Sunday, May 28, 2023  |



THE RING Year-End Awards 2017: Finalists for ‘Comeback of the Year’

Photo by Esther Lin/ Showtime
Fighters Network

What a year 2017 has been for boxing.

There were 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in London for Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko. Floyd Mayweather and UFC star Conor McGregor made the world stop. Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin threw down in the superfight that everyone wanted to see.

And that was just the tip of the enswell.

For the first time in recent memory our editorial staff struggled to shortlist almost every one of our 10 categories. There was disagreement (there always is) but we’ve now managed to pull together five official nominees per category for year-end honors.

The categories are: 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 revealing the winners, we will present nominees in two categories each day. As always, we would love to hear your opinions: Category 4: Comeback of the Year.

The finalists (in alphabetical order) are:

Sadam Ali: Last year, Jessie Vargas dashed Ali’s hopes of becoming a world champion by stopping him in the ninth round of a WBO welterweight title bout. In 2017, the Brooklyn native bounced back with three dominant wins before lifting the WBO junior middleweight title with a stunning upset decision over the great Miguel Cotto.

Dominic Breazeale: The colossal heavyweight from California was used for batting practice by Anthony Joshua in an unsuccessful challenge for the IBF heavyweight title in June 2016. He returned to action this year to stop Izuagbe Ugonoh in the fifth round of an incredible war, before closing out a superb 2017 by halting two-time heavyweight title challenger Eric Molina in eight.

Juan Francisco Estrada: A serious hand injury had kept one of Mexico’s finest technicians out of the ring for over a year. Fight fans were happy with see him back up at junior bantamweight and “El Gallo” is now back on form. Three victories, two this year, culminated in a close but clear unanimous decision over former WBC titleholder Carlos Cuadras in September.

Mikey Garcia: Inactivity had plagued the brilliant Californian for the best part of three years so 2017 was serious business. In January, Garcia conquered his third weight division by blasting out the previously unbeaten WBC lightweight titleholder Dejan Zlaticanin in three rounds, before taking Adrien Broner to school en route to a 12-round unanimous decision victory in July.

Leo Santa Cruz: In July of last year, Santa Cruz took a perfect record and his WBA featherweight title into a bout with Carl Frampton. He left the ring with neither after dropping a close decision. In January, Santa Cruz stunned most experts by abandoning his brawling style to outbox Frampton on his way to a 12-round majority decision in a direct rematch.

You have the nominees? Who do you believe deserves the award?


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On the cover this month: THE RING 100