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The 10 Most Memorable Images of Boxing in 2012

Justin TateCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2012

The 10 Most Memorable Images of Boxing in 2012

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    An image can enshrine a moment in all its glory, and boxing is all about moments—both sad and exhilarating. From superstars who fell unexpectedly to their rivals to icons behind bars instead of in the ring, boxing's most memorable images are far-ranging.

    A dramatic turn of events or a controversial result are what fuel forums, tweets and discussion widespread. And as long as there is discussion, there is a sport moving forward.

    Even as fans move forward into 2013, the unforgettable images of 2012 stay forever burned in their heads as they discussed how the events that inspired those images have changed the state of boxing.

    Here's a walk down boxing's memory lane in 2012 with 10 iconic images.

10. Timothy Bradley in a Wheelchair

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    Timothy Bradley could win an award this year for "the biggest win to actually make a fighter's career go backward."

    His popularity couldn't be lower after winning a controversial split decision against Manny Pacquiao in June.

    When Bradley was wheeled out to the press conference due to an ankle injury suffered in the ring, the cries from the fans were that he suffered the injury after running the whole fight.

    While Pacquiao-Bradley remains one of the most high-profile controversial decisions in recent boxing history, Bradley's tie to it has given him the status of being one of the most hated figures in the sport.

    His best bet for 2013 is to try to land a rematch with Pacquiao. After being knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao will be looking for a safer opponent if he doesn't directly go after Marquez again.

    Why not face the man nearly every fan believes Pacquiao beat the first time anyway? Then if given the chance, Bradley has to prove what the whole world doubts he did the first time: beat Pacquiao.

9. Amir Khan

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    Amir Khan was looking to get the WBC junior welterweight title off from around Danny Garcia's waist, but the Philadelphia Puerto Rican had something else in mind, a left hook that dropped Khan in Round 3.

    Though Khan got up, he never fully recovered from that devastating left hook. In the next round, Garcia would drop him twice before everything was all over.

    Due to the loss, Khan has changed trainers and is hoping to rebuild himself while learning from his mistakes.

    As a fighter with all the potential in the world, this may be the loss that provides the proper wake-up call to fix the holes in his game and inspire greatness in the young lad.

    Floyd Patterson bounced back from a third-round TKO loss to heavyweight boxer Ingemar Johansson. Patterson went for the rematch and knocked Johansson out in Round 5 to hand him his first loss.

    Garcia, though undefeated, is not perfect and if the Ring website's reports are accurate that Golden Boy Promotions could match these two fighters again in late 2013, fans will get a chance to see if Khan can follow Patterson's example to win the rematch.

8. Austin Trout's Victory Against Miguel Cotto in Madison Square Garden

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    Austin Trout was not picked to win against Miguel Cotto by the majority of the Sports Illustrated staff the Ring website experts. Trout's size advantage and great defense was not taken into consideration.

    Cotto's fame and home advantage in New York as well as his then-mythical reputation for winning every fight he has had at Madison Square Garden helped blind the experts from the fact Cotto would lose.

    Trout now stands to vault from this breakthrough victory to land a superfight between undefeated young champs in himself against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, the WBC champ at junior middleweight.

    Trout is the WBA interim junior middleweight champ. The unification was hinted at by Canelo himself in a report by Boxing Scene after he dismissed a speculated fight with Cotto in the aftermath of his loss.

    Here's hoping a fighter as talented as Trout gets rewarded with the shot he deserves after delivering a big upset in 2012.

7. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr's 12th Round Knockdown of Sergio Martinez

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    The fight was heavily anticipated. Sergio Martinez claimed he was the true middleweight kingpin. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.–the son of a boxing legend–had a lot to live up to.

    A victory over Martinez would legitimize his title reign and shut up the doubters. Martinez had taken that away on the scorecards by the time the 12th and final round of their contest started.

    Martinez outboxed, outfought and hurt Chavez Jr. multiple times throughout the fight. Chavez Jr. became hesitant to open up as he had in the past due to the amount of shots Martinez was able to land.

    But being in the final round and knowing he was behind on the scorecards, Chavez Jr. found a right hand that could hurt Martinez and then a series of lefts buckled him against the ropes and sent him down.

    All of a sudden–for those who can remember–flashbacks of Chavez Sr. vs. Meldrick Taylor begin to flow. Taylor was ahead on the scorecards in 1990 and Chavez Sr. knocked him out in the last 10 seconds.

    The big question for the last minute of the fight was whether Chavez Jr. could repeat his father's come-from-behind knockout victory to keep his middleweight title. The answer was no, but he came close.

    Martinez made it to his feet and impressively ate even more shots as he fired back, throwing punches purely on heart alone and nothing else.

    Martinez wasn't running. He wasn't trying to holding his way out of this fight. He had a point to prove and the point was that he could stand his ground against a giant like Chavez Jr. and still get the best of him.

    Not only did that round help redeem Chavez Jr's reputation after losing every round beforehand, the round showed how tremendous a fighter Martinez really is.

6. The Broken Jaw of Victor Ortiz

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    Victor Ortiz was being given a junior welterweight to fight as a tune-up to keep him active before facing Saul Alvarez.

    Ortiz, a former WBC welterweight champ until Floyd Mayweather defeated him in 2011, was supposed to be a shoe-in against Lopez, but Lopez was looking to be more than just another opponent.

