019 Top Rank/ESPN. The two best Light Heavyweights on Earth, Russia vs Ukraine in the biggest unification at 175 since Ward vs Kovalev, had me excited from the moment the ink was dry on the paper a true 50/50 affaire and style clash this fight lived up to the hype. Gvozdyk started off boxing and winning against the Ironfisted Beterbiev in a highly technical fight that showed how elite both warriors are at there respective styles. Ultimately the power puncher prevailed over the more technically sound boxer in Gvozdyk for a late stoppage, outstanding fight from both men.
Josh Taylor vs. Regis Prograis, October 26th, 2019 DAZN/Skysports. Maybe the most 50/50 fight on paper of the year between the consensus #1 and #2 Junior welterweights in the world to culminate the World Boxing Super Series, lived up to the hype. A back and forth affair that had it all, boxing, brawling 50/50 rounds, and a great atmosphere. Most of all, the correct man won the in Josh Taylor despite an egregious scorecard of 117-112 by Matteo Montella. Fortunately, we didn’t have a controversy, and maybe the fans can be treated to a rematch in the future after Taylor and Ramierz unify.
UPSET OF THE YEAR
Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz June 1st, 2019 DAZN/Skysports. Joshua vs. Ruiz is the obvious choice which I am sure most won’t disagree with. Andy Ruiz received the opportunity of a lifetime to fight for a portion of the Heavyweight Championship of the World against Anthony Joshua on late notice of 5 weeks due to Jarrell Miller failing multiple VADA tests. Ruiz came into the fight at +2500 or 25/1 odds to be victories against the adonis in Joshua, who was expected to blow through Ruiz. The match appeared as if it would go as scheduled with Ruiz being floored with a hard left hook in the third round. To the surprise of most in boxing Ruiz, got off the canvas and proceeded to punish, outbox, and stop Joshua in the 7th round. The victory created the biggest upset of not only the year but since Tyson was dethroned by Buster Douglas in Tokyo, Japan on February 11th, 1990, setting the boxing world on fire and becoming the first Mexican heavyweight champion in boxing history.
Pablo Cesar Cano vs. Jorge Linares January 18, 2019, DAZN/Skysports Jorge Linares getting stopped early in a fight is a headline we’ve seen printed before. It would mark the 5th stoppage loss of Jorge Linares’s career and 3rd time Linares failed to hear the bell signaling the end of the 2nd round. What is most surprising, however, is that Linares was in a fight he was supposed to win. Pablo Cesar Cano provided a worthy challenge in a new weight class for Linares, who was coming off a brave stoppage loss to pound-for-pound talent Vasyl Lomachenko. Linares in the space of 1 year exemplified the extraordinary highs and lows of the sport. A dull decision win, a fantastic high pace tactical battle, a brutal first-round knockout victory, and a deflating first-round knockout loss.
This last one is two fold, Ray Robinson (-10000) plays a spoiler. Twice. A 2018 TKO loss to Yordenis Ugas had left Robinson’s career in apparent tatters, and matchmakers moved in quickly, sensing that his age had caught up with him. Robinson looked ripe for a win and a learning experience for some of the welterweight divisions hottest prospects, but it soon became obvious that he had different plans. He was put in to lose against highly touted prospects Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas and Josh “Pretty Boy” Kelly. But utilizing lateral movement, he shut down Mean Machine’s offense and controlled the tempo of the fight. Then switching to a more damaging body-attack against Kelly paid dividends to exploit a tiring Pretty Boy’s inefficiency. While he didn’t come out with an official win in either fight, Robinson re-established himself as a legitimate contender in the deepest division in the sport (while Mean Machine and Kelly left with their undefeated records stained and their hype-trains derailed).
ROBBERY OF THE YEAR:
Katie Taylor vs. Delfine Persoon June 1st, 2019, DAZN/Skysports. The most unfortunate category on the list, robberies, a black eye on the sport that always seems to rear its head. We cross over to the ladies’ side of boxing for this one, in my opinion, the most egregious scorecard and robbery of the year. Katie Taylor, who is the face of women’s boxing across the pond took on cagey veteran titlist Belgium’s Delfine Persoon, To be kinda Persoon took the fight to the popular olympian and was wrecking Taylor in rounds 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9. Persoon out-worked Taylor in seven of 10 rounds controlling the narrative of the fight and was quite frankly ROBBED of potentially the upset in women’s boxing of the year to a 96-94, 96-94, 95-95 MD to Taylor who became the WBA, IBF, WBO, and WBC unified champion at lightweight.
