In some years, the debate over who should be the Boxer of the Year is fierce. Not this year. It’s a landslide, and the unanimous winner must be Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao. The sensation can only hope the congressional seat in his home country is won as easily as his fights in the ring were in the year 2009.
Manny Pacquiao only fought two times in 2009, but that’s all he needed to win the Fighter of the Year award. He was also widely viewed as the winner in 2008, when he fought three times in three weight classes, won two title belts, and beat the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez and Oscar De La Hoya. Of course he’s also the reigning pound for pound champion. Not only that, but he may just be the Fighter of the Decade from 2000-2009.
Getting back to 2009, Pacquiao met once beaten Ricky Hatton in May. It was just Pacquiao’s second fight above the lightweight limit of 135 lbs, and regardless of your views on Hatton, he was still the champion in the junior welterweight division. Pacquiao blitzed him and planted him permanently into the canvas in the second round.
Pacquiao’s second appearance of the year was against one of the best welterweights in the world, Miguel Cotto. This was billed as Pacquiao’s first true test against a legit, hard hitting, hard willed, bigger man. Pacquiao knocked him down in the third and fourth rounds, and continued to batter Cotto until the referee was forced to stop the action in the 12th round.
The win left no doubt in anyone’s mind that Manny Pacquiao was not just one of the best fighters in the world, he was one of the best welterweights in the world and he was certainly the 2009 Fighter of the Year.
Fighter of the Year Runner Up – Andre Ward: The former Olympic Gold medalist secures runner up status for the 2009 Boxer of the Year award with his dismantling of the highly regarded top 168 lb fighter in the world, Mikkel Kessler. Earlier in the year, Ward faced his first real test and passed with flying colors, whitewashing the wild swinging Edison Miranda.
Going into the Kessler fight, he was a large underdog and was still largely unproven. However, not having lost a pro or amateur bout in over a decade has its advantages, as Ward turns up the heat when the pressure is on. He is now the odds-on favorite to win the Super Six Tournament.
With a weak class of other candidates, Andre Ward takes home the second place honors. But 2009 was all about Manny Pacquiao, and he’s without a doubt the Boxer of the Year. In 2010 we of course have the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather bout to look forward to, and if Pacquiao wins that, he won’t have to do much else to take home the Fighter of the Year award for a third straight year running.