The year of 2012 has brought many ups and downs for the sport of boxing. From the lows of the controversial decisions of Abril-Rios and Adamek-Cunningham all the way to the highs of Andre Ward’s domination of Chad Dawson and Juan Manuel Marquez getting vindicated against Manny Pacquiao, this has been one of the most dramatic years the sport has seen in well over a decade.
But the fights are what make the sport what it is, and we had some great ones this year.
So let’s take a look back at the fights that had us captivated. The fights that made our hearts race.
No. 3: Tomasz Adamek vs. Steve Cunningham II—December 22, 2012
We start this top 10 with one of the most controversial fights of the year.
This was an anticipated rematch of former Cruiserweight Champions Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham that was going to be the fight to jump start the sport on NBC. What we got is what we came for, a technical yet thrilling brawl that would keep us glued to our seats.
What we got at the end, though, was not expected. By most pundits’ accounts, Cunningham boxed a beautiful, technical bout on his way to an easy unanimous decision.
The Pennsylvania judges, however, did not see the same.
In the end, Adamek came away with a split-decision draw that drew ire from the crowd and shock and disbelief from Cunningham, who was at a lost of words during the post-fight press conference.
It’s safe to say that we will get a part three of this tremendous series; we just hope that it doesn’t come with anymore controversy
No. 2: Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Caesar Chavez, Jr.— September 15, 2012
While this fight was a complete, pure dominance by Sergio Martinez and in most years would not even have been sniffed as a Fight of the Year candidate, this fight did give us by all accounts the Round of the Year. In a fight that was a pure whitewash by Martinez, Round 12 delivered the drama that we were all expecting throughout the entire fight.
With an insurmountable lead heading into the final round, all Martinez had to do was continue what he was doing the entire fight. He had nothing to lose, just coast in the final round and victory was his.
The round started off with a brawl between the two, as Martinez wanted to close the show. Then, a left hook from Chavez changed the course of the entire round, as he dropped Martinez for the first time in the fight.
Chavez would then bring on an assault that if you had bet Martinez, would’ve had you sweating.
Martinez went down again, but referee Tony Weeks called it a slip, though it could’ve easily been called a knock down. Martinez survived the round and went on to victory, but the final round brought up questions no one thought of in the first 11 rounds.
After the fight, Chavez was found to have been using marijuana, leading to a indefinite suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. It’s very conceivable that Chavez could be suspended for a year, but the final round could indeed lead to a very anticipated rematch after his suspension ends.
No. 1: Marcos Maidana vs. Jesus Soto Karass—September 15, 2012
This fight was special, and it was even more special seeing it live and in person. This was the best fight on the best card of the year, and it just happened to be a fight that wasn’t even the co-main event.
Marcos Maidana and Jesus Soto Karass fought an absolute war on the biggest holiday in the sport.
With the eyes of the sport and the world watching them, they put on a show that was indicative of what these two warriors are. While it was Maidana controlling the bout, it was Soto Karass’ undeniable heart that made the fight what it was.
It may not have been Corrales-Castillo I or Hagler-Hearns, but it was still an awesome display of heart and skill.
Maidana came in with the intent on boxing, using his jab more than what he is used to under the guidance of new trainer Robert Garcia. But when Soto Karass was continuing the pressure in the early rounds, that went out the door.
The brawl really kicked off in the fourth, when both were penalized one point by Kenny Bayless for hitting on the break. Maidana started to tire by the fifth and that’s when Soto Karass started to come alive.
He outlanded Maidana on punch stats, 37-17, and was in control of the fight. That’s when Maidana landed a perfect left with 15 seconds left in Round 7 to send Soto Karass down. He would get up, only to be beaten and pummeled in the early stages of the eighth, prompting Bayless to call a halt to the bout.
There is no denying the heart of these two. We hope to see this bout once again.
If not, it was one of the true great bouts of the past five years and no doubt in this writer’s mind, the fight of the year.