2009 Inside Fights Boxing Awards

2009 was a great year in boxing but allow Inside Fights to separate the best from the rest. Categories such as Fight of the Year and Knockout of the Year were easy choices while others like Upset of the Year and Story of the Year were close races. Check out our picks for the best of 2009.

Boxer of the Year

Arthur Abraham
Tim Bradley
Vitali Klitschko
Manny Pacquiao
Andre Ward

Abraham made two successful middleweight title defenses in ’09 before opening the Super Six tournament with a KO of Jermain Taylor. Bradley and Vitali Klitschko both proved their dominance in their respective divisions while Pacquiao beat a top fighter in two divisions. Ward started off the year well but thrust onto the scene with a dominating Super Six win over Mikkel Kessler.

And the winner is…

Manny Pacquiao

This was not a close race. Pacquiao mauled Ricky Hatton and plowed through Miguel Cotto to obtain titles in his sixth and seventh weight class. He’s the current pound-for-pound king and a potential bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr looms in 2010. Pacquiao won Inside Fights Boxer of the Year in 2006 and 2008 as well.

Fight of the Year

Andre Berto-Luis Collazo (1-17-09)
Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz (2-28-09)
Brian Viloria-Ulises Solis (4-19-09)
Juan Manuel Lopez-Rogers Mtagwa (10-10-09)
Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez (12-5-09)

Berto-Collazo opened 2009 on a good note and the momentum carried boxing fans to the dramatic fight between Marquez and Diaz. Viloria and Solis put on a great show in the light flyweight division while Lopez got all he could handle from Mtagwa. Williams and Martinez capped off the year with a slugfest that generated a lot of buzz.

And the winner is…

marquez diaz
Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Juan Diaz

Marquez and Diaz were early favorites for Fight of the Year after their thriller in February. This fight was able to fend off all comers, a testament to the will shown by both men over the course of their battle. Marquez and Diaz went back-and-forth for nine rounds before Marquez was able to score the TKO with just 20 seconds remaining in the round. The fight was even on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage.

Breakthrough Fighter of the Year

Yuri Foreman
Danny Green
Amir Khan
Yonnhy Perez
Andre Ward

Foreman captured light middleweight gold in ’09 and is already being rumored for a big fight in 2010. Green made waves by being the latest guy to knock out Roy Jones Jr. Khan won 3 big fights on British soil while Perez became a major player in the bantamweight division. Ward won four times including a big Super Six statement against Mikkel Kessler.

And the winner is…

Andre Ward

Ward had a significant amount of buzz surrounding him from the moment he turned professional. Ward was the lone gold medalist from the 2004 United States Olympic boxing team, but 2009 saw Andre Ward realize his potential. He passed his first big test when he defeated Edison Miranda, but his breakout performance came against Mikkel Kessler, a win that also netted him his first world title.

Boxing Story of the Year

Antonio Margarito Has Illegal Hand Wraps; Banned One Year
Arturo Gatti Dies at 37
Oscar De La Hoya Retires
The Super Six Tournament Begins
Pacquiao Wins Title In Seventh Weight Class

Margarito dominated boxing headlines for the early part of 2009 but tragically gave way to the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Arturo Gatti in July. De La Hoya retired from boxing as its biggest draw while Showtime set forth to create a new star with its super middleweight tournament. Manny Pacquiao rounded out the year by becoming the first man to win a title in seven different weight classes.

And the winner is…

Arturo Gatti Dies at 37

Arturo Gatti retired in 2007 as one of boxing’s greatest warriors. And that’s why his death two years later was met with such heartbreak. Gatti was found dead by his wife and rumors of the cause of death ranged from suicide to homicide. Gatti’s wife was briefly considered a suspect in his death. In a year that saw many tragic deaths in boxing, Gatti’s death hit fans the hardest. Arturo Gatti will be missed.

Boxing Card of the Year

Supremacy (Marquez-Diaz, Juarez-John 1)
Lightweight Lightning (Valero-Pitalua, Chavez-Katsidis, Escobedo-Hernandez)
Number One/Numero Uno (Mayweather-Marquez, John-Juarez 2, Katsidis-Escobedo)
Latin Fury 12 (Lopez-Mtagwa, Gamboa-Garcia)
Williams-Martinez (Williams-Martinez, Arreola-Minto)

Both Supremacy and Lightweight Lightning delivered quality fights in some of the lighter weight classes while Number One tried its best to live up to the hype. Latin Fury 12 was the best offering of this Top Rank series while Williams-Martinez featured two exciting slugfests.

And the winner is…


Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz battled in what would become our Fight of the Year, but a solid undercard turned this into the best boxing show of the year. Chris John and Rocky Juarez fought to a bloody draw which served as a great lead-in to the action-packed main event.

Most Disappointing Fight of the Year

Ali Funeka vs. Joan Guzman
Vitali Klitschko vs. Kevin Johnson
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs. Troy Rowland
Steven Luevano vs. Bernabe Concepcion
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Ruslan Chagaev

Funeka-Guzman was a disappointment in terms of the judging while Klitschko-Johnson and Chavez Jr-Rowland became disappointing when the heavy favorite couldn’t put away the overmatched opponent. It was disappointing that Luevano-Concepcion had to be stopped early after Concepcion knocked Luevano out after the bell. Klitschko-Maskaev was an important fight in the heavyweight division that turned out to be a snoozer.

And the loser is…

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Ruslan Chagaev

Wladimir was originally set to face David Haye in a fight that was becoming very personal. Haye pulled out and Chagaev was a late replacement. The fact that the grudge match between Wlad and Haye was not happening was very disappointing. Klitschko-Chagaev had the potential to be interesting but the outcome was a jabfest from Wladimir that left little in the form of an entertaining fight.

KO of the Year

Randall Bailey KO Francisco Figueroa
Manny Pacquiao KO Ricky Hatton
Antonio Pitalua KO Jose Reyes
Arthur Abraham KO Jermain Taylor
Toshiaki Nishioka KO Jhonny Gonzalez

Knockout of the Year is always a fun category to go over. In each nominee, you knew the fight was over after that punch. Bailey crumbled his opponent while Pacquiao flattened his on the biggest stage. Pitalua and Nishioka had impressive knockouts, as did Arthur Abraham who took out Taylor in the final seconds of a fight he was already winning.

And the winner is…

Manny Pacquiao KO Ricky Hatton

Manny had been in control of this fight from the opening sequence. It seemed apparent that Ricky Hatton was not going to survive this fight so the only question became when it would end. Pacquiao answered that question in the second round when Hatton was laid stiff on the canvas…and he stayed that way for several minutes.

Upset of the Year

Shane Mosley over Antonio Margarito
Marcos Maidana over Victor Ortiz
Danny Green over Roy Jones Jr
Juan Carlos Salgado over Jorge Linares
Andre Ward over Mikkel Kessler

Mosley turned back the clock to beat one of the most dangerous fighters during his prime. Maidana and Salgado were able to stop prospects that were on the rise while Andre Ward soared into the limelight with his upset win. Danny Green thwarted Roy Jones’ plans of a rematch with Bernard Hopkins.

And the winner is…

Juan Carlos Salgado over Jorge Linares

Jorge Linares was on wave of momentum. He was young. He was a world champion. And he had just signed a promotional contract with Golden Boy. He seemed poised for big things…once he got past Juan Carlos Salgado. That never happened as Salgado swarmed Linares, a heavy favorite, and finished the champion less than two minutes into the first round.

2008 Inside Fights Awards
2007 Inside Fights Awards

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