Year-End Awards: Middleweight, 2013

Welcome to my 2nd Annual Yearly 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 2013 specifically, followed by a rundown of the year’s rankings history.  Dig in!

 

Middleweight Fighter of the Year: Gennady Golovkin
After finishing as the runner-up to the award last year, Golovkin is the fighter of the year this year, having busted through 4 quality opponents in punishing fashion on the year- with the best being a 5th-ranked Matthew Macklin, and the rest being light middleweight contender Gabe Rosado, #15 Curtis Stevens, and #19 Nobuhiro Ishida.  The runner-up is Felix Sturm, whose wins were of a higher quality apples-to-apples, but who only managed two, including #3 Darren Barker .  I say two because he was robbed against #12 Sam Soliman, who then compounded that injustice by testing positive for PEDs.  I count it as an insignificant event on Soliman’s resume and a win on Sturm’s.  Martin Murray could have potentially stolen the award from Golovkin in a single night’s work, as he almost certainly earned the win against the Champion Martinez, except that he needed a bit of help to defeat a journeyman at the end of the year.

 

Prospect of the Year: Caleb Truax
Truax’s win over middling prospect Fort alone would not have earned him this award, but when combined with his destruction of Super Middleweight Fringe Contender Don George just a couple pounds over the limit, he is an easy choice.  Truax still qualifies as a prospect, having lost only once, and in rather close fashion to Jermain Taylor, and having yet to crack the top 10.  The runner-up is Russian unbeaten Andrey Merysasev, who would narrowly edge out countryman Dmitry Chudinov.

 

Most Important Knockout of the Year: #4 Felix Sturm TKO2 #3 Darren Barker
It wasn’t the cleanest stoppage of the year, and certainly comes with a significant caveat that Barker was injured at the time of the stoppage.  That being said, it did appear that his him injury was re-aggravated in the fall from a very legitimate first knockdown.  In any event, Barker was the highest-ranked contender to get stopped this year, and Sturm was the beneficiary.  The runner up was #4 Gennady Golovkin’s destruction of #5 Matthew Macklin.

 

Most Sensational Knockout of the Year: Curtis Stevens KO1 Saul Roman
Lots of great options this year.  The highest-profile of the great knockouts was Golovkin’s one-punch demolition of Nobuhiro Ishida.  Ishida backed to the ropes and was caught with a lead right and fell, semi-conscious at best, through the ropes.  But that one was almost too easy, and aside from Golovkin’s superhuman power, the punch itself wasn’t visually stunning in any way.  Golden Boy and FS1 made their entry with Danny Jacobs’ combination along the ropes that left gatekeeper Giovanni Lorenzo crawling aimlessly on the canvas.  But the most exciting of all these was Curtis Stevens’ clean one-punch shot that turned the lights out on gatekeeper Saul Roman.  This was from a perfectly landed left hand, and it folded Roman’s legs under him as he fell backwards, out cold.  It was made, I think, all the more sensational by the fact that it landed in an exchange, rather than as the inevitable end result of a one-sided hunting expedition, as were the other nominees.  For video, click “KO1” and seek to the 1:40 mark.

 

Match-Up of the Year: Champ #4 Felix Sturm vs. #3 Darren Barker
With an average ranking of 3.5, this is a clear winner.  Runners-up were Champ Martinez vs. #9 Murray and #4 Golovkin vs. #5 Macklin, at 4.5 apeice.  Unfortunately, Barker’s body betrayed him early in the fight and rendered it somewhat anti-climactic.

 

Fight of the Year: #2 Gennady Golovkin RTD8 #15 Curtis Stevens
I use importance, competitiveness, action, and result as my criteria for this, and it’s probably the least exact of any award I give.  Martinez-Murray, Kirkland-Tapia, and Godoy-Heiland were all great choices.  This one was a natural winner, though.  Golovkin and Stevens are two of the most celebrated punchers in the division, so this one promised fireworks for as long as it lasted, and it didn’t disappoint.  Besides featuring a 2nd-round knockdown for Golovkin, the fight was surprisingly competitive.  I gave Stevens 3 rounds, though in fairness each of them could reasonably have gone the other way.  The one thing I’d say was disappointing was that Stevens called the fight off in his corner, but he’d already showed plenty of guts by then.  

