Welcome to The Queensberry Rules' annual year-end awards. Here's how we do it around these parts:
The major categories are Knockout of the Year, Round of the Year, Fight of the Year and Fighter of the Year. The final leg, which will finish early next week, is a pu-pu platter of awards ranging from Trainer of the Year to more frivolous topics.
For each category, we give five finalists, with video and/or relevant info. You tell us if our finalists and honorable mentions are lacking, and give your vote on who you think should win. Maybe you sway us to adjust the list, and maybe you sway us on the eventual winner. On the second day after a category is introduced, we'll give that winner and explain why. (There are virtually no major fights left in 2013, but we reserve the right to change our category winners if something crazy happens.)
So, up now: Fight of the Year candidates. Previously: Knockout of the Year candidates, Round of the Year candidates, Knockout of the Year. On deck: Round of the Year and Fighter of the Year candidates.
FINALISTS (IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)
Timothy Bradley – Ruslan Provodnikov
Bradley-Provodnikov came early enough in the year that for the next nine months, we had to ask, "Sure, that was a Fight of the Year contender, but was it better than Bradley-Provodnikov?"
Mike Alvarado – Brandon Rios II
The first contender to Bradley-Provodnikov came just two weeks later, and proved a worthy successor to 2012's Fight of the Year between the made-for-one-another Rios and Alvarado.
Omar Figueroa – Nihito Arakawa
It was inhumane and often one-sided. But it also was a testament, if a frightening one, to the extraordinary things that boxers can do.
Giovani Segura – Hernan Marquez
Two men who don't outweigh supermodels were expected by hardcore fans to overshadow a ballyhooed slugging match between Gennady Golovkin and Curtis Stevens that same night, and they did, complete with dramatic finish.
Carl Froch – George Groves
The first part belonged to Groves, stunningly. Just as stunningly, even given his track record, Froch began to take over. Too bad about that ending, although it gave boxing folk something to talk about for a while.
HONORABLE MENTIONS (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
Guillermo Jones – Denis Lebedev
Carl Froch – Mikkel Kessler II
Mike Alvarado – Ruslan Provodnikov
Sakio Bika – Marco Antonio Periban
Andre Berto – Jesus Soto Karass
Marcos Maidana – Josesito Lopez
Darren Barker – Daniel Geale
Juan Francisco Estrada – Brian Viloria
Erislandy Lara – Alfredo Angulo
Sakio Bika – Anthony Dirrell
Jayson Velez – Dat Nguyen
Evgeny Gradovich – Billy Dib I
James Kirkland – Glen Tapia (no video available)