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Fernando Montiel rocks Luis Melendez

Fighter of the Year?
Four who deserve consideration
By Rizwaan Zahid

Fighter of the year so far? Let's examine the candidates:
Fernando Montiel
The bantamweight champ has been nothing short of brilliant so far, adding the WBC bantamweight title to his WBO title in his last fight Rafael Concepcion. So far the 31 year old has fought three times this year but only eight rounds, thanks to him knocking out each of Ciso Morales, Hozumi Hasegawa and the aforementioned Concepcion. He may be small but he brings a punch and he brings entertainment.
By far one of the most underrated entertaining fighters in the sport today.
Wladimir Klitschko
Unlikely candidate? Perhaps. But Wladimir is a fighter who’s taken on all comers. He may not be as entertaining as any of the other nominees, but he has fought and beaten the best. Sasha Povetkin and David Haye find excuses for not making a fight with Wlad, and Wlad has fulfilled two mandatories already this year and plans to make a voluntary defense later this year. Depending on who it is, and if Wlad wins (and how), he may be the first heavyweight able to capture the prestigious award since the 96-97 wins by Evander Holyfield.
Andre Dirrell
Should the fight between himself and Andre Ward happen this year and Dirrell wins and moves on to the Super Six Finals, Dirrell will have definitely earned the fighter of the year award. He outboxed Arthur Abraham and impressed many by knocking down the iron chinned Armenian. Dirrell is already in such a difficult tournament and defeating two fighters who were previously undefeated and looking invincible is definitely impressive.
Sergio Martinez
Should the fight between himself and Paul Williams come off, and Martinez comes away with the victory this time, he will definitely receive the majority of votes for fighter of the year. He’s already beaten the middleweight kingpin Kelly Pavlik and bloodied his face up in the process. Pavlik’s face looked like a kid who didn’t know how to use a shaving razor with cuts all over his face.
Paul Williams walked away with a victory against Martinez in their first encounter, and it was a great fight and very difficult to score. What makes a great fighter even greater is beating the best, all while being entertaining. And hey, the HBO money and spotlight doesn’t hurt either.
Should he beat Williams he will have two great wins within a year at the age of 35.

Fun fact
 Three fighters who won the fighter of the year award in the 2000’s were 35 and up (Bernard Hopkins-’01, James Toney-’03, Glen Johnson-’04). Seems like the new trend now. But we will wait and see if that will carry over into this decade.
A guarantee (or should be):
Neither Mayweather or Pacquiao deserve the fighter of the year award. Had they fought each other, whoever prevailed would’ve been a shoe in. Mayweather with all his legal troubles and vacation time won’t be fighting this year. Pacquiao will be fighting Margarito (at a catch weight for the 154 title. Yeah, you read it right), and even if he’s able to stop Margarito, he wasn’t all the impressive against another stablemate Joshua Clottey. True, Clottey didn’t bring much either, but the opponent definitely wasn’t a top opponent, and that is what truly makes a fighter of the year candidate.
2010 is slowly coming to a close. For those in the colder areas of the world, the leaves are changing colors and the temperature is dropping while the jackets and sweaters are coming out. For those in the warmer areas… well, I envy you.
But regardless, the next three months should be more entertaining then the last nine months has been for boxing fans. The fighter of the year award is anyone’s to nab, and with the many major fights falling through the winner this year will have truly deserved it.


More columns
by Rizwaan Zahid:

A disappointing year isn't over yet; exciting fights loom

Cunningham's thumb, not his fist, ended fight with Troy Ross

The search for boxing's next 'star'

Monte Barrett: The career of a dedicated fighter

Allan Green was not Super Six material

The mess at junior welterweight

Khan & Ortiz figure to beat savvy vets

Haye and Adamek: A report card after 3 fights

Joan Guzman: Best welterweight in the lightweight division

Devon Alexander/Female Boxing

Impressive U.S. debut for Campillo

Williams ready to punish at 147

Happy birthday, Champ!

Stars to Shine in 2010

The Grinches steal Christmas

Malignaggi-Diaz showed why instant replay is needed

Williams, Martinez show why they're avoided

Lucian Bute impresses America, and the world

James Kirkland: So promising, yet so wasteful

Suspension for foul language? That's bull$#:+!!!

Pacquiao-Cotto: Who wins?

Super Six Will Still Have Controversies

Haye, Angulo proved little

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Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Rizwaan Zahid is a recent graduate from Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication Program, and is currently pursuing his aspiration of becoming a professional sports journalist.
Although relatively young, Rizwaan has shown his passion of writing the beautiful sport of boxing and has worked with Bragging Rights Corner, Boxing Banter, Diamond Boxing,
Fightfan.com, East Side Boxing as well as The Fight Network for over three years. With Fightfan.com, Rizwaan has been awarded the feature article of the month numerous times.
Over these past few years, Rizwaan has interviewed and conducted conferences with fighters and trainers such as Jeff Mayweather, Jermaine Taylor, Kelly Pavlik, Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr., Jackie Kallen, Wayne McCullough, Manny Pacquaio, Wladimir Klitsckho and Emmanuel Steward.
  Rizwaan still has a strong passion for many other sports and has covered various sports in The Charlatan, Carleton University's newspaper. Rizwaan has also worked with PHASE 1 Basketball, a camp based out of Toronto which is a showcase for the best basketball Canada has to offer on various levels, as well as the Out of Left Field blog which attracts numerous readers daily.
Rizwaan Zahid hopes to continue his efforts in journalism in the world of sports.

CLICK HERE to contact Rizwaan

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