January 7, 2015

The Fourth Annual KO Digest Year End Boxing Awards & 2014 Year-in-Review

The KO Digest salutes the fistic year that was
By Jeffrey Freeman — Boxing in 2014 was many things but fortunately it wasn't a year that saw the continued plaque of performance enhancing drugs in the sport. There were simply no big busts or positive tests to alarm us to fraud but boy did we ever see some awful mismatches and scoring robberies in the last 12 months. Looking back on the past year, there were no easy choices in the awards categories either. Quality nominees were sprinkled throughout the year including Japanese shooting star Naoya Inoue. The 21-year-old "Monster" knocked out long reigning super flyweight champion Omar Narvaez on December 30th in Japan, and in doing so made an 11th hour case for "Fighter of the Year" honors in just his 8th pro fight. (§) In June, the World Middleweight Championship changed hands at Madison Square Garden when Miguel Cotto blitzed defending champion Sergio Martinez to earn "Comeback of the Year" honors. And all the way back in April, Lucas Matthysse and John Molina gave fans an 11 round war to remember. Was it good enough to be "Fight of the Year" in 2014? Let's find out.

Final 10-count for Goossen ... and Ward?
For those lost to the passage of time, we fondly remember "Hurricane" Rubin Carter, promoter Dan Goossen, trainer Mickey Duff, announcer Ed Derian, Marvelous photographer Angie Carlino, Philly fighter Matthew Saad Muhammad, and Ernie Terrell, who bless his heart lived just long enough to see himself become eligible for the IBHOF. Goossen's "Son of God" Andre Ward remains in boxing purgatory, inactive in 2014 due to a contract dispute with Goossen Promotions that shows no sign of being resolved. Indeed it's fortunate we said so few goodbyes last year but our losses were nonetheless grievous.   

Back on Earth, in the mortal coil of Al Haymon's mismatched boxing worldview, the possibility of Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao has been dangled in front of fans yet again, and we're still hungry for that Superfight so let's finally get it on in 2015 and stop talking about it. Mayweather got down and dirty with Marcos Maidana twice in 2014 while Pacquiao bested Tim Bradley and Chris Algieri to again renew interest in boxing's version of Groundhog Day. In November, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum called Mayweather "reluctant" to fight Pacquiao. In December, Mayweather called out Pacquiao during an interview with Steve Farhood on SHO where Floyd blamed it all on Arum, accusing the pair of ducking him

Several of Haymon's signatory fighters now seem to be locked in career stalls. To wit: World Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson & World Junior Welterweight Champion Danny Garcia saw undeniable losses of momentum in 2014 under the direction and guidance of Haymon. Peter Quillin gave up his WBO middleweight title and a potential $1.4 million dollar purse rather than fight mandatory challenger Matt Korobov, all in order to follow a path laid out by Haymon. Keith Thurman was actually booed by fans in Vegas after going the distance in December against unknown survival-artist Leonard Bundu. Regardless, an exciting new wave of boxing stars are ready to take over when Manny & Money are gone. They're already more entertaining than Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Though not perfect, the state of our fight game is strong. Its bright future belongs to the likes of Main Events' Sergey "The Krusher" Kovalev, K1's Gennady Golovkin, HBO's Golden Boy Canelo Alvarez, Haymon's "One Time" Thurman, and Top Rank's trio of Terence Crawford, Nicholas "Ax Man" Walters, and Vasyl Lomachenko. Boxing fans, welcome to the 4th Annual KO Digest Boxing Year End Awards. It's fun for us to write and it's fun for you to read. We're glad you're here. Happy New Year from the entire Staff at KO Digest.

We'd like thank you for choosing KO and for another year of your loyal readership. Now let's see who won!

Knockout of the Year: Irish Andy Lee KO5 John Jackson

Irish Eyes are winning
One punch saved Andy Lee's boxing career. One punch was the difference between the expectations of Lee's late trainer Emanuel Stewart going unmet or finally becoming fulfilled. The Luck of the Irish Eyes must have been smiling on Lee and Stewart in 2014 but there was nothing lucky about the right hand shot from Lee (34-2, 24 KO's) that knocked out the son of feared power-puncher Julian "The Hawk" Jackson at Madison Square Garden in June. The year almost started off as a disaster for Lee. Scheduled last April to face no less of a power-puncher than WBA middleweight champion Gennady "GGG" Golovkin, Lee was granted a reprieve of sorts when Golovkin's father passed away from a heart attack in February, causing Lee's second middleweight title shot to fall apart before it could take place. There's no doubt "Triple G" would've been just as metaphorically fatal for the world championship prospects of Lee had they met in the ring - a place where Golovkin makes trophies of men. Would it have been fun to watch while it lasted? Hell yes. Would Lee have stood a chance in hell of winning? No and he probably would have gotten scalped. 

