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2011 Boxing Round of the Year

Credit: GBP

The Best Boxing Round in 2011

This is the payoff for being a boxing fan. To the outside observer, it looks like we’re just watching an endless series of fights–some good, a lot bad, and that’s about all there is to it. What those people miss out on just might be the most compelling head-to-head competition in all of sport. These are the diamonds in the rough, the gold nuggets that turn up in the pan that keep us coming back for more. Take a look at the 2011 round of the year in boxing.

The 2011 Round of the Year: James Kirkland vs. Alfredo Angulo (Round 1)

A whole fight’s worth of action in 3 minutes. Within ten seconds, they were winging punches with venom. Kirkland pinned Angulo and began to whack away with shots, when, BOOM! A picture perfect right between the seams crushed against Kirkland’s jaw and dumped him on the canvas. Somewhat shakily and with a face conveying disbelief, Kirkland rose quickly and was clear at the end of the mandatory eight-count.

Angulo moved in for the kill with guns a’ blazing. Some shots landed and some didn’t, as Kirkland careened across the ring into the ropes. With Kirkland trapped, Angulo banged away with the referee taking a close look. On and on it went, for over a minute, with Kirkland taking a beating and looking the worse for wear.

With about a minute left in the round, the two exchanged combinations and you could almost sense all the wind drain out of Angulo’s sails. Suddenly, he looked as bad as Kirkland. “The Mandingo Warrior” sprang to life, sensing Angulo had hit a wall. A few shots seem to shake Angulo. Kirkland forged inside, smacking Angulo with two big rights. A clubbing left sent Angulo sprawling toward the ropes. Kirkland ripped into Angulo in the corner with lefts and rights sending “El Perro” down, his right arm hung up in the bottom rope.

With his mouth agape, Angulo rose wearily and took the referee’s count. The bell rang as the two resumed action ending one of the best rounds of the past decade. This fight was expected to be a barnburner between two hard-hitting and hungry fighters looking to gain footing in their careers. A lot of “can’t-miss” fights actually miss, but in a year of disappointments–this one delivered and then some. Kirkland, 30-1 (27), would go on to win by 6th round TKO.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our 2011 boxing awards for dozens of different year-end awards and honors!

2nd Place: Edgardo Lopez vs. Felix Rivera (Round 2)

Usually, when a 1-0 fighter beats an 0-2 guy, it doesn’t make a ripple. But when Edgardo Lopez stopped Felix Rivera in the 2nd round of a televised prelim bout, the action was absolutely unforgettable. After losing the first round, it looked like Rivera would get his first victory, as he plowed into Lopez to open the 2nd round.

Roundhouse shots with both hands rocked Lopez. A thunderous right crunched against the side of his jaw and he went down. Looking all the world like a KO victim, a barely-conscious Lopez groped and flailed, attempting to get up. Rubbery and with his eyes suggesting an alternate reality, he somehow rose before ten and managed to answer the referee’s “Are you alright?” inquiry.

Rivera moved in for the finish. As Lopez tried to maneuver his way away from his tormentor, he resembled a newborn doe trying to find its footing. Lopez remained resolute, but punches continued to sneak through and around his guard, as his cause began to appear hopeless. Slowly, he started to return fire, but his punches had the affect of a peashooter against the cannon blasts of Rivera.

Suddenly, you could see Lopez clearing up, as he zinged Rivera with a few crisp body-shots. A flush long-range right slammed against Rivera’s jaw, who stuck out his tongue in an act of defiance. Nevertheless, it enlivened Lopez. A few hooks to the body took a lot out of a now-depleted Rivera. A right to the head stiffened him, but Rivera lashed back with some nice shots of his own, as well.

With a little under a minute left, Rivera backed Lopez to the ropes, but Lopez pivoted. A fatigued Rivera found himself out of position. Lopez seized the moment and jarred Rivera badly with a big right to the head. Another right separated him from his senses. As he fell, Lopez hit him with a terrible left hook as Rivera fell flat on his face. He would be taken from the ring on a stretcher. That’s a lot of action in 2:10.

3rd Place: Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto (Round 6)

Probably the best 60 seconds of the year. With both fighters exchanging with a minute remaining in the round, a howitzer Berto right smashed into Ortiz’ jaw, sending him to the mat. It looked like a fight-ending kind of punch. Ortiz was certainly hurt, but bounced up and tried to shake it off. Berto’s followup attack was brutal, as he went upside Ortiz’ head with cracking rights and lefts. How was Ortiz standing?

After soaking up a series of clean punches, Ortiz threw a wide hook that found an advancing Berto’s jaw. Berto stopped dead in his tracks. With split-second reaction time, Ortiz threw a shorter hook, sending a shocked Berto to the deck and the crowd into hysterics. Ortiz may have stunk up the joint against Mayweather in his next fight, but can look back at this moment as a key reason why he beat Berto en route to winning the WBC Welterweight crown.

4th Place: Hernan Marquez vs. Luis Concepcion I (Round 1)

Defending WBA Flyweight Champion Luis Concepcion opened his fight against Marquez raining shots on his challenger. He couldn’t miss with his right hand, landing it flush on Marquez’ face time and again. Marquez, best known for a stoppage loss to Nonito Donaire, remained stoic and threw back, but was getting overwhelmed. A huge cross dumped Marquez on the mat at the halfway point.

Slowly, Marquez got up at 7. Concepcion snapped his head back with another right. It almost looked like when Juan Manuel Marquez couldn’t get out of the way of Pacquiao’s left in the first round of their initial encounter. Gunning for a quickie ending, Concepcion raked Marquez with shots as the contender tried to find his bearings. A big body shot had Concepcion taking measure, lining up his man for the big KO.

Marquez rocked back into the ropes. Suddenly, both men started winging. Simultaneously, they landed hooks. Marquez’ landed better, sending Concepcion to the canvas, thus ending a magnificent 3 minutes of action. Marquez would win a great fight in the 11th round, repeating his victory in October with a 1st-round knockout.