Year-End Awards: Super Middleweight, 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!

 

Super Middleweight Fighter of the Year: Carl Froch
This was a very close call.  You can’t really do better than Ward’s one fight this year- a dominant knockout victory over the light heavyweight champion.  But Froch had a win nearly as impressive- a dominant knockout victory over #1 Super Middleweight contender Lucian Bute.  But he went over the top with his additional dominant knockout victory over #11 light heavyweight Yusaf Mack.

 

Prospect of the Year: Will Rosinsky
Despite an expected loss to Kelly Pavlik, Rosinsky is able to edge out fellow prospects Maderna and Vlasov by becoming the only eligible super middleweight to beat a top 20 opponent in Aaron Pryor, Jr. 

 

Most Important Knockout of the Year: Champ Andre Ward TKO10 LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Anytime the #1 contender in the division gets knocked out by the #2, and that fight is not the most important knockout of the year, you know there was one whale of a championship matchup within the same 12 months.  In this case, it was a battle of legitimate champions, as Light Heavyweight kingpin Chad Dawson dropped down to try and add Ward’s title to his trophy case.  But Ward proved way too good, breaking Dawson down and stopping him in the 10th.  Froch’s destruction of Bute is a close but clear runner-up.

 

Most Sensational Knockout of the Year: Adonis Stevenson KO1 Jesus Gonzales
This was a real toss-up.  The most exciting stoppage of the year was actually probably Froch’s pummeling of Bute in the corner that obligated the ref to step in.  It didn’t hurt that the crowd was like pure adrenaline in the background.  But Bute was stopped on his feet.  I feel compelled to give bonus points in this category to one-punch devastating knockdowns that abruptly end the night.  Stevenson’s icing of Gonzales fits that criteria.  Although the knockdown punch itself didn’t appear to land quite flush, it was powerful enough to put Gonzales down, and whatever damage Stevenson’s left hand didn’t do, the canvas picked up the slack, as Gonzales’ head bounced off of it twice in concussive fashion.

 

Match-Up of the Year: Champ Andre Ward vs. LHW Champ Chad Dawson
Though the fight in the ring ended up looking like a bit of a mismatch, this was actually up there with the best rankings match-ups of all time.  Two reigning Champions fighting each other for both Championships?  That’s never happened before.  In alphabet terms, it was only for the 168 title, but logically it was for both.  Froch-Bute is again the very credible runner-up.

 

Fight of the Year: Carl Froch TKO5 Lucian Bute
There weren’t really any good competitive action fights this year.  The closest thing to it was probably Thomas Oosthuizen vs. Marcus Johnson.  Even so, that fight turned out to be pretty forgettable.  The most memorable action fight of the year, by far, was Froch-Bute.  Its importance largely makes up for its one-sidedness, and thus it takes the category. 

 

Upset of the Year: Karoly Balzsay TKO12 #8 Dimitri Sartison
Although the writing may have been on the wall a bit given Sartison’s struggles following knee surgery, it’s still difficult to see this as anything but a huge upset.  Balzsay had been soundly beaten by an unproven prospect in his previous fight (only to escape with a ludicrous split decision win) and was barely more than a journeyman coming in.  Though Sartison’s struggles may have been predictable, Balzsay’s excellent performance was not.

 

Comeback Fighter of the Year: Karoly Balzsay
Balzsay had not been particularly relevant since losing back to back fights in 2009 to Stieglitz and Gutknecht.  He became (at least in fairness) less so by getting soundly outboxed by unproven prospect Stas Kashtanov in 2011.  But having walked away with a ludicrous win in that fight, he parlayed it into an undeserved fight with a vulnerable Sartison.  But once in the fight, he did deserve the win, completing an unlikely comeback indeed.  Unfortunately, that has been the last we’ve heard of him, and will likely continue to be for a while longer.  He spent a large chunk of the year with an injured back, and has since been on the shelf due to his bankrupt promotional firm essentially ceasing to function.

