The Big Apple fight scene was pretty darned vibrant in 2013, with Barclays Center further emerging as a go-to player in the mix as Golden Boy placed pretty compelling fights in Brooklyn -- even if Vegas, California and Texas sometimes got more love than the hippest borough it the world. But that didn't mean Manhattan receded, or became the Podunk borough -- no way.
Maybe the most surprising result of the year occurred at Radio City Music Hall on April 13, when 12-0 Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux made Nonito Donaire look like the level of boxer he'd had his way with while amassing a 31-1 record. Rigo won a UD12, via scores of 116-111, 114-113 and 115-112, and this sport of ours, the theater of the unexpected, once again showed us that you can go from the penthouse to the outhouse in the span of a half hour. Donaire, the 2012 Boxing Writers Association of America's 2012 Fighter of the Year, went from pound-for-pound ace to someone who needed to prove his worth to be mentioned in the same breath with the best and brightest.
2013 was yet another year in which fight fans discussed the possibility and probability of a clash between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. This is by design, of course, as savvy marketer Mayweather knows that legions of Twitterheads and gullible media sheeples will discuss this theoretical faceoff ad nauseam. On May 7, Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach weighed in and critiqued Floyd's winning effort against Robert Guerrero on May 3, getting in a knockdown slapdown on Floyd for being boring.
Paul Malignaggi, the Brooklyn-bred boxer who doubles as an analyst on Showtime, had a tremendous year. Not just in the local scheme of things, but overall. Yes, he went 1-1, losing to Adrien Broner on June 22 and then finishing the year with an easy money win over desultory Zab Judah on Dec. 7. Many folks thought Paulie would get his hat handed to him by Broner, but I told you on June 16 that Paulie was a most live 'dog.
Malignaggi showed his intelligence everywhere he went, utilizing superb ring generalship against Broner en route to winning on one of the three judges' cards. That, and he emerged into the consensus pick as the best analyst on the tube today, showing an ability to communicate incisively, in manageable chunks, without being repetitive or too cheerleadery.