As fate would have it, Lee instead found himself in a life or death struggle of his own against Jackson on the Cotto-Martinez undercard live covered by KO Digest. Trailing badly on the scorecards going into the fifth round, Lee had been knocked down in the first and was in a defensive retreat from punches throughout the bout. It looked like Lee was going to lose the fight - and his fighting future.

The fateful fifth looked like more of the same with Lee taking abuse on the ropes and almost going through them because there was nowhere else to go that Jackson couldn't find him. That is when Lee made his brave stand and saved his boxing life. With his back to the ropes in a corner that he'd just stumbled into, Lee stiffened himself and threw a right hand "hookercut" that connected square on the chin of an onrushing Jackson. The devastating effect was immediate and Jackson was literally out cold before he hit the canvas face-first. Lee joyously raised both hands in victory and referee Benji Esteves didn't need to count. They both knew the fight was over and that Lee had just scored the "Knockout of the Year" in a most dramatic way. "If the late great Emanuel Stewart had seen this, his smile would light up this joint," said Larry Merchant to conclude his call of the fight on HBO airwaves. Not to be outdone at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Lee then capped off an amazing year in December when he stopped heavily favored Russian Matt Korobov in six rounds to win the vacant WBO middleweight championship with another dramatic, come-from-behind stoppage victory.

In a very strange way, thank you Al Haymon for melting "Kid Chocolate" into the 2014 KO of the Year.  

Best of the Rest: Amir Mansour KO7 Fred Kassi, Carl Froch KO8 George Groves II, & Wladimir Klitschko KO5 Kubrat Pulev

Kassi might still be sleeping thanks to Mansour, Groves was made into a pretzel by Froch, and Pulev fell from a monster left hook.

2013 Winner: Deontay Wilder KO1 Sergei Liakhovich
2012 Winner: Juan Manuel Marquez KO6 Manny Pacquiao
2011 Winner: Floyd Mayweather KO4 Victor Ortiz   

Upset of the Year: Rogelio Medina KO3 J'Leon Love

Porky upsets the Jackpot in Vegas
When an opponent like "Porky" Medina (33-6, 27 KO's) scores an upset knockout in the main event on Showtime in Las Vegas over an "undefeated" Mayweather Promotions fighter and leaves the highly touted prospect twitching on the canvas, it's fair to say the Mexican out of towner beat more than just J'Leon Love (18-1, 10 KO's) but "the house" as well; a stacked deck dealt against him and totally in favor of a TMT win from the promotion to the judges to the referee to the expectations of the Money Team themselves. It's rather like disarming the one-armed bandit and then hitting the casino slot machine jackpot with a maximum bet in the game. Love was given every opportunity to win in style on cable TV but when you get knocked down and can't get back up in 10 seconds, boxing is a dark theater of the unexpected where "luck" won't help. This is what happened at the casino last August when "Porky" showed J'Leon the love to win the "KO Digest Upset of the Year" with "Money" seated at ringside.

Best of the Rest: Chris Algieri SD12 Ruslan Provodnikov, Tommy Karpency SD10 Chad Dawson, Kell Brook MD12 Shawn Porter  

Some thought Provo edged Algieri, KO predicted a Karpency victory, and all 21 RingTV experts picked Porter, including KO.

2013 Winner: Jhonny Gonzalez TKO1 Abner Mares
2012 Winner: Josesito Lopez TKO9 Victor Ortiz 
2011 Winner: Orlando Salido TKO8 Juan Manuel Lopez

Robbery Victim of the Year: Mauricio "El Maestro" Herrera

Garcia robbed Herrera and beat Salka
This year, we're doing things a little different in the category of bad judges and bad decisions. Under more normal circumstances, a single fight would be "awarded" the distinktion of annual recognition. There were some doozies in 2014 to choose from but no one fighter was victimized any worse or in a more costly way than Mauricio Herrera. The 34-year-old junior welterweight contender should now be the undisputed world champion of his weight class with a quality title defense already under his title belt. Instead, he is on the outside looking in, a silent piece of collateral damage in the Cold War promotional politricks that persist in place of open hostilities. KO Digest looked closely at both controversial decisions in question, the first against Golden Boy's Danny "Swift" Garcia and most recently, Top Rank's star prospect Jessie Benavidez. What we found were two robberies of the most flagrant kind, truly a shame upon the sport of boxing.   

