Year-End Awards: Heavyweight, 2012

This is the first time I’ve done this, and I hope you like it.  It’s been a lot of effort.  First, a list of awards for the division.  Then, a look at the 20 fighters that did the best work in 2012 specifically, followed by a rundown of the year’s rankings history.  Dig in!

 

Heavyweight Fighter of the Year: Steve Cunningham
It’s a bit of an upset for a guy that didn’t have a truly significant fight in the weight class until the waning days of the year and who was given little chance of winning that fight- and who officially did not win the fight, for that matter- to win fighter of the year.  But he did win the fight, and did so clearly.  That being the case, the highest-ranked fighter to get beaten this year was beaten by Cunningham.  By contrast, Champion Wladimir Klitschko, who finished as the runner up for the award, did not even beat a top 10 contender this year.

 

Prospect of the Year: Vyacheslav Glazkov
The winner of this award is the fighter to do the most during the year who has never been ranked in the top 10 and has fewer than 3 losses in his career.  Glazkov has two wins over fringe contenders this year in Tor Hamer and Konstantin Airich.  Pulev and Banks would have been in the running for the award, but both have crossed over into contender status. 

 

Most Important Knockout of the Year: David Haye TKO6 Dereck Chisora
This award goes to the fighter who knocks out the highest-ranked opponent to get stopped during the year.  Haye wins that honor by TKOing #6-ranked Dereck Chisora in their controversial grudge match fight from July.

 

Most Sensational Knockout of the Year: Shane Cameron KO4 Monte Barrett
Not one of the more talked-about fights of the year by any means, but Shane Cameron absolutely detonated Monte Barrett in their May fight, as his big right hand arrived first in an exchange.  Wladimir Klitschko, David Price, and Johnathon Banks all scored exciting knockout wins this year, but none could match the combination of picture-perfect precision,  one-punch savagery, and devastating effect that Cameron produced on that night.  To see video of the knockout, click on “KO4” in the headline.

 

Match-Up of the Year: #1 Vitali Klitschko vs. #6 Dereck Chisora
This is a simple recognition of the fight between the two fighters whose combined rank totaled the lowest number.  Klitschko-Chisora takes the cake, with an average ranking of 3.5.  Chambers-Adamek gets an honorable mention.  Chambers had last been ranked #3 before being removed for inactivity a few months before the fight, and Adamek came in at that rank exactly.  The removal has to have some effect, though.  The Klitschko-Chisora fight was surprisingly close giving Vitali’s dominance, but it might have had as much to do with Vitali’s arm injury as with Chisora’s skill.

 

Fight of the Year: David Haye vs. Dereck Chisora
This is perhaps my most subjective award.  In choosing the winner, I attempt to balance importance, exciting action, and competitiveness.  There weren’t really any fights this year among top 50 heavyweights that could be scored an “A” in all categories.   But Haye-Chisora scored high marks in the first two criteria, and Chisora at least had his moments- having arguably won the two rounds immediately before he was stopped.
 
Upset of the Year: Michael Sprott W(MD10) vs. #20 Edmund Gerber (December 15)
This was a tough category to call.  Cunningham-Adamek was certainly an upset, but Cunningham was still a top 5 cruiser, while Adamek had built his #3 ranking largely by a combination of luck and barely squeaking by.  Banks-Mitchell was a huge upset as well, but Banks was a fringe contender and Mitchell had demonstrated chin problems in his previous fight.  Povetkin-Huck qualifies, but Povetkin managed to get a semi-credible decision win despite my scoring it a draw, and Huck did have credentials at cruiser.  Robert Helenius vs. Sherman Williams was nearly the mother of all upsets, but although the scorecards heavily in his favor were ridiculous, it’s entirely reasonable to think he did indeed win the fight.  That leaves me with Sprott-Gerber.  Sprott was a journeyman that had repeatedly failed at approximately Gerber’s level over the past few years.  However, it should be noted that Sprott previously outboxed Gerber for a few rounds before their earlier fight was prematurely stopped, and that he had shown occasional quality in the recent past by barely losing to Alexander Dimitrenko in 2011.  Honestly, the result may not have been as surprising as Mitchell-Banks, but I chose it in a close call merely because the difference in the status of the two fighters was more pronounced.

 

Comeback Fighter of the Year: Steve Cunningham
After being all but written off a division to the South, Cunningham made a big statement at heavyweight by soundly outboxing the divisions #3 contender just before Christmas.  What should have been a massive celebration was marred by the complete incompetence of the judges, but his performance in the ring left no doubt.  Steve Cunningham is back.

 

Now, for anyone that cares, I will rank the division based solely on the fighters’ 2012 accomplishments.  I will use the same criteria that I use to rank them overall (with victories, draws, or should-be victories and draws over top 50 opposition making one eligible), but will completely ignore all fights prior to 2012. 