Munguia vs. Hogan April 14th, 2019 DAZN/Skysports. The boxing community at large expected Jaime Munguia to blast through Dennis Hogan in what was supposed to be his final bout at 154 pounds, before moving up to middleweight to prematurely face champions Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Jermall Charlo or titlist Demetrius Andrade. On the contrary, Hogan had other plans the Irish born fighter fought the best fight of his career easily and controlled the pace and vast majority of the action vs. the young inexperienced Munguia. After urging from his corner, Munguia began to establish the jab to some success landed a few hard shots as Hogan looked to be fatigued. But in the eighth round, Hogan switches the pace and stayed in the pocket, trading shots and got the better of the exchanges and hurting Munguia with an overhand right in the 11th round. Despite all of that, Munguia won by majority decision (114-114, 116-112, 115-113) to retain the WBO junior middleweight title, ESPN, DAZN, CBS, and FOX all had the fight for Hogan 116-112.
Badou Jack vs Jean Pascal December 28th, 2019 PBC/Showtime. The last PBC card of the year to showcase Gervonta “Tank” Davis vs aging vet Gamboa, the undercard featured long standing light heavyweight champion and contender Jean Pascal vs. the often robbed tough fighter in Badou Jack. Let me preface that this a fight of the year candidate, Jean Pascal got out to an early lead on the cards dropping Jack at the end of the 4th round. Badou responded in middle rounds dominating down the stretch and dropping Pascal in the 12th round failing to finish him fighting his heart out until the final bell. Pascal taking the victory 114-112 twice with 114-112 going the other way for Jack in a fight many believed to be a robbery of Badou Jack.
Golovkin vs. Derevyanchenko October 5th, 2019 DAZN/Skysports, I placed this one at the bottom because it is more of a controversial bout instead of a robbery in the traditional sense of the word. Triple GGG didn’t look like his usual wrecking ball self against the game contender Sergiy Derevyanchanko. Maybe due to his lack of defense, old age, or a combination of both GGG looked tired and spent lacking that granite combination of punches we have grown accustomed to. In the end, GGG edged the scorecards holding the IBF title. It wasn’t easy to score with most of the rounds being 50/50 it was legitimately very close two judges had it 115-112 and one had it 114-113 with the knockdown being the difference on that card. Derevyanchenko falls to 0-2 in title bouts.
PROSPECT OF THE YEAR
This was a simple selection for me; the runaway prospect of the year is the young and talented Daniel Dubois (BT Sports). Hailing from Greenwich, London, the United Kingdom at only 22 years old, he looks to be lined up to fight for the European title vs. heavy-handed Joe Joyce, which should be a great bout. Dubois fought a heavy fight schedule, subsequently stepping up in competition and ranking with each fight, winning each of his five matches by stoppage. Easy pick for the prospect of the year.
FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
I’m sure this one will be somewhat controversial because he has given us many reasons to dislike his actions, but objectively speaking, Canelo Alvarez is the 2019 Fighter of the year. Canelo performed his career-best against a prime Danny Jacobs in the clear, technically, and concise victory. Furthermore, Canelo stepped up to Light Heavyweight and defeated the former king of the division in Sergey Kovalev. Canelo got the win by stoppage, making him a three-division champion (WBA regular belt is a placeholder so beating Fielding doesn’t make him a 4 division champ). Let me add that Canelo’s demands of weight stipulations and fighting Kovalev on short notice is an eyesore. Still, Kovalev took the money and sacrificed his health and title admittedly, so it’s hard to hold that against Canelo, for 2019 Canelo is the obvious choice for the fighter of the year.
In the last twelve months, Vasyl Lomachenko has fought Jose Pedraza, Anthony Crolla, and Luke Campbell on resume alone Loma deserves to be in this spot. In my opinion, Loma has the best package of skill currently in boxing, with a package of elite speed, footwork, IQ and punch placement, Vasyl is easily one of the most exciting fighters to watch in the sport. With young the champion Teofimo Lopez on the docket for Loma coming in the spring of 2020, he looks to stay on track to having one of the best resumes in boxing for the foreseeable future. For me, Loma would have probably been my pick for the fighter of the year, but Canelo’s performance against Jacobs edged him for me. I believe Canelo took the tougher challenges in 2019.
