It's the July lull in combat sports, so we continue our look back on the first half of 2013 and think about the year so far. Tim Burke has already bestowed a number of 2013 Half-Year MMA Awards, but here, it's all about the boxing.
So far, we've had the nominees for the KO of the year - today we look at the fighter of the year. This is always a weird half-year award to me, as so many quality fighters have only competed once so far, but could have a huge year ahead of them. Look at Canelo for a perfect example. His one win over Austin Trout won't get him a mention here, but if he pulls off the win over Floyd Maywether this fall? Then the title is unquestionably his.
So then, here's our slightly flawed attempt to lock down the best boxer so far in 2013.
And the nominees are...
A controversial pick, I'm sure, but he deserves to be here. No one has gotten the boxing world talking in 2013 quite like Adrien Broner. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on your perspective on Broner and his antics. Inside the ring, he has a pair of wins so far over Gavin Rees and Paulie Malignaggi - both solid wins, though neither one a tremendously impressive showing from Broner.
The current top dog at Featherweight has scored two good wins in 2013, defeating both Orlando Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez. But both wins come with a footnote. Against Salido, Garcia suffered a broken nose and did not continue, and against Lopez, Garcia lost the Featherweight title on the scale as he failed to make weight. Both raise some questions about this technically superb fighter.
He said he wanted to have an active 2013, and so far, he's lived up to that. He's already 3-0 on the year with all 3 wins coming via KO. His last fight against Matthew Macklin had the real feeling of a coming out party, as Golovkin's destruction of the tough Macklin immediately made him a serious threat to Sergio Martinez. Golovkin is looking for 2 more fights before the year is done, and talk continues about a possible Golovkin vs. Martinez showdown.
After his KO of Lamont Peterson, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer took to the ring and loudly proclaimed Matthysse the next Manny Pacquiao. That's a bold statement, and I'm not prepared to go quite that far, but Matthysse is indeed looking great. He rolled over Peterson, and had a fantastic KO of Mike Dallas to kick off the year. Reports now have him set to face Danny Garcia on the undercard of Mayweather vs. Canelo - if he wins that it will be a huge year for Matthysse.
Rigondeaux has some things going against him here - he only has one win this year, and it was a fight many considered rather dull. But that one fight was a win over Nonito Donaire, one of the sport's pound for pound best, and was a marvel of technical boxing skill. It's not everyone's style (and HBO has said they're not interested in promoting Rigondeaux's next fight), but so far this year, no one has put on the kind of technical performance against a world class fighter that Rigondeaux showed in this fight.
What's your pick? Vote now.