 

1) Steve Cunningham
Significant Results: Dec 22- Robbery Loss (should have been UD12 Win) vs. #3 Tomasz Adamek.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 23: Ranked only at cruiserweight.  Dec 24-31: #3.
2) Wladimir Klitschko
Significant Results: Mar 3- KO4 #16 Jean-Marc Mormeck.  Jul 7- TKO6 #11 Tony Thompson.  Nov 12- UD12 Undefeated Prospect/Fringe Contender Mariusz Wach.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: Champion
3) Vitali Klitschko
Significant Results: Feb 18- UD12 #6 Dereck Chisora.  Sep 8- TKO4 Undefeated Prospect Manuel Charr.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: #1
4) David Haye
Significant Results: Jul 14- TKO5 #6 Dereck Chisora.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1- Jul 15: Unranked (Retired).  Jul 16- Dec 31: #2
5) Tomasz Adamek
Significant Results: Jun 16- UD12 Inactive Contender Eddie Chambers.  Sep 8- TKO5 Gatekeeper Travis Walker.  Dec 22- Robbery UD12 W vs. #4 Cruiserweight Steve Cunningham.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Mar 18: #4.  Mar 19-Jun 17: #3.  Jun 18-Jul 15: #2.  Jul 16-Dec 23: #3.  Dec 24-31: #5.
6) Kubrat Pulev
Significant Results: May 5- KO11 #12 Alexander Dimitrenko.  Sep 29- KO11 Fringe Contender Alexander Ustinov.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Feb 26: #18.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #19.  Mar 19-Apr 8: #18.  Apr 9-May 6: #17.  May 7-Jun 17: #8.  Jun 18-Jul 15: #9.  Jul 16-Sep 31: #10.  Oct 1-Nov 4: #8.  Nov 5- Dec 23: #7.  Dec 24-31: #8.
7) Johnathon Banks
Significant Results: Nov 17- TKO2 #11 Seth Mitchell
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Nov 18: Unranked.  Nov 19-Dec 23: #9.  Dec 24-31: #10.
8) Alexander Povetkin
Significant Results: Feb 25- W(MD12) vs. #5 Cruiserweight Marco Huck.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jun 17: #2.  Jun 18-Jul 15: #3.  Jul 16-Dec 31: #4.
9) Vyacheslav Glazkov
Significant Results: Sep 8- UD10 Gatekeeper Konstantin Airich.  Dec 22- RTD4 Fringe Contender Tor Hamer.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 23: Unranked.  Dec 24-31: #20.
10) Albert Sosnowski
Significant Results: Jun 20- W(SD3) vs. Gatekeeper Maurice Harris.  Jun 20- Robbery L(SD3) vs. Fringe Contender Kevin Johnson.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
11) Odlanier Solis
Significant Results: May 19- UD12 Fringe Contender Konstantin Airich.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Feb 26: #10.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #11.  Mar 19-May 20: #10.  May 21-Jun 17: #9.  Jun 18-Jul 15: #10.  Jul 16-Nov 4: #11.  Nov 5-11: #10.  Nov 12-18: #9.  Nov 19-Dec 23: #10.  Dec 24-31: #11.
12) Marco Huck
Significant Results: Feb 25- L(MD12) (should be draw) vs. #2 Alexander Povetkin.  Nov 3- Robbery UD12 W vs. #10 Cruiserweight Firat Arslan (at Cruiserweight).
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Feb 26: Ranked only at Cruiserweight.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #5.  Mar 19-Jul 15: #4.  Jul 16-Nov 4: #5.  Nov 5-11: #11.  Nov 12-18: #10.  Nov 19-Dec 23: #11.  Dec 24-31: #12.
13) Michael Sprott
Significant Results: Jan 14- L(RTD9) vs. #18 Kubrat Pulev.  Dec 15- W(MD10) vs. #20 Edmund Gerber.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
14) Sherman Williams
Significant Results: Questionable UD10 Loss vs. #9 Robert Helenius (Should be Draw).
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
15) Tor Hamer
Significant Results: Jun 20- W(SD3) vs. Fringe Contender Kevin Johnson.  Dec 22: L(RTD4) vs. Undefeated Prospect/Fringe Contender Vyacheslav Glazkov.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked
16) Shane Cameron
Significant Results: Jul 5- KO4 Gatekeeper Monte Barrett.  Nov 21- L(UD12) vs. #10 Cruiserweight Danny Green (at Cruiserweight).
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
17) David Price
Significant Results: May 19- KO4 Gatekeeper Sam Sexton.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
18) Francesco Pianeta
Significant Results: May 16- UD10 Gatekeeper Oliver McCall.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
19) Tyson Fury
Significant Results: Dec 1- UD12 Gatekeeper Kevin Johnson
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Feb 26: #5.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #6.  Mar 19-Jul 15: #5.  Jul 16-Nov 4: #6.  Nov 5-Dec 23: #5.  Dec 24-31: #6.
20) Kevin Johnson
Significant Results: Apr 1- TKO9 Gatekeeper Alex Leapai.  Jun 20- Robbery SD3 W vs. Gatekeeper Albert Sosnowski.  Jun 20- L(SD3) vs. Prospect Tor Hamer.  Dec 1- L(UD12) vs. #5 Tyson Fury.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Apr 1: Unranked.  Apr 2-8: #20.  Apr 9-May 6: #19.  May 7-Jun 17: #20.  Jun 18-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Other fighters ranked during the year are detailed below.  These guys had either bad or wasted years, with none of them snagging a rateable victory for various reasons:

