It's that time of year when the boxing community reflects upon the past 12 months to identify the highlights within the sport, including Fighter of the Year candidates. Boxing 101 would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the fighter who we believe to be most worthy of this honor for 2013 — WBA/IBO middleweight champion Gennady "GGG" Golovkin.
There are several fighters to thank for the extraordinary year of boxing we enjoyed this year and who are worthy of consideration for Fighter of the Year, including Floyd Mayweather Jr., Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia, Timothy Bradley, Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Yet, when applying criteria such as winning big fights, fighting frequently against good opposition and looking spectacular while doing it, Gennady Golovkin (28-0, 25 KO) stands out.
Last year at this time, Golovkin stated that he planned to fight four times in 2013 and was willing to shift to whoever expressed interest in a bout, from Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at 154 pounds, Sergio Martinez at 160 or Andre Ward at 168.
31-year old Golovkin stuck to his word and did, in fact, fight four times this year, quite a rarity for a reigning world champion (NOTE: 2012 "Fighter of the Year" Nonito Donaire did it last year). Alvarez pushed for and got a massive pay day against Mayweather in September, while injuries to Martinez and Ward kept them out of the ring.
Golovkin was not sitting around waiting for them or anybody else.
Instead, he went up against the best alternatives who were willing to face him. Of course, there are a segment of fans and media who will discount Golovkin's opposition. The cries will go something like this:
Gabe Rosado was a light middleweight who refused a catch weight and took on Golovkin at the full 160-pound limit in January.
Nobuhiro Ishida was long in the tooth at 37 years old when he faced GGG in March.
Matthew Macklin (a true middleweight who has fought a number of world champions) was not equipped with the overall tools to be a serious threat to Golovkin when they fought in June.
The relatively inexperienced and untested Curtis Stevens was out of his depth when he challenged Golovkin in November.
If the argument against appointing Golovkin as Fighter of the Year is that all four of these opponents were 'easy prey', the counter would be that he did exactly what he should have done against such foes. He disposed of all of them within eight rounds, registering two pure knockouts – one over Ishida with a devastating overhand right that knocked the Japanese challenger out cold and halfway out of the ring, and another over Macklin with a deadly left hand liver shot from which the British-born Irishman was left writhing in pain after the 10-count was administered.
That said, it is somewhat difficult to classify Rosado, Macklin and Stevens as 'easy prey'. All three are tough, exciting fighters who had a puncher's chance to at least stand in there with Golovkin to put on action-filled fights. It was Golovkin who proved he was simply just too much for any of them.
Keep in mind he did it all within the same calendar year, as well.
Golovkin's work in 2013 keeps alive his streak of 15 consecutive stoppage victories, including eight successful defenses of the WBA middleweight belt he won in Kazakhstan in 2010. He is not a brute, one-dimensional brawler who only knows how to win by knocking someone's head off – he is a rare breed of fighter who possesses very sound fundamentals combined with killer power. This blend of ring discipline, versatility, talent and force makes him extremely dangerous and Boxing 101's 2013 "Fighter of the Year".
Who is your "Fighter of the Year" and why?
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- Boxing 101′s “Referee Watch List” – 3rd Quarter 2013
- Boxing 101′s Judge Watch List 2013 – 3rd Quarter
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