Boxing’s Best Champion for 2013
Determining the winner of the annual best champion award in boxing can be tricky. In this age of seemingly endless and fractured championships and titles, created out of thin air, bestowed and taken away at will, the sport’s best fighters aren’t necessarily “champions”. At least not conventionally speaking. And vice-versa, the sport’s champions clearly aren’t always its best fighters.
Yet, these paths do cross, and when they do, what you get is a fighter who is one of the most dominant in the game for a given year. Not necessarily the Fighter of the Year, but likely a top contender. A fighter who’s at the top of his game, who frequently defends his title belt, and maintained his championship status throughout the entirety of the year. This year, that man was…
2013 Champion of the Year in Boxing: Gennady Golovkin
Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, that’s GGG to you, is not only one of the sport’s most exciting fighters, he’s increasingly one of its most popular. GGG is not only one of the hardest hitters in the game, with pure dynamite in his fists, but he’s also a throwback to a bygone era.
He fought four times in 2013, which sad to say, is nearly unheard of for a top level fighter — by comparison, Floyd Mayweather was lauded for finally fighting twice this year, after fighting once each in 2009-2012, and not fighting at all in 2008 — and he began, and ended, his 2013 campaign as the division’s WBA titleholder.
Now, his method of acquiring that title way back in 2010 may be dubious. And even his recent opposition hasn’t always been great. But that’s the beauty of being active, and maintaining a busy schedule.
If you fight four times per year, you can throw in a Nobuhiro Ishida, and a Curtis Stevens. And you still have time to crumple Matthew Macklin with one of the fiercest body shots thrown in recent memory, and pummel Gabriel Rosado, who gained enough respect from merely surviving a GGG onslaught for nearly 7 full rounds that he parlayed the performance into two more big fight opportunities, with a third on the way.
GGG epitomizes what it is to be a champion. Four fights. Four impressive, dominating stoppage victories. A sea of challengers parting in front of him, fearful to stand in his way, with a land of big-fight opportunity awaiting on the far shore.
2nd Place – Danny Garcia
Danny “Swift” Garcia won one of the year’s biggest fights, scoring an upset against the power-punching Argentinean slugger Lucas Matthysse.
What’s astonishing is that he was an underdog to begin with. Garcia is a charismatic, undefeated American pro, already with a breakout KO win under his belt when he disposed of Amir Khan, from a fighting city in Philadelphia, a defending champion in his division… and yet, he was the underdog.
He likely won’t find himself in that position very often from here on out, unless he happens to land a fight against Floyd Mayweather.
In addition to his strong showing over Matthysse, which included a knockdown in Round 11, Garcia also turned back a determined showing from Zab Judah in what turned into a bloody affair.
Ultimately, GGG fought twice as much, and was more dominant in each outing, even if the single best win from either man was Garcia’s triumph over Matthysse.
Also Receiving Votes
Timothy Bradley began 2012 as the much-maligned winner of the 2012 Robbery of the Year, bringing home a championship belt he didn’t rightfully deserve. Yet, he rebounded from that “win” with his war against Ruslan Provodnikov, allowing himself to be dragged into a brutal slobberknocker when he rightfully should have, and could have, stayed on his back foot.
Nothing epitomizes championship heart more than Bradley’s efforts in Round 12, the fight locked up in his favor, digging in, nearly getting blasted out, but surviving the ordeal to retain the title, and truly claim it as his own.
From there, he took home a close decision over Juan Manuel Marquez. No big deal there, right?
Not a bad 2013 showing for Bradley, who has fully, finally erased the stain of the Pacquiao fight. And for what it’s worth — that’s a stain he doesn’t deserve. Bradley didn’t score the fight. He fought, he appeared to lose, as most do against Pacquiao, but he received a decision. It is what it is, but he wasn’t to blame.
Froch avenged his Super Six defeat to Mikkel Kessler in May, winning a clear decision in an exciting affair. Took on a tough rival in the form of undefeated George Groves, and looked to be headed towards an upset defeat.
Yet, like Bradley against Provodnikov, he did what champions do, survived the rough spots, got up off the canvas, and went on to win the fight. Yes, the stoppage was awful, but don’t let that mask the fact that he was very much taking charge of the fight.