With the end of the year fast approaching, we'll be seeing a lot of "best of" awards coming out soon. I like knowing the best of the year as much as the next guy, but what about the worst? For the truly ignominious, I now present to you the first annual "Bricky" awards for the worst in boxing in 2009.
Sven Ottke Award for Worst Robbery of the Year
Winner: Sergio Martinez D12 Kermit Cintron. How often does someone get robbed TWICE on the same night? In the seventh round, Martinez knocked down Cintron with a big right hand. Cintron stayed on his knee until the count of 10, and then got up immediately. The referee waved off the fight, but Cintron started complaining that the knockdown was a headbutt. Rather than ending the contest (which should have happened, butt or not), the referee let the fight continue. Martinez then proceeded to get robbed on the cards in a fight where he clearly won at least 8 rounds, plus scored a knockdown.
Felix Sturm UD12 Khoren Gevor. I personally scored this fight 10 round to 2 in favor of Gevor, and I didn't think it was particularly close. All three judges scored the fight for Sturm in a bout where Gevor seemed to land more punches than Sturm even threw.
Ali Funeka D12 Joan Guzman. Funeka beat the tar out of Guzman in this fight. While it's conceivable that a draw could have been a legitimate scorecard if every remotely close round was scored in favor of Guzman, the fact that two of the cards had it a draw is ludicrous.
Not quite robberies, but pretty close: Andre Dirrell vs. Carl Froch; Paulie Malignaggi vs. Juan Diaz I; DeMarcus Corley vs. Hector Sanchez
Eugenia Williams Award for Worst Scorecard of the Year
Winner: Pierre Benoist, 119-110 in favor of Paul Williams over Sergio Martinez. This was a close, great fight, and was almost sullied by this absurd scorecard. Up to 116-112 in either direction might have been reasonable, but with a card like this, it's hard to see how the judge could have possibly been impartial.
Gale Van Hoy, Juan Diaz 118-110 over Paulie Malignaggi. After the fight, Malignaggi went nuts, ripping into Van Hoy for that absurdly horrible scorecard, and he was right. It was conceivable that you could score the fight seven rounds to five in favor of Diaz, but anything more than that was just silly. 118-110 questions the judge's integrity.
Daniel Talon, Sturm 117-111 over Gevor. All three scorecards were bad in my estimation, but that anyone scored it THIS wide in favor of Sturm is absolutely insane.
All of the judges of Andre Dirrell-Carl Froch. The actual scorecard was released, and frankly, there's no way to make heads or tails of any of the cards. It almost seems like none of the three were actually watching the same fight.
Paulie Malignaggi Award for Worst Hair of the Year
Winner: Antonio Pitalua, for his classic "mushroom cloud on top, rat tail in the back" hairstyle.
Simphiwe Nongqayi - the checkerboard. See right.
"Bad Hair" Chad Dawson - Classic early 90's fade with a star shaved into one side and his name in the other. See above.
Paul Samuels - The "Krusty"
Juan Alberto Rosas - The double cutout mohawk
Zab Judah Award for Worst Dance Moves
Winner: Aristides Perez, against Humberto Soto. As seen at about 5:13 this Youtube link, he actually did some kind of breakdancing thing, where he actually managed to avoid a huge shot Matrix-style while wobbling around the ring.
Nicolai Valuev, versus David Haye. The ring actually rumbled while Valuev was performing this dance (at about 1:53 of the link).
Rodolfo Armenta, versus Sharif Bogere. Starts at about :44 of the video below.
Harry Joe Yorgey, versus Alfredo Angulo. Yorgey was eventually viciously knocked out, but he fought about half the bout on wobbly legs, twice doing variations of the chicken dance.
Naseem Hamed Award for Most Absurd Ring Entrance
Winner #1: Sharif Bogere. You gotta love a prospect with a flair for some entertainment value. Each time he's fought, he's entered the ring wearing a full lion's pelt and headpiece, in a cage, carried in by four oiled up musclemen in loincloths.
