|The Next Big Thing|
Al Haymon's revolutionary Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) platform took the sport's old guard by storm and the results have been encouraging for the restoration of boxing as something that Regular Joe sports fans still care about. Then in November, Wladimir Klitschko lost the unified World Heavyweight Championship to a verbose British Traveller named Tyson Fury. Their title bout in Düsseldorf was awfully boring but the decade long Klitschko stranglehold on the heavyweight division is finally over.
King Klitschko was ultimately checkmated by little feints and long jabs. Long live the furious new Gypsy King.
Let the young get onto the old...
The KO Digest rings a final 10-count for those lost in 2015. May they rest in peace. Promoter Cedric Kushner. Hall of Famers Harold Johnson, Gene Fullmer, and Bob Foster. Referee Frank Cappuccino. Welterweight Andrew "Six Heads" Lewis. Heavyweight Carmine Vingo. 1976 Gold Medalist Howard Davis Jr. Undisputed cruiserweight champ O'Neil Bell. BWAA member Matthew Hurley.
Congratulations to La Familia de Camacho for the Boxing Hall of Fame election of their late, great Hector "Macho" Camacho.
With fallen greatness in mind, let's now turn our attention to the best & biggest things in boxing last year.
KO Digest 2015 Upset of the Year: Tyson Fury UD12 Wladimir Klitschko
|Who's upset now Wlad?|
Best of the Rest: Danny Jacobs TKO1 Peter Quillin, Badou Jack SD12 George Groves
Hey man, some miracles are happening in American boxing, so good it's a bad union Jack.
2014 Winner: Rogelio Medina KO3 J'Leon Love
2013 Winner: Jhonny Gonzalez TKO1 Abner Mares
2012 Winner: Josesito Lopez TKO9 Victor Ortiz
2011 Winner: Orlando Salido TKO8 Juan Manuel Lopez
2015 Knockout of the Year: Gabe "Tito" Bracero KO1 Danny O'Connor
|Blackout Boulevard in Lowell Mass|
It was the 2015 KO Digest Knockout of the Year, and I covered all 41 seconds of it live from press row for The Sweet Science.
Best of the Rest: Canelo Alvarez KO3 James Kirkland, Krzysztof Glowacki KO11 Marco Huck
Predictable but still a very Hagler-Hearns-esque KO, late round TV heroics for the Pole on PBC.
2014 Winner: Andy Lee KO5 John Jackson
2013 Winner: Deontay Wilder KO1 Sergei Liakhovich2012 Winner: Juan Manuel Marquez KO6 Manny Pacquiao
2011 Winner: Floyd Mayweather KO4 Victor Ortiz
The Round of the Year: Edwin Rodriguez vs. Michael Seals (Round 1)
|Wild opening Round of the Year in Mississippi|
This is when things got very interesting.
Seals got up and with Rodriguez getting careless in an effort to finish the fight, the 33 year-old underdog from Atlanta became the first fighter to conclusively knock Rodriguez down, courtesy of a left hook. Rodriguez got up and kept right on trying to finish off Seals with right hand bombs. Trapped in a corner late in the round, Seals bounced a right off the head of Rodriguez and "La Bomba" was down again, and in serious trouble. Again, Rodriguez beat the count (more slowly than before) but what in the hell was happening here? Fortunately for Rodriguez, the round ended before Seals could do any more damage. A great opening round gave way to a hell of a good fight and Rodriguez scored two more knockdowns (in the second and third rounds) before the fight was stopped in his favor.
For three dramatic minutes on free TV, Rodriguez and Seals gave boxing the best single round of 2015.
Best of the Rest: James DeGale UD12 Lucian Bute (Round 12)
Outstanding title fight in Canada capped off by a frenzied final round of pure punching action.
