Quijano: Fighter of the Year 2013

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By Jingo Quijano

Last Round

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

WELL, I’m glad that one was over. I won’t mince words in saying 2013 was full of aberrations. In Cebu alone you name it, we had it. Almost all calamities known to man visited us.

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake. A super typhoon dubbed as a real life “Perfect Storm.” A freak tornado that sprung out of nowhere in the heart of Mandaue.

And as if that were not enough, a fiery closing with blazing fires decimating densely populated areas around the metropolis.

They all left behind death, despair, disease, destruction.

But despite these tragedies, we also saw the milk of human kindness pour out endlessly and abundantly—almost infinite in its capacity to help, to comfort and restitute, and provide hope.

But, yes, I’m glad that year was over. That’s that.

FOTY. Looking back, there were several fighters that merited consideration for our 2013 Fighter of the Year honors. But to me, none was more deserving than Timothy Bradley.

At the close of 2012, he was pilloried for that undeserved verdict against Manny Pacquiao. It certainly didn’t help matters that he allowed that fiction to fester inside that bald pate of his, and so he entered 2013 year craving the approbation of the fight world.

His first test was the heavy-fisted Ruslan Provodnikov, and he almost didn’t make it past the first round. The tough Russian banger battered him from corner to corner and Bradley almost drowned from the sheer brutality and ferocity of that feral attack.

But “Desert Storm” showed resiliency and heart as he survived that round and went on to win the fight despite being knocked down again in the 12th stanza. Known primarily as a boxer/counter- puncher, Bradley showed he could also brawl with a beast like Provodnikov .

A few months later, Provodnikov would later score a stoppage win over WBO light welterweight champ Mike Alvarado, and Bradley’s stock could only have soared with that victory.

To cap an impressive year for him, Bradley matched up with fellow Pacquiao conqueror Juan Manuel Marquez last October and came out on top in a closely fought encounter.

Coming into this fight, Marquez was the favorite on the strength of that knockout of year over Manny Pacquiao in 2012. I thought Marquez would be victorious, but Bradley proved to be the faster and sharper fighter.

He constantly beat Marquez to the punch and though the latter landed the harder punches, Bradley’s hits were cleaner and more frequent.
In the final exchange before the final bell, both men unloaded combinations and Bradley staggered Marquez.

That final burst of offense from both fighters was quite telling and emblematic of the entire fight’s complexion, one that would perhaps define Bradley’s body of work for the year 2013.

HONORABLE MENTIONS. Marcos Maidana also had a great year. He made short work of Josesito Lopez in June, winning via 6th round TKO in an action-packed encounter. But his biggest victory came just last month, upsetting the cocky Adrien Broner and making him taste defeat for the first time and knocking him down two times.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. also deserved some consideration. He thoroughly dominated Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero in May, and then made Saul “Canelo” Alvarez look like a plodding amateur in a dominant display of boxing superiority last September.

Danny Garcia also makes the cut for elite performances this year. First, he defeated former world champ Zab Judah in April, then stopped feared knockout artist Lucas Matthysse in September.

NEW BEGINNINGS. Every new year brings a promise of hope, a new beginning. A chance to wipe the slate clean, to start over. I wish everyone a better year ahead. Happy New Year Last Rounders.

LAST ROUND. This year’s final round is on Debbie Yu-Naya. Happy Birthday and Cheers!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 01, 2014.


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