Winner #2: Cristobal Cruz, against Jorge Solis. Starts at about 5:20 of the video below, and has to be seen to be believed. Cruz came out surrounded by performers, including a bunch of guys decked out in full Mayan gear, acrobats dressed as jungle animals, plus the piece de resistance, a midget, decked out as a Mayan priest, announcing Cruz's arrival.
Joseph Agbeko, against Yohnny Perez. There are so many ways to misinterpret this one. Agbeko came out with a gorilla head on, in chains, being led out by a scantily clad white woman. Sure, his nickname is "King Kong", but it looked pretty bad.
Vitali Klitschko, against Kevin Johnson. It's become old hat for fighters on German cards to come walking out to live bands, but this was just something else. After a classy video montage with Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, George Foreman and his brother extolling his virtues, a REALLY bad German disco band, with a full horn section and a section of Motown-style backup singers, played this God-awful "Klitschko" song before Vitali did his official ring walk.
Panama Lewis Award for Ugliest Incident of the Year
Winner: Antonio Margarito, against Shane Mosley. In one of the worst controversies in boxing in many years, Mosley's trainer Nazim Richardson found that Margarito and his trainer were trying to use illegal hand wraps, which were eventually found to contain "elements of plaster." This is the worst kind of cheating in the sport, and it's left a big black mark on Margarito's career, as well as a lot of question marks surrounding prior wins over Miguel Cotto, Sebastian Lujan, Joshua Clottey, Kermit Cintron and others.
Billy Dib versus Kenichi Yamaguchi. Not only did Dib knock out Yamaguchi when he was already on the ground, but then he had the cojones to push Yamaguchi away, and then to push his cornerman away, leading to a small riot in the ring. Video at the link.
Joey Abell versus Rafael Butler. Abell knocked down Butler near the end of the first round. The bell rang when Butler got up, but the referee didn't hear it and didn't stop the round. Abell walked up to Butler as if to touch gloves, and instead cold clocked him, knocking him out after the round had ended. As Butler's corner comes in to confront Abell, a huge melee breaks out involving Abell, the referee and both corners, as Butler remains on the ground knocked out cold. Video at the link.
Andrew Golota Award for Foul-Fest of the Year
Winner: Cristobal Cruz vs. Jorge Solis. It's hard to imagine there may have been one worse than Froch-Dirrell, but the referee completely lost control of this one. Overall, five points were dedcuted from the fighters in a fight that involved wrestling, intentional low blows, judo throws, bum rushing, constant headbutting, elbows, knees to the groin, and just about every other foul imaginable.
Andre Dirrell vs. Carl Froch. If you want to frame it that Dirrell "fought negatively" while Froch "fought positively", then fine, but fact is that both guys were fouling incessantly, and both guys were making the fight ugly. Froch rabbit punched Dirrell no less than 15 times, not once receiving a warning. He also would hold Dirrell's head with one hand while punching with the other. in return, Dirrell flopped all over the place, seemingly intentionally slipping at opportune times, clinched incessantly, outright ran at certain times, and pulled Froch down a number of times. Despite this, only one point was deducted in this controversial fight.
Miguel Cotto vs. Joshua Clottey. Both sides tried to make this fight as dirty as possible, with Clottey constantly holding and hitting and leading with his head, and Cotto rabbit punching, low-blowing and, at one point, bodyslamming Clottey in retaliation.
Andre Ward vs. Mikkel Kessler. This makes two of the three fights in the first round of the Super six that involved a lot of fouling, although this one was pretty one-sided in favor of Ward. Ward very intelligently fouled throughout the fight, using his head as a third fist (and opening up at least one cut on Kessler with a headbutt, as well as using his head to turn the tide with an intentional looking butt in the fourth round), while also sneaking in some low blows and holding and hitting. While Kessler complained about the tactics, Ward just looked like the better man that night, and probably would have won handily even if he had fought completely clean.