Boxing's biggest moments of 2016
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 29, 2016 02:12 PM
In 2016, Manny Pacquiao retired, returned, and reigned. (AP Photo)
From Manny's retirement, to his eventual return and everything in between, 2016 had some very newsworthy moments in terms of boxing. We saw new world champions crowned, and we saw current kings continue to dominate.
Join us as we take a quick trip back to the year that was in the world of boxing.
After over two decades, 66 professional fights, and eight world titles in eight different weight divisions, the man known as "Pacman" decided to call it a career. In his retirement fight, Manny Pacquiao handily defeated Timothy Bradley for his 58th career win.
Pacquiao maintained that he would stay retired to focus on his duties as a Philippine senator.
And while he has fulfilled his promise of being a lawmaker, we all know that his "retirement" didn't last too long. More on that later.
Johnriel Casimero wins, defends, and vacates title in a span of seven months
Talk about a whirlwind year, huh?
In a span of just seven months, Ormoc-native Johnriel "Quadro Alas" Casimero:
- Knocked out Thailand's Amnat Ruenroeng to become the IBF world flyweight champion (May)
- Knocked out England's Charlie Edwards to defend that very same title (September)
- And decided to relinquish the very same title to chase the bigger dogs at super flyweight (December)
Casimero's move however, opens doors for another elite flyweight fighter in 2017...
Speaking of elite flyweights, after years of dominating the light flyweight division and establishing himself as the longest-reigning Filipino boxing world champion, ALA Boxing star Donnie Nietes relinquished his light flyweight championships and made the jump to flyweight.
In his debut, "Ahas" thoroughly dismantled former world champion Edgar Sosa to show that he can hang with the bigger boys.
Now ranked at number one by the WBO and ranked number three by the IBF, Nietes is looking at a world title shot in 2017 for the newly-vacated IBF flyweight strap. Nietes has also said that he has newly-crowned WBO title-holder Zou Shiming in his sights.
Marlon Tapales, Jerwin Ancajas capture world championships
Since we're on the topic of world champions, two more Filipino pugs captured world championships in 2016, namely Marlon Tapales, and Jerwin Ancajas.
Lanao's Marlon "The Nightmare" Tapales captured the WBO world bantamweight championship back in July, taking out Thailand's Punglunang Sor Singyu in eleven rounds. The 24-year old is expected to defend his title against Japanese challenger Ryo Matsumoto in March.
Davaeno Jerwin "Pretty Boy" Ancajas dethroned Puerto Rico's McJoe Arroyo back in September to become the new IBF super flyweight champion, becoming the first world champion under the Manny Pacquiao Promotions banner. The 24-year old is expected to put his title on the line in Macau later next month.
One of the more heartbreaking moments of 2016 was the passing of a true icon and legend, not only in boxing, but in all of sports, Muhammad Ali.
Known by many as "The Greatest", Ali died at age 74 after respiratory problems.
The heavyweight great, known for his epic matches against the likes of Larry Holmes, George Foreman, and Joe Frazier, paved the way for generations of boxing greats such as Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, and Manny Pacquiao.
Days after his passing, family, friends, fans, fellow boxers, athletes, and celebrities all paid tribute to the legend.
In one of the more newsworthy moments in terms of the development of the sport, boxing governing body AIBA green-lit professional boxers to compete in the Olympic games, starting with Rio 2016.
While it gave profesisonals the opportunity to represent their country in one of the biggest sporting stages in the world, sanctioning bodies such as the IBF weren't in favor, and warned their ranked boxers that penalites will be imposed, should they join the games.
Only three professionals went on to compete in Rio, namely Cameroon's Hassan N'Dam, Italy's Carmine Tomassone, and former IBF champion Amnat Ruenroeng from Thailand.
Crawford, Golovkin, Gonzales continue to dominate
With a lot of things moving and shaking in the boxing world in 2016, a few remained constant, such as the dominance of three pound-for-pound talents in Terence "Bud" Crawford, Gennady "GGG" Golovkin, and Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzales.
30-0 Terence Crawford went 3-0 in 2016, defeating Hank Lundy, Viktor Postol, and John Molina Jr, while holding on to the WBO light welterweight title and adding the WBC, The Ring and lineal light welterweight championships.
36-0 Gennady Golovkin went 2-0 in 2016, retaining his WBA, WBC, IBF, and IBO middleweight championships, earning wins over Dominick Wade and Kell Brook.
In 2016, Roman Gonzales managed to defend his WBC, The Ring, and lineal flyweight titles against McWilliams Arroyo, and then move up to super flyweight to defeat Carlos Cuadras and become the new WBC super flyweight champion, cementing his status as the top pound-for-pound boxer in the game today.
Touted as ALA Boxing's next big thing, knockout artist "Prince" Albert Pagara was being groomed for greatness. Unbeaten in 26 straight contests, the Maasin-native was about to take the next step to stardom when he asked for a match against former world title contender Cesar Juarez of Mexico.
Pagara got his wish, and met Juarez at Pinoy Pride 37 in California.
After dropping Juarez early, Pagara began to fade, while his Mexican rival grew more aggressive. Eventually, Juarez took control and knocked Pagara out in the seventh round, handing the Pinoy his first career loss, in brutal fashion.
It served as a lession for the young Pagara, who has since bounced back, beating Raymond Commey via decision last December.
After a year of calling out then reigning WBO bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr, Jessie Magdaleno got his wish in one of the biggest boxing cards of the year.
the 25-year old Magdaleno outworked and outpointed the unusually cautious Donaire in front of his hometown Vegas crowd en route to a unanimous decision win in his first ever crack at world championship gold.
Magdaleno improved to 24-0 in his young career.
Another Filipino boxer that realized his dream of becoming a world champion in 2016 was none other than long-time ALA Boxing standout Milan "El Metodico" Melindo, who captured the interim IBF light flyweight champion after decisioning Thailand's Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr at Pinoy Pride 39 in Cebu last November.
The 27-year old Melindo fought through a height and reach advantage to dismantle Sakkreerin in 12 rounds and claim the interim championship.
The Cagayan de Oro native is now first in line against reigning IBF champion Akira Yaegashi, and could get that fight in 2017.
Well, that didn't take long.
After less than a year of being 'retired', newly-elected Senator Manny Pacquiao stepped back in the ring, and showed the world that he's still one of the best in the world.
The 38-year old Pacquiao dismantled the much younger Jessie Vargas en route to a unanimous decision win and claim the WBO welterweight championship for the third time in his career.
It was Pacquiao's 67th professional fight, and after the post-fight interviews, it sounded like it wasn't going to be his last. With an abundance of possible matchups for the world champion senator, it's interesting how things will play out in the coming year.
What's in store for boxing in 2017? Will we finally see A Golovkin-Canelo fight? Will Manny Pacquiao meet Money Mayweather once again? How many more Pinoy world champions will we see in the coming year? Why don't we meet back here in around 12 months, and let's see if we have those answers ready by then.