Avila’s Best of 2010 In Boxing

Boxing fans saw three consecutive classic prizefights in back-to-back-to-back weekends contend for fight of the year including this past week as ageing Bernard Hopkins proved he’s among the best of all time.

Every year it seems the last three months provide the most riveting action for the sport of professional boxing. This year especially as elite boxers showed what they can do in a number of bouts.

Here is a list of the best performers and performances that took place in 2010:

Fighter of the Year

Sergio Martinez, the middleweight champion of the year, arrived from Spain several years ago to compete “with the best fighters in the world” after beating most everyone outside of the United States. He was looking to prove his ability and eagerly agreed to meet hard-hitting Kelly Pavlik for the middleweight world championship. In that fight he decisively beat the Ohio slugger. Then without hesitation he accepted a rematch against the much feared Paul Williams. In less than two rounds the Argentine knocked out Williams with a left cross. Nobody had ever stopped Williams.

“I came here to prove I belong with the very best boxers in the world,” said Argentina’s Martinez.

Martinez, 35, knows he doesn’t have much time remaining in his career and is going for broke to meet and hopefully beat those considered the best in the sport of boxing. He arrived at just the right time.

Others who deserve mention are Indio’s Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao, Andre Ward and Robert Guerrero.

Best Fight of the Year

Of all the exciting fights we saw this past month the Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana junior welterweight clash had the most drama. It was one of those beginnings where it looked like Khan was going to cruise to victory then slowly it reversed. Maidana clubbed his way back into the fight and fans were on the edge of their seat wondering if Khan could hold off the savage assault of the Argentine. It was a great fight on Dec. 11.

A close second was Humberto Soto’s 12-round title defense against Urbano Antillon in a lightweight rumble that was like watching two rams going full speed against each other. The match took place in Anaheim on Dec. 4.

In third place was this past weekend as the old wizard of boxing Bernard Hopkins fought to a majority draw against Canada’s Jean Pascal who holds the WBC light heavyweight title. Most felt Hopkins won easily though the judges in Canada scored it a draw.  Once again Hopkins proves a master boxer in the ring. He’s 45.

Best Round of the Year

Round 10 between WBC lightweight champ Humberto Soto and challenger Urbano Antillon on Dec. 4 at the Honda Center exemplified boxing at its best. Both 135-pounders refused to wilt under a barrage of punches that would have made other fighters seek shelter. It made fans squeamish yet it was amazing to watch. It was a great example of how two technically proficient fighters can make brutality almost look like art.

Best Knockout of the Year

With a single left hand Sergio Martinez proved superiority over Paul Williams with finality. Williams was short-circuited and could not get up for 30 seconds after that blow. Martinez had predicted before the fight that he would knock out Williams who had never been stopped before. The replay of the knockout showed Martinez putting his whole body behind that overhand left and Williams doing the same thing. Martinez reached him first.

Upset of the Year

Jason Litzau beating Celestino Caballero has to rate the biggest upset of the year. Litzau was a decided underdog against Panama’s Caballero, who was unable to obtain a fight with the other featherweight champions. Minnesota’s Litzau took the Nov. 27 fight and showed that with heart and self-confidence an athlete can do wonders. The junior lightweight from St. Paul was ecstatic following the fight. Rightly so.

Most exciting fighter
Alfredo “Perro” Angulo

Every time the Mexicali boxer steps in the ring fans can expect Angulo to look for a decisive win. Angulo’s wins against Joel Julio and Joachim Alcine were brutal affairs that saw the Mexican fighter trace his opponent’s movements like a heat-seeking missile. Both ended in impressive knockout wins. Angulo is having legal problems right now but that doesn’t take away from his accomplishments in 2010.

Michael Katsidis, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez also deserve mention in this category.

Every time Katsidis steps in the ring you can bet the Aussie is going to go hard. He doesn’t have a reverse gear and fights to win no matter who it is. He doesn’t believe in survival mode. It seems every time Katsidis is in the ring you can expect to get your money’s worth.

Pacquiao could have hit and moved when he fought Antonio Margarito but preferred to give the fans a treat and attacked the taller and stronger Mexican. Pacman took some unnecessary lumps in doing so and should be truly commended for his willingness to trade blows. His speed is exciting alone but his heart is amazing too. One of the greats.

Marquez used to have a safety-first style in his younger days, but you can throw that out the window. Now he takes many more chances and has proven that his technical prowess along with his fighting spirit has not weakened one iota.

Best Technical fighter

It’s close between Hopkins, Marquez and Floyd Mayweather Jr. But with Hopkins going on 46 years of age next month I’ll defer to experience. Hopkins not only fought Pascal to a disputed draw this past weekend, but he also beat old nemesis Roy Jones Jr. decisively to avenge an earlier defeat of 16 years ago. The Philadelphia boxer does so many little things in the ring that go unnoticed. Look at the fight of this past weekend and watch how he slips Pascal’s left hook by moving into the blow instead of away from it. Most boxers would try to duck under it or block it. The Canadian boxer was baffled.

Most inspirational

Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero’s ability to halt all training to assist his wife battle leukemia and then go back into training to fight the best prizefighters in the world successfully is legendary stuff. He’s a great fighter and an even greater person.

