3 - Mike Alvarado UD 12 Brandon Rios II: It didn’t look good for “Mile High” early on in this rematch as he was on unsteady legs from a Rios jab in the second. You wondered if this was an extension of their original hook-up but Alvarado steadied himself, made adjustments and boxed well the rest of the way in a bout that provided steady action and drama throughout.
2 - Omar Figueroa UD 12 Nihito Arakawa: What this fight may have lacked in refined skill or precision was more than made up for with heart and guts. Figueroa kept hammering away at the game Japanese challenger, who never stopped coming forward.
1 - Tim Bradley UD 12 Ruslan Provodnikov (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIlVQO71PbQ): What was derided by some critics as a “Friday Night Fights” feature on HBO quickly turned into the best battle of 2013. Provodnikov shook Bradley early on in both the first and second frames. Bradley boxed well in the middle heats and then held on for dear life from the hard-charging “Siberian Rocky.” Bradley admitted afterward that he didn’t remember large portions of that fight after being concussed.
Honorable Mention: Jesus Soto Karass TKO 12 Andre Berto, Marcos Maidana UD 12 Adrien Broner, James Kirkland TKO 6 Glen Tapia, Koki Eto UD 12 Kompayak Porpramook, Victor Terrazas SD 12 Cristian Mijares, Anthony Crolla MD 12 Gavin Rees, Guillermo Jones KO 11 Denis Lebedev, Jose Hernandez TKO 8 Tony Luis, Artur Szpilka KO 6 Mike Mollo, Przemyslaw Saleta KO 6 Andrew Golota, Juergen Braehmer UD 12 Eduard Gutknecht
ROUND OF THE YEAR
5 - Alvarado-Rios II, round two: A simple jab had Alvarado on shaky pins and it looked like this fight was going to be a mere extension of their memorable scrap several months earlier in which Alvarado was stopped. Instead, he weathered the storm and by the end of the round, “Mile High” was battling tooth-and-nail with Rios, bringing the Mandalay Bay crowd to its feet.
4 - Froch-Kessler, round 12: An appropriate ending to a heated affair. Froch closes the show late with barrage of punches and Kessler does his best to hang in there.
3 - Sakio Bika- Marco Antonio Periban, round 12: Forget skill or technique; this was all about two guys emptying their buckets and letting it all go in a close fight.
2 - Bradley-Provodnikov, round 12: Perhaps the most dramatic ending of any fight this past year. Ahead on points, Bradley was trying his best to see the final bell but simply couldn’t stave off Provodnikov, who shook him late and had him taking a knee in the final seconds of this memorable battle.
1 - Bradley-Provodnikov, round six: Yes, this fight was that good. Just watch the last 30 seconds of this inning where Bradley, seemingly out on his feet, continues to throw punches as he attempts to keep Provodnikov off him.
Honorable Mention: Eto-Porpramook, round 12, Darren Barker-Daniel Geale, round six, John Molina-Mickey Bey, round 10, Koki Kameda-Jung-Oh Son, round 12, Ryo Miyazaki-Jesus Silvestre, round 12, Eric Ituarte-Humberto Zatarain, round four, Crolla-Rees, round nine, Gabino Saenz-Edwin Solis, round six, Paul Smith-Tony Dodson, round three, Nick Brinson-Jorge Melendez, round four
ROBBERY OF THE YEAR
1 - Ricky Burns Draw 12 Ray Beltran: Honestly, nothing else comes close in 2013. Beltran basically controlled the action from the onset, breaking Burns’ jaw in addition to sending him to the canvas. Yet somehow, Burns, fighting in his backyard in Scotland, was allowed to retain his WBO lightweight title.
2 - Julio Cesar Chavez W10 Brian Vera: Just looking at the scores and how they got to that point, it turns out that Vera, the tough Texan, never really had a chance to win this bout.
(Dis)Honorable Mention: Rances Barthelemy UD 12 Arash Usmanee, Juan Carlos Burgos Draw 12 Rocky Martinez, Adrian Granados Draw 10 Kermit Cintron, Don George Draw 10 David Lopez, J’Leon Love SD 10 Gabriel Rosado [Editor’s Note: The decision in favor of Love was rendered a no-contest after Love tested positive for a banned substance.]
