By Saúl Berríos-Thomas
The year 2013 was a great year for boxing. There has been much debate about many of the end-of-year awards. I have reviewed many of the fights from this year and I believe I have compiled the list of awards that best suits my views on boxing. Let’s start with the biggest award.
Fighter of The Year
The award goes to Danny Garcia. Many fighters who had come through the perilous schedule Garcia has been through in the past few years would have taken it easy this year. Garcia had already faced many of the best fighters in his weight class. His fight with Lucas Matthysse proved that he would not back away from any challenge. Not only did he beat Matthysse, but he dominated him easily and proved he is one of the best fighters in the world. He also beat a legend in Zab Judah, no small feat, in front of a crowd that heavily supported Judah. Danny Garcia has been so impressive that he has probably lost his chance to fight Floyd Mayweather because he may represent too big of a threat.
Others to be considered: Adonis Stevenson. He fought four times and was impressive each time, taking the light heavyweight division over by knocking out the best fighters in the division. In the end, it is the level of opposition that keeps him from the number one spot. He faced the best in his division, but it was not elite level opposition. Gennady Golovkin. He also fought four times and was so impressive that he earned himself a spot on this list despite fighting a list of cab drivers.
Event of The Year
There is very little debate about the winner of this award. The Mayweather-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fight wins this award easily. This fight brought boxing to the forefront of the sporting world for the first time in a while. The media coverage and discussion surrounding this fight are something that this sport has been missing. For the first time in a while the pound-for-pound king faced worthy opposition. Or at least that’s what the selling point was. In the end the fight did not live up to the hype.
Fight of The Year
There is not an obvious choice for this award. I have decided to make an odd choice. My pick for this award is Adrien Broner-Marcos Maidana. It is difficult to say exactly what makes a fight worth of this award, but I think this fight had it, whatever it is. The hype that had gathered around Broner was at an all-time high and many fans wanted to see him lose. They got their wish, but from an unlikely foe. Maidana has been dismissed as a b-level fighter his entire career, but the work he has done with new trainer Robert Garcia really showed in this fight. This fight was the apex of his rise from a puncher to an all-around fighter. His jab and technicality is what allowed him to overwhelm Broner. Let me be clear the demise of Broner is not a real thing. He is still so young and talented. This fight hopefully will knock him down a peg on the notoriety chain so that he can regroup and start to learn again. He had stopped the learning process because of a few big wins, but he was not at the peak of his career yet and he still needs to improve if he is going to reach the heights that seemed possible when he was on the rise as a prospect.
Others to be considered: Ruslan Provodnikov-Timothy Bradley was a great fight. It excited and had drama all the way up until the final bell. It was a back and forth slugfest that could have gone either way. In the end I decided not to make it fight of the year because I don’t think either of these two deserve the hype they have gotten. I don’t believe Bradley should be on anyone’s pound-for-pound list, but he is on almost everyone’s.
Trainer of The Year
Robert Garcia is going to pick this one up, but it wasn’t by a wide margin. There was no clear runaway winner for this award. In the end Garcia gets it because of his work with Maidana. Before Maidana was with Garcia he was just a big puncher. Once Garcia started working with Maidana we saw Maidana’s game become more nuanced and technical. That was the step he needed to take. Garcia loses points for Brandon Rios’ less than stellar performance against Manny Pacquiao, but not enough to knock him off of the perch.
Other to be considered: I want to give this award to Virgil Hunter or Ann Wolfe, but they both only train one fighter who fought one time this year. Hunter has shown how far ahead of the game he and Ward are especially from the mental aspect of the fight game. Wolfe once again proved that she might have the best training camps of anyone in the business.
Round of The Year
This one goes to Bradley-Provodnikov round 12. It really isn’t all that close. It doesn’t get more dramatic than round 12 of a championship fight with one fighter needing a knockout to win. He hurt Bradley badly, but the clock turned out to be his biggest enemy. This round had everything and was the epitome of excitement.
Prospect of The Year
Jessie Magdaleno picks this award up this year. Magdaleno is an exciting young southpaw. He has the potential to become a superstar. He went 4-0 in 2013 and has an exciting 2014 lined up, in which he will be very busy.
Others to be considered: the Charlo brothers are both good candidates for this list. Jermell has risen through the ranks and is very close to the top. Jermall has recovered from being out of action for a while by fighting seven times in 2013. Felix Verdejo is another prospect to keep an eye on. While there isn’t a Puerto Rican born champion right now, help is on the way in the form of Verdejo. He has star level talent to match his star level personality.