Welcome to The Queensberry Rules’ annual year-end boxing awards, continuing throughout this week. Here’s how we do it around these parts:
The major categories are Knockout of the Year, Fight of the Year and Fighter of the Year. For each category, we give five finalists, with video and/or relevant info. You tell us if our finalists and honorable mentions are lacking, and give your vote on who you think should win. Maybe you sway us to adjust the list, and maybe you sway us on the eventual winner. On the second day after a category is introduced, we’ll give you the winner and explain why.
THE FINALISTS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
The Felix Diaz win didn’t do much for him. The domination and stoppage of Julius Indongo did. Already the lineal champ at 2017, Crawford drew a big audience against Indongo and the changing boxing landscape plus his performance equaled ascension to the pound-for-pound elite.
One warm-up fight in 2016 after a multi-year layoff, and Garcia was all kinds of devastating in 2017. First was the Knockout of the Year against Dejan Zlaticanin. Second was a more workmanlike, patient performance that he still won clearly against Adrien Broner. Garcia was back in a big way in 2017.
Anthony Joshua won one of the best fights of 2017, against a motivated, excellent (albeit aging) Wladimir Klitschko. Carlos Takam put up a better fight than anticipated, but like all Joshua opponents, he ended up KO’d. The Brit draws massive crowds on his home shore and conquering America could be in the near future.
Two easy, so-so wins against lackluster competition set up an even easier win over the most accomplished opponent of his career: Guillermo Rigondeaux. The size gap doesn’t explain how one all-time Great Olympian made another look like an “opponent.” And he just keeps making people quit.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
He debatably beat the reigning pound-for-pound champ, Roman Gonzalez, the first time in 2017. He beat him definitively the second time. And unlike some Thai boxers who flee back to the homeland and face a series of schlubs, he seems determined to prove himself.
THE HONORABLE MENTIONS (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
Leo Santa Cruz