By Derek Bonnett: As another fruitful year of professional fisticuffs wraps up, SecondsOut has honored boxing’s greatest practitioners and non-participants with such accolades as Fighter of the Year, Fight of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Service to Boxing, etc. However, among the 170 ranked SecondsOut fighters and beyond, a multitude of fighters go unrecognized for their less obvious contributions to the sport inside of a single division. Each fighter brings something special into the ring and honors their weight class with unique qualities.
The following is a divisional breakdown of boxers and the various superlatives I would award them with. There can only be one Fighter of the Year, but here I can honor seventeen separate fighters for being the Best Boxer or Best Puncher in their respective class. I can alert SecondsOut fans of various divisional fighters On the Rise, who one day may be featured in our SecondsOut world rankings. Most of these superlatives are obvious, but some require explanation. For example, the Is He Still Around? award acknowledges fighters for lengthy careers regardless of their success or someone who has fallen off the radar. The Deserves a Title Shot nod refers to a fighter who deserves a chance at SecondsOut’s currently ranked number one fighter in the division in 2016 or one of the current titlists. For example, a current titlist, such as Joseph Parker, could deserve a title shot against the SecondsOut number one rated boxer, such as Anthony Joshua.
These superlatives reflect my own thoughts and were comprised entirely for fun and in the interest of sparking boxing discussion and debate. As usual, for further boxing discourse, contact Derek DBO Bonnett on Facebook.
Happy New Year!
Best Puncher: Anthony Joshua
Best Boxer: Luis Ortiz
Most Protected: Bogdan Dinu
Is He Still Around?: Tyson Fury
Matchmaker’s Dream: Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder
On the Rise: Izu Ugonah
Deserves a Title Shot: Luis Ortiz
Most Fun to Watch: Anthony Joshua
On Their Way Out: Tony Thompson
Underrated: Andy Ruiz Jr.
Best Puncher: Dmitry Kudryashov
Best Boxer: Oleksandr Usyk
Most Protected: William Fernando Souza Bezerra
Is He Still Around?: Steve Cunningham
Matchmaker’s Dream: Oleksandr Usyk vs Marco Huck
On the Rise: Michal Cieslak
Deserves a Title Shot: Mairis Breidis
Most Fun to Watch: Denis Lebedev
On Their Way Out: Rakhim Chakhkiev
Underrated: Maxim Vlasov
Best Puncher: Sergey Kovalev
Best Boxer: Andre Ward
Most Protected: Sean Monaghan
Is He Still Around?: Thomas Oosthuizen
Matchmaker’s Dream: Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward II
On the Rise: Oleksandr Gvozdyk
Deserves a Title Shot: Joe Smith Jr.
Most Fun to Watch: Joe Smith Jr.
On Their Way Out: Jean Pascal
Underrated: Eleider Alvarez
Best Puncher: Callum Smith
Best Boxer: James DeGale
Most Protected: Jesse Hart
Is He Still Around?: Caleb Truax
Matchmaker’s Dream: James DeGale vs Gilberto Ramirez
On the Rise: Zac Dunn
Deserves a Title Shot: Fedor Chudinov
Most Fun to Watch: Callum Smith
On Their Way Out: Daniel Geale
Underrated: Jose Uzcategui
Best Puncher: Gennady Golovkin
Best Boxer: Gennady Golovkin
Most Protected: Yamaguchi Falcao
Is He Still Around?: Elvin Ayala
Matchmaker’s Dream: Danny Jacobs vs Gennady Golovkin
On the Rise: Sergiy Derevyanchenko
Deserves a Title Shot: Chris Eubank Jr.
Most Fun to Watch: Avtandil Khurtsidze
On Their Way Out: Gabriel Rosado
Underrated: Maceij Sulecki
Best Puncher: Jermall Charlo
Best Boxer: Erislandy Lara
Most Protected: Maxime Beausirre
Is He Still Around?: Carson Jones
Matchmaker’s Dream: Jermall Charlo vs Saul Alvarez
On the Rise: Jared Hurd
Deserves a Title Shot: Demetrius Andrade
Most Fun to Watch: Saul Alvarez
On Their Way Out: John Jackson
Underrated: Michel Soro
Best Puncher: Errol Spence Jr.
Best Boxer: Manny Pacquiao
Most Protected: Tewa Kiram
Is He Still Around?: Pablo Cesar Cano
Matchmaker’s Dream: Manny Pacquiao vs Terence Crawford
On the Rise: Konstantin Ponomarev
Deserves a Title Shot: Errol Spence Jr.
Most Fun to Watch: Manny Pacquiao
On Their Way Out: Kevin Bizier
Underrated: Felix Diaz
Best Puncher: Terence Crawford
Best Boxer: Terence Crawford
Most Protected: Jack Catterall
Is He Still Around?: Omar Figueroa Jr.
Matchmaker’s Dream: Terence Crawford vs Julius Indongo
On the Rise: Sergey Lipinets
Deserves a Title Shot: Antonio Orozco
Most Fun to Watch: Terence Crawford
On Their Way Out: Ruslan Provodnikov
Underrated: Jose Zepeda