Timothy Bradley eats a big right from Ruslan Provodnikov
Undefeated boxers are frequently the most scrutinized in boxing. With one loss, a fighter's credibility can be shattered, which is why many boxers promote their unbeaten record with such pride.
With so many fighters competing in an array of weight classes, even the most astute fight fans can have a tough time recognizing fighters with zero losses, who are actually the best in their class. It's important to distinguish undefeated fighters because at the end of the day, the best are whom we are looking to recognize.
There is no shortage of talented fighters who are undefeated in boxing today. This list specifically includes notable fighters who are undefeated and are scheduled to be in action this year. I also considered some of the matchups that these undefeated fighters are rumored to be engaging in later in the year.
Lastly, I gave an honorable mention to some up-and-comers who are looking to remain undefeated but don't have a plan as defined as the ranked fighters on this list. With the year only a few months old, let’s take a look at five undefeated boxers who are in serious jeopardy of losing in 2013.
Tyson Fury vs. Dereck Chisora
Plenty of undefeated fighters are putting their "0" on the line in 2013. Some boxers have a less aggressive and more manageable fight plan to remain undefeated in 2013 and thus were left off the list.
Based on the rumors and scheduled fights set for each boxer in 2013, these fighters just missed the list.
- Peter Quillin
Next fight vs. Fernando Guerrero
- J'Leon Love
Next fight vs. Gabriel Rosado
As a two-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the most decorated amateurs in the history of boxing, Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs) is leap years ahead of what his record indicates. In his last fight, Rigondeaux was rocked a few times by Roberto Marroquin but turned in an overall dominating performance via 12-round decision.
Rigo's next fight versus Nonito Donaire will be his toughest professional bout to date. Given Nonito's power and technique, if Guillermo is caught with any clean punches versus the "Filipino Flash," he may be in more trouble than he was against the young Marroquin.
At 32 years old, Rigondeaux is not looking for tune-ups or more learning experience. Since he's been waiting to make a big fight to happen for a long time, he may take chances against Donaire to make a lasting impression with the fans.
Rigo is ready to fight the best of the best, and regardless of if he wins or loses against Donaire, expect him to continue to ask for tough competition.
Brandon Rios (31-0, 23 KOs) has admitted that he only knows how to fight one way (per Jake Donovan of BoxingScene.com), and that's coming forward. He won't show many angles or get cute in the ring. Instead, Rios wears his opponents down by taking their best punch and returning fire relentlessly.
Traditionally, a swarmer like Rios does not enjoy a long career because of the amount of punishment he takes. He's already been in some action-packed fights early in his career, and if his second fight with Mike Alvarado is anything like the first, Rios could definitely be facing defeat this year.
Marquez has the power and boxing ability to get the best of Rios with a multilevel game plan.
Bradley, on the other hand, would be a stern test because he has shown boxing ability as well as the grit to duke it out on the inside. Given this aggressive fight plan, it'll be interesting to see where Brandon stands at the end of the year.
Danny Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) is a young, strong fighter who loves to trade bombs with his opponents. This "bomb-first" style has proved successful thus far in Garcia's career, but things could get more difficult for him this year.
Aside from facing a tough veteran in Zab Judah on April 27, it seems that every major junior welterweight wants a piece of Garcia. From Lucas Matthysse—who called Garcia out after knocking out Mike Dallas Jr.—to Brandon Rios, the Philly fighter has a lot of calls to answer if he can defeat Judah.
Lastly, an added X-factor may be putting unnecessary pressure on Garcia to perform: his father, Angel Garcia. In the buildup to Garcia's most high-profile fights with Amir Khan and Judah, Angel Garcia has taken it upon himself to unleash a verbal assault on the opposition.
Danny—who is less outspoken than his father—is the one who has to lace up the gloves and back up his father’s talking. At the end of the day, that may catch up with both son and father.
What a difference one fight makes.
On March 16, 2013, Timothy Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs) and Ruslan Provodnikov gave fight fans a show for the ages in Bradley's first defense of his WBO title. In an early candidate for 2013 fight of the year, Provodnikov pushed the action and forced Bradley to throw out his normal box-first strategy.
It's obvious that the best way for Bradley to win a fight is to avoid heavy exchanges on the inside. But, it's also clear that he won over a new group of spectators with his gutsy performance against Provodnikov. Because of this, Bradley now faces a huge dilemma, tactically speaking.
After Bradley's fan favorite war with Provodnikov—which, according to MyDesert.com, peaked at 1.4 million viewers—fights with Juan Manuel Marquez (per Osiris Mendez Cruz of notifight.com, h/t BoxingScene.com), Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado (per SI.com) are all being discussed.
The blueprint to beat Bradley is definitely out there; it's just a matter of his opponent having the will and determination to follow through with it. Both Marquez and Rios have undying resolve—as does Bradley—so a fight with either of those warriors could spell war and a tough loss for Bradley.
Kell Brook is scheduled to fight Devon Alexander on May 18. This will mark only the second time that Brook—who is from England—will fight in the United States. He will be looking to make a bigger name for himself on American soil as well as protect his undefeated record.
If Brook does get past his toughest test in Alexander, he will have a lot of options waiting for him at welterweight in the U.S. and back home. One big-name opponent could be fellow Englishman, Amir Khan. Though Khan is currently listed as a junior welterweight, he may be moving up to 147 pounds sooner than expected.
Khan has put a six to nine month timetable on his possible move up to welterweight. It’s been well-documented that Khan and Brook are longtime rivals, which makes Khan’s possible move up in weight interesting.
If Brook is impressive in a victory versus Alexander, Khan could elect to jump up to welterweight to make a matchup a reality. 2013 will definitely be a step up in class for Brook, and if he ends the year undefeated, it will be because he’s beaten some of the best competition in his division.