Boxer Of The Year
Duan: Carl Froch
After a disappointing loss in the final of last year’s Super Six, Froch came back hungrier and better and than ever before at 35. Froch is a rare sort in Boxing. He’s been facing the best consistently for years now without complaint and putting on these great wars. He’s not going to be around the sport forever, so we should really start to appreciate him while he’s still here.
Big D: Andre Ward
After smashing Froch last year, he smashed Chad Dawson this year, and will smash Kelly Pavlick in 2013 (if they fight).
Jake: Nonito Donaire
Nonito Donaire is a clear-cut choice for Boxer of the Year. He moved up to the Super Bantamweight division, immediately captured a title belt, unified it, took out a top-15 pound for pound fighter and longtime champion in Toshiaki Nishioka, and then got the type of spectacular performance we knew we’d get from him against Jorge Arce. And simply fighting four times — what a treat for a high level guy to be so active against good competition. The first but maybe not the last time he gets this honor.
GG: Nonito Donaire
The Filipino Flash went 4-0 in 2012, scoring two knockout victories over Japanese boxer Toshiaki Nishioka and retired Jorge Arce to end the year. Maybe more importantly is his stance against performance enhancing drugs. If you want to face Nonito, you better be ready to face some extensive drug testing.
Fight Of The Year
Duan: Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado
The type of knockdown drag out brawl you’re lucky if you get once a decade. There were A LOT of really great fights this year, but there was never any doubt over my number one. There were huge expectations on these guys to produce this type of war, and not only did they live up to the hype, they in many ways surpassed it.
Big D: Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Manny Pacquiao
It was a six round thrillfest that I’ll never forget.
Jake: Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado
If Boxer of the Year was obvious, Fight of the Year was filled with great choices, and it just depends on what you’re looking for. Personally, I’ll take the back-and-forth brutality of Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado. Fierce exchanges, real ebbs and flows within the fight, and the type of ending you want to see in these types of fights. I wouldn’t argue if you thought that Orlando Salido vs. JuanMa Lopez II was the Fight of the Year, or even Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez 4, given the shock ending.
GG: Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Manny Pacquiao
The magnitude of the win ekes this fight out over Rios/Alvarado and even Robert Guerrero vs. Andre Berto, which I loved for its toughness. I was legitimately shocked after this fight was over. My jaw was hanging and I couldn’t believe what I just saw.
Big Things In ’13
Duan: Khalid Yafai
I always felt Yafai had the goods when watching him as an amateur and his pro transition has been close to perfect. I saw him box live this year and he looks to be doing everything right already, while still improving rapidly with each fight. Matchroom has gotten behind him, kept him active and given him good TV exposure. He’s already headlining his first show on January 19th, which should kick off a big breakout year for him.
Big D: Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez
Jake: Adrien Broner, Gary Russell Jr., and Mikey Garcia
Broner: He already had his breakout in 2012, but I expect him to basically make a quick move to Junior Welterweight, and do so by taking on and taking out one of the big names in that division.
Russell Jr.: He should be healthy and ready to get in there with some big names, finally. Superior talent, just waiting for the right opportunity.
Garcia: Stepping up against Orlando Salido, finally. Superior talent, just waiting for the right opportunity. Now if only Russell and Garcia would fight. Then we’d be talking!
GG: Mayweather’s record
The year after Manny Pacquiao gets knocked to smithereens, I truly think there’s a chance Mayweather loses in 2013. It probably doesn’t happen in a fight with Robert Guerrero, but after the toughness he showed against Berto, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hurt Mayweather at some point if they fought. Could it be Canelo? I think that Mayweather’s superior greatness is coming to an end. He only fights once a year. I thought he got hit a little too much against Miguel Cotto. And then you had the jail stint. I don’t have much behind it, other than a gut feeling.
Because the boxing category has one less award, Duan wanted to make note of what he thought was the “Moment Of The Year” which was Marquez’s sixth round KO of Manny Pacquiao. He called it “the day Marquez finally laid his demons to rest and the day the biggest fight in boxing went up in smoke.”
We’ll have the MMA awards up on Friday.