Cox’s Corner

Second Annual Boxing Awards

Every year the Ring Magazine presents its “Fighter of the Year awards.” In anticipation of this event Cox’s Corner offers its selection in some of the more prestigious categories. I am interested in the fans choices. I asked some of the folks at some of the boxing boards I occasionally post at such as Boxing Insider who they think should be the 2004 choices for Fight and Fighter of the Year.

2004 Fighter of the Year: Glen Johnson

Having gone 3-0 in title fights with two of them major upset victories against heavily favored opponents Glen Johnson deserves to win this year’s Fighter of the Year award. Will the Ring get it right or give it to some bigger “name” entity such as Bernard Hopkins or Vitaly Klitschko? Johnson was the favorite of the fans, edging out Bernard Hopkins and besting runners-up Diego Corrales by a 2-1 margin.

2004 Fight of the Year: Barrera-Morales 3

A great entertaining slugfest by two of the best fighters in the world, each wanting to be called Mexico’s greatest fighter. In a battle as good as their first epic encounter they waged a classic war of non-stop punching and clever hitting for 12 rounds. Morales threw an incredible 808 punches, connecting with 231. Barrera landed 290 of 765. Both men showed true grit and determination. Like the other matches it was a close fight with Barrera getting a hard fought narrow majority decision (114-114, 115-113, 115-114). The Barrera-Morales trilogy is certainly good enough to go down in history with other great trilogies of the past such as Ali-Frazier and Zale-Graziano. The question for fans now is will there be a "superfight IV?"

2004 Knockout of the Year: Antonio Tarver KO 2 Roy Jones Jr.

No one saw it coming except perhaps Antonio Tarver when he said before the opening bell, “You going to have any excuses tonight Roy?” Jones won the first round in his usual style and then in the second round Tarver suddenly caught Jones with a southpaw overhand/left cross beating Jones to the punch as Roy began a wide-angle punch of his own. The punch landed flush on the chin and smashed him to the canvas. It was the fall of a legend and although he got up he was in no condition to continue. It was a spectacular one-punch knockout for Tarver over the man considered by many to have been the best p4p boxer over the past decade. 2004 knockout of the year indeed!

2004 Upset of the Year: Glen Johnson KO 9 Roy Jones Jr.

It was the second consecutive one shot knockout loss that Roy Jones suffered in consecutive fights, seriously tarnishing his place in ring history in the eyes of many observers and possibly ending his career. No one thought that Glen Johnson would beat Roy Jones. It was a huge upset. Johnson pressured Jones inside smothering his punches and upsetting his work rate. Capitalizing on Roy’s mistakes Johnson eventually caught him with a crushing right hand that flattened him. For a 35-year-old fighter with a 40-9-2 record to beat the man considered, even after Tarver, as one of boxing’s top men, is the 2004 upset of the year.

2004 Comeback of the Year: Kostya Tzyu

Although he never really went away Kostya Tyzyu coming off a lengthy period of inactivity due to injuries to best #1 contender and Interim champion Shamba Mitchell with an impressive knockout was 2004’s comeback of the year. There were serious concerns as to how inactivity had affected Tyzu. In the months prior to the fight he had gained weight and appeared in less than stellar condition. In a fight that many thought Tzyu would lose, Tzyu, getting in top shape, proved he was still one of boxing’s premier ring men. His victory over Mitchell, which was considered almost a 50/50 proposition going in, was more impressive than the close runner-up Felix Trinidad’s return after a 2 year absence to beat under-dog Ricardo Mayorga.