Worst of the Rest: Oscar Escandon SD12 Tyson Cave & Diego Chaves D12 Tim Bradley   

Atlas cried "robbery" on ESPN for Cave. Bradley pays a price for his "win" over Pacquiao.

Worst of 2013: Ricky Burns D12 Ray Beltran
Worst of 2012: Brandon Rios W12 Richard Abril
Worst of 2011: Paul Williams W12 Erislandy Lara

Round of the Year: Juanma TKO2 Daniel Ponce de Leon II - Round 2

Juanma sipped from the fountain of youth
When Juan Manuel Lopez first entered the super bantamweight & featherweight rankings, he was almost immediately heralded as one of the sport’s most exciting fighters and top prospects. Lopez stayed undefeated until 2011, and as his career began to fall short of expectations, talk surrounding “Juanma” often centered on what-ifs. What if Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa had fought when they were still undefeated? What if the referee had let Juanma continue against Orlando Salido? The list of what-ifs go on, but in his second fight against Daniel Ponce de Leon, fight fans saw a glimpse of what made Lopez a rising star in the first place, and perhaps what could have been. The pair first met in 2008 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and it took Lopez just 2:25 to dispose of de Leon and win the WBO super bantamweight title which Juanma defended 5 times. Last March, the duo met again on Lopez’s home turf in Puerto Rico.

The super featherweight onslaught began and ended in round 2.

The favored Ponce de Leon pounded Lopez with a left hook that knocked Lopez off balance and onto the canvas halfway through the round. Sensing Lopez was vulnerable, de Leon pounced, aiming to finish the fight, but he severely underestimated how hurt Juanma was and how hard he was willing to fight to stay alive. Having lost 3 of his last 6, Lopez had fallen from the top 10 and was on the ropes not only in the fight, but in his career. Refusing to quit, Lopez also refused to lose. After receiving a standing 8-count, Lopez countered Ponce de Leon with a massive right his opponent never saw coming, flattening him to his back just 30 seconds later.

Farewell to an action hero
Still slightly off balance on his feet, Ponce de Leon was quickly down on his knees again after the ensuing Lopez combination. Ponce de Leon arose one more time, but the fight was waved off with under 20 seconds to go—with Lopez wailing on his staggered opponent against the ropes.

Lopez finished off 2014 with a pair of losses to Francisco Vargas and Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar, perhaps ending his career. But for one last special night, we were treated to vintage Juanma Lopez. To a fighter who gives his all and risks his health in the ring, perhaps it’s unfair to ask “what-if.” Instead, we should look at what he actually was; Juan Manuel Lopez was an all-action warrior to the end, and the winner of KO Digest’s 2014 Round of the Year.

Best of the Rest: Tommy Coyle vs Daniel Brizuela Round 11 & Francisco Rodriguez Jr vs Katsunari Takayama Round 12  

Coyle had a great 2014 in the United Kingdom. Minimumweights Rodriguez and Takayama gave boxing a maximum effort.
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

Written By Joel "The Future" Sebastianelli - exclusively for KO Digest    

The 2014 Fight of the Year: Terence Crawford TKO9 Yuriorkis Gamboa

Omaha hosted the 2014 Fight of the Year
Perhaps Roy Jones Jr. anticipated there would be fireworks when he offered his services for this year's winner of the KO Digest "Fight of the Year" award. The future Hall of Famer, also a top commentator for HBO, spotted the match-up between WBO lightweight champion Terrence Crawford and Yuriorkis Gamboa on the June fight schedule when he visited the network headquarters. "Boy, I really hope I get to see this!" he said. And why not? In less than fifteen months, Crawford had gone from a virtual unknown to possibly the best lightweight on the planet. In his last fight, the switch-hitting Crawford traveled all the way to Glasgow, Scotland to win the WBO lightweight title against Ricky Burns by unanimous decision. To take on the undefeated Gamboa as his first title defense, in Omaha, Nebraska of all places, spoke volumes about the champion's confidence. There had not been a significant fight there in decades. "I don't predict a knockout, but I do predict a win. Every time I step foot into the ring, and I've prepared myself to the best of my abilities, I don't feel nobody can beat me," said the champion. And that included Gamboa, a former Olympic Gold medalist who appeared destined for greatness early in his professional career. But thanks to his impressive amateur background and easy victory over the tough Orlando Salido, the bar was set ridiculously high. The Cuban defector didn't help his cause with rumors of performance enhancing drugs, promotional problems, and inactivity. In fact, the one-time, red-hot prospect managed to lose both his featherweight and junior lightweight titles on the scales. Still, it was hard to ignore the obvious talent of Gamboa. Now residing in Miami, the former champion hooked up with rapper turned promoter 50 Cent in an effort to turn things around. But the clock was ticking, and Gamboa knew it.

