My prospect of the year picks for 2017 were a mixed bag:
Top pick Jarrett Hurd won a vacant title against Tony Harrison, then beat skilled veteran Austin Trout, both in entertaining fights, to set himself up for a unification against the likes of Jermell Charlo.
Unfortunately, #2 pick Jason Quigley suffered a setback with a serious hand injury, suffered in a tougher-than-expected win over Glen Tapia in March, his only bout of the year:
Hughie Fury boxed just once also, a close loss for a world title against Joseph Parker.
He was ultra-defensive and reluctant to engage, frustrating the plodding Parker in possibly the year’s most boring fight, one in which both men looked terrible.
Fury will get other chances in the future, but while he proved he has a skillset to hang with some of the divison’s top ten, he’ll have to be a lot more aggressive to succeed.
Unfortunately, just two of the ten bouts I craved in 2017 (Canelo-GGG & Ward-Kovalev II) actually took place:
This is surprising, perhaps, given that 2017 has to be viewed as a strong one for the sport, probably the best since 2013.
Some of the fights (Gonzalez-Inoue, Joshua-Haye, for example) withered on the vine due to the older boxers suffering losses and appearing to be shot.
Looking back at my monthly Judging the Judges pieces from the past year, the question emerges of who were some of the worst repeat offenders of the year?
Britain’s Bob Williams claims the unenviable #1 position amongst referees & judges with 5 separate citations for poor officiating.
Phil Edwards, Steve Gray, Steve Weisfeld, Ian John-Lewis, Victor Loughlin, Don Trella, Jamie Garayua, Steve Morrow, Tony Weeks, Irakli Malazonia, Richard Ocasio and Valerie Dorsett also picked up multiple mentions each.
Dishonourable mention must also be made of:
- Adalaide ‘118-110’ Byrd
- The Arkansas commission for allowing a HIV-positive boxer to fight
- The New York commission for their sins as outlined by Thomas Hauser
- WBO supervisor John Handelaar for not knowing the weigh-in rules of his own organization
- Clark Sammartino for not knowing the identities of the boxers in the fight he was judging
- And extra special mention to Bob Bennett and the Nevada commission for their sanctioning and subsequent justifications of Mayweather-McGregor, as well as the Rigondeaux-Flores post-fight mess.