Welcome to The Queensberry Rules’ annual year-end awards, continuing throughout the week. Here’s how we do it around these parts:
The major categories are Knockout of the Year, Round of the Year, Fight of the Year and Fighter of the Year. The final leg is a pu-pu platter of awards ranging from Trainer of the Year to more frivolous topics.
For each category, I give five finalists, with video and/or relevant info. You tell me if my finalists and honorable mentions are lacking, and give your vote on who you think should win. Maybe you sway me to adjust the list, and maybe you sway me on the eventual winner. On the second day after a category is introduced, I give that winner and explain why. (There are no major fights left in 2011, but we reserve the right to change our category winners if something crazy happens.)
So, up now: Fight of the Year candidates. On deck: Fighter of the Year candidates, Fight of the Year winner and Fighter of the Year winner. Previously: Knockout of the Year and Round of the Year candidates, followed by the winners in both categories.
FINALISTS (IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)
Brandon Rios – Miguel Acosta (highlights)
Acosta was outboxing Rios the way many suspected Rios could be outboxed, and even surprisingly outpunching him. But Rios kept grinding and grinding and grinding, and Acosta fought back until he couldn’t. It made for great action.
Hernan Marquez – Luis Concepcion I
When a fight starts like this one — several rounds of barely contained mayhem; nay, fully uncontained mayhem — and ends somewhat controversially, it’s going to get a lot of Fight of the Year love.
Victor Ortiz – Andre Berto (highlights)
Take two quick, hard-punching welterweights with plenty to prove, mix, and serve a knockdown-laden brawl.
Delvin Rodriguez – Pawel Wolak I
The capstone in a great year for ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, Rodriguez and Wolak went to war from the opening bell, and Wolak fought through the year’s most gruesome injury.
Akira Yaegashi – Pornsawan Porpramook
It had a smaller U.S. audience than any other finalist, but most any boxing writer or fan who’s seen these two pint-sized warriors’ battle has it as their pick.
HONORABLE MENTIONS (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
Antonio DeMarco – Jorge Linares (highlights)
Marcos Maidana – Erik Morales (highlights)
Lamont Peterson – Amir Khan
Brandon Rios – Urbano Antillon
Orlando Salido – Juan Manuel Lopez (highlights)
Jorge Arce – Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr.
Jesus Gonzales – Franciso Sierra
Kevin Mitchell – John Murray
Mike Alvarado – Breidis Prescott (highlights)
Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. – Sebastian Zbik
Edwin Rodriguez – Will Rosinsky
James Kirkland – Alfredo Angulo (no video available)