There have been some tremendous upsets, knockouts and a couple of ridiculous thrillers this year in boxing.
In the latter category, there was the cartoonish level of violence in the Hernan Marquez-Luis Concepcion fight, and Pawel Wolak gutting out a draw against Delvin Rodriguez despite possibly the most monstrous-looking eye swelling you'll ever see.
There will be a rematch of the first fight on Oct. 29, and of the second on Dec. 3. Do yourself a favour and find an online stream.
But unfortunately for the sport, the biggest bouts this year, the ones predestined to get mainstream coverage, have been completely lacking,
Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley. Wladimir Klitschko-David Haye. Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz.
All of these fights were duds and/or tinged with embarrassment.
Since I last wrote, there have been two more entries to the list.
Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson was depressing because it didn't seem like anyone involved knew the rules when the veteran Hopkins injured his shoulder after being shaken loose by a Dawson shoulder push in the second round.
Referee Pat Russell inexplicably thought he had to decide the outcome on the spot, and Dawson walked out with a title belt despite not landing a punch in the fight-ending sequence.
It seems like Hopkins will get the belt back as the fight is being reviewed. Yes, Hopkins is tiresome, has cried wolf before and is a dirty fighter, but rules should be applied properly to all.
I had no real problem with what Dawson did as Hopkins was already trying to bend a rule here and there; I didn't see it as a disqualifiable offence. But Hopkins was not given five minutes to recover nor examined thoroughly by a doctor to get to the bottom of the shoulder issue. So the result has to be a wash, whether you want to call it a no-decision or technical decision.
This past weekend, budding superstar Nonito Donaire was unimpressive in winning a lopsided decision over previously unbeaten Omar Narvaez in an 118-pound bout.
The matchup might have looked good on paper but it was Exhibit A in an annoying trend that promoters like Top Rank and Golden Boy, aided by HBO, traffick in - pitting guys who aren't really in the same weight class, with the desire to "showcase" the bigger name in what is hoped will be a sensational performance.
Narvaez was moving up one weight class, and because of day-before weigh-ins and rehydration, Donaire was at least two weight classes above the Argentine by fight night.
Predictably, boxing fans and some writers who should know better focused on Narvaez's lack of effort in the second half of the bout. Some even compared the action to Manny Pacquiao's unrequited punching of Joshua Clottey about 18 months ago.
Aside from the fact that Donaire and Pacquiao were both born in the Philippines, it was an absurd comparison. Pacquiao was about 15-20 pounds lighter than Clottey; on Saturday, Donaire was the bigger guy by about the same margin.
It's not like Narvaez was running around the ring, so it was incumbent upon Donaire to try Plans B andn C in order to end the affair.
Yes, Narvaez should have done more. In fact, it was strange he abandoned the jab that was landing pretty easily against Donaire.
Considering that 122-pounders were first being mentioned as potential fall opponents for Donaire, it was an unacceptable matchup.
On the other hand, there was some exciting Canadian action on Saturday.
Logan McGuinness of Orangeville, Ont., landed a beautiful right-left combo to fold former world title challenger Benoit Gaudet of Drummondville, Que., for an 11th-round stoppage in a junior lightweight bout.
But there isn't enough time left in 2011 to salvage the overall impression of the year.
The last really big fight - the third Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez bout - probably won't be dull, but also has the makings of a mismatch given that it's being fought above 140, a chore for the Mexican.
It's also disappointing that boxing's power brokers apparently didn't give much thought to the possibility of an NBA lockout. There are empty arenas that could be used. But promoters are still too locked into the thinking that the only time for a bout is Saturday night, and the only avenue to get the fight out is through premium cable in the U.S.
But there are several appealing matchups that hopefully will live up to their potential and provide a silver lining:
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