What is your pick for 2022’s Fight of the Year? It’s that time of year again when we look back on the past 12 months. the good folks at ESPN.com have made their pick for, amongst other things, The Fight of the Year – and the award goes to the simply epic featherweight battle Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan gave us back in March.
You remember the thrilling action, the switching momentum, and the truly incredible knockout that ended the fight, right?
Wood, who was making the first defense of his WBA featherweight belt, somehow won the war, this after being knocked down, hurt on multiple occasions, and having to show the kind of heart and raw courage only the special ones possess. It really was epic stuff, with Wood being put down heavily in the opening session in a rocking Nottingham Arena and the defending champ then having to suck it up as his unbeaten challenger looked to take him out. Wood, behind on points, gave us a genuinely mesmerizing comeback as he decked Conlan in the 11th. And then, in the final round of what had already been a great fight, Wood knocked Conlan clean out of the ring for one of the scariest KOs you will see.
It took some time before Conlan was taken from the arena, and for a while, fans feared the worst. Thankfully, Conlan was okay. Both men gave their all during the fight, and as a result, it’s no real surprise the war has been called The Fight of the Year.
Both men were cut in the fight, both times due to an accidental head clash, both men were pumped up in an enormous way, mainly due to the 10,000-strong crowd, and both champion and challenger laid it all on the line. Eddie Hearn went as far as saying the slugfest is the best fight he’s ever seen live, while some people have been sufficiently moved to suggest Wood KO12 Conlan might have to be recognized as one of the best fights ever to have taken place inside a British ring.
The fight had it all: bravery, skill, fierce trading, knockdowns, blood, an almost illogical comeback (Wood was not only decked heavily in that torrid opening round, his head also crashed against the canvas as he fell), and then a stunning/disturbing knockout.
This one was super-special. It was The Fight of the Year.