As I'm writing this we're about 15 hours away from the Fuji TV show on December 30th, a card that will feature 3 world title bouts. After that show there is still a trio of world title bouts set to take place in Macau, as the year, once again, ends with a bang due to Asian fighters.
Sadly as I'm writing this various media outlets have already announced their Fight, Fighter, KO, Prospect, Upset, Comeback and Round of the Year, completely ignoring what may happen in the final days of the year.
Whilst some of those awards really won't change based on what we have to end 2018 others potentially could.
We notably saw this in 2014, when Naoya Inoue announced himself on the world stage. In early 2014 the "Monster" had beaten Adrian Hernandez to become the WBC Light Flyweight champion, on December 30th he stopped Omar Andres Narvaez to become the WBO Super Flyweight champion, completely skipping the Flyweight division to stop a man who had never been stopped. He failed to get any consideration for Fighter of the Year from publications who had already announced their 2014 award winners of the Year, though was considered by those who did wait until the year was over. Whether Inoue deserved to win is a different is one question, but he should certainly have been in the conversation.
This year we almost all accept that Oleksndr Usyk has been the Fighter of the Year. He's had a really stellar year unifying all 4 Cruiserweight titles, and scoring bit wins in Latvia, Russia and the UK. He's one of the few fighters who has scored 3 world class wins in the year and done so in very impressive fashion. There's nothing anyone fighting on the final days of the year can do to change that.
Likewise, there is no prospect in action at the end of the year who would be in the running for Prospect of the year, , nobody on the planet would make a case for Lap Cheong Cheong to be the Prospect of the year regardless of how his December 31st goes.
There's also really no argument about whether or not there can be an upset of the year contender. The widest odds on a year ending bout this year is the Kenshiro Vs Saul Juarez bout, with Kenshiro being 1/16 to win. Lewis Ritson was 1/33 to beat Francesco Patera and Sam Eggington was priced at 1/100 with a number of bookies to beat Hassan Mwakinyo, in two upsets that really won't be matched over the coming few days. That's massively different to 2014 when Hisashi Amagasa took on Guillermo Rigondeaux, and amazingly dropped the Cuban twice in round 9 before being stopped himself.
There is however real potential for Fight of the Year, especially with Donnie Nietes Vs Kazuto Ioka and Hekkie Budler Vs Hiroto Kyoguchi both being fantastic match ups. Both of those fights could also provide at least 1 round of the year contender between them. There's also the potential for a KO of the Year, though it's a slim chance, given the competition we've seen through the year.
We understand publications, magazines and websites want to get their articles out before the end of the year, but we do wonder whether they could perhaps hold back a few days and wait until the year ends.
(Image, of Inoue stopping Narvaez on December 30th 2014, courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces