Who is your Fighter Of The Year? 2020 didn’t see as much boxing action as it would have done had the evil coronavirus not served to plague us all, yet we still saw some great fights and some special performances. Big stars Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin returned to action for just one time each this year, while rival heavyweight champs Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua also boxed once a piece this year.
Emerging as future stars, Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney and Josh Taylor also fought once each in 2020. Errol Spence boxed once this year (and is probably a lock for Comeback Fighter Of The Year in light of his brilliant performance against Danny Garcia, this after being the victim of that nasty October 2019 car crash), while 2020 was, quite amazingly, the year of the exhibition, with Mike Tyson and Roy Jones pulling in around a million and a half pay-per-view buys (more about that later).
But who was The Fighter Of The Year? In full respect to Japanese stars, Kosei Tanaka and Kazuto Ioka, who fight for the WBO junior-bantamweight title on New Year’s Eve, the pick should not be made until then; neither should The Fight Of The Year award be handed out until we see what happens in Tokyo. But the folks at Ring Magazine have made their pick. Actually two picks.
Sitting on the fence, the publication that is still for many “The Bible Of Boxing,” has gone for heavyweight Tyson Fury and lightweight Teofimo Lopez, with both unbeaten champions sharing the distinction as having been the best over the past 12 months. And there is no doubt both men enjoyed an impressive year, this despite the fact that they boxed just once each. As the folks at Ring have said, both guys made their sole performance from 2020 count. Big.
Fury demolished Deontay Wilder in dramatic and quite shocking fashion in February – just as he said he would. Not too many people believed Fury when he said he would go for the KO, that he would take the fight right to the lethal-punching “Bronze Bomber,” – the man who had decked him so heavily right at the end of their first fight. But Fury was as good as his word and Wilder didn’t know what to do about it (aside from make, and continue to make, every possible excuse under the sun for his seventh round stoppage defeat).
Fury looked awesome in handing Wilder his first loss. In fact, many people say he looked unbeatable. Maybe he is. Of course, Anthony Joshua has something to say about that.
Lopez was also incredibly insistent with his pre-fight prediction ahead of his big fight with pound-for-pound top dog and unified lightweight king Vasyl Lomachenko. Prior to the October fight, Lopez told everyone that would listen that he would absolutely, definitely and comprehensively defeat Loma. Like Fury, Lopez was a man of his word, even if the fight was somewhat close; Lopez winning a 12 round decision that, though wide on all three offical cards, was deemed closer by most experts.
Still, Lopez deserved his win, no doubt. It’s interesting and perhaps a little strange that, like the beaten Wilder, the beaten Lomachenko has taken to making big excuses for his loss.
Together, Fury and Lopez shocked the world in 2020. But are they YOUR picks for Fighters Of The Year?