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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.