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2019 Boxing Awards

2019 boxing awards

Via the LA Times

Welcome to our 2019 Boxing Awards!

We posted our 2019 MMA Awards yesterday.

With streaming taking over the boxing world in 2019, folks had the access to see more fights than ever. It was now easier to watch boxing shows all across the world. That availability definitely influenced our awards.

Here are the categories:

Boxer of the Year
Fight of the Year
Breakout Star
Who’s Next

In addition to myself, Duan, Robert Silva and Matt Prentice, we’ve added Larry Causion Jr. to the mix.

Let’s get to the awards.

Boxer of the Year

Duan: Josh Taylor
Taylor beat two undefeated champions en route to victory in the World Boxing Super Series, establishing himself as the number one at 140. The wins over Ivan Baranchyk in May and then particularly in the classic against Regis Prograis in November, were unmatched elsewhere in the sport. There’s an obvious next fight out there for him in the undisputed bout with Jose Carlos Ramirez, and should he come through that, the opportunity to move up to welterweight and chase the marquee names in boxing’s money division will no doubt be tempting. It all should add up to an even bigger year ahead for the 28-year-old Scotsman.

Duan’s previous winners:
2018: Oleksandr Usyk
2017: Anthony Joshua
2016: Vasyl Lomachenko
2015: Canelo Alvarez
2014: Sergey Kovalev
2013: Timothy Bradley
2012: Carl Froch
2011: Andre Ward
2010: Sergio Martinez
2009: Amir Khan
2008: Manny Pacquiao

Robert: Naoya Inoue
I knew the first time I saw Naoya “Monster” Inoue fight seven years ago at the tender age of 19 that this young Japanese fighter was special. At 105 pounds, skinny and 5’5”, I saw the Japanese version of Thomas Hearns. Inoue is the most complete offensive fighter in the sport today. A battering ram of a jab, a deadly right cross and a salacious left hook all not seen in the sport since the legendary Hitman. 2019 was Inoue’s coming out party. A May 18 destructive second round knockout of Puerto Rican slugger of Emmanuel Rodriguez in the second round of the WBSS 118 pound tourney was just the appetizer for the November 7 tournament final vs Filipino legend Nonito Donaire. This victory cemented Inoue’s legacy as the greatest Japanese fighter of all-time in only his 19th pro fight. I will go more into detail about this incredible fight later.

Robert’s previous winners:
2018: Oleksandr Usyk
2017: Vasyl Lomachenko
2016: Terence Crawford
2015: Canelo Alvarez
2014: Sergey Kovalev
2013: Danny Garcia

Matt: Manny Pacquiao
The 40-year-old senator and future first-ballot hall of famer isn’t done yet. Pacquiao headlined the two biggest PPV’s of the year; boxing circles around 29-year-old Adrian Broner in February and defeating 30-year-old, previously undefeated WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman in July. The Thurman fight was the most impressive single win of the year and was a strong contender for fight of the year as well. Not bad for an old man.

Matt’s previous winners:
2018: Oleksandr Usyk

Larry: Canelo Alverez
I really wanted to go a different route but at the end of the day, Canelo beat a very good Daniel Jacobs and moved up two weight classes to knock out Kovalev. And Canelo is box office, which to me, does matter when you consider someone for fighter of the year.

GG: Canelo Alverez
The current boxing landscape is riding on streaming and subscriptions, which means that how you utilize your superstars is a little different. While Mayweather and Pacquiao were bigger than life and thus, bigger than the promotions backing them, the promotion, TV partner, and fighter need to be in lock step with each other. The schedule, and creating a monthly reason for customers to subscribe, whether to ESPN+ or DAZN is the new business. Canelo is the key fighter in the new business and being able to promote him often and in big fights is huge. And he’s delivering. Not only is he must-see, but he’s also fighting better than ever. He’s in his prime and has so many big fights in front of him. But also, by being such a star, he’ll be able to make his opponents into possible numbers movers in the future. He’s the perfect guy for the new business.

