I’m surprised that I’ve heard no mention yet of the major Fight of the Year awards by Ring, BWAA, and ESPN. Perhaps that’s in deference to this Saturday’s coming match ups which could theoretically see Bernard Hopkins become the oldest fighter to win a major title or could see an all time fire fight between Marcos Huck and Denis Lebedev.
Typically, the earliest boxing months of the year get overlooked in deference to the all too common short memory span gene that afflicts most of the human species that includes the subspecies, Homo Hackeris, the boxing cogsnetti.
BIG NAME FIGHTS also always have priority over little fights, so with these factors in mind, likeliest frontrunners are Marquez vs Kasidis, TKO 9, and Khan vs Maidana, UD 12, both good action fights of recent vintage.
There are of course any number of all action dramatic fight of the year types in any given year, and as in any beauty contest, usually your personal favorite loses out. I can accept such routine defeat, but imagine my disappointment in finding out that perhaps the greatest ever modern fight staged under the Marquis of Queensbury rules, Alexis Arguello vs Aaron Pryor, their first fight, it amazingly lost out to Bobby Chacon UD 15 Rafael Limon IV, their 4th installment.
At least that was a great fight and Bobby Chacon also won the next year against Cornelius Boza Edwards. Chacon was one of my favorite fighters and game as can be so I’m happy such a great fighter of his day found his place in the sun, but still.
The sheer combination of technical boxing, slugging, ebb and flow, pace, endurance, heart, and dueling ringmanship exhibited by two among the greatest fighters to ever match up against each other in their primes, Arguello/Pryor ticks all the boxes including a minor or major controversy depending on your point of view about the “Black Bottle.”
But enough meandering warm and fuzzy reminiscing, in the here and now of this year, Jhonny Gonzalez and Jackson Asiku staged one of the most dramatic fights I’ve ever seen.
Gonzales is a scrappy Mexican warrior and championship fighter coming out of the banty division. He came up the hard way through the Mexican system, turning pro at age 17 and losing his first two fights before fighting his way to his current 47-7, 41 KO record.
Bulled to the ropes, Jhonny decks Jackson
His only three losses since 2002 have been to big punching great championship fighters, Israel Vazquez, Gerry Penalosa, and Toshiaki Nishioka, fights he was dominating before succumbing.
Jackson Asiku has a similar background, coming up as a tough Ugandan block of ebony fighting out of Australia who was also rode hard and put up wet early on. Action Jackson went on a six year win streak against some solid competition that netted him the British Commonwealth title. Technically he was the bigger man as a lifelong featherweight and a hard as nails pressure fighter never having been knocked out.
Jhonny Gonzalez had previously been knocked out, but he had also notched wins against the best such as Mark Johnson and Mexican legend Fernando Montiel who is currently a Ring Banty champ and P4Per, and now Gonzalez was moving up after a devastating knockout loss.
Asiku leaped at him like a leopard, but Gonzalez can fight inside or out, and he banged Asiku every which way, yet still Asiku attacked at a ferocious pace and the drama was set.
Could Gonzalez last in a bigger division or had he reached his limits of a after a long hard fought career against some of the best, 53 fights?
The answer came after Jhonny bounced Asiku off the canvas several times and had him finally listing like a ship looking for the right spot to go down with all hands on deck. The pace and urgency of the fight was incredible, and truth be told, Gonzalez is one of the very best all action type of fighters today with plenty of previous thrillers.
Going, going, GONE!
Where the establishment frontrunners fall short, ie: Golden Boy, starts with one of the worst refereeing efforts this year by Joe Cortez, interfering at every stage when the action grew compelling, even attempting to hold up Khan at a dire moment of dimming consciousness as Maidana stood over him.
Marquez/Katsidis was a more leisurely fight, pretty much a technical fight save for Katsidis knocking down Marquez hard for the umpteenth time in his career which had spectators wondering if the old man had come to the end of the road. Marquez roared back, but then the ref stopped the fight with Katsidis still game, bulling forward, another ref transgression possibly affecting the outcome.
We will see if Golden Boy Promotions gets one of their big stars in the fight of the year. Juan Manuel Marquez vs Juan Diaz won last years Ring FOY with the Marquez name dominating the past 3 years after brother Rafael took honors the 2 years previous with his efforts against Israel Vasquez. The Marquez brothers also won the BWAA FOY the last two years, Rafael and then Juan Manuel respectively.
Pictures and words will have to suffice in lieu of the Jhonny Gonzalez/Jackson Asiku fight video which was terminated because of copyright violations. This little gemstone is safely buried now in some big business bureaucratic file never to be seen again one supposes.
That Jhonny Gonzalez is also promoted by Golden Boy is rich irony indeed.
So, it’s Jhonny Gonzalez and Jackson Asiku this year for me, a high drama, all action fight of perfect contrasting styles with little referee interference save for issuing counts on Asiku. Truth be told, I doubt the fight will even be considered it falls so far out of the cogsnetti radar, but I have to pay tribute to these two game warriors who are the real face of boxing at it’s best.
Next in the queue, Knockout of the Year and Fighter of the Year……..>>>>>>>>>