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Manny Pacquiao

Donaire’s 2012, Pacquiao’s 2009 among Ring Magazine’s Best Years for Fighters in the past two decades

January 3, 2013 4:19pm
As 2012 came to a close, Ring Magazine writer Lee Groves listed ten of the best years for fighters in the past two decades and two Filipino prize fighters made it to the list, with Manny Pacquiao’s 2009 ranked fifth and Nonito Donaire’s 2012 ranked sixth.

Pacquiao fought twice in 2009 where he scored two stoppage victories to cement his legacy as the best pound-for-pound fighter of the world at that point.

After a successful 2008 campaign, which featured a split decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez and two dominant wins against an overmatched David Diaz and a shot Oscar de la Hoya, Pacquiao started 2009 with second round knockout over Ricky Hatton. Pacquiao stopped Hatton with a single left hand, which also won him the Knockout of the Year honors. He followed this up by heading back to the welterweight division to challenge Miguel Cotto for his WBO title. After losing terribly the first round, Pacquiao bounced back in the next rounds, flooring Cotto twice en route to a 12th round technical knockout victory.

Donaire’s 2012 performance included four fights in the super bantamweight division. After winning world titles in the flyweight and bantamweight divisions, Donaire moved up to 122 pounds and defeated Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. via unanimous decision for the WBO super bantamweight belt. He then unified his WBO belt with Jeffrey Mathebula’s IBF title with another unanimous decision victory. Donaire then relinquished the IBF belt but gained the Ring Magazine title after knocking out Toshiaki Nishioka in the sixth round of the October battle. He was back in action two months later to cap his 2012 campaign with a knockout victory over Jorge Arce.

Glen Johnson’s 2004 topped the list as the journeyman collected wins over Clinton Woods, Roy Jones Jr., and Antonio Tarver that year. Oscar de la Hoya’s 1997 campaign was ranked second with five wins that year, including victories against Miguel Angel Gonzales, Pernell Whitaker, and Hector Camacho.

Rounding out the top five are Floyd Mayweather’s 2001 (Diego Corrales TKO10, Carlos Hernandez UD12, Jesus Chavez TKO9), James Toney’s 2003 (Vassisliy Jirov UD12, Evander Holyfield TKO9), and Pacquiao’s 2009.

After Donaire’s 2012, Bernard Hopkins’ 2001 (Keith Holmes UD12, Felix Trinidad TKO12), Michael Carbajal’s 1993 (Humberto Gonzales KO7, Kwang-Sun Kim TKO7, Domingo Sosa TKO5), Felix Trinidad’s 1994 (Hector Camacho UD12, Yuri Boy Campas TKO4, Oba Carr TKO8), and Naseem Hamed’s 1997 (Tom Johnson TKO8, Billy Hardy TKO1, Juan Gerardo Cabrera TKO2, Jose Badillo TKO7, Kevin Kelley KO4) completed the list.

Incidentally, four of the fighters in the list were also selected by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and the Ring Magazine as the consensus Fighter of the Year. Johnson, Toney, Pacquiao, and Hopkins all won the prestigious award in the years that are listed here. Carbajal won Ring Magazine’s Fighter of the Year award for his 1993 performance while the BWAA selected Pernell Whitaker. - AMD, GMA News
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