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NYF Squad Weighs In: Picks Are In For Fighter of the Year, and Boxing Bout of the Year

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NY Fights tries to be something of a family affair.

Yeah, it is “my” site,” so to speak…But not really. 

This is a team effort, and I love this crew.

The Abe Gonzalez’, the John Gatlings’, all the gang, their efforts and their takes and their personalities are what make this boutique sort of site be what it is. 

Nah, we ain’t changing the world…but in our own way, we are influencing how we can, making our voices heard and speaking to the issues that affect and define us.

All that in mind…that’s why I wanted to give the NYF Squad and extended fam the floor, to share who they think is Fighter of the Year 2019, and what they think is Fight of the Year 2019.

I think the world as a whole needs more “team efforts,” less sniping and fighting and back biting…so, we try and model that here at NYF. 

Hey…Happy New Year, to all good souls.

To the nominees..

Said Abe Gonzalez: “FIGHTER OF THE YEAR is….Josh Taylor.

The FIGHT OF THE YEAR was… Julian Williams vs Jarrett Hurd.”

“Fighter of the year is Manny Pacquiao, Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire is fight of the year,” said John Gatling. “And since this is it for 2019, I just wanted to expound on why I feel Manny Pacquiao is the FOTY and why Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire was the FOTY. Regarding Pacquiao, who thought the once wildly frivolous Filipino icon turned stately Senator and devout family man could recall vintage “Pac-Man” against an unbeaten, state-of-the-art trained Keith “One-Time” Thurman? That he dropped and wound up winning a summer thriller is one thing. That he did it at 40, on the heels of shutting down and shutting up Adrien Broner is another. Over 7 years after being concussed by a thoroughly retired Juan Manuel Marquez, Pac still makes pound-for-pound lists and while overcoming a real concern from Bob Arum about possible brain damage facing One-Time. You’d be hard pressed to find a decent fighter at 40 going 6 decent rounds in a club fight, let alone 12 elite level rounds under expectations of doom. Canelo is a trendy pick, but he beat a spent Daniel Jacobs — who faced a fresh Sergey Derevyanchenko in between tough fights, same guy Canelo’s team (not Alvarez, he’ll fight anyone) didn’t want to face in 2019 — and bested the worse in Sergey Kovalev. It’s Pac by a country mile.

As for Inoue Vs Donaire, this was to be a massacre. A brutal changing of the guard served up by boxing tradition from one generation to the next. Not so, said Donaire. Even as my own eyes met his in Las Vegas for Pacquiao Vs Thurman and told him that the “Filipino Flash” would be counting stars in the ICU after being struck by a miniature Godzilla “Monster”. It was epic. Turned out to be everything we love about the Sweet Science and worthy of Black and White reels. Donaire produced that last great fight all the greats have in them, while Inoue proved he was great. So was boxing in 2019.”

The votes as furnished by Kelsey McCarson: “Fighter of the Year: Canelo,  Fight of the Year: Ruiz/Joshua 1.”

“FIGHTER OF THE YEAR is…. Naoya Inoue. The FIGHT OF THE YEAR…. Derevyenchenko vs Golovkin,” said Chris Glover.

“Yes, it’s glib to share images in response to a writing assignment. And I could make arguments for Josh Taylor, Canelo, Beterbiev as individual candidates and for their best wins as the top bouts of ’19. Wilder-Fury I, by ending in a draw, seems both more and less deserving of honor,” said Gabe Oppenheim.

“Yet here’s the crux of it: I ordered a shit ton of Japanese magazines and books in advance of the WBSS final. They weren’t particularly expensive, and I’d want to support print media anyway. I read ’em,  not totally — understood some articles and chapters more than others.

But now they’re piled high on a faux-leather bench in my apartment. And that betrays their original purpose: to be spotted and perused by the people — especially those who marvel at  athleticism, at what dynamic humans of all sizes can achieve with superlative discipline and freakish native ability.

So Inoue is my winner. Because I won’t forget these images (some from ’18, admittedly) — and it seems right that neither should you.

Said Matt Andrzejewski:  “This is one of the toughest years I can recall to pick a fighter of the year. But by the narrowest of margins I have to say Canelo Alvarez. The quality of his two opponents and picking up a light heavyweight championship swing the pendulum in his favor.

