Boxing is a sport with a lot of comebacks — in fact, boxing is the comeback sport, where the return to greatness is at its most dramatic and yet at the same time one of the sport’s biggest fixtures.
Having made a statement like that, it is unsurprising that every year furnishes a handful of obvious candidates for Comeback of the Year. This year’s award winner is as obvious a choice as his journey back to the pinnacle of the sport was long.
Boxing’s Best Comeback in 2014: Miguel Cotto
Cotto’s full comeback has been a long time in coming, since the last time he was considered a genuine top dog in 2008. Back then he had gone from triumph to triumph at 140 and 147 lbs, until he ran into Antonio Margacheato. Cotto has won some since then, including a light middleweight title belt, but he has always lost some. On balance, Cotto hadn’t decisively beaten a top flight opponent since Shane Mosley, some seven years ago.
One might say that Sergio Martinez wasn’t a top flight opponent when Cotto fought him either, but he was still good enough to prevail over Martin Murray, and he was still the World Middleweight Champion. Don’t try to make excuses after the fact. So while Cotto’s status as baddest dog in his division is open to question, he is undeniably the top dog.
Andy Lee: When he beat John Jackson, Lee revived a career that had been in the dog house for two years, ever since his TKO7 at the hands of Julio Cesar Chavez. He followed that up by seizing a vacant middleweight title away from the grasp of undefeated Matt Korbov. On January 1st, 2014, would you have guessed Andy Lee was two fights away from a world title?
Manny Pacquiao: Pacman’s comeback was in contention more because of his fame factor than anything else. He was the favorite in his fights with both Timothy Bradley and Chris Algieri, and neither of those guys is named “Marquez” or “Mayweather.” Still, avenging his controversial defeat from Bradley counts for something, as does taking away the undefeated “0s” of two top boxers. If anyone had any doubts about Pacman, they shouldn’t now.