 

Robbery of the Year: James DeGale UD12 Hadillah Mohoumadi
The division wasn’t as fraught with robberies as most were this year.  But if you could call any two high-level fights robberies, both would have featured poor Hadillah Mohoumadi on the short end.  I had Mohoumadi beating DeGale 115-113.  It wasn’t a true robbery because it easily could have been at least a draw and theoretically could have gone to DeGale without too much of a stretch.  But two of the judges did turn in absolutely indefensible scorecards- Pierluigi Poppi at 117-111 and Franco Criminale at 119-109.  Disgraceful.  It’s also heavily rumored that Mohoumadi deserved to beat Nikola Sjekloca earlier in the year, but my best efforts to find a video of that fight have been unsuccessful.

 

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) Carl Froch
Significant Results: May 26- TKO5 #1 Lucian Bute.  Nov 17- KO3 #11 Light Heavyweight Yusaf Mack.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-May 27: #2.  May 28-Dec 31: #1.
2) Andre Ward
Significant Results: Sep 8- TKO10 Light Heavyweight Champion Chad Dawson.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Champ.
3) Arthur Abraham
Significant Results: Mar 31: UD12 Fringe Contender Piotr Wilczewski.  Aug 25: UD12 #4 Robert Stieglitz.  Dec 15: TKO8 Gatekeeper Mehdi Bouadla.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Aug 26: #6.  Aug 27-Dec 9: #2.  Dec 10-16: #3.  Dec 17-31: #2.
4) Karoly Balzsay
Significant Results: Apr 21: TKO12 #8 Dimitri Sartison.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Apr 22: Unranked.  Apr 23-Jul 8: #11.  Jul 9-29: #12.  Jul 30-Dec 31: #10.
5) Adonis Stevenson
Significant Results: Feb 18: KO1 #18 Jesus Gonzales.  Apr 20: TKO2 Fringe Contender Noe Gonzalez.  Oct 12: TKO12 Fringe Contender Don George.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Feb 19: #9.  Feb 20-Jul 8: #7.  Jul 9-Oct 14: #8.  Oct 15-Dec 31: #7.
6) Thomas Oosthuizen
Significant Results: Mar 3: TKO6 Fringe Contender Serge Yannick.  Apr 27: UD10 Fringe Contender Marcus Johnson (at LHW).  Aug 2: UD10 Prospect Rowland Bryant.  Nov 10: UD12 Fringe Contender Fulgencio Zuniga.

2012 Rankings History: Jan 1- Aug 26: #5.  Aug 27-Dec 31: #6.

7) George Groves
Significant Results: Jul 28: TKO6 Fringe Contender Francisco Sierra (at LHW).  Dec 15: UD12 Fringe Contender Glen Johnson.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jul 8: #20.  Jul 9-15: Unranked.  Jul 16-29: #20.  Jul 30-Oct 7: #19.  Oct 8-14: #18.  Oct 15-Dec 9: #17.  Dec 10-16: #18.  Dec 17-31: #9.
8) Kelly Pavlik
Significant Results: Jul 7: UD10 #12 Will Rosinsky.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jul 8: Unranked.  Jul 9-Oct 14: #7.  Oct 15-Dec 31: #8.
9) Mikkel Kessler
Significant Results: Dec 8: TKO3 Fringe Contender Brian Magee.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-May 27: #3.  May 28-Aug 26: #2.  Aug 27-Dec 9: #3.  Dec 10-16: #2.  Dec 17-31: #3.
10) Will Rosinsky
Significant Results: Jun 14: UD8 #17 Aaron Pryor, Jr..  Jul 7: L(UD10) vs. Unranked Contender Kelly Pavlik.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jun 17: Unranked.  Jun 18-Jul 8: #12.  Jul 9-29: #14.  Jul 30-Dec 16: #13.  Dec 17-31: #14.
11) Ezequiel Maderna
Significant Results: May 26: UD12 Gatekeeper Ruben Acosta.  Dec 14: RTD7 Gatekeeper Claudio Abalos.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 30: Unranked.  Dec 31: #18.
12) Maxim Vlasov
Significant Results: Nov 5: UD10 Fringe Contender Khoren Gevor.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Nov 11: Unranked.  Nov 12-Dec 30: #19.  Dec 31: #20.
13) Sakio Bika
Significant Results: Jun 2: TKO10 Fringe Contender Dyah Davis.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Apr 22: #10.  Apr 23-Jul 8: #9.  Jul 9-29: #10.  Jul 30-Dec 16: #9.  Dec 17-31: #12.
14) Edwin Rodriguez
Significant Results: Mar 17: UD10 Fringe Contender Don George.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jul 29: Unranked.  Jul 30-Oct 7: #20.  Oct 8-Nov 11: #19.  Nov 12-Dec 30: #20.  Dec 31: Unranked.
15) Dyah Davis
Significant Results: Jan 6: UD10 Frigne Contender Alfonso Lopez.  Jun 2: L(TKO10) vs. #9 Sakio Bika.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Oct 7: Unranked.  Oct 8-Nov 11: #20.  Nov 12-Dec 31: Unranked.
16) James DeGale

