Year-End Awards: Heavyweight, 2013

Welcome to my 2nd Annual Year-End Awards and Wrap-Up.  First, a list of awards for the division.  Then, a look at the 20 fighters that did the best work in 2012 specifically, followed by a rundown of the year’s rankings history.  Dig in!

 

Heavyweight Fighter of the Year: Wladimir Klitschko
After spending 2012 practically sitting on his title by failing to fight a single top 10 fighter, Klitschko got back to business a bit this year.  He and runner-up Tyson Fury each beat #3 contenders- Povetkin for Klitschko and Cunningham for Fury- but Klitschko took the nod by throwing in a fringe contender in Francesco Pianeta.

 

Prospect of the Year: Mike Perez
The winner of this award is the fighter to do the most during the year who has never been ranked in the top 10 and has fewer than 3 losses in his career.  Under those criteria, Perez is a clear-cut winner.  He has peaked at his current #11 so far, and while both he and Deontay Wilder have won at an almost identical level this year (Abdusalamov and Audley Harrison), but Perez also added a throw-in win against gatekeeper Travis Walker.

 

Most Important Knockout of the Year: Tyson Fury KO7 Steve Cunningham
This award goes to the fighter who knocks out the highest-ranked opponent to get stopped during the year.  Fury had a little help from his forearm and subtler illegal tactics like constantly leaning on his opponent’s neck, but he nevertheless wore down and knocked out the much smaller #3 Steve Cunningham, who was 2012’s Heavyweight Fighter of the Year after clearly beating Tomasz Adamek.

 

Most Sensational Knockout of the Year: Erkan Teper KO1 Martin Rogan
Normally I would list all the potential candidates and re-watch to pick the most exciting.  But there was no need this time around.  Teper’s under-viewed performance featured about 3 separate knockout punches in succession, and almost certainly retired the Irish veteran, whose jaw was left completely shattered by the blows.

 

Match-Up of the Year: Champ Wladimir Klitschko vs. #3 Alexander Povetkin
This is a simple recognition of the fight between the two fighters whose combined rank totaled the lowest number.  Klitschko-Povetkin is by far the best, with an average rank of 1.5 (with Champ=0).  The runner up is #6 Fury vs. #3 Cunningham.  Unfortunately, Povetkin’s performance didn’t really live up to his ranking, though that may have had a lot to do with abysmal referee Luis Pabon’s determination to let Wlad cheat in absolutely any way he wished throughout the fight.

 

Fight of the Year: #6 Tyson Fury KO7 #3 Steve Cunningham
This is perhaps my most subjective award.  In choosing the winner, I attempt to balance importance, exciting action, and competitiveness.  Fury-Cunningham was a pretty easy call this year.  It was the 2nd highest-ranked fight of the year, behind only the nigh-unwatchable Klitschko-Povetkin.  It was very competitive, with Fury being dropped hard early before coming back to win.  It also had very good action overall, and ended in a knockout.  Can’t get much better.

 

Upset of the Year: Alex Leapai UD10 #20 Denis Boytsov
Apparently #20 is not where you want to be in my rankings, as this award has been won now in consecutive years by underdogs knocking off #20 contenders.  Last year it was Michael Sprott- whose upset was tempered a bit by the fact that he had already outboxed his opponent in a previous fight that was prematurely stopped against him.  This year it was Samoan gatekeeper Alex Leapai springing a total shocker on #20 Denis Boytsov who, despite injury and inactivity, had been long been considered a top 10 contender in many quarters, and who was in line for a shot at the Championship in his next fight.  Leapai now looks poised to get that shot instead, having soundly outworked the Russian and just plain old wanting it more.  Leapai did not appear to be much of a threat, having 4 career losses, 3 of which were against such mediocrities as Yan Kulkov, Baden Oui (a stoppage), Colin Wilson, and with the 4th being a stoppage against the reasonably decent Kevin Johnson.

 

Comeback Fighter of the Year: Chris Arreola
Arreola might be a bit of a peculiar winner in this category, since his fall and comeback both occurred in the same year.  He fell from the top 20 for the first time in memory after a clear-cut loss to Bermane Stiverne, but rose to his highest level in years by destroying the chinless #12 contender Seth Mitchell.  Opportunistic?  Sure.  But he was lost and now he’s found, which makes him really the only choice for this particular award.

 

Robbery of the Year: Vyacheslav Glazkov D10 vs. Malik Scott
Was this a true robbery?  I wouldn’t go that far, personally, to be honest.  To me, a robbery is when one guy clearly won beyond all doubt, and the other guy gets the decision (or draw).  This was close to that, but there were enough toss up rounds to justify a draw if you were a reasonable judge that just consistently favored something about Glazkov’s style, for instance.  I personally scored it 98-92 for Scott, though, and so by my lights it was pretty darned close to clear-cut.  The judges mostly behaved themselves in heavyweight fights this year, and so the only other fight that would really come close to qualifying was Robert Helenius’ victory over Michael Sprott, in a fight that I scored a draw.

