Very good year for the sport, deaths of Arguello/Forrest/Gatti aside. 21,000 people in Staples to start the year for Mosely/Margarito, and two consecutive pay per views with over a million buys to end the year.
Boxing is back. Almost. It will be ... as soon as Pac Man/Floyd is inked, which it will be. The fight may be the most watched pay per view ever, and will have the chance to draw tens of millions of casual fans back into following the sport.
1. The emergence of Manny Pacquiao
Sweet mother of Mary. Maybe the knockout of the year when he almost took Ricky Hatton's head off in the 2nd rd, and then a dominating win against Miguel Cotto. This was coming off his Dec 08 destruction of Oscar DeLaHoya. Pac Man has emerged as the most popular and talked about fighter in the world since Tyson.
2. The Pacquiao/Mayweather negotiations
Still ongoing, and all the drama we expected.
3. Antonio Margarito's loaded gloves
Simply amazing. Went on to get taken apart at the seams by Shane Mosely afterwards, casting doubt on his 2 year rise to the top of the welterweight division that preceded the discovery.
4. The deaths of Artuto Gatti, Vernon Forrest, Alexis Arguello
Three fierce warriors that provided so much entertainment for boxing fans, all with their lives taken far too soon in freakish events.
5. Money Mayweather returns
And cruises to a borefest win over Juan Manuel Marquez after intentionally missing weight and coming into the ring at least 15 pounds heavier than him that night.
6. The Super Six
An exciting and innovating tournament put together by Showtime and the promoters of all the fighters involved. Great for the sport, has lived up to the hype thus far, and an example of the innovative things boxing needs to do to continue the resurgence of the sport.
7. Oscar DelaHoya retires
Love him or hate him, he carried boxing through some of the dark years post Tyson/Lennox. He transitioned right into a successful promoting career with his Golden Boy Productions outfit already a very viable force in the sport.
8. Joe Calzaghe retires
Undefeated Welshman hangs em up after beating old American legends Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, leaving US fight fans wanting more.
9. The Kelly Pavlik Staph Infection
Derailed the middleweight champs cataclysmic rise. Bad year in '09 for Kelly. A win over Paul Williams in April can make everyone forget about it.
10. The emergence of Tim Bradley
If not for Manny Pacquiao, the fighter of the year in '09. Impressive wins over three tough foes in Holt, Campbell, and Peterson. And Bradley looked better, fitter, stronger in each one.