2016 Ring Awards: Finalists for Event of the Year

The world said a final farewell to arguably the greatest heavyweight champion who ever lived in 2016. Photo: THE RING Archive

Boxing fans experienced several peaks and troughs in the past year. There was the excitement of the Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward superfight, there was the subsequent controversy surrounding its decision, there was tragedy and there were some terrific prizefights and standout performances.

Who and what stood out the most?

Find out when THE RING reveals its annual year-end awards for 2016. The categories: Fighter of the Year, Fight of the Year, Knockout of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Upset of the Year, Event of the Year, Comeback of the Year, Round of the Year, Prospect of the Year and Most Inspirational.

Leading up to the announcement, we will give you the five finalists in one category each day. Day 5: Event of the Year.

The finalists (in alphabetical order) are:

CANELO ALVAREZ- LIAM SMITH This matchup may not have sent pulses racing but an opportunity to see Canelo Alvarez do his thing at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, was too much for fight fans to ignore. A crowd of 51,240 of them – more than Manny Pacquiao drew there in either of his two fights – paid to see the Mexican icon halt WBO junior middleweight titleholder Liam Smith in an electrifying atmosphere.

BERNARD HOPKINS RETIREMENT He has made more middleweight title defenses than any other fighter in boxing history. He is the oldest man to ever win a world title. He is the oldest man to unify world titles. Don’t hold your breath waiting for these records to be broken. At the age of 51, the legendary Philadelphia warrior retired for good following an eighth-round knockout loss to Joe Smith Jr. at the Forum in Inglewood.

THE DEATH OF MIKE TOWELL Mike Towell was a 25-year-old welterweight from Dundee, Scotland, who tragically succumbed to injuries sustained in a fifth-round stoppage loss to Dale Evans. It was disclosed afterward that Towell, a devout family man, had complained of headaches during training camp yet the fight took place. We don’t have all the answers but lessons need to be learned once we do.

THE DEATH OF MUHAMMAD ALI It may have been expected but that didn’t make this any easier. Losing “The Greatest” on June 3, 2016, was heartbreaking and just as he had in the prime of his boxing career, Ali made the world stop. The internet went into meltdown and news outlets couldn’t get memorials out quick enough. Over 100,000 people were in Louisville to pay their respects and only two words were required on his headstone – MUHAMMAD ALI.

SERGEY KOVALEV- ANDRE WARD The year 2016 was lacking in terms of superfights, but the biggest one available lived up to the hype. Kovalev dropped Ward in Round 2 and controlled the early sessions with his skills and tenacity. This forced Ward to fight under fire for the first time in his career and, despite an uproar in relation to Ward’s unanimous decision victory, fans were treated to a terrific fight.

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  • D Johnson

    Easily Muhammad Ali.

    • Stephen M

      I don’t know why but I’m not getting excited about any of these awards.

      • D Johnson

        I agree. I usually get excited about year end lists but 2016 kinda blew.

  • Barley mcgrew

    Fact: Bernard Hopkins doesn’t remotely come close to the top ten of any list of the oldest fighters to win a world title. That is unless fans/writers wish to continue viewing B-Hop’s career totally out of context (as the US media insists everybody does).

    Context. Big George Foreman had engaged in over 50 PROFESSIONAL CONTESTS by the same 25th birthday that saw B-Hop a complete ONE FIGHT NOVICE – hence when the FRONT-FOOT FIGHTING Foreman (absorbed far ore wear and tear than a cautious B-Hop who fought lesser, smaller fighters in relation to his size own size) won that second heavyweight title at 45 he had proven far superior in terms of both age and longevity than a B-Hop who defeated a far lesser fighter than Moorer when winning his world title at 48.

