WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and longtime Reno Gazette-Journal boxing writer Steve Sneddon head the list of honorees who will be recognized at the 83rd annual Boxing Writers Association of America Awards Dinner on May 1 in Los Angeles.
Mayweather, widely recognized as boxing's finest pound-for-pound performer, will receive the Edward J. Neil Award as Fighter of the Year. Mayweather (39-0, 25 KOs), who scored a split decision over Oscar De La Hoya (in the highest-grossing pay-per-view fight of all time) and knocked out the previously undefeated Ricky Hatton in 10 rounds in his two ring appearances last year, narrowly staved off WBC/WBO middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik, whose 2007 resume included victories over Jose Luis Zertuche (KO-8), Edison Miranda (TKO-7) and Jermain Taylor (TKO-7).
"It's always a blessing to get an award of this magnitude," Mayweather said when informed of the BWAA vote. "Just to be mentioned in the same breath with the Sugar Ray Robinsons and Muhammad Alis (two of the previous Neil Award winners) is truly a blessing.
"The date of the banquet is also kind of special. It's like I always say, May is for Mayweather. My ultimate goal was to be the best fighter of my era, and my two fights last year took me to the next level."
Pavlik, however, didn't come away empty-handed. He was cited along with Taylor for their participation in the Fight of the Year, and they jointly will receive the Harry Markson Award. As was the case with balloting to determine Fighter of the Year, that outcome also came down to the wire, with Taylor-Pavlik I barely outpolling the rematch between Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez, in which Vasquez reclaimed the WBC super bantamweight title from Marquez on a sixth-round stoppage.
Sneddon becomes the 35th recipient of the Nat Fleischer Award for excellence in boxing journalism, the highest award the BWAA presents to one of its own. The award is unique in that, unlike other honors conferred by the BWAA, it is determined by a vote of living Fleischer winners and not by the general membership.
Sneddon, who will retire this spring, was a sportswriter in Nampa, Idaho, and Casper, Wyo., before going to the Gazette-Journal, where he has been for the past 37 years.
"It is an honor and I'm humbled thinking of the writers who received the Fleischer in the past," Sneddon said.
Other BWAA awards go to Nigel Collins, the longtime editor of The Ring magazine (the James J. Walker Award for long and meritorious service to boxing); Enzo Calzaghe (the Futch-Condon Award as Trainer of the Year); Cameron Dunkin (the Al Buck Award as Manager of the Year); Teddy Atlas (the Marvin Kohn Good Guy Award); Nick Charles (the Sam Taub Award for excellence in broadcast journalism), and the Peterson brothers, Lamont and Anthony (the Pat Putnam Award for perseverance in overcoming adversity).