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The Anti-Fighter of the Year: Who Wasted 2012?

By Matthew Paras


As the various “End of the Year” awards continued to be announced on various websites near the end of 2012 or now in the first weeks of 2013, Maxboxing’s “Anti-Fighter of the Year” is back as well. The “Anti-Fighter of the Year” is for fighters who wasted the year away.
 
In the first year of the award, former World Middleweight Champion Kelly Pavlik earned the honors in 2011 with his legal troubles outside the ring and the way he conducted himself with scheduled fights against Lucian Bute and Daryl Cunningham.
 
The criteria for the “Anti-Fighter of the Year” are as follows:

-  Not capitalizing off a positive 2012.
 
-  Not backing up a claim at rebounding in 2012, therefore wasting his chance(s).
 
-  Turning down a large sum of money, subsequently doing nothing instead.
 
-  Failing to remain active.
 
Maxboxing readers are invited to choose the winner, validating him as the fighter who successfully wasted away his 2012. After reading the list of 10 candidates, log on to http://www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing to vote for the winner. Here are the candidates:
 
James Kirkland
 
2012 seemed like a promising year for James Kirkland.  Following his release from prison, Kirkland produced an exciting upset over Alfredo Angulo in a “Fight of the Year” candidate. At the beginning of 2012, he was perfectly matched up (on paper) against Carlos Molina.
 
Instead, Kirkland benefited from a controversial disqualification in round 10 after trailing for most of the fight when Molina’s team stepped into the ring following a knockdown. However, it’s not the Texas debacle that makes him a candidate on this list. Kirkland’s decisions leading up to a potential fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez were the deal-breaker.
 
Kirkland was the leading candidate to fight Alvarez two separate occasions on Mexican Independence Weekend. He first called off the fight due to a shoulder injury but when the fight was revisited a second time, Kirkland said he was ready to go as long as the money rewarded it.
 
The amount asked for? A mind boggling $2.5 million, according to The Ring magazine.
 
After the negotiations broke down, Kirkland proceeded to sue his team of manager Cameron Dunkin and promoter Golden Boy Promotions. He’s now lost in the sea of legal limbo.
 
Yuriorkis Gamboa
 
Suing your promoter was seemingly all the rage in 2012.
 
Originally scheduled to fight Brandon Rios in April, Gamboa decided 1.1 million dollars was not enough money for the trouble and went to court to separate from promoters Ahmet Oner and Bob Arum. Ironically, Gamboa’s next fight was under a Top Rank card with his new promoter, 50 Cent.
 
Gamboa looked lackluster against Michael Farenas and pulled out of one of the best fights to be made in 2012.
 
Andre Dirrell
 
It’s not a good start for 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions. Dirrell has fought just once since his win over Arthur Abraham in 2010 which even happened before his move with 50 Cent. He is the first fighter to fire Al Haymon but it can be questioned how smart this move has been since. We’ll see what SMS Promotions has in store for Dirrell but he definitely did not help his stock without fighting in 2012.
 
Tavoris Cloud
 
Fun fact: Heading into his March showdown with 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins, Hopkins will have been the more active fighter.
 
Cloud is actually a repeat offender on this list with having fought only once in 2012. His sole bout came in February, when he got an extremely generous split decision win over Gabriel Campillo. While Hopkins only fought once as well, he fought in April and fought twice in 2011. Cloud has fought only twice in the last two years.
 
Cloud’s activity is pathetic for a fighter who is only 30.
 
Gary Russell Jr.
 
This was supposed to be Gary Russell Jr.’s breakout year as a fighter. Instead, the 24-year-old saw only six rounds of action in two fights for 2012. Potential fights against Luis Franco and Billy Dib were discussed but ultimately broke down.
 
Lamont Peterson
 
Lamont Peterson had it all going into 2012. Coming off an upset victory over Amir Khan, Peterson signed on for a lucrative rematch in May. However, Peterson’s rematch with Khan evaporated when he tested positive for synthetic testosterone. The positive test, discovered by the Voluntary Anti Doping Association, killed all momentum Peterson had.
 
Cornelius Bundrage
 
In 2012, Bundrage’s lone fight was a rematch against Cory Spinks. “K9” went without fighting the likes of Austin Trout or Erislandy Lara, so the 39-year-old fighter could hold onto his belt as long as possible for a nice payday. His reward? Bundrage’s next fight will be against Ishe Smith.
 
Celestino Caballero
 
At age 36, Celestino Caballero fought zero times in 2012, forfeiting his WBA title in the process. Caballero was twice scheduled to fight Mikey Garcia in July and September but ended up pulling out of the fight due to fear of inactivity. His fear resulted in a stretch of inactivity since December 31. The WBA also stripped the Panamanian for not agreeing to fight Nicholas Walters in his next fight.
 
Demetrius Andrade
 
It’s time for the former 2008 Olympian to step up. While Demetrius Andrade fought three times in 2012, the 24-year-old fought a total of five rounds against awful competition. Andrade’s best win of the year came in a total mismatch against a shot Angel Hernandez.
 
Dmitry Pirog

It’s been a tough year for the former WBO middleweight titlist. Having fought Nobuhiro Ishida in May, Pirog won that tune-up and set himself up for a great fight against Gennady Golovkin. The fight ended up falling through when Pirog hurt his back while training. Pirog has not fought since then.
 
Questions and comments can be sent to Matt at mparas1432@gmail.com. You can follow him at www.twitter.com/Mparas1432.
 
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