With the year coming to a close, it’s time to look back at the memorable moments that made headlines in the sport. 2014 was a solid year in boxing which saw new stars rise and establish themselves at the top of the sport and also saw older stars fall from the ranks, as a new era of fighters emerged. In the final edition of “On The Ropes” Boxing Radio this year, the 6th annual awards ceremony was held and top performers of 2014 were acknowledged for their success during the year. In part one, I look at the top performers in the following categories:
Prospect of the year – Anthony Joshua
Heavyweight boxer, Anthony Joshua, has been garnering the attention of boxing fans as the brightest prospect in the heavyweight division. Joshua captured the Olympic gold medal for England at the 2012 Olympic games and in 2013, he made his debut to the professional ranks.
In 2014 he went 7-0 with 7 KOs, and he stepped up his level of opposition to former contenders from the UK boxing scene, defeating each with ease. Amongst his foes have been veterans, Denis Bakhtov, Konstantin Airich and Michael Sprott. At twenty five years of age, Anthony Joshua is now 10-0 in the pro ranks and has dispatched all ten of his opponents within three rounds.
Standing at 6’6, Joshua has the right build to succeed amongst the taller heavyweights in the division. The British prospect also carries knockout power and fast hand speed, making him a very deadly fighter even early on in his pro career.
Anthony Joshua is now scheduled to fight American, Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson in April of 2015 — his most skilled opponent to date. Johnson has been in the ring with the likes of Vitali Klitschko, Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora and has never been stopped. If Anthony Joshua can get past this test and possibly stops Johnson, he may be on the fast track to becoming a heavyweight champ.
Notable mention: Artur Beterbiev
Comeback fighter of the year – Jermain Taylor
Jermain ‘Bad Intentions’ Taylor won the middleweight championship in 2005 by defeating former undisputed middleweight champion, Bernard Hopkins. Taylor defeated Hopkins twice and went on to reign as the middleweight champion until 2007. Following consecutive losses to Kelly Pavlik, Taylor then moved up to super middleweight and took part in the Super Six tournament. During the tournament, Taylor suffered two knockout losses at the hands of Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham and it appeared Jermain Taylor’s career was over.
A brain injury that emerged as a result of the Arthur Abraham loss forced Jermain to step away from the sport for two years. He came back to the sport with former trainer Ozell Nelson and managed to rack up four victories against average competition, but never made an impact.
After having just one fight in two calender years, Taylor came back in a world title fight against IBF middleweight champion Sam Soliman and ceased the opportunity. Taylor out boxed and knocked down the Australian fight four times on route to a unanimous decision win. Jermain Taylor was thought to be down and out of the sport, and now he is back and has a legitimate championship belt that could see him get even bigger opportunities in 2015.
Notable mention: Andy Lee
Upset of the year – Miguel Cotto TKO10 Sergio Martinez
When the fight between Miguel and Sergio Martinez was announced for June of 2014, many felt the smaller Cotto was biting off far more than he could chew by challenging the lineal middleweight champion of the world. While Martinez was coming off of a more than one year lay off due to lingering injures, he was still a more than a 2-1 favorite by most odds makers and was expected to knock out an under sized Cotto.
Miguel Cotto ended up dominating the fight against Sergio Martinez, knocking him down three times in the first round, and four times over all. Cotto won every single round and looked to be the stronger and more powerful fighter. Martinez could do nothing to slow down or stop Cotto, and after nine one sided rounds, the corner of Martinez rightfully decided to stop the fight in the opening seconds of round ten. It was an impressive performance by Cotto and the matter in which he won the fight certainly was not expected.
Notable mention: Chris Algieri SD Ruslan Provodnikov
Trainer of the year – Freddie Roach
Freddie Roach is one of the more popular trainers in the sport, having gained a lot of recognition for his work with Manny Pacquiao in the last ten years. Roach has also brought other top level fighters to success, showing that he can play a big role in the development of top level professionals.
In 2014, Roach took Manny Pacquiao to yet another successful year, guiding him to wins over Tim Bradley and Chris Algieri. Freddie also made waves with another fighter in 2014, Miguel Cotto. After suffering consecutive loses to Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout, Cotto’s career seemed to be on the downturn, but after pairing up with Freddie Roach in 2013, Cotto has seemed to have had a career revival and is looking better than ever.
The highlight of Miguel Cotto’s year was his decisive victory over lineal middleweight champ, Sergio Martinez, in June. Cotto knocked Martinez down three times in the first rounds of the fight and went on to stop Martinez in the tenth. Without a doubt the Roach-Cotto partnership has produced nothing but success and now possible fights with Saul Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather appear to be on the horizon for Cotto. Taking Manny Pacquiao to the top of the sport and helping Miguel Cotto become the middleweight champion is the reason Freddie Roach is 2014’s trainer of the year.
Notable mention: Floyd Joy Mayweather Sr.
Stay tuned to Ontheropesboxing.com for part 2 of the boxing awards