In life there are are always choices to be made. Whether it’s the outfit of the day or the beverage you wish to imbibe, you always have to choose.
In fact, they say we are but a sum of the cumulative choices we have made.
In boxing, there was a tough choice to be made for our Fighter of the Year for 2023. But ultimately, it had to be done.
FOTY. 2023 proved to be an outstanding year for two fighters currently at the apex of the sport: Naoya Inoue and Terence Crawford.
Crawford finally proved to everyone how good he was after he was given a career-defining fight against Errol Spence.
Everyone thought—this writer included—that Spence would put on a better show but Crawford showed there are levels to this game and that he was the sharpest tool in the shed.
But the reason this Last Rounder feels that Inoue is slightly more deserving based on output and the fact that he moved up in weight.
Spence stopped Spence in a super-fight which was a major accomplishment while Inoue moved up to the super-bantamweight division fought and defeated two champions in Stephen Fulton and Marlon Tapales to become a two-division undisputed champion.
That is not to say of course, that Crawford’s body of work wasn’t spectacular.
At the highest level of excellence where every little thing counts, I just have to tip it in favor of Inoue’s output.
Fulton was the reigning and defending WBC and WBO super bantamweight king when Inoue sought him out for his first fight in a higher division. Pundits thought Fulton would be a tough nut to crack but Inoue defeated him in the 8th round.
Next up was our very own Marlon Tapales who held the IBF and WBA diadems for a unification bout of all the belts, and Inoue was able to overcome him in the 10 th round of a highly competitive fight.
Both of them were brilliant and both of them are deserving, but Inoue simply did more. Tellingly, had Inoue fought only Fulton, Crawford would be the runaway winner but since Inoue fought another champion and unified the belts in a new division, he is our Fighter of the Year 2023.
LAST ROUND. It’s on my fave uncle Raul “Tio Boy” Quijano who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!