Fighter of the Year–Yup, Manny Again!

Muay Thai Manny
Muay Thai Manny

Manny Pacquiao has dominated this category the previous 4 years, winning both the Ring and BWAA Fighter of the Year awards in 2006, 2008, and 2009, so it’s quite possible coming off of two dominant beatdowns of longtime highly ranked contenders Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito, he might be their frontrunner for 2010.

He even has his own venue now, the plush and sparkling freshly minted Dallas Cowboy Stadium, the premiere sports arena in the world where he’s attracted some 90,000 fans this year while minting his own pot of gold in between getting elected to the Congress in his native Philippines.

Manny was even nominated for consideration of a Nobel Peace prize!

Is there anything this dynamic little firecracker can’t do?

Well, maybe Freddie Roach is secure in his job after also winning the same year 3 of 4 Trainer of the Year Ring awards, ya think?

That sorted, I’d like to look at some great fighters at this point in time who are worthy of consideration if anybody is tired of Pacquiao hogging the spotlight.

Juan Manuel Lopez, 3-0, 3 KO

Started the year moving up in weight against the consensus #1 featherweight, Steven Luevano, and put on a super solid boxing beatdown on #1, followed by another KO of contender Rafael Concepcion, and finished against formidable Ring legend, Rafael Marquez, knocking him out. About as good as it gets for one year, but there is plenty more to come.

Fernando Montiel, 4-0, 4 KO

Coming off his signature career win over the dominant Hozumi Hasegawa, Montiel filled in the rest of the year against fringe level contenders, but, Lordy, Lordy, now it’s gonna a new 2011 defense against the highly regarded P4Per, young Nonito Donaire, the other Filipino Flash.

Giovani Segura, 4-0, 4 KO

This little junior flyweight champ is coming off his signature career win over the dominant, undefeated, decade long champ, Ivan Calderon. Segura, like Montiel, filled the rest of year knockouts over fringe class contenders. He continues to move up or down to look for bigger fights. He’s within 5lbs of Fernando Montiel now, and what a Mexicano bullring classic that would be.

Sergio Martinez, 2-0, 1 KO

I can’t believe I initially left out Maravilla, remembering his sole loss since 2000 to Paul Williams, but I’ve rectified that now that I noticed their first fight was in December of 2009. What is truly remarkable about Martinez is the way he is coming on late in his career to tackle two of boxing’s certified monsters, the twin towers Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams. The recent Williams rematch was an all time type of booming one punch knockout that will mark Martinez in the great pantheon forever. Nobody had come close to beating Pavlik in the middleweight division in spite of Kelly’s well documented alcohol dependence that unfortunately combined with a Micky Mouse corner that couldn’t handle a cut that blinded him in the later rounds just as he was beginning to time Martinez. Maravilla is a strong darkhorse type of candidate, and he’s penciled in for a defense next March, 12th at Madison Square Garden, so we’ll see how he handles his title reign soon enough.

Wlad Klitschko, 2-0, 2 KO

Two comprehensive beatdowns followed by concussive highlight knockouts of two highly ranked prime contenders, Eddie Chambers and Samuel Peter, the big Ring Champ is only just now receiving credit in the Ring and Boxrec P4P charts. Then there is the frightening specter of his bigger brother backing him up.

No wonder the few remaining contenders not yet obliterated by the brothers are fleeing to distant hills and dales and caves to escape certain bombardment and demise.

I dunno, I see Fighter of the Year awards up for grabs this year as boxing is likely to be taking Manny Pacquiao for granted after he’s pretty much cleared out the welters of any big fights and most of the contenders. There may even be a kneejerk boxing insider backlash from Golden Boy supporters after Shane Mosley was announced as his next fight. Mosley did a Judas and scampered away from his partnership with Golden Boy one supposes if he was free to make a deal with Arum that cut out GB.

I’d like to see Juan Manuel Lopez get some better recognition from Ring Magazine in particular. It’s been slow considering his achievements, but maybe not when you consider his promoter, Bob Arum, is Golden Boy Promotions primary rival and Oscar owns Ring magazine.

Then we have the underdog of all underdogs, the true ageless marvel, Glen Johnson. I’d be thrilled if he sneaked it, but he and the little guys are almost always given short shrift.

BTW, just a historical tidbit that I enjoy immensely, the first ever BWAA Fighter of the Year award went to Jack Dempsey in 1938, eleven years after his last official fight, The Long Count against Gene Tunney.

Now, that is some serious R-E-S-P-E-C-T!


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