Convicted Artist Magazine

May 25th
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boxing-awards-of-the-yearFight of the year
There is no clear winner, but for the combination of action and drama, I have to go with the Lucas Matthysse-John Molina fight.  Not only was there the unexpected (Molina appearing bigger, and even slightly more durable than Matthysse), there was also the ebb and flow (Mattyhsse being dropped with borderline legal shots, and Molina gradually being worn down).  The mix was complete by what was supposed to be at stake... a fight with Broner or Garcia (which Al Haymon seems to have no plans to make happen after all).. left everyone with an improved standing.  Matthysse gets a good comeback win, and still has his power, yet looks vulnerable enough that he will no longer be avoided.  Molina announces his arrival at 140 with a bang.  It's also one of those fights you can watch again and again, and still be entertained, even knowing what is going to happen.

Fighter of the year
Terrance Crawford.  You can make a case for GGG, or Sergei Kovalev, but I like to look at where they were, vs where they started.  Kovalev's win over Hopkins was very impressive, but we were just as scared of this big bomber 12 months ago when he was shellacking Ismail Sillakh.  With Stevenson, pascal, Bedterbiev, this division will remian interesting.  GGG has HBo digging for more middleweight contenders to feed to Golovkin, but he is only grown in hype in the last 12 months.  Crawford went from an uninspiring contender to the best lightweight in the world with dominant and exciting wins over the toughest most avoided guys in his division.  He did so, as a hometown hero, bring boxing back to an area where it was long neglected.

Upset of the year
Chris Algieri over Ruslan Provodnikov is probably the leader, simply because of what was at stake, in retrospect.  Algieri also had tremendous adveristy to overcome.. being both dropped by a heavy shot early, and fighting one-eyed thereafter.  Add to that, the immoveable force he was dealing with.  Provo kept coming all 12 rounds, and was always landing the heavier punches.. however, Algieri was dictating the pace, landing more, and boxing beautifully.  He rightfully earned the decision, and a multi-million dollar payday with pacquiao.. while Ruslan had to settle for a hometown bout with a completely shot Jose Luis Castillo.  Crossroads are rarely this drastic.Comeback of the year
Manny Pacquiao may have only been coming back from a lucky punch and a lousy decision, but a year of inactivity, followed by a one-sided decision against Rios was not enough to warrant a comeback.  However, after picking right back up where he left off in dominating Tim Bradley and Chris Algieri, he is most definitely back.  Algieri and Bradley may not be punchers, but no one else has figured out how to beat either one of them, Manny has done so over 36 rounds, maybe losing 7 of them.  He even has people back to thinking he is a great match for Floyd Mayweather.  Pretty impressive.

Disappointment of the year
Mike Perez is joining the list of fighters such as Nonito Donaire, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and Kubrat Pulev, who seriously underperformed based on expectations, however, Perez is the only one we were really excited about.  Rigo was largely idle, but that is not his fault.  Donaire has long been slowly slipping, and Pulev was mostly unproven.  After Perez' tragic fight with Magomed Abdullasamov, he became a sympathetic figure.  However, he jumped right back in against hungry contenders, and had to settle for a draw and a close loss.  Now, his career is most definitely on hold.  Not sure where he will go from here, but HBO seems not to be making any more plans involving him.

Chris Strait

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