Editor's note: Yahoo Sports expert Kevin Iole resumes his year-end honors Wednesday with the Boxing Fighter 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 is so good, so far ahead of the competition, that we have difficulty believing it. We say that he's fought no one, that he's passed up the great competition, that if he had fought this guy or that guy or this other guy, he wouldn't have a perfect record.
We see him rout champion after champion, winning 10, 11 or, in most cases, all 12 rounds, and we say he got them at the right time.
We insist that this next up-and-comer is going to be the one to beat him. Go back and check how many boxing writers picked Canelo Alvarez to beat Mayweather in September.
It was a lot.
Oh, Mayweather was getting older, and he'd never faced a young, tough guy like Alvarez, even though he had. Alvarez could punch, they wrote (as if Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Diego Corrales, Victor Ortiz and countless others Mayweather has faced could not). Alvarez was the bigger man, and the younger man.
When the final bell rang, with all apologies to judge C.J. Ross, it was as obvious a wipeout as could be. Not even Alvarez himself thought he won (or drew).
For some reason, though, the boxing media hasn't been willing to recognize his greatness. There's a lot said about his greatness as a pay-per-view draw and as a ticket seller, but he still isn't given nearly the kind of credit for his in-ring performances as he deserves.
Take, for example, the case being made for Adonis Stevenson for the 2013 Fighter of the Year. Stevenson went 4-0 in 2013, knocking out Darnell Boone in six and Chad Dawson in one. He made Tavoris Cloud quit after seven and he stopped Tony Bellew in the sixth.
It was as if he'd beaten Ezzard Charles, Bob Foster, Archie Moore and Michael Spinks in the same calendar year.
Yet, when Mayweather won in stunningly one-sided fashion against Alvarez and Robert Guerrero (OK, that was not quite as stunning), it was dismissed.
It shouldn't be, though. Mayweather is the best boxer, and he had the best year, and he deserves to be Fighter of the Year. Had he gotten off the deck and rallied from behind to defeat Alvarez, he might be given more credit than he's getting by going wire-to-wire.
But because he's distanced himself so far from the field – honestly, who in any division near him do you seriously think would beat him? – that credit isn't as easily forthcoming. He just makes it look so easy.
It's coming from this corner, though. Mayweather's fantastic year, routing Guerrero and Alvarez in a pair of one-sided bouts, makes him the easy selection as the Yahoo Sports Boxing Fighter of the Year.
Stevenson is one of a handful of worthy candidates for the award, and the big man from outside of Montreal may have won it had Mayweather only fought once in the year, as has been his recent trend.
Danny Garcia, who defeated Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse, should be on the ballot. So, too, should Timothy Bradley (wins over Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez); Gennady Golovkin (4-0 against Gabe Rosado, Nobuhiro Ishida, Matthew Macklin and Curtis Stevens); Guillermo Rigondeaux (victories over 2012 Fighter of the Year Nonito Donaire and Joseph Agbeko); and Mikey Garcia (Wins over Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez and Rocky Martinez).
Mayweather, though, stood above them all, even in a year in which he turned 36 and when he fought twice in a year for the first time in six years.
His defense remains remarkable, and he's rarely hit even though he's taken to fighting most of his recent bouts flat-footed. He's virtually eliminated the on-his-toes style filled with lateral movement that caused some to suggest he was running.
Running is what De La Hoya did in the final four rounds against Felix Trinidad in 1999. What Mayweather did for most of his career was to box smartly and use his lateral movement to set up his counter punches.
He heard the critics, though, and so he put his feet firmly on the floor and came forward, and hasn't been hit despite being easy to find.
He's one of those guys who will be appreciated much more when he's gone than he is while he's still competing.
But he's the best of the best, and he was the best of a very good crop of fighters in 2013.
For that, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the 2013 Yahoo Sports Boxing Fighter of the Year.
- Sports & Recreation
- Floyd Mayweather
- Canelo Alvarez