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The Fight Journal’s 2016 Boxing Awards:

Fight of the Year

 

The candidates…

 

Jesus Soto Karass vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai I. The first fight between these two ended in a ten round draw. The fight went back and forth with each man having moments in this slugfest. Soto Karass enjoyed much success on the inside, while Kamegai found success from distance. No matter where the range was, these warriors battled non-stop until the final bell. Definitely catch this one. See entire fight below:

 

 

Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter. This fight featured power versus intensity. Thurman landed some bone-jarring shots in key moments of the fight to earn the judge’s approval in this controversial fight. Conversely, Porter applied pressure and forced Thurman outside of his comfort level round-after-round-after-round. The fight went to the wire and was as close as close could get. Two top five guys in the welterweight class featured Porter’s smothering body and head assault against Thurman’s back foot counter strategy. Definitely worth checking out. See highlights below:

 

 

Dillian Whyte vs. Dereck Chisora. Bad blood was the name of the game in this one, featuring two heavyweights with questions still needing to be addressed. I’m not sure if those questions were answered, but what we know is it was a fight of the year candidate. These guys threw big shots from the opening bell, with Chisora scoring big in the early half- rounds two, three, and five. He also almost dropped Whyte with a big left hook in the eighth. Whyte scored well in the second half of the fight with power shots and stiff jabs as Chisora began to tire. Two big men swinging for the fences in what could’ve been the best heavyweight fight of 2016. It was a great contrast of styles featuring Whyte, with better technique and straighter shots against Chisora’s wide shots and chopping hooks. A must see heavyweight fight. See entire fight below:

 

 

Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz. Styles make fights and if these guys fought five times, you’d see five FOTY candidates. They’ll rematch in early 2017 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see their names this time next year. Santa Cruz was employed his usual active style, throwing 1,002 punches. In the second round, Frampton timed Santa Cruz with a left hook that sent him to the ropes and should’ve been scored a knockdown. Frampton continued to try to put Santa Cruz on his back foot, but Leo wouldn’t have it. Santa Cruz began to find a home for the left hook and by the midway point, a toe-to-toe fight began, with Leo scoring big. Both fighters gave and took in the non-stop action fight as they punched until the final bell. There were plenty of impactful shots by both men, with Frampton winning by landing the harder shots and using movement to lower Santa Cruz’s connect percentage.

Punch stats
Punches Santa Cruz Frampton
Landed 255 242
Thrown 1002 668
Percent 25% 36%

— Courtesy of CompuBox

 

See highlights of Frampton vs. Santa Cruz below:

 

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs. Carlos Cuadras. If you never watched boxing and looked at each guy’s face after this one, you would be 100% certain Roman Gonzalez lost big! Well, he won by a few rounds, which should tell you how good this fight was last September. Gonzalez won a title in his fourth weight class and had to go through hell to earn it. Chocolatito was relentless with his attack on Cuadras from the opening bell. He threw everything AND the kitchen sink at the Mexican. Cuadras employs an awkward style, reminiscent at times to Hector Camacho as he moved and countered with big shots to swell Chocolatito’s face. Cuadras usually likes to stalk, but the pressure early on made him uncomfortable. Cuadras adapted and begin to launch fast combinations. I’m not talking three or four punches. I’m talking eight and nine punch deals being thrown back at Chocolatito. Jabs to the body and overhand shots scored for Cuadras as the champion understood keeping his title was at stake. In the end, the judges preferred the higher work-rate and accuracy of Chocolatito.

Punch stats
Punches Gonzalez Cuadras
Landed 323 258
Thrown 985 893
Percent 33% 29%
— Courtesy of CompuBox

 

See the full fight in standard definition below:

 

 

Others under consideration:

Robert Easter Jr vs. Richard Commey

Jamie Conlan vs. Anthony Nelson

Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward

 

The winner:

Francisco Vargas vs. Orlando Salido. One night after Muhammad Ali died, these two evoked memories of the champ’s fights with Joe Frazier. Max Kellerman said it best: “It’s never a guarantee you will roll a seven, but tonight you’re rolling with loaded dice.”

These two waited until the last minute of round one to get started and never looked back. Jab, you ask? What’s that, wondered Salido as you can count the number he threw on one hand. Neither man had time for setup punches, as they both tried to impose their resolve on each other.

In the third round, Vargas had a cut over his eye and my thoughts were the fight would end in a round or two due to it. However, by the fourth and fifth, we got the to-to-toe war that all sick boxing fans live to see.

 

There were instances when each fighter was rocked and the crowd rose to its feet; not in anticipation of a KO, but to give standing ovations to these competitors.

 

Let’s put it this way. One guy threw over 1,100 punches and the other threw almost 1,000, yet they both landed over 33% of their punches. We aren’t talking jabs here folks. Power shots in a slugfest you that lived up to the hype!

 

Punch stats
Punches Vargas Salido
Landed 386 328
Thrown 1184 939
Percent 33% 35%

 

No matter how much I type about this fight, you MUST see it. It is TheFightJournal.com Fight of the Year! See some of the action in a highlight video below:

 

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As always, feel free to comment below and offer us suggestions on items to discuss. 
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