COMMENTARY | It's a testament to a tremendous 2013 when there are so many fighters making strong cases for the coveted Fighter of the Year honors. As a matter of fact, a good case could be made for as many as twelve fighters so far in a truly outstanding year of boxing.
Here's a look at the top candidates for Fighter of the Year:
The controversial box office kingpin registered two one-sided wins this year against legitimate quality opposition-- the Top 5 ranked welterweight Robert Guerrero and no. 1 or no. 2 ranked junior middleweight, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
2013 was a true breakthrough year for the heavy-handed banger from Haiti by way of Canada with wins inside the distance over Darnell Boone, Chad Dawson, and Tavoris Cloud. On November 30 Stevenson is slated to face tough UK contender, Tony Bellew. A win could seal the deal for Fighter of the Year honors.
Philadelphia's two-belt junior welterweight champ, Garcia proved that he belongs among the elite this year with unanimous decision victories over Zab Judah and the feared Argentine war machine, Lucas Matthysse.
Coming out of nowhere for Fighter of the Year contention is this Russian knockout machine with TKO victories over Gabriel Campillo, Cornelius White, and WBO light heavyweight champ Nathan Cleverly-all within four rounds. On November 30 Kovalev is scheduled to face talented fringe contender Ismayl Sillakh on the same card as Stevenson-Bellew.
Out of the disaster that was his controversial split decision win over Manny Pacquiao in 2012, came a tremendous 2013 with a close and brutal unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov and a split decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez.
The 25-year-old mega-talent became a star in 2013 with an eight-round technical decision victory over reigning featherweight titlist, Orlando Salido and then a flat-out destruction of former champ Juan Manuel Lopez via TKO 4. On November 9, Garcia will face Roman "Rocky" Martinez in a bid for Gonzalez's WBO super featherweight title.
This year, the two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist proved that he had a skill set second to only, perhaps, Floyd Mayweather when he made pound-for-pound darling Nonito Donaire look like a three-fight novice in a one-sided unanimous decision victory. On December 7, Rigondeaux faces former bantamweight world champ Joseph Agbeko.
The 48-year-old "Executioner" continued to defy odds and frustrate critics with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Tavoris Cloud to capture the IBF light heavyweight title. This coming Saturday, October 26, he defends that belt against European top contender, Karo Murat.
The middleweight world titlist and fan favorite offensive dynamo scored dominant inside-the-distance wins over Gabriel Rosado, Nobuhiro Ishida, and Matthew Macklin this year to establish himself as one of boxing's best. On November 2 he defends his title against heavy-handed Curtis Stevens.
The 24-year-old three-division world champ continued to make headlines and win fights in 2013 with a successful TKO 5 defense of his lightweight title against Gavin Rees and then a move up to welterweight to capture the WBA belt from Paulie Malignaggi. On December 14, Broner will defend that welterweight title against Marcos Maidana.
The veteran Mexican warrior topped so-so wins over journeymen Eusebio Osejo and Akihiko Katagiri with a shocking first round TKO of rising star Abner Mares.
Juan Francisco Estrada
The 23-year-old Mexican battler had a stellar 2013 with a surprising upset split decision win over Brian Viloria to capture the WBO and WBA flyweight titles and a defense of those belts via unanimous decision over the tough Milan Melindo.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
- Sports & Recreation
- Floyd Mayweather
- Danny Garcia
- Adonis Stevenson
- unanimous decision
- Tavoris Cloud
- Juan Manuel Lopez