2014 Winner: Juan Manuel Lopez vs Daniel Ponce De Leon II Round 2
2013 Winner: Mickey Bey vs John Molina Round 10
2012 Winner: Sergio Martinez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr Round 12
2011 Winner: James Kirkland vs Alfredo Angulo Round 1
The KO Digest 2015 Fighter of the Year: Gennady "GGG" Golovkin
|Golovkin made a real mess of Lemieux's face|
When Canelo Alvarez beat Miguel Cotto in November for the now catchweight compromised "linear" title, Golovkin's 2016 mandate became clear. Golovkin vs. Canelo is the biggest fight in boxing and it looks like we'll see it in the fall.
The 2015 Fighter of the Year is now 34-0, with 31 KOs.
Is there anyone on this planet to even challenge him? Maybe Saúl.
Best of the Rest: Canelo Alvarez, Floyd Mayweather, Tyson Fury
Alvarez beat Kirkland and Cotto, Floyd Jr. finally beat Manny Pacquiao, and Tyson Fury upset Klitschko.
The 2015 Fight of the Year: Lucas Matthysse MD12 Ruslan Provodnikov
|Matthysse wins the Fight of the Year in Verona, NY|
How do you pick a winner when Godzilla fights Mechagodzilla? Expectations are understandably high for this creature feature and it’s not hard to see why. Both fighters pack power and seem to enjoy wreaking havoc. My gut tells me that Lucas Matthysse is a little bit better technically but that Ruslan Provodnikov can take more abuse before folding or falling. “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots” this will be from the opening bell. If both guys have to get up from knockdowns, don’t be too surprised. When the dust settles, boxing will have its first proper “Fight of the Year” candidate for 2015 and Matthysse will have a close split decision win after staggering to the finish line under assault from a late Provodnikov rally.
Now don't get me wrong, I know there were no knockdowns and that the decision in favor of Mattysse was of the majority variety rather than the split type, but that pre-fight prediction is more or less exactly how the 2015 Fight of the Year went down, including the crowd electrifying late rally from Provodnikov. From my seat in press row, I was privileged to witness the best pure fistfight of the year, an absolute slobberknocker won by Matthysse. At the post-fight press conference, the evidence of such a brutal display was visible on the grotesquely mangled face of the brawler known as "Siberian Rocky." Six months later, in October, Matthysse paid the price for his physically taxing victory when he was surprisingly stopped in eleven rounds by relative unknown Viktor "Iceman" Postol.
The upset loss to Postol cooled off Mattysse's 2015 buzz but the "Machine" won its unforgettable Fight of the Year.
Best of the Rest: Canelo KO3 James Kirkland, Francisco Vargas TKO9 Takashi Miura, Krzysztof Glowacki KO11 Marco Huck
Houston we had a great fight, featherweights Vargas and Miura went to war, Glowacki ended Huck's long cruiserweight reign.
2014 Winner: Terence Crawford TKO9 Yuriorkis Gamboa
2013 Winner: Tim Bradley W12 Ruslan Provodnikov
2012 Winner: Juan Manuel Marquez KO6 Manny Pacquiao IV
2011 Winner: Victor Ortiz W12 Andre Berto
The KO Digest 2015 Comeback of the Year: The Sport of Boxing Itself
|The Money Fight of the Century|
2015 Event of the Year: The Mayweather versus Pacquiao Superfight
|Left us wanting less|
The 2015 Prospect of the Year: Anthony Joshua
|Joshua is a look back into the future|
Reminiscent of a young Lennox Lewis before LL left the domestic level for the world stage, Joshua possesses the kind of classical boxing skills that fans hope to see again someday soon in the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. With fellow Brit Tyson Fury reigning as new world heavyweight champion, the future looks bright not just for British boxing but for Joshua as well.
