HBO Boxing Insiders Year End Picks: Best HBO Boxing Moments

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. Next up, the best HBO Boxing moments of 2013.

Previously: Fighter of the Year, Breakthrough HBO Fighter, Best Blow

Kieran Mulvaney:

In a year full of great moments, three in particular come to mind. One was interviewing boxers during the promo shoot for HBO's Epic Fall of Boxing, highlighted by the contrast between discussing Russian poetry with Ruslan Provodnikov one minute, and then hearing his screams of "Champ-ee-on" echo through the studio stage as he posed beneath an artificial waterfall the next. The others come from Macau: finding ourselves hopelessly lost on a day out, only to be rescued by a bar owner who saw the credential hanging round HBO photographer Will Hart's neck and walked up to us shouting, "Hey! Manny Pacquiao"; and sitting in the arena at 10AM on a Sunday morning, taking in the scene as 12,000 people packed the venue and screamed themselves hoarse at what was the first -- but surely not the last -- big boxing pay-per-view on Chinese soil.

Eric Raskin:

Tim Bradley's raw comments during Face Off With Max Kellerman:

Bradley talking openly about the aftereffects of his fight with Provodnikov as he sat across the table from Juan Manuel Marquez, admitting to a concussion and two months of slurred speech, was one of the more harrowing, gripping, honest moments of TV I saw all year.

Arturo Gatti's daughter reading his Hall of Fame plaque:

If you didn't well up at least a little bit during the final minutes of the Legendary Nights doc on the Gatti-Micky Ward trilogy, then you might want to check yourself for a pulse.

Darren Barker getting off the canvas after Daniel Geale's sixth-round bodyshot:

Referee Eddie Cotton's count was at about 9 and 99/100ths. It's remarkable that Barker not only got up, but rallied back and won the fight.

Nat Gottlieb:

So many great moments. Tough to choose. I loved virtually every episode of the 24/7 series. Choose between them? Not me. I vote the entirety of the 24/7 series as my favorite "moments" of the year.

Tim Smith:

During the Face-Off between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios, Max Kellerman asked Rios if he thought he was being insulted by Pacquiao selecting him as an opponent that he could look exciting against and whom he could beat up. As Rios answered the question, boasting about what he could do against Pacman, Pacquiao had a smirking smile on his face. It was as if he knew he was going to beat the stuffing out of Rios and look good doing it.

Hamilton Nolan:

"Gabriel is… good boy." - Gennady Golovkin, after nearly murdering Gabriel Rosado.

My least favorite moments of the year were the fights that did not get stopped when they should have, including Abdusalamov and Tapia.

Michael Gluckstadt:

Ruslan Provodnikov's mom, a Russian nesting doll come to life, joining her just-crowned champion son in the ring, brings a smile to my face whenever I think about it.

In 24/7 Bradley/Marquez, Juan Manuel Marquez broke down the footage of his KO of Manny Pacquiao, describing the feint he had been waiting for all night to unleash a vicious counterpunch, and removing any doubt that what he had landed could be considered a lucky punch.

Sitting in the driving rain in Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I was unsure if Sergio Martinez's fight against Martin Murray was about to take place or not. Once it did, I'll never forget clearing a path through a mass of humanity (and no security), before celebrating a job done remarkably well with the HBO production team.

Gatti And Ward's Warrior Spirit Lives On In Alvarado And Provodnikov

by Eric Raskin

"People will say they weren't the greatest fighters in the world, but you know what? I'll take those two guys anytime." —Pat Lynch

Most of us have no illusions about how proficient Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward were at the science of boxing. Gatti could make himself appear a highly skilled practitioner against opponents below a certain threshold; against very good opponents he turned into a slugger because he had no other choice, and against great ones, such as Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya, he was hopelessly overmatched. Ward couldn't even trick anyone into temporarily believing he was a slick tactician; he was a brawler, a pressure fighter, a bodysnatcher, and damned good in all of those roles, but you'd catch him sporting a deep suntan before you'd catch him outboxing someone.

The above quote from Pat Lynch, Gatti's career-long manager, heard in the closing moments of the documentary 'Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward' (premiering Saturday night on HBO, following World Championship Boxing: Alvarado-Provodnikov), says it all. Nobody will ever confuse Gatti and Ward with anybody nicknamed "Sugar" or "Sweet Pea." But no other fighters displayed more heart or punched their way deeper into ours than Gatti and Ward did. That can count for more than victories, championship belts, and pound-for-pound rankings. A visit to BoxRec will not explain why Gatti is in the Hall of Fame or why Ward had an Oscar-nominated movie made about his life; a visit to

YouTube will. Gatti and Ward remain, 10 years after Ward's retirement and four years after Gatti's death, boxing's reigning kings of drama.

But that doesn't mean the warrior breed went extinct when their careers ended. Boxers with oversized hearts continue to find their way onto our TV screens every few weekends. And on Saturday night in Denver, Colorado, two of the best examples going will do their damnedest to remind us of that exhilarating trilogy.

Read the Complete Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward Article on HBO.com.

Pacquiao-Marquez: Another Classic Modern Trilogy?

By Eric Raskin

We often think of upcoming fights in terms of what’s at stake for each individual boxer. Rarely do we think about them in terms of what’s at stake for the two opponents collectively. But in Pacquiao-Marquez III, if these two rivals can produce a fight as competitive and compelling as their first two bouts, they will have done something truly special together: author arguably the best boxing trilogy of an era absolutely loaded with classic three-fight series.

Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales got the fun started in the year 2000. Then Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward battled similarly spectacularly over 30 epic rounds. In the mid-2000s, Morales engaged Pacquiao in another unforgettable trilogy. And though they technically fought four times, the first three fights of the Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez series were as jaw-dropping as any of the aforementioned group. Just how unique has this “golden age of trilogies” been? In the previous three decades combined, there were only two trilogies that would legitimately fit in with those listed above: Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier and Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield.

Now Pacquiao-Marquez is poised to join that list, and perhaps stand atop it.

As a survivor of one of these legendary series, Ward insists that being a part of something like that serves as a source of everlasting pride.

“Whenever someone says Arturo’s name, they say my name with it. That’s really something,” Ward said. “It makes all the hard training and all the cuts, the stitches, the bruises, it makes it all worthwhile when you’re remembered like this. As bad as it was when I was in there, when I look back now, I’m glad I went through it. Being part of a great fight, that might get you remembered forever. But being part of a great trilogy takes it to another level.”

That’s what Pacquiao and Marquez are working toward together (even if that’s not either man’s primary goal). Through two fights that went the 12-round distance, on the six official judges’ cards combined, Pacquiao leads by a score 679-678. That’s right: One point separates them after 24 rounds.

We can only hope the third chapter of the Pacquiao-Marquez rivalry will be as competitive as the first two. Some predict Pacquiao will be too big and too strong for “Dinamita” now; others think that Marquez’s style will always cause Pac-Man problems, thus creating another classic triple.

No matter what, this has been the greatest era for trilogies that fight fans have ever seen. And it doesn’t necessarily have to end here. Maybe Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito will go from their December rematch to an eventual rubber match. Maybe if Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fight once, they’ll go on to fight three times.

As fans, we’re all blessed when a great trilogy comes along. And that extends to ex-fighters who are now in the role of fan.

“I don’t know which of these trilogies is the best. I just know that I like watching them,” Ward said. “You sit back, you watch—and you’re just glad it isn’t you in there.”