Paulie Malignaggi has been looking back over the year’s best fighters and has come up with a shortlist of three.
It has been another busy year in the world of boxing with upsets, impressive knockouts, unlikely match-ups and surprise fight cards.
Arguably the biggest of them all is still to come on December 23 in Saudi Arabia when Anthony Joshua, Otto Wallin, Deontay Wilder, Joesph Parker, Daniel Dubois, Jarrell Miller and more all feature on The Day of Reckoning.
Prior to that, there have been many standout performances along the way and, speaking on Paulie TV, Malignaggi discussed three of them, starting with Devin Haney following his recent win over Regis Prograis.
“Terrific performance from Devin Haney [against Regis Prograis]. Great way to close the year for him. I think he’s in the running for Fighter of the Year. I’m not sure he can really get it – I think David Benavidez had a better year.”
Undefeated Benavidez recently knocked out Demetrius Andrade, having also beaten Caleb Planet over 12 rounds in March.
“If Haney would have dominated Lomachenko and then got this dominant win I think he would be in the running but right now Benavidez was so good against Caleb Planet and even better against Andrade he is the front runner.”
Finally, he gave a shout-out to former undisputed bantamweight turned unified super bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue, who is going for undisputed in a second weight division on Boxing Day against Marlon Tapales.
“Although right behind, making a late charge, Naoya Inoue who got a big win over Fulton earlier this year and is now looking to unify in a new weight class against Tapales. These are the three guys I’m looking at for Fighter of the Year.”
Few would argue with Malignaggi’s picks, although some will shout for Terence Crawford, who settled a long rivalry with Errol Spence Jr in dominant fashion to become undisputed at welterweight.