2014’s Fight of The Year? Juanma Lopez and Daniel Ponce de Leon gave us a mini-classic back in March

Daniel Ponce De Leon, JuanMa Lopez - Maybe the short and sweet, not to mention terrifically entertaining battle 130-pounders Juan Manuel Lopez and Daniel Ponce de Leon gave us this year should win the slugfest of the year distinction. Both men, their careers quite literally on the line, swapped leather, and traded knockdowns, in a manner befitting two prizefighters with everything on the line.

Maybe the short and sweet, not to mention terrifically entertaining battle 130-pounders Juan Manuel Lopez and Daniel Ponce de Leon gave us this year should win the slugfest of the year distinction. Both men, their careers quite literally on the line, swapped leather, and traded knockdowns, in a manner befitting two prizefighters with everything on the line.

You may have other fights in mind as your choice or choices for 2014’s FOTY, but lovers of a dramatic, hi-octane rumble with swiftly shifting momentums and a ton of fierce leather exchanged in just a handful of minutes will show as much affection and appreciation to this one as I do.

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Boxing’s Best of 2014

In what turned out to be a somewhat lackluster year for the sport, there were some bright spots for boxing fans in 2014. The validation of stars like Sergey Kovalev, Terence Crawford and Nicholas Walters. The rejuvenation of Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao. The continued rise of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. This writer decided to share some of his favorites from the past twelve months below (check out the videos to see more). Let’s take a look at the pugilistic best of the year that was.

Montero’s “Rising Star”: Nicholas Walters

The “Axe Man” is one boxer who truly lives up to this nickname. He kicked off his year by chopping down former titlist Vic Darchinyan in Macau, then chopped down former pound for pound star Nonito Donaire in Los Angeles. The bilingual bomber can also box, as he showed a top-notch jab in his dismantling of Donaire. Fighting in a loaded featherweight division, the Jamaican native built most of his career in Panama and is fluent in Spanish. A consummate professional with a humble attitude and plenty of charisma, the sky is the limit for Nicholas Walters.

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2014/2015 Reviews and Previews: Terence Crawford, Bernard Hopkins, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Carl Froch, Lucas Matthysse, Peter Quillin, & Erislandy Lara

Bernard Hopkins, Carl Froch, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Lucas Matthysse, Peter Quillin, Terence Crawford - (Note: In the third installment of a week long breakdown, boxing scribe Vivek “Vito” Wallace analyzes where today’s top fighters stand, and whether or not 2015 could be the year many of them fall. This week long analysis will cover over 30 top fighters from around the world)

(Note: In the third installment of a week long breakdown, boxing scribe Vivek “Vito” Wallace analyzes where today’s top fighters stand, and whether or not 2015 could be the year many of them fall. This week long analysis will cover over 30 top fighters from around the world)

TERENCE CRAWFORD

Despite a somewhat uneventful 2014 in the sport, the one golden talent which served as a silver-lining with platinum potential was Omaha, Nebraska’s Terrance Crawford. Coming into the year few knew his name. By the time it ended, few could forget it! The emergence of Terence Crawford onto the scene has been a breath of fresh air. In what was once considered a limited selection of fans, suddenly, the African American base around the world has a talent to root for that does more fighting than flaunting (money), and more taming than talking!

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Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares possible for April

Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz - A fight between former three division world champion Abner Mares (28-1-1, 15 KOs) and WBC super bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs) is a possibility for April of 2015, according to Steve Kim. This would be a good fight, and it would partially make up for Santa Cruz’s mismatch against Jesus Ruiz (33-5-5, 22 KOs) on January 17th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A fight between former three division world champion Abner Mares (28-1-1, 15 KOs) and WBC super bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs) is a possibility for April of 2015, according to Steve Kim. This would be a good fight, and it would partially make up for Santa Cruz’s mismatch against Jesus Ruiz (33-5-5, 22 KOs) on January 17th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ruiz is ranked #14 WBC in the featherweight division. Ruiz appears to be an easy mark for Santa Cruz after his last easy fight against an overmatched Manuel Roman last September.

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If Cotto vacates his WBC title without facing Golovkin his legacy will be tarnished, says Sanchez

Gennady Golovkin, Miguel Cotto - WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto may end up vacating his WBC title rather than facing interim WBC 160lb champion Gennady Golovkin. Cotto’s adviser Gaby Penagaricano talked recently about Tim Bradley being a bigger fight for Cotto than Golovkin. If that indeed is the direction that Cotto will be going in if he can get by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in May, then we could see Cotto either vacating or having his WBC title stripped from him by the WBC.

WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto may end up vacating his WBC title rather than facing interim WBC 160lb champion Gennady Golovkin. Cotto’s adviser Gaby Penagaricano talked recently about Tim Bradley being a bigger fight for Cotto than Golovkin. If that indeed is the direction that Cotto will be going in if he can get by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in May, then we could see Cotto either vacating or having his WBC title stripped from him by the WBC.

Of course, the WBC may end up not enforcing the mandatory and letting Cotto take additional optional defenses besides Canelo, who isn’t ranked in the top 15 in the middleweight division.

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ESPN Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates Return January 9

ESPN Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra will return for its 18th season Friday, Jan. 9, at 9 p.m. ET, live on ESPN2 with a 12-round lightweight bout between WBA #1 ranked Darleys Pérez (31-1, 20 KOs) and Jonathan Maicelo (21-1, 12 KOs). The winner of the bout will be next in line to fight WBA World Champion Richar Abril. The 10-round co-feature will feature up-and-coming welterweight contender Francisco Santana (21-3-1, 10 KOs). The fights, from the Chumash Resort and Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif., will also be televised on ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates presentado por Corona Extra at 10:30 p.m. and will be carried live on broadband Spanish-language ESPN Deportes+. The card is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions.

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