2011 was another stellar year in the ring for the Golden Boy Promotions team and major media outlets such as ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated.com and RingTV.com, as well as the World Boxing Council (WBC) agreed, bestowing numerous awards to standouts from the best fighter roster in boxing.
To many, the first round of the November 5 battle between James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland and Alfredo “Perro” Angulo wasn’t just the Round of the Year, but the Round of the Decade, as both fighters hit the deck in a period that packed more action into three minutes than most fights see over 12 rounds. ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated.com and RingTV were all in agreement in naming it 2011’s “Round of the Year.”
—-> ProBoxing-Fans.com also agreed with the 2011 Round of the Year
Another unanimous winner among the three aforementioned media outlets was rising featherweight star Gary Russell Jr., who nabbed “Prospect of the Year” for a 12-month run in which he won all six of his fights in impressive fashion, including victories over Feider Viloria, Eric Estrada, Leonilo Miranda and Heriberto Ruiz. The consensus is that boxing fans should keep a very close eye on Russell Jr. in 2012. Making ESPN.com’s list of 25 prospects to watch were several of Golden Boy Promotions’ top undefeated prospects including lightweight Sharif “The Lion” Bogere, featherweight Randy Caballero, heavyweight Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell, bantamweight Leo “Terremoto” Santa Cruz and heavyweight Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder.
—-> Mr. Gary Russell also took home our 2011 Prospect of the Year award
In the “Comeback of the Year” category, ESPN.com and RingTV.com both celebrated legendary Mexican warrior Erik “El Terrible” Morales, who showed that at age 35, he hasn’t lost a step, as he nearly defeated Marcos “El Chino” Maidana in April in a “Fight of the Year” runner-up battle. The future Hall of Famer secured yet another world title in September with a tenth round stoppage over then undefeated young star Pablo Cesar Cano for the vacant WBC Super Lightweight championship. The win notched Morales a world title in a fourth weight division, making him the first Mexican fighter to accomplish that feat.
—> Erik Morales was a runner-up for the 2011 boxing comeback of the year award from ProBoxing-Fans.com
When it comes to compelling stories, there was none more so than that of Dewey Bozella, a man wrongfully imprisoned for 26 years and after being freed from incarceration was finally able to pursue his dream of boxing as a professional on October 15, 2011, when the 52-year-old defeated Larry Hopkins via unanimous decision at Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson. Not surprisingly, Bozella earned the nod as ESPN.com’s “Most Inspiring Boxer” of 2011.
Last, but certainly not least, the back-and-forth April 16 battle between welterweights “Vicious” Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto earned the well-deserved distinction as 2011’s “Fight of the Year” from USA Today and RingTV.com. The fight, which featured multiple knockdowns and gritty toe-to-toe action, was so good that the two young stars will do it again in Las Vegas on February 11, 2012 in what could set them up for another shot at “Fight of the Year” honors.
—> Ortiz vs. Berto also took home the ProBoxing-Fans.com 2011 Fight of the Year
The WBC also gave out year-end honors, which included the awarding of Golden Boy Promotions with the organization’s “Most Active Promoter” award for promoting 11 WBC World Title fights and one elimination fight in 2011. Of course, such an honor is not possible without the efforts of the champions and challengers who helped in delivering some of the most memorable fights of the year in these fights.
Earning the WBC’s nod as 2011 “World Champion of the Year” was Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez, the 21-year-old phenom who won the WBC Super Welterweight World Title in 2011 by defeating “Magic” Matthew Hatton, and then went on to defend it with technical knockout victories over Ryan Rhodes, Alfonso Gomez and Kermit Cintron.
The WBC’s “Fight of the Year” award recognized the aforementioned battle between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto as the best fight of 2011.