As 2019 comes to an end we can generally say that it was a pretty good year for the sport of boxing. We were treated to a number of excellent fights on a monthly and at times weekly basis, across multiple platforms. We saw appearances from one of boxing’s oldest stars, Manny Pacquiao, 62-7-2 (39 KOs) as he jumped ship from longtime promoter Top Rank to join the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) stable. He showed that while he’s not necessarily at the top of his game at 41 years of age, he still has enough in the tank to give any of the best welterweights problems. We also had the chance to witness one of boxing’s hottest prospects 21-year-old Vergil Ortiz, 15-0 (15 KOs), as he blasted his way through four victories for the year, all via stoppage.
There is a lot to think about, more than can be covered in a single article. That said, we took a step back to take a look at the landscape of boxing through this year and who set themselves up for lucrative fights in 2020. With that, I give you 86Boxing’s winners and losers for this year.
Winner – Teofimo “The Takeover” Lopez, 15-0 (12 KOs)
Lopez said he would arrive in a major way in 2019 and did it. There is no question that one of the biggest splash-making, talk-generating fighters of 2019 was Teofimo Lopez. Teo the shocker, yea that’s him. He capped the year off with a brilliant TKO victory over Ghana’s Richard Commey, 29-3 (26 KOs) to become IBF World Lightweight Champion. If you focus, it can happen and Lopez is proof. Now, here in 2020, the talk is all about Lopez facing off against pound for pound standout and current The Ring, WBA, WBO, and WBC World Lightweight champion, Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko, 15-1 (10 KOs). This will be no doubt one of the best fights of 2020 and rumors are saying it will take place in or around April. Let the games begin.
Loser – Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., 51-4-1 (33 KOs)
I honestly didn’t think he would even be fighting in 2019. He ended up fighting twice. Well, about that last one.
I’ll just leave this right here….
Winner – Shakur Stevenson, 13-0 (7 KOs)
Here in 2020, Stevenson may undoubtedly have the most potential of all of the young fighters out there and that’s saying a lot with the likes of Devin Haney and Teofimo Lopez. That said, Stevenson is already one of the most pure boxers in the game and he’s on the path to become world champion in his next fight should he get the match he’s been clamoring for, the IBF Featherweight title shot against Josh Warrington, 30-0 (7 KOs), of Leeds. Stevenson fought four times in 2019, each being considered step-up fights, each in which he dominated. The crazy thing is that Stevenson continues to get better and more dominant witch each fight. His foes have taken notice which is why no one is really clamoring to step in the ring with him. His time shall come.
Winner – Streaming Services
Boxing is now as available as ever in the history of the sport. This is largely in part due to the multitude of streaming platforms that host boxing. While there isn’t a one-fit solution to being able to watch all of your favorite fighters on a single platform, there is something to be said about the understanding that this is the means for boxing to thrive moving forward. There have been several high-quality fights that we’ve been able to witness via stream. For me, it’s been a dream come true and I hope it continues. Now, there is a downside in that there seem to be more and more streaming services popping up which could oversaturate the market and force people to choose between promotional banners, but it’s the nature of the beast.
Winner – Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 53-1-2 (36 KOs)
Canelo, the guy I consider the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world, had an excellent 2019. After moving up to win the WBA World Super Middleweight title in late 2018, Canelo unified the Middleweight division by picking up the IBF World Middleweight title in a victory over Daniel Jacobs, 36-3 (30 KOs), the #2 Middleweight at the time. He then closed out 2019 with a victory over Sergey Kovalev, 34-4-1 (29 KOs), where he picked up the WBO World Light Heavyweight Championship. He’s now won titles in four separate divisions and who’s to say he has to stop there. 2020 should be interesting as we find our where Canelo wants to campaign. There are a ton of great fights between 160 and 175 pounds. Hell, would Cruiserweight be too much of a stretch?
Loser – Pay Per View
I’m not saying that the days of pay per view are over, as a matter of fact, there were many in 2019 which is the problem. We’ve been able to get what would have previously been pay per view level fights through the likes of DAZN and ESPN, even some of the Fox fights. That said, we’ve still got a number fight cards that shouldn’t have been pay per view, i.e., the Wilder vs Ortiz rematch. I’m not one to block anyone from getting their money, but I will choose not to purchase anything I don’t deem to be pay per view worthy and encourage other fans to do the same. If you want the biggest and best fights possible, demand them. Wilder vs Fury II is slated to take place in February and will be on pay per view, but it should be worthy.
Winner – Daniel “Dynamite” Dubois, 14-0 (13 KOs)
Dubois fought five times in 2019 and picked up five victories, all stoppages. He stays busy and fighters keeping getting dropped left and right. What was supposed to be his biggest test in Nathan Gorman, 16-1 (11 KOs), turned out to be his finest performance when he stopped the also highly regarded prospect in the fifth round. Yes, Dubois has some flaws and is far from a perfect fighter at this point. But, there is no question that we’re witnessing the next major draw and entertaining fighter at heavyweight. 2020 could have major fights in store for Dubios with the possibility of facing fellow countryman and 2015 Gold Medalist, Joe “Juggernaught” Joyce, 10-0 (9 KOs). Even the potential for a fight with Efe Ajagba, 12-0 (10 KOs) is appealing.
Loser – Adrien “The Problem” Broner, 33-4-1-1 (24 KOs)
Some fighters earn their nickname for in-ring performance, but ‘The Problem’ is more fitting for Broner’s out of ring actions these days. Broner laced them up once this year in a lopsided loss to Manny Pacquiao on Jan 19. Broner’s highlight moment of the fight came after the match when he auditioned for any viewer or spectator in attendance to give him a nod for his performance. Broner ultimately took his L and continued to do what he does best for the remainder of the year, seek attention. Broner announced that he’s retiring via Instagram, but this isn’t the first time he’s made such a bold statement. He was also dealing with a number of legal issues leading into this year. Broner certainly has a way of grabbing attention but with his performances not matching the bravado, this could essentially be the last we’ve seen of Broner in a marquee fight. Once touted as the protege of Floyd Mayweather, his decline has been sadder if anything. We hope that he gets the help he needs in order to salvage what’s left if anything for his career.
Winner – Mykal “The Professor” Fox, 22-1 (5 KOs)
Fox may be a surprise entry to many but being as we reside here in the Washington, D.C., area, one can’t help but take notice. Fox started off 2019 with a tough, close fight with undefeated Uzbekistan fighter, Shohjahon Ergashev, 17-0 (15 KOs), who had walked through all but one of his previous opponents. Fox, though, showed that he may very well be the best of the young fighters out of the D.M.V. in taking Ergashev the distance while making him very uncomfortable throughout the fight. Fox bounced back in his next fight against another Uzbek fighter in 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, Fazliddin Gaibnazarov, 8-1 (5 KOs). Fox outboxed Gaibnazarov and handed him his first professional defeated. Fox finished the year with another two victories and has set himself up for major fights in 2020. At 6’3 1/2 fighting at Super Lightweight, Fox has a unique style and skill set that will continue to prove problematic for many challengers.
Winner – Brent “Smooth Ref” Bovell, Boxing Official/Referee
Referees seldom receive any love but are subjected to plenty of hate. Featured on the likes of DAZN and Showtime was one of the best in the game, certainly here on the east coast and hailing from the D.M.V., is non-other than Brent “Smooth Ref” Bovell. It always looks easy officiating fights from the sideline but unless you’ve been in the ring it’s hard to understand what really transpires. The athlete’s safety is the top priority and Bovell oversaw 33 professional bouts in 2019 which includes two minor-title fights. A veteran of 198 professional fights and countless amateur fights, there is no question that Bovell is ready for the grandest of stages and main events. Cheers to 2020.
Loser – Jerrell “Big Baby” Miller, 23-0-1 (20 KOs)
Miller came into the year with an opportunity to fight then-undefeated Anthony Joshua, 23-1 (21 KOs) for the IBF, WBO, IBO, and WBA World Heavyweight Championships. Fast forward and Andy Ruiz, Jr., 33-2 (22 KOs) took his spot and had one of the greatest upsets in boxing history. That’s because Miller pissed dirty on a test leading up to the fight with Joshua and was suspended. Miller didn’t fight at all in 2019 and likely won’t get a meaningful shot at anything in 2020. It was a case of the accuser becomes the accused. Miller missed out on what would have been the biggest payday of his career as well and had he won the titles, which was possible in hindsight, he could have set himself up for even more lucrative paydays. Now it’s to the back of the line and to be honest, the heavyweight division hasn’t skipped a beat.
Winner and Loser – Andy Ruiz, Jr., 33-2 (22 KOs)
Ruiz, Jr. saw his career skyrocket when he knocked out Anthony Joshua in June 2019. Yes, he did end up losing in the rematch this past December, but not before packing on an extra 16 pounds and enjoying every bit of his newfound fame. One of his major purchases was a Rolls Royce because you can’t be a high-roller without one. Not many gave Ruiz, Jr. a chance heading into the fight with Joshua but he was able to capitalize on being floored himself to forcing a stoppage midway through the Heavyweight championship contest. Ruiz, Jr. got his opportunity after stepping in for the above reference Jarrell Miller who failed a drug test. The road back to the championship may be challenging for Ruiz, Jr., but he has proven that anything can happen on any given night. That said, he’ll need to get back in the graces of the fans in order for them to tune in. Time will tell.
Winner – Tiara “T-Baby” Brown, 10-0 (6 KOs)
Currently ranked #10 at Super Featherweight by the WBA, NABO Junior Lightweight Champion Brown is an inspiration for all throughout Washington, D.C., as she serves the public as a Police Officer with the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C. Brown was also named the DC Police Officer of the Year for 2019. Brown saw her name raised in victory three times in 2019. 2020 is here and the grind won’t stop now. On behalf of everyone, thank you for your service!
Salute to all of the officials, pro and amateur, as someone has to regulate!!!
Salute to Super Middleweight contender Demond Nicholson, 22-3-1 (20 KOs). After a health scare earlier in the year, Nicholson returned to the ring in victorious fashion in October 2019.
Salute to the Light Heavyweight division. This is arguably the most exciting division in boxing across the board.
Salute to Vergil Ortiz, Jr. This young man is the future and is a hell of a puncher.
Salute to Tomi Silvennoinen, 9-1 (5 KOs). Silvennoinen is next in line to take the throne as Finland’s best boxer.
Salute to all of the amateur fighters getting it in.
Salute to all of the fans around the world!!!!!
Feel different or think there are more who should be included? Feel free to chime in. #86Boxing