There were a whole lot of good, memorable fights in boxing this year, and while I've put together a top 20 that will start going up in installments (20-16, 15-11, 10-6, 5-1) this evening, I wanted to give some due credit to the fights that were on my cut list after some deliberation and consideration.
Major Title Fights
The November 29 bout in Japan between WBC flyweight titlist Daisuke Naito and rival Koki Kameda was a few wild exchanges away. It was a tactical, smart fight on both sides, and it was top-flight boxing. It was also a major event that did enormous ratings in Japan.
July's scrap between Joseph Agbeko and Vic Darchinyan fell short of expectations. On paper, it had Fight of the Year potential. It was still a good fight, just not quite what it could have been. The story of the night was Darchinyan struggling to dent Agbeko.
Juan Urango plodded with purpose and Randall Bailey looked to land his big right hand on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights finale this summer. They put on exactly the fight you'd expect.
Kelly Pavlik's win over Miguel Espino may not have been all that significant overall, but it sure was entertaining.
I felt the Malcolm Klassen-Robert Guerrero fight on the Diaz-Malignaggi I undercard was the fight of the night and a really overlooked bout.
The Bernard Dunne-Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Toshiaki Nishioka-Jhonny Gonzalez fights were sort of in the same camp: Good, short, decisive and action-packed.
Nate Campbell's tight win over Ali Funeka had some weight drama, but it didn't stop it from being a competitive, entertaining affair. Nobuo Nashiro and Hugo Cazares put on a solid show in their 12-round draw in September, for Nashiro's junior bantamweight title.
No Titles, Notable Events
The first Juan Diaz-Paulie Malignaggi fight was a great clashing of styles. The rematch was a bit less dramatic, with Diaz having a worse night.
Daniel Geale and Anthony Mundine drew a big house and gave the people their money's worth in Australia on May 27. Really competitive fight.
No Stars, No Problems
Monty Meza-Clay lost a featherweight title eliminator to Jorge Solis in January. His next fight came against Fernando Beltran Jr. in June, and while there was no disputing that Beltran won by decision, the two came together for a solid bout.
Shobox had some stirring fights this year, too. Among them, I thought three stood out. John Molina's upset loss to Martin Honorio on November 28; Tyrone Harris' upset of Marvin Quintero on July 31; and Carlos Abregu's four-round war with Irving Garcia on May 1.
The Big Boys
Cristobal Arreola was a huge favorite, and rightfully so. Brian Minto was undersized, underpowered and out of his league. But Minto did everything he could and probably then some, standing and trading with a bigger, stronger, younger man before the fight was eventually stopped.
The Tony Grano-Travis Kauffman debacle is somewhere in here, too.
And One More
I have yet to see a full copy of Ricardo Torres' escape victory over Raul Pinzon, so I can't rank it.