2015 is a year that will not be forgotten by boxing fans. It was a year where the biggest fight of the generation took place and boxing finally got back on network television. While these events took place and make the year memorable as far as it be one of the most entertaining years in boxing, well that’s another story. In 2015, no one fighter stands out as the clear fighter of the year. It was a year where accomplishments were made monetarily, but not in the sense of the actual sport. Nonetheless these are the five fighters who stood out in 2015.
Possibly the middleweight who caused the most controversy this year as he was in the news of boxing media the whole year regarding the status of his opponents. His back & forth or rather Andre Ward’s back & forth with the media regarding him kept GGG in the headlines. It also made him the new hated rival of all Floyd Mayweather fans alike. Besides staying in the headlines all year, Golovkin stayed busy by fighting three times. Golovkin proved more than most boxers that he was able and willing to travel as a draw. In February, he took apart long time middleweight contender and overachiever Martin Murray in Monaco. Golovkin dominated Murray and stopped him in the eleventh round. Following up his west coast performance in 2014 against Marco Antonio Rubio, Golovkin proved once again that he was a draw by getting over 12,000 to fill up the Forum. His opponent for that night’s work was Willie Monroe Jr. who put up a valiant effort, but ultimately was left with little options and stopped the bout in six rounds. Golovkin and his promoters then took a chance on his growing popularity & his inability to lure known opponents into the ring and put him on Pay Per View. One of the reasons the bout went to PPV was to help pay for his opponent’s paycheck and make it large enough for him to step in the ring with him. The opponent was David Lemieux. Lemieux was the IBF champion at the time and considered to be the biggest puncher in the middleweight division next to Golovkin. The bout sold out the Madison Square Garden venue with the fastest selling tickets in the history of the Garden. The PPV was a sell out and was filled with fans from all across the globe who were there not just as fans of Golovkin or Lemieux, but as boxing fans. The PPV itself, however, didn’t sell very well depending on whom you ask; it sold 97,000 or 150,000. The positive, however, was the Golovkin is now officially a major ticket seller on both coasts of the United States and while the PPV didn’t sell as well as expected, money was not lost because of the gate.
The best little fighter on the planet made his mark on the boxing scene this year. Before 2015, hardcore boxing fans that followed the lower weight classes knew how good of a fighter he was, but his fights were mainly relegated to streams from Japan or late entries on YouTube. He made his debut on HBO in May on the under-card of Golovkin’s middleweight defense against Willie Monroe Jr.. Gonzalez made quite the impression by completely destroying Edgar Sosa and then putting on an equally impressive performance against Brian Viloria once again on a Golovkin under-card. Gonzalez makes the cut this year for not only putting himself and delivering on the big stage, but for also putting a light on all the lighter weight classes in boxing. Boxing is a worldwide sport and great fighters can & do exist in any weight class.
This was a landmark year for Canelo Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions. First, Oscar De La Hoya made a comeback as the actual face and promoter for the company he started and his star fighter delivered in the ring and at the box office. Alvarez started off the year with a relatively soft touch against an inactive James Kirkland. Regardless, the fight was able to get 30,000 fans into Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The fight itself was action packed while it lasted until Alvarez scored possibly the knockout of the year as he stopped Kirkland with right hand that literally twisted him around and laid him on the canvass. Alvarez followed up this performance by participating in the second biggest event of the year against Miguel Cotto. Both men made a good account of themselves, but Alvarez with his underrated defense and counterpunching was able to clearly win a decision over the veteran Puerto Rican. It was the biggest win in the career of Alvarez thus far and being that he’s just 25 years old it solidified him as the biggest draw in the sport now that Mayweather and Pacquiao were heading out. The PPV for Cotto –Canelo ended up selling 900,000 PPV buys. All fans can look forward to a big 2016 from Alvarez with the hope that he steps in the ring with Gennady Golovkin.
Without question, Fury scored the biggest win in boxing this year. Fury went over to Germany and thoroughly outboxed reigning heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. The build up to the fight itself was memorable. It featured Fury seemingly intimidating Klitschko in a face off sit down to the point that the fight was postponed a month due to an injury. Fury also showed up to a press conference dressed up as Batman and then proceeded to beat up another member of his team dressed up as the Joker. The fight itself was only memorable for the mere shock that Fury with his boxing and feints had rendered Klitschko abandoning his jab completely and throwing less than ten punches a round. Fury leads a new charge in the heavyweight division that will hopefully be the start of a new era.
Simply put Floyd Mayweather won the biggest fight this year in the biggest event this year. After five long years, the two biggest stars in the sport finally met in the ring. When the fight was first announced a big sigh of relief and adulation was put on the face of all boxing fans. After the fight a collective groan of disappointment was felt worldwide. The fight itself didn’t come close to living up to expectations, but the winner deserves a credit. Mayweather did what he always does; he reduced the fight to a fending match scored in an amateur style. Both men underperformed, but to describe the bout would be to say that the 30-year-old virgin beat the 40-year-old virgin, nothing to brag about. Pacquiao couldn’t and Floyd was happy for it. Mayweather was finally vindicated form all those who thought he would never face Pacquiao. The PPV did more than anyone could have expected in selling 4.4-4.6 million buys at $100 each. Mayweather followed up the win over Pacquiao with a fight against top 50 welterweight Andre Berto. Mayweather won that fight easily as Berto had no business being in the ring with Mayweather. Mayweather in the ring left a whimper and disappointed twice, however at the box office he was untouched and certainly in his point of view and those of his followers to quote the man himself, “it’s not how you win, it’s as long as you win”. Mayweather despite any controversy of drug testing cover-ups with USADA or idiotic statements in the media kept on winning.