REVIEW OF 2013
As 2013 draws to a close, here is a look back at the year in boxing and the fighters that will head into 2014 looking forward to some more big fights.
When the world's best pound for pound boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr entered his first bout of 2013, his last fight was 12 months prior, a unanimous decision victory over Miguel Cotto in May 2012. Less than a month after that fight on June 1, Mayweather was due to report for an 87-day sentence at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas for a reduced domestic violence charge.
His opponent on May 4 2013 was southpaw Robert Guerrero, whom in the meantime had moved up to 147 lbs and impressively dominated Andre Berto to earn a unamimous decision victory to claim the interim WBC title in November 2012.
However, Guerrero was unable to deal with the craft of Mayweather and was outclassed for 12 one-sided rounds.
Next up for Mayweather was undefeated Mexican icon Saul Alvarez on September 14, which was billed as 'THE ONE', a fight that surpassed any bout in terms of interest and pay-per-view revenue since Mayweather-De la Hoya in 2007. Alvarez entered the bout having overcome previously undefeated WBA light middleweight champion Austin Trout on points over 12 rounds to unify his WBC title with the WBA version in April.
Mayweather again put on a boxing masterclass against Canelo, who could only charge forward and try to land his power punches, soundly beating the young Mexican, despite somehow one judge C.J. Ross scoring it 114-114, to take a majority decision.
WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and WBA and WBC light welterweight king Danny Garcia both will come out of 2013 with their undefeated records intact and could be on course to challenge the sport's elite fighter in 2014.
In March Bradley battled Ruslan Provodnikov, surviving a 12th round knockdown to take a unanimous decision win, in what was an epic encounter.
Provodnikov went on to stop Mike Alvarado in October to take the WBO light welterweight title while Bradley edged Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez after 12 hard fought rounds in the same month.
Garcia came through a war with veteran Zab Judah to earn a unanimous decision win in April and then outgunned Argentine banger Lucas Martin Matthysse on points over 12 rounds in September.
Another undefeated fighter named Garcia, WBO super featherweight champion Mikey Garcia had a equally impressive 2013.
In January he dethorned WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido via tehnical decision, after dominating the fight for eight rounds before an accidental head-butt caused the bout to be stopped when Garcia suffered a broken nose.
However, before his first defence against Puerto Rican Juan Manuel Lopez in June he lost the WBO strap on the scales when he failed to make the 126 lb weigh limit. He went on to stop Lopez in four rounds.
After moving up to super featherweight, he knocked out Roman Matinez in November to claim the WBO belt.
IBO and WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson both had an explosive year.
In January Golovkin destroyed Gabriel Rosado in seven, knocked out Nobuhiro Ishida in three rounds in March, crushed Matthew Macklin in the third in June and dominated Curtis Stevens for eight rounds in November to set up bigger fights in 2014, possibly against Argentine WBC titlist Sergio Martinez, who was lucky to gain a points win over Martin Murray in Buenos Aires in April.
Stevenson took just 76 seconds to stop Chad Dawson and claim the WBC light heavyweight belt in June.
He then punished former IBF champion Tavouris Cloud for seven rounds to retain his belt in September and was then just as impressive stopping British contender Tony Bellew in the fourth in November.
Stevenson could possibly face IBF light heavywweight king Bernard Hopkins in 2014, who outpointed Cloud to take the IBF strap in March to become the oldest ever world champion at 48, then he outclasssed Karo Murat to retain his belt on points in October.
Classy Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux outboxed highly touted Filipino Nonito Donaire for most of their 12 rounds to retain his WBA and claim the WBO super bantamweight title via unanimous decision in April.
Manny Pacquiao returned in November and looked rejuvenated when taking a one sided points decision over Brandon Rios, who suffered his second successive defeat following a points defeat to Mike Alvarado, in what was a brutal toe to toe battle in March.
Another mediocre year in the heavyweight division saw WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion Wladimir Klitschko stop overmatched Italian Francesco Pianeta in six rounds in May.
He then retained his belts defeating Russian Alexander Povetkin on points over 12 rounds in a lousy fight that the referee did nothing to prevent the champion from grabbing and holding throughout the bout. His older sibling Vitali finally relinquished his WBC title after 15 months of inactivity to focus on his career in politics in the Ukraine. Undefeated contenders Tyson Fury, Kubrat Pulev and Robert Helenius will have to be more active in 2014 to revive the division. American banger Deontay Wilder is yet to be tested.
The major upsets of the year came when veteran Jhonny Gonzalez stunningly knocked out fellow Mexican Abner Mares in the first round to take the WBC featherweight title in August and Argentine Marcos Maidana dropped Adrien Broner twice on the way to a unanimous decision victory to claim the WBA welterweight title earlier this month.
On this side of the pond, Nottingham fighter Carl Froch avenged his first pro defeat against Mikkel Kessler to take a unanimous decision after 12 exhilarating rounds in London to retain his IBF super middleweight title and claim the WBA belt in April.
Then in November, Froch was knocked down in the first round and behind on the scorecards before he rallied in the ninth to stop challenger George Groves though referee Howard Foster's intervention seemed premature and mared what was a classic.
Super bantamweight Scott Quigg was upgraded to WBA champion before he stepped into the ring against undefeated Cuban Yoandris Salinas in October, which proved to be a tricky outing for the Bury man early on and although Quigg finished strong, the judges could not separate the pair and scored the contest a draw. Quigg went on to blast out Diego Silva in two rounds in November to retain his title.
Domestic rival Carl Frampton remained en route to a world title in 2013, stopping Spaniard Kiko Martinez in nine rounds, who went on to claim the IBF belt when he halted Columbian Jhonatan Romero in August. Then the Northen Ireland fighter knocked out Frenchman Jeremy Parodi in the sixth in October.
Scotland's WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns scored a hard fought victory over Jose Gonzalez in May, after trailing on the scorecards, when the Puerto Rican retired on his stool after nine rounds citing an injured wrist.
He then gained what seemed a controversial draw against Mexican Ray Beltran in September in Glasgow. Burns, who was down in the 8th, suffered a broken jaw in the second round.
Nathan Cleverly made a successful defence of his WBO light heavyweight title when he decisioned German Robin Krasniqi in April, but lost his belt when he was overpowered in four rounds by Rusian puncher Sergey Kovalev in August.
Middleweight Darren Barker was handed a shot at IBF champion Daniel Geale in Atlantic City in August.
The Barnet man got up off the canvas in the eighth after a crippling body shot by the Australian, to battle back and take a split decision victory. Then on December 7, Barker travelled to Stuttgart in Germany for his first defence of the belt against German veteran Felix Sturm. However when Barker's problematic hips gave away, Sturm punished Barker and stopped him in two rounds to claim the IBF title.
Doncaster's Jamie McDonnell outscored Mexican Julio Ceja to claim the IBF bantamweight title in May.
McDonnell was then stripped of the belt for failing to defend it against mandatory challenger Vusi Malinga within the allotted time period.
On December 21, Darlington fighter Stuart Hall decisioned Malinga to claim the vacant IBF bantamweight belt.