Like most years in boxing, 2015 had no shortage of drama. Over hyped fights, disappointing performances, huge upsets, newly crowned champions, questionable scores and ‘retirements.’ From an 11 year Heavyweight reign coming to an end, to one of the best defensive fighters in history ‘retiring’ before walking away with a clean 50 and 0 record. 2015 saw great knockouts, along with some serious come from behind wins. Body Shot Boxing’s year in review will breakdown the fight of the year, fighter of the year, prospect of the year and several other categories for the fans to discuss and debate on. As a true boxing fan I enjoyed 2015 with all its surprises, boxing seems to always write its own narrative and this year was no exception. Enjoy my list and feel free to debate.
FIGHT OF THE YEAR: Leo Santa Cruz v. Abner Mares. This one was a bit tough for me as there were a few to choose from. I landed on Abner Mares v. Leo Santa Cruz, because from the opening bell to the end of the 12th round, both fighters let it all hang out. No ‘getting to know you’ in the first few rounds, but rather an all-out offensive output by both fighters. Over 800 punches were thrown by each opponent by the time the 8th round ended and the offensive assaults continued throughout. I had Mares pegged to win, but Santa Cruz showed some skill that we had not been seen from him in the past. The energy of the crowd also helped to make this event number one on my book.
KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR: Canelo Alvarez v. James Kirkland. Boxing fans knew that there was no way that this fight could possibly go the distance and they were correct. Both fighters came out swinging for the fences and all 3 rounds were action packed, until Canelo landed a flush right hand to Kirkland’s jaw. The Houston fans truly got their monies worth as Kirkland was floored for nearly an entire minute.
Honorable Mention: Krzysztof Glowacki v. Marco Huck
FIGHTER OF THE YEAR: Canelo Alvarez. This was another tough call as there were several fighters that had outstanding years. While GGG is somewhat of an obvious choice, I have decided to go with Canelo Alvarez simply because of the level of opposition that he faced this year compared to Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin. Canelo edged him out by facing and beating Miguel Cotto and the vicious K.O. of James Kirkland. Saul performed much better than I expected against Cotto and I now give Canelo complete elite status, something that I was hesitant to give him prior to the Cotto fight.
Honorable Mention: Gennady Golovkin
COME FROM BEHIND WIN OF THE YEAR: Krzysztof Glowacki v. Marco Huck. By far and away, this type of fight is my favorite type of match to watch and is the primary reason why I follow the sport. There is nothing more poetic than watching a fighter face extreme adversity early in a fight and then rallying from behind to secure a victory, i.e. Crawford v. Gamboa. Marco Huck was a huge favorite going into this contest, with the then relatively unknown Glowacki. Glowacki having been knocked down early on, it looked like Huck was well on his way to retaining his reign in the Cruiserweight division. Like Crawford last year, Glowacki maintained his composer and was able to score a K.O. in the 11th round. Very easily could have been fight of the year.
UPSET OF THE YEAR: Krzysztof Glowacki v. Marco Huck. I am sure that in many people’s mind Klitschko v. Fury should get this award, but please allow me to defend my stance. For one, Glowacki was a much bigger underdog than Fury was and just as importantly, Huck’s kingship in his division was almost as dominant as Klitschko’s in the HW division. Furthermore, Fury had a name and a more solid record than Glowacki. I know that Huck, the fans and myself thought this was a sure bet…we were all very wrong.
STINKER OF THE YEAR: Tyson Fury v. Wladimir Klitschko. Absolutely terrible performances by both participants, with a punch output of a 3 round matchup. Klitschko’s hesitancy to pull the trigger and frustration of Fury’s height allowed Fury to secure a win of Wladimir, who was enjoying an 11 year long campaign in his division. No one gave Fury a chance, but the charismatic fighter found a way to immobilize the Ukrainian. The next time I have trouble falling asleep, I now know what to put on.
TRAINER OF THE YEAR: Abel Sanchez. There is not really too much explaining to do here, Abel always has GGG physically and mentally prepared. His fighter never has trouble making weight and has barely lost a round in his last four fights. In addition, two of his three opponents basically quit during their fights, a true testament to Gennady’s now legendary power.
PROSPECT OF THE YEAR: Errol Spence Jr. I don’t think that I have seen a kid as composed as this in the ring in a very long time. Spence is extremely patient, does not get distracted and his punches are quite accurate with a lot of pop. I truly see him being a big part of boxing’s future. Errol fought four times in 2015 and stopped every single opponent before the 8th round. A truly bright future this kid has.
Certainly all of these choices are up for a nice healthy debate. I struggled myself with many of them. I am just thankful that this year gave us plenty to choose from. While our sport continues to suffer from a cold war and thus the best fights are not being put together, we still get treated to the occasional clinic and performance that reminds us all why we still follow the sport.
Long Live Boxing
Brian J. Murphy