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The Bible of Boxing had some difficult decisions in regards to many of the awards handed out in the covenant 87th Annual Ring Magazine Awards: Best of 2015. Editor-in-chief Michael Rosenthal expressed ever-so eloquently the difficulty in choosing Fighter of the Year; difficulty seeming to be revenue vs shock value. In a sport where you fight solely for the prize, it’s easy to name and show due respect to the Pay-Per-View King Floyd “Money” Mayweather and his accomplishment of generating an astonishing 4.4 million paying customers with a total backside pay of $220 million dollars; not a bad day’s work considering Floyd made more than most MLB payrolls. But remember everyone that has hopped on the UFC bandwagon, Boxing is dead…
Ultimately the most recognized Fighter of the Year award seems to be at much of a sour taste comparable to the worst Heavyweight championship fight many have ever seen and refuse to even watch again; Tyson Fury is your Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year. With his defeat of long standing WBO/IBF/WBA Champion Wladimir Klitschko, Tyson Fury did shock the world at a 4 to 1 underdog, but didn’t win many fans over with the malaises like tempo to the fight. Klitschko seemed to be on another planet mentally as Fury showed strength and stamina inhis UD win over the reigning Champ. But what will fans remember from that fight? Other than Fury breaking out into an oddly and poorly timed serenade of Aerosmith that would make StevenTyler cringe. The fight will be remembered as the day Klitschko lost, not the day Tyson Fury won. With a rematch looming and a hungry Deontay Wilder waiting in the shadows Fury better enjoy singing, because no one remembers fighters being a one-hit-wonder.
In an action-packed undercard fight Ring Magazine was spot on in rewarding Fight of the Year to Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura as they wowed a sold-out Mandalay Bay Casino back on the Canelo vs Cotto PPV. Vargas stepped into the ring with an iron chin and fist of stones as the two exchanged; a badly bloodied Vargas stormed out in the 9th round delivering aclean right uppercut- left hook combo that shook Miura to his core. Vargas continued to land punches forcing referee Tony Weeks to step and stop the fight. Excellent TKO by Francisco Vargas, watch this fight! Other notable fight equally worthy: Leo Santa Cruz vs Adner Mares.
One of the most exciting categories each year is always the Knockout of the Year. Whenthe fight between James Kirkland and Canelo Alvarez was signed fight fans around-the-world circled their calendars and buckled up to what was guaranteed to be a slug fest. The power, accuracy, and speed of Alvarez shined as he KO’d Kirkland with a vicious right hand that didn’t even require a formality of a count in the 3rd round. In the demonstration of what power Alvarez possesses one can hope a match-up with Gennady Golovkin can be made come the Fall of 2016.
The year that brought boxing back to the forefront of International fight entertainment was a glorious one. Fight fans can now watch cable produced fights again thanks to the visionary Al Hayman and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC). The talent pool that stretches across this world is truly remarkable, and as boxing fans everyone needs to soak it in and continue to enjoy fights as they once used to be. Many years ago boxing fans could turn on shows such as ESPN Friday Night Fights (Pro debut of Mayweather Jr), HBO: Boxing After Dark (Ward vs Gatti I) Showtime Boxing: ShoBox (produced 50 future World Champions), and know you were in for great fights, because “style makes fights”. Now with networks at war preventing a lot of fights, and sanctioning bodies not cooperating, fans will have to bond together and keep an eye-out as a drama filled 2016 is here and the bell has rung.
Keep on watching; Boxing never dies.