Following what many are calling the best year of boxing in the last 25 years, 2014 is promising to be another great year and there are a ton of fighters that are on many people’s radar’s in the New Year. Last year saw the rise, and fall, of many fighters. As every year has proven to show, some of the risen will fall in 2014, and some of the fallen will rise. Let’s take a look at some of the fighters that jumped onto the scene in 2013, and the others that people may have lost faith in.
He’s the most hyped fighter in boxing right now. 2013 was a great year for him as he fought four times, and ended them all with KO’s. His amateur background became widely noticed, along with a YouTube video of him decimating Chavez Jr. People are buying into the hype. His first HBO outing in January brought in a rough 600k viewers. By the time November rolled in, he had topped a HBO Main Event fight against Curtis Stevens with 1.4 million viewers. That number equals to guys like Miguel Cotto, Adrien Broner, Sergio Martinez, and Chavez Jr. Golovkin is gaining fans, and 2014 should allow him to see at least one huge fight against a world class champion or contender.
I truly believe he’s the most underrated fighter in boxing. And he actually still has more to prove. Garcia defeated Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse in 2013. The Judah win was perhaps expected but the Matthysse win was not. Garcia is gaining momentum with each victory and 2014 will be an even bigger year for him as the quality of opponents will only get better. Golden Boy has some very good fighters that Garcia is going to have to keep proving himself against. His stock is rising fast, but some still have questions.
For someone who spent 2012 getting hate mail and death threats from boxing fans, 2013 had to be extra special for Bradley. His war against Ruslan Provodnikov will be a fight that people talk about for years to come. I think the Juan Manuel Marquez win was a defining moment. Nothing against Top Rank, but the quality of opposition for welterweights right now is with Golden Boy. Bradley’s contract is up soon, and I truly believe a move to Golden Boy would be in his best interest in 2014.
“Superman” has already nabbed most of the Fighter of the Year awards for 2013. His spectacular KO against Chad Dawson grabbed tons of Knockout of the Year awards as well. He’s dominating the light heavyweight division right now. 2014 could be another big year for him as a showdown against Sergey Kovalev could be right around the corner. Stevenson made a lot of noise in 2013.
Speaking of Kovalev, 2013 was an amazing year for him as well. Like Stevenson and Golovkin, he dominated 2013 with 4 wins all by way of KO. The interesting thing about Kovalev’s knockouts is that none of them have gone past the fourth round. His power is resolute, and like Max Kellerman said, “Good look getting him into the later rounds.” A fight against Adonis Stevenson would be a defining fight for him.
Other fighters that are on the rise from a great 2013: Guillermo Rigondeaux, Ruslan Provodnikov, Marcos Maidana, Deontay Wilder, Mikey Garcia, Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton, George Groves, Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, James Kirkland, Bernard Hopkins.
Broner self-proclaimed himself as the next big superstar in boxing by calling himself one of the best pound for pound fighters in the sport. His run in to Marcos Maidana proved otherwise. Broner needs a lot of work, mostly on his out of ring antics, if he wants to become a relevant contender that people will take seriously. The supposed to be future star of boxing hit a big wall. I believe he can bounce back in 2014, and will.
The Machine got an unlucky break when his eye shut against Danny Garcia in their September showdown. He was dominating the fight until then. Unfortunately, when you lose, people lose faith. Matthysse has gotten some unlucky breaks in his career and it may seem that no matter how hard he tries, in big fights he may be one of those guys to always get them, but will somehow always fall short of that defining win. I think we’ll see him in another big fight in 2014. Fans still love watching a guy that can win with one punch.
There’s nothing wrong with losing to someone as gifted as Guillermo Rigondeaux is. It’s the fight against Vic Darchinyan that has me worried. He didn’t look great, but he managed to get the TKO. I wonder if his long career, one that saw him towards the top of every pound for pound list, is nearly over. 2014 will be an interesting year for him.
He started the year undefeated, and ended it with two losses. In fact, his only two fights in 2013 were losses. But this is Brandon Rios we are talking about. No one cares if he wins, or losses, they just want to see him fight. I believe Rios will continue to get big fights and give the fans exciting brawls in 2014.
He’s another fighter that came off a big 2012 only to see it all fall in 2013. Trout has nothing to be ashamed of. He lost to two world class fighters in Canelo and Lara. But you have to wonder if his flaws were exposed in those two fights. We’ll see what happens to him in 2014, but I for one would like to see him in a big fight at least one more time.
Other fighters that had a rough 2013: Abner Mares, Lamont Peterson, Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Juan Manuel Marquez.