Michael Rosenthal

2010 RING Fan Polls: Pacquiao over Martinez for Fighter of the Year

FIGHTER OF THE YEAR VOTING RESULTS

Manny Pacquiao: 71 percent
Sergio Martinez: 24 percent
Juan Manuel Lopez: 2 percent
Fernando Montiel: 2 percent
Giovani Segura: 1 percent

The choice for 2010 Fighter of the Year was a no-brainer for most objective observers.

Sergio Martinez’s decision over Kelly Pavlik to capture the middleweight championship of the world and one-punch knockout of Paul Williams clearly were more impressive than the accomplishments of any other fighter.

We’re in the era of Manny Pacquiao, though. The world’s greatest fighter is so popular – particularly among his passionate countrymen – that we knew with certainty that he would be the runaway winner of the award. Facts be damned.

This isn’t to say that Pacquiao’s one-sided points victories over Joshua Clottey on March 13 at Cowboys Stadium and Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 in the same venue during the past year were insignificant.

Clottey didn’t come to fight but was a legitimate contender on paper. And while Margarito’s talents pale next to those of Pacquiao, the Mexican was the much bigger and stronger of the two. He outweighed Pacquiao by 17 pounds on fight night, which took a physical toll on the winner.

The Margarito victory, at junior middleweight, also gave Pacquiao a major title in an unprecedented eighth weight class. We don’t think much of the alphabet titles but to be a dominating fighter in eight of the 17 weight classes is remarkable.

Indeed, it wasn’t Pacquiao’s greatest year in terms of accomplishments but it certainly was a productive one.

And we shouldn’t downplay the role of the fans who voted for Pacquiao in overwhelming numbers.

Boxers don’t perform in a vacuum. The fans are part of the equation, which is why many of us believe a fighter’s ability to entertain the masses is one factor in determining greatness.

We love to watch Pacquiao fight, regardless of the opponent. Pacquiao was never in danger of losing to Margarito, for example, but we were in awe of what we saw in the ring nevertheless. This is what Pacquiao gives us fight after fight after fight, which is why he has become a worldwide icon.

Now imagine how Pacquiao’s fellow Filipinos must feel about him. They burst with pride over the fact that their country has produced the best fighter on the planet who also is universally admired as a person.

He’s like a god. Thus, many Filipinos couldn’t possibly look at him objectively, which is why he and not Martinez was voted Fighter of the Year. And who can blame them.

Round of the Year: Khan-Maidana 10

Prospect of the Year: Saul “Canelo” Alvarez

Comeback of the Year: Juan Manuel Marquez

Upset of the Year: Jason Litzau-Celestino Caballero

Event of the Year: Pacquiao-Mayweather failed negotiations

Knockout of the Year: Martinez-Williams

Fight of the Year: Marquez-Katsidis

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