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13 NOVEMBER 2018

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SecondsOut Fighter of the Year: Juan Manuel Marquez

Marquez, Seconds Fighter Of The Year
Marquez, Seconds Fighter Of The Year

By Derek Bonnett: Over the last few months, a rumble in the tummy that is professional prizefighting began getting more and more audible as boxing pundits began mulling over the possibilities for who to bestow upon the crown of Fighter of the Year. The year 2012 was one bruised by controversy and bloodied by broken contracts, but not fully marred due to the excellent action taking place between the ropes. In summation, 2012 was a lot like many other years in boxing as it just might have blackened its one good eye as Larry Merchant so famously illustrated, but, because of its most prominent practitioners, the manly art of self-defense has always built up enough of a lead to win a technical decision if the powers that be decide we have to go to the scorecards early.


Credit for building that lead goes to Andre Ward, 26-0 (14), who produced the most flawless performance of 2012 while in against an elite class opponent. Going into the bout, Ward was favored, but Chad Dawson had his share of supporters. The most commonly projected scenario depicted Ward winning a competitive decision. Instead, Ward staged a virtuoso performance whilst dropping Dawson in the third, fourth, and tenth rounds. His lone crime? He only fought once in 2012. Had Ward, 28, soundly outpointed Carl Froch a couple of weeks later in 2012 instead of 2011, he would most assuredly be honored with Fighter of the Year credit.


Also doing his part as a lead performer in 2012, and my personal selection for FOTY, was Filipino sensation Nonito Donaire. Conversely to Ward, Donaire, 31-1 (20), punched his pugilistic time card four times in 2012. While he failed to meet a Super Fight caliber opponent, he dominated four top ten super bantamweight contenders, all of which were former champions. Donaire, who has moved from 112 to 122 pounds since 2007, made his super bantamweight debut and proved his punching power had not been comprised by dropping all four of his opponent in 2012. Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. and Jeffrey Mathebula managed to hear the final bells after rising from the canvas. However, Toshiaki Nishioka and Jorge Arce were not as fortunate as they were not only blasted in stellar fashion, but knocked right into retirement. All the while, Donaire, 30, voluntarily submitted himself to anti-doping testing to prove his performance had only been enhanced by hard work and natural talent. Yet, it was not enough to earn FOTY recognition due to the fact that he failed to meet a fellow pound for pound entrant.


The distinction of Fighter of the Year at SecondsOut was granted to Juan Manuel Marquez, 55-6-1 (40), who exorcised eight years of demons with an emphatic, off the canvas, one-punch sixth round KO of arch-nemesis Manny Pacquiao. Magnitude would reap the rewards in 2012 as Marquez only laced up the gloves one other time, producing a lopsided unanimous decision over Serhiy Fedchenko in April. At thirty-nine, Marquez whipped himself into the finest condition of his career to add some much needed strength to close the gap between he and Pacquiao in order to secure the first win of their four bout classic. Although the current tally stands at 2-1-1 in favor of Pacquiao, Marquez can rest easy knowing the most conclusive, and concussive, result belongs to him. In stopping a fellow pound for pound all-time great, Marquez stands above all other prizefighters in 2012.



But why? If one elite class win wasn’t enough for Ward, why is it for Marquez, whose year was not greatly advanced by defeating Fedchenko? The answer may not be so easily discerned, but when you place the Marquez-Pacquiao IV bout under the microscope, Marquez’ merit holds up. Forget about Fighter of the Year for a moment and what it takes to achieve such an honor. In six explosive rounds, Marquez twice dropped Pacquiao -- once with a sensational overhand right that might have put out a lesser welterweight -- and again for a one-punch KO. In between that bread, Marquez was forced to put his glove to the canvas in the fifth after getting tagged with a laser-like left. Multiple knockdowns and off the canvas wins are the stuff of Fight of the Year honors. The three minutes of sustained action Pacquiao and Marquez produced in round five, generously replayed for boxing fans by Jim Lamprey in his latest installment of The Fight Game, saw Pacquiao re-surging from his previous knockdown to regain the upper hand in a contest that could have gone either way. Marquez’ nose was bloodied and cut up in the end, but his own retaliation within that same frame cemented round five’s candidacy for Round of the Year. As we all have now seen, in the closing seconds of round six a rampaging Pacquiao charged right into a thunderous right hand from Marquez. Seeing Pacquiao drop face first into the canvas was one of the most chilling scenes of 2012. The knockout itself reminded me of Ivan Dragon’s fictional KO of Apollo Creed in Rocky IV coincidentally. The moment it happened, boxing fans voiced in drones that they had just witnessed the KO of the Year.


When you factor that equation and consider Marquez produced powerhouse candidates for Fight of the Year, Round of the Year, and KO of the Year within a single effort, you have good cause to label Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez as SecondsOut’s 2012 Fighter of the Year.


To check out Derek’s SecondsOut rankings click on the link below 

For further boxing discussion, contact Derek DBO Bonnett on Facebook or at


December 25, 2012

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