"They gave us this fight in these difficult conditions, but we're warriors, and we accept these conditions. We come here to face it," said the challenger. Fighting for the first time in over a year, and as a lightweight for only the second time, Gamboa knew there would not be a warm welcome for him at the CenturyLink Center. Although both men boasted identical records (23-0, 16 KO's) Gamboa was the underdog for the first time in his career. Surprisingly, Gamboa would sweep the first four rounds on most of the scorecards.

Crawford found an opening to make Gamboa pay
Showing no signs of ring-rust, Gamboa's edge in hand speed and crisp combinations kept him one step ahead of the champion. In the third, Crawford would turn southpaw for the first time in the fight, but with limited success. Roy Jones felt the switch was ill-advised. "He must see something, I hope it's not just out of him being stubborn," said the Pensacola native. That "something" turned out to be the low left guard of Gamboa, and Crawford made him pay for it in the fifth round with a counter right hook to score the first knockdown of the fight. There was a roar from the partisan crowd as a Crawford left cross almost scored another knockdown. Gamboa hung on for dear life until the round came to an end. With one punch, Crawford changed the complexion of the fight, and he would continue to find success for the next few rounds.

In the eighth, Gamboa displayed plenty of heart and tried to regain control. With less than a minute remaining in the round, Crawford switched back to the orthodox stance and dug a left hook deep into the challenger's body. A right-cross, left-hook combination dropped Gamboa to a knee near the ropes. Incredibly, he made it out of the round. But then in what could have been a candidate for "Round of the Year," Crawford came out looking for the knockout in the ninth and deciding round. Alternating from southpaw to orthodox, a left hook stunned Gamboa early in the round, and the champion forced him to the ropes. But there would be no quit in the brave challenger, and he fired punches in return. After Crawford landed a flush right uppercut, he stepped in for the finish. Gamboa kept firing, and a hard right caught the champion by surprise. Suddenly "Bud" was on rubbery legs. "Oh, Crawford is hurt!" shouted the HBO team. Exhausted, Gambo tried to press the action, but he walked into a hard right hand, followed by a pair of left hooks that dropped him on his side for the third time in the fight. Determined to go out on his shield, Gamboa rose yet again, and fired the right hand with abandon. Finally, with just seconds remaining in the round, a huge right uppercut dropped the challenger in dramatic fashion. Referee Gino Rodriguez had seen enough, and called it with just seven ticks remaining on the clock. "That was a GREAT fight, a great fight!" said Max Kellerman. In the post-fight interview, the winner and STILL champion explained his decision to fight as a southpaw. "I felt like I could make an adjustment with my jab, because he is always dropping his left hand. I thought I could get him with my jab in the southpaw stance," said Crawford. Gamboa then described the KO Digest "Fight of the Year" perfectly:

"We were just two warriors in the ring trying to get the victory, and he won," said the vanquished Ciclon.

Welcome to Crawfordville
Even though it was relatively early in the year, the moment the fight came to its conclusive end, you knew you witnessed a very strong candidate for "Fight of the Year" honors. How good was the fight? It was barely a minute old, and Jim Lampley already cracked that the city of "Crawfordville"  Nebraska had a nice ring to it. Sure, it would be another six months before the winner of the 2014 awards would be official, but this perfect balance of technical skill and fanatical drama was going to be very hard to match. Don't be surprised if we make another visit to Nebraska in 2015. Omaha may not be known as fight town (yet) but close to 11,000 fans came out to cheer for their hometown hero. The fact that Crawford also won the KO Digest "Fighter of the Year" award and the "Fight of the Year" in Omaha could be a strong bargaining chip for the champ.

