Bad Left Hook Fight of the Month Poll - December 2010

LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 11: Amir Khan survived a late onslaught from Marcos Maidana to produce one of this month's top fights. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

January: Carlos Tamara TKO12 Brian Viloria (25%)

February: Antonio Escalante UD10 Mickey Roman (48%)

March: Andre Dirrell DQ10 Arthur Abraham (48%)

April: Mikkel Kessler UD12 Carl Froch (65%)

May: Yonnhy Perez D12 Abner Mares (30%)

June: Miguel Cotto TKO9 Yuri Foreman (42%)

July: Dmitry Pirog TKO5 Daniel Jacobs (43%)

August: Giovanni Segura KO8 Ivan Calderon (44%)

September: Ricky Burns UD12 Roman Martinez (42%)

October: Toshiaki Nishioka UD12 Rendall Munroe (39%)

November: Juan Manuel Marquez TKO9 Michael Katsidis (53%)

Well folks, might as well just call this one the fight of the year poll.  The sport gift wrapped some great fights in a gigantic bow and truly gave us a December to remember.  There were at least three true fight of the year candidates in the month, and in just about every publication I've seen, one of those three fights actually was named the fight of the year.  Even if every single fight can't be a FOTY candidate, there are still plenty of others that deserve some recognition as well, listed in the honorable mentions.

Humberto Soto UD-12 Urbano Antillon - Moved up to headline status of a small pay per view at the last minute, these two Mexican warriors produced Bad Left Hook's fight of the year.  Both men stuck to what they do best - Soto as the boxer-puncher, Antillon as the slugger - and did not let up for twelve full rounds.  More often than not, Soto was able to come out of the round as the winner by a small margin, but as the fight wore on, Antillon continued to get stronger even as he grew more bloodied.  As with the other two fight of the month candidates, there were some serious dramatics here as Antillon seemed that he may come from behind to pull off the knockout win.  Several of his shots in the 11th and 12th seemed to hurt Soto, but Soto fought fire with fire, ensuring that the action didn't stop at any point in the fight.

Abner Mares SD-12 Vic Darchinyan - In a fight that drew a lot of parallels to Pacquiao-Marquez I, this brought us a matchup between two boxer-punchers, one of whose trademark is to be aggressive and fire punches from all angles, while the trademark of the other has become smart counterpunching with the ability and willingness to brawl when need be.  Like the other fight, Mares had to overcome a large deficit early, and the forces in the ring were largely conspiring against him.  After a huge gash was opened on Mares's forehead due to an accidental butt in the first, Mares was knocked down for the first time in his career in the second and was probably wrongly deducted a point in the fourth.  With the referee seemingly intervening at will to give Darchinyan's style as much of an advantage as possible, and with Darchinyan having a large early lead, Mares chose to war it out, with both fighters landing lots of hard, clean punches on each other in nearly every round.  The suspense was palpable - could Mares, obviously the better boxer, overcome his early deficit?  Could he avoid getting the fight stopped due to the cut?  Could he get Darchinyan to slow down and lay off the pressure?  After about eight rounds of back and forth action and about six consecutive rounds that either man arguably won, his body attack finally did start to slow down the much older Darchinyan, and Mares was able to overcome the Armenian's pressure, winning a very narrow decision in a fight it seemed he had won, but with a major risk that the cards could come out the other way.

Amir Khan UD-12 Marcos Maidana - Going into this bout, everyone who seriously follows the sport knew this was a battle of Khan's chin against Maidana's power and relentlessness.  Both men brought everything they had to the table, and it created a great style matchup with a lot of momentum swings. Early in the fight, Khan looked out of Maidana's league, peppering him with bunches of lightning fast shots and knocking him down in the first round with a body shot that seriously debilitated the Argentine.  By the fourth, however, Maidana figured out how to better cut off the ring and deal with Khan's speed.  This led to stretches where Khan would clown Maidana with quick punches, followed by Maidana plugging away on the inside, nailing Khan with uppercuts almost at will.  Khan's chin basically held up until the 10th round, when a right hand very badly hurt Khan and sent him into survival mode for two minutes.  Khan managed to survive and even fight back into the last two rounds, and he took the close but clear decision.

Honorable mentions: Marco Huck SD-12 Denis Lebedev; Ramon Garcia UD-12 Omar Soto; Bernard Hopkins D-12 Jean Pascal; John Simpson UD-12 Martin Lindsay; Joseph Agbeko UD-12 Yonnhy Perez; Ed Paredes SD-12 Antonio Pitalua; Lateef Kayode KO-6 Ed Perry.

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