2013 Boxer of the Year
The Fighter of the Year award is the most prestigious of the annual boxing awards. While the debate and discussion can go on endlessly with fans of one fighter versus another pouring over the details and minutiae of who should win, and why, it's really a simple question: Which high-end fighter had the best year, both scoring big wins and looking great in the process?
2013 Fighter of the Year in Boxing: Floyd Mayweather
In this case, the best fighter in the world, the reigning pound for pound kingpin, was also the best boxer of the year in 2013. Certainly, he was the most discussed fighter of the year as well, and headlined what was by far the year's biggest event. While that's not what this award is about, it must be factored in on some level. Mayweather is the sport's largest commodity.
More fans, and more doubters, diehards and casual spectators, tune in for one of his fights than for any other fighter. If offers a wonderful opportunity to shine, but it also provides an easy platform in which to crash and burn. It's more eyeballs watching and dissecting his every move in and out of the ring -- Is he slowing down? Is he choosing poor opponents? Is he fully focused on boxing? How much does he have left? Is he looking to survive a fight and win, or dominate?
Surely, all of these questions and more have been asked of Mayweather. And at one point or another, the answers for each were likely the wrong ones. Yet, in 2013, Mayweather delivered across all fronts, and that's why he's the 2013 Fighter of the Year in boxing.
Mayweather changed the entire sport's dynamic when he signed a monster six-fight contract with Showtime, leaving HBO, and essentially taking the entire Golden Boy Promotions stable with him. Wasting no time, he then took on the best available challenger in the Welterweight division, Robert Guerrero.
The Ghost was coming off a breakout win over Andre Berto, and years of calling out Mayweather's name for a shot. Mayweather cruised past him, looking in fantastic form and displaying a huge disparity in class between "best in the world" and "damn good fighter in his prime".
Next came the fight everyone was clamoring for, Floyd Mawyeather vs. Saul Canelo Alvarez. The buildup and buzz were nonstop. Here, finally, was the guy who would hand Mayweather his first defeat, right? Bigger. Stronger. Younger. Harder puncher. Confident, in his prime, eager for the fight, and coming off the best win of his career.
Not so much.
Of course, many boxing fans believed all along that Canelo was oversold. Too much hype, with too few credentials.
Nevertheless, Mayweather dispatched of him with a picture perfect performance, a master class in the Sweet Science. And overhyped or not, Canelo was more than a big name, he was the top fighter at Junior Middleweight, finally earning that status with a hard-fought win over Austin Trout -- and he couldn't even compete with Mayweather in a meaningful way.
Both Guerrero and Canelo were ranked in the top 15 pound for pound when Mayweather took them on. Combined records: 73-1-2, 48 KOs. One the best challenger at welterweight, the other the best guy at 154 lbs. Two high level opponents, two easy wins, and two great performances on the big stage.
Congratulations to Floyd Mayweather, 2013 Fighter of the Year.
2013 Boxer of the Year 2nd Place: Danny Garcia
Danny Garcia scored one of the biggest wins of the year, and it was an upset victory. An undefeated American fighter, a defending champion who scored a massive knockout to claim his championship, still, somehow, Garcia was an underdog against the Machine, Lucas Matthysse. Garcia showed everyone who should have been favored, didn't he?
In taking on, and clearly defeating, one of the most feared fighters in the sport and one of its hardest hitters, Garcia finally, firmly, implanted himself in the discussion as one of the best boxers on the planet -- and maybe just a future opponent for Mayweather in 2014.
Garcia's only other fight of the year was a bloody, hard-fought win over Zab Judah. A fun fight and a solid win, although it pales in comparison to the Matthysse performance. Garcia was also the runner-up for our 2013 Champion of the Year award, this time losing out to Gennady Golovkin.
Runners-Up for 2013 Fighter of the Year
- Guillermo Rigondeaux: It's no secret that Guillermo Rigondeaux is the most avoided fighter in the sport. That's what happens when you take a top 3 pound for pound guy in Nonito Donaire, and thoroughly outclass him. Rigondeaux finally landed the fight he long clamored for, and he dominated the much more highly regarded, and more well known, Donaire. Unable to capitalize on the momentum from that win, but got back in action with a win over tough former champion Joseph Agbeko.
- Adonis Stevenson: Adonis Stevenson scored the no-brainer 2013 Knockout of the Year over Chad Dawson. That was just one of his four fights of the year. First, he avenged the only defeat of his career, a shocking knockout loss to Darnell Boone. Then he used one punch to turn out the lights on Bad Chad. Then he dusted former champ Tavoris Cloud, before ridding himself of brash British challenger Tony Bellew.
- Mikey Garcia: Don't scoff, Mikey Garcia had a huge 2013 campaign. He began the year by thumping the high-riding Orlando Salido, and then making easy work of Juan Manuel Lopez, whom Salido had won his title from. Then he moved up to 130 lbs and won a second title by taking out Roman Martinez. Three fights, three wins over three current or former world champions, and titles in two divisions.
- Simpiwe Vetyeka: Began the year with a 12th Round stoppage win over the respected Daud Yordan. Then he defeated, stopped, and ultimately, retired, Chris John in December, going from journeyman to world champ and one of his division's best in about eight months.
A few more names for good measure with whom you wouldn't completely embarrass yourself if you were choosing them as Fighter of the Year: Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev
Agree or disagree with our choice of 2013 Fighter of the Year? Join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments!