Pound4poundireland’s 2015 Fighter of the Year

Fighter of the Year

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

2. Tyson Fury

3. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez

This is not a popularity contest.

This is not a personality contest.

Based on accomplishment in the ring, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the Fighter of the Year for 2015.

The facile Berto coda was meaningless, this is all about the Pacquiao fight. It was craved as much as any other bout in history, teased for 5+ years, and caught the imagination of the wider sport-watching public & way, way beyond.

As with many mega-fights in boxing, it took place when the fighters were past their prime, and, unfortunately, it was a damp squib in terms of action, Mayweather making Pacquiao look like almost all of his prior opponents, comfortably outboxing him for a wide decision win.

Nobody had ever done anything approaching this to Pacquiao before.

Distracting talk of Pacquiao’s (laughable excuse/)shoulder injury aside, Mayweather proved beyond doubt that he is by far the best boxer of his generation.

IV/USADA-gate was another dampener on what was a cynical money grab from everyone involved, but no fighter produced anything this year to rival Mayweather’s display of pure boxing mastery from 7 months ago.

mayweather.pacquiao

However, Tyson Fury’s display to ‘out-Klitschko’ Klitschko and improbably lift the heavyweight crown comes in at a healthy second place.

An easy win over clubfighter Christian Hammer confirmed his credentials as a solid mandatory challenger for Klitschko, who had reigned for 9 1/2 years (the 2nd longest title reign in heavyweight history) over 18 successful defences.

A Fury knockout due to Klitschko’s much maligned chin was remotely conceivable, but not the manner in which he made Klitschko malfunction with his reach, size and constant movement. Klitschko’s final punch output of just 52 landed out of 231 was desultory. He looked old and unable to pull the trigger.

Ultimately, it was a close fight but Fury was not to be denied, walking away with the biggest prize in boxing to compliment his formidable size and self belief.

A rematch is in negotiations for May or June, and, while it will likely be another messy affair, it is intriguing. The result will go a long way to determining the future of the division in the coming years.

Canelo had his best year yet in 2015, confirming his status as Mexico’s premier fighter.

Washing the bad taste from many people’s mouths post-Mayweather-Pacquiao was never going to be an easy task, but Canelo did his best just a week later with a brutal knockout of James Kirkland in front of a partisan packed house at the Houston Astros’ baseball stadium.

Then came the fight craved by so many, a middleweight championship showdown (albeit at a catchweight unfortunately dictated by the champion) with Miguel Cotto, and, thus, the torch was passed.

The bigger Canelo used a mixture of brawn & sharp, composed boxing skills to win a well-deserved decision and make his first real mark in the history books.

Canelo has balls, and has to be praised for the high level opposition he’s consistently faced since taking on Austin Trout in mid-2013.

If anyone’s going to give Gennady Golovkin the shot at super-stardom he so deserves, it’s Canelo, and the fight is mooted for September.

4 thoughts on “Pound4poundireland’s 2015 Fighter of the Year

  1. You’re right Jeremy this is not a personality contest, it IS about accomplishment in the ring, however imho the reasons you give for your choice for the award don’t stand up to scrutiny. How you and Boxing News can make Floyd Mayweather fighter of the year for a snooze inducing, in reverse, performance against an injured Manny Pacquiao is beyond me and I suspect most boxing fans (modulo the flomos). For some reason you doubt Manny’s shoulder injury even though an MRI scan doesn’t lie. In addition the fact that he wasn’t allowed a pain killing injection before the fight but Mayweather was allowed an illegal form of rehydration (IV drip) before the fight is the biggest joke, not Pacquiao’s injury, and I would have expected someone so dubious about Manny’s injury to be equally dubious about Mayweather’s denials about his actions.

    You acknowledge that both fighters are past their prime, but don’t mention that Mayweather had waited until the signs that Pacquiao was no threat to him were obvious to even a blind man. That is why he was able to waltz around the hapless, injured, Pacquiao and counter punch to his heart’s content, there was no boxing mastery about this, he was simply fighting an injured ghost of a once great fighter. The fact that Mayweather didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to face Manny at his potent best, 5 or 6 years ago, should not be forgotten and makes this a hollow victory for Mayweather, so hollow that this award for fighter of the year is an absolute joke – I had to check the calendar I thought it was April the 1st.

    The fighter of the year should have gone to Tyson Fury for reasons that are obvious. The fight itself was poor of course but the way that Tyson took away Wlad’s jab and hence the following, powerful, straight right was exceptional. The way Tyson applied this game plan against a, supposedly, all powerful champion for the full 12 rounds was the real display of boxing mastery of 2015 and he should have, deservedly, been given his due in the various end of year awards. This would have been the case in boxing but unfortunately it seems these end of year awards are still being awarded by those that are under the spell of Mayweather’s own version of the “Emperor’s New Clothes”, let’s hope there is a similar ending sooner or later.

    • I strongly disagree. The bottom line for me is that easy wins over Pacquiao and Berto trump, by a distance, anybody’s 2015, including Fury’s easy win over Hammer & close Klitschko upset.

      “Snooze inducing, in reverse”? This is exactly the sort of ad hominem-influenced, stylistic disparagement that has nothing to do with the final result, which was a near shutout dominance. We all prefer knockouts, but pure boxing is just as big a part of the sport. To my eyes, Mayweather took centre ring for much of the fight and don’t forget that he actually out-threw Pacquiao according to Compubox.

