10 Fighters Who Have Given the Best Performances of 2011

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10 Fighters Who Have Given the Best Performances of 2011
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

This list is to honor 10 fighters who have given either spectacular performances or extremely compelling ones.

The year is still young, but we've seen dazzling displays of mastery from the likely suspects, and we've seen some fighters we didn't expect to win reach down into the pit of their souls and find the heart and courage to defy the odds. Erik Morales, pictured above, did not make this list because in the end, he didn't win the fight. But his effort, refusing to back down with a horrible eye injury and trailing badly on the cards, was amongst the year's most memorable, and once again, carried out the old axiom that every great fighter has one last great fight.

He stood toe-to-toe with one of the hardest punchers in a weight class well above where he fought in his prime, and with supreme skills and a champion's heart, was winning a substantial stretch of that fight. But the fact that he coasted through the first four rounds and was beaten in the last two meant he needed to sweep Rounds 5 through 10 just to earn a draw, and in a hotly contested, very close fight, that was too much magic for even the old wizard from Tijuana to conjure up. But the effort deserves a mention, and I am convinced Morales-Maidana will be one of the most memorable fights of the year.

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