Saul Canelo Alvarez has been given the honor of being voted the ‘Fighter of the Year’ for Ring Magazine for his victories over WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev and IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs.
Canelo was criticized for fighting the 36-year-old Kovalev rather than the perceived #1 fighter at 175 in IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev. That’s a guy that the hardcore boxing fans view as the king of the 175-lb division.
What was disappointing is Canelo’s trainer Eddy Reynoso telling the media that Kovalev is the best fighter at light heavyweight. It came across like he was either ignorant of the existence of Beterbiev or he was being disingenuous so that Canelo would receive more credit for beating Kovalev. Either way, fans disagreed with Reynoso’s opinion that Kovalev was the #1 light heavyweight in the division.
Along with Canelo being given the ‘fighter of the year’ award by Ring Magazine, his trainer Reynoso was selected as the ‘Trainer of the year.‘ Although Canelo’s award was somewhat controversial due to Kovalev being arguably the weakest of the 175-lb champions, Reynoso clearly deserved his award.
Reynoso not only did a great job with Canelo, but he also improved lightweight contender Ryan Garcia (19-0, 16 KOs) and led the highly talented Julio Cesar Martinez (15-1, 12 KOs) to a world title win over former WBC 112-lb champion Cristofer Rosales last Friday night in Phoenix.
Martinez looked like a young Salvarado Sanchez with the way he exploded on Rosales in hitting him with triple left hooks, and changing stances. Martinez has got superstar written all over him. Ryan is a good fighter, but Martinez has already won a world title, and he looks good enough to unify the flyweight division.
This writer was more impressed with Julio Cesar Martinez’s year, and he would have given him ‘Fighter of the Year’ over Canelo Alvarez. Martinez looked sensational in destroying both Rosales and Charlie Edwards. Unfortunately, Martinez’s fight with Edwards was ruled a 3rd round disqualification due to Martinez hitting the British fighter while he was down after dropping him in round 3. It’s unclear whether Edwards intentionally stayed down in order to get Martinez disqualified or if he was truly hurt. Only Edwards knows for sure.
In other awards by Ring Magazine:
- Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr 1 voted ‘Round of the Year’ for the 3rd round last June. This is the round in which Joshua dropped Ruiz hard. Moments later, Ruiz came roaring back to knock Joshua down twice.
- Ruiz Jr. vs. Joshua – ‘Event of the Year’ for their fight on December 7 in Saudi Arabia. The undercard wasn’t so great, but the amount of interest in the main event between AJ and Ruiz was huge. Unfortunately, the fight failed to live up to the hype, thanks to Ruiz coming in 15 lbs heavier at 283 lbs than the first contest, and Joshua choosing to mimic Wladimir Klitschko’s safety-first style of combat.
- Deontay Wilder – ‘Knockout of the Year‘ for his KO of Luis Ortiz in the 9th round in their rematch on November 23. The Ring staff likely were more impressed with Wilder’s knockout of Ortiz rather than his 1st round stoppage win over Dominic Breazeale last May due to the Cuban fighter arguably having more talent. All the same, Wilder’s knockout of Breazeale was far more devastating than the Ortiz stoppage.
- Naoya Inoue vs. Nonito Donaire – ‘Fight of the Year’ for their final in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament
- Andy Ruiz Jr – ‘Upset of the Year’ – for his shocking 7th round stoppage win over Anthony Joshua last June
- Jamel Herring – Comeback of the Year
- Vergil Ortiz Jr. – Prospect of the Year’
- Jose Ramirez – “Most inspirational’