January 1, 2018
January 1, 2018
lomachenko

Action Images/Reuters/Tyrone Siu

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THE yearly final ballot has arrived, the one I used to send out when I was the President of the Boxing Writers Association of America. After all these years I still enjoy voting on the annual awards. Now you can too. The only difference is that my vote will count and yours won’t. Think of it as scoring a match. Only the votes of the official judges’ actually count, but we don’t have to agree with them and often don’t.

The following is the BWAA’S 2017 final ballot for nominees in the various categories. Without specifically covering every candidate’s credentials, I will nevertheless fill you in on my thinking of why I voted for whom. Feel free to disagree as some of us like to use different criteria in why we might vote for whom. The official results will be released in late January.

FIGHTER OF THE YEAR

Terence Crawford

Mikey Garcia

Anthony Joshua

Vasyl Lomachenko

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai

WINNER: LOMACHENKO

How I arrived at my conclusion:
You can make a case for all of them except Garcia. I look for defining victories, and Lomachenko’s over Rigondeaux was the best of the lot. Although Lomachenko was the clearly bigger man he dominated against a great boxer. Joshua struggled mightily before prevailing against Klitschko who was 41 and coming off a loss. Although Crawford unified the junior welterweight titles beating the likes of Felix Diaz and Julius Indongo that was not enough to make him top dog. Sor Rungvisai would normally have gotten my vote based on his brutal knockout of Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in their rematch, but we also have to factor in the first fight where he was very fortunate to be given the decision.

FIGHT OF THE YEAR

David Benavidez-Ronald Gavril.

James DeGale-Badou Jack

Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko.

Miguel Roman-Orlando Salido.

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai-Roman Gonzalez 1

WINNER:  Joshua-Klitschko.

How I arrived at my conclusion:
Of the four fights that fell short the only one that you can say was truly great was Rungvisai-Gonzalez 1. The others were merely very good.  For pure bell to bell action, Rungvisai-Gonzalez was probably better, but what put Joshua-Klitschko on top were the ebbs and flows and high drama that it provided.


TRAINER OF THE YEAR

Derrick James.

Anatoly Lomachenko.

Brian McIntyre

Andre Rozier.

Abel Sanchez.

WINNER: ANATOLY LOMACHENKO.

How I arrived at my conclusion:
Vasyl Lomachenko’s greatness as a fighter can be directly attributed to his dad who has trained him since childhood. Anatoly pushed his son to the point where the things he has accomplished in the ring can be labelled historic. But with that said, I must confess I would have voted for Jose Santa Cruz had he been on the ballot in this category. The tactics he had his son Leo Santa Cruz employ in the Carl Frampton rematch were brilliant. But of the group on the ballot Lomachenko was most worthy.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Keith Connolly.

Frank Espinoza.

Egis Klimas.

No Award.

WINNER: EGIS KLIMAS.

How I arrived at my conclusion:
Because the promoter is basically a de facto manager, the No Award option is pretty tempting, but Klimas is an exception. He has the full confidence of his fighters and moves them well. He brought Sergey Kovalev back to championship status following what could have been a disastrous loss to Andre Ward. Klimas also does not have his stable of fighters tied down to any one particular promoter as is the case with most managers.

 

GOOD GUY

Matt Donovan (Showtime PR).

Ed Keenan (longtime PR/media person).

Wladimir Klitschko.

Jose Ramirez (fighter who aided impoverished California Latino farmers in obtaining water for their crops).

Bruce Silverglade (owner of Gleasons Gym).

Tim Smith.

WINNER: BRUCE SILVERGLADE.

How I arrived at my conclusion:
Silverglade is the consummate gentleman who has used his facility to do many charitable things. It is not easy running New York’s premier gym and dealing with all the diverse personalities. Yet Silverglade does this flawlessly. Everyone likes Bruce because he is a genuinely good guy who truly cares about others.

BROADCAST JOURNALISM

Brian Custer (Showtime Boxing analyst).

Lou DiBella

Steve Espinoza

Roy Jones

Mauro Ranallo

WINNER: ROY JONES.     

How I arrived at my conclusion:
Roy Jones was one of the most gifted boxers in history, but is also a real student of the sport. For years now, he has done an excellent job of imparting his knowledge to HBO viewers. It is time to give his broadcasting career the validation that it deserves. You can also make a very strong case for Espinoza winning this award as well. Under his direction Showtime has grown into arguably the number one television network for boxing where before it had lagged far behind HBO.

LONG AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE

Gina Andriolo (longtime BWAA event coordinator).

Bob Canobbio (CompuBox creator).

Dr. Margaret Goodman

Randy Gordon

John Sheppard (BoxRec creator).

WINNER: Gina Andriolo.

How I arrived at my conclusion:
As time goes by I can hardly believe that I won this award three years ago. Andriolo is not as well – known as the others, but has served the BWAA well as one of the true power players of the organization. I have worked closely with her for many years and can attest to how valuable she is. Before that she was Ray Mancini’s publicist and worked for HBO. It is about time we honoured her contribution to the sport by giving her the official recognition she deserves.

COURAGE IN OVERCOMING ADVERSITY

Kathy Duva (cancer survivor).

Daniel Franco (brain injury survivor).

Jose Santa Cruz (father of Leo and cancer survivor).

Claressa Shields (overcame abuse as a child).

Samuel Teah (family was killed in house fire).

WINNER: JOSE SANTA CRUZ

How I arrived at my conclusion:
You could give this award to any on the nominees without giving it a second thought. Santa Cruz was absent in the corner when his son lost to Frampton. It was inspirational how he recovered from cancer to train his son for the rematch. Leo was not only a better fighter, but a happier one as well. Dad deserves credit for that.