GG’s previous winners:
2018: Oleksandr Usyk
2017: Vasyl Lomachenko
2016: Andre Ward
2015: Gennady Golovkin
2014: Sergey Kovalev
2013: Floyd Mayweather
2012: Nonito Donaire
2011: Andre Ward
2010: Sergio Martinez
2009: Manny Pacquiao
2008: Manny Pacquiao

Fight Of The Year

Duan: Josh Taylor Vs Regis Prograis
It’s a credit to the World Boxing Super Series that the two top contenders for fight of the year came in its bantamweight and junior welterweight finals. Josh Taylor versus Regis Prograis earns the nod just slightly for me as the perfect mix of a great match up on paper and one that delivered great action in ring. This was two elite level fighters, evenly matched, and having to try to make small adjustments round after round to outwit their opponent and gain the upper hand. As compelling a twelve round title fight as you will see.

Duan’s previous winners:
2018: Dereck Chisora Vs Carlos Takam
2017: Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
2016: Jamie Conlan vs Anthony Nelson
2015: Dave Ryan vs John Wayne Hibbert 2
2014: Tommy Coyle vs Daniel Brizuela
2013: Timothy Bradley vs Ruslan Provodnikov
2012: Brandon Rios vs Mike Alvarado
2011: Erik Morales vs Marcos Maidana
2010: Mikkel Kessler vs Carl Froch
2009: Bernard Dunne vs Ricardo Cordoba
2008: Tie between Antonio Margarito vs Miguel Cotto and Steve Cunningham vs Tomasz Adamek

Robert: Naoya Inoue Vs Nonito Donaire
It’s the single greatest matchup in Asian boxing history; the greatest Japanese fighter of all-time versus arguably the second greatest Filipino fighter of all-time for a fight held in Japan for the WBSS 118 pound tournament crown. The table was set for an incredible fight. And boy did these two future Hall of Famers deliver.

In a Bantamweight version of Sugar Ray Leonard versus Thomas Hearns, both Inoue and Donaire put on an incredible display of power, speed, heart, skill and intestinal fortitude. The 26-year-old Inoue was severely tested for the first time in his career. The 37-year-old Donaire showed why eight years ago, people were comparing him to Roy Jones, Jr. Inoue suffered a vicious cut around his right eye that impeded his eyesight for the majority of the fight. Donaire ate several of the “Monster’s” right crosses to land equally vicious rights of his own. Virtually dead even after an epic ninth round that saw Donaire badly hurt Inoue and a 10th round that saw both fighters land one bomb after another, it was the 11th round that clinched the fight for Inoue. Midway through the 11th, Inoue landed a left hook to Donaire’s rib cage that sent the Filipino star running across the ring in pain. Barely getting up at the almost count of 10, Donaire withstood a barrage of bombs before hurting Inoue with his own left hook to the chin to survive the penultimate round of the Fight of the Year. Inoue wisely outboxed Donaire in the 12th and final round to secure the victory and crown. It was only fitting that the man who presented him was the fighter he supplanted as the greatest Japanese boxer of all-time, Fighting Harada. Like Leonard-Hearns I, it was a fight where both fighters came out as winners.

Robert’s previous winners:
2018: Canelo Alvarez Vs Gennady Golovkin 2
2017: Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
2016: Francisco Vargas vs Orlando Salido
2015: Krzysztof Glowacki vs Marco Huck
2014: Lucas Matthysse vs John Molina
2013: Timothy Bradley vs Ruslan Provodnikov

Matt: Gennady Golovkin Vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko
On October 5 in Madison Square Garden, Sergiy Derevyanchenko took Gennadiy Golovkin to the absolute limit, making him dig deeper than we’ve possibly ever seen before. It was 12 rounds of war where both men left a piece of themselves in the ring. In the end, Golovkin took home an unanimous decision as well as the vacant IBF and IBO middleweight title, setting his eyes on a 2020 trilogy matchup against unified WBA + WBC middleweight champion Saul Alvarez.