Honorable mention goes Yonnhy Perez of Colombia who spends most of the year here in Southern California pursuing his dream. He has a large family back in his country and uses boxing to feed and house all of them.

Contender of the Year

Miguel Angel Garcia quietly moved into the Riverside area and just as quietly moved into the number one spot as a featherweight contender. His boxing skills are no longer remaining a secret as he eliminates fellow contenders one by one. Garcia had five big wins including four by knockout in 2010. Top Rank’s Bob Arum has Garcia pegged for a title bout in 2011 possibly against Cuba’s Yuri Gamboa. That should be a great fight.

The young featherweight is knocking on the door of a world championship. It just might be the year of Garcia in 2011.

Best six-round fight

Usually I don’t consider fights of less than 10 rounds for special recognition. But a fight that took place at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario between Colton’s Artemio Reyes Jr. and Alan Sanchez of Northern California was one of the most memorable in years. The crowd was mesmerized by the two boxers who battled like their life depended on it. It was great stuff on June 18. Reyes showed more defensive skills and won a razor close split decision.

Best four-round fight

Since I’m mentioning six rounds, might as well take a look at the four-round fights too. Ramon Valadez, a hard-charging junior welterweight slugger from East L.A. and Oscar Andrade, a southpaw slinger from L.A., both met at Club Nokia with identical 1-0 records. After four brutal rounds Andrade emerged the winner but the two fought ferociously like two alley cats for four rounds. Fans went delirious from the action.


-Fe'Roz :

Khan and Maidana had the bigger names and great drama....but Soto/Antillon was murder. Just great fighting. Otherwise, no arguement from me on the other picks. Just thinking of LTP falling like lumber send shivering timbers down my spine. Bravo Sergio on a Marvilla Year.

-Radam G :

I largely agree with Super TSS Bureau Chiefy D-Double-A. But I will add that Female Fighter of the Year is Kaliesha "K Wild, Wild" West. Most Inspirational Female Fighter of the Year is Ana "Da Hurricane" Julaton. Female Fight Trainer of the Year is Ann Wolfe, despite that certain powers that be has snatched her job away from her for revealing her lifestyle.:( The Texas Mandingo Warrior is going to be in deep kimchee without her is my take.:rolleyes: She and he were made for one another just as much as GTOAT Angie Dundee was made for GOAT Ali, GBG Manny Steward was made for ATG Tommy "Hitman" Hearns and TNT Freddie "The no joke Coach" Roach was made for THC PacMan. Holla!

-the Roast :

Juanma vs Marquez was a thriller but my pick for FOTY was the one on FNF with the childhood rivalry. I forget the names. The one where the kid stole the other kids eggs or something like that. Sombody help me out.

-Radam G :

One other quick point. Who is the Ring Girl of the Year?;) Boxing is passed due in putting the ladies in the mix of kudos for what they adroitly do. The game would not be the same without these gorgeous and wonderful ladies. Where is da luv? I've seen tons of adorable Ring Girls bring more excitement to the squared jungle in that minute between rounds than the pugilists could bring in the whole three minutes of fighting or bullsyeting in a round. We are in the TIME OF CHANGE. Let da boxing scribes get on the joy train to EXPOSING da whole NINE of the boxing biz. :cool:Holla!

-Isaiah :

Sergio Martinez is the fighter of the year. Surely there can be no doubt and it's kind of a nice change being that 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 belonged to Manny Pacquiao or Fraud Mayweather Jr. I'd also like to include Fraud Mayweather in several awards which include, but are certainly not limited to "best FIXED fight of the decade against Shane Mosley," "best DUCKING of a legit threat against Manny Pacquiao, not once but twice," best career worth of DUCKING LEGIT THREATS anytime after 2002 involving such names as Kotsya Tszyu, Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto (who lives to far away), Joshua Clottey, Paul Williams, Andre Berto, Sergio Martinez and Kermit Cintron." Also, Fraud gets the "best Sissy Boy, Pretend Gangsta and Menace to Society Award," "Best GIFT recieving in the first Jose Luis Castillo fight, the Oscar De La Hoya fight and not getting a DQ from the actions of his punk uncle in the Zab Judah fight and the last award of COWARD of the decade as being labeled by the media and ALL REAL boxing fans EVERYWHERE as well as the BS OSDT demands from him and his family who know a thing or two about drug usage as well as his insane fans who can't grasp the concept the Manny HAS given in to Floyd's NAZI demands.

-the Roast :

I've built a HUGE bonfire on the beach to signal some of the lost crew. AFN, Salt Lover, Real Talk, Ultimo, Eggs, Robert Curtis, my long lost love AfisherG. Come home. Anyone else I've left out? WAY back members like Jonald or Anony and that robot dr1142 or something. That dude knew his heavyweights. I'm going back for more firewood....

-Radam G :

QUIT IT! You are cracking me up, hahahahahahahaha! :DC'mon, MAN! Wow! How did you come up with that signal of BONFIRE? My side is burning from laughing so darn hard. :)I couldn't sleep. Now I'm spent from getting dat mucho laugh on. You are a riot! In da pit! DOWN GOES RADAM G! DOWN GOES RADAM G! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! :cool:Holla!

-miguel1 :

is canelo really the top prospect? who else is out there?

-Editor Mike :

Stolen eggs..was that Roman-Escalante?

-the Roast :

@EM, Bingo! That was the fight!