2nd Annual Big Mac Awards: Rigo, Dibella, Bernstein Rule
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Big Mac award is fast-becoming the most prestigious and important award in boxing today. In fact, recent data collected by one of the top-notch data collection agencies in America (McCarson Institute of Counting and Such) suggests this modest little end of year boxing award transcends the world of sports in general. A poll of one person (margin for error is plus/minus 99%) indicates everyone on the planet believes the Big Mac award is more prestigious than the Nobel, Peabody and Pulitzer prizes all rolled into one!
With that heavy burden, this egregiously monumental task proceeds. Please note: all votes are final unless there is a re-vote. In that case, those votes are final under same criteria (barring another revote, etc.).
(To help keep costs down this year, award winners are encouraged to print a copy of this article from the Internet, frame it as a keepsake and enjoy a Big Mac from McDonald’s at his/her expense.)
Fighter of the Year – By far, the Fighter of the Year is the most prestigious award given out every year. It’s true for the Big Mac award, and even for Big Mac’s main rival award giver, the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). It’s important to note that every single year a Big Mac award for Fighter of the Year has been awarded, the BWAA has copied the Big Mac award winner as their own. A rate of 100% suggests this simply cannot be coincidence.
Knowing this made the selection of the Big Mac award winner that much more important. After much deliberation, this year’s winner was welterweight Timothy Bradley. Bradley was involved in both a Fight of the Year candidate against Ruslan Provodnikov as well as a sharpshooting competition with future Hall of Famer Juan Manuel Marquez, and he came out the better end of both. However, Bradley’s win was immediately revoked once it was brought to light that he still adamantly maintains he defeated Manny Pacquiao back in 2012. He didn’t. He just didn’t.
After more deliberation, the award was then presented to junior welterweight Danny Garcia, who knocked off Lucas Matthysse to become lineal champion of the 140-pound division. Unfortunately, Garcia’s father and trainer, Angel Garcia, has said and done enough dumb things this year to keep Danny Big Mac ineligible for the rest of his life. So while Garcia was the original award winner, he was quickly stripped of it before going to press.
Various other fighters were then considered, such as light heavyweight Adonis Stevenson, middleweight Gennady Golovkin and welterweight Floyd Mayweather until, at least, a verdict was reached unanimously.
The 2013 Big Mac for Fighter of the Year goes to Guillermo Rigondeaux. Rigo didn’t just have to defeat the 2012 award winner Nonito Donaire this year. He also had to overcome a promoter, Bob Arum, and a television partner, HBO, who didn’t quite know what to do with him. So while Rigo technically went 2-0 this year with wins over Donaire and Joseph Agbeko, in reality it took many more fights than that for the Rigolution to continue to be televised.
Rigo is a rare talent. His combination of speed, power and technical ability will not be soon defeated. And as wins pile up, don’t be surprised to see the absurdly talented fighter become quite popular with the bandwagon-boxing crowd, too. Everyone loves a winner, and Rigo is a winner.
Fight of the Year – There were a lot of good fights this year. Tim Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov sure put on a good show in March. And James Kirkland outslugged Glen Tapia in December. But this year’s Big Mac is neither of those battles. Instead, the winner is Omar Figueroa vs. Nohito Arakawa. Why? Because I was finally there in person for a barnburner like that one, and for some reason the media relations folks accidently switched my seat with award-winning writer Bart Barry for the night. So not only was I finally in attendance at something like this, but I was really, really close to the action, too. Seriously, though, it was a great fight. Both men showed great courage and determination. While Figueroa won most of the rounds, the way Arakawa kept coming back with force and ferocity was truly something to behold. There were times when it appeared he just might overcome his more talented adversary. The bout went all 12 rounds, and every single one of them was entertaining. According to CompuBox, Figueroa landed an average of 40 of 79 punches per round, while Arakawa landed 23 of 98. Figueroa’s 450 landed power shots ranks No. 4 all time for all weight classes, and 716 of their combined 760 landed punches were power shots. What a fight!
