We’re at the midway point of a year that has seen many highs and lows in the sport. We’ve seen exciting fights, bad officiating, drug failures, fights being postponed, and fantastic performances from some of the best in the sport. Check out some of the standout performances that have already taken place as we take a look back in FightHype’s 2013 Midyear Report.
There have been some spectacular finishes so far this year, including the explosive Deontay Wilder disposing of Audley Harrison inside 70 seconds, Gennady Golovkin’s superb knockout of Nobuhiro Ishida, and Lucas Mathysse’s destruction of Mike Dallas Jr.
WINNER: It has to be that man Lucas Mathysse, who impressively stopped IBF jr. welterweight champion Lamont Peterson in the third round. Peterson has always been known as a slow starter, but he’s also proven to be very durable and capable of recovering and turning things around after a slow start. Unfortunately for him, the Argentine Mathysse did not give him that chance in their fight, putting Peterson on the deck a total of three times, once in the second and twice in the third, before the referee waved the fight as the champion struggled to get back to his feet. The manor of the victory is arguably Matthysse’s most important performance to date.
Well, there haven’t been too many thus far. Some people may go with the veteran Guillermo Jones brutally taking out Denis Lebedev in a war. Others may pick Guillermo Rigondeaux outpointing Nonito Donaire. Personally, I am going to pick a fight that 90% of the boxing world predicted wrong, not only for that reason, but for the manor of the victory.
WINNER: Tony Thompson knocking out David Price in 2 rounds. Thompson was wrote off by many as an out of shape hopeful coming to Liverpool to take on hometown hero and hotly tipped David Price. Oh, how wrong we were. A superb right hand that caught Price around the side of the neck sent him crashing to the canvas and struggling to make it to his feet. When he did, Price was wobbling all over the place, leaving the referee with no choice but to call the fight off. Not only the result, but the manor and the circumstances of the fight make this my winner here.
There have been a few, including a number of fights that had to be cancelled due to injuries, a couple of fighters failing drugs test, and not to mention, some below par performances in big fights. For me, this was a toss up between poor officiating and the heavyweight division. Officiating is something that comes into question most years in boxing, as it’s not uncommon to witness a controversial decision or even a flatout robbery. This year has been no exception, but for me, the pinnacle of the sport is rapidly disappearing without a trace outside of Germany.
WINNER: The Heavyweight Division. Okay, we do have promising guys like Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, who have been racking up win after win and doing their best to maintain the interest in the division outside of Germany. Hey, even David Haye returned this year to try and help the division, though his injury has now delayed a fight with Manuel Charr, which has created more frustration about the Heavyweight Division. Time and time again we see the Klitschko brothers take on unheard of contenders who boast an unbeaten record full of guys that nobody outside of their immediate family have even heard of. Between the two brothers, they have had 1 fight in six months against an Italian that nobody has ever heard of. Is it their fault that there is limited competition? Absolutely not! Am I questioning their ability? Absolutely not! My issue here is this….the Heavyweight division is the pinnacle of the sport, yet for the last 5 years, there has been only one Klitschko fight outside of Germany, and that was in Russia. They are WORLD champions, not German champions! It is obvious their legacy will be effected by their lack of competition at the top level, so why do they not add to their legacy and take a couple of fights in the UK or in the US to rekindle the interest worldwide? That would be far greater for their legacy than beating unknown Italians and average Joe’s in Germany.
There have been some awesome fights so far this year. Rios vs Alvarado was always going to be a war, as was the rematch between two warriors in Kessler and Froch. And what about the brutal war between Guillermo Jones and Denis Lebedev? The winner for me has to be a fight that nobody really anticipated to be as exciting as it was.
WINNER: Timothy Bradley vs Ruslan Provodnikov. What a war this was. Nobody really expected it to be this close. Bradley is generally in fights that are pretty boring due to his style, but he really showed up to entertain here and nearly paid the price. Bradley escaped with a close decision victory after having to take a knee in the final round. He was rocked many times during the fight and was even on the canvas in the first round, only to be ruled a slip, which was laughable. He was also lucky not to be given a 10-8 round against Provodnikov in the second round, as he was pummelled all over the ring, but he showed the true heart of a champion to get through it. What a fight!
There have been some superb performances so far, with Lucas Mathysse again being mentioned here for his demolition job on Lamont Peterson, Guillermo Rigondeaux’s victory over Nonito Donaire, Bernard Hopkins’ victory over Tavoris Cloud, and of course the return of the pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather.
WINNER: Floyd Mayweather. This is a man who had been out of action for a year once again, but this time, he also had to serve time in jail. In his last outing against Miguel Cotto, people questioned whether he was on the decline because he was getting tagged far too often in that fight despite winning a lopsided decision. Robert Guerrero possessed the workrate, aggression, and pressure that people say have always troubled Mayweather. Couple that with the fact that Guerrero is a southpaw, which people have always suggested Mayweather struggles with. After two impressive wins at welterweight, a lot of people gave Guerrero a real chance to hurt Mayweather here, but a brilliant boxing exhibition from the pound-for-pound king proved that at the age of 36, he still has his reflexes, his speed, and his movement, which allowed him to pick Guerrero apart en route to a lopsided points victory.
All of the guys in the category above could be listed here, and you can add Carl Froch to this list too. 2013 has been tipped as a big year for a lot of fighters in establishing themselves amongst the elite. B-Hop broke another record, Floyd Mayweather proved he is still the best, Lucas Mathysse proved he can take out the most durable opponent, and Carl Froch has gotten his revenge against Mikkel Kessler. For me, however, the winner is clear.
WINNER: Guillermo Rigondeaux. What a performance against Nonito Donaire from this man. He was tipped by the vast majority to lose his fight against Donaire, but instead, he put on a boxing masterclass. Despite being knocked down, he won almost every round. The scoring, however, was extremely kind to Donaire, who looked sluggish and slow in there. People questioned whether Rigondeaux could mix it up with the best after a superb amateur career. He answered those questions and made a statement in emphatic fashion.
FIGHTER OF THE YEAR…SO FAR
Despite numerous superb performances from some of the biggest names in the sport, there is only one winner for me here. Whilst the likes of Mayweather and Hopkins continue to pick apart opponents, Carl Froch enhances his legacy, and Rigondeaux put himself amongst the elite, the winner for me is somebody who has already fought twice this year and destroyed both opponents in a combined four rounds.
WINNER: Lucas Matthysse. A stunning knockout victory over Mike Dallas Jr. to start the year, followed by a superb victory over the usually durable and very tough Lamont Peterson, makes Matthysse the frontrunner in this category. A money-spinning clash with undefeated unified jr. welterweight champion Danny Garcia could follow next, and the possibility of a showdown with Floyd Mayweather next year awaits Matthysse.
HONORABLE MENTION: Ishe Smith. After a long, hard journey to the top, Smith finally captured his long-awaited world title after he outpointed Cornelius “K9″ Bundrage in what was a memorable night for The Money Team. Smith became the first Las Vegas born world champion after overcoming such adversity which pushed him right to the edge. Carlos Molina awaits Smith later this year, which will be a big test, and one I believe he will come through and hopefully go on and build his reputation as a fighting champion.