It has been a tremendous year for boxing. Yes, it was marred by such unfortunate events as horrific judging, failed drug tests and several losses of highly respected and beloved members of the boxing community. Overall, however, it was a rebound year for the sport with several memorable moments. In this special year-end review, each writer here at Boxing 101 will share our top moments of this sensational year of boxing.
It seemed virtually impossible that anything could happen inside of the ring on this night that would match, let alone exceed, the level of drama leading up to this light welterweight unification fight. It was a bout that was not even supposed to happen had it not been for Lamont Peterson testing positive for synthetic testosterone two months earlier.
Amidst all of the related calamity that included Khan's incessant complaining, Golden Boy's very public dissatisfaction with VADA and the WBA's sudden reinstatement of Khan as their Super champion just four days prior to the fight, Garcia made his own statement with his fists. After being out-boxed in the first two rounds, a single swooping left hook counter from Garcia that dropped the former Olympian in Round 3 changed everything and ignited an unexpected brawl before Khan was dropped twice more. The sudden shift in momentum, Khan's instinctive decision to brawl with a brawler and his subsequent replacement of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach with the highly regarded Virgil Hunter put quite the exclamation point on the entire sordid affair.
It was another bout that was not supposed to happen with an outcome that was even less anticipated. Lopez, a last minute replacement for Andre Berto who failed a pre-fight VADA drug test, was viewed as a mere means to an end. With the "Canelo Sweepstakes" in full swing, Lopez was shown little respect with the pre-fight announcement by Golden Boy that Ortiz would face Alvarez in September.
It was not only that Lopez thoroughly disrupted those plans but the manner in which he did it that makes this a top moment. The extraordinary heart, determination and mental fortitude that Lopez displayed in his first fight at welterweight to overcome the pre-fight distractions, an illegal blow behind the head in Round 5, a swelling left eye and several clean shots by his bigger opponent to score a ninth round stoppage after shattering Ortiz's jaw (and, thus, Golden Boy's plans) will always be remembered.
Truly a thrilling end to a fight that was a slaughter for eleven rounds. This was a round that brought out the best in Chavez Jr. and showed Martinez's ability to survive an ugly situation in the ring. Three minutes of pure excitement and adrenaline to finish off a fight that lacked it up until then.
Sports moment of the year for 2012? Best knockout in boxing history? This was a candidate for both, that much is for sure. A truly beautiful moment for this writer as a boxing fan with Marquez, of whom this writer has been a fan for many years, finally getting his moment in the sun after years of coming so close to it. The knockout itself was spectacular even without the back story. But with it, the KO became something truly special. It is a moment that this writer has seen over a dozen times in the weeks since the bout happened. And it is a moment that still makes this writer smile, almost to the point of tears.
The return of Ricky Hatton, November 24, 2012
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