Event of the Year – This year’s Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez bout was so big that promoters did a 10-city press tour where they gave out laptop bags to all the media in attendance. While I gave the free swag away to a Twitter follower, it also gave me a chance to interview both Mayweather and Canelo for The Boxing Channel. Moreover, the crowd in attendance, including a really, really long line in Houston, showed how big boxing can be under the right circumstances.
Upset of the Year – Almost no one predicted the epic beatdown Marcos Maidana gave the previously undefeated Adrien Broner this year. Broner was as arrogant as a man can be on his way to the ring that evening, and as humbled as one could be on his way back, too. Maidana knocked down Broner twice in the bout and outmuscled him for a clear and decisive 12-round win. It was Maidana’s best win ever, and it was almost universally celebrated in the boxing community.
Promoter of the Year – This was a two-horse race between local Houston promotional company Savarese Promotions and San Antonio’s Leija/Battah Promotions. Savarese puts on solid local Houston cards that are consistently some of the best fight nights I attend all year. Meanwhile, Leija/Battah has become a global player by helping bring shows like Alvarez-Trout, Berto-Soto Karass and Broner-Maidana to arguably Texas’ best fight town. But then Lou Dibella released heavyweight Tor Hamer from his contract via Twitter. And, yeah, that pretty much sealed the deal. I’m sure he did other important stuff this year, too. But even if he didn’t, he wins for dropping the hammer on Hamer via social media.
Knockout of the Year – Um…is there any doubt that this one would be Adonis Stevenson KO1 Chad Dawson? You can visit here and scroll down for some GIFs of it if you don’t know why. Not only did it come out of nowhere, but it secured Stevenson the lineal light heavyweight championship to boot. What a knockout!
Trainer of the Year – I’m not really sure what Andre Ward’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, does for him. Ward is so good at what he does that I’m starting to think a buffoon like me could train him, too. But man, that guy is super-intense. He wins this year’s Big Mac almost exclusively for that reason.
Most Underappreciated – Part of the reason why Rigo was given the Big Mac award is because he’s so underappreciated. Even after he dominated Donaire over 12 rounds, many in the boxing media were not impressed. So this year’s award for most underappreciated goes to Guillermo Rigondeaux, making him a double Big Mac winner. In fact, Rigo is the one person who doesn’t have to buy his own Big Mac on his own. It’s on me, Rigo. Send me the bill.
Most Overappreciated – Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson could probably get this award every year. Look, Tyson is an important part of boxing history and was a great champion in his time. But honestly, I’ve never seen anyone more celebrated for things most of society would consider disturbing behavior. Tyson has struggled mightily in his life. To fight the good fight is commendable. But to be revered for failings is another thing all together. The takeaway? Let’s only cheer for Mike when he does things worth cheering for.
Boxing Writer of the Year – Me. Boom! Okay fine. Since I should probably be ineligible from my own award, I’ll give this award to the entire crew at The Sweet Science. From editor Michael Woods, technical expert Lee Wylie, essayist Springs Toledo, etc., etc., etc., TSS has the best boxing writers on the planet. Oh wait…did I just sort of give the award to myself again partially? Total accident.
Hall of Famer of the Year – This year’s award goes to Al Bernstein for being inducted into like eleventy billion HOFs this year. Runner up was Top Rank’s Carl Moretti, mostly because he was inducted in the NJHOF almost immediately after he admitted privately to me that NCAA record holder and current Houston Texans QB Case Keenum was awesome.
Prospect of the Year – If you don’t know who welterweight Alex Saucedo is yet, don’t worry. You will. Saucedo is technically sound and has stupid power in both hands. You can meet him over at The Boxing Channel. He’s a lean, mean fighting machine, and he has the look of a future world champion. Start talking him up to your friends now so you can look really smart a few years from now.
Person of the Year – Rachel Donaire, wife of Nonito Donaire, saved a drowning child this year while she was pregnant. So yeah, next time you’re feeling lazy about taking out the trash or something, think about her saving human life while simultaneously nurturing one inside of her body.
Twitter Follow of the Year – If you don’t follow Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza, you are using Twitter incorrectly. Espinoza will converse with anyone on just about anything, and if you bring nonsense to him, he will slap it down without mercy and humiliate you publically. Don’t believe me? Give it a try. I dare you: @StephenEspinoza.