The Best Boxing Fight of the Year Award:
There were many excellent fights to enjoy during the past year. Several of them could have gotten the nod to be our winner, but one stood apart for the huge swings of momentum the fight contained, leading to a dramatic conclusion.
2015 Boxing Fight of the Year Winner – Francisco Vargas TKO9 Takashi Miura
The unbeaten Francisco Vargas stepped up against Japanese titleholder Takashi Miura on the undercard of the Cotto vs. Canelo pay-per-view. Vargas had his moments early, but soon it was Miura who was in control.
Miura then sent Vargas down in the 4th, and a rapidly worsening right eye swelling became a problem for Vargas. He was in bad trouble in several of the next sessions, the eye always worsening and getting larger, more blood flowing, his vision getting worse and worse.
In the 8th, it looked like it was finally curtains for Vargas. Could the previously undefeated fighter even see at this point? Miura was doling out punishment, and at the end of the stanza, was unloading ferocious punches on him in the corner. Had the referee jumped in and waved it off there, or the corner halted the action in between rounds, it would be been entirely understandable, if not expected.
It’s the 9th round, our 2015 Round of the Year, which sets this fight apart then. Vargas came out and almost immediately smacked Miura down to the canvas. Miura could hardly keep it together to stand up, but did, and then raised his hands high as if celebrating or playing to the crowd. The two continued trading from them, but eventually Vargas was in control. With the pressure being poured on, the ref jumped in and waved it off.
A sensational, highly improbable and dramatic comeback from Vargas, capping off a fantastic round, and a battle for the ages.
2015 Fight of the Year Second Place – Lucas Matthysse MD Ruslan Provodnikov
If you named Matthysse vs. Provodnikov as your Fight of the Year… we’d make absolutely no argument about it. This was a fierce battle between two guys who you just knew were going to bring it.
Matthysse vs. Provodnikov was as much of a lock to deliver intense, all-out, brutal action as any fight in recent memory. This was a guaranteed, must-watch fight from the moment it was signed, and nothing the fighters did in the ring took away from that initial impression.
This was a bloody, back and forth, fast paced affair. Matthysse appeared to be on the better end of things in the early goings, with Provodnikov seeming to close the show stronger in the closing rounds of the fight. In the end, Matthysse won a razor thin Majority Decision, with scores of 114-114, 115-113, and 115-113 for Matthysse.
2015 Fight of the Year Runners-Up
Orlando Salido vs. Rocky Martinez I & II: Unfortunately we have to view fights as individuals, and not a collective whole. Because if you could count the 24 total rounds of seesaw action between these two, it’d be a surefire winner. Martinez scraped by in the first fight to defeat Salido, and then retained the title with a somewhat controversial draw in the second. The two fights featured a combined four knockdowns.
Andrzej Fonfara vs. Nathan Cleverly: Cleverly and Fonfara combined to throw more punches in this fight than any bout that CompuBox had tracked in its history. That’s no small feat. They set the record for punches landed, too.
Edwin Rodriguez vs. Michael Seals: A total of 5 knockdowns were scored in this one, with 3 coming in a back and forth first round. Rodriguez sent Seals down, then got put down twice and nearly stopped. He came back, scored a knockdown in the 2nd, and then stopped Seals in the 3rd.
Marco Huck vs. Krysztof Glowacki: Glowacki had one of the breakout performances and one of the biggest upsets of the year. He got up off the canvas to floor the massive favorite Huck, and went on to close the show.
Roman Gonzalez vs. Brian Viloria: The two little guys put on a huge show as the co-feature to the Golovkin-Lemieux pay-per-view. Chocolatito ultimately outclassed and stopped Viloria, but the Hawaiian Punch made things interesting, especially at the start. From there, the beauty of Gonzalez’s full offensive arsenal was simply spectacular to take in.
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares: The fans wanted and expected action in this one, and they got it. The fight got off to a scintillating start, with Mares intent on testing Santa Cruz in a way he never had been. Eventually things cooled off and Santa Cruz remained in control.