Matt’s previous winners:
2018: Canelo Alvarez Vs Gennady Golovkin 2

Larry: Naoya Inoue Vs Nonito Donaire
This was a tough one, as it is most years, and I must admit that up until last month I thought Shawn Porter’s effort against Errol Spence Jr. was the best high level fight I watched all year. But then I watched Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire last month and I can’t say that I saw a better fight this year. All action, twist and turns, and extreme technique for 12 rounds. Loved it. Inoue is who I really wanted to vote for for fighter of the year, but he just doesn’t have the box office appeal yet.

GG: Errol Spence Jr. Vs Shawn Porter
I was able to see this fight in a movie theater, which is a pretty cool experience. It was a great matchup. You had the athletic, technical marvel in Spence against the bulldog in Porter. It was very easy to root for Porter here as it’s generally easy to root for the underdog. But at some point, the underdog was having his day. It wasn’t until Spence knocked Porter down to where I thought he was surely getting the decision. The fight was fast, sharp, and high level, which is what you want when you’re paying your money to watch it.

GG’s previous winners:
2018: Canelo Alvarez Vs Gennady Golovkin 2
2017: Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
2016: Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev
2015: Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura
2014: Terence Crawford vs Yuriorkis Gamboa
2013: Timothy Bradley vs Ruslan Provodnikov
2012: Juan Manuel Marquez vs Manny Pacquiao IV
2011: Juan Manuel Marquez vs Manny Pacquiao III
2010: Amir Khan vs Marcos Maidana
2009: Juan Diaz vs Juan Manuel Marquez
2008: Antonio Margarito vs Miguel Cotto

Breakout Star

Duan: Devin Haney
Haney at 21 is already looking like a pretty complete fighter. Devin was high on Matchroom’s wishlist for their US expansion and since completing his signing back in April, he’s been pushed like a potential boxing megastar. He has held up his end of the deal with a run of scintillating performances and netting his first world title in 2019. The lightweight division is ready to blow up in the next 12-18 months with some of the best young talent in the sport including Haney, Teofimo Lopez and Ryan Garcia mixing it up with established stars like Lomachenko, Luke Campbell and Gervonta Davis. There’s going to be some big fights ahead and Haney is likely going to be at the center of a lot of them.

Duan’s previous winners:
2018: Callum Smith
2017: Ryan Burnett
2016: Anthony Joshua
2015: Tyson Fury
2014: Carl Frampton

Robert: Josh Taylor
The Scottish star Josh Taylor is an incredible stylist with both heart and a great chin. His WBSS 140 pound tournament victory win over Regis Prograis proved that he was more than just a cute boxer. He outfought and outboxed the very dangerous Prograis in another incredible 2019 fight. On January 2, Taylor will be turning 29, right in his prime and with a bevy of great matchups waiting for him to continue his possible climb to being the greatest fighter ever to hail from Scotland.

Robert’s previous winners:
2018: Naoya Inoue
2017: Anthony Joshua
2016: Errol Spence
2015: Deontay Wilder
2014: Nicholas Walters

Matt: Teofimo Lopez
After his dominant performance over Mason Menard, Lopez was my choice for breakout star of 2018. 2019 was a continuation of the bang show; seeing Lopez blow away Diego Magdaleno and Edis Tatli before things went off-course. A multitude of personal issues coming to a head and a hard-fought decision over hard-fought decision over Masayoshi Nakatani in July caused Lopez to delay his first world title fight in order to get his house in order. Lopez returned to the ring on December 14, shocking the world again when he finished IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey in two rounds. An undisputed championship bout against unified WBA + WBC + WBO + Ring lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko is targeted for April of 2020. Win, lose, or draw, Lopez is one of Top Rank Promotions top stars for the foreseeable future.

