After a crazy year of boxing that included Manny Pacquiao handing Timothy Bradley and Chris Algieri their first losses, Sports Illustrated had the tall task of figuring out the best of the best.
Promoter of the Year: Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions
The famed magazine noted, “De La Hoya has re-established himself as a force on the promotional landscape. He has repaired Golden Boy’s relationship with HBO, restored a working relationship with rival Top Rank and continued to build junior middleweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez into one of the biggest stars in boxing…his best days as a promoter lie ahead!”
De La Hoya agrees, “I’m humbled and honored and thank Sports Illustrated for this incredible recognition…When I was inducted to the Boxing Hall of Fame in June, I made a promise that Golden Boy Promotions would focus all of its energies on a simple premise – bringing the best fights to the fans of our sport. In 2014, we started to deliver on that promise, but we have only scratched the surface of what is possible. Working with our outstanding stable of fighters, our fellow promoters and everyone else in our sport who shares our goals, 2015 is primed to be a huge year for boxing.”
Trainer of the Year: Freddie Roach
It was another outstanding year for Roach as he guided Manny Pacquiao to a pair of wins over Timothy Bradley and Chris Algieri, inspired Miguel Cotto’s win over longtime middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, trained rising star Ruslan Provodnikov and worked the corner for Denis Lebedev’s cruiserweight title defense. In 2014, Roach established his crown as a master tactician. He came up with clever game plans for the likes of Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao, and Provodnikov.
Fight of the Year: Francisco Rodriguez Jr. vs Katsunari Takayama
Props to Sports Illustrated for acknowledging the best fight when they see it. It didn’t have the hubbub of a Mayweather, Hopkins or Pacquiao fight, but at the end of the day (or year) it was the best 36 minutes of fighting that took place. The strawweight (105 pounds) unification fight between Rodriguez and Takayama produced the most action-packed fight of the year. Rodriguez lit up Takayama with savage body shots aimed at his midsection. Takayama responded to Rodriguez with undeniable pressure and finally knocked him down with a vicious uppercut. Finally, Rodriguez won the decision, but it was the sheer violence of the bout that led Sports Illustrated to make this decision, making them both winners.
Other winners for the year were:
Upset of the Year: Chris Algieri SD Ruslan Provodnikov
Breakthrough Performance: Nicholas Walters KO6 Nonito Donaire
Knockout of the Year: Amir Mansour KO7 Fred Kassi
Comeback Fighter of the Year: Steve Cunningham
Round of the Year: Koki Eto-Ardin Diale: Round 8