Who was the best trainer in boxing in 2013?
Who’s the best trainer in the sport? It’s an honor which is bestowed not only on a trainer who has perhaps most mastered his discipline, distilling the fine arts of the Sweet Science down to digestible tidbits and insights, and from there, producing tangible outcomes in the pupils he instructs, but also the trainer who happens to be the man in charge of at least one of the year’s premier fighters.
2013 Trainer of the Year in Boxing: Virgil Hunter
Virgil Hunter has been the head man in Andre Ward’s corner since the S.O.G. was 9 years old. Not a bad youth to walk through the doors of your gym.
Nevertheless, Hunter has been crucial in the ongoing development of Ward, imparting key guidance and discipline into his charge, steering him through the Olympics, the Super Six Tournament, and now up the hierarchy of the sport to status as the most impressive and dominant fighter not named Floyd Mayweather.
Ward spent much of 2013 on the sidelines, mired in injuries and stalled negotiations. His one outing of the year though was certainly impressive, a thorough thumping of the previously undefeated Edwin Rodriguez, with a year of rust and questions about his shoulder.
Hunter’s success with Ward has helped him build one of the more impressive stables in the sport, and in 2013, highlights included:
- The unbeaten Brandon Gonzales clearly deserved to defeat the more highly touted Thomas Oosthuizen in June, but was the recipient of an unfortunate Draw.
- Amir Khan is on the comeback and hopes to regain his former status under Hunter’s tutelage
- Demetrius Andrade is fresh off his breakout win over Vanes Martirosyan.
- Argenis Mendez avenged a questionable defeat to Juan Carlos Salgado with a big KO victory to snag a title belt.
Not a bad year’s work.
2nd place – Robert Garcia
Garcia is a close second here. Marcos Maidana’s upset of Adrien Broner nearly pushed him over the top. However, despite that success, and several other of his charges reaching new heights, his year was counterbalanced by setbacks.
His star pupil, Nonito Donaire, suffered a one-sided defeat against Guillermo Rigondeaux, and then was in less than ideal form for his rematch against Vic Darchinyan. Brandon Rios went 0-2 in 2013, losing his rematch to Mike Alvarado, and failing to put up a whiff of a challenge against a comebacking Manny Pacquiao. Hernan Marquez lost an epic war against Giovani Segura.
Yes, Mikey Garcia had a standout year, with three huge victories which brought home titles in two divisions. But he also failed to make weight for his fight against Juan Manuel Lopez. And yes, Evgeny Gradovich brought home a world title and defended it twice, and Maidana had that massive win over Broner, sending fans across the globe into exultation. Nevertheless, too many setbacks for top guys in his stable.
Also Receiving Votes
- Nacho Beristain: Juan Manuel Marquez remains his star pupil but lost to Timothy Bradley in his only outing of the year. Few trainers though more consistently turn young prospects into refined contenders, and eventual titleholders, than Beristain does. Helped Jhonny Gonzalez score the Upset of the Year over Abner Mares, a former disciple.
- Joel Diaz: Diaz had long been Timothy Bradley’s trainer, this year helping him in his victory over the team of Marquez and Beristain. Also is in charge of the undefeated Omar Figueora, a hot commodity in the Lightweight division, and the Magdaleno brothers.
- Freddie Roach: Freddie Roach remains head of the deepest and best gym in the sport. Sorry, Robert Garcia. Pacquiao trounced Rios, Ruslan Provodnikov had a huge year, and Roach has been instrumental in Miguel Cotto’s return to prominence.
- Joe Gallagher: Maintains a deep crop of British boxing’s best and brightest, including Scott Quigg, Liam & Callum Smith, Scotty Cardle, and Anthony Crolla.
- Angel Garcia: You may not like Angel Garcia. You may even hate him. But he has helped guide his son to a great career and great year, capped off by that standout effort over Lucas Matthysse.