 

Upset of the Year: Dashon Johnson KO7 Adam Trupish
Unless you’re from Canada or as into the worldwide scene as I am, you may not have known who Adam Trupish was in March.  Nevertheless, he was a very promising prospect, and he’d beaten multiple pretty credible journeymen at the level just below the top 50, usually in spectacular fashion.  His outing on March 15 with Dashon Johnson was to be a stay busy fight, and nothing more.  Johnson came in with a lackluster record of 13-10-3, and I must say that while many of his losses were against undefeated prospects in match-ups that he was brought in as a no-hope opponent, he’d also lost a shutout to 7-3-1 Angel Osuna, drew with a 12-15-1 fighter, and dropped 4 round decisions to guys with records of 0-0-1 and 2-6-2.  He had only been stopped once, so he could have reasonably been expected to serve as a bit of a measuring stick for Trupish’s stopping power, but that’s about it.  Instead, Johnson shockingly knocked out the favorite in round 7 which, by the way, was only the 5th stoppage of Johnson’s career.  Mind-boggling.  Unfortunately the fight seems not to have been committed to video, so I can’t give any more detail than that.

 

Comeback Fighter of the Year: Sergio Mora
There was a time, albeit briefly, that Martinez was “the other Sergio” at 154/160.  As of mid-September 2008, Mora was an undefeated fighter, and was coming off an alphabet belt-capturing effort against Vernon Forrest.  Since then, however, he had gone just 2-3-1 coming into the year, and his only wins were easy stoppages of easy marks.  You know the wheels have come off when your proponents would point to a hotly disputed draw against an old Shane Mosley as the best means to defend your record.  So it was against a backdrop of obscurity- gatekeeper status- that Mora was brought in to help Grzegorz Proksa rebound from a rather fruitless 2012.  Instead, Mora showed his old form- or maybe even better- by baffling and dominating the young contender.  This performance from June has had him in or around the top 10 ever since- somewhere I, for one, never thought he’d be again.

 

Robbery of the Year: Champ Sergio Martinez UD12 #9 Martin Murray
This was the undisputed Championship, and at least in some sense, it’s now disputed.  Sergio, when you consider the round-by-round scoring in conjunction with a ridiculously blown slip call on a clear knockdown, did not deserve to win.  If you give him all the close rounds, he might salvage a draw.  For my part, I had it 114-113 for Murray (114-112 with good refereeing), and already gave Sergio everything he might have won, with the exception of a close 9th.  If we were to do Murray that same favor as a draw would include for Sergio- that is, give him all close rounds- it would be 116-110 Murray.  I don’t want to go into a detailed rant on the judges- Danseco, Rochin, and Hidalgo- since I did that months ago.  Please click here for a detailed discussion.

 

