Welcome to your Queensberry Rules annual year-end awards, continuing throughout the week. Here’s how we do it around these parts:
The major categories are Round of the Year, Knockout of the Year, Fight of the Year and Fighter of the Year. The final day is a pu-pu platter of awards ranging from Trainer of the Year to more frivolous topics like, say, Worst Haircut of the Year.
On the first day of 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 no major fights left in 2009, but we reserve the right to change our category winners if something crazy happens.)
So, today: Fight of the Year candidates now, plus Fighter of the Year candidates later. Tomorrow: Fight of the Year winner, plus Fighter of the Year winner.
(I can’t include full videos of every fight here, so I’ll just provide the opening segment of each bout to get you started — you can find the rest of each bout in most cases in “Related Videos” — or highlights. Some of the HBO fights are being replayed to close the year.)
Your five finalists, in chronological order:
Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz
Diaz forced Marquez to throw more punches than he ever had, and it worked, early. Then Marquez flipped the script.
Bernard Dunne-Ricardo Cordoba
Six knockdowns in one fight? Lots of flush shots throughout, plus a conclusive 11th for Dunne.
Juan Manuel Lopez-Rogers Mtagwa
A slugfest marked by a terrific final surge by underdog Mtagwa and a just-as-surprising survival by Lopez.
Yonnhy Perez-Joseph Agbeko
If Showtime had a way to count punches thrown and landed per round, this would probably be the most voluminous two-way bout of the year — and it was skillfully fought, too, with Perez winning.
Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez
Swapped opening round knockdowns, at least three major unexpected shifts in momentum and a race to the finish that Williams edged out, despite one really crappy scorecard.
Your honorable mentions, in no particular order:
Ryan Rhodes-Jamie Moore
Andre Berto-Luis Collazo
Marcos Maidana-Victor Ortiz
Carlos Abregu-Irving Garcia
Jean Pascal-Adrian Diaconu I
Marvin Sonsona-Jose Lopez
Brian Viloria-Ulises Solis
Giovanni Segura-Cecar Canchila II
Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto
Carl Froch-Jermain Taylor
Vicente Escobedo-Carlos Hernandez (no video)
(I can’t promise all these videos will stay up forever — it’s subject to the whims of YouTube.)