 

Now, for anyone that cares, I will rank the division based solely on the fighters’ 2013 accomplishments.  I will use the same criteria that I use to rank them overall (with victories, draws, or should-be victories and draws over top 50 opposition making one eligible), but will completely ignore all fights prior to 2013. 

 

1) Wladimir Klitschko
Significant Results: May 4- TKO6 Fringe Contender Francesco Pianeta.  Oct 5- UD12 #3 Alexander Povetkin.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: Champion
2) Tyson Fury
Significant Results: Apr 20- KO7 #3 Steve Cunningham.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Apr 21: #6.  Apr 22- Sep 8: #2.  Sep 9- Nov 24: #1.  Nov 25- Dec 31: Unranked (Retired).
3) Kubrat Pulev
Significant Results: Aug 24- UD12 #11 Tony Thompson.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Jun 9: #8. Jun 10- Jul 21: #7.  Jul 22- Aug 25: #8.  Aug 26- Sep 8: #7.  Sep 9- Nov 17: #6.  Nov 18-24: #5.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #4.
4) Dereck Chisora
Significant Results: Jul 20- KO6* #17 Malik Scott.  Sep 21- TKO5 Gatekeeper Edmund Gerber.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jun 9: #1.  Jun 10- Jul 21: #8.  Jul 22- Aug 25: #7.  Aug 26- Sep 8: #8.  Sep 9- Nov 17: #7.  Nov 18- 24: #6.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #5.
5) Erkan Teper
Significant Results: Aug 31- TKO1 Fringe Contender Michael Sprott.  Nov 16- KO1 Gatekeeper Martin Rogan.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Sep 1: Unranked.  Sep 2-8: #13.  Sep 9- Nov 17: #12.  Nov 18-24: #11.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #10.
6) Bermane Stiverne
Significant Results: Apr 27- UD12 #15 Chris Arreola
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-20: Unranked.  Jan 21- Feb 24: #20.  Feb 25- Mar 3: Unranked.  Mar 4- Apr 28: #19.  Apr 29- Jun 9: #12.  Jun 10-23: #11.  Jun 24- Sep 8: #10.  Sep 9- Nov 17: #9.  Nov 18-24: #8.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #7.
7) Alex Leapai
Significant Results: Nov 23- UD10 #20 Denis Boytsov.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Nov 24: Unranked.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #13.
8) Chris Arreola
Significant Results: Apr 27- L (UD12) vs. #19 Bermane Stiverne.  Sep 7- KO1 #12 Seth Mitchell.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-20: #17.  Jan 21- Mar 3: #16.  Mar 4- Apr 28: #15.  Apr 29- Sep 8: Unranked.  Sep 9- Nov 17: #10.  Nov 18-24: #9.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #8.
9) Tony Thompson
Significant Results: Feb 23- TKO2 Undefeated Prospect David Price.  Jul 6- TKO5 Prospect David Price.  Aug 24- L (UD12) vs. #8 Kubrat Pulev.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-20: #16.  Jan 21- Feb 24: #15.  Feb 25- Mar 3: #13.  Mar 4- Apr 28: #12.  Apr 29- Jun 9: #13.  Jun 10-23: #12.  Jun 24- Nov 17: #11.  Nov 18-24: #10.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #9.
10) Mike Perez
Significant Results: May 4- UD10 Gatekeeper Travis Walker.  Nov 2- UD10 Undefeated Prospect Magomed Abdusalamov.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Nov 3: Unranked.  Nov 4-17: #13.  Nov 18-24: #12.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #11.
11) Deontay Wilder
Significant Results: Apr 27- TKO1 Fringe Contender Audley Harrison.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Apr 28: Unranked.  Apr 29- Jun 9: #14.  Jun 10- Sep 1: #13.  Sep 2-8: #14.  Sep 9- Nov 3: #13.  Nov 4-17: #14.  Nov 18-24: #13.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #12.
12) Seth Mitchell
Significant Results: Jun 22- UD12 #10 Johnathon Banks. Sep 7- L (KO1) vs. Fringe Contender Chris Arreola.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-Jun 9: Unranked.  Jun 10-23: #20.  Jun 24- Sep 8: #12.  Sep 9- Nov 3: #16.  Nov 4-17: #17.  Nov 18- Dec 31: #16.
13) Andy Ruiz
Significant Results: Nov 24- RTD3 Gatekeeper Tor Hamer.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Nov 24: Unranked. Nov 25- Dec 31- #15.
14) Audley Harrison
Significant Results: Feb 23- UD3 Fringe Contender Martin Rogan.  Feb 23- TKO2 Gatekeeper Derric Rossy.  Apr 27- L (TKO1) vs. Undefeated Prospect Deontay Wilder.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
15) Eric Molina
Significant Results: Apr 27- UD12 Gatekeeper Tony Grano.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
17) Lucas Browne
Significant Results: Apr 28- UD12 Gatekeeper James Toney.  Nov 2- TKO5 Undefeated Prospect Richard Towers.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-Dec 31: Unranked.
18) Robert Helenius
Significant Results: Mar 23- UD10 (should have been draw) vs. Gatekeeper Michael Sprott.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Feb 24: #13.  Feb 25- Mar 3: #14.  Mar 4- Apr 28: #13.  Apr 29- Jun 9: #15.  Jun 10- Sep 1: #14.  Sep 2-8: #15.  Sep 9- Nov 3: #14.  Nov 4-17: #15.  Nov 18- Dec 31: #14.
19) Fres Oquendo
Significant Results: Jun 8- UD10 Gatekeeper Derric Rossy.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: Unranked.
20) Gerald Washington
Significant Results: Jun 8- UD8 Gatekeeper Sherman Williams.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Other fighters ranked during the year are detailed below.  These guys had either bad or rather indifferent years, with most of them failing to snag a rateable victory for various reasons:

