A Hater’s Review of the Year in Boxing for 2013
By: William Holmes
Hater: — n
( in combination )a grudging or spiteful person, esp one who disparages others: a woman-hater ; a cop-hater ; Don’t let the haters get you down
Every single website that covers the pugilistic arts has their own version of a year-end awards article. Fighter of the year, trainer of the year, fight of the year, etc., etc. After reading some of these articles you would think that 2013 has been the best year in boxing history.
Granted, it’s been a good year in boxing, but there are a lot of negatives in the sport that too many overlook, or fighters/events in the sport that are way overhyped.
So here it is, the Hater’s Awards for Boxing in 2013.
Most Overhyped Fighter:
Adrien Broner. He hung out with Floyd Mayweather Jr. a few times and suddenly he’s the next pound for pound king. Yes, he’s a three division champion, but look at who he beat while he was a champion and you’ll come away less than impressed. He struggled against Daniel Ponce De Leon in his super featherweight title match. He defeated a two loss Antonio DeMarco for his lightweight belt and then fought a T-Rex armed Gavin Rees to defend that title. All the while he managed to avoid Ricky Burns, Miguel Vazquez, Raymundo Beltran, Richar Abril, Terence Crawford, and Yuriorkis Gamboa before stepping up to the welterweight division.
He jumped over the fierce junior welterweight division to face the hard hitting knockout artist known as Paulie Malignaggi. Paulie is a good fighter in his own right, but he’s not the type of opponent that gets you recognition as a top pound for pound fighter. Marcos Maidana beats him, the same man who lost convincingly to Devon Alexander and Amir Khan, and he’s still considered by many to be in the pound for pound list.
Broner should clean out the lightweight or junior welterweight divisions before he can be considered a pound for pound great.
Most Overused Cliché:
The Cold War is good for boxing.
You hear that? Now that Golden Boy only exclusively works with Showtime and HBO exclusively works with Top Rank it’s great for the sport. Even some noted “independent” bloggers have praised the work Golden Boy and Top Rank have done since the Cold War started.
The Cold War is NOT good for boxing, and it extends past Top Rank and Golden Boy. You can pretty much guarantee that any HBO fighter will not be facing any Golden Boy Fighter. Kovalev vs. Hopkins? Not happening. Stevens vs. Hopkins? Not happening. Pacquiao vs. Mayweather? Laughable.
What about Ward vs. Hopkins? Unlikely. Martinez vs. Quillin? Nope. Golovkin vs. Quillin? No….again. How about we matchup some of the up and coming heavyweights, like Wilder vs. Jennings, or Stiverne vs. Banks? Doubtful.
Ok, how about Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Abner Mares, or Rigondeaux vs. Santa Cruz, or Donaire vs. Mares and Donaire vs. Santa Cruz? None of these fights will ever materialize.
The Cold War is not good for boxing, and every time I hear it I want to scream.
Worst Fight of 2013:
Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Joseph Agbeko was the absolute worst fight I have ever seen, and it wasn’t completely Rigondeaux’s fault. Agbeko threw what seemed like a paltry four punches a round while Rigondeaux seemed content with landing maybe five punches a round.
Fans were leaving Boardwalk Hall in droves and at times you could hear crickets chirp in the arena. It was the lowest watched HBO Boxing Main Event of 2013 and it made me question my desire to watch live boxing.
If Rigondeaux went for the finish this fight wouldn’t have been so bad. It was terribly irritating to see someone that is so obviously talented put on such a boring show.
Biggest Mismatch in a Title Fight:
This is actually a tough one as there were a lot of mismatches in title fights in 2013. Gennady Golovkin versus an eight loss Nobuhiro Ishida was a pretty bad mismatch that resulted in a third round near death experience for the Japanese fighter. Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s fight with Robert Guerrero was also a huge mismatch; I don’t think anybody gave Guerrero a legitimate chance.
But I think Wladimir Klitschko’s title fight with the Italian fighter Francesco Pianeta was one of the most one sided affairs I’ve ever seen. Granted, Klitschko is a very good boxer who doesn’t get the credit he deserves in the United States, but Pianeta had no business being inside a ring with the Heavyweight Champion of the world.
But he was undefeated you say? Take a look at his opponents prior to taking a gigantic leap up in competition to face Klitschko. He beat an unknown Nelson Dario Dominguez before taking on Klitschko. He also beat an elderly Frans Botha and Oliver McCall by decision. Both Botha and Mcall were well past the age of forty when they lost to Pianeta.
There are many worthy challengers to Wladimir Klitschko in boxing, Pianeta was not one of them.
Worst PPV of 2013:
I’m going to catch some heat for this but I’ll say it anyway, Mayweather vs. Guerrero was the worst pay per view of 2013.
Robert Guerrero had no chance at defeating Mayweather even though Mayweather was out of the ring for a year before the fight. The only intrigue to the fight was Guerrero’s father making outlandish comments to try to drum up interest for the fight, but many didn’t buy into it.
Guerrero was a blown up super featherweight that had fought for the lightweight title as recently as two years prior to his bout with Mayweather. Guerrero isn’t a hard puncher, he doesn’t have incredible hand speed, and he isn’t even an exciting boxer. This pay per view wouldn’t have been so bad if Mayweather went for a stoppage victory, but we all know by now that Floyd just doesn’t go for the kill. He goes for the finesse.
