The following appeared in this week's edition of the Fightful Boxing Newsletter, which publishes each Thursday at 6 AM ET.
Knockout Of The Year: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai KO4 Roman Gonzalez 2
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai had a lot to prove when he stepped into the ring against Roman Gonzalez on September 9, 2016. He shocked the world when he beat Gonzalez on pay-per-view back in March when some thought Sor Rungvisai did not deserve the win despite him knocking down Gonzalez in the first round of that fight (in which that moment alone almost could have been an honorable mention for upset of the year).
In the main event of HBO’s highly-acclaimed “Superfly” event in September, Sor Rungvisai silenced all doubters by dishing a right hook to Gonzalez’s chin. Sor Rungvisai was the more aggressive fighter early on, punishing Chocolatito with hard right hands and the former champion couldn't get into a rhythm. Sor Rungvisai managed to knock down Chocolatito early in the fourth round. But the champion was not done as he continued to punish Chocolatito, eventually landing a vicious right hand that stopped Chocolatito in his tracks and knocked him out cold.
The knockout definitely proved that Gonzalez’s time as one of the best boxers in the world has ended and that Sor Rungvisai is indeed one of the best boxers in the super flyweight division. It was a beautiful knockout that sent shockwaves in the boxing world and potentially put a halt to a Hall of Fame caliber career.
Honorable Mentions (In No Order):
- David Lemieux KO3 Curtis Stevens
- Deontay Wilder KO1 Bermane Stiverne
- Mikey Garcia KO3 Dejan Zlaticanin
- Jermell Charlo KO1 Erickson Lubin
- Terence Crawford KO3 Julius Indongo
This pick may come with some bias, so here is the backstory.
Back in January 2017, about six months after I got hired to be a boxing reporter for Fightful, I got a press credential to attend the Badou Jack vs. James DeGale fight at the Barclays Center.
The undercard had a number of big names, both local to the area and around the world of boxing. I was beyond excited and I got to interview several of these big names, including promoters Eddie Hearn and Lou DiBella, realizing the dream of a then-21-year-old Carlos.
I arrived at the Barclays Center where the card took place (after about maybe 30 minutes of walking around the perimeter of the arena trying to find where media are supposed to go) and finally made my way to ringside. One of the fights on the undercard was Ievgen Khytrov vs. Immanuwel Aleem, a fight between two unbeaten, exciting prospects in the middleweight division.
The first round gave us a preview of things to come. The second round was about as action packed as humanly possible. The third round followed up on the action from round where Aleem knocked down Khytrov and then did the same in the sixth round. Aleem ended up winning the fight in the sixth round, but it gave the rest of the card, which had the likes of Jack, DeGale, Gervonta Davis, Jose Pedraza and Amanda Serrano, a lot to follow.
Sure this round, and the fight itself, didn’t have a lot of stakes involved, but if we’re talking about the confines of just one round, the action and workrate, it’s hard to top the second round of the fight that put Aleem on the map as a true, rising contender at 160 pounds (that is, until Aleem got knocked out by Hugo Centeno Jr. in three rounds back in August).
Honorable Mentions (In No Order):
- Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko, Round 5
- Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin, Round 12
- Miguel Roman vs. Orlando Salido, Round 8
- Dominic Breazeale vs. Izuagbe Ugonoh, Round 3
- Jarrett Hurd vs. Austin Trout, Round 6
- James DeGale vs. Badou Jack, Round 12