2014 Winner: Sadam Ali
2013 Winner: Vasyl Lomachenko
2012 Winner: Keith Thurman
2011 Winner: Gary Russell Jr
The Robbery of the Year: Danny Garcia MD12 Lamont Peterson
Look, Danny Garcia didn't beat Lamont Peterson last April in Brooklyn on PBC. It was an awful decision in favor of a rapidly declining "Swift" Garcia. For twelve rounds, Peterson put into play a patient plan to defeat Garcia and by all reasonable accounts, he succeeded. Then the judges got involved and got it all wrong. Let's take a look back, round by round at the 2015 Robbery of the Year:
|Peterson was two points behind before the fight started|
Round 4: Garcia shows his first sign of frustration, waving his arms at the fleet footed Peterson and inviting him inside for his kind of fight. Peterson responds by landing a clean right hand to the jaw. Garcia wins his first round by forcing himself close enough to land a few good punches to the body as Peterson begins to showboat a little, winding up his right hand bolo style. (10-9 Garcia) -- Round 5: Garcia's efforts to track Peterson down results in a couple good right hands to the head but Peterson's defensive tendencies take most of the sting off the punches. Peterson answers with a nice left-right combo to the head of Garcia, whose nicked up face is beginning to show the effects of being peppered repeatedly. Garcia steals the round with an eye-catching right hand to the head with less than 30 seconds left in the fifth. (10-9 Garcia) -- Round 6: Peterson begins to stand his ground more than move and this is to Garcia's advantage. When Peterson stands in front of Garcia, he gets hit more than he lands his own punches. Despite getting hit in close, Peterson is now testing the waters and pushing Garcia back by coming straight ahead towards him. (10-9 Garcia) -- Round 7: More of a fight starts to break out but the skirmishes are still very limited and too close to call one way or another. Peterson edges a tight round by power punching with Garcia on even terms and keeping him on the end of a pesky jab when outboxing him. (10-9 Peterson)
|Peterson deserved better from the judges|
Round 10: Peterson is doing an Ali-shuffle. Garcia is again being outboxed from the outside and responds not with an attack but with an Ali-shuffle of his own. Another close round but the busier and more effective boxer won it. (10-9 Peterson) -- Round 11: The state of Garcia's marked up face is proof that if Peterson is "running" he's running right over it. Good inside exchanges and it's Garcia who backs away from them in more visible distress. Garcia shows his frustration, flagrantly pushing Peterson down. Another close round so you have to watch how the boxers react to being hit and it's Garcia who backs up and accepts the clinches when they happen. Peterson is gaining ground. Garcia is giving it up. (10-9 Peterson) -- Round 12: Peterson lands a flush right to the head off the jab, a left hook, and some body punches that Garcia can't clinch his way out of. It's almost all shoe-shine shots from a very tired Garcia in the final round. They finally went toe-to-toe in the last 60 seconds and Peterson clearly got the better of it to close the show. (10-9 Peterson)
KO Digest Score: 116-112 for Lamont Peterson.
Official Scores: 114-114, 115-113, 115-113. Danny Garcia "wins" the Robbery of the Year.
Worst of the Rest: Czar Glazkov UD12 Steve Cunningham, Robert Guerrero SD10 Aaron Martinez
USS Cunningham gets screwed again against a foreign heavyweight, "Ghost" lucky to win after getting dropped early.
Worst Victim of 2014: Mauricio Herrera
(robbed vs. Jessie Benavidez & Danny Garcia)
Worst of 2013: Ricky Burns D12 Ray Beltran
Worst of 2012: Brandon Rios W12 Richard Abril
Worst of 2011: Paul Williams W12 Erislandy Lara
The Top 10 KO Digest Boxing Media Highlights For 2015:
|#11: Got a selfie with Lennox Lewis in the MSG media room|
2. Third year on RingTV as an insider/expert.
3. Live covered the "Fight of the Year" in NY.
4. Live covered the "KO of the Year" in Lowell.
5. Live covered GGG at Madison Square Garden.
6. Live covered the PBC in Boston, Mass for TSS.
7. Written about by name by Lee Groves on RingTV.
8. Won #MayPac bet and Scoop Malinowski's money.
9. Grilled George Foreman on a media conference call.
10. In-depth KO interview with "Boom Boom" Mancini.
Written by Jeffrey Freeman — for the KO Digest ©