In addition to naming its five Fighter of the Year finalists, the BWAA has named its five nominees for Fight of the Year. There’s a clear clubhouse leader here, at least in my opinion, but let’s take a look at the fights that made the list.
Jack-DeGale (January 14)
A title unification at 168 pounds, Jack defending his WBC belt and DeGale the IBF title. It wound up a highly competitive draw, a decision that wasn’t all that controversial, other than the natural controversial nature of any draw. Jack went down in the first round, DeGale in the 12th and final round, bookends of an exciting, back-and-forth struggle.
Gonzalez-Srisaket I (March 18)
One of the top contenders for Upset of the Year, and should probably win that award, even with the controversy in the scores. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, a clear underdog, came to the States and won a majority decision over Roman Gonzalez, unbeaten and at the top of most pound-for-pound lists at the time. Lost in much of the debate about the scores, at least in the short term, is what a good fight this really was, and it’s nice to see the effort rewarded with a spot on this list.
Joshua-Klitschko (April 29)
I’m sure some disagree, though it’s hard for me to imagine, frankly, but this is the clear winner. This titanic war between top heavyweights was a true instant classic, a seesaw battle in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in London, the rare “mega-fight” sort of event that not only lived up to the hype, but even surpassed it. Even in defeat, it was probably the greatest fight of Wladimir Klitschko’s career, and it firmly established Anthony Joshua as far more than a hype job. I can’t see any of these other fights really matching up to this one, as good as the rest were.
Benavidez-Gavril (September 8)
Young David Benavidez got his first crack at a title in September, facing Ronald Gavril for the vacant WBC belt. It’s a fight that came together oddly, as it was originally supposed to be Callum Smith facing Anthony Dirrell, then Dirrell facing Benavidez, and we wound up with Benavidez-Gavril. All turned out fine for boxing fans, though, as we got a terrific fight that Gavril very easily could have won, with Benavidez taking the split decision, becoming boxing’s youngest active world champion. Respect to the Benavidez team for taking a rematch to start 2018, as the two meet again on February 17.
Salido-Roman (December 9)
A late year contender, and no surprise it wound up on this list. Take two exceptionally gritty Mexican warriors, veterans who fight to win, not to avoid losing, and put them in an HBO main event. The fight lived up to expectations, as they threw leather and Roman scored a career-best victory, stopping Salido in the ninth round.
What would get your vote?
What would get your vote for Fight of the Year?
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