30.12.04 – By Eddy Manning: As 2004 ends, we as fans reflect on the year of boxing that has just passed us by. All the highlights, low points, shocks, heart break and tension 2004 has been a big year within the sport we follow. 2004 has been a year for the young guns, with large amounts of prospects, former olympians and finely tuned amatuers coming through the ranks and begining to establish a name for themselve.As some of the greatest boxers of the past decade fell, contenders and prospects began to put there hand up and take the mantlepeice that is ‘the face of boxing’.
Delahoya, Tyson, Jones Jr and Mosely have all been knocked out or lost this year, in some cases more than once, as this happened fans and pugilists alike feared for the sport and the fighters that familiarised it. But as fast as these greats were falling the young guns were rising and moving up the ladder,trying to become the new p4p kings of boxing.
On the whole 2004 has been an interesting year for the sport to say the least, a declining heavyweight division has been aided by a number of exciting and deep lower weight divisions including featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and middleweight. So in saying that- here are my end of year awards.
Boxer Of The Year- Diego Corales
After a demoralising loss to Flloyd Mayweather Jr and then serving prison time for assualt, Corales bounced back in the best way possible, outboxing Joel Casomyor over 12 rounds to earn A split decision and a world title. While people may say the decision was disputed, In this writers opinion Corales earned the nod and I give him all the credit he deserves for the victory. Following the Casomyor victory, Corales came out victorious in what is his biggest victory to date, breaking down the Brazilian superman Acelino Freitas and forcing him to quit in the 11th round after three knockdowns. It was Freita’s first loss and proppeled Corales into the p4p rankings.
Fight Of The Year- Barera-Morales 3
Dosen’t require much explination, two mexican warriors going at it for the third time with a bitter and heated rivalry as fuel for the allready burning flame. One of the fights of this decade hands down. Crossing my fingers for a fourth encounter.
Round Of The Year- Jeff Lacy-Omar Sheika Round 12
Exciting fight with a killer last round, in some peoples eyes (but not the judges) the round that could decide the fights outcome. Both fighters who are known ‘punchers’ threw all they could untill they had nothing left by the bell.
Comeback Of The Year-Glenngoffe Johnson
Almost pipped Corales for fighter of the year aswell, a war horse who has been thrown around by the sport but kept faith and belief in his ability which paid off when he knocked out former p4p king Roy Jones Jr in 9 rounds. Following the victory Johnson was finally able to quit his day job and become a full time boxer. In his last outing, Johnson defeated Antonio Tarver over 12 rounds in what was labeled the universal light-heavyweight title fight. Now a p4p fighter, who is deserved of everything that comes his way.
Honourable Mention- Felix Trinidad (hype!)
Upset Of The Year-Mike Tyson-Danny Williams
What a fight! what was supposed to be an early KO for Iron Mike turned into his day of reckoning, as the tide turned in the 3rd, we saw what was only a shell of the formed Tyson, being bullied and beaten around the ring by an opponent of much less calibre. Sure, the knee obviously played a part but this was not Iron Mike Tyson, and as Danny Williams beat Tyson down till he was slumped against the ropes we all sat in awe- watching the baddest man on the planet look like a mere mortal being man handled. Credit to Williams for weathering the early Tyson storm and proving that he was alot tougher than critics made him out to be.
Prospect Of The Year-Miguel Cotto
Miguel Cotto moved up in leaps and bounds throughout 2004 and showed that in a year or two he will undoubtedly be a p4p boxer and unified champion. A slick and classy amatuer who has taken the pro ranks by storm, the mature 24 year old captured the WBO title after an impressive stoppage of unbeaten Kelson Pinto, before picking apart and beating down former champion Randall Bailey. Also on his resume for 2004 is rough and tough Australian contender Lovemore Ndou. Keep and eye on Cotto.
Trainer Of The Year-Dan Birmingham
Winky Wright and Jeff Lacy, enough said. Birmingham has trained two of the most succesul fighters of 2004. Lacy is the first of the 2000 olympic team to earn a world title and Wright solidified himself as a legitimate champion after defeating Shane Mosely for the second time in November. Birmingham deserves all the credit in the world for taking these two into super stardo and it looks like his stable will go even further in 2005.
Promoter Of The Year-Don King
Money brings fighters and Don King has plenty of it, staging a number of BIG name pay per views including Trinidad-Mayorga and The Heavyweight Explossion. He may cop a bit of flack but this man owns pay per view boxing in my eyes.
Hope you enjoyed, lets look forwad to a big 2005 in boxing. The year of the young guns!.