    Robert Duran had engaged in well over 50 PROFESSIONAL CONTESTS by the same 25th birthday that saw B-Hop a complete ONE FIGHT NOVICE – hence when the FRONT-FOOT FIGHTING (at 135) DURAN defeated a vastly larger, vastly superior (in relation to his own size) Iran Barkley at 38 years of age he had proven far superior in terms of both age and PARTICULARLY LONGEVITY than a B-Hop who defeated a far lesser fighter than Barkley at 48 when having vastly less wear and tear than Duran across far fewer world-class contests against vastly inferior opposition when fighting so cautiously.

    And this list could run and run and run (I haven’t even detailed a REAL ‘old timer’ in the amazing Moore.

    B-Hop was the oldest MAN to win a world title. Period. But he wasn’t remotely the oldest ‘fighter’ when viewed in proper context (which a slavering sycophantic US media – habitually savaging other cautious, ‘boring’ champions even as they sit around jerking off to B-Hop-Wright reruns as they lovingly airbrush his resume – bully fans into not doing). Indeed, Bernard doesn’t come close to breaking any all-time top 20 of impressive longevity when his career is viewed in proper context. Not even close

    I would implore fans to stop buying the gushing, 9/11-inspired, Bin Laden-fuelled spin regarding the only fighter in boxing history to have a complete ‘no-criticism’ ban slapped on his reputation by his good buddies in the US media – and take a good, impartial look yourselves at,

    1, How MANY professional contests other great champions had engaged in by the same age that saw B-Hop a one fight novice (a guy like Moore – fighting better fighters in his 40’s than B-Hop ever was – was a grizzled pro veteran by the age B-Hop was having just his second professional fight. Some difference).

    2. HOW those champions were fighting their opponents compared to the cautious, oft-boring B-Hop

    3. How LARGE the quality opponents of other great, long-standing champions were in comparison to their size – when stacked against all the far smaller, non-wearing little fellas B-Hop long fed on (smaller fighters don’t inflict the same wear and tear that even lesser larger fighters do. Example: A hard, gnarly bruiser like Sakio Bika on Calazghe’s record inflicted far greater wear and tear on Joe than little Tito, Oscar and Winky ever did TOGETHER on the fight clock of Bernard. Ditto large-boned bruisers like Eubank, Kessler and Reid – ALL far more wearing than B-Hop diet of easily shoved around midgets).

    A long piece ? Yes. But for fuck’s sake let’s ignore US media pressure – that’s the writers often to be found spitting venom at the cautious Mayweather, denigrating the cautious Ward and underrating the cautious Klitschko even as the laud the cautious, boring B-Hop as possibly the greatest human being in history – and start analysing this good, accomplished, near-ATG (or even all-time great if you wish), long-reining champion in a far more honest, reasonable and balanced light. In other words, view in CONTEXT.

    NB: I reckon I won’t be holding my breaks THAT long before Golovkin breaks that record of defences.

    • Barley mcgrew

      NB: In Foreman’s case alone he took a long break between 77-87. However that still doesn’t change THAT much in terms of number of pro fights fought at 25, the WAY he fought them, WHO he fought them against – and wear he was in terms of wear and tear as a veteran at 45 compared to where B-Hop was in terms of wear and tear at 48. And that’s just George – not so the many others who were veterans when B-Hop was still a novice.

      And the above is NOT a personal attack on the words of whoever wrote the above article. Just a final (pray god hopefully) attempt to nail this B-Hop longevity myth (and it is a myth to a large degree – however MODERATELY impressive B-Hop’s true longevity is) by putting that longevity in a far better context (that word again).

    • Sarrie

      LOUD NOISES!!!

      • Stephen M

        Do you think he just copies and pastes himself or does he start it over from scratch every time?

        • Sarrie

          COPY and PASTE

          • Stephen M

            That is actually reassuring.

    • D Johnson

      Fact: you’re obsessed!


    Event Of The Year? – Nicholas Walters’ “No Mas”

  • Droeks Malan

    Definitely Ali.

  • Droeks Malan

    Definitely Ali.

  • Abraham E. Hernández

    Easiest award: Ali

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