 

Vitali Klitschko: Jan 1- Sep 8: #1.  Sep 9- Dec 31: Unranked (Inactive).

 

David Haye: Jan 1- Apr 21: #2.  Apr 22- Sep 8: #3.  Sep 9- Nov 17: #2.  Nov 18- Dec 31: Unranked (Inactive).

 

Steve Cunningham: Jan 1- Apr 21: #3.  Apr 22- Sep 8: #5.  Sep 9- Nov 17: #4.  Nov 18-24: #3.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #2.

 

Alexander Povetkin: Jan 1- Sep 8: #4.  Sep 9- Nov 17: #3.  Nov 18-24: #2.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #1.

 

Tomasz Adamek: Jan 1- Apr 21: #5.  Apr 22- Sep 8: #6.  Sep 9- Nov 17: #5.  Nov 18-24: #4.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #3.

 

Eddie Chambers– Jan 1- Jun 9: #7.  Jun 10- Dec 31: Unranked (Moved Down).

 

Johnathon Banks: Jan 1- Mar 24: #10.  Mar 25- Jun 9: #11.  Jun 10-23: #10.  Jun 24- Sep 1: #18.  Sep 2- Nov 3: #19.  Nov 4-17: #20.  Nov 18-24: #19.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #20.

 

Odlanier Solis– Jan 1- Mar 24: #11.  Mar 25- Jun 9: #10.  Jun 10- Sep 8: #9.  Sep 9- Nov 17: #8.  Nov 18-24: #7.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #6.

 

Marco Huck: Jan 1- Mar 3: #12.  Mar 4- Dec 31: Unranked (Moved Down).

 

Ruslan Chagaev: Jan 1-20: #14.  Jan 21- Dec 31: Unranked. 

 

Alexander Dimitrenko: Jan 1-20: #15.  Jan 21- Feb 24: #14.  Feb 25- Mar 3: #15.  Mar 4- Apr 28: #14.  Apr 29- Jun 9: #16. Jun 10- Sep 1: #15.  Sep 2-8: #16.  Sep 9- Nov 3: #15.  Nov 4-17: #16.  Nov 18-24: #15.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #17. 

 

Denis Boytsov: Jan 1-20: #18.  Jan 21- Mar 3: #17.  Mar 4- Apr 28: #16.  Apr 29- Jun 9: #19.  Jun 10-23: #18.  Jun 24- Sep 1: #19.  Sep 2- Nov 3: #20.  Nov 4-17: Unranked.  Nov 18-24: #20.  Nov 25- Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Jean-Marc Mormeck: Jan 1-20: #19.  Jan 21- Mar 3: #18.  Mar 4- Dec 31: Unranked (Inactive).

 

Vyacheslav Glazkov: Jan 1-20: #20.  Jan 21- Mar 3: #19.  Mar 4- Jun 9: #17.  Jun 10- Sep 1: #16.  Sep 2- Nov 3: #17.  Nov 4-17: #18.  Nov 18- 24: #17.  Nov 25- Dec 31- #18.

 

Malik Scott– Jan 1- Feb 24: Unranked.  Feb 25- Mar 3: #20.  Mar 4- Jun 9: #18.  Jun 10- Sep 1: #17.  Sep 2- Nov 3: #18.  Nov 4-17: #19.  Nov 18-24: #18.  Nov 25- Dec 31: #19.

 

Franklin Lawrence– Jan 1- Mar 3: Unranked.  Mar 4- Jun 9: #20.  Jun 10-23: #19.  Jun 24- Sep 1: #20.  Sep 2- Dec 31: Unranked.
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