And fight of the year is equally as tough. I am going off the radar with Robert Talarek-Patryk Szymanski. I just rewatched it and if I counted correctly I think there were 10 total knockdowns in that fight. Granted not the biggest of fights but really something that was quite incredible.”

Opined Hamza Ahmed: “FIGHTER OF THE YEAR – I’ve spent the better part of the past 24 hours thinking about this because I didn’t want to give an answer for the sake of giving an answer and it’s bloody hard. I’ve whittled it down to a personal shortlist of 3 – Canelo Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao and Naoya Inoue. The problem is picking from one of these is like splitting hairs. Each have their own merits to warrant being picked the FOTY yet each also has some points against them. That said, I’ve got to make a decision and I’ll go with … Canelo Alvarez.

FIGHT OF THE YEAR – another tremendous year of boxing spoiled us fans with am abundance of heartstopping thrillers. J Rock V Hurd, Ruiz V Joshua 2, Taylor V Prograis, Spence Jr V Porter, GGG V Derevyanchenko and Pacquiao V Thurman were the brightest roses in a flower bed of crazy fights but my pick goes to Naoya Inoue V Nonito Donaire. There are not enough superlatives in the English lexicon to describe how insane this ‘mini Manila’ was. I also want to give a shout out to 3 other fight of the year candidates which unfortunately are being slept on – 1) Lamont Peterson V Sergey Lipinets was a fight for the savage in us, capped off with an emotional retirement speech by Lamont, 2) Robert Talarek and Patrick Szymanski’s 5 round war which saw 10, YES 10 knockdowns was something straight out of the Fight Night video games and 3) Elwin Soto’s remarkable last round TKO over Angel Acosta was a tremendous battle punctuated by controversy.”

“Fighter of the year is Canelo Alvarez,” said Alden Chodash. “The Fight of the year was Taylor-Prograis.”

Canelo is fighter of the year,” said Jay Bulger. “Fight of the year is Williams-Hurd.”

Said Brendan Long: “Fighter if the Year Is… Canelo Alvarez…Fight of the Year was… Ruiz Joshua I.”

“Fighter of the Year: Errol Spence – Garcia wasn’t a legit welterweight but Garcia could sure beat most of them and is a great fighter. Porter win was huge. Porter brings so much to the table. The effort needed to beat him is demanding and with the knockdown, you have to hand it to Spence,” said John Vena. “Runner Up: Josh Taylor. Fight of the Year: Taylor vs Prograis – The level of skill, the back and forth, ebb and flow, really did it for me. Love this division and I think Taylor-Ramirez should be the best fight in 2020. Runner Up: Spence vs. Porter. Another great year.”

Voted Jeremy Herriges: “FIGHTER OF THE YEAR is….Canelo Alvarez…The FIGHT OF THE YEAR was…Inoue vs. Donaire.”

“FIGHTER OF THE YEAR is…. Naoya Inoue,” said Vladimir Lik. “The FIGHT OF THE YEAR was… Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire.”

“FIGHTER OF THE YEAR is….CANELO,” said Jay Chaudhry. “The FIGHT OF THE YEAR was…JOSHUA RUIZ 1.”

Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, who is the best heavyweight in boxing, for 2019 into 2020?

Some folks thought this one was fight of the year.

“Fighter – Deontay Wilder,” said Josh Friedman. “Fight – Spence-Porter.”

“Fighter of the Year Is… Inoue,” said Rachel McCarson. “Fight of the Year was… Taylor vs Prograis.”

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Summing up: Nope, it wasn’t the strongest year the sport has had. Too many fights that needed to be made didn’t, too much marinating time, for too many guys. Picking fighter of the year was hard and not in a good way. Too many aces fought placeholder bouts, stay busys, instead of must dos. Canelo, you say, deserves FOY. His effort against Danny Jacobs was no thriller and he didn’t blow you away for most rounds, cept for the last one, versus Sergey Kovalev. Many liked Inoue…But Donaire snagged so much of the buzz that most figured Inoue would net. So, who? Pacman is a tempting pick…but one of his wins was AB, so that is a heavy detractor. See, this is harder in this “less is more” era, in which A plus siders pretty much only fight twice a year. Right now, I’m going with NO PICK, and will sleep on it, force myself to choose one.

For Fight of the Year, it’s an easy one…Andy Ruiz’ takedown of the heavily favored Anthony Joshua will be, in five, ten, 20 and more years from now, the fight that people will recall when pondering the year in boxing, 2019.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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