Who doesn’t love a good fight? A great bout can announce the arrival of a new star, turn a star into a legend or simply entertain a thrilled audience. And let’s be clear here… 2013 was a great year for fights. The hardest part of compiling this list was thinking about what to leave out rather than looking for bouts to put in and there are number of contests that likely deserve at least an honorable mention only to find themselves excluded because I didn’t want to list dozens of contests.
There are many ways to win a bout in boxing but the knockout has always been the most visceral. It’s been the one that captures the world’s attention and the one that can catapult a boxer to a wider audience. There’s something definitive about a knockout win tha a decision, however comprehensive, often struggles to emulate. And a knockout speaks to the base part of us that enjoys boxing, the primal instinct that fires our blood when we watch two boxers compete. Knockouts have provided some of boxings iconic images and calls, from Ali stopping Foreman to Foreman stopping Moorer to Mercer stopping Morrison to Martinez dropping Williams to Marquez stopping Pacquiao to… well… Tyson. A knockout can come to define a boxer’s career… for good or ill… and today we look at the best knockouts of 2013.
I’ve already looked at those who gained the most this year and those who lost the most. But how about those who basically stood still? As a general rule in boxing you’re either rising to the surface or sinking towards the bottom but for some boxers it appears they spent 2013 treading water. Despite the somewhat pejorative title, this isn’t a list of those who had a bad year… some of these names have had a pretty good year all-told. It’s a list of people we expected more from and for whatever reason… be it in their control or not… it simply hasn’t happened that way.
One of the great joys of boxing is watching new stars appear seemingly from nowhere, thrust into the limelight not by salivating promoters or over-eager media but instead simply through the strength of their performances and the acclamation of their fans. This award is to celebrate those who rose from (relative) obscurity in 2012 to become notable names in boxing as 2013 comes to a close.