      Here is what I wrote post-fight, and I stand by these thoughts:

      “So Manny Pacquiao refused the fight in 2010, and one of the reasons cited was a fear of needles, but now the complaint is that he wasn’t allowed to have an injection 90 mins. prior to the first bell? The irony.

      Freddie Roach said countless times that Mayweather’s legs were “shot” & that he had refined a gameplan over the years to beat him, only to accuse Mayweather of “running” post-fight. The shameless irony.

      Can anybody imagine the earth-shattering hate that would have befallen the already widely-despised Mayweather had he lost in one-sided fashion, only to claim that he won, while simultaneously blaming the loss on an injury?!

      We’ll never know just how serious Pacquiao’s injury was, and if pulling out of the fight when it flared up in training would have forced a cancellation due to the necessity of surgery, or whether the fight could simply have been rescheduled for July or so after the shoulder had been given a rest (after all, Pacquiao’s camp have said that the shoulder had been a recurrent problem since at least 2010).

      Certainly, the immediate post-fight shoulder surgery that Pacquiao has undergone is a smart PR move, whether it was strictly urgent or not.”

      Pacquiao was not entitled to an injection pre-fight because he had not declared it beforehand & the NSAC acted correctly in denying his request. If Pacquiao had followed the rules, he could have had the injection, but he failed to do so. Allowing a fighter to have an undeclared injection 90 mins. before the bell of one of the biggest fights in history would have been beyond ridiculous.

      As for USADA and the IV, it is suspicious & I would like transparency regarding why an exemption was granted for such a treatment, but, since we don’t know enough, it’s impossible to draw any concrete conclusions. Also, let’s not forget that, rightly or not, IV use is legal and commonly undergone by fighters competing in Nevada.

      As I wrote in September:

      “Would I like greater transparency regarding the reasons behind the granting of the TUE & full test results rather than a summary being released to relevant state commissions after the completion of a testing program? Yes, but I can understand that this is not straightforward when the International Standards for Protection of Privacy and Personal Information (ISPPPI) are taken into consideration, and commissions like Nevada don’t conform to the same standards with regards to the appropriate handling of this information.

      It’s pretty absurd that the NSAC’s charter states that it conforms to WADA code but that the use of IVs is still allowed without any oversight. It is equally perturbing that “paragraph 30” of the Mayweather-Pacquiao USADA testing contract implies that any of the rules can basically be changed to suit any of the parties’ purposes as they go through the testing process, whether this clause was included at the behest of Mayweather, as Hauser implies, or Pacquiao, as USADA states.”

      You are being very harsh on Pacquiao, who while certainly past his 2009-ish prime, proved by beating Bradley in mid 2014 that he was, at least as of May this year, still one of the pound for pound elite. Pacquiao is the best offensive fighter of his generation, and still one of the best offensive fighters today (at least until someone below the elite level proves otherwise), yet was reduced to mediocrity by Mayweather’s defence & counterpunching.

      The multitudinous reasons why the fight never happened before 2015 (and both sides share the blame) are irrelevant to this discussion.

  2. I have no horse in the May-Pac race, unless it is a wish never to see either fighter in the ring again.

    Especially not — and this is all the gratitude/compassion I can muster — as husks returning to cash out again, and again, until battered by lesser talents. The composting of fighters, their turning into fertilizer for the next generation, is a boxing ritual that has always fascinated and repelled me, but for some reason in our era it has become reliably boring. Drugs, I suppose: the artificiality of our elites’ longevity, their eternal sunshine. The way they’re able to soldier on when otherwise sensibly past it. There is simply nothing left to learn about Floyd or Manny, any more than, say, from another minute on film directed by the pale shadow of Woody Allen; adieu already!

    Tyson Fury I wish well, first for his stunning accomplishment and secondly for making the division a live proposition again. I will be hoping Wlad has second thoughts, or some muscle or vertebra begs him to reconsider. The specter of him returning to seize back the crown, and rule over the heavies for another few years with his arid lafftrack of jabs and one-twos, is too depressing to consider. Much better if Tyson is left to have a go at the contenders and pretenders while we see how Joshua comes along. Fury-Povetkin, or Fury-Ortiz, or dare we imagine it Fury-Wilder — all much more compelling than rehashing Fury-Klit.

    I’ll tell you who set boxing on fire for me last year, and who I can’t wait to see again. F. Vargas in his come from behind damnation of Miura. Bring on this lord of hell and let’s see who else he can cast into the depths!

    • Very, very pertinent remark about drugs being the likely elephant in the room giving many of this era’s stars endless primes & career-extension into their late 30s/early 40s.

      Right now my interest in either Mayweather or Pacquiao boxing again is pretty damn low, but that could change if they’re in with interesting opponents. As you say, the irrevocable conclusion for such money-hungry hubris is defeat, often brutal, to someone that never would have laid a glove on them in their primes. Just ask Comrade Roy. (http://www.boxingscene.com/roy-jones-jr-financial-issues-explained-by-promoter–99885)

      I agree that all those fights are more interesting than a likely boring rematch with Klitschko. It would undoubtedly be better for the division if Fury can repeat the trick and send Wlad into retirement. I’m already annoyed that we have to wait until May or June for the rematch.

      Vargas-Miura was a thriller and will rank highly in my fights of 2015. Excited to see both men again in 2016, and wouldn’t a rematch be one to savour?

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