88th Awards Dinner
BWAA awards dinner brings out boxing’s best
Fighter of the Year Nonito Donaire was just one of the many luminaries in attendance at the 88th annual Boxing Writers Association of America’s awards dinner that took place on April 11, 2013, at New York City’s Capitale.
The evening commenced with cocktails, conversation, and camaraderie. Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov, who nearly decapitated each other a month ago in a welterweight war for the ages, embraced in a gesture of sportsmanship and gleefully revisited their frontrunner for 2013 Fight of the Year.
Perhaps the middleweight summer showdown between rising star Gennady Golovkin and dangerous challenger Matthew Macklin can match the fireworks that marked Bradley-Provodnikov. With their respective promoters Tom Loeffler and Lou DiBella alongside them, both fighters answered questions on their upcoming matchup before navigating through the mob of cameras for dinner.
After everyone took their seats, a montage of video highlights streamed across the big screen, including the explosively abrupt ending to 2012’s Fight of the Year between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao. As master of ceremonies David Diamante announced the finalists and led the winners to the podium with his signature timbre, this year’s recipients were worth every word of fanfare.
The night was far from devoid of poignant moments. Liebling Award recipient Peter Finney recalled an oft-overlooked classic battle between Sugar Ray Robinson and the underappreciated Bernard Docusen, while Long and Meritorious Service co-winner Kathy Duva (who shared the award with Top Rank’s Bruce Trampler) reflected on her ascent from industrious publicist to the head of Main Events.
With his promoter Bob Arum beaming with pride in the background, Donaire found it difficult to shield his emotions on the microphone when citing his modest beginnings and subsequent journey to global renown.
“Here I am, a kid from nowhere receiving the biggest award, and I humbly, humbly accept this award with all my heart,” Donaire said before accepting a plaque sculpted with the incomparable Robinson’s likeness. “And thank you for giving me that fire to win another.”
Donaire, coming off a junior featherweight world title campaign last year where he went a flawless 4-0, wasn’t the only member of his team honored, as Robert Garcia collected the Eddie Futch Trainer of the Year award.
“It’s a great honor being here,” a jubilant Garcia said. “Growing up watching all these great trainers get the award, and now me being one, it’s just awesome.”
The trainer and his fighter would appear two nights later on a telecast featuring 2012 Sam Taub Excellence in Broadcast Journalism award winner Max Kellerman, who delivered his speech in front of HBO colleagues Jim Lampley, Harold Lederman, and Roy Jones, Jr.
Showtime was also well-represented, as executive vice president Stephen Espinoza and Brian Kenny joined the crowd in applauding middleweight Daniel Jacobs, who took home the Bill Crawford award for Courage in Overcoming Adversity. Jacobs, who now calls himself “The Miracle Man,” defeated both a rare form of bone cancer and a bout with paralysis to triumphantly return to the ring on a Showtime card last October.
“It’s humbling,” Jacobs said. “I just feel so blessed to even be here and accept this award with everything my family and I have been through together.”
In between awards, a six-minute film tribute to the late Cus D’Amato produced by Steve Lott and Brian Cayton aired on the screen. The Manager of the Year award was presented for the first time in the legendary D’Amato’s name at the dinner.
Of course, the BWAA is made up of the sport’s scribes, and the event would have been incomplete without recognizing the organization’s members of distinction. The 2012 writing awards displayed a brand new complexion, having been renamed the Bernies in honor of lifetime member Bernard Fernandez.
Grantland.com’s Eric Raskin reflected on his article about Adrien Broner’s eighth-round stoppage of Antonio DeMarco (“Nature, Nurture, and Knockouts: The Continued Rise of Adrien Broner and the Sooner-Than-Expected Fall of Seth Mitchell”) that secured a first-place award for Event Coverage.
“I've always been more of a feature writer than a postfight deadline writer, but I think maybe that helped me here, as I brought a bit of a feature-writing mentality to my postfight piece for Grantland,” Raskin said.
Raskin almost refrained from submitting the article for consideration but was encouraged by BoxingScene.com’s David Greisman, who won top News Story for his reporting of Lamont Peterson’s positive test for a banned substance (“Lamont Peterson’s New Biggest Fight”).As the night concluded and everyone filed out of Capitale, BWAA president Jack Hirsch was already making plans for next year’s dinner.
Gatti, Hill, Yuh
Members of the BWAA have excercised their annual duty and voted and a new class of fighters and other boxing participants into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The IBHOF's annual induction weekend will be held June 6-9, 2013, in Canastota, NY. For info on all new inductees and the ceremony, visit the IBHOF website here. For biographical information on all new and return nominees, see our IBHOF page.
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