BoxingWatchers.com 2008 Fight of the Year: Vazquez-Marquez III

Even without them sitting beside me right now, I'm fairly certain the other BoxingWatchers would agree with me that 2008 was a pretty good year to be a fan of the sport. Plenty of fights between big name fighters came together - including one most thought laughable at the beginning of the year - and more than a handful of fights between lesser known boxers turned out to be well worth watching.

Not all of the marquee match-ups were sequels, as we got to see Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto, Bernard Hopkins and Kelly Pavlik, and, yes, Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya go at it for the first time. But when it came time to vote for our Fight of the Year, it was the third chapter in the thrilling trilogy between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez that came out on top.

If you watched and enjoyed the first two fights in the series, you were undoubtedly excited for Round Three - and maybe a little concerned that it wouldn't live up to what had come before since the bar had been set so high. As it happened, there was no reason to worry.

Part of the reason was that the styles of the two fighters suited each other so well. Marquez was a better technician and Vazquez had more power, but the differences were small. As we knew from the first two bouts, both men had plenty of heart and stamina, were willing to trade and had enough holes on defense to ensure many punches would land.

The rounds unfolded in breathtaking fashion. Both fighters had their moments, and yet both found themselves on the canvas.

What set it apart from other skillful, competitive fights in 2008 was the last-minute drama, as Vazquez scored a late knockdown that literally won him the fight. And there was even just a pinch of controversy, though it was the kind that led to discussion, not the kind that made you feel the loser got hosed.

In short, it was the proverbial fight that had everything. Here's hoping 2009 gives us another fight like that... even if it has to be Vazquez-Marquez IV.

Reader Picks: The readers also went with Vazquez-Marquez III, giving it 55 percent of the vote. Pacquiao-J.M. Marquez II came in a strong second with 30 percent.

Also receiving some love were Cotto-Margarito and Diaz-Campbell, and it's hard to argue that those were both offensive showcases.

Somewhat surprisingly, Holt-Torres II got no votes despite featuring what was absolutely the craziest single round of 2008. I also thought Cunningham-Adamek would get some support. Though I didn't feel it quite lived up to Fight of the Year status, it was an excellent scrap and was fresher in the minds of fans since it was fought near the end of the year.

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