Now I don’t want to take away from Floyd’s victory over a weight drained Canelo Alvarez, that was one of the best wins of Floyd’s career. (Weight drained……sounds familiar). But this pay per view didn’t even have a solid undercard. Rosado gave J’Leon Love an unexpected test, but Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares were matched up against opponents that they were expected to beat.
Some will say that Manny Pacquiao’s pay per view fight against Brandon Rios was worse, but at least Pacquiao’s fights are entertaining and there was the intrigue of how he would hold up after being viciously knocked out in his previous bout with Juan Manuel Marquez. Add in the intrigue of finally having a major world title fight in Asia, it is clear that Mayweather vs. Guerrero was the worst pay per view of 2013.
Most Questionable Move in 2013:
I love Bryant Jennings as a fighter. He’s a Philly fighter and he is constantly improving. However, he went from fighting for Peltz Boxing/Main Events to fighting for Gary Shaw Promotions. His manager, James Prince, allowed him to fight only once in 2013 and had him pass up a fight with the Polish Heavyweight Tomasz Adamek to instead fight the lesser known but younger and harder hitting Artur Szpilka. Ironically, James Prince’s other fighter, Andre Ward, has also only fought once in 2013. But that was mainly due to injury.
Peltz Boxing and Main Events have a strong relationship and have given their fighters incredible exposure on NBC Sports Network and NBC. Even though HBO is a premier destination for boxing, it appears likely that an Adamek vs. Jennings fight would have landed on HBO. Jennings is now fighting in a higher risk lower reward fight against Szpilka.
But what I find most questionable is his decision to leave Main Events, who have given a ton of fighters’ considerable exposure including Sergei Kovalev, to sign with Gary Shaw. The same Gary Shaw that led the MMA promotional company Elite XC to financial ruin. The same Gary Shaw that is now trying to pump up Kimbo Slice as a credible boxer. The same Gary Shaw that was accused of corruption with the IBF.
Last, but not least, the last time Gary Shaw put on a fight in Atlantic City, Barker vs. Geale, it was poorly attended. Peltz Boxing and Main Events always do well in the Northeast.
Money talks, and it must have taken a lot of money for Jennings to sign with Gary Shaw Promotions, but money isn’t everything.
The Rivalry that Needs to Die:
Boxing vs. MMA.
I get it; some boxing aficionados find MMA terribly boring and would rather not see guys roll around in a cage. But to completely ignore the talent and hard work it takes to master some of the grappling arts is just plain ignorant.
It’s ok to like both, but what is not ok is to put a boxer with no other martial arts experience in a cage against a well-rounded MMA fighter and call it a credible fight. It’s also not ok to put a MMA fighter inside a ring with a highly skilled boxer and call it a credible fight.
James Toney, Ricardo Mayorga, Art Jimmerson, and even Matthew Saad Muhammad have tried their hand in MMA and have failed miserably.
Now we see MMA fighters who want to try their hand in boxing, namely against former pound for pound great Roy Jones Jr. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Anderson Silva, and even Nick Diaz are rumored future opponents for Roy Jones Jr. inside a boxing ring.
I have no problem with an MMA fighter trying boxing or a boxer trying MMA, as long as they work their way up the ranks before immediately jumping into the ring with one of the best in boxing or MMA. The only fighter in boxing or MMA who looks to have a chance at making a successful transition from one sport to the other is Holly Holm.
Holly Holm is a two time Ring Magazine female fighter of the year that has recently transitioned to MMA. However, she has made the transition smoothly by training with Greg Jackson, one of the top trainers in MMA, and by slowly working her way up in competition. Other boxers would be wise to follow her lead if they want to try their hand in MMA.
The same goes with MMA fighters. If Jackson, Silva, or Diaz want to fight Jones they should probably take a few warm up fights first in boxing to see if they realistically have a chance at beating Roy Jones Jr. To jump right in the ring with him would make it comical.
But the whole boxing vs. mma idea is just ridiculous and needs to go away.
Biggest Duck in Boxing in 2013:
I’ll let you decide this for yourself, but not without a few quotes.
“We all know the Pacquiao fight, at this particular time, will never happen, and the reason why the fight won’t happen is because I will never do business with Bob Arum again in life, and Pacquiao is Bob Arum’s fighter. “-Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“I have no interest whatsoever to work with Bob Arum,” Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.
“We’ve put out the olive branch saying we would welcome the start of discussions for such a fight,” Top Rank chief executive officer Arum told CNN World Sport.
“While Manny fights on HBO and HBO pay-per-view and Floyd fights on Showtime and Showtime pay-per-view, there is a precedent for both networks to come together and put on big event.
“They did it when heavyweight Mike Tyson, who was a Showtime fighter, fought Lennox Lewis, who was an HBO fighter, a number of years ago. That was a hugely successful event and set a record for pay-per-view sales in the US.
“We can’t keep posturing,. If people want to make a deal and put aside egos and making statements to the press — who was right, who was wrong — and really sincerely want something to happen it generally gets done.
“And it is my hope that’s what will happen; when and if both sides sit down to discuss seriously an event the sports world is crying out for.”
The Cold War is not good for boxing.