THE NETWORK OF THE YEAR
Since there seems to be lines drawn in the sand for many fans on what network or promotional company that they root for, I thought I would rank each of them and give a rationale as to why they are in that spot.
3. ESPN/Top Rank, On the most prominent sports based platforms in the world, Top Rank is top-heavy with Loma, Crawford, Fury, Beterbiev, and young up and coming prospects like Teofimo Lopez and Shakur Stevenson representing there stable. Top Rank/ESPN is ranked here for that very reason Loma had some outstanding fights in 2019 fighting the many of the best possible opponents he could find this year. Beterbiev was a part of a fight of the year candidate, so overall, ESPN had a great year. But overall most of there cards were dare I say lackluster in 2019.
2. FOX/CBS/PBC The biggest stable of the three with the most champs and top ten ranked fighters, PBC gave us some great fights and cards this year with Pacman v Thurman card, Spence vs. Garcia, Lara vs. Castano, Hurd vs. Williams, Spence vs. Porter, and a few more and easily the fight CARD of the year with Peter Quillin and Angulo, with every fight being a brawl and must watch. PBC had a great year, but we still saw many of there fighters take soft touches and stay busy fights that could have flat out been better.
1. DAZN/Matchroom I put DAZN here because they had the three most significant fights of the year Canelo vs. Jacobs, AJ vs. Ruiz in the upset of the decade, and lastly, AJ vs. Ruiz II in a redemption bout for Joshua. DAZN’s model makes a lot of sense, but objectively speaking, DAZN has a ton of low-quality fights, which in some regards would be seen as a quantity over quality algorithm. I don’t view it that way, Matchroom has a pretty large stable and they put on a lot of fights it’s good to see some of the low tier fighters get in there and attempt to make a name for themselves. I do believe that DAZN needs to improve there content on the app; it requires a great deal of work, but from a boxing perspective, DAZN edges PBC for the network of 2019.
2020 BOXING WISHLIST
Super Featherweight unification, with guys like Miguel Berchelt, Tevin Farmer and Leo Santa Cruz that division is stagnant and needs a big fight, too many guys have a belt there.
Middleweight Unification the best guys in the division are long overdue for a fight at 160. The good news is we might actually get one early in the year with Charlo v Andrade (fingers crossed)
Junior Welterweight Unification, this division is hot right now and further unifications would keep the trajectory of the division going.
Heavyweight Unification Wilder, AJ and Fury need to fight one another before the year ends
Spence vs. Crawford, much doesnt need to be said here this fight must happen in 2020
Loma vs. Haney veteran vs up and coming lion the division needs this bout in 2020
Usyk, I would like to see Usyk prove himself at heavyweight
Cross network bouts, the sport is in need of fights without boarder’s, it’s what’s best for the sport longer term there is plenty of money to go around.
2019 END OF THE YEAR P4P LIST
1. Vasyl Lomachenko– I see no reason why he wouldn’t be here, he is fighting the best right now and has been doing so. I would like to see him remain at 135 and take on the young guys.
2. Canelo Alvarez– Canelo had a great year and is my fighter of the year but I don’t believe that he deserves to be ranked over Loma at this moment.
3. Errol Spence-Spence is the unified king of the glamour division and he is and has been fighting the best fighters in the division that are willing to fight him.
4. Naoya Inoue-One of the fastest and strongest fighters on the planet he is a must see he is fighting, beating and stopping the best in his division at the moment.
5. Terrance Crawford-Crawford dropped this year for me, skillwise he may he is near the top but he hasn’t fought a live body in years, I can’t see how he can be higher on the list
6. Oleksandr Usyk-Hasn’t had a great year with the injury and Witherspoon fight but he belongs on the list, Usyk is one of the most skilled big men on the planet.
7. Miguel Berchelt– Youngman has just been on a roll Miguel Berchelt has stopped each of his last fifteen opponents he is one of the best Super Featherweights in the world.
8. Deontay Wilder– Wilder is the most explosive Heavyweight in earth and unquestionably has the best resume over the last 18 months in the division, questions will be answered in his up coming rematch with Fury.
9. Gennadiy Golovkin– Former Middleweight king is on the decline but still belongs on the P4P list.
10. Manny Pacquiao– The old legend is still doing it at a high level and for that he deserves his spot in the top ten.