When The RING Magazine blesses a fighter with any of its Of The Year distinctions, it means your accomplishments were truly notable.
This year, Carl Frampton separated himself from a tight field of candidates by taking the biggest risks, yet emerging victorious in two important fights with decisions over U.K. rival Scott Quigg and former champion Leo Santa Cruz.
Frampton gave the fans what they wanted when he agreed to fight the unbeaten Quigg on February 27th before a packed house at Manchester Arena, not far from Quiggs hometown. Frampton won a split decision, and broke Quiggs jaw in the process, to unify two junior featherweight sanctioning-body titles.
Then, rather than face a marginal challenger after a tough fight, Frampton immediately moved up in weight to face one of the hottest fighters in the world, Leo Santa Cruz, in Brooklyn, New York.
Frampton outboxed the typically aggressive Santa Cruz to win a majority decision, which most observers believed shouldve been unanimous, to add a featherweight title to his growing collection.
Frampton edged fellow candidates Terence Crawford, Roman Gonzalez, Vasyl Lomachenko and Manny Pacquiao for Fighter of the Year honors.
THE RING also selected winners in nine other categories:
FIGHT OF THE YEAR Francisco Vargas D 12 Orlando Salido
KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR Canelo Alvarez KO 6 Amir Khan
ROUND OF THE YEAR Skender Halili vs. Jason Thompson, Round 2
UPSET OF THE YEAR Joe Smith Jr. vs. Andrzej Fonfara, KO 1
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR Andre Ward
TRAINER OF THE YEAR Arnulfo Obando
PROSPECT OF THE YEAR Erickson Lubin
EVENT OF THE YEAR The death of Muhammad Ali
MOST INSPIRATIONAL Bernard Hopkins