2013 was a year to remember in the sport of boxing. There are several fighters worthy of the honor, Fighter of the Year. There will be a rush to crown the obvious, but this column will look at all of the contenders.
Floyd Mayweather in theory should be the choice for Fighter of the Year. He beat Robert Guerrero and Saul Alvarez. The Alvarez fight was one of the biggest in history, and the highest grossing fight of the year. His two opponents were good fighters. Mayweather dominated them and solidified his legacy. However, there are others who are worthy of consideration.
Adonis Stevenson had an incredible year. His knockout of Chad Dawson in June was a star-making performance. All it took was one left hand to finish Dawson off. Dawson was still regarded as the true Light Heavyweight Champion of the World when Stevenson beat him. The other signature victory was against Tavoris Cloud on September 28. Stevenson dominated the excellent former titleholder en route to a seventh-round TKO. He beat Tony Bellew in December and finished the year strong.
The third candidate would be Sergey Kovalev. Kovalev won the WBO version of the Light Heavyweight Championship by crushing Nathan Cleverly in his home of Wales by fourth round TKO. He followed that up with a sensational second-round KO of Ismail Sillakh in December. He started the year off by knocking out respected former champion Gabriel Campillo in the third round. It was an excellent year by Kovalev.
Guillermo Rigondeaux also had an exceptional year. He handily beat one of the best fighters in the sport, Nonito Donaire. He also dominated respected former bantamweight champion, Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko. The Cuban expatriate may be the most boring fighter in the sport. He is a slick boxer who makes his opponents look bad. This list isn’t about excitement, it is about results. His victory of Donaire was the most significant victory of the year over a fighter on the pound-for-pound list.
The final nominee is Timothy Bradley. He entered the year looking for respect because of the bad decision he got in the Manny Pacquiao fight last year. His fight with Ruslan Provodnikov is a candidate for fight of the year. Bradley proved that he has the heart of a lion because of all the hard shots he took. It gave boxing fans a new level of respect for him and he won the fight. He out boxed Juan Manuel Marquez in October and got a great win in the process.
I think that Bradley had the best wins against superior opposition. Provodnikov and Marquez are excellent fighters and he beat them. The Provodnikov fight was very competitive, but Bradley was able to win most of the rounds. He dominated Marquez, who was regarded as an entrant on the pound-for-pound list. Those two wins are better than Mayweather’s two wins against Guerrero and Alvarez. They are good fighters. Bradley beat two excellent fighters. For that, Timothy Bradley is my choice for Fighter of the Year.