2017 was a huge winner for the sport of Boxing. There was a reoccurring theme of the best fighting the best, and a huge mega fight that delivered in GGG/Canelo in terms of sales and in-ring action. Picking out the best winners and biggest losers of such a great year is a difficult task. There are a variety of ways to measure this. For me measuring the biggest winners and losers is measured the same way we would view the biggest winners and losers in a stock portfolio. Where did they start and where did they end. So Loma and Bud had great years and are the two best P4P fighters on earth according to our latest rankings. However, neither are on this list because they were both top 5-10 P4P guys last year, neither become crossover superstars that transcended the sport. They are Bluechippers that continue to rise in value. The list below represents guys whos stock soared in value from obscurity to superstardom. From being an opponent to being a headline, and the losers well they are the exact opposite.
1) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai- What was supposed to be just another name on Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez resume a stepping stone on Choclatito’s march to history. Reaching Marciano’s and Floyd’s mark of 49-0 and perhaps surpassing it. When Gonzalez ran into Rungvisai. Actually, he ran into a right hand by Rungvisai that sent him tumbling to the canvas in the opening round. From that point on two things were established, Chocolatito was going to be in a fight and the mostly unknown Rungvisai was going to be a name that all boxing fans were going to learn. Literally, before that fight, we didn’t know if his name was Srisaket Sor Rungvisai or Wisaksil Wangek. He went from an unknown opponent whose name we didn’t know and couldn’t pronounce to twice beating a fighter some considered Pound For Pound the best in the sport and headlining HBO cards and being the man to beat in a loaded 118-pound division. Not too often does a 5’3 118 pound Thai fighter headline HBO cards but Rungvisai did just that in 2017 and will do it again in 2018.
2) Miguel Berchelt- Although his one-sided destruction of Francisco Vargas seems like forever ago, it wasn’t it was in January of 2017. Berchelt entered the fight without any wins over any noticeable names and already had a loss on his resume. He was viewed as a tough opponent, but not top 10 in his division and someone who would give Vargas an entertaining scrap but ultimately come up short. It was supposed to establish Vargas as an all-action Mexican superstar instead, a different star was born. Berchelt took control early on, unloading a number of combinations on Vargas, bloodied him and pressured him.Berchelt maintained his relentlessness and by the eleventh round, the pressure was more than Vargas’ could handle. Berchelt followed that up with a one-sided dominant performance and near shut out of former WBC champ Takashi Miura who was coming off a sensational KO over Miguel Roman. Berchelt went from opponent status to Pound for Pound #9 according to our latest rankings in just one year.
3) Sadam Ali- Ali was considered a disappointment and fight fans were hoping for a better name for Cotto’s farewell dance. Ali was viewed as an easy opponent, a soft touch for Cotto to walk away on. The “World Kid” was thought of as being overrated and perhaps never that good. He was never going to compete on the highest of levels and having a fragile chin after being knocked out by Jesse Vargas. Ali took an uninspiring competitive decision over Johan Perez in the summer which did little to raise his status but then put on a sensational performance against the legendary Miguel Cotto. Catching him clean early and often and then dominating the last few rounds to take a close decision over the Puerto Rican icon. 2017 saw Sadam Ali finally capture a world title and is setting him up for a huge payday in 2018, many are thinking he will get Kell Brook in the UK after Brook takes care of business in his tune-up. The former Olympian is a world titlist now and in the middle of the conversation for mega fights at 147 or 154.
1) Adrein Broner- AB turned 28 the day before his make or break fight with Mikey Garcia. No longer a young up and comer no more the “future”. AB’s time to deliver was now against Garcia. We got a focused AB that was set to make right all the struggles he had in and out of the ring and on the scale. And he got dominated and outclassed in the biggest fight of his career by a lightweight. AB is now more of a punchline who people want to see fight only so he can get beat up. No longer seen as Mayweather’s successor, or an A level fighter. AB is viewed as a B level fighter and more of a stepping stone. He has fallen a long way from the fighter that was once ranked #6 P4P by Ring Magazine and he has fallen a long way in just 2017, escaping with a narrow controversial decision over Adrían Granados and being annihilated by Mikey Garcia.
2) Danny Garcia- Garcia fought just once in 2017 losing a competitive by a clear decision to Keith Thurman in their welterweight unification bout in March. Not the end of the world, but he has lost so much more than that. Swift had an outstanding run at 140 but since moving up to welter he has been more than cautious in hand selecting opponents, and really Thurman was the only top name he has fought at 147, and he lost. The man who has earned himself the nickname of Cherry Garcia by critics for hand selecting opponents, not helping that cause. Swift didn’t fight again in 2017 and to make matters worse turned down big fights with, Spence, Porter, and Cotto and settled on fighting a shot Bam Bam Rios in 2018. For a guy that was on pound for pound lists in January, by year-end he is an afterthought in the crowded welterweight division.
3) Guillermo Rigondeaux – Rigondeaux had trashed talked, chased down, and called out Vasyl Lomachenko all year long. He finally got his man. I am sure he instantly regretted it as well. For the biggest fight of his career and what was perhaps on paper to be the best fight of the year was a complete dud. After a first round feeling out process,
El Chacal lost every moment from there on out being dominated and outclassed by hi-tech. Eventually quitting on his stool and he did all of this for just about $400k. Not to say that’s chump change, but a $400k offer means that fight wasn’t supposed to happen. Rigo took the short cash and bet on himself that he’d win the fight and it would open up multi-million dollar paydays as he would be considered #1 pound for pound. Well, that bet backfired on him big time, add his loss to his no-decision earlier in the year, Rigondeuax is now 37 and is winless since July of 2016.