"Before the boxing schedule in 2014 had ended, many major outlets had already decided that Terence Crawford was the fighter of the year. As those stories were being filed however, a 21-year-old with just seven professional fights was looking to win his second world title in as many weight classes, in that very calendar year."
The Monster being discussed, you should know, is Naoya Inoue.
"As impressive as Terence Crawford's trio of wins over Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Ray Beltran were, he didn't do what Inoue did. Crawford, of course, had the benefit of being American and fighting on American premium cable. From that perspective it's no surprise that the Boxing Writers Association of America would choose Crawford as their number one for 2014. However, the BWAA is supposed to be the highest representation of boxing knowledge. After all, they are the sole deciders of who enters the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and yet, they didn't have the foresight to hold off on their voting until the end of the year.
Were the majority of voting BWAA members not even aware of who Inouye was? Totally possible, considering the Thai Flyweight stalwart Amnat Ruenroeng, who arguably also had a better year than Crawford, wasn't even nominated or given an honourable mention. But, of course, HBO darlings, Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev were all on the ballot. Either there is an extreme bias towards larger fighters or fighters visible on American networks, or some people just don't watch what's required of them to vote competently."
The above quote comes from The Fight Network's Corey Erdman as he takes to task the clear and present bias involved in the very poor recognition for the smallest fighters that stack up plenty well enough against many fighters who are acclaimed in the media, both on accomplishment and skill. . . The largely American media, this is. Bias with regard to both size and nationality is what it amounts to. Now, the reason why I spotlight this quote is not because I think Terence Crawford, or other fighters mentioned were not worthy of consideration for the fighter of the year, each for different reasons, but only that it's clear at least the majority of voters didn't particularly think that Inoue's match against Omar Narvaez, in jumping up two weight classes, with under ten fights, was even a consideration in this standout award.
I want to just say that Narvaez had only ever been bested against Nonito Donaire, in 47 professional contests. Donaire was in the middle of going a dozen years without a loss, and this was at Bantamweight. To give some context, Narvaez may have lost that bout, but in his championship weights, where Inoue challenged him, at Flyweight and Super Flyweight, Narvaez had an absolutely jaw-dropping number of world title fights, Inoue being his 30th match with a major world title on the line in these two weight classes, and 31st world title fight overall. Narvaez, through all of that, had never been stopped, even against the lethal Donaire that existed at the time, and in all of those 30 Flyweight and Super Flyweight fights, he'd never even lost. He was the premiere Super Flyweight. He didn't just happen by a title in this weight class. He was, again, the premiere fighter of the division. The outcome of Inoue's match with Narvaez, not just winning, but stopping him in two rounds, it wasn't even an overall consideration for the BWAA voters, and many other outlets. Because they didn't even wait for it to happen! The fight itself was a non-issue from the start, is the point Erdman mentions. If you think about it, it's a bit shocking from an integrity standpoint and should be talked about. Cheers to Corey Erdman for talking about it.
PS: Why else might this be important beside the obvious bias issue? Well, for boxing's sake, we have this other, non-Pacquiao VS Mayweather concern, where two fighters who could/should be pound-for-pound regarded are close enough to make a fight together. This is very possible. Not just possible but a historically meaningful event for boxing that needs big, big recognition. We're talking about two guys who could've easily been considered the fighter of the year of 2014 in each other's weight range and able to fight in 2015. Roman Gonzalez and Mr. Inoue could be in an elite-level mega-fight. That's important stuff, if you're a genuine, certified, hardcore boxing fan. But many would let these guys go completely ignored, incredible as they both are, and not even try to stir interest in a match between the two, as wholly plausible as it is. This is a crying shame.
Work that bag,
Basement Gym Boxing
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