The Very Unofficial Boxing Awards of 2013:
By Tyson Bruce
Fight of the Year: Tim Bradley W-12 Ruslan Provodnikov
This incredible bout didn’t have the sustained action of Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado but for pure drama and epic momentum changes it stands alone. Coming into the bout little was expected from Provodnikov, who was regarded as a tough but limited fringe contender. So, when he came out like a bull in a china shop and had Bradley fighting for his life in the first few rounds it was truly unexpected drama. Despite being badly stunned Bradley managed to rebound and control the middle rounds with his smooth boxing skills and precise body punching. However, the drama level would hit an unprecedented high when Provodnikov knocked down and almost knocked out Bradley in the twelfth and final round. It was a brilliant performance by both men in a sensational bout. It took on even more significance when Provodnikov showed just how menacing of a fighter he is by destroying Mike Alvarado later in the year.
Runner Up: Mike Alvarado W-12 Brandon Rios II
Trainer of the Year: Javan “Sugar” Hill
Javan Hill, a protégé of the late Emanuel Steward, will most certainly not win this award in any kind of official capacity because he doesn’t have the glitzy, deep stable of talent of a Freddie Roach or Roberto Garcia. However, what he’s accomplished by transforming Adonis Stevenson from a one-dimensional puncher into the well- rounded fighting machine that he is today is something special. If trainer of the year is based on improving a fighter and taking him to a place that no one thought he could reach, and not the popularity contest that it’s become, then “Sugar” Hill is your man.
Runner Up: Freddie Roach & Angel Garcia
The ‘R Kelly’ I have No Class Award: Adrien Broner
When it comes to alienating people and creating mortal enemies no one even came close to touching Broner on this one. Defecating in a public place? Check. Performing cunniligus on a stripper? Check. Releasing your own unprotected three-way sex tape? Check. Not staying in the ring to face the music after getting your rear end handed to you by a guy you said would be ‘easy work’? Check. All of these things filmed on camera? Priceless. Watch out folks, we could have an undisputed champ in this category.
Runner Up: Alex Ariza
The Allen Green-Jaidon Codrington Brutal KO Award: Javier Fortuna ko-1 Miguel Zumudio
There were knockouts that were of more significance to the sport than Fortuna-Zumudio, but for shear brutality this one takes the cake. Zumudio was a virtual unknown coming into the bout and Fortuna had a growing reputation for being an explosive starter. Fortuna saw blood before the first bell even rang, as he jumped on Zumudio like a great white tearing apart a wounded seal. Fortuna dropped Zumudio hard with a massive wide-open left hand, but somehow, probably on instinct, Zumudio rose on very unsteady legs. The remainder of this brief fight was like watching a car wreck in slow motion, as Fortuna absolutely creamed Zumudio with an overhand left, leaving him motionless and devastated—for several minutes.
Runner Up: Chris Pearson ko-1 Acacio Joao Ferreira
Prospect of the Year: Vasyl Lomachenko
A strong case for this award could be made for either Mexico’s Oscar Valdez or Puerto Rico’s Felix Verdejo, both of whom, ironically, were former amateur victims of Lomanchenko. After all, they fought many more times than the Ukrainian amateur star that boxed just once in 2013. However, what separates him from other excellent prospects like Valdez and Verdejo is that they spent the year beating guys who aren’t competent enough to be hired as sparring partners and Lomachenko beat a really solid pro in his first fight out of the gate. His opponent Jose Ramirez boasted a 25-3 record, setting a bold new precedent for what a coveted amateur could or should be expected to fight in his pro debut. To put this into perspective: Lomanchenko beat a better fighter in his professional debut than Garry Russell Jr. has fought in the first four years of his career. Combine that with Lomachenko’s surgical fourth round destruction of Ramirez and you have an easy choice for prospect of the year.
Runner Up: Felix Verdejo
Upset of the Year: Jhonny Gonzales KO-1 Abner Mares
Many people will probably select Marcos Maidana’s upset win over Adrien Broner for upset of the year, but they would be forgetting that Maidana was riding the momentum of two good wins, had a natural size advantage, and that Broner was utterly untested going into the bout. No one, however, gave Jhonny Gonzales a hope in hell of upsetting a battle tested and in his prime fighter like Abner Mares. It turns out that Gonzales, who has been chronically unlucky in big fights, finally had lady luck on his side when he blasted Mares with a beautiful left hook. Mares beat the count but he was quickly put down again by a follow-up combination. A credible argument can be made that the bout was stopped a tad prematurely, but it certainly looked like the end was coming. This was a stunning upset that literally no one saw coming.
Runner Up: Marcos Maidana W-12 Adrien Broner
Boxing City of the Year: San Antonio, Texas
In 2013 San Antonio really emerged as a major boxing city, as a result of hosting a number of excellent, high profile boxing cards. Golden Boy Promotions worked in tandem with local legend and former world champion Jessie James Leija to create what has become maybe the best fight city in the southwest. The Alamodome played host to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez becoming a superstar when he drew 40,000 passionate fans against Texan Austin Trout and the arena also played host to the Marcos Maidana-Adrien Broner fight, which has become arguably the most talked about fight of the year. The AT&T Center also hosted a tremendous three-fight card that featured the Soto Karass-Berto upset and a fight of the year contender between Omar Figeroa-Nihito Arakawa. I think it’s safe to say that boxing is here to stay in San Antonio.
Runner Up: Brooklyn
Other Unofficial Awards:
The Antonio Margarito What Happened to My Face Award: Dennis Lebedev (against Guillermo Jones
The Panama Lewis Shadiest Character Award: Alex Ariza
The David Rodriguez Long Resume of Stiffs Award: Deontay Wilder & Garry Russell Jr.
The Naseem Hamed Vanishing Act Award: Mike Jones.
Most Bizarre Moment Award: Victor Ortiz’s face lube commercial
John Ruiz-Fres Oquendo Dreadful Fight Award: Wladimir Klitschko W-12 Alexander Povetkin.
The Norm Stone Crazy Corner Man Award: Ruben Guerrero.
The ‘Fan Man’ Craziest Event Award: The brawl in Macau.