    The smaller fighter took a heavy load of shots, but he survived to give as good as he got, resulting in a broken jaw for Ortiz that forced him to quit after Round 9.

    The upset would leave Canelo without an opponent so he took on the smaller Lopez and pounded him in route to a TKO victory in Round 5.

    But that broken jaw is evidence of just how much anything can happen in the sport of boxing and the best laid plans for big fights can go stray due to the wrong tune-up fight on any given night.

5. Floyd Mayweather's Bleeding Nose

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    If you want to know how good a fighter's defense really is, look at how much hoopla is made about his nose being bloody during a bout with another elite fighter.

    Floyd Mayweather is that defensive genius who's nose was bloodied at the hands of an underrated Miguel Cotto.

    Mayweather, fighting at junior middleweight, a weight division he had only tried once, was facing the bigger, stronger fighter. Cotto fought smart and won four out of the 12 rounds on many scorecards.

    This is an accomplishment few fighters are able to make against Mayweather. So at 35, this begs the question: Has Mayweather lost a step?

    When a fighters of the past were losing a step, such as Muhammad Ali or Sugar Ray Leonard, there was always a fight before their great downfall that could be pointed to.

    This match would be one that made the former superstars look human in the ring instead of the invincible celebrated icons they were for their era.

    The bloody nose may be Mayweather's humanization in preparation for a greater fall or this could just be a bloody nose from a tough battle against a tough opponent. It happens.

    Cotto is no Mayweather, but he has an underrated defense. The Puerto Rican legend can also do wonders with his timing, hence his jab landed on Mayweather and caused the now infamous bloody nose.

4. Floyd Mayweather Turning Himself in to the Courthouse

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    On June 1, Floyd Mayweather turned himself in to do a 90-day term behind bars for domestic violence. Mayweather's past troubles with his ex-girlfriend are well-documented and came back to haunt him.

    Though Mayweather would go on to serve only two-third's of the 90 day sentence before being released, he didn't have access to the same nutrition or exercise equipment he's grown accustomed to.

    Since Mayweather hasn't fought yet, no one knows how this will impact his future performances. Many boxers such as Mike Tyson never come out of prison, no matter how long the term, the same fighter.

    Mayweather also has Father Time catching up to him as he turns 36 in February and will enter the ring on May 4. It's unknown what physical impact prison did, but one thing is certain is that it kept him out of the ring.

    For someone as bright and talented as Mayweather, who's certainly in the waning years of his legendary career, any moment wasted where he could've been in the ring is a shame to see. Here's hoping he fights twice in 2013.

3. Larry Merchant's Final Broadcast

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    Larry Merchant said goodbye on Dec. 15 in Houston during his final live broadcast after 35 years as an HBO commentator.

    Merchant, 81 years old, is one of the most distinct personalities to represent the sport and was never afraid to speak his mind.

    His absence will be felt, but now room can be made for the likes of Max Kellerman and other younger analysts to shine and produce excellent commentating work for, if they're lucky, as long as Merchant.

2. Nonito Donaire During His Four-Fight World Championship Run

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    Nonito Donaire stepped into the ring as a super bantamweight (122 lbs) for the first time in his career against former WBO 122 world champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. on Feb. 4.

    Donaire would collect that title and move on to beat former IBF world champ Jeffrey Mathebula, former WBC world champ Toshiaki Nishioka and former WBO champ Jorge Arce before the close of 2012.

    That's four world title fights in a time when fans can consider themselves lucky if their favorite fighter fights twice with one of those fights being against a decent former champ. Donaire fought four championship-level fighters.

    He started the year new to the division and now he ends the year as the clear division king with only two contenders left, WBA champ Guillermo Rigondeaux and WBC champ Abner Mares.

    Not only his Donaire clearly the fighter of the year by going 4-0 with two of those coming by spectacular knockouts, he's a shining example of what the future of boxing should be.

1. Pacquiao Facedown After Being Knocked out

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    Manny Pacquiao vowed to end his rivalry with Juan Manuel Marquez by way of knockout in a statement to the Philippine Star in the lead-up to their fourth contest against one another on Dec. 8.

    He made good on his promise, but it was the Filipino hero that would be laid waste by the right hand of his Mexican rival rather than his own left.

    Marquez, known as a great counter-puncher, timed Pacquiao with right hand after right hand, even knocking Pacquiao down once in Round 3, a shocking occurrence that would foreshadow the knockout in Round 6.

    In one image of a momentarily comatose Pacquiao, millions of boxing fans saw not just a once seemingly invincible superstar rendered human, but they saw a superfight rendered useless.

    Whatever money that could've been made from the long-desired fight between Floyd Mayweather and Pacquiao has now dwindled below the astronomical levels of 2009-2010 when the fight's hype was at its height.

    This knockout also throws a monkey wrench in boxing fans' general disregard of underrated technician Marquez. Boxing fans were ready to disregard Marquez's chances after drawing with Pacquiao and losing two decisions.

    But real analyst and fans knew Marquez always had Pacquiao's number in the previous fights, making each contest close enough to make each result a controversial decision. A victory was not out of his reach.

    But the knockout surprised and exhilarated the millions who saw. Promoter Bob Arum said to TMZ that fans could be treated to a fifth fight.

    But if the image of Pacquiao laid face down on the canvas is the final image of this storied rivalry—both fighters look closer to retirement than combat—then at least it ended with a bang.

    FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @JUSTINDAVIDTATE

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