BoxingForum.com END OF DECADE AWARDS! THE RESULTS!
The votes have been counted, the topic is now shut and results are in! I'd like to thank all Members of the BoxingForum who voted for who they believe are the deserving winners (and losers) of the following categories:
Fighter of the decade
Fight of the decade
Knockout of the decade
Upset of the decade
Comeback of the decade
Puncher of the decade
Overachiever of the decade
Underachiever of the decade
Event of the decade
Worst fight of the decade
Most overrated of the decade
Most underrated of the decade
The 00s have been a decade filled with ups and downs. It's had everything from superfights to super let-downs. From retirements and comebacks to call-offs and back-ons! This decade has had it all and it's time to look at who the deserving winners (and once again, losers) of the decade have been as voted by YOU, the members of Boxing Forum!
When the decade begun, he was fresh off a recent KO loss to the often underrated Medgoen Singsurat, he was subsequently picked up by Freddie Roach who saw raw talent in a fighter that few others could really see. Less than a decade later, we can all see it. Pacquiao combines ferocious punch power, blinding hand speed, awkward angles, constant movement, blinding foot speed, granite chin and the sheer ferociousness that makes him the reigning P4P #1 fighter in Boxing today. Few would argue with his choice as fighter of the decade, racking up a resume featuring fighters from the super bantamweight division right through to the welterweight division. He’s beaten the likes of Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Lehlohonolo Ledwaba, Marco Antonio Barrera, Ricky Hatton, Erik Morales, Fahsan 3K Battery, Oscar Larios, Hector Velasquez, Jorge Solis and David Diaz. He’s won alphabet titles in 4 different weigh divisions this decade alone, he’s won linear titles in 2 different weight divisions and has, in total, racked up world titles in an incredible 7 different weight classes. Pacquiao had his critics who felt that his rise in weight classes was met with the cherry picking of his opponent. He did pick the worst Lightweight champion of the crop when he stepped up to annihilate David Diaz. He fought Oscar De La Hoya at a weight in which the man had not made for almost an entire decade. That all changed when he fought the linear champion at 140lbs and preceded to KO him in highlight reel fashion. He stepped up and beat a man who was widely regarded as one of the best welterweight fighters in the world when he stopped Miguel Cotto in dominating fashion. His critics were silenced, their ammunition had run out and Pacquiao was king.
RUNNER UP: BERNARD HOPKINS
FIGHT OF THE DECADE (2000-2009)
1. Jose Luis Castillo vs. Diego Corrales (MAY 7, 2005; LIGHTWEIGHT)
It's the sort of fight that Boxing fans dream of. Two of the sports top fighters standing in front of eachother bombing away until the other one gives way. Well that's what we got when Castillo & Corrales met. Both men stood in front of each other, battering each other with hard combinations and power punches throughout the entire fight in what is generally regarded as one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport. Two warriors, all heart stood toe-to-toe with only victory on their mind. It was the greatest fight that I’d ever witnessed live on television and I can think of few fights that I’d rather replay and watch again and again. Castillo and Corrales traded shots through the early rounds and when the 10th round came along, both men looked battered and bruised but neither man was prepared to call it quits. Castillo came out of the round, knocking Corrales down. Chico spat his mouthpiece out for some extra recovery time and when back up, Castillo sent him back down. Once again Chico spat his mouthpiece out and was this time deducted a point. Chico got up, rallied back and landed a perfect right hand which sent Castillo back against the ropes. Chico landed a barrage of shots and Tony Weeks called a halt to the action. It was an instant classic, often ranked among the greatest fights of all time and rightfully so. Castillo got revenge in the rematch and Chico sadly passed away in 2005 and this fight will be his lasting legacy.
