The Big Question: Who are your fighter of the year candidates?
It's only August but after Carl Frampton's thrilling win over Leo Santa Cruz recently, many have the Northern Irishman as the leading contender to be 2016's fighter of the year. We asked the Boxing Monthly online team who is in the running for the accolade with plenty of in-ring action still to come.
Terrence Crawford - The anointed ‘next big thing’ of boxing continued his impressive steak in 2016, going 2-0. The defeat of Henry Lundy was expected but the domination of previously undefeated Viktor Postol was something else. He added Postol's WBC super-lightweight title to his WBO. He exhibited everything in doing so; speed, ring IQ, switch-hitting, power, combinations.
Carl Frampton - I picked the man from Belfast to beat Scott Quigg in February. He did so, all be it in a relatively drab encounter at super-bantamweight. I didn’t however see him being able to make the step up to featherweight and deal with lanky pressure fighter Leo Santa Cruz. Yet Frampton did it, instantly becoming an all-time great Northern Irish fighter. To beat your main domestic rival in one year is good going. To head to the USA and out box an undefeated three-weight world champion as well is something special. - James Oddy
Picking the Fighter of the Year in August, is akin to appointing the Premier League champions in October. However, a sufficient number of fights have taken place, and enough is known about the schedule for the remainder of year to assess who will be there, or thereabouts come awards season.
Carl Frampton is the current front runner. Wins over the unbeaten duo of Scott Quigg, and Leo Santa Cruz surpass everything achieved by any other fighter this year, so far. If he can add a second victory over either of the aforementioned pair - at least one of which he may be contractually obliged to face - or dethrone IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby in a unification, he will have had a stellar 12 months.
Terence Crawford started his year with a win over the handy Henry Lundy. While that defence may have been somewhat uninspiring, his victory over Viktor Postol to unify the WBC and WBO super-lightweight (light-welterweight to you, and me), was nothing short of a master class. If he can face another A class opponent at the tail end of the year, he would certainly be in the mix.
The showdown between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev will pit two top 10 pound-for-pound fighters against each other. Whoever is victorious will likely have secured the most significant win of the year. That will be hard to overlook.
Roman Gonzalez, steps up in weight to challenge Carlos Caudras for the WBC super-flyweight title next month, having already defeated the useful McWilliams Arroyo this year. If he defeats the Mexican, and the faces one of the top names at 115 lbs, then he will be in contention. – John A. MacDonald
Has to be Frampton. Becoming the first two-weight champion from Northern Ireland and to go in as the underdog, whilst moving up a division is a massive achievement. Not to mention doing so against a very good world champion in Leo Santa Cruz. His next fight is possibly the most eagerly anticipated in British boxing right now. – Paul Zanon
If it was the end of the year NOW then Carl Frampton would get my vote - courtesy of two huge wins in the same calendar year. If he was to fight and win again before the year is out he could further strengthen his claims. I think the only person who can deny him is the winner of the Kovalev-Ward match-up - if they look impressive and if it happens, as planned, in November. That's a lot of 'ifs' though - Frampton is definitely in the box seat right now. – Luke G. Williams
Carl Frampton no question. Unifying titles at 122lbs, then moving up to 126 and claiming another title - erasing the "0"'s from two good fighters in the process. No other boxer can match those accomplishments in 2016. However, expect the BWAA (Boxing Writers Association of America) to give it to Andre Ward should be defeat Sergey Kovalev in November. The politics of boxing. – Michael Montero
Don't tend to put much thought or stock in things such as fighter of the year to be honest but it's very difficult to look beyond Frampton, who's scored two high calibre victories on the road against unbeaten foes who many expected to walk right through him. I'll give an honourable mention to WBC light-flyweight champion Ganigan Lopez who won his title on the road and backed it up with a hard-fought win over one of the most avoided men in the game in Jonathan Taconing. – Marcus Bellinger
For me Carl Frampton is the stand out candidate for fighter of the year. To firstly unify 122lbs with his big domestic rival and then travel to America, move up a weight and beat another undefeated world champion makes Frampton a slam dunk for me. While I think the winner of Kovalev v Ward has a legit claim at P4P no. 1. I would still not say the winner of that fight has had a better year than Frampton. – Callum Rudge
I think Callum got it spot-on with the above statement apart from two tiny words: it needs "so far" at the end of the first sentence. A pre-Christmas defence would seal things nicely in my book, because I'm always struggling to give anyone the fighter-of-the-year award with only two contests. Plus, the winner of Kovalev-Ward will be in line to snatch the award by year-end, and indeed it'll be a tough choice if Gonzalez beats Cuadras for his fourth-weight title. – Colin Harris
Carl Frampton is currently the distant front runner for Fighter of the Year for me. He came swaggering into Brooklyn as the underdog and boxed an intelligent, disciplined fight against an unbeaten champion to the chorus of his legions of fans. Considering that this result came only a few months after having bested another undefeated rival in the form of Scott Quigg, it has been a year that he and British boxing will surely remember. And it's not over yet. – Jessica Sinyard
Right now it's Carl Frampton, with Terence Crawford in second place. I can only echo what the others have said about Frampton's exploits in 2016. His legacy is arguably secured. A clear win over his biggest domestic rival in a British super-fight, and then travelling to America, after a dodgy debut, to take the 0 of Leo Santa Cruz, a man who had many advantages going into the fight. Roman Gonzalez and the winner of Kovalev-Ward will come into the mix, but it has to be if they do something spectacular in victory. - Shaun Brown