Floyd Mayweather Jr. Named “Fighter of the Year” by Boxing Writer’s Association

Fightland Blog

By Nick Wong

Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Boxing Writer’s Association of America (BWAA) has selected Floyd Mayweather Jr., as its 2015 recipient for the Sugar Ray Robinson Fighter of the Year award. The decision came in large part due to his unanimous decision win over Manny Pacquiao in May of last year. Though the bout itself was underwhelming in comparison to its build-up, the reasoning behind the selection is that before the actual fight took place, Pacquiao was one of the most formidable forces in the welterweight division, and Mayweather bested that force with ease.

For those unfamiliar, the BWAA is an organization originally formed in 1926, and holds the objective of promoting more ethical working conditions for writers covering the sport of boxing. In terms of its prestige, I’d say the award ranks on similar, if not great ground with the Ring Magazine’s end-of-year distinctions, which in this category chose Tyson Fury as its 2015 recipient for his upset victory over Wladimir Klitschko. When looking at it a bit closer, the two organizations have differed on three occasions for their Fighter of the Year selection in this ongoing decade, though agreed straight across the board in the 2000s. Previous to that, however, selections have been all over the place. In regards to the structure of decision-making, the Ring Magazine determines its results internally through collaborators in a single publication, whereas the BWAA uses a ballot voting system from its member group composed of esteemed fight journalists from across the publishing world.

Other candidates in the running included a similar lineup to the Ring Magazine: Canelo Álvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Tyson Fury and Roman Gonzalez. Álvarez’s victories over James Kirkland and Miguel Cotto took a hit for the fact that Kirkland was an overmatched opponent. The same held true for Golovkin and Gonzalez for their dominate victories in 2015. Fury, while accomplishing probably the most significant feat of the group, did so in a lackluster manner and had only one other fight against a journeyman. Though personally I’ve said Mayweather’s 2015 accomplishments were rightfully passed over in the Ring’s distinction, I suppose I could see the reasoning behind the BWAA’s choice. Given the flaws in the other candidates’ choice of opponent, perhaps more of a pass can be given for Andre Berto being the last fight in his career, and his ease over Pacquiao does hold significant weight in all that happened in 2015. His media megastardom also probably played a factor. His bout against Pacquiao sold a record-breaking 4.6 million pay-per-views and Mayweather is likely one of the only boxing names to crossover into the mainstream. For better or worse, he kept the sport relevant to the general public.   

Mayweather now joins Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield and Manny Pacquiao as the only fighters to have won the award three times. The other instances were in 2007 and 2013.

Other BWAA 2015 awards included:

Muhammad Ali – Joe Frazier Award For Fight of the Year: Francisco Vargas-Takashi Miura
Eddie Futch Award For Trainer of the Year: Abel Sanchez
Cus D’Amato Award For Manager of the Year: Al Haymon
Marvin Kohn Good Guy Award: Don Chargin
Nat Fleischer Award For Excellence in Boxing Journalism: William Gildea
James A. Farley Award For Honesty and Integrity: Lou DiBella
Bill Crawford Courage Award: Tom Casino


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