Many people questioned Pacquiao’s power at junior welterweight. I mean, it took him almost 300 shots to wear down the average David Diaz, he landed shots at will on a dead-at-weight Oscar De La Hoya and couldn’t knock him out and many felt that Pacquiao would wear Hatton down and stop him late. And then Pacquiao landed the picture perfect left hand shot on the universally recognised #1 JWW fighter in the world. Two knockdowns in the first round and it was clear that by round 2, Ricky Hatton was in survival mode. Pacquiao landed shots at will, but he wasn’t landing the big ones in round 2. As the round wore on, it looks as if Hatton was going to make it out of the round and just as the time display was removed from the screen and the final 10 seconds began, Pacquiao landed the picture perfect left hand and Hatton fell in a manner similar to Herol Graham after Julian Jackson landed the KO punch. Hatton fell flat, laid flat and stayed flat and Pacquiao was officially declared the winner via KO as he picked up his 6th world title, this time linear, in his 6th weight division.
RUNNER UP: ANTONIO TARVER KO2 ROY JONES, JR.
UPSET OF THE DECADE (2000-2009)
1. Hasim Rahman KO5 Lennox Lewis (APRIL 22, 2001; HEAVYWEIGHT)
If you scour the internet there are a myriad of excuses available for why Lennox Lewis was brutally KO’d by fringe contender, Hasim Rahman. He was busy filming movies, he wasn’t acclimated, he wasn’t focused in training and he had his sights set on Mike Tyson and he overlooked Hasim Rahman. Whether you believe any of them or not, Hasim Rahman was not supposed to beat Lennox Lewis. The Lion, as he was called in his early career, was the #1 heavyweight fighter in the world. He was the linear, legitimate and universally recognised undisputed champion of the sports most historic and glamorous division. Hasim Rahman had been beaten by Oleg Maskaev and David Tua and had hardly done much to merit a shot at Lewis’ title. However when he did get the shot, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He took the opportunity to fight Lewis and he also took the opportunity to KO Lewis when Lennox foolishly showed his chin to Hasim Rahman. One punch later and Lennox Lewis was flattened and Rahman was the heavyweight champion of the world. The fight was named Ring Magazine UPSET OF THE YEAR 2001 and has now been named BoxingForum UPSET OF THE DECADE!
1. Bernard Hopkins post Jermain Taylor (2005 onwards; LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT)
When Bernard Hopkins was controversially beaten by Jermain Taylor, the public called for a rematch. When Bernard Hopkins was beaten again, the public called for retirement. Hopkins never even considered it, instead he jumped 15lbs to take on the #1 light-heavyweight fighter in the world, Antonio Tarver. Hopkins preceded to hand Tarver the most dominant defeat of his career, teaching him a lesson in the art of boxing and crowning himself as the new #1 light-heavyweight in the world. He followed it up with a victory over Winky Wright and then took on the #1 super-middleweight in the world, Joe Calzaghe. B-Hop was beaten via a close split decision to Joe Calzaghe and once again faced calls for his retirement. Hopkins once again refused to listen, instead taking on the #1 middleweight fighter in the world, Kelly Pavlik. Hopkins was supposed to lose to the stronger, younger, fresher Pavlik but Hopkins had other ideas. He took Pavlik through the most painful and degrading 36 minutes of his life, teaching “The Ghost” a lesson in the sport of boxing. They say it takes a true champion to come back from a loss and Hopkins has come back from 5 of them.
RUNNER UP: VITALI KLITSCHKO POST-RETIREMENT.
EVENT OF THE DECADE (2000-2009)
1. Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis (JUNE 8, 2002; HEAVYWEIGHT)
Quite simply the most heavily anticipated fight in years. Mike Tyson, the youngest heavyweight champion of all time, the explosive knockout king who tore through everybody in his path during the 80s. Lennox Lewis, the humble boxer who felt he never got the recognition he deserved. For years the fight had been talked about but it never materialized. Tyson refused to fight Lewis in 1996, Lewis got KO’d by Hasim Rahman preventing the fight from happening a year earlier, legal and financial problems prevented the fight from happening in the later part of the 90s. It was as if the two were just never destined to meet. In early 2002, they finally did agree to meet and the stage was set for the biggest heavyweight fight in history. The build-up to the fight was simply immense. Press conference brawls, controversy, talk of camp unrest, real animosity between the fights, boxing licenses being refused, cities bidding against one another to host the fight. Wherever you were, you knew that Tyson and Lewis were going to fight. Opinion was split… the purists knew the ageing Tyson never stood a chance whilst casuals felt that if Rahman could do it – then so could Mike! When all was said and done, Lewis dished out a one sided beating for 8 rounds before landing the knockout punch that solidified his legacy as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. The fight may not have been a classic, but the event sure was.
