Sweet Science Scene: Best of boxing 2021

Michael Rueda
Oct 9, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Deontay Wilder (red/black trunks) is knocked down by Tyson Fury (black/gold trunks) during their WBC/Lineal heavyweight championship boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

 Well, it’s here the year 2021 has come to an end and 2022 is on the doorstep. This year was full of upsets and great moments in the boxing world. We crowned undisputed champions and saw women’s boxing take a big step forward. Here are the year-end picks in boxing

Fighter Of the Year

Canelo Alvarez

Canelo Alvarez following his victory over Caleb Plant photo by Amanda Westcott Showtime

I mean what more can you say for Canelo right? The man become undisputed in 11 months 3-0 this year with three stoppages and beat two undefeated champions. He became the first undisputed champion from the boxing hotbed that is Mexico and he dispatched Billy Joe Saunders with a right uppercut that broke his orbital bone.

This was following a mandatory fight that was a wash by all means, but Canelo ended the year against young brash Caleb Plant. This fight had hype and extra build-up following the press conference scuffle where Plant was cut. Canelo went on to get through some tough early rounds and start to wear down Plant and eventually knocking Plant down two times to lead to a stoppage and crown himself King.

Other worthy fighters

Stephen Fulton Jr. 

If it wasn’t for Canelo having the year, he, did I believe this would’ve been a runaway for Fulton Jr. The young Philadelphia champion began the year as a worthy contender and ended it as a unified champion. He beat two undefeated fighters and is now on the cusp of pound-for-pound conversations.

Oleksandr Usyk

The former Cruiserweight undisputed king started his heavyweight journey well, but far from his run at cruiser. That all changed when Usyk upset Anthony Joshua and became a unified heavyweight champion.

Josh Taylor

The king of 140 ended a spectacular run with a statement win against fellow undefeated unified champion Jose Ramirez. The fight lived up to expectations and then some as both fighters showed heart and skill through a 12-round contest. Taylor scored two knockdowns which helped ensure his victory and finished a special run to undisputed.

Knockout of the Year

Oscar Valdez ko 10 Miguel Berchelt

Valdez went into this fight as the underdog and many thought that Berchelt was just too big, too strong, and just better. That all changed when Valdez hurt and dropped Berchelt in the 2nd round. He followed up in the 9th with another knockdown. With seconds to go before the end of the 10th Valdez backing up and making Berchelt miss unloaded a violent left hook that instantly sent Berchelt face-first to the canvas and shook up the boxing world. Valdez talked about all the extra motivation he took from those who doubted him and how he wanted to make a statement which he did.

Others

Kiko Martinez ko 6 Kid Galahad

Alycia Baumgardner ko 4 Terri Harper

Gabriel Rosado ko 3 Bektemir Melikuziev

Fight of the Year

Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3

Boxing: Fury vs Wilder III
Oct 9, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Deontay Wilder (red/black trunks) is knocked out by Tyson Fury (black/gold trunks) during their WBC/Lineal heavyweight championship boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of the year, this did not appear as it would happen. Fury seemed on his way to an undisputed matchup with Anthony Joshua but following a judgment from an arbitrator the match was made and boy was it worth it. Wilder got off to a good start in the early going shooting his jab out and going to the body. In round three Fury landed a series of right hands that had Wilder hit the canvas and Fury seemed on his way to a short night.

Wilder had an answer. In round four Wilder landed his signature right hand to the head of Fury and Fury stumbled and crashed to the canvas. A few seconds later Wilder sent Fury down again and now the question was is Wilder on his way to redemption? The fight was taken over by Fury from here on out, but each had moments of big shots and in the tenth Wilder went down again but ended the round backing Fury into the corner. In the 11th Wilder fatigued tried valiantly to survive but took a right hook and crashed down and the fight was stopped, but it was an epic fight worthy of all the praise.

Other fights

Roman Gonzalez vs Juan Francisco Estrada 2

Prospect of the year 

Jared “Big Baby” Anderson 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 11: Jared Anderson (R) knocks-down Oleksandr Teslenko (L) during their fight for the Jr. NABF heavyweight championship at Madison Square Garden on December 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

The Toledo, Ohio native had a big year and has established himself as one of the big up-and-coming American heavyweights. Anderson went 4-0 this year with 4 kos. He set a big pace with his first appearance of 2021 with a viral knockout, and he ended the year with a quick beatdown and set himself up for a bigger 2022.  Anderson has charisma, power, skill, and seems easy-going which can help in getting a connection with fans.