Welcome to The Queensberry Rules' annual year-end awards, continuing throughout the week. Here's how we do it around these parts:
The major categories are Knockout of the Year, Round of the Year, Fight of the Year and Fighter of the Year. The final leg is a pu-pu platter of awards ranging from Trainer of the Year to more frivolous topics.
For each category, I give five finalists, with video and/or relevant info. You tell me if my finalists and honorable mentions are lacking, and give your vote on who you think should win. Maybe you sway me to adjust the list, and maybe you sway me on the eventual winner. On the second day after a category is introduced, I give that winner and explain why. (There are virtually no major fights left in 2012, but we reserve the right to change our category winners if something crazy happens.)
THE FINALISTS (IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)
(Full fights where possible. Where not, partial clips that lead to the rest of the fight. Highlights where no other options.)
Orlando Salido - Juan Manuel Lopez II
The fight might've been one-sided, except a surprise knockdown by Lopez of Salido. But the action was two-way all the way.
Josesito Lopez - Victor Ortiz
A perfunctory audition against a smaller man for a payday vs. Saul Alvarez instead developed into a war, as Ortiz's broken jaw would attest.
Brandon Rios - Mike Alvarado
This was the easiest matchmaking of 2012: Take two boxers who regularly appear in Fight of the Year candidates, put them in the ring together and watch them clobber to their hearts' content.
Robert Guerrero - Andre Berto
With all the mauling at the beginning, a Fight of the Year candidate didn't seem in the cards. But Berto dug deep after some knockdowns and a bad eye, making Guerrero dig deep too.
Juan Manuel Marquez - Manny Pacquiao IV
Would anyone have guessed that at their ages, Marquez-Pacquiao 4 would equal or even surpass the first two classic fights?
THE HONORABLE MENTIONS (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
Floyd Mayweather - Miguel Cotto
Mike Alvarado - Mauricio Herrera
Kell Brook - Carson Jones
Alexander Povetkin - Marco Huck
Kazuto Ioka - Akira Yaegashi
Derry Matthews - Anthony Crolla
Roman Gonzalez - Juan Estrada
Brian Viloria - Hernan Marquez
Roman Martinez - Miguel Beltran, Jr.
Lee Haskins - Stephane Jamoye
Marcos Maidana - Jesus Soto Karass (no clip available)
(Alex McClintock contributed to this post.)
there were a number of incredible fights this year, but for me Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez IV had the most drama of any of them.
Rios-Alvarado had so so many displays of savagery, that I thought it would be my top pick this year until Pac-Marquez happened.
Pac-Marquez didn't have as much intensity, but it had more high-level action and more back-and-forth.
@The Count of Monte Fisto (boom!) I think this is a close category, too. If you want back and forth action, Rios-Alvarado and Salido-Lopez are your choices. If you want drama, there's Pac-Maquez.