Ted The Bull's Boxing Awards for 2006
1) Fighter of the year: Emmanuel Dapigran "Manny" Pacquiao continues his winning ways by stopping Erik Morales twice and beating tough Ocsar Larrios in between for good measure.
2) Fight of the year: Jose Armando Santa Cruz vs. David Diaz for the WBC Lightweight Title. Diaz, behind on the scorecards 88-83, 88-83, 87-84 going into the 10th, scores a stunning ko to snatch victory from the jaws of certain defeat. Diaz landed a monster left uppercut that removed all the resistance out of his younger opponent, Santa Cruz. He then went on a savage attack sending Santa Cruz down two more times before being referee Richard Steele mercifully rescued him as he stood against the ropes, absorbing brutal and unanswered punches.
Equally shocking, and arguably more gratifying, was that the sudden Chicagoan's stoppage was able to silence the mouthy HBO Team of Merchant, Lampley and Steward (who had been hyping Santa Cruz all night). This welcomed silence was icing on the cake.
Other fights high on this list were Adamek vs. Briggs and Vasquez vs. Gonzalez
3) KO of the year: Tie between Calvin Brock's KO of Zuri Lawrence and Ponce De Leon's icing of Sod Looknongyangtoy. Both scary and chilling. Sod was administered oxygen while Merchant made his usual insensitive observations. Lawrence was almost decapitated and remained unconscious for several minutes.
4) Upset of the year: Carlos Baldomir over Zab Judah. In Judah's back yard no less and in convincing fashion. The judges get special kudos for doing the right thing and scoring the fight right.
5) Round of the year: Round five of Somsak Sithchatchawal vs Mahya “Little Tyson” Monshipour. No clinches, just pure brutality. Back and forth, give and take, body and head, ebb and flow action. Savage and punishing.
6) Comeback of the year: Golden Johnson comes back to stop Oscar Diaz in Diaz's hometown. Magnificent performance by someone everyone had pretty much given up upon except Jesse James Leja, his trainer. Fight should have been stopped sooner giving strength to one of Sonny Liston's many quotes. When asked about Chuck Wepner's courage after dicing, slashing, and rendering his face a hideous mess, Sonny said 'Chuck's trainers and corner men were the bravest guys in the house." ' Same holds true for Diaz's corner. What were they thinking?
7) Most exciting fighter of the year: Manny Pacquiao.
8) Trainer of the Year: Freddie Roach for his handling and symbiosis with Manny Pacquiao. Reportedly (from Wikipedia), Freddie has developed Parkinson's Disease as a result of his lengthy boxing career, but I have not determined this conclusively. If true, however, all the more reason to salute Freddie for his remarkable and ongoing accomplishments
9) Trainers to keep an eye on: John "The Iceman" Scully and Jesse James Leja. Scully is a very savvy and level headed guy and knows his boxing. He is handling some top fighters out of New England like Jose Antonio Rivera and will break into the big time soon. Jesse James showed something in his handling of Golden Johnson.
10) Worse Referee of the year: Laurence Cole - "you're ahead on the cards, Juan [Manuel Marquez]..." Enough said. Cole has made my list before and bears watching for a possible three-peat in 2007.