Boxing year in review: The 5 fights that shaped 2020

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Danny Howard

December 21st, 2020

Though 2020 had us all down, boxing demonstrated that there’s nothing like the heart of a fighter. This year was packed to the brim with incredible fights and unforgettable moments.

Here are the five fights that shaped 2020.

5. Jake Paul vs. Nate Robinson

While boxing is the pinnacle of competitiveness, the allure of spectacle is just as intriguing. That was the case when YouTube sensation Jake Paul decimated former NBA star Nate Robinson on the undercard of Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr.

Neither fighter will ever be confused for a world-class boxer, but Paul’s stunning KO of Robinson was the source of endless video uploads and memes in the days that followed. While purists derided the fight, it’s moments like these that keep the sport in the public eye and brings new fans in.

4. Errol Spence vs. Danny Garcia

At this time last year, Spence was ejected from the front seat of his Ferrari after a DUI-fueled wreck, with many wondering if boxing’s brightest star just ended his career. All those questions were answered when Spence not only announced his return to the ring, but singled out former two-division champion Danny Garcia as his comeback opponent.

Spence dominated Garcia in a commanding performance that silenced all doubts, and established Spence as the man to beat at welterweight.

3. Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder II

After the controversial draw in the first fight between these two heavyweight rivals, the rematch in February became the biggest heavyweight fight of the last 20 years. While Fury outclassed Wilder with skill in the first fight, he opted for blunt force trauma in the rematch, savagely beating the undefeated champion until the fight was stopped in the seventh.

Fury put forward one of the all-time great performances in a title fight, and gave fans of the sport one of the best moments in an otherwise dreary year.

2. Teofimo Lopez vs. Vasyl Lomachenko

Lomachenko’s reign as boxing’s pound-for-pound king came to an astonishing end at the hands of a supremely confident Lopez last October. With many hotly anticipating this fight between lightweight rivals, Lopez stifled Lomachenko by easily outboxing him for the first half of the fight, then surviving a wild late charge to score the year’s biggest upset.

This was the first big fight for the sport since the onset of the pandemic, and it delivered in spades.

1. Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr.

Can you believe the year’s biggest fight was between two 50-year-olds? Tyson mania gripped the sports world at the onset of COVID-19 when a training video of Iron Mike made the rounds, and the subsequent comeback announcement became the story of the year.

Tyson would challenge fellow golden oldie Roy Jones Jr. in an exhibition match that nobody could ignore, and believe it or not, the ensuing clash was actually pretty entertaining. Tyson’s inspiring return and performance was not just the year’s biggest fight, but one of the sport’s finest moments in 2020.