Entries in Eric Raskin (71)
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, Fight of the Year.
Kieran Mulvaney: Timothy Bradley W12 Ruslan Provodnikov
In a terrific 12 months of boxing, March produced the two best fights of all. In pretty much any other year, the Mike Alvarado-Brandon Rios rematch would likely have taken this prize (just as the first clash between the pair would have won the same award in 2012 were it not for Juan Manuel Marquez knocking out Manny Pacquiao), but the gold medal goes to Bradley's desperately hard-fought win over Provodnikov, in which the Amercian survived being nearly knocked out by the Russian at the very beginning and the very end, but did enough in between to eke out a thrilling win.
Eric Raskin: Timothy Bradley W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov
If I'm going purely on sustained action, Alvarado-Rios II edges this out. But there was something special about the drama of Bradley-Provodnikov, an edge-of-your-seat factor that Alvarado-Rios II lacked. Bradley showed bigger stones than any other fighter had to in 2013, fighting the last 11 rounds in a fog and surviving a 12th-round onslaught from the animalistic Provodnikov that called to mind the thrills of 2012's incredible finish to Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Nat Gottlieb: Timothy Bradley W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov
This was a thriller from start to finish, a crowd-pleasing slugfest with dramatic moments galore. Provodnikov came forward all night, and Bradley didn't back down. Provodnikov added extra drama in the 12th round by knocking Bradley to the canvas, but the Russian couldn't finish him off. Bradley got the close UD win.
Tim Smith: James Kirkland TKO 6 Glen Tapia
You knew Kirkland-Tapia was going to be fireworks from start to finish and it wasn't going to go the distance. Tapia, a New Jersey resident, was seeking to become the new Arturo Gatti -- the all-action king of Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Kirkland is the embodiment of Gatti's blood and guts spirit. It was one of the few times that a match more than lived up to its billing.
Hamilton Nolan: Guillermo Rigondeaux W12 Nonito Donaire
This certainly won't be a popular pick. It didn't feature a great deal of bloodshed, or staggering fighters winging blows while barely clinging to life. What it did feature was a highly respected but (professionally) untested challenger, Rigondeaux, absolutely dominating every aspect of the fight against Donaire, who had been touted as one of the three best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Rigondeaux proved that master boxing skills can beat athleticism and punching power. Rigondeaux, in fact, is the one who is among the best pound for pound fighters in the world. Anyone who finds his style "boring" is not a fan of boxing.
Michael Gluckstadt: Timothy Bradley W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov
You want backstory? Tim Bradley was coming off one of the most depressing "victories" in the sport; Ruslan Provodnikov, "The Siberian Rocky," has one of the most remarkable backgrounds of any athlete. You want action? From the opening bell Bradley decided to engage and Provodnikov was only too happy to oblige. You want drama? The results of the fight were in doubt until the very last second, with Provodnikov gunning for the KO. This was a fight that had it all.
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland
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, KO of the Year.
Kieran Mulvaney: Gennady Golovkin KO3 Matthew Macklin
Adonis Stevenson's annihilation of Chad Dawson and the cold-eyed destruction of Ismayl Sillakh by Sergey Kovalev are high on the list, but Golovkin's one-punch body shot stoppage of Macklin was the kind of performance that burns itself into the memory. Macklin, a quality contender who had pushed Sergio Martinez to the brink, looked confident before the fight, deeply concerned after taking his opponent's first couple of punches, and broken in half after Golovkin dropped him with a shot that cracked his rib and kept him on the canvas for several minutes. It was an emphatic end to a powerfully dominant performance from the Kazakh-born sensation -- one that announced he is a true force to be reckoned with in the middleweight division.
Eric Raskin: Gennady Golovkin KO3 Matthew Macklin
Because I didn't care for the way in which Stevenson-Dawson was stopped -- the ref never asked Dawson to step forward and called what struck me as a slightly panicky halt in a fight of that magnitude -- I have to pick GGG's bodyshot blastout of Macklin. This wasn't like Bernard Hopkins' bodyshot stoppage of Oscar De La Hoya, which did the job but didn't look like much. Golovkin's left hook to Macklin's middle packed all the aesthetic punch you could ask for. You could almost feel Macklin's pain from your living room couch -- especially when he was still struggling for breath as Michael Buffer announced the result a couple of minutes later.
Nat Gottlieb: Adonis Stevenson KO1 Chad Dawson
Complete shocker as Dawson, despite his loss at 168 to Ward, was still considered the man at 175. Adonis took over The Man status in short order with a brutal left cross that nearly lifted Dawson off his feet and sent him down flat on his back. Dawson bravely got up to beat the count, but the ref took one look at the fighter, who probably didn't know where he even was, and waved it off.
Tim Smith: Mikey Garcia KO8 Roman Martinez
There is nothing quite like a perfectly executed left hook to the liver to bring matters in the ring to a quick and decisive conclusion. And that is exactly what Mikey Garcia did when he landed that perfect KO shot on Roman "Rocky'' Martinez at 56 seconds of the eighth round of their WBO super featherweight match. When Garcia landed the shot, Martinez was frozen like a block of ice from its paralyzing effect. The victory solidified Garcia's credentials a legitimate star.
Hamilton: Adonis Stevenson KO1 Chad Dawson
Adonis Stevenson knocking out Chad Dawson in the first round. This was the single most emphatic "Hello, goodbye" moment of the year in boxing. A changing of the guard.
Michael Gluckstadt: Adonis Stevenson KO1 Chad Dawson
There was no KO more emphatic or dramatic than Adonis Stevenson proving out Emmanuel Steward's prediction that he would be the number one fighter at light heavyweight, and doing so in the first round.
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, HBO Round of the Year.
Kieran Mulvaney: Darren Barker vs. Daniel Geale, Round 6
When a fighter crumples to the canvas from a body shot, he normally stays there. It isn't a question of having his senses scrambled; it's more that every last molecule of oxygen and vestige of energy has escaped through his pores, to be replaced by a paralyzing agent that renders movement impossible. Yet somehow, when Barker dropped to the floor against Geale, he found a way to will himself to his feet; amazingly, after withstanding Geale's efforts to finish him, he actually turned the tide and by the end of the round was the one battering his opponent.
Eric Raskin: Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov, Round 12
Rounds two and six of this fight were also in contention, as were half the rounds in Alvarado-Rios 2, but the "will he or won't we?" intrigue over Provodnikov's pursuit of a needed knockout in the frenetic final round separates these three minutes from the other candidates.
Nat Gottlieb: James Kirkland vs. Glen Tapia, Round 2
Not having fought in 20 months, Kirkland took on the undefeated but unproven Tapia and changed the course of a brutal fight when he landed a ferocious straight left with about 1:10 to go in the round that clearly hurt Tapia. From then on, Tapia fought purely on courage, but after that round, the end was inevitable.
Tim Smith: James Kirkland vs. Glen Tapia, Round 1
The first round of Kirkland-Tapia was the kind of opening salvo you would have expected in a match of this type. Neither gave an inch and they traded punches like kids swapping baseball cards. It set the stage for a back and forth battle of attrition that you know would leave only one man standing.
Hamilton Nolan: Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov, Round 12
The fact that Tim Bradley stayed awake and on his feet for 12 rounds with Provodnikov is the year's best survival story. The fact that he won is icing on a most delicious cake. Here's to you, Tim Bradley. Never try to slug like that again, you psycho.
Michael Gluckstadt: Darren Barker vs. Daniel Geale, Round 6
A good measure for picking round of the year is how closely it resembles Round 9 of the first Gatti-Ward fight. When Barker mashed his face against the canvas in anguish after being felled by a left to his liver, it did not look like he was getting up. And when he did get up and couldn't throw a punch for 30 seconds, it didn't look like he would get out of the round. But Barker willed himself back into the fight and finished the round strongly en route to a split decision victory.
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland
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, HBO Trainer of the Year.
Kieran Mulvaney: Javan "Sugar" Hill
Abel Sanchez has overseen the emerging superstardom of Gennady Golovkin, but as effective as he has been in molding his charge into the fan-friendly fighter we see today, the raw material with which he had to work was of the highest quality. Adonis Stevenson, on the other hand, was more of a diamond in the rough. The great Emanuel Steward barely had time to begin polishing that diamond before his untimely passing; Hill, Steward's nephew, has taken over the work his uncle started and has helped create a versatile and fan-friendly star in the making.
Eric Raskin: Javan "Sugar" Hill
In a year in which the most recognizable trainers with deep stables—Freddie Roach, Robert Garcia, Virgil Hunter—had too many ups and downs to keep track of, Hill is my pick because of what Adonis Stevenson achieved. Also, by picking Hill, I'm giving a bit of a posthumous award to the best trainer of recent decades, Emanuel Steward, who worked with Stevenson and Hill prior to his untimely passing in 2012.
Nat Gottlieb: Robert Garcia.
He's the hottest young trainer in the business, and he had a great year. Among the A-list of fighters he worked with this year were Nonito Donaire, Evgeny Gradovich, Brandon Rios, and his own younger brother, Mikey.
Tim Smith: Javan "Sugar'' Hill
The trainer for Adonis Stevenson set himself apart in 2013. Hill, the nephew of the late Emanuel Steward, took over training Stevenson after Steward passed away. Hill built on the foundation that Steward established and has set Stevenson on a path for greatness.
Hamilton Nolan: Abel Sanchez
There are plenty of good trainers and plenty of good fighters. But since no trainer this year can really claim two fighters who had incredible years, I have to go with the trainer whose one fighter--Golovkin--had the most incredible year. Sanchez is relaxed, cerebral, and knows what he's doing. Golovkin is lucky to have him.
Michael Gluckstadt: Freddie Roach
Just because someone's the best player year after year, doesn't mean you stop giving them the MVP. Roach continued to ply his trade as the best trainer in the game, overseeing the emergence of Ruslan Provodnikov, the resurgence of Miguel Cotto, and the return of Manny Pacquiao, among other feats. And the former boxer also showed he can still take a blow -- in this case, a kick to the stomach from Alex Ariza.