The year 2014 in boxing wasn’t about Floyd Mayweather Jr. nor was it about Manny Pacquiao. More so, it wasn’t about the two of them fighting each other in or out of the ring. As Top Rank and Mayweather promotions continue to build their Mega Bout sand castle, 2014 saw the rise of new boxing stars who could take over once both Money and Pacman retire, with or without fighting each other in the ring. But who was the star among stars in 2014? We have three bets:
Ring Magazine’s 2013 Fighter of The Year continued his meteoric rise to superstardom in 2014 with three knockouts in his three fights that lasted for a total of 12 rounds. Gennady Golovkin was a destroyer in 2014 as he completed twelve successful title defenses with successive knockout victories over Osumanu Adama, Daniel Geale and Marco Antonio Rubio. Golovkin’s 90% knockout rate (28 out of 31 opponents) is the highest in the history of the middleweight division and the best among current boxers and champions. The two time Asian Games Gold Medalist and one time World Boxing Championships Gold Medalist from Kazakhastan is still looking for his first big name opponent. Unfortunately, with the way he’s been disposing of his opposition, it seems that everyone is busy doing other fights. After his latest win over Marco Antonio Rubio last October, Golovkin called out Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto. However, it seems Cotto is headed to a Cinco De Mayo weekend showdown with Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Right there with Gennady Golovkin as one of the most vicious finishers in the sport today is unified light heavyweight champion Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev of Russia. Also undefeated like Golovkin, Kovalev has an 88% knockout rate or 23 of his 26 victories have been knocked out. Kovalev also went 3-0 in 2014 by handing Cedric Agnew and Blake Caparello the first defeat of their careers ( by KO). Then Kovalev finished his impressive year with a one-sided domination of future Hall-of-Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins last November. Although Hopkins became the first opponent to go more than eight rounds with Kovalev, the Krusher showed that he is the future of boxing when he dominated the great Hopkins in every aspect of the game. Kovalev knocked Hopkins down in Round 1 and won every round of the fight in the judges’ scorecards. Kovalev is set to fight Jean Pascal in March and if he wins, he could finally figure in a unification bout with Adonis Stevenson for the undisputed light heavyweight title.
Omaha’s pride turned in perhaps the Performance of the Year with his knockout win over undefeated champion Yuriorkis Gamboa last June in Nebraska. The undefeated Crawford was coming off the biggest win of his career in March where he went all the way to Glasgow to challenge Ricky Burns for the WBO lightweight title. After beating Burns, Crawford fought for the first time in his hometown of Omaha in only the 2nd world title fight in Nebraska’s history. But Crawford did not buckle under world class pressure. Instead, he thrived under pressure and put on the fight of his life against Gamboa. He returned to Omaha last November and put on a boxing clinic against a game Raymundo Beltran to retain his strap for the second time. Crawford may have scored just one KO in his three wins of 2014 unlike Golovkin and Kovalev who were more devastating but Crawford’s fight against Gamboa was career-defining. Experts agree that a star was born in Omaha that night. And at 27, he’s likely the one to carry the torch which Mayweather and Pacquiao will very soon leave. Crawford has stated his intention to move up to 140 lbs and get the bigger fights against bigger opponents.
So who do you think will be the 2014 Boxer of the Year?