Prior to the highly anticipated Spence vs. Crawford bout, boxing enthusiasts have witnessed numerous fights throughout the years. That was hailed as the “fight of the year.” However, it’s important to note that the most anticipated. Media-driven matchups don’t always end up being considered the standout fight of the year. Let’s take a closer look at some memorable fights from previous years:
Looking back at 2015, The Ring recognized the fight between Bandido Vargas and Takashi Miura as the fight of the year. Although the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather bout garnered tremendous attention, it fell short of expectations despite its impressive Pay-Per-View numbers.
In 2016, The Ring named Francisco Vargas’s match against Orlando Salido as the fight of the year. This year featured notable duels such as Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward 1. Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter, Gennady Golovkin vs. Kell Brook, and Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas. All of which generated significant interest.
When Unexpected Fight Steals the Spotlight
The generational clash between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko in 2017. Which saw Joshua claim the throne as the new heavyweight champion, and was considered the best fight of the year. Despite this, the highly anticipated Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Álvarez 1. Though thrilling, did not receive the “Fight of the Year” honor. Additionally, Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward 2 took place this year.
In 2018, the spotlight was on the eagerly awaited rematch between Canelo Álvarez and Gennady Golovkin. Which unquestionably earned the title of the fight of the year. Another notable event was Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 1, which marked Fury’s return and ignited a significant rivalry.
The Naoya Inoue vs. Nonito Donaire 1 clash stood out as the best fight of 2019. Few expected the veteran Filipino boxer to put up such a fierce battle against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters. Donaire had previously been involved in exhibition fights. This year also featured captivating fights like Josh Taylor vs. Regis Prograis, Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua, and Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz 2. Manny Pacquiao’s return to a title match against Keith Thurman generated considerable excitement and interest.
According to The Ring, Jose Zepeda vs. Ivan Baranchyk claimed the title of fight of the year in 2020, although several prominent boxers delivered outstanding performances. The highly anticipated Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 2 bout took center stage and was considered the most significant match of the year. Additionally, fights such as Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez Jr. and Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz captivated audiences.
The Fight Legacy of the “Four Kings”: Drawing Parallels to Spence vs. Crawford
Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3 received recognition as the top heavyweight fight of the year in 2021. Noteworthy battles also included Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk, Canelo vs. Plant for the undisputed super middleweight title, and Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Roman ‘Chocolatito’ González 2. Manny Pacquiao’s comeback against Yordenis Ugas also garnered significant attention and performed well in terms of Pay-Per-View numbers.
Leigh Wood vs. Michael Conlan emerged as the fight of the year in 2022, featuring an intense battle. Bouts such as Bivol vs. Canelo, Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano, and Spence vs. Ugas surpassed expectations but fell short of becoming the benchmark fight. Although the Canelo vs. Golovkin 3 bout and Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk 2 generated substantial anticipation, the conclusion of the trilogy failed to reach the level of the previous encounters.
In conclusion, while the Spence vs. Crawford fight is generating significant buzz as one of the most highly anticipated matchups in boxing since Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, it remains uncertain whether it will be recognized as the fight of the year. History has shown that the most anticipated and media-driven fights don’t always claim the top spot, and other bouts throughout the year can often surpass expectations and become memorable in their own right.