Significant Results: Oct 13: Questionable W (UD12) vs. Prospect Hadillah Mohoumadi.  Dec 8: UD12 Gatekeeper Fulgencio Zuniga.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jul 8: #19.  Jul 9-15: #20.  Jul 16-29: #19.  Jul 30-Oct 7: #18.  Oct 8-14: #17.  Oct 15-Dec 9: #18.  Dec 10-16: #16.  Dec 17-31: #17.
17) Hadillah Mohoumadi
Significant Results: Jul 24: Controversial L (PTS10) vs. Prospect Nikola Sjekloca.  Oct 13: Questionable L (UD12) vs. #18 James DeGale.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
18) Robert Stieglitz
Significant Results: Jan 14: UD12 Prospect Henry Weber.  May 5: UD12 Gatekeeper Nader Hamdan.  Aug 25: L (UD12) vs. #6 Arthur Abraham.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Aug 26: #4.  Aug 27-Dec 31: #5.
19) Marco Antonio Rubio

Significant Results: Sep 8: RTD4 Gatekeeper Carlos Baldomir.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Ranked only at Middleweight.
20) Alexander Brand

Significant Results: May 11: Questionable L (SD8) vs. Prospect Badou Jack.  Oct 19: UD12 Gatekeeper William Gare.
2012 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

The following fighters could be found in the top 20 at various parts of the year, but did nothing at this weight to help their ranking.  Nearly half are no longer around:

 

Lucian Bute– Jan 1-May 27: #1.  May 28-Aug 26: #3.  Aug 27-Dec 31: #4.

 

Dimitri Sartison– Jan 1-Feb 19: #7.  Feb 20-Apr 22: #8.  Apr 23-Jun 17: #15.  Jun 18-Jul 8: #16.  Jul 9-15: #17.  Jul 16-29: #16.  Jul 30-Dec 16: #15.  Dec 17-31: #16.

 

Peter Quillin– Jan 1-Feb 19: #8.  Feb 20-Apr 22: #9.  Apr 23-Jul 8: #8.  Jul 9-29: #9.  Jul 30-Dec 31: Unranked (moved down).

 

Andy Lee– Jan 1-Apr 22: #11.  Apr 23-Jul 8: #10.  Jul 9-Dec 31: #11.

 

Anthony Dirrell– Jan 1-Jun 17: #12.  Jun 18-Jul 29: #13.  Jul 30-Dec 16: #12.  Dec 17-31: #13.

 

Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye– Jan 1-Jun 17: #13.  Jun 18-Jul 8: #14.  Jul 9-29: #15.  Jul 30-Dec 16: #14.  Dec 17-30: #15.

 

Glen Johnson– Jan 1- Jun 17: #14.  Jun 18-Jul 8: #15.  Jul 9-15: #16.  Jul 16-Dec 31: Unranked (Retired).

 

Bryan Vera– Jan 1-Apr 22: #15.  Apr 23-Jun 17: #16.  Jun 18-Jul 8: #17.  Jul 9-15: #18.  Jul 16-29: #17.  Jul 30-Oct 7: #16.  Oct 8-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Librado Andrade– Jan 1- Apr 22: #16.  Apr 23-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Aaron Pryor, Jr.– Jan 1-Jun 17: #17.  Jun 18-Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Jesus Gonzales– Jan 1-Jul 8: #18.  Jul 9-15: #19.  Jul 16-29: #18.  Jul 30-Oct 7: #17.  Oct 8-Dec 9: #16.  Dec 10-16: #17.  Dec 17-30: #18.  Dec 31-#19

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