By John J. Raspanti
Picking a “Fighter of the Year” can be a thankless job--especially when, at first glance, there’s no clear-cut winner.
This year, four candidates deserved consideration.
Gennady Golovkin dominated Martin Murray, Willie Monroe Jr., and David Lemieuz in 2015. His consecutive knockout streak has now reached 21.
Canelo Alvarez blitzed James Kirkland in eight minutes and out-pointed future Hall Of Famer Miguel Cotto.
Floyd Mayweather finally faced Manny Pacquiao, and beat the Philippine star with ease.
Roman Gonzalez, like Golovkin, fought three times and scored three knockouts. The Nicaraguan native is the real deal.
Golovkin is arguably the most popular boxer in the world. He’s a very talented fighter, who showed off an impressive jab against Lemieuz last October. It’s his competition that gives one pause.
Alvarez’s thrilling knockout of Kirkland won him kudos from most boxing sites including Maxboxing, that picked his icing of Kirkland as the KO of the year. The stoppage wasn’t a surprise, Kirkland’s chin has always been suspect. Alvarez’s impressive victory over Cotto was the most important match of his career. He needed to look good, and put fans (and numbers via pay-per-view) in the seats. Mission accomplished on both counts.
Mayweather fought Pacquiao in what was promoted as "The Fight of the Century." The hype destroyed the fight. As expected, Mayweather outboxed Paquiao from the opening bell. Although his performance wasn’t stellar, it was effective. Mayweather allegedly ended his brilliant career by defeating Andre Berto five months ago.
The minute Gonzalez (112 pounds) finally got to show off his skills to a wider audience in 2015, he easily stopped Valentin Leon and Edgar Sosa, before facing a motivated Brian Viloria. The former two-weight titleholder got off to good start against Gonzales, holding him off with a jab and an occasional right hand. Gonzales bided his time until Round three, when he flipped on the switch, flooring Viloria with a beautiful right to the jaw. Viloria survived, but Gonzalez patiently broke him down. After eight rounds, the ringside physician informed the referee that the fight was over.
A case can be made for each of the fighters presented, but the pick here is Gonzalez.
His riveting one-sided shellacking of former champion Viloria would have made his mentor, the legendary Alexis Arguello, very proud. Like Golovkin, his competition can be questioned, except for ex-champion Viloria, who entered his fight against Gonzalez having scored three straight knockouts.
For that reason, Gonzalez is the Maxboxing "Fighter of the Year" for 2015.