HBO Boxing airs its Best Fights of 2016 this week

Enjoy seeing top stars in the sport from the HBO stable in their best performances of 2016 during this replay series.

Use every adjective you've got for
Use every adjective you've got for "action fight" and it would barely scratch the surface describing Francisco Vargas and Orlando Salido's fight last June. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

SAN DIEGO December 26, 2016 – In the return of a holiday tradition for fight fans, HBO Boxing airs its best fights from 2016 for fans to enjoy again, or perhaps catch up with for the first time. Starting on Tuesday, December 27, and continuing for four consecutive nights, HBO will air six top bouts, including our Fight of the Year candidate for 2016.

HBO’s producers have done a good job selecting its featured contests from several exceptional choices. We enjoy our Christmas movies and Yule Log and all that, but devoted fight freaks want Santa to bring the action.

All times are 11 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Pacific with the exception of Wednesday, December 28, which begins first with the final edition of “The Fight Game” with Jim Lampley. These bouts air on HBO Latino in Spanish at the same times each night. All the fights will also be available on HBO ON DEMAND® as well as the HBO NOW and HBO GO® services.

Featured are signature wins by Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Terence Crawford, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Andre Ward, ending with the leading candidate for the 2016 “Fight of the Year.”

This year’s “HBO Boxing’s Best” lineup includes:

Tuesday, December 27, 11 p.m. ET/PT
Canelo Alvarez vs. Amir Khan, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, May 7, 2016

his power to stop Amir Khan in the sixth round Saturday. Photo: Will Hart, HBO Boxing
Canelo Alvarez used his power to stop Amir Khan in the sixth round. Photo: Will Hart, HBO Boxing

Mexican star Canelo Alvarez raised eyebrows when he agreed to fight the much smaller Amir Khan of Great Britain. Surprisingly, Khan put on a competitive contest through the early rounds of the fight. But it all ended in spectacular fashion and with a Knockout of the Year bid. While boxing fans await a match between Alvarez and powerhouse middleweight Gennady Golovkin, enjoy this showcase performance. Read our original recap here.

Andre Ward: “I’m going to go enjoy this victory because I earned it.” Photo: David Spagnolo, Main Events

Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, November 19. 2016

The most eagerly anticipated fight of the year in 2016 follows, a light heavyweight showdown with two unbeaten records on the line. It was a fight boxing sorely needed and delivered on every level, right up to its questionable unanimous decision. American Andre Ward defeated Russian Sergey Kovalev to become the unified champion. Watch the fight and score it round by round for yourself, and see if you agree with the three judges who gave it to Ward. Then we can all look forward to a rematch. Read our original report from ringside here.

Gennady Golovkin remained undefeated after a fifth round stoppage of Britain’s Kell Brook in London. Photo: Lawrence Lustig, Matchroom Boxing

Wednesday, December 28, 11:30 p.m. ET/PT
Gennady Golovkin vs. Kell Brook, O2 Arena, London, September 10, 2016

Give Britain’s Kell Brook credit for the kind of courage few other boxers possess. Brook moved up two weight divisions to face popular middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in front of delighted British fans in London. Brook was game, but Golovkin’s power and ring control were too much for him. The fight was stopped after the fifth round by Brook’s corner when Brook was unable to see out of his eye. It turned out Golovkin had broken Brook’s orbital bone in the second round. Watching with this knowledge makes the performance by both men all the more impressive in retrospect. Read the original review here.

Terence Crawford (left) had little trouble with Viktor Postol in July. Photo: Top Rank Boxing

Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, July 23, 2016

There is no better American-born boxer today in any weight class than Terence “Bud” Crawford of Omaha. There, I said it. Although Crawford was considered the favorite in his title fight against Viktor “Iceman” Postol, knowledgeable boxing fans looked forward to a competitive fight with no assured outcome. It turned out it was a trademark Crawford fight from start to finish as he dominated Postol, delivering his first knockdowns and first professional defeat. Crawford, the consensus 2014 Fighter of the Year, made a good case for himself again in 2016. Watch the master at work in this performance. Read about the fight in my story here.

Thursday, December 29, 11 p.m ET/PT
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs. Carlos “The Prince” Cuadras, The Forum, Los Angeles, September 10, 2016

The consensus pound for pound best boxer in the world, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua moved up one division for his first bout at super flyweight against Carlos Cuadras of Mexico. Thrilled fans at The Forum in Los Angeles saw an exciting Fight of the Year finalist, thanks mainly to tough customer Cuadras. Gonzalez and Cuadras are two of the best ambassador of the sport inside and outside the ring. Good news for fans, the pair are expected to fight a rematch in March, location TBA. Read my ringside recap here and watch highlights.

Friday, December 30, 11 p.m. ET/PT
Francisco Vargas vs. Orlando Salido, StubHub Center, Carson, California, June 4, 2016

HBO saved its best for last. A hotly anticipated fight like this rarely delivers, but these Mexican warriors delivered all the mindblowing nonstop action fans could possibly want and more. Pull every adjective you can out of your thesaurus for this Fight of the Year candidate. Hellacious. Blistering. Fierce. Crazy. Amazing. They barely do this bout justice. On an evening that began with a touching final ten count tribute to the late Muhammad Ali who died 24 hours prior to Saturday’s bout, the fight seemed a fitting expression of the beauty and brutality of boxing.

Assuming this ends up as the consensus 2016 Fight of the Year, it will be the second year in a row for Vargas, and the third year out of the last four the StubHub Center has played host (Bradley v. Provodnokov, 2013; Matthysse vs. Molina; 2014; and Vargas vs. Miura, 2015 in Las Vegas). There’s no better place to see boxing in America today. Read my recap and see a few minutes of the many highlights above.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for CDN. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

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