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By Maloney L. Samaco
Sun, 24 Jan 2021

Teofimo Lopez, the undefeated and practically undisputed world lightweight champion was a near unanimous choice for 2020 Fighter of the Year. The latest honor comes from the most prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) who have chosen Lopez as the beneficiary of the Sugar Ray Robinson Award in recognition as the year’s best boxer.

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Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), age 23 years of Brooklyn, New York, had a commanding lead in the selection among voting members due to his overpowering victory over pound-for-pound favorite Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10KOs), age 32 years of Bilhorod-Dnistrovs'kyi, Ukraine, during their multi-sanctioned lightweight championship on October 17 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Also considered in the voting were the following:

WBC, The Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), age 32 years of Wythenshawe, United Kingdom

WBA (Regular) lightweight and WBA (Super) super featherweight champion Gervonta "Tank" Davis (24-0, 23KOs), age 26 years of Baltimore, Maryland

WBO-NABO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. (26-3, 21 KOs), age 31 years of Long Island, New York

IBF and WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (27-0, 21 KOs), age 30 years of Long Island, New York

WBA (Super), WBC and Ring magazine supermiddleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs), age 30 years of Guadalajara, Mexico

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Lopez is the youngest BWAA Fighter of the Year awardee in 25 years, when a 22-year old Oscar de la Hoya claimed best boxer in 1995. He is also the first American fighter to get the award since Floyd Mayweather Jr. did it in 2015. "I’m very appreciative of this,” Lopez said. “It’s been a long journey and this is just the beginning. What I can say is this is a true big win for us. It’s surreal. Sometimes I still think this is a dream for us, but we turned that dream into reality. Every fighter that I look down on the list of past BWAA Fighter of the Year award winners are in the Hall of Fame, or going into the Hall of Fame. Now I’m a part of that group and that history. It’s something no one can take away from me. There is so much more that we can do.”

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Lopez's manager David McWater of Split-T Management won the Cus D’Amato Award as the 2020 Manager of the Year. McWater had influence in four of the five BWAA awards, including Lopez and former IBF light welterweight champion Ivan Baranchyk, who together with Jose Zepeda, was bestowed the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier Award as BWAA 2020 Fight of the Year. Zepeda-Baranchyk fight had both fighters hitting the canvas four times each inside of five rounds. Zepeda won by a 5th-round KO in their October 3 slugfest.

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Completing the four awards for the Lopez Split-T Management team is his father Teofimo Lopez Sr. who was named as the Eddie Futch Award winner as the 2020 Trainer of the Year. The family of injured heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov will receive the John McClain & Bill Crawford Award for courage and overcoming adversity. He was still nursing a brain injury sustained in a 10-round decision defeat to Mike Perez in November 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

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The said winners will be honored together with the 2019 BWAA award recipients at a joint banquet to be held at a date to be announced later. The 2019 BWAA awards dinner was canceled due to the surging COVID-19 pandemic, and the association decided to combine the 2019 with the 2020 awarding ceremony. The 2019 winners include Canelo Alvarez as Fighter of the Year, his coach Eddie Reynoso was the Trainer of the Year, Keith Connolly as the Manager of the Year and the Naoya Inoue-Nonito Donaire super bantamweight brawl was the Fight of the Year.

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The BWAA named Katie Taylor as its 2020 Female Fighter of the Year for a second-consecutive year, at the same time also The Ring's two-time Female Fighter of the Year. She was also 2019 BWAA Christy Martin Awardee for Female Fighter of the Year. She is one of only eight boxers in history, female or male, to hold all four major world titles in boxing, WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO simultaneously in the lightweight division.

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The other champions are as follows:

Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine, cruiserweight
Bernard Hopkins, United States, middleweight
Jermain Taylor, United States, middleweight
Claressa Shields, United States, middleweight
Cecilia Brækhus, Norway, welterweight
Jessica McCaskill, United States, welterweight
Terence Crawford, United States, light welterweight

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Collin Sexton again led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their second straight win over Brooklyn Nets on Friday, scoring 25 points and handing out nine assists in a 125-113 win just two nights after he scored a career-high of 42 points against the same Nets team. Sexton repeatedly defeated James Harden and Kyrie Irving, similar to the Cavs’ exciting 147-135 double-overtime victory on Wednesday. Cleveland outrebounded the Nets 50-29 at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse Arena in Cleveland. Irving scored 38 points in his second game after a two-week non-attendance, while Harden scored 19 points and had 11 assists. The Nets opted to rest Kevin Durant.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.

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