Best of the Rest: Lucas Matthysse KO11 John Molina, USS Steve Cunningham UD10 Amir "Hardcore" Mansour, Orlando Salido KO11 Terdsak Kokietgym, Robert Guerrero UD12 Yoshihiro Kamegai, and Juanma Lopez TKO2 Daniel Ponce de Leon II   

The Machine was hurt by Molina in a junior welterweight slugfest but eventually overcame him with better design and harder punches, American heavyweights Cunningham and Mansour waged a classic firefight on US soil, Siri and Gym traded multiple knockdowns in Mexico, The Ghost wasn't very friendly and neither was Kamegi in their slobberknocker, and Juanma Lopez surprised most everyone by somehow finding the fountain of youth in Puerto Rico against Ponce de Leon on Showtime
2013 Winner: Tim Bradley W12 Ruslan Provodnikov
2012 WinnerJuan Manuel Marquez KO6 Manny Pacquiao IV
2011 Winner: 
Victor Ortiz W12 Andre Berto 

Written By
David McLeod - exclusively for KO Digest

The 2014 KO Digest Fighter of the Year: Terence "Bud" Crawford

Crawford & Company have good reason to celebrate
When 2014 began, Omaha, Nebraska's "Bud" Crawford was an up-and-coming prospect on the verge of becoming a true contender in the wide open lightweight division. By the end of the year, Crawford's hometown feats of fist are almost beyond imaginable. Successfully promoted by Top Rank, Crawford traveled to Scotland in March to dethrone Ricky Burns of his WBO lightweight crown, no easy task, though truth be told, Crawford made it look easy with a smooth style of boxing that includes switch-hitting opponents until they can't help but lose. 

Crawford's June homecoming at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha was nothing short of sensational, a Fight of the Year instant classic, a 9th round technical knockout victory over Cuban star Yuriorkis Gamboa to successfully defend the lightweight title on HBO. As remarkable as the fight grew, it was amplified by the enormous energy present in the form of local fans there to see Crawford energize their city and their state with a championship performance for the ages, finishing the Cyclone de Guantanamo off with some razmataz in the ninth round. 

Incredibly, this was only the second world title fight ever held in Omaha and the last was in 1972 when the late great Smokin' Joe Frazier beat local contender Ron Stander to defend the heavyweight championship. Crawford put the finishing touches on his Fighter of the Year campaign in November, again at the CenturyLink Center, with an impressive shutout victory over the usually competitive Ray Beltran. The fight was for the WBO title as well the vacant "Ring Magazine Belt" and the win earned Crawford (25-0, 17 KO's) universal recognition as World Lightweight Champion though his days at 135 lbs appear to be numbered in favor of the more lucrative junior welterweight division. Considering that Crawford has literally nothing left to prove against anybody at lightweight, and achieved that lofty status as the champion within a year's time, he's free to go pursue the American Dream just five pounds north at 140 lbs.

"I can tell it's big," said Crawford of his 2014 impact. "Big not just for me but for the city of Omaha. It's not just the boxing community; it's all the people in Omaha. I can also tell I give people hope that they can be what they want to be, if you believe and work hard at it."

Best of the Rest: Sergey Kovalev, Nicholas Walters, Manny Pacquiao, Naoya Inoue, Mauricio Herrera & Vasyl Lomachenko

Krusher Kovalev knocked down and beat up the 49-year old "Alien" Hopkins by ridiculously wide scores, Walters "beat the shit" out of Nonito Donaire and might have finished him, Manny is still ready (and waiting) for Money May, Inoue knocked out Omar Narvaez with a body punch, Herrera beat Danny Garcia and Jessie Benavidez but got robbed by the judges in both fights, and Lomachenko is the absolutely sublime WBO featherweight champion with just 4 fights on his professional record and the boxing world at his feet.

2013 Winner: Adonis "Superman" Stevenson
2012 Winners: Juan Manuel Marquez & Nonito Donaire (co-fighters of the year)
2011 Winner: Andre Ward  

The 2014 KO Digest Prospect of the Year: Sadam "World Kid" Ali

Ali went from prospect to contender in 2014
When we look back over the course of last year many young fighters propelled themselves further along in their careers. Felix Verdejo, Jesse Hart, and Errol Spence all continued their educations with victories over increasingly durable opponents. Anthony Joshua pummeled another handful of journeymen as his stock grew while Callum Smith fought his way towards a shot at a world title in 2015. However, no fighter catapulted himself from prospect to contender quite like Brooklyn born Sadam Ali. His victory over hard-hitting Argentine Carlos Abregu was unexpected and extremely impressive. He shook up the world. Well, not quite. He did look good, though. "I was a big underdog," Ali told KO Digest. "I knew I had to take that step up because everybody was waiting." People were like 'Yeah, he's good but how good is he?' Having said that, I don't think they were expecting me to take that kind of step up against a dangerous guy like Abregu. I know a few guys turned that fight down because of the knockout power he has. I knew if I took that fight and won that fight, I would get the respect I deserved. I fought smart. I stayed smart. When it was time to turn it up, I did."

