It has been yet another dramatic year for boxing in 2022. We have seen plenty of controversy, huge hits and upsets throughout the year and some incredible fights along the way throughout every division. A huge talking point near the start of the year was Josh Taylor’s controversial win over Jack Catterall.
With the super-lightweight titles and both of their unbeaten streaks on the line, the fight went to a decision with Taylor winning by split (112-113, 114-111, 113-112). This was highly contested by fans and boxing media. Former cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson reacted in his role as a pundit: “I gave Taylor four rounds. I can’t believe it, I’m in shock.”
Controversy aside, the fight was a great war between two hungry fighters and there was plenty more where that came from throughout the year. It was a year of firsts too as we witnessed a moment in history when two female fighters would headline Madison Square Garden for the first time ever, but more on that later. Let’s take a look at the best fights of 2022.
Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan
This featherweight bout produced one of the most stunning comebacks potentially ever seen in a boxing ring. Defending champion Wood was dropped by Conlan in the opening round of the fight and was comfortably outclassed for the remainder of the fight. That was until the 11th round. Despite being hurt for most of the fight, Wood, staring down an almost certain loss via the scorecards, fought back to drop Conlan and give himself a lifeline in the final round. What followed was a frantic finish with a still dazed Conlan fighting to see out the fight and a beaten-up Wood throwing everything at the Irishman. Wood finally found the punch he needed and dramatically sent Conlan flying through the ropes to snatch a win from the jaws of death.
Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano
In front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden, Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano fought like their lives were on the line. Described as the ‘biggest women’s fight of all time’, It was a fight nearly two years in the making since their first bout was cancelled back in May 2020 and it lived up to the hype. A back-and-forth encounter where both fighters risked being stopped at various points, it was Taylor who emerged victorious by split-decision (97-93, 96-93, 94-96). It showed just how far women’s boxing has come in the last few years and has left many hungry for a rematch.
Dmitry Bivol vs Canelo Alvarez
Canelo Alvarez will likely go down as one of the greatest fighters of his generation when all is said and done. His trilogy with Gennady Golovkin is one of the best in recent memory and his KO win at light-heavyweight over Sergey Kovalev asserted him as a force in multiple weight classes. It was no surprise that he entered his fight with Bivol as a -500 betting favorite. But Bivol did not listen to all the noise. Instead, he spoiled the script to outbox and outpoint the Mexican in a star-making performance. Many believe even that the 115-113 scorecard does not do enough to show just how dominating Bivol’s performance was. This one will undoubtably be run back and the betting odds will likely be a lot kinder to Bivol this time round.
Jermell Charlo vs Brian Castano 2
After fighting to a split-draw in July of 2021, Charlo and Castano ran things back not even a year later in search of a rightful winner. And Charlo certainly left no doubt. He pieced up the Argentinian fighter for nine rounds, barely allowing him to get out of the gates. He finally finished the fight in the tenth round in dramatic fashion to pick up all four belts to unify the division. The best performance of his career so far, Charlo found himself on the pound-for-pound rankings of many boxing media outlets lists and it is hard to argue he doesn’t deserve to be there.
Sebastian Fundora vs Erickson Lubin
Standing at 6-foot-6, the 154lb ‘Towering Inferno’ Sebastian Fundora is unorthodox to say the least. He had dazzled the division up to this fight but was now walking into the first real test of his young career. Things were looking good early on when Fundora dropped Lubin in the second round but Lubin bounced back in the next few rounds and then knocked Fundora down in the seventh. He found himself ahead on two scorecards but Fundora would fight back and land with great success, causing vicious swelling on ‘The Hammer’s’ face. Lubin’s trainer, Kevin Cunningham, stopped the breathtaking back-and-forth bout after round nine, handing Fundora the W.