It’s no secret that the Ring Magazine ‘Fighter of the Year’ award is one of the most prestigious titles that a fighter can be awarded over the course of their professional career.
The award makes certain that the fighter’s name will go down in the history books alongside the likes of five-time winner Muhammed Ali, three-time winner Evander Holyfield and more recently, three-time winner Manny Pacquiao.
We’ve put together a list of the top five fighters who we feel are in contention for this year’s prize. You can find all of our boxing odds at the Grosvenor Sport website.
Errol Spence Jr.
Although Errol Spence Jr. endured a tough year away from the boxing ring, he has proved himself as one of the world’s elite fighters inside it.
After successfully defending his IBF welterweight world-title against four-weight world champion Mikey Garcia in March, the American set up a monster domestic unification bout with fellow compatriot Shawn Porter in Los Angeles in September.
In a bout that has all the credentials to win the Ring Magazine ‘Fight of the Year’ award, Spence Jr. and Porter went to war, with every round as close as they come.
It was Spence who came out on top, claiming the WBC welterweight world title in the process and proving his worth as the number one fighter in the division. Spence Jr. beat two of the world’s pound-for-pound best in 2019, and it’ll be hard to make an argument against him.
‘Pac-Man’ began the year with a strong win against welterweight world-title contender Adrien Broner, successfully defending his WBA ‘Regular’ belt.
Keith Thurman was next for the Filipino, who held the WBA ‘Super’ welterweight world title, an undefeated American who many fighters seem to shy away from.
But it was on July 20th when Manny Pacquiao made boxing history once more, defeating Thurman by split-decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and becoming the oldest welterweight world champion in history at the tender age of 40.
Eight-weight world champion, the oldest welterweight in history, there’s little left for Pacquaio to gain from this sport, but a fourth ‘Fighter of the Year’ award would certainly be up there with one of his greatest achievements.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez
Canelo might be one of the sport’s most popular fighters by common demand, but the respect that he has earned within the sport runs in parallel with the support he has managed to gain.
With two blockbuster fights in 2019, the Mexican unified the middleweight division against Danny Jacobs with a victory by unanimous decision, moving up to light-heavyweight for the first time in his career and winning the WBO world-title against veteran champion Sergey Kovalev.
The 29-year-old produced a stunning knockout against Kovalev, who had looked comfortable for much of the fight, and the win took him to four-weight world champion status.
Whether the middleweight or super-middleweight division beckons next for Canelo, he remains youthful and hungry. Exciting times for one of boxing’s pound-for-pound best active fighters.
What more to say about the Japanese sensation?
Drawing comparisons with the widely considered pound-for-pound number one in Vasyl Lomachenko, Inoue became a three-weight world champion in beating Emmanuel Rodriguez in the World Boxing Super Series semi-final in May of this year.
It took Inoue just six fights to claim his first world title at lightweight, and just two more to claim his second at junior-bantamweight.
But the real test of the 26-year-old’s career to date lay with his opponent in the final of the World Boxing Super Series in Nonito Donaire, who he fought in November.
If not for Spence Jr. and Porter, this bout would be strides ahead of any other for the accolade of 2019 ‘Fight of the Year’, and it was Inoue who came out on top in a high-quality, technical boxing fight, one that would earn him the unified bantamweight world titles.
You could make an argument for Anthony Joshua to feature on this list but seeing as he lost his first fight with Andy Ruiz Jr., we opted to include the next heavyweight champion in the division.
Dispatching both of his 2019 challengers in emphatic fashion, Wilder maintained his unbeaten record and extended his reign as WBC champion to four years and 10 months, with 10 title defences.
Aside from his first-round knockout of mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale in May, Wilder successfully defended his title for a second time against Luis Ortiz, in an eighth-round knockout so brutal that you’d have to worry for Tyson Fury when the pair face-off in early 2020 for the second time.
You can find all of our odds for Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury 2 at the Grosvenor Sport website.