Here we are, the end of 2012 and what a year it’s been. There have been highs, plenty of lows and lots to talk about. While I originally planned to do this in a podcast, my computer is once again in the shop, I’ll have to do this in a less glamorous (or less cheesy) manner. So, without further ado, I’m going to go over the best that 2012 gave us.
Fight of Year: Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez IV
Maybe because I was watching this fight live compared to catching Rios/Alverado on YouTube but…I’m biased towards this fight. I couldn’t make a decision and I was rooting for both guys and the see-saw action kept me on the edge of my seat. Hell, I wasn’t even sitting, I was standing on my seat in the sports bar. The close action in the first two rounds indicated that we might be heading towards another controversial decision when all of a sudden in the third round Marquez was the one knocking Pacquiao down for once. Pacquiao came back in the next few rounds to knock Marquez down and even break the Mexican veteran’s nose. Bleeding, starting to get out punched and most of the viewing public around me sensing that Pacquiao was going to end it soon, Marquez unleashed a brilliant right hand counter that caught an unsuspecting Pacquiao square in the face and dropped him. Manny was down flat on his stomach, eerily similar to Paul Williams in his rematch with Sergio Martinez, as referee Kenny Bayless waved an end to the contest as Pacquiao was in no condition to continue after that. For once, Marquez had the victory outside the court of public opinion over his greatest rival and won the Fight of the Year.
Round of the Year: Sergio Martinez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr Round 12
“He’s just gotta stay on his feet,” I told myself as I watched Martinez emerge from the corner for his final round against Chavez. For the past 11 rounds, the older man had been giving his younger opponent a boxing lesson. Moving, hitting and busting up Chavez Jr. with a broken left hand no less. And all of a sudden, Martinez was getting caught with shots, hard shots. Before he could get a chance to counter attack he had been wobbled into the ropes and seconds later he was down. Finally, when it looked like he had no chance, Julio Jr. was fighting in the manner everyone expected him to. Also a bit startling was that it looked like history was repeating itself. “Shades of Meldrick Taylor and his father,” screamed Max Kellerman as Martinez tumbled to the canvas again. Was Julio going to be able to score an unbelievable come-from-behind victory or would Sergio find a way to survive?
Sergio survived but the specter of defeat hovering over him is what made this my choice for round of the year.
Knockout of the Year: Juan Manuel Marquez KO 6 Manny Pacquiao
There were lots of good knockouts this year. Early in the year Mikkel Kessler disposed of Allen Green, David Lemieux continued his comeback making short work of Alvaro Gaeone in just one round but for me and lots of other people, it was Juan Manuel Marquez, landing the best shot of his career in his forth fight with Manny Pacquiao. My dad still insists that it was a lucky shot, that Marquez was somewhat flailing with his shot, but I and many other know that Juan Manuel knew exactly what he was doing.
Upset of the Year: Austin Trout vs Miguel Cotto
I thought of this fight as an updated version of Miguel Cotto vs Yuri Foreman. By that I mean it was supposed to be Cotto coming back from a loss against a belt holder who would wilt under Cotto’s ability and give the Puerto Rican star another title. I also remember thinking that Cotto would probably get Trout out of there in six rounds.
Austin Trout wasn’t going to see it that way. He went in there, knowing that he wasn’t getting the respect he deserved as champion going into this fight and that he would have to get it by beating Miguel Cotto. Trout also displayed some power, leaving Cotto’s face bruised and a bit hard to look at after the fight. While Richard Schaefer and members of Cotto’s team might be crying robbery, the comparisons of their face and the sobs from Cotto’s son during the fight say otherwise.
Fighter of the Year: Nonito Donaire
“No-Need-To Do-Nothing” I had previously dubbed him. I thought of him as a young flashy boxer who was constantly cashing in on the fact that he knocked out Vic Darchinyan. However after delivering last year’s Knockout of the Year against Montiel, Donaire got back into action by winning another title against Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. and then capped it off by fighting three times in a five year period. Doing that while being regarded as one of the top fighters in the world is a rarity in the world of professional boxing these days but sixty years ago it would probably be called a slow month.
Donaire also forced two fighters into back-to-back retirements, starting with Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka and capping of this year with aging Mexican Jorge Arce.
For years, Donaire has somewhat been in the shadow of Manny Pacquiao as both are from the Philippines however with the Pac-Man’s lackluster year, Nonito Donaire is emerging as someone who may one day inherit the top Pound-For-Pound lists Pacquiao once dwelled in.
2012 is over. Here’s to 2013 and all the great things we can expect from it.
Happy New Year