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2014 Least Respected Boxer of the Year

Credit: Chris Farina - Top Rank

Boxing’s Least Respected Fighter of 2014:

Boxing can be a fickle sport. So fickle, in fact, that even its finest purveyors aren’t always appreciated. As the sport bends over backwards to appeal more to casual fans every passing year, promoters pride themselves on building an exciting brand as opposed to shining the spotlight on boxing’s best technicians.

In modern boxing ‘braggadocios but beatable’ sells, while the quiet masters are viewed as boring. In essence those that perfect the noble art are niche fighters unless, like Floyd Mayweather, they develop a loud public persona. Unlike the lauded Mayweather, slick Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux finds himself isolated by the sport despite honing it almost to perfection. That’s why he is boxing’s least respected fighter of 2014.

Guillermo Rigondeaux – the victimized master

No-one deserves this award more than Guillermo Rigondeaux, a Cuban master boxer who has been victimized because of his mastery. The world super bantamweight champion continues to struggle to get meaningful fights simply because he is too good. This year he was given just one round of action – a first round knockout of the over-matched Sod Kokietgym in July.

The problem is that Rigondeaux isn’t considered ‘marketable’. He won almost every round against Nonito Donaire – a fighter considered one of the best in the world pound for pound at the time – to claim supremacy in his division, but was continuously slated publicly by his then-promoter Bob Arum for being ‘boring’.

The comfort with which Rigondeaux wins his fights presumably wasn’t enough for Arum, who would rather a fighter honed through the famed Cuban boxing academy switch his style and risk his livelihood going punch-for-punch with lesser quality opponents. It’s so absurd as to be sad; that a fighter so good is judged not by the punches he throws or the skill with which he evades them, but by the ratings he garners.

Nonetheless, the hardcore boxing fan will always appreciate guys like Rigondeaux, which is why we do here at ProBoxing-Fans. He is arguably the most skilled boxer going but he is viewed by promoters as a drag and, as such, he earns our least respected award for 2014. Here’s hoping boxing wakes up in 2015 and starts giving Rigondeaux the respect – and the fights – that he truly deserves.

Runners up

Wladimir Klitschko had a solid year, consolidating his heavyweight throne with an excellent and surprisingly exciting win over Kubrat Pulev, as well as a predictably comfortable victory over Alex Leapai.

Bernard Hopkins unified alphabet titles against Beibut Shumenov before once again chasing the best by fighting the much younger and harder-hitting Sergey Kovalev. He lost to Kovalev but won deserved praise for taking such a challenge at the grand age of 49.

Sakio Bika may have an awkward style but it works for him. He once again made life difficult for Anthony Dirrell in a rematch he lost this year. Nonetheless, respect must be given to Bika for competing at the top of the sport for yet another year.