2010 Boxing Fighter Of The Year Nominees

Welcome to The Queensberry Rules’ annual year-end awards, starting today and 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. 

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 2010, but we reserve the right to change our category winners if something crazy happens.) 

So, today: Round of the Year and Knockout of the Year winners, plus Fight of the Year and Fighter of the Year candidates. Tomorrow: Fight of the Year and Fighter of the Year winners.

Your five finalists, in alphabetical order — feel free to vote for second place if the winner is too obvious:



Juan Manuel Lopez

Wins: Steven Luevano (technical knockout, 7th round, January); Bernabe Concepcion (TKO2, July); Rafael Marquez (retired, 7th round, November)… In an age where top-notch fighters rarely fight more than twice, Lopez fought three times… It was a very successful move up to featherweight, one of boxing’s best and deepest divisions: All three of his opponents were ranked in their division’s top 10, one of them was a titlist (Luevano) and one of them was formerly of the top-10 pound-for-pound (Marquez)… He himself joined the TQBR pound-for-pound top 10 with those wins… None of his fights lacked for action, either, with the Concepcion bout a Round of the Year finalist and the Marquez bout an honorable mention for Fight of the Year… His emergence as one of his generation’s true action fighters, and his fiery persona, no doubt help explain the adoration he has earned among Puerto Rican fans, where he can claim the mantle once held by Felix Trinidad.


Sergio Martinez

Wins: Kelly Pavlik (unanimous decision, 12 rounds, April); Paul Williams (knockout, 2nd round, November)… Claimed the lineal Ring magazine middleweight championship with a clear decision over Pavlik, whose face he chopped up with whiplash speed… Provided the first meaningful, victorious defense of that belt in his next fight, where he scored the clear TQBR Knockout of the Year — and maybe of the decade — when he floored Williams… In so doing, he avenged a 2009 loss to Williams in style, and closed the year in everyone’s pound-for-pound top 5… At 35, he matured into a complete fighter, now with power to rival his quickness… He has yet to become a big draw in the United States, but the win over Williams did nice ratings on HBO… And his Q rating went up after that win, with his KO of Williams featured on Sportscenter, plus the kind of handsomeness and character that could bring more female fans to the sport.


Fernando Montiel

Wins: Ciso Morales (TKO1, February); Hozumi Hasegawa (TKO4, April); Rafael Concepcion (KO3, July); Jovanny Soto (KO2, December)… Like two other Fighter of the Year finalists, no one who entered the ring with Montiel left with his consciousness intact, but in Montiel’s case, none of them even made it out of the 4th round… Began the year with a blowout of green prospect Morales and closed it with a stay-busy fight against Soto… Where he really made his mark is in knocking out and breaking the jaw of highly-regarded Hasegawa, whom some had ranked among the 10 best fighters in the world… Wanted that fight so bad he defied promoter Top Rank and traveled to Japan for it… Followed that win up by wrecking Concepcion, who had proven a difficult foe for the likes of Nonito Donaire and Jorge Arce… Some now regard him as a pound-for-pound top-10 boxer… Drew nice crowds in Mexico. 

Manny Pacquiao

Wins: Joshua Clottey (UD12, March); Antonio Margarito (UD12, November)… Became the first boxer ever to win a title in eight different weight classes by moving up to junior middleweight, assuming you count both Ring belts and several sanctioning organizations… Beat Clottey, a top-5 welterweight, and Margarito, a former top-5 pound-for-pound fighter… There were none of his usual KOs, but he barely lost a round… The manner of the Margarito win was most striking: Margarito outweighed him by 17 pounds, but Pacquiao beat him so badly he fractured Margarito’s orbital bone… For the two fights, he drew 80,000 fans total to Cowboys Stadium and did nearly 2 million pay-per-view buys, with the Margarito bout making him the first non-heavyweight to do 1 million or more buys for a fight in three consecutive years… When he wasn’t boxing, he was running for, and winning, an underdog campaign for Congress in the Philippines… His exciting style, fascinating story, humble manner and clear pound-for-pound supremacy turned him into the undisputed face of boxing in the United States: He came in third for the Associated Press’ male athlete of the year, and when Beyonce and Ben Roethlisberger name-check you, you’ve officially gone mainstream.


Giovani Segura

Wins: Walter Tello (TKO3, February); Ronald Ramos (RTD3, March); Ivan Calderon (KO8, August); Manuel Vargas (RTD7, November)… Started the year slowly, halting two journeymen early in the fights, par for the course for one of the heaviest hitters in the sport… Where he really opened eyes was in a stoppage of Calderon, one of the most technically gifted little men ever, and one of the most technically gifted boxers of any size over the past decade or so… Outboxed by Calderon for several rounds, Segura applied relentless pressure and wore down Calderon in a TQBR Fight of the Year candidate that also produced an honorable mention for Round of the Year… In doing so, he earned Calderon’s lineal junior flyweight belt and some pound-for-pound top-20 acclaim… Finished up the year with a stoppage of fringe contender Vargas at flyweight… Like Montiel, he does pretty good business in Mexico, where little men are appreciated — especially if, like Segura, they are among the handful of most exciting fighters in the ring today. 

Your honorable mentions, in no particular order:

Juan Manuel Marquez (wins: Juan Diaz, Michael Katsidis)

Andre Ward (wins: Allan Green, Sakio Bika)

Amir Khan (wins: Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana)

(Photos taken from Ring magazine’s website.)

About Tim Starks

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