Ted the Bull’s Boxing Awards for 2012
At a time when political correctness has gone bonkers, violence is not acceptable (except of course at the movies and on TV)…
Fighter of the Year: Nonito Donaire
“I believe I am still getting better.”—Nonito Donaire
Nonito Donaire was an equal opportunity kind of guy in 2012 as he beat Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., South African Jeffrey Mathebula, Japanese Toshiaki Nishioka, and Mexican Jorge Arce (and his results were better every time he stepped into the ring). Suffice it to say that the “Filipino Flash” was the best fighter from the Philippines in 2012 as well as a top pound-for-pound fighter.
Fight of the Year: Rios vs. Alvarado
“It will be two warriors going at it; blood for blood.”—Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios
“Sometimes when you figure that it’s a great fight, it turns out not to be so great. This really exceeded what I really thought.”—Bob Arum
Mike Alvarado (33-0) vs. Brandon Rios (31-0-1) exceeded expectations as they engaged in unmitigated savagery for 180 seconds of each round until Rios’s old school, incoming aggressiveness closed the show in the seventh round, winning via TKO. At a time when political correctness has gone bonkers, violence is not acceptable (except of course at the movies and on TV). Maybe so, but when two men do in the ring what Rios and Alvarado did, millions of spines tingled and fans, with chills running down their backs, were in boxing heaven.
Round of the Year: Round 6 – Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV
Round six of Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Manny Pacquiao was one in which Pac Man, after being rocked and decked in the third, had regrouped and was coming back strong and going after a busted up Marquez in Round 5 and most of Round 6—only to be knocked cold in the last second of the round as Pacquiao lunged in and was met by a crushing incoming counter right from Juan Manuel.
Pacquiao had evened up the knockdowns at one each midway through the fifth round and then hurt Marquez badly with a right hook with less than a minute to go. Marquez then came out for Round 6 with a busted nose and was clearly getting the worst of it. The crowd, sensing that a kill might be in the offing, was up and roaring for Manny. And then, just like that, it was over and Juan Manuel MarqOally got his vindication.
Knockout of the Year: Marquez’s KO of Pacquiao
Juan Manuel Marquez’s electrifying, shocking, and stunning KO over Manny Pacquiao may well end up being the KO of the decade. The fact that Pacquiao’s face and Marquez’s fist were moving from opposite directions intensified the ferocity of the collision.
Trainer of the Year: Robert Garcia
Robert Garcia wins Trainer of the Year for the second straight year as he works with and/or molds younger brother Mikey Garcia, Nonito Donaire, Marcos “Chino” Maidana, and inspirational leader Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, among others. He also has Kelly Pavlik, Pelos Garcia, Neno Rodriguez, Andy Ruiz, Erik Ruiz, Hakim Ellisc Victor Passias, Tyson Marquez, Eddie Alicea, and Trevor McCumby under his wing. Robert’s boxing academy has put Oxnard front and center on the boxing map mainly because his fighters are very good at doing a certain thing in particular—- winning.
Virgil Hunter and old school trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain also warrant strong mention.
Upset of the Year: Jaro Stops Wonjongkam
While not on everyone’s radar, the clear winner in my view was Filipino Sonny Boy Jaro’s shockig TKO of Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (83-3-2) for the WBC flyweight title on March 2 (in Thailand no less). Sonny Boy was 6-4 in his last 10 and had been stopped seven times. Affirming the upset was the fact Jaro lost his title in his very next fight to Toshiyuki Igarashi on July 16. Incredibly, Pongsaklek was hammered to the canvas four times even though he was a 20-1 favorite.
Josesito Lopez’s TKO over Victor Ortiz ranked second, but Ortiz was not 83-3-2 coming in.
As for Timothy Bradley’s win over Manny Pacquiao on June 9, see “Worst Decision” below.
Comeback of the Year: Alfredo Angulo
After being stopped by James Kirkland in 2011 and then incarcerated unjustly for eight months for alleged visa issues, Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo survived and prevailed and then won two fights late in 2012 as he began to regain his fan-friendly form. Given what he has been through, it’s hard not to root for Angulo.
Others worthy of mention include Carl Froch, Devon Alexander, Daniel Ponce de Leon, and Arthur Abraham, though Alexander’s “performance” against Randall Bailey was mind-numbing in its dullness.
Referee Russell Mora, placed on forced absence for his poor work in the Abner Mares vs. Joseph Agbeko fight in August 2011, more than made up for it with a superb performance in a December 8 bout between Patrick Hyland and Sergio Martinez wannabe Javier Fortuna. So good was his performance that it could well be used a training video for other officials.
Breakthrough Fighter of the Year: Adrien Broner
Adrien Broner continued to impress. He scored dominant wins over Eloy Perez, Vicente Escobedo, and Antonio DeMarco (against whom Broner was truly brilliant). Both inside and outside the ring, Broner has become the Mayweather replacement—shoulder roll and all.
Gennady Golovkin, Leo Santa Cruz, Kell Brook, George Grove and Gary Russell Jr. also made their presence felt in 2012.
Worst Decision of the Year: Pacquiao vs. Bradley
“Jim Lampley, who called the fight for HBO, came over to me at ringside after the fight, looked at me and said, in 30 years of calling fights, the single worst decision he’s ever seen. Remember, he called fights like Holyfield-Lewis I….”—Dan Rafael
“After a thorough review by five veteran judges commissioned by the WBO, Pacquiao was declared the unanimous decision winner by the panel.”— BoxRec.com footnote next to Tim Bradley’s record
In the split decision for Timothy Bradley against Manny Pacquiao on June 9, Judges Duane Ford and CJ Ross scored it 115-113 for Bradley, while Judge Jerry Roth saw it 115-113 in Pacquiao’s favor.
The uproar caused by the decision generated so much noise that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator John McCain postured with righteous, albeit phony, indignation and once again proposed legislation calling for the formation of a National Boxing Commission. However, their Pavlovian response was almost as noxious as the split decision from which it derived.
A plaque commemorating this disgrace will hang in infamy in the Boxing Hall of Shame alongside Toney-Tiberi (1992), Foreman-Briggs (1997), Casamayor-Santa Cruz (2007), and Williams-Lara (2011).
Easiest Pick of the Year
Worse Decision of the Year
Quote of the Year: Paul Williams
“My game ain’t over. Whether I am walking or not walking, my game ain’t over until the Lord takes my life.”—Paul Williams in Showtime interview with Jim Gray