Views From The Couch: End Of The Year Edition
If you came here looking for my “Fighter of the Year” and other stock award discussions done around this time of the year, I'm going to let you down. It's the same as everyone else's in Dmitry Bivol. Having to keystroke some flowery, watered-down prose about why he beat Canelo Alvarez back in May seems pretty stale. Even more than usual this year. Most, if not all, of those articles, felt warmed over at best after he beat Gilberto Ramirez a month ago. I'll leave that to the rest of the boxing world to recycle and thaw that consensus pick from boxing's freezer. I hope it wasn't next to the Thanksgiving turkey with that “Caleb Plant shoveling Anthony Dirrell” piece.
👀 @SweetHandsPlant KO last weekend was one of the most impressive finishes this year. 📺 Watch the #PlantDirrell highlight here: https://t.co/sshJ2CPwzn
#TheRevengeTour continues 😤. pic.twitter.com/SqaDC0oJtQ
— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) October 21, 2022
Instead, allow me to give you what I feel many in this sport aren't saying.
When it's all said and done this year in 2022, what sticks out like a sore thumb is the waves of horrendously dull, bad main event matchups we had. My author page here alone is a grocery aisle of recaps exhausted from the ways to say, “this was boring as hell.” At least three moments this year, I felt like I was being targeted for these trash fights. Then I saw the waterboarding suffered by the rest of the staff here with the other matchups. This was the worst house game of Presidents and Assholes where the president simply said, “watch boxing.”
The biggest name in the sport Canelo Alvarez, was easily on two of the worst cards this year in the ring. A big-time fight between the top two welterweights fell through, exasperating the reality of it not happening. Alphabet-sanctioning bodies have ordered fights like they always do, but they seem less enforced than ever. Let me pour out some liquor for the long-reigning featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz, who finally found that WBA belt in the basement, dusted it off, and handed it back to them.
The sport took a dip this year, no other way to spin it. If boxing were a dish this year, it would've been cough syrup. Whatever color it is out of the bottle, it wasn't curing your cold; instead, just left you groggy and confused at all of it while choking it down. This felt more like a pandemic year than 2021. Considering the sport's drop in action this year, one can hope it picks up.
My Favorite 2022 Highlights
It's the holiday season, and truthfully as I stated before, I've complained, groaned, and moaned all year. Below are some of the events I didn't bellyache about this year.
Hasim Rahman Jr. flew cross country to “weigh himself” for a Jake Paul fight that was canceled the week before due to missing weight. Spoilers, he still didn't make the weight at his own “weigh-in.” Still, Rahman Jr. was able to parlay that into a decision loss to late-replacement and former NFL player Greg Hardy in November. This is the type of foolishness you'd read about in fantasy sports leagues. This was boxing in July at its peak.
Making the Wikipedia page for Creator Clash ,that event had the livest crowd I've ever experienced for a boxing event. Here's a fun fact I have yet to see anywhere. After the opening bout, Nathan “Dad” Barnatt won in 22 seconds; he fist-bumped everyone in the media row. It was like being a part of the home run cutscene in “Bad News Baseball” for Nintendo. Bring on Creator Clash 2.
Women's boxing was the backbone and front-runner this year, and honestly, this blurb can't do it enough justice. While most men's bouts have stagnated or have yet to happen, we finally got the decade-old grudge match between Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall. Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano had an undisputed contest that should make everyone's Top Five for the year, regardless of gender. Alycia Baumgardner and Mikaela Mayer have both talked enough smack for a lifetime. Despite that, those two had some of the most entertaining stuff between fighters this year.
I find it amusing that the first article I wrote here was dumping on the action we weren't getting back in January. How much has changed since then? Not a damn thing. Top Rank Boxing will again deal with the elements of upstate New York to kick off its boxing schedule in 2023, while Premier Boxing Champions starts with a pay-per-view. Change has to come, right?
Final Thoughts On 2022 In Boxing
To say this boxing suffered a drought this year would be disrespectful to the lack of making it rain. If boxing were an addiction, you'd overcome it by August this year at the worst due to the vice not being there for a fix. Former champ, Adrien Broner, summarized this year best when he said during a media call, “I ain't with none of this shit that's going on.” Hopefully, things will go back on the upswing in 2023. I'll just have a view from the couch until then.
Despite this year's seasonal vibe, it has been a banner year. One of those feats for me was joining the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (TBRB). I'm not known as a “rank and file” guy, but no better time to present my own rankings for the most useless things in boxing this year than now. Consider it my holiday present to all of you. (Disclaimer: This rankings list is not associated with the TBRB.)
The 10 Most Useless Things in Boxing in 2022:
10. “Agreed in Principle”
9. Calling it “The Punch Bowl.”
8. Apology Videos
7. Dr. Lou Moret Scorecards
6. Spence vs. Crawford
5. Awaiting the results of that “B” Sample
4. Shadowboxing Mascots
2. Is it pronounced “The Zone” or “Days Inn”?
1. Picking against the 2022 Fighter of the Year
Honorable mentions go to KSI's opponents, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini's analysis, and “Boxers Love Kinahan” Prime (allegedly). Happy Holidays!