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) Gennady Golovkin
Significant Results: Jan 19- TKO7 JMW #10 Gabriel Rosado. Mar 30- KO3 #19 Nobuhiro Ishida. Jun 29- KO3 #5 Matthew Macklin. Nov 2- RTD8 #15 Curtis Stevens.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Feb 3: #3. Feb 4- Mar 3: #2. Mar 4- Apr 28: #3. Apr 29- Jun 30: #4. Jul 1- Dec 15: #2. Dec 16-31: #1.
2) Felix Sturm
Significant Results: Feb 1- Wrong UD12 Loss (should be win) vs. #12 Sam Soliman (opponent on PEDs). Dec 7- TKO2 #3 Darren Barker.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Feb 3: #2. Feb 4- Mar 3: #7. Mar 4- Apr 28: #2. Apr 29- Jun 30: #3. Jul 1- Dec 8: #4. Dec 9-15: #3. Dec 16-31: #2.
3) Martin Murray
Significant Results: Apr 27- Robbery UD12 Loss (draw at worst) vs. Champion Sergio Martinez. Dec 14- W (PTS8) (should be loss) vs. Journeyman Sergey Khomitsky.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Feb 3: #9. Feb 4- Mar 3: #10. Mar 4- Apr 28: #9. Apr 29- Dec 15: #1. Dec 16-31: #3.
4) Darren Barker
Significant Results: Mar 9- RTD4 Gatekeeper Simone Rotolo. Aug 17- W (SD12) vs. #3 Daniel Geale. Dec 7- L (TKO2) vs. #4 Felix Sturm.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Mar 3: #17. Mar 4-10: #16. Mar 11- May 5: #14. May 6- Aug 18: #15. Aug 19- Dec 8: #3. Dec 9-31: #4.
5) Sergio Mora
Significant Results: Jun 28- UD10 #9 Grzegorz Proksa.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Jun 30: Unranked. Jul 1- Oct 6: #10. Oct 7-20: #9. Oct 21- Dec 15: #8. Dec 16-31: #10.
6) Sergio Martinez
Significant Results: Apr 27- Robbery Win (draw at best) vs. #9 Martin Murray.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: Champion.
7) Daniel Geale
Significant Results: Jan 30- UD12 #11 Anthony Mundine. Aug 17- L (SD12) vs. #15 Darren Barker.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Apr 28: #1. Apr 29- Jun 30: #2. Jul 1- Aug 18: #3. Aug 19- Dec 31: #5.
8) Peter Quillin
Significant Results: Apr 27- TKO7 Gatekeeper Fernando Guerrero. Oct 26- TKO10 Fringe Contender Gabriel Rosado.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Feb 3: #6. Feb 4- Mar 3: #5. Mar 4- Apr 28: #6. Apr 29- Dec 31: #7.
9) Caleb Truax
Significant Results: Jun 21- KO6 #15 SMW Don George (at 162). Sep 21- TKO4 Prospect Ceresso Fort.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Sep 22: Ranked only at SMW. Sep 23- Oct 6: #14. Oct 7-20: #13. Oct 21- Dec 15: #12. Dec 16-31: #14.
10) Sam Soliman
Significant Results: Feb 1- Wrong UD12 Win (should be loss, and on PEDs) vs. #2 Felix Sturm. Dec 11- TKO9 Gatekeeper Les Sherrington.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Feb 3: #12. Feb 4- Mar 3: #6. Mar 4- Dec 15: Unranked (PEDs). Dec 16-31: #9.
11) James Kirkland
Significant Results: Dec 7- TKO6 Undefeated Prospect Glen Tapia.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 8: Unranked. Dec 9-15: #19. Dec 16-31: Unranked.
12) Andrey Meryasev
Significant Results: Nov 4- UD10 Gatekeeper Sergio Sanders.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Nov 10: Unranked. Nov 11- Dec 15: #16. Dec 16-31: #18.
13) Dmitry Chudinov
Significant Results: May 17- RTD3 Gatekeeper Grady Brewer.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- May 19: Unranked. May 20- Jun 30: #20. Jul 1- Aug 25: Unranked. Aug 26- Sep 8: #20. Sep 9-22: #19. Sep 23- Oct 6: #20. Oct 7-20: #19. Oct 21- Nov 10: #18. Nov 11- Dec 1: #19. Dec 2-15: #18. Dec 16-31: #20.
14) Marcos Nader
Significant Results: Apr 13- Wrong UD12 Win (should be loss) vs. Gatekeeper Roberto Santos.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: Unranked.
15) Roberto Santos
Significant Results: Apr 13- Wrong UD12 Loss (should be win) vs. Undefeated Prospect Marcos Nader.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: Unranked.
16) Daisuke Nakagawa

Significant Results: Aug 3- TKO7 Gatekeeper Tomohiro Ebisu.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 31: Unranked.
17) Jorge Heiland
Significant Results: Jun 28- L (MD10) vs. Gatekeeper Mateo Veron (at JMW). Nov 29- TKO12 #17 Billi Godoy.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Dec 1: Unranked. Dec 2-8: #19. Dec 9-15: #20. Dec 16-31: Unranked.
18) Bryan Vera

Significant Results: Jan 25- TKO10 Gatekeeper Sergei Dzinziruk. 
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1-20: #19. Jan 21-27: #20. Jan 28- Mar 3: #18. Mar 4- May 5: #17. May 6- Aug 18: #18. Aug 19-25: #17. Aug 26- Sep 8: #15. Sep 9-22: #14. Sep 23- Oct 6: #15. Oct 7-20: #14. Oct 21- Dec 15: #13. Dec 16-31: #15.
19) Danny Jacobs
Significant Results: Aug 19- TKO3 Gatekeeper Giovanni Lorenzo.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Aug 25: Unranked. Aug 26- Sep 8: #19. Sep 9-22: #18. Sep 23- Oct 6: #19. Oct 7-20: #18. Oct 21- Nov 10: #17. Nov 11- Dec 1: #18. Dec 2-15: #17. Dec 16-31: #19.
20) Marco Antonio Rubio
Significant Results: Mar 23- UD12 Gatekeeper Marcus Upshaw.
2013 Rankings History: Jan 1- Mar 3: #13. Mar 4-17: #12. Mar 18- Oct 6: #11. Oct 7-20: #10. Oct 21- Dec 15: #9. Dec 16-31: #11.

