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A major name tops a competitive class for boxing trainer-of-the-year honor

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

Editor's note: Yahoo Sports expert Kevin Iole resumes his year-end honors Tuesday with the Boxing Trainer of the Year. The schedule for the rest of the awards:

Dec. 9: Boxing Person of the Year
Dec. 16: 25 Most Influential People in Boxing
Dec. 23:
Prospect of the Year
Dec. 24: Trainer of the Year
Dec. 25: Fighter of the Year
Dec. 26: Fight of the Year
Dec. 30: Up-and-Coming Fighters to Watch

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has fought 45 fights as a professional, and in all but a handful of those matches, 30 minutes after the bout ended, it was impossible to tell he'd been in a prize fight.

One of those rare times, though, came in 2012, when Mayweather Jr. was hit far more often than normal when he faced Miguel Cotto.

Oh, Mayweather still cruised to a one-sided victory, but Cotto managed to get his licks in, and Mayweather's face was bruised and swollen as he attended the post-fight news conference.

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Floyd Mayweather Sr., left, helped son Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight a near perfect bout in his September win over …

That fact was not lost on the world's finest boxer, who made a change when he signed his first match in 2013. He brought his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., back into his camp to serve as his lead trainer for his bout against Robert Guerrero.

Guerrero spent most of that May night flailing at air, trying but failing to lay a glove on Mayweather.

Four months later, Mayweather Jr. was back in the ring, this time against Canelo Alvarez, one of the best offensive fighters in the sport. And after 12 brilliant rounds, Mayweather's faced looked as if he were ready for a screen play, not as if he'd just completed a grueling 12-round match.

He went back to the basics his father taught him many years before while growing up in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Mayweather Jr. would go on to become the greatest fighter in the world, and one of the best who ever lived, and would succeed even without his father in his corner. The two have had a rocky relationship and have been estranged for long stretches in Junior's professional career.

But Mayweather Jr. went back to his father when he knew he needed some serious attention on his defense, and his father responded by training him to a pair of virtuoso performances against quality fighters.

And for that, Mayweather Sr. earns the distinction as the 2013 Yahoo Sports Boxing Trainer of the Year against a very tough field.

There is no consensus winner this year, as there have been in years past. A dozen or more trainers deserve at least some mention, though Mayweather Sr. heads a list of eight finalists for the Yahoo Sports honor.

In addition to Mayweather Sr., the other finalists, in alphabetical order, are Eric Brown, Joel Diaz, Angel Garcia, Roberto Garcia, Javan "Sugar" Hill, Freddie Roach and Abel Sanchez.

Each of those men has a solid claim at Trainer of the Year, and each figures to be in the running for the award every year in the foreseeable future.

Angel Garcia garnered attention for his crazy antics at news conferences, where he displays a foul mouth and no sense of time or place. But in the gym, he's helped his son, Danny Garcia, become one of the sport's best.

Danny Garcia went 2-0 in 2013, beating Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse. He was well-prepared in both and won as an underdog against Matthysse. Angel Garcia deserves much credit for his son's rise to prominence.

Roberto Garcia was the 2012 winner of the Yahoo honor and made a case for winning it again. His younger brother, Mikey, is maturing into one of boxing's most skillful fighters, and much of that is thanks to the work Roberto does with him in the gym every day.

But Roberto Garcia suffered a few key losses – Nonito Donaire was routed by Guillermo Rigondeaux in April, and Brandon Rios lost to Mike Alvarado and Manny Pacquiao – and that cost him the repeat honor.

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Freddie Roach was a finalist for Yahoo Sports Boxing Trainer of the Year. (Getty Images)

Roach is perceived by many to be the game's best trainer, and he showed that in resurrecting Cotto after Cotto had lost back-to-back bouts and seemed to be on the downside. Roach got him to commit to body punching again and seemed to revive his interest in the sport.

Roach also did great work with Pacquiao and Ruslan Provodnikov, aka "The Siberian Rocky." But Provodnikov lost to Timothy Bradley with Roach in his corner. When Provodnikov beat Alvarado, Roach was away with Pacquiao, and so assistant trainer Marvin Somodio handled the end of camp and worked the corner on fight night.

Javan "Sugar" Hill has been best known as the late, great Emanuel Steward's nephew. But Hill has proven that he learned a lot from his uncle, and guided Adonis "Superman" Stevenson to a great year.

Sanchez did much the same with Gennady Golovkin, and he also did brilliant work with heavyweight Mike Perez. Sanchez might have been able to win it had Golovkin's competition been better in 2013.

Brown did a wonderful job turning Paulie Malignaggi's career around, and he helped lead Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin to a middleweight title belt.

And Joel Diaz led Bradley to a 2-0 campaign and also took over as trainer for brothers Diego and Jessie Magdaleno.

In the end, Mayweather Sr. made the kinds of changes that an elite trainer makes, guiding his charge to impressive wins against quality opposition.

For that reason, Floyd Mayweather Sr. is the Yahoo Sports Boxing Trainer of the Year for 2013.

 

 

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