Sergio Martinez named fighter of 2010

Updated: January 23, 2011, 1:41 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Middleweight champion Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez, who scored two huge wins in 2010 and rocketed up the pound-for-pound list, has been named fighter of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Martinez, who will be presented with the Sugar Ray Robinson trophy, heads the list of honorees announced Sunday who will be invited to receive their awards at the BWAA's 86th annual banquet. It is tentatively scheduled for May 6 in Las Vegas.

In 2010, Martinez fought twice and won both fights in memorable fashion. In April, he survived a knockdown and closed with a dominant final few rounds to seize the middleweight championship from Kelly Pavlik on a unanimous decision.

In a November rematch with Paul Williams, who had edged him on a controversial majority decision in December 2009, the 35-year-old Martinez scored a spectacular one-punch knockout in the second round to retain the title.

"I'm happy for him. He earned it. I don't think there was any question," Lou DiBella, Martinez's promoter, told ESPN.com. "He's a humble guy, but I think he knows he was fighter of the year. I know that he will be proud. He worked very hard to get there and most of that time quietly and unknown to fans. This is 15 years of hard work."

Martinez (46-2-2, 25 KOs) becomes the second boxer from Argentina to win the award, joining his idol, the late Hall of Fame former middleweight champion Carlos Monzon, who won fighter of the year honors in 1972. "He's aware that Monzon was a fighter of the year. Monzon is a hero of his," DiBella said. "I know he will be tremendously proud to stand in Argentina next to Carlos Monzon."

Martinez, also the ESPN.com fighter of the year, won the award in balloting by the organization's membership over nominees Manny Pacquiao, the pound-for-pound king who was runner-up, heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, junior flyweight champion Giovani Segura and super middleweight titlist Andre Ward.

Freddie Roach, best known for his work with Pacquiao, won the Futch award for trainer of the year. The award is named after Eddie Futch, the late Hall of Fame trainer who trained Roach when he boxed professionally. Roach won for the third consecutive year and fifth time overall. He also won in 2003 and 2006. The other nominees were Gabriel Sarmiento, who led Martinez to his victories, along with Orlando Cuellar, Virgil Hunter and Emanuel Steward.

Junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan of England and Argentina's Marcos Maidana will share the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier award for fight of the year. Their all-action fight on Dec. 11 in Las Vegas was filled with drama as Maidana survived a hard knockdown from a body shot in the first round to rally and nearly knock Khan out in the dramatic 10th round. Khan somehow survived and eventually won a unanimous decision.

Khan-Maidana won against these other action-packed fights: lightweight titlist Humberto Soto's decision win against Urbano Antillon (the 2010 ESPN.com fight of the year); Segura's eighth-round knockout of Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon; Ricky Burns' junior lightweight title-winning decision against Roman Martinez; and lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez's ninth-round knockout of Michael Katsidis.

Also to be honored by the BWAA:

• Bill Caplan, a longtime publicist beloved by writers and fighters alike, will receive the Marvin Kohn good guy award. Caplan worked with George Foreman for decades and was with Top Rank for many years, and now is with Golden Boy Promotions.

• Lightweight contender Robert Guerrero will receive the Crawford award for courage and overcoming adversity. Guerrero, a former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist, put his career on hold to be by his wife Casey's side as she battled leukemia before making a successful return.

• Jack Obermayer, who has been ringside to chronicle more than 3,000 cards for various publications, will receive the Condon award for long and meritorious service to boxing.

• In two previously announced awards, former Ring magazine and KO magazine editor Steve Farhood, who has written about boxing for more than 30 years and continues to write for England's Boxing Monthly and work as a Showtime analyst, will receive the Fleischer lifetime award for excellence in boxing journalism, and former junior welterweight contender Micky Ward will be honored with the James A. Farley award for honesty and integrity.

Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.