Fight News Fight Reports

[Video] 2013 Boxing Awards #7: Fights of the Year

Today is Christmas. But if you're a boxing fan, you've been opening presents all year courtesy of the excellent battles witnessed over the last 12 months...

BoxingGloves

Today is Christmas. But if you’re a boxing fan, you’ve been opening presents all year courtesy of the excellent battles witnessed over the last 12 months. Sometimes, the warfare came from surprising sources like Tim Bradley and Erislandy Lara. In other cases, the already-recognized war-mongers of the sport reminded fans that they still had a lot left in the tank, such as the performances from Brandon Rios and Jesus Soto Karass. Nearly all of the fighters on this list have had years taken off they careers, if not their very lives, due to the pounds of flesh they left in the ring over the course of these brutal bouts. Watch these thrilling battles and remember why boxing is a sport that you do not “play” — boxing is a realm where you fight for your very life.

 

Kirkland_Tapia

10. JAMES KIRLAND TKO6 GLEN TAPIA 12/7/13

James Kirkland once told me how much he enjoyed inflicting pain and breaking bones in the ring. In nearly every other institution of society, that type of behavior is unacceptable. But in boxing, that mindset makes you a must-see fighter. After getting his chin tested by some heavy shots in the early rounds, Kirkland showed how merciless he can be, fighting through a closed left eye to beat a brave Tapia into submission.

Tapia’s corner and referee Steve Smoger did a poor job of protecting him, leaving him at the mercy of Kirkland (who has none) in those last couple rounds. Also note the corner work of Kirkland’s trainer Anne Wolfe, who’s motivational demands added to the drama of the bout.

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Karass_Berto

9. JESUS SOTO KARASS TKO12 ANDRE BERTO 7/27/13

Fighting with a bum right shoulder for most of the fight, Andre Berto scored a late knockdown and was close to pulling out a dramatic win over a relentless Jesus Soto Karass. Both men took significant punishment, with Berto many times getting the worst of it due to laying on the ropes and getting his shoulder roll attempts destroyed by Karass’s overhand right. It would be a surprise left hook that ended Berto’s stand.

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MarcosMaidana_LopezWin

8. MARCOS MAIDANA TKO6 JOSESITO LOPEZ 6/8/13

The best description of this fight is that it was a “vicious shootout.” Lopez landed his best bombs early and had Maidana hurt and on his heels. However, Maidana showed his improvement under new trainer Robert Garcia and started to give better angles by shooting the jab and doubling up the right hook. It turned out Madiana could take it and Lopez couldn’t. Nonetheless, the most memorable thing of the night is what Maidana said after the referee saved Lopez from further damage.

Good job by the referee, but I wanted to hit him some more.

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Rios_Alvarado_Rematch

7. MIKE ALVARADO UD12 BRANDON RIOS 3/30/13

Mike Alvarado showed in this Fight of the Year candidate that adding ring generalship when going to war is a good thing. After getting rocked early by a jab, Alvarado started to use his legs and massive right hand counters to dominate the second half of this fight. Of course, Rios kept coming and made sure it wasn’t easy-going down to the final bell.

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Arakawa_Figueroa

6. OMAR FIGUEROA UD12 NIHITO ARAKAWA 7/27/13

If you score this round by round, the fight ceased being competitive by the mid-way point. But the reason this fight makes the list is how it became an amazing spectacle of the human spirit with Nihito Arakawa taking Figueroa’s best with a grisly smile on his face. The younger Figueroa became physically and mentally exasperated at how his best shots couldn’t turned back the man from the Orient. Figueroa learned that there’s men out there just as tough, if not tougher, than himself.

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Angulo_eye

5. ERISLANDY LARA TKO10 ALFREDO ANGULO 6/8/13

Angulo’s face sums up the type of war this was. Going into the fight, the prevailing opinion was that Lara was going to easily outbox the plodding Angulo. Due to a smaller ring, non-stop pressure and a strong chin from Angulo, Lara was forced to dig deep after getting worked on the ropes and dropped twice. Angulo looked to be on the verge of victory until Lara’s accurate straight left broke Angulo’s orbital bone and pulled this victory from the jaws of defeat. A highly entertaining war of contrasting styles.

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Groves_Froch_knockdown

4. CARL FROCH TKO9 GEORGE GROVES 11/23/13

George Groves came into the ring showered with boos and left an uncrowned champion after a phenomenal effort against hard-punching veteran Carl Froch. The fight exceeded expectations from the first round when Forch was planted hard on the canvas. From there, both delivered the most exciting super-middleweight bout seen this year. The controversial stoppage makes a rematch a given for 2014.

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Jones_Lebedev

3. GUILLERMO JONES KO11 DENIS LEBEDEV 5/17/13

With a left eye injury straight out of Robinson-Basilio II, this cruiserweight battle was an old-school, brutal affair. Jones, an ox of a man, wore out the smaller Lebedev with chopping shots. Lebedev, fighting in his native Russia, was allowed to fight was longer than he should have with that damaged left eye. Both wisely took the rest of 2013 off.

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Segura_Marquez

2. GIOVANI SEGURA TKO12 HERNAN MARQUEZ 11/2/13

Hooray for the flyweights! This shamefully overlooked division pretty much delivers a Fight of the Year contender every year. 2013 was no different with Giovani Segura and Hernan Marquez engaging in a seesaw battle of attrition. Segura was in seek n’ destroy mode and spent the majority of the fight coming forward behind a stiff right jab and smashing home right and left hooks. Marquez retaliated off the backfoot with superb straight left counters and uppercuts. However, it would be Segura who took over in the championship rounds and put an emphatic stamp on the end of this one.

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Bradley_Provodnikov

1. TIM BRADLEY UD 12 RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV 3/16/13

Despite a few “breaks” that Provodnikov took over the course of this fight (which ended up costing him on the scorecards), there were too many thrilling, back n’ forth rounds (2, 6, 12) to not have this fight as #1. Bradley was in his feelings due to the Pacquiao backlash and came out uncharacteristically wild in looking for a knockout. That nearly got him KO’d as Provodnikov rocked him in the first, and at several points Bradley was so buzzed he had to fight off instinct.

The fight elevated both men. In addition, they went on to show the war didn’t deplete them physically. Bradley finished the year by outboxing Juan Manuel Marquez, and Provodnikov won his first title by battering Mike Alvarado.

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