 

Eddie Chambers: Jan 1-Mar 18: #3.  Mar 19-Jun 17: Unranked (Inactive).  Jun 18-Nov 4: #7.  Nov 5-Dec 23: #6.  Dec 24-31: #7.

 

Dereck Chisora: Jan 1-Feb 26: #6.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #7.  Mar 19-Jul 15: #6.  Jul 16-Sep 31: #8.  Oct 1-Nov 4: #9.  Nov 5-Dec 23: #8.  Dec 24-31: #9.

 

Robert Helenius: Jan 1-Feb 26: #7.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #8.  Mar 19-Jun 17: #7.  Jun 18-Jul 15: #8.  Jul 16-Sep 31: #9.  Oct 1-Nov 4: #10.  Nov 5-11: #9.  Nov 12-Dec 23: #12.  Dec 24-31: #13.

 

Ruslan Chagaev: Jan 1-Feb 26: #8.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #9.  Mar 19-May 6: #8.  May 7-Jun 17: #12.  Jun 18-Jul 8: #13.  Jul 9-15: #12.  Jul 16-Dec 23: #13.  Dec 24-31: #14.

 

Alexander Dimitrenko: Jan 1-Feb 26: #12.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #13.  Mar 19-May 6: #12.  May 7-Jun 17: #13.  Jun 18-Jul 8: #14.  Jul 9-15: #13.  Jul 16-Dec 23: #14.  Dec 24-31: #15.

 

Tony Thompson: Jan 1-Feb 26: #9.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #10.  Mar 19-May 20: #9.  May 21-Jun 17: #10.  Jun 18-Jul 8: #11.  Jul 9-15: #14.  Jul 16-Dec 23: #15.  Dec 24-31: #16.

 

Chris Arreola: Jan 1-Feb 26: #13.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #14.  Mar 19-May 6: #13.  May 7-Jun 17: #14.  Jun 18-Jul 15: #15.  Jul 16-Dec 23: #16.  Dec 24-31: #17.

 

Denis Boytsov: Jan 1-Feb 26: #14.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #15.  Mar 19-May 6: #14.  May 7-Jun 17: #15.  Jun 18-Jul 15: #16.  Jul 16-Dec 23: #17.  Dec 24-31: #18.

 

Jean-Marc Mormeck: Jan 1-Feb 26: #15.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #16.  Mar 19-May 6: #15.  May 7-Jun 17: #16.  Jun 18-Jul 15: #17.  Jul 16-Dec 23: #18.  Dec 24-31: #19.

 

Bermane Stiverne– Jan 1-Feb 26: #16.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #17.  Mar 19-May 6: #16.  May 7-Jun 17: #17.  Jun 18-Jul 15: #18.  Jul 16-Dec 23: #19.  Dec 24-31: Unranked.

 

Franklin Lawrence– Jan 1-Feb 26: #19.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #20.  Mar 19-Apr 8: #19.  Apr 9-May 6: #18.  May 7-Jun 17: #19.  Jun 18-Jul 15: #20.  Jul 16-Dec 16: Unrated.  Dec 17-23: #20.  Dec 24-31: Unrated.

 

Seth Mitchell: Jan 1-Feb 26: #11.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #12.  Mar 19-Jun 17: #11.  Jun 18-Jul 8: #12.  Jul 9-15: #11.  Jul 16-Nov 11: #12.  Nov 12-18: #11.  Nov 19-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Cedric Boswell– Jan 1-Feb 26: #20.  Feb 27-Mar 18: Unranked.  Mar 19-Apr 1: #20.  Apr 2-8: Unranked.  Apr 9-May 6: #20.  May 7-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Samuel Peter: Jan 1-Feb 26: #17.  Feb 27-Mar 18: #18.  Mar 19-Apr 8: #17.  Apr 9-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Edmund Gerber: Jan 1-May 6: Unranked.  May 7-Jun 17: #18.  Jun 18-Jul 15: #19.  Jul 16-Dec 16: #20.  Dec 17-31: Unranked.
 

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