Saul "Canelo" Alvarez
For one reason or another veterans and prospects alike are constantly put under the microscope and forced to prove their worth.
With two exciting weekends of boxing behind us, 2013 is in full swing. A new year equals a new start and often times that is just what fighters need to prove themselves.
Ranked in order from least to prove, to most to prove, let's take a look at the 5 boxers with the most to prove in 2013.
Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson
Since Lamont Peterson's first professional loss at the hands of Timothy Bradley in 2009, he has shown consistent improvement versus top-level opponents such as Victor Ortiz and Amir Khan.
After earning a controversial decision win over Khan in December of 2011, Peterson suffered a setback in 2012 when the IBF and WBA titles were stripped from him for testing positive for synthetic testosterone. The IBF did decided that Peterson's use of the hormone was therapeutic and not for the purpose of enhancing his performance, and he was eventually reinstated as the champ.
Peterson is scheduled to defend his title, for the first time on February 22 in Washington, against tough-veteran Kendall Holt. Will Lamont be able to prove that he is a deserving champion after such a long layoff? We will find out in less than one month.
Bradley vs. Pacquiao
So why is he on this list?
Many observers, including yours truly, thought that Bradley lost to Manny Pacquiao. The problem is that "Desert Storm" hasn't gotten back in the ring to prove his win was not a fluke.
Considering Bradley's impressive resume, it's really incredible to think that there is such little fan fare behind a rematch with Pacquiao or a fight with anyone else for that matter.
Bradley will undoubtedly have to impress next time he steps in the ring, and given his long layoff, that may be difficult to do.
Marquez vs. Pacquiao IV
I believe Manny Pacquiao's status as an all-time great fighter is already solidified.
The reason that Pacquiao is on this list relates more to the fact that he needs to prove whether he is still an elite fighter.
In recent fights, Pacquiao has not been the high energy "Pacman" that we grew accustomed to seeing earlier in his career when he ran over opponents en route to eight-division titles.
Obviously, wear and tear have a lot to do with the change in style, but after so much success outside of the ring one must also question Manny's desire to even fight anymore.
So, the question is not only: Is Manny Pacquiao still an elite fighter? But does he still want to be an elite fighter?
Alvarez vs. Lopez
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez has the talent, team and fan base to be a mainstream star. The one knock on Canelo has been his quality of opposition. Golden Boy has consistently fed Alvarez a steady diet of over the hill or undersized opponents.
There is a possibility that Canelo will face Austin Trout on Cinco de Mayo weekend. That be a great test for the Mexican star.
Regardless of who his opponent is, Alvarez must win in convincing fashion to garner mainstream excitement for a potential showdown in September with none other than pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Carlos Molina vs. Amir Khan
Out of any boxer on this list, I believe Amir Khan has the most to prove in 2013.
Khan enters a new chapter of his career going into 2013. Having dropped Freddie Roach as his trainer after a knockout loss to Danny Garcia, Khan now looks to fight with a more disciplined style under the guidance of Virgil Hunter.
We got our first glimpse of Hunter's version of Khan this past December. While Amir dominated his previously unbeaten opponent, Carlos Molina, he also seemed to make many of the same mistakes which plagued him against past opponents. Dropping his hands and eating too many clean shots will certainly hurt him against any serious contender.
Although Khan possesses the physical tools to be successful in the ring, it will be interesting to see if he can focus and stick with a game plan that requires him to be a more disciplined boxer.
Just missed the list:
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.