RUNNER UP: FLOYD MAYWEATHER, JR. VS OSCAR DE LA HOYA
PUNCHER OF THE DECADE (2000-2009)
1. MANNY ‘the pacman’ PACQUIAO
It’s pretty difficult to argue against Pacquiao as puncher of this decade. Pacquiao started this decade with a KO victory at 119lbs. He’s ended this decade with a TKO victory at 147lbs. He’s had 26 fights this decade, compiling a record of 23-1-2 with 21 wins coming by way of knockout against some of the sports modern day greats. Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya as well as KO victories over some of the sports top contenders, such as; Jorge Solis, David Diaz, Lehlohonolo Ledwaba, Jorge Julio, Fahsan 3K Battery and Hector Velasquez. Only Oscar Larios and Juan Manuel Marquez went the distance and lost. Erik Morales went the distance and picked up a sound decision victory. Nonetheless, there is a roll call of champions from the super bantamweight division right through to the welterweight division and only three of them managed to see the final bell against Manny Pacquiao in 26 fights.
RUNNER UP: EDWIN VALERO & SHANE MOSLEY (TIE)
OVERACHIEVER OF THE DECADE (2000-2009)
1. CARLOS ‘tata’ MANUEL BALDOMIR
Few could argue with the choice of Baldomir. Few have gone onto achieve so much in the sport of boxing on such a limited skills set. He entered the decade with a record of 29-9-4 (8 KOS), hardly the stuff of champions. He didn’t look like a spectacular boxer, or even an average one. He didn’t have the one punch KO power to turn a fight around so you could wonder what he had going for him. Well, for all the things he lacked he made up for it with sheer heart, determination and a granite chin. A tainted DQ victory over Joshua Clottey at the end of the 90s sent him into the current decade with some hope. Victories over journeymen and two draws brought him into the mid stages of the decade, still no championship shot in sight until a victory over Alpaslan Aguzum sent him into a WBC welterweight title eliminator with Miguel Angel Rodriguez. Baldomir was the underdog, but he fought his way to a unanimous decision and now had a shot at superstardom against the heavily favoured yet inconsistent Zab Judah. Baldomir entered the ring with a record of 41-9-6 (12 KOS), he left the ring with an improved record of 42-9-6 (12 KOS) when he upset the heavy favourite and shocked the boxing world to become WBC welterweight champion of the world. Not content to sit on his laurels, Baldomir fought and stopped one of boxings toughest fighter, the warrior Arturo “thunder” Gatti to retain his crown. Had the man paid his WBA sanctioning fees, he’d have been a unified welterweight champion of the world. A man with the limit skill set of Baldomir achieved a lot more than perhaps he should have, but take nothing away from his accomplishments because he did it his way and he never stopped fighting.
It’s a little ironic that the underachiever of the decade was beaten by BoxingForum’s overachiever of the decade. Few could really argue with the natural skills that Zab Judah possessed. Lightning quick hands, slick boxing skills and a southpaw stance would make Zab Judah a tricky opponent for any man in the world of boxing. He was an undefeated world champion heading into the decade, regarded as one of the best fighters P4P in the sport, and he was fighting in the same division as Kostya Tszyu. Two of the sports top fighters, both world champions, both fighting in the same division, the superfight was brewing and when the pair finally met on November 3, 2001 and it was over before it begun. Judah had an excellent first round and looked as if he might have been too much for Tszyu. Then, one punch is all it took in the 2nd round and Judah was doing chicken dances with his legs. After losing the unification super-fight Zab was never really the same. He’s had a decade marred by inconsistency, personal problems and broken promises. He’s lost every single elite fight he’s taken part in and aside from a win over DeMarcus Corley, a rematch win over Cory Spinks and a controversial decision over Rafael Pineda, “super” Zab has failed to produce. It’s pretty obvious why boxing fans chose him as the underachiever of the decade because a man of his skills should have done more.
