lilfloyd1

Knockout Nation: 2007 Year in Review

Welcome to the 2007 year end wrapup of Knockout Nation. In 2006, we had to suffer through declarations that boxing was dead on a mainstream level. This year proved that not only is the sport alive and thriving, but that things can be even better by continuing to pit the best fighters against each other (wow, what a novel concept.)

 

Fighter of The Year: Kelly Pavlik

 

Most publications have awarded middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik as fighter of the year, and I’m in agreement. In the span of a year, Pavlik has gone from an unknown to the top of the boxing heap. And he did so by making sure no fight was left in the hands of the judges. He first scored a chilling KO of rugged Jose Luis Zertuche, and then dominated heralded Edison Miranda for a TKO in seven rounds. Finally, he capped the year by coming off the floor from a hard knockdown to stop Jermain Taylor in seven. The most impressive thing so far about Pavlik is his ability to maintain poise under adversity and execute his game plan. In each fight this year, the Youngstown native was not frazzled by pressure from opponents. Pavlik’s wins over two young prime fighters gives him a very slight edge over Mayweather’s two signatures wins this year. Look for Pavlik to reign at middleweight as long as his body allows.

 

Runner Ups

1. Floyd Mayweather

2. Juan Manuel Marquez

3. Miguel Cotto

4. Juan Diaz

 

 

 

 

 

Most Exciting Fight:Vazquez-Marquez II

 

 

Barely edging their first brutal clash, Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez produced a sequel worthy to be called a classic. After quitting due to a nose injury in the first bout, many were questioning whether Vazquez could hold up to Marquez’s punching power, and also the fact he was returning to the ring early against the wishes of his longtime trainer Freddie Roach. These factors may have lulled Marquez into a false sense of security, as he stormed Vasquez looking to pick up right were he left off.

 

Vasquez was able to counterpunch effectively throughout the bout, doubling up his left hooks to the body and head to hurt Marquez badly in the 3rd round. Despite this, Marquez would always fire back combos of his own, disfiguring Vasquez with cuts above both eyes. In the end, it was a hard hook that sent Marquez to the canvas in round six. Even in dire straits, Marquez continued trading punches as the referee called a halt to the bout.

 

The inevitable rubber match next year promises more of the same brutality. The humanity in me hopes that these fighters won’t be finished after these brutal bouts.

 

Runner Ups

Jermain Taylor vs. Kelly Pavlik

Miguel Cotto vs. Shane Mosley

Jaidon Codrington vs. Sakio Bika

Floyd Mayweather vs. Ricky Hatton

Joe Calzaghe vs. Mikkel Kessler

 

 

 

 

Most Improved Fighter: Chad Dawson

 

 

 

 

“Bad” Chad Dawson used 2007 as his breakout year, dismantling lightweight champ Tomasz Adamek, and making two successful defenses of his WBC title. The Adamek bout was a huge step up in class for Dawson, who won a lopsided decision despite a late flash knockdown. Unfortunately, Dawson has looked a little too good, and has been unable to secure a high profile bout since the Adamek fight. Antonio Tarver is quick to make excuses and spends his days calling out a supper middleweight (Jeff Lacy), while Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe are enamored with the potential dollars between them. As a result, Dawson takes on dangerous warhorse Glen Johnson in April. Dawson will likely have to continue cleaning out the division of B-level talent to give the big hitters no choice but to take him on.

 

Runner Ups

Paul Williams

Joan Guzman

Paul Malignaggi

Nonito Donaire

Michael Katsidis

 

 

  

 

I’m Going Down Award: Oscar De La Hoya

 

 

One of these days, Oscar will realize that he’s not going to get that definitive win to end his career. Despite receiving a boxing lesson from Floyd, Oscar is entertaining fights against Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and Ricky Hatton. Stop it, Oscar. Your calling is now as a promoter, not convoluting the boxing scene from 147-154 lbs, tempting everyone and their mother to get another payday. Hang ‘em up!

 

Runner Ups

Fernando Vargas

Vivian Harris

Ricardo Mayorga

Travis Simms

 

 

Knockout of the Year

 

 

 

You knew someone would do it eventually. While Vic Darchinyan was a terror to overmatched flyweights, his wild charge up punches left him vulnerable to a sweet counter punch. That day came earlier this year, when Nonito Donaire knocked him cold with a cracking left hook counter. Darchinyan had no clue what hit him, and now has to reconcile the fact the technique he’s been using the majority of his career will not cut it against the elite.

 

 

Predictions for 2008

 

2008 promises more big matchups for boxing. Here are my matchup predictions for the confirmed bouts.

 

Pavlik-Taylor II

 

Pavlik has the psychological advantage of not only taking Taylor’s best shots, but coming back to KO him. Taylor has shown since facing elite competition, he has difficulty executing and/or adjusting his game plan when faced with adversity. I look for Taylor to be a lot more cautious in his engagements, but still be on the losing end of exchanges when forced to the ropes. Taylor survives, but loses a competitive decision 115-113.

 

Vazquez-Marquez III

 

This fight comes down to who executes better. In the first bout, Marquez varied his attacks, alternately between boxing and slugging when needed. In the rematch, the roles were switched and Vazquez won. I’m going to go out on limb and pick Vazquez by TKO. I feel he just has a little more versatility and is not as gung ho as Rafael can be (which cost him the rematch). Vazquez TKO9.

 

Pacquiao-Marquez II

 

Marquez has looked in rare form in his recent bouts against Marco Antonio Barerra and Rocky Juarez. Pacquiao also defeated Barrera this year, but hasn’t looked like the ferocious whirlwind of a fighter since dispatching Erik Morales in their rubber match. Marquez seemed to figure out Pacquiao in the second half of their first fight back in 2004, and I expect him to pick up where he left off. Marquez UD 116-112

 

2008 Wishlist

 

Mayweather vs. Cotto

 

Unified Heavyweight Division

 

Chad Dawson vs. Bernard Hopkins/Joe Calzaghe winner

 

Ricky Hatton vs. Junior Witter or Paulie Malignaggi

 

Manny Pacquiao/Juan Manuel Marquez winner vs. Joan Guzman

 

Juan Diaz vs. Joel Casamayor/Michael Katsidis winner

 

Nonito Donaire vs. Vic Darchinyan II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blog comments powered by Disqus