Ali, 21-0, 13 KO's, fought a near perfect fight against the seasoned and heavily favored Abregu. The Argentine banger was entering the ring (despite an eighteen month layoff) with the memories of two impressive victories over Antonin Decarie and Thomas Dulorme fresh in his mind. His only loss came at the hands of Timothy Bradley and his professional experiences far outweighed those of Ali. However, Ali was a 2008 Olympian and was comforted by his adventures prior to the pay-checks of prizefighting.

"I've fought the world. I've fought the best. I've fought all types of styles and going in with that experience really helped me."

Credentialed Coverage by KO
Ali, trained by Andre Rozier since the age of eleven, appeared to be fading ever so slightly in the eighth round. In the corner, heading in to the ninth stanza, Rozier revitalized his charge with some verbal inspiration. "He caught me with a good punch that I didn't see, so it had me more focused on defense," recanted Ali. "Andre felt like I was giving up or slowing down a little too much but that wasn't really the case. I was just getting back to boxing and making him miss." Ali then walked Abregu onto a beautiful lead right-hand that was ultimately the beginning of the end. A flurry of unanswered punches followed from Ali which prompted referee Harvey Dock to intervene. "It came natural, I was just out boxing him and moving. I saw the opening and it landed perfectly. He went down again and I just got out of the way and took my time."

Ali has taken his time throughout his career, inside of the ring and out. He is an intelligent and technically gifted boxer-puncher with enough power to offer a threat to the welterweight elite. His next fight will likely take place on HBO and Ali, The  KO Digest 2014 Prospect of the Year, appears ready for all comers. "If it makes sense, I am ready to fight whoever. I'm not in any rush, I'm not into calling any names out but I'm not gonna duck anybody either. I'm the type of fighter to let them call me out. If they are gonna talk, and they want me, they can get what they want."

2013 Winner: Vasyl Lomachenko
2012 Winner: Keith Thurman 
2011 Winner: Gary Russell Jr 

Written By Terry Strawson - exclusively for KO Digest

Cotto got the girl, the belt, and the best trainer in boxing
10 More Categories, 10 More KO Awards:

Trainer of the Year: Freddie Roach, reinvented Cotto, refurbished Pacquiao
Quote: "Al Haymon is a brilliant, intelligent, great young man." - Don King
Event: CEO Richard Schaefer resigns from Golden Boy Promotions in a tiff 
Breakout Fighter of the Year: Nicholas Walters, Jamaica, WBA 126 lb champ
New England KO of Year: Jimmy Smith KO3 Moises Rivera, 11/15 Portland
Breakout Performance of the Year: Kell Brook MD12 Shawn Porter, IBF 147
Cable Network: HBO because it sure as hell wasn't Showtime or ESPN 
Dive of the Year: Deontay Wilder KO1 Malik Scott, what a friendly farce!
Distinguished World Champion: Flyweight Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez 
Media Good Guy Award: Edwin "Ace" Ayala, my friend, a published author 

Top 12 KO Digest Boxing Media Highlights of 2014:

"The Duplicitous Real Deal"
KO Digest's © Photo of the Year - GGG at MSG in NYC

1. Ringside Report - Cotto vs Martinez at MSG
2. April KO interview with Wladimir Klitschko
3. Broke news of Holyfield's retirement in Maine
4. Credentialed for Kovalev vs Hopkins in AC NJ
5. Published in Portland, ME EXPO show program
6. 25-13 on Lem's RingTV Expert Prediction panel
7. Media Q&A's with Iron Mike Tyson & Tim Bradley
8. Covered the "KO of the Year" - Lee KO5 Jackson

9. Media score for Floyd vs Maidana I on Boxrec page
10. Retweeted by the World Heavyweight Champion
11. Published on Michael Woods' "The Sweet Science"
12. KO's David McLeod 5th row MSG pressrow GGG-Geale


This fourth annual 2014 KO Digest Boxing Year End Review and Awards article was produced, and edited by KO Digest Editor in Chief Jeffrey Freeman with invaluable contributions from Terry Strawson, David McLeod, Derek "DBO" Bonnett, and Joel "The Future" Sebastianelli.