RUNNER UP: JERMAIN TAYLOR
WORST FIGHT OF THE DECADE (2000-2009)
1. Wladimir Klitschko vs. Sultan Ibragimov (FEBRUARY 23RD 2008; HEAVYWEIGHT
Heavyweight title fights are the most glamorous fights in boxing. They draw the most media attention and the heavyweight champion has often been regarded as the best fighter in the world… until this decade came along. Sultan Ibragimov and Wladimir Klitschko managed to draw a crowd of 14,000 fans to the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. It was, after all, a heavyweight championship bout. What ensued was a snooze fest from the off. Klitschko and Ibragimov often stood in front of one another like statues, rarely throwing a punch. Ibragimov was too cautious to exchange, often backing off from his opponent and Klitschko was content to sit back throwing the jab. The crowd boo’d, I turned my television off someway through the mid-rounds and we all think it was the worst fight of the decade.
RUNNER UP: NIKOLAI VALUEV VS. DAVID HAYE
OVERRATED FIGHTER OF THE DECADE (2000-2009)
1. RICKY “the hitman” HATTON
Hatton spent the first half of the decade defending his alphabet WBU title against any contender that Frank Warren would put in front of him. Perhaps, it seemed that Hatton was destined to be another top fighter who never made the push. That all changed on the 4th of June, 2005 when Ricky Hatton forced Kostya Tszyu to retire on his stool at the end of the 11th round. The #3 P4P fighter in the world, the #1 junior-welterweight fighter in the world and the heavy betting favourite retired on his stool after 11 tough rounds in the ring with “the hitman”. Hatton preceded to defend the title once, before stepping up and winning a close decision over Luis Collazo, winning his second world title in his second weight class. Victory over Juan Urango followed and then Hatton sensationally knocked out Jose Luis Castillo. He was subsequently ranked among the top 4 fighters in the world. Many felt he didn’t deserve such a ranking, they felt that he’d never beaten a prime and elite fighter. He had his chance when he was to meet Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in December 2007. Hatton was the betting favourite here in the UK and fight-fever had gripped the UK who seemed convinced that Hatton was “the man” to beat Floyd. What followed was a one-sided beatdown. Hatton wasn’t dropped from the P4P rankings, merely taken down to the bottom half. Once again, fight-fever gripped the UK when Hatton was to fight another P4P champion in Manny Pacquiao. Many felt that Hatton was in with a better chance against Pacquiao than he was against Floyd. By the end of the 2nd round, the fight was over and Hatton had been brutally knocked out. He was subsequently dropped from the P4P rankings and will likely going into any fight against an elite or semi-elite fighter as an underdog.
RUNNER UP: OSCAR DE LA HOYA
UNDERRATED FIGHTER OF THE DECADE (2000-2009)
1. RONALD “winky” WRIGHT
Oscar De La Hoya would fight any fighter who’s name wasn’t Winky Wright. He ducked the man like the plague, turning down any offer he threw at him. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. called him out and when Winky answered, Floyd moved on. Nobody wanted to fight Ronald Wright, and it looked as if he’d never get a shot at the big time. Winky traveled the world, fighting whoever dared answer his challenge and winning most of the contests. He entered the 00s, on the back of two controversial losses where many felt that Winky Wright had done enough to win. For the first 3 years of the decade, Winky fought fringe contenders and mandatories. The only men brave enough to get into the ring and lose almost every single round against Wright. In 2003, Shane Mosley offered Winky Wright a fight and Mosley was expected to blow over Wright. What followed was a clear cut unanimous decision victory over the man they call “sugar” and Wright had finally established himself. He won the rematch too, and then he beat the great Felix “tito” Trinidad in a virtual shutout winning all 12 rounds in a ruthless display of boxing. Winky was now a boxing superstar, often ranked as the #2 P4P fighter in the world, no lower than #3 by boxing journalists. Winky has never been given the respect he deserves, not by fans and not by the so called experts either. Some blame him for overrated his worth, others blame the fighters who would fight anybody but Winky. Whatever your opinion, you cannot doubt that Winky Wright was as good a technician as any and perhaps never got the respect that he deserves.
RUNNER UP: JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ & JOEL CASAMAYOR (TIE)