Matt’s previous winners:
2018: Teofimo Lopez

Larry: Emmanuelle Navarette
Four WBO super bantamweight title defenses in 2019 and won all by knockout, including the rematch against Isaac Dagboe, who was undefeated until Navarette beat him. An all action fighter who really puts on exciting fights. Would love to see he and Guillermo Rigondeaux or Rey Vargas in 2020. No doubt about it, Navarette is a real player to look out for.

GG: Teofimo Lopez
Everything that Lopez did inside the ring was impressive, but even more impressive is he did it while also dealing with everything outside of the ring. And that’s what it takes sometimes to get to the next level; dealing with the outside interferences all while training and doing your job inside the ring. While Lopez is going to have his hands full with Lomachenko and it would be quite the upset if he wins, he’s still so young that a loss won’t hurt him. It might even be good for him. At least you’ll know that he’ll probably be able to deal with it.

GG’s previous winners:
2018: Josh Warrington
2017: Sri Sor Rungvisai
2016: Joe Smith Jr.
2015: Roman Gonzalez
2014: Terence Crawford

Who’s Next?

Duan: Daniel Dubois
Frank Warren’s leading prospect made short work of his five opponents in 2019, taking out all in five rounds or less and he looks set to make some major noise in the heavyweight division in the year ahead. The real acid tests are yet to come. We don’t yet know how good Dubois is, but he’s still only 22 and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a heavyweight come through as a threat to the division at such a young age. A fight with British rival Joe Joyce in 2020 would move Dubois into the spotlight and closer to match ups with the heavyweight elite.

Duan’s previous winners:
2018: Josh Kelly
2017: Joshua Buatsi
2016: Michael Conlan
2015: Callum Smith
2014: Anthony Joshua
2013: Vasyl Lomachenko
2012: Khalid Yafai
2011: Canelo Alvarez
2010: Carl Frampton

Robert: Shakur Stevenson
The 22-year-old Shakur Stevenson continued his meteoric rise in 2019 by winning his first alphabet crown. 2020 will see him continue that rise as he’s one of the early favorites to be in the running for the best fighter of the 2020s. In my opinion, he’s the most skilled defensive fighter I’ve seen since Floyd in his prime.

Robert’s previous winners:
2018: Jarrett Hurd
2017: Errol Spence
2016: Jermall Charlo
2015: Errol Spence
2014: Roman Gonzalez
2013: Keith Thurman

Matt: Vergil Ortiz Jr.
The 21-year-old Ortiz closed out 2019 with 4 emphatic wins, staking his claim as the guy to watch in 2020. Ortiz is currently ranked just outside of the top 20 in BoxRec’s welterweight rankings and looks to keep climbing the ladder, with a possible move to 154 pounds further down the road. Ryan Garcia may be the sizzle of Golden Boy Promotions youth movement, but Virgil Ortiz is the steak.

Matt’s previous winners:
2018: Mikaela Mayer

Larry: Teofimo Lopez
I struggled with the placement of my “Breakout Star” and “Who’s Next” winners because of the way I defined the criteria. To me, Teofimo Lopez had two huge breakout performances in MSG in 2019, but 2020 will be the year he establishes himself as one of the best in the world. After destroying a very talented Richard Commey, the fight everyone wants to see is Lomachenko versus Lopez, and I give Lopez a real shot in winning that fight. His power, accuracy, and charisma make him prime to be a real superstar of the sport in 2020, and he will be fighter people will pay to see.

GG: Vergil Ortiz Jr.
Ryan Garcia will get the Instagram followers (and probably the girls), but Ortiz Jr. is the best prospect in boxing. He’s still only 21 and should step up even more in competition in 2020. And the kid knows how to wear his Jordans.

GG’s previous winners:
2018: Jaime Munguia
2017: Gary Russell Jr.
2016: Claressa Shields
2015: Anthony Joshua
2014: Nicholas Walters
2013: Ruslan Provodnikov
2012: Floyd Mayweather’s record (predicting Mayweather would lose in 2013)
2011: Miguel Cotto
2010: Amir Khan

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