The 2007 Awards Pu Pu Platter

While me and my compadres here at Ring Report have already announced winners of our first annual year end awards. I wanted to take some time and share some of my personal award winners in what could be labeled as “lesser categories”. Read on and enjoy! TRAINER OF THE YEAR – ENZO CALZAGHE The former musician turned trainer gets the nod in my book for 2007 Trainer of the Year. His Hall of Fame bound son aside, Enzo has two other British fighters in his stable that boast a championship belt around their waists. WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli was written of by the British media as nothing more than a plodding banger before beginning tutelage under Enzo Calzaghe. Since the union Maccarinelli has evolved into a more complete fighter and while not the crème de la crème of the 200 lbs. division, Maccarinelli has defended his title four times now and has a knockout victory over Wayne Braithwaite. Calzaghe’s other fighter, Gavin Rees, is an undefeated junior welterweight with an undefeated record. Rees broke out in 2007 with his WBA title winning victory over tough-as-nails Souleymane M’baye this past July. Rees is all heart and is expected to flourish under Calzaghe’s charge. Oh and did I fail to mention that Enzo also trains one Joe Calzaghe? ‘Nuff said. Runner-up – Freddie Roach UPSET OF THE YEAR – Daisuke Naito UD 12 Pongsaklek Wonjongkam Being that boxing is a global sport it felt wrong to only award fighters who may have fought here and in Europe. Wonjongkam, the long reigning WBC flyweight titlist, was riding a 56 fight unbeaten streak before Naito ended his reign. What makes this upset special is the fact that in two other contests, Naito was twice stopped by Wonjongkam. Like the saying goes, third times the charm. Runner-up: Nonito Donaire KO 5 Vic Darchinyan WORST DECISION OF THE YEAR – JOEL CASAMAYOR SD 12 JOSE ARMANDO SANTA CRUZ For all who witnessed this travesty on the undercard of the Cotto-Mosley card in New York the belief was that Santa Cruz clearly deserved the nod. Casamayor, who looked every bit of 36, did little to nothing more than move around the ring and seem disinterested. Santa Cruz was not only the more aggressive fighter but appeared to give the Cuban standout fits throughout the fight. It’s unclear as to why two of the three judges saw fit to award the contest to Casamayor but it is clear that they chose the wrong fighter. Runner-up: Daniel Ponce De Leon UD 12 Gerry Penalosa EVENT OF THE YEAR – TOP RANK & GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS CALLING A TRUCE Let’s be honest, without these two major players burring the hatchet the sport of boxing here in America would suffer greatly. When these two old rivals ended their Cold War of sorts we the boxing public were rewarded with not only Cotto-Mosley and Pacquiao-Barrera II but we also get the highly anticipated Pacquiao-Marquez rematch in March. When all parties make nice boxing begins to blossom again. Runner-up: The Oscar De La Hoya/Floyd Mayweather Fight PROMOTER OF THE YEAR – TOP RANK With the popularity of MMA reaching an all-time high here in America boxing promoters were forced to compete for the attention and dollars of the younger demographic. Not only did Top Rank make some of the most intriguing fights in 07 but their maverick attitude toward the weening off the teet of networks gives them extra props in my book. Not only does Top Rank produce their own PPV events but the production and atmosphere they create in the arenas rivals that of MMA. Also, you have to respect Bob Arum as this was the year that his delicate movement of Kelly Pavlik and Miguel Cotto paid dividends. Runner-up: Golden Boy Promotions NETWORK OF THE YEAR – HBO HBO seemed to take the vocal criticism of their “easy fights for their contract fighters” clause and became instrumental in bringing to light some huge fights in 07. Calzaghe-Kessler, Diaz-Diaz, Taylor-Pavlik and Guzman-Soto are just some of the meaningful match-ups that the cable giant has brought us. Just discard all of W. Klitschko’s fights…. Runner-up: Showtime (ShoBox saved them from falling to third. Just a bad year for Showtime) PROSPECT OF THE YEAR – VICTOR ORTIZ This was a close one for me with Amir Khan and Ortiz my two clear favorites for this award.  In the end I gave the nod to Ortiz based on his 1st round stoppage of former title holders Carlos Maussa.  While Maussa is clearly not an upper echelon fighter, he is an awkward durable pug who was dismantled in convincing fashion by the Oxnard, CA native.  Khan had an excellent year in progression but if push came to shove I feel that Ortiz had the better year. Runner-up: Amir Khan THE LAPD GOLDEN NIGHTSTICK AWARD FOR MOST ONE-SIDED BEATDOWN – WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO TKO 2 RAY AUSTIN In one of the greatest mismatches in years, unheralded and undeserving mandatory Ray Austin was beaten literally with one hand.  Klitschko never unleashed his patented right hand once he realized that his combination of jab and left hooks were severely hurting the Cleveland, OH hopeful.  The whole contest was a waste of time and money that HBO could have better utilized to air an actual competitive matchup. Runner-up: Joe Calzaghe TKO 3 Peter Manfredo Jr. THE CARL LEWIS MEDAL FOR A FIGHTER WHO SEEMS MORE COMFORTABLE AT A TRACK MEET – ANDRE DIRRELL For anyone unfortunate enough to have witnessed this horrendous bout you clearly agree with my winner.  Dirrell’s June fight with slugger Curtis Stevens on HBO B.A.D was just plain bad.  Clearly concerned with Steven’s noted power Dirrell was content to run away from any physical confrontation with his rival for 10 uneventful rounds.  One would have had more fun, and seen more action, watching paint dry.  Ironically, Dirrell scored a 1st round KO in his very next fight.  Runner-up: Joel Casamayor BEST NICKNAME – ALLEN “THE DREAM SHATTERER” CONYERS WORST NICKNAME – JOAN “LITTLE TYSON/SYUCAN WARRIOR” GUZMAN Not only is Guzman not of Syucan decent, but the feather-fisted fighter sure as hell does not hit like Tyson.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.