Last night, legendary boxing icon Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KO) won his fourth ESPY "Best Fighter" Award in only its sixth year since its inception.
Mayweather's selection also marked the sixth consecutive year a boxer has won the Best Fighter award at the ESPYs.
The prestigious Best Fighter ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Award, introduced in 2007, was created by the sports network ESPN and is presented annually the boxer, professional or amateur, or mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter judged to be the best in a given calendar year.
ESPY 'Best Fighter' Award winners are as follows:
(The award is given based on a fighter's accomplishments the previous calendar year)
2007 - Floyd Mayweather
2008 - Floyd Mayweather
2009 - Manny Pacquiao
2010 - Floyd Mayweather
2011 - Manny Pacquiao
2012 - Floyd Mayweather
Despite Floyd's reputation as the most popular and accomplished fighter among of the four candidates this year, many believed UFC's Jon Jones would get the nod. However, despite fighting only once last year and the controversy it generated, Floyd Mayweather's 4th Round knockout of Victor Ortiz on September 17th was enough to win the 'Money" Man ESPY honors.
Mayweather vs Ortiz also fetched 1.25 million pay per view (PPV) buys and was the second highest grossing non-heavyweight PPV event of all time before Mayweather vs Cotto in May.
Courtesy of Tom Hogan/ Hogan Photos/ Golden Boy Promotions
Currently boxing's WBC Welterweight Champion in-recess and WBA (Super) Light Middleweight Champion, the 35 year old Mayweather is rated as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world by many sports outlets and media websites including FightSaga, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, BoxRec, Fox Sports and Yahoo! Sports.
And recently, Forbes magazine placed Mayweather atop its annual list of the 100 highest-paid athletes.
The Other Nominees
25-0, 13 KOs
Division: Super Middleweight
Titles: The RING, WBA/WBC
While some boxers may have notched more wins and others won more dramatically, no other pugilist's accomplishments in 2011 surpassed Andre Ward's. The RING Magazine and FightSaga Fighter of the Year won unanimous decisions over former IBF Middleweight Champion Arthur Abraham (then 32-2, 26 KO) and then WBC Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch (then 28-1, 20 KO).
32-4, 25 Stoppages
Title: UFC Champion
Regarded by most MMA insiders as the best fighter in the sport, UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva has won his last 15 matches, including Saturday night's triumph over rival Chael Sonnen. Last year, the fighter dubbed "The Spider" collected two knockouts over stellar opponents, Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami.
16-1, 13 Stoppages
Division: Light Heavyweight
Title: UFC Champion
Orchestrator of a breakout year in 2011 and the presumed favorite to win this year's ESPY Fighter of the Year Award, Jon Jones assembled an impressive string of four wins last year defeating surging upstart Ryan Bader and former UFC champions Mauricio Rua, Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida. All of Jones' fights ended within the distance.
Will a boxer win again next year? Midway through 2012, boxing's leading candidates are arguably Floyd Mayweather, Wladimir Klitschko, Carl Froch, Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, Sergio Martinez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Nonito Donaire, Orlando Salido and Guillermo Rigondeaux.