5. Mikey Garcia TKO 4 Juan Manuel Lopez (June 15)
The younger brother of respected trainer and former IBF super featherweight champion Robert, Mikey Garcia has emerged as one of the best boxer-punchers in the sport today, amassing an impressive 27 knockouts from 32 paid contests.
So when Garcia met faded Puerto Rican puncher Juan Manuel Lopez (33-3, 30 KOs) on June 15, most enlightened observers put the chances of hearing the final bell somewhere between slim and none.
And so it proved, as the 25-year-old Californian destroyed Lopez in the fourth round of a one-sided fight to underline his pound-for-pound credentials. Garcia sent Juanma to the canvas early in the second session with a crisp right hand, before ending the Puerto Rican’s resistance with a left cross in the fourth stanza.
4. Deontay Wilder KO1 Siarhei Liakhovich (August 9)
America’s latest heavyweight hope Wilder (29-0, 29 KOs) took a small step up in competition for his last bout in August, facing faded former world champion Siarhei Liakhovich 25-6 (16 KOs) at the Fantasy Springs Casino in California.
The ‘Bronze Bomber’ made a big statement on the night, bringing the fight to an abrupt and violent conclusion with a huge right hand to chalk up the 18th first round knockout of his short pro career. The sheer force of the punch left Liakhovich convulsing on the canvas before he received medical attention.
Next up for Wilder is a 10-rounder with Ohio journeyman Nicolai Firtha (21-10-1, 8 KOs) on October 26, which will do little to appease critics of the 27-year-old’s seemingly never-ending stream of low level opposition.
3. Lucas Matthysse TKO3 Lamont Peterson (May 18)
Argentine slugger Matthysse added another knockout to his career highlight reel with this three round destruction of Lamont Peterson (31-2-1, 16 KOs) at Atlantic City’s famous Boardwalk Hall.
Matthysse dropped IBF champion Peterson three times with a series of vicious hooks before referee Steve Smoger waved off the fight 2 minutes, 14 seconds into the round, improving his KO percentage to 87 per cent with his sixth knockout victory in a row.
Matthysse’s first knockdown came in the second round when a grazing left hook cracked Peterson on the temple and sent him sprawling to the canvas. The 31-year-old destroyer then caught the American with a clean left hook in the third round, and though Peterson bravely beat the count, Matthysse immediately followed up with another flurry of punches to force the stoppage.
‘The Machine’ had authored another knockout of the year contender back in January when he landed a short, thudding right hand that sent American Mike Dallas Jr (19-3, 8 KOs) face first to the canvas, where he would remain for several seconds.
2. Adonis Stevenson KO1 Chad Dawson (June 8)
A respected but relatively untested super-middleweight contender known for his fearsome punching power, 35-year-old Adonis Stevenson had to move up in weight to earn a shot at Chad Dawson’s lineal light heavyweight title in Montreal.
Stevenson was the heavy underdog against Dawson (31-3, 17 KOs), who was moving back up from super middleweight to defend his world titles. But the Haitian-born southpaw caused one of the biggest upsets of 2013, connecting with a textbook left hand that landed flush and sent the champion crashing to the canvas. Dawson reached his feet but was unable to convince referee Michael Griffin that it was safe for him to continue.
1. Gennady Golovkin KO3 Nobihuro Ishida (March 30)
Golovkin has become a firm fans’ favourite across the pond thanks to his come-forward style and engaging personality. The 31-year-old from Kazakhstan has been tearing through the middleweight division in brutal fashion and holds the highest knockout percentage of any of boxing’s current world champions. So when he was matched with the light-hitting Nobihuro Ishida (25-9-2, 10 KOs) in March, ‘GGG’ was expected to lay waste to the Japanese journeyman.
Golovkin didn’t disappoint, closing the show with a picture perfect overhand right that sent Ishida – who had never been stopped in 35 fights – sprawling through the ropes.
Honourable mentions: Gennady Golovkin KO3 Matthew Macklin (June 29), Tony Thompson TKO2 David Price (February 23), Sergey Kovalev TKO4 Nathan Cleverly (August 17), Edwin Rodriguez TKO1 Denis Grachev (June 13), George Groves TKO5 Noe Gonzalez Alcoba (May 25), Luca Matthysse KO1 Mike Dallas Jr (January 26).
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