There Are A Number Of Candidates For 2008's F.O.T.Y - But Picking The Year's #1 Master Class Is Easy!

by James Slater - Right about now, fans will be reading various people's choices for 2008's best of the year, boxing-wise. You know the stuff - this or that writer, or this or that publication, gives his or her, or its opinion of what made the boxing world tick, and what its loudest and brightest moments were over the past 12 months, and readers will take it upon themselves to either agree or disagree. Picking just one bout as fight of the year proves to be quite a tough job this year - for we had a number of classics to choose from. We had Israel Vazquez- Rafael Marquez III, Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto and, less publicised, Tomas Villa- Rogers Mtagwa, to name just three candidates..

Bernard HopkinsThe same goes for 2008's KO of the year. However, there are two awards that are easy to pick winners for - fighter of the year, and, if it actually had an award, master class of the year. Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao can surely be the only man to win the former, while the absolutely exquisite performance Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins put on in his wide win over Kelly Pavlik is surely deserving of the latter.

Hopkins-Pavlik was no fight of the year; it wasn't even close. The October 18th 12-rounder was way too one-sided to be remembered as a great fight, but in terms of the year's master class "B-Hop's" exemplary boxing lesson was without equal. Forgotten now, is the fact that the 43-year-old modern day Philly legend was a big underdog going into the fight with the hitherto unbeatable-looking and hard hitting Youngstown native. Not only that, but most if not all of the experts picked "The Ghost" to prevail - some even thinking out loud that the 26-year-old banger would become the first man to stop or even outright KO Hopkins.

How wrong we all were. In proving yet again that he is one of the craftiest, the most naturally gifted and one of the flat-out most incredible boxers of this or any other era, Hopkins won every minute of every round. Looking, quite astonishingly, better than ever, "The Executioner" dazzled all lovers of the art of the sweet science in a jaw-dropping fashion. The 12 rounds simply flew by, at least they did for any observer that has so much as a passing interest in the quite beautiful talent that is hitting and not being hit in return. No-one, and I mean no-one, came close to dominating such a fearsome and formidable foe this year, not with anywhere approaching as much class as that shown by Hopkins in his win over Pavlik.

Simply a joy to watch, as well as a lesson to be learnt (namely never to write Hopkins off again), October's fight was so fine it deservers to be the inaugural recipient of an new award that at present does not exist - master class of the year.

For 2008, there was one choice and one choice only. Thanks, 'Nard!

Article posted on 24.12.2008

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