First, let me say that No Mas Nation did an excellent job of weighing the debates for the 2007 No Mas Fight and Fighter of the Year. There were a lot of thought-provoking comments and I got a slew of well-written and passionate emails. We sorted through all of the evidence last night and after crunching and re-crunching the numbers, arguing and re-arguing the merits, we arrived at the winners. The envelopes please…
No Mas Fighter of the Year
This one surprised me. As I said in a comment, I thought for sure this debate would break down as Cotto v. Pavlik and instead No Masians almost universally saw it as Mayweather v. Pavlik. I actually thought Cotto might prevail amongst the No Mas faithful, because he was a happy medium between what I see as the primary FOY qualifications – enormity of fights, and distance traveled career-wise over the course of the year.
But our readers for the most part felt that Cotto’s achievement, and Pavlik’s as well, paled in comparison to what Floyd did in 2007, not only for himself but for the entire sport. An anonymous commenter made a convincing argument on this front, writing:
Pavlik was the breakthrough fighter and he deserves that honor, but Floyd was the fighter of the year. I mean, just think about it this way. Twenty years from now This will be Floyd’s year. The biggest fight in history, and the biggest non-heavyweight, non-oscar fight in history.
An email I received from Walt also made a strong case, saying “in the future this year will be remembered as the year that boxing did a complete 180, and without Floyd that never would have happened – Pavlik beating an overrated Jermain is just not a comparable achievement.”
As I read these arguments, I found myself agreeing with them. Over in the Jarry Park awards with Franchise I gave the nod to Pavlik, but that was before the Floyd/Hatton bout, and there’s no doubt that Floyd’s performance in that fight and then the numbers that it did made a compelling case for Floyd as the king of the sport in ’07. He won the two biggest events of the year after helping to make them into such big events in the first place. And those events almost by themselves changed boxing’s profile in the mainstream media. It is indeed a mammoth achievement for a single fighter, and for that, I hand him the gold statue for No Mas Fighter of the Year without reservation.
No Mas Fight of the Year
Kelly Pavlik v. Jermain Taylor
There was less debate on Fight of the Year than there was for Fighter of the Year in the No Mas spectrum. While there were a few pleas for Oscar/Floyd, and a worthy write-in from Unsilent for the Katsidis/Amonsot bloodfest, the battle pretty much shaped up cleanly as Vasquez/Marquez II v. Pavlik/Taylor. And Pavlik/Taylor was the overwhelming favorite. Charles put his argument very succinctly – “A classic fight for a classic belt featuring a classic comeback.” Exactly.
It definitely helped this fight’s FOY case in my mind that the recognized middleweight championship was at stake, and that it turned out to be a battle worthy of the great lineage of 160 title fights – Graziano/Zale, Robinson/LaMotta, Hagler/Hearns et al. In the Jarry Park awards I went with Vasquez/Marquez, but in retrospect I realize that was because I knew I was giving Fighter of the Year to Pavlik, and I wanted to throw some love on that amazing super-bantamweight throwdown. Here, however, I am more than happy to hand the statue to Pavlik/Taylor. As you probably know, both I-berg and I were at the fight, and it was one of the most exciting sporting events either of us have ever attended. For the magnitude of the event, the Rocky atmosphere in the arena, and the sheer guts and improbability of Pavlik’s comeback, it is a most worthy selection as the 2007 No Mas Fight of the Year.