Controversial calls and poor decisions have always been a part of the game, but 2011 was an especially bad year for boxing. Paul Williams over Erislandy Lara, Robert Helenius over Dereck Chisora, and Devon Alexander over Lucas Matthysse (among others) were flat-out robberies. WBA middleweight titlist, Felix Sturm, benefited from controversial decisions against both Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray. Steve Cunningham lost his IBF cruiserweight world title due to a questionable sixth-round technical decision against Yoan Pablo Hernandez. Bernard Hopkins, until the California State Athletic Commission reversed the decision, had lost his WBC light heavyweight title to Chad Dawson via TKO 2 after being thrown to the canvas and suffering an injured shoulder. Poor officiating and scoring have become real factors in the sport and an absolute buzzkill for fans. — The Boxing Tribune
The mega-fight had been three years in the making as the flamboyant Brit David Haye mocked, taunted and practically stalked Wladimir Klitschko for a chance to prove his heavyweight dominance. Finally, after years of drama and failed efforts to make the bout, Haye-Klitschko was signed to take place at the sold-out Imtech-Arena in Hamburg, Germany. The fight turned out to be the ultimate letdown as Haye fought cautiously throughout, never really tried to engage, and lost a wide, one-sided unanimous decision to the hulking unified champ from the Ukraine. To make matters worse, after the fight, Haye blamed an injured pinky toe for his embarrassing non-effort. — The Boxing Tribune
Remember the '90s?
Former superstars from the 1990's remain active in the sport and, worst of all, are now starting to take serious, embarrassing beatings. Roy Jones Jr. suffered a horrific knockout at the hands of Denis Lebedev in May and, just six months later, James Toney was beaten from pillar to post in a one-sided unanimous decision loss to the same fighter. Forty-nine-year-old former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield has escaped the beatings, but is still active on the senior circuit, most recently beating a sloppy, 46-year-old Brian Nielsen in a novelty bout. Until a few weeks ago, Holyfield was considered a serious candidate for a fight with rising heavyweight, Alexander Povetkin. Most recently, 43-year-old former heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe also announced his return to the ring. — The Boxing Tribune
Big fight fizzles
The year 2011 brought promise and the hope of a return to prominence for the American fighter as two young, undefeated world champions, Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander, met in a much-anticipated junior welterweight unification clash. Unfortunately, the bout, held in a nearly empty Pontiac Silverdome, proved to be more whimper than bang as a sloppy, dull encounter ended in a 10-round technical decision when a clash of heads opened a cut over Alexander's right eye. — The Boxing Tribune
Boxing's two undisputed cash cows, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., fought a total of three times in 2011 and failed to really impress. Pacquiao, possibly the sport's most exciting fighter, turned in tepid performances against Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez while Mayweather, arguably the best overall fighter, scored a foul-filled, controversial fourth-round KO of Victor Ortiz on what many called a cheap shot. While all three fights produced respectable pay-per-view buy rates, the two faces of boxing most certainly did not electrify and energize boxing's loyal fan base. And worst of all, another year went by without them facing one another. — The Boxing Tribune