Photo Credit: Will Hart
With the end of the year approaching and Boxing's Best airing, it's as good a time as any to take a look back at a stacked year of fights on HBO. HBO Boxing Insiders made their selections for the top everything from this year's HBO fights. First up, Fighter of the Year.
Kieran Mulvaney: Gennady Golovkin
There are some strong candidates -- Mikey Garcia and Timothy Bradley among them -- but this ultimately comes down to a choice between two men: Adonis Stevenson and Gennady Golovkin. Each fought three times on HBO in 2013, scoring knockouts each time; and although Stevenson's first-round stoppage of Chad Dawson was arguably the single best win of their combined six, the overall level of competition, and the growing sense that Golovkin might be on his way to being a truly special fighter, means I just give the nod to the man from Kazakhstan.
Eric Raskin: Adonis Stevenson
This is a two-man race for me, between Stevenson and Timothy Bradley, and while Bradley fought a higher level of opposition overall, I give the nod to Stevenson for unexpected dominance in his three HBO fights. He was an underdog against Chad Dawson, and he won by knockout in one round to claim the lineal 175-pound championship. He wasn't an underdog against Tavoris Cloud or Tony Bellew, but he turned them both away as convincingly and skillfully as anyone could have predicted.
Nat Gottlieb: Adonis Stevenson.
Stevenson fought three times on HBO this year and won every fight by knockout. His rare, one-punch KO power excited the boxing world and created a new star. While Gennady Golovkin was a prime contender, the nod here goes to Stevenson because he fought better competition. It wasn't Golovkin's fault, of course. Just that the top middleweights didn't want any part of fighting him; he was that scary.
Tim Smith: Gennady Golovkin
Gennady Golovkin was one of the busiest boxers in the business in 2013, fighting four times – three of them on HBO. There are keep-busy fights and fights that propel a boxer into the elite class, and all of Golovkin's matches launched him toward stardom.
Hamilton Nolan: Gennady Golovkin
Everyone who was paying close attention knew that Golovkin was the real deal before this year. But this year, everyone, period, learned that Golovkin is the real deal. He is the most feared fighter in boxing, with good reason. Someone please make Andre Ward fight this man before they both get old.
Michael Gluckstadt: Timothy Bradley
He might not be an exciting new face, but Timothy Bradley had two of the most impressive wins of anyone fighting on HBO this year. His willingness to engage Ruslan Provodnikov in a fierce battle may not have been the safest strategy, but the resilience and bravery he showcased while fighting (through a concussion, no less) is indelible to fans of the sport. Following it up with a well-fought victory against Juan Manuel Marquez -- the guy who beat the guy Bradley "beat" – cements his case as the year's best HBO fighter.