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My Top Boxing Awards for 2014

Fight of the Year: Salido-Kokietgym.

Guerro-Kamega, Coyle-Brizuela, Molina-Matthysse, Rodriguez-Nakagama, and Stevens-Johnson were truly great fights, but Orlando Salido’s win over Thai Terdsak “Pit Bull “Kokietgym gets my nod. Salido (42-12-2) rose from knockdowns in the first, second and fifth rounds on the way to an 11th-round technical knockout of the tough “Pit Bull” (53-5-1) on September 18. Kokietgym was dropped in the first, fourth, seventh and final rounds, the last time for good as referee Eddie Claudio waved an end to the back-and-forth thriller at the 16-second mark.

Fighter of the Year: Terrence Crawford (25-0)

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With three solid wins in 2014 including a dominant championship win in a foreign country, Crawford edges out Roman “Chocolito” Gonzalez (41-0) who fought four times in 2014 and won each by stoppage. His fight with Akira Yaegashi was Gatti- vs. Ward but with more technical skills.

Round of the Year: Terence Crawford vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa, Round 9

Gamboa rocked Crawford early in the round and had the Nebraska native hurt and holding on. The tables then turned as Crawford cleared the cobwebs and the two traded lefts. Two jabs by Crawford and a right hurt Gamboa, and two hard left hooks floored him for the third time in the fight. Yet somehow someway he got back up. Crawford then delivered a final knockdown by was of a malevolent right uppercut. The game Gamboa was done with just seven seconds left in a round that was a pure spine-tingler. While the eleventh round of Coyle-Brizuela was also one to remember, this one had far more riding on it.

Knockout of the Year: Froch over Groves

On May 31, 2014, Carl Froch suddenly KOd George Groves with a picture-perfect right after weakening him with great body work and setting him up with a nifty feint upstairs. The rematch had been branded “Unfinished Business” after Froch’s controversial stoppage win last November. This fight left no remaining doubts about who was and is the better man. It was a breathtaking event in front of 80,000 at Wembley with plenty at stake.

Worse Decision of the Year: Tie between

Danny Garcia over Mauricio Herrera. (March 3)

The undefeated Garcia was gifted in Puerto Rico on March 3 when he was awarded a decision over a badly underestimated Mauricio Herrera. The two judges who scored it116-112 or eight rounds to four warrant further scrutiny. “El Maestro” was robbed in plain sight

And

Jose Benavidez Jr. over Mauricio Herrera (December 13)

This one involved the very same “El Maestro” who gave a boxing lesson to undefeated (but house fighter and favored prospect) Jose Benavidez Jr. in Las Vegas only to be robbed again. Judges Max DeLuca and under-the-radar Erik Cheek had it 116-112 while Dave Moretti scored it 117-111 all for Benavidez (22-0). I had it 117-111 for Herrera. As Harold Lederman surmised before the fight, maybe ’El Maestro’s” considerable skills are something the judges are not impressed with, but when you can predict something wrong will happen and then it does, that’s not just bizarre or dubious, that something is far worse.

Upset of the Year: Chris Algieri over Ruslan Provodnikov

Algieri survived the Siberian Rocky’s first round mugging and then hit and ran his way to win, albeit controversially, a split decision, a junior welterweight belt, and a chance to meet Manny Pacquiao in Macau. Two judges scored the bout 114-112 for Algieri, while the third scored it for Provodnikov, 117-109. Amnat Ruenroeng over Kazuto Ioka was a close second
.
Trainer of the Year: Freddie Roach

Cotto, Pacquiao, and many more make him a compelling pick, though Robert Garcia has a growing stable of fine fighters. However, the Cotto victory over Martinez showed the very best of Roach.

Mismatch of the Year: Garcia over Salka

This was far worse than Pacquiao vs. Algieri. The undersized and overmatched Rod “Lighting Rod” Salka was struck by lightning compliments of Danny Garcia. It was a scary, albeit swift electrocution.

Best single job of refereeing: Luis Pabon

Pabon refereed the WBA super lightweight 140 lbs. title fight between champion Jessie Vargas and challenger Antonio De Marco on November 22 in Macao. The sometimes-criticized Pabon was invisible and was just about perfect in this one. He followed it up with another near-perfect job in the next fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo

Breakthrough Fighter of the Year: Vasyl Lomachenko

This uncommonly talented Ukrainian became a world champion in only his third pro fight. Next stop: pound for pound rating. Enough said.

Female fighter of the Year: “First Lady” Cecilia Braekhus

She went 4-0 in 2014 and is 27-0 overall. No doubt in my mind but some might argue that Marcela “La Tigresa” Eliana Acuña .should get it.

Most Bizarre event: Kellie

Frank Maloney, the former boxing promoter who guided Lennox Lewis to the world heavyweight title, revealed that he is undergoing gender reassignment and now lives as a woman called Kellie.

Runner up: Trainer Tim Lane saying that they are going to let Chris Algieri “out of his cage” just as Chris gets throttled and floored by Manny Pacquiao. Lane thus landed himself a spot in boxing infamy

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