STACY COLEY AWARD (for best prospect)
5 - Ivan Redkach: Here’s another hard-hitting and aggressive Eastern-European who will soon be making waves and will certainly be a fan-favorite with his style. Win, lose or draw, Redkach will consistently be in good fights.
4 - Andy Ruiz: It says here that Ruiz is the best American heavyweight prospect (yeah, that might not be saying much) but the question is: Can he get in better physical condition or is this Chris Arreola 2.0?
3 - Randy Caballero: Has developed steadily and is now on the verge of a title shot at 122 in 2014. Has an exciting, hard-hitting style and a following in the Coachella Valley out in Southern California.
2 - Jessie Magdaleno: Has a higher upside than his brother, Diego and a blend of speed and power. The question is: Can he control those attributes in a professional manner at the higher levels of the sport?
1 - Mike Perez: Burst onto the scene with his victory over Magomed Abdusalamov and at age 28, is just now coming into his physical prime with a record of 20-0 (12).
Honorable mention: Scott Cardle, Felix Verdejo, Oscar Valdez, Jermall and Jermell Charlo, Hairon Socarras, Kal Yafai, Callum Smith, Gilberto Ramirez, Miguel Berchelt, Errol Spence, Anthony Joshua, Joseph Diaz, Chris Pearson, Jesse Hart, Alejandro Gonzalez Jr.
THE BOBBY FISCHER AWARD (for being a prodigy)
Vasyl Lomachenko: I didn’t want to give “Prospect of the Year” to a guy with one fight but Lomachenko is a guy who’s going places quickly. After making his pro debut in October versus Jose Ramirez and stopping him in four, Lomachenko insisted to Top Rank Promotions that he gets a title shot next. And he gets his wish as he faces WBO featherweight beltholder Orlando Salido in the spring.
MANTI TE’O AWARD (for biggest hoax)
Floyd Mayweather tweeting he was considering facing Devon Alexander in May. Well, it turns out Lennay Kekua was more authentic than that possibility.
MARK GASTINEAU AWARD (for biggest farce featuring an NFL player)
“DADS” AWARD (for worst televised fight)
Richar Abril-Sharif Bogere: I will say this; it did provide great Twitter fodder - but what an awful prizefight. The old-timers would say it was the type of bout in which you let people in for free and charge them to leave.
SATCHEL PAIGE AWARD (for longevity)
Bernard Hopkins: Nearing 50, this guy is still competing and winning at a very high level. And like Paige, he doesn’t seem to be looking back.
ANGEL GARCIA AWARD (for father/trainer who stirs it up)
Ruben Guerrero: Before his son’s bout against Floyd Mayweather, he had no problems telling everyone that “Money” was a “wife-beater” over and over again during this promotion (while wearing a “wife-beater”).
2000 ELECTION AWARD (for discrepancy in tabulating numbers)
The Mayweather-Guerrero pay-per-view results: OK, was it 830,000 buys or a million?
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES AWARD (for a “Wanna get away?” moment)
Keith Thurman: After his victory over Diego Chaves in July in San Antonio, “One Time” gave a hearty shout out to...San Diego.
SLIDING SCALE AWARD
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Bryan Vera: Let’s be honest; whatever Chavez was going to weigh in at was going to be the weight limit for that fight.
RICHARD STEELE AWARD (for quick stoppage)
Howard John Foster: Flat out, he pulled the trigger too fast in the fight between Carl Froch and George Groves. He did a disservice to both fighters.
ANDREW BYNUM AWARD (for fallen stock)
Gary Russell Jr.: OK, OK, maybe it’s not that bad but seriously, Russell is a talented guy but his career is currently stuck in “Bolivian.” Had a very disappointing 2013.
RAY CHARLES AWARD (for “Hit the road, Jack.”)
HBO telling Golden Boy Promotions they wouldn’t be doing any further business with the promotional firm. In many ways, it was the story of the year (alongside Mayweather bolting to Showtime) as it changed the dynamic of two networks and the boxing industry as a whole.
JIM MORA AWARD (best post-fight reaction)
Gennady Golovkin: Just when you think he couldn’t top “Good Boy” as his most memorable post-fight interview on HBO after his victory over Gabe Rosado, he then came up with “Are you serious?”
Happy New year, fans.