While we here at the Queensberry Rules have already shared with you, our values readers, a host of year end awards, Tim and I have also decided to award some deserving nominees in some other pertinent categories. I will share my “pu pu platter” of awards first and Tim will drop some knowledge on your ears this Saturday.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions as well as sharing any categories we may have missed:
2008 Upset of the Year – Breidis Prescott KO 1 Amir Khan
Heading into his September fight with Prescott many in the media had already anointed Khan as the next great superstar in the sport. The English Olympian had amassed a loyal throng of supporters as well as infatuated the media with his stunning power. His fight with Prescott was to be nothing more than another showcase bout for the young prospect. After all, Prescott was by no means a “world-beater” and if anything, his aggressive nature would be the perfect style for Khan to look superb against. Unfortunately, Khan’s handlers failed to read Tim’s top notch post on Colombian bangers and as Khan and Prescott began to engage it happened. A thunderous right hand floored Khan – who has shown to not have the sturdiest chin in the business – rising to wobbly legs Khan would soon be knocked cold by the hard charging Prescott and his concussive right hand. Khan should rebound from this loss but a bit of the luster has dulled in light of this incident.
2008 Promoter of the Year – Golden Boy Promotions
Say what you will about Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions but few entitles in the game wield as much power as they do. Favorable ties with HBO, lucrative sponsorship deals, and the purchase of The Ring magazine last year, and well its hard not to award them such honors. While I don’t agree with some of their practices and the jury is still out on if they can develop a fighter from the ground up, you have to admit that they had a very good 2008.
2008 Network of the Year – Versus
Sure HBO and Showtime gave us some of the biggest fights as they routinely do, it’s hard not to be elated with the strides that the fledgling Versus network is making in the sport. Now that we are free of the Top Rank deal that saw Versus give viewers way too many Tye Fields headlined cards, things seem to be picking up for the network. A live telecast of Ricky Hatton and Paul Malignaggi’s twin bill from England that set up their fight, Steve Cunningham – Tomasz Adamek, and James Toney – Fres Oquendo (a late sub for the more relevant Tony Thompson) are just some of the live boxing offerings given to salivating fight fans courtesy of Versus. Also bare in mind that Versus came in and rescued the popular Contender series from the brink of cancellation. You have to applaud Versus earnest attempts bring boxing to the masses.
2008 Trainer of the Year – Freddie Roach
When all is said and done Freddie Roach will be remembered as one of the greatest trainers to ever live. The Eddie Futch pupil seems to have retained all his former teacher’s sage wisdom and advice as well as showing a keen mind and acumen that has made him one of the most sought after trainers in the game. His transformation of Manny Pacquiao from a two punch, face first banger to one of the sharpest boxer-punchers in the game is awe inspiring. Need further evidence; just watch the replay of Pacquiao’s destruction of Oscar De La Hoya.
2008 Prospect of the Year – Yuriokis Gamboa
Yuriokis Gamboa. Just the mere mention of the name elicits a smile of Kool-Aid proportions on Tim’s face (just giving you a hard time buddy). No doubt about it, Gamboa is a special talent. A whirling dervish of fistic kinetic action, the former Cuban Gold Medal winner has become can’t miss viewing. Gamboa still drives his fans crazy with his lackadaisical defense and his chin seems to more vulnerable than you would like but there is no denying that the kids brings excitement into the ring. You can almost feel that Gamboa is destined for big things in his career but he would be well served to remember to keep his damn hands up!
2008 Marlon B. Wright Award for Worst Refereeing – Marlon B. Wright
For most of the fight Montreal based super middleweight Lucian Bute was in firm control of his fight with hard-charging Librado Andrade. But Andrade’s relentless spirit and pressure had caused Bute to find himself on the canvas, hurt badly, as the final seconds of the twelfth and final round ticked away slowly. At that moment Wright instructed Andrade to retreat to a neutral corner which Andrade obliged. But Wright was not satisfied with Andrade’s attempt and inexplicably turned completely around to chide the Mexican fighter, halting the count and giving Bute roughly 13 seconds to regain his senses. I’m not going to go all conspiracy theory on you, and the simple fact of the matter is that all Bute had to do was make it to his feet to secure the victory, a feat he accomplished, but it did reek of some hometown favoritism.
2008 Worst Fight of the Year – Grady Brewer vs. Cornelius Bundrage
Where Vazquez vs. Marquez produced nothing but high drama and fireworks, Brewer vs. Bundrage could cure insomnia. It was less a fight than a clinch fest and neither fighter seemed to mind, let alone take the initiative to actually fight. It was a putrid display of two fighters who should be promptly banned from the airwaves for such a poor display of boxing. The fight was horrible, mind numbingly horrible.