 

The following fighters could be found in the top 20 at various parts of the year, but either failed to do anything to inprove their rankings, or had results too mixed to make the top 20 on the year:

 

Matthew Macklin: Jan 1- Feb 3: #4. Feb 4- Mar 3: #3. Mar 4- Apr 28: #4. Apr 29- Aug 18: #5. Aug 19- Dec 31: #6.

 

Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.: Jan 1- Feb 3: #5. Feb 4- Apr 28: #4. Apr 29- Aug 18: #6. Aug 19- Dec 31: Unranked (Moved Up).

 

Dmitry Pirog: Jan 1- Feb 3: #7. Feb 4- Mar 3: #8. Mar 4- Apr 28: #7. Apr 29- Oct 6: #8. Oct 7- Dec 31: Unranked (Inactive).

 

Grzegorz Proksa: Jan 1- Feb 3: #8. Feb 4- Mar 3: #9. Mar 4- Apr 28: #8. Apr 29- Jun 30 :#9. Jul 1- Aug 18: #19. Aug 19-25: #18. Aug 26- Sep 8: #16. Sep 9-22: #15. Sep 23- Oct 6: #16. Oct 7-20: #15. Oct 21- Dec 15: #14. Dec 16-31: #16.

 

Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam: Jan 1- Feb 3: #10. Feb 4- Mar 3: #11. Mar 4- Jun 30: #10. Jul 1- Oct 6: #9. Oct 7-20: #8. Oct 21- Dec 15: Unranked (Inactive). Dec 16-31: #8.

 

Anthony Mundine: Jan 1- Feb 3: #11. Feb 4- Mar 3: #14. Mar 4-17: #13. Mar 18- Oct 6: #12. Oct 7-20: #11. Oct 21- Dec 15: #10. Dec 16-31: #12.

 

Osumanu Adama: Jan 1- Feb 3: #14. Feb 4- Mar 3: #12. Mar 4-17: #11. Mar 18- Sep 8: #13. Sep 9- Dec 31: Unranked (Moved Up).

 

Max Bursak: Jan 1- Mar 3: #15. Mar 4-10: #14. Mar 11- May 5: #15. May 6- Aug 18: #16. Aug 19-25: #15. Aug 26- Sep 8: #14. Sep 9- Oct 6: #13. Oct 7-20: #12. Oct 21- Dec 15: #11. Dec 16-31: #13.

 

Demetrius Andrade: Jan 1- Mar 3: #16. Mar 4-10: #15. Mar 11- May 5: #16. May 6- Aug 18: #17. Aug 19-25: #16. Aug 26- Dec 31: Unranked (Moved Down).

 

Nobuhiro Ishida: Jan 1-20: #18. Jan 21-27: #19. Jan 28- Mar 3: #20. Mar 4-31: #19. Apr 1-21: #20. Apr 22- Jun 30: #19. Jul 1-21: #20. Jul 22- Oct 20: Unranked. Oct 21- Nov 10: #20. Nov 11- Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Makoto Fuchigami: Jan 1-20: #20. Jan 21- Mar 3: Unranked. Mar 4-31: #20. Apr 1-21: #19. Apr 22- May 5: #18. May 6- Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Curtis Stevens– Jan 1- 20: Unranked. Jan 21-27: #18. Jan 28- Mar 3: #19. Mar 4- Apr 21: #18. Apr 22- Aug 4: Unranked. Aug 5-18: #20. Aug 19-25: #19. Aug 26- Sep 8: #17. Sep 9- 22: #16. Sep 23- Oct 6: #17. Oct 7-20: #16. Oct 21- Dec 15: #15. Dec 16-31: #17.

 

Jose Miguel Torres– Jan 1- Apr 21: Unranked. Apr 22- May 19: #20. May 20- Dec 31: Unranked.

 

Akio Shibata– Jan 1- May 5: Unranked. May 6- Aug 25: #14. Aug 26- Sep 8: Unranked. Sep 9-22: #20. Sep 23- Oct 6: Unranked. Oct 7-20: #20. Oct 21- Nov 10: #19. Nov 11- Dec 8: #20. Dec 9-31: Unranked.

 

Billi Godoy: Jan 1- Jul 21: Unranked. Jul 22- Aug 4: #20. Aug 5-18: Unranked. Aug 19-25: #20. Aug 26- Sep 8: #18. Sep 9-22: #17. Sep 23- Oct 6: #18. Oct 7-20: #17. Oct 21- Nov 10: #16. Nov 11- Dec 1: #17. Dec 2-31: Unranked.
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