Boxing has had some spectacular moments in this first half of 2013. The triumphant return of Floyd Mayweather, the first fight at Radio City Music Hall in years, Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado returning to pound the living hell out of one another and Tim "I got a concussion!" Bradley's violent and breathtaking clash with Ruslan Provodnikov were banner moments.
For some fighters, 2013 has been a rough ride. Whether it was lack of training, superior opposition, or just plain bad luck, the following pugilists would probably like to turn back the clock.
There is no shame in losing to Bernard Hopkins. He's a legend, a hall of fame fighter who will go down as one of the best in history. When you step into the ring with Hopkins, you know you're in for a rough night. But Cloud walked into the ring against the 48-year-old Hopkins seemingly with one game plan—come forward, look for the big shot, and land it.
In fact, he landed next to nothing. If we've seen any weakness in Hopkins in his advancing years, it's that he has trouble with movers. He couldn't keep up with Dawson, and he faded against Joe Calzaghe. Cloud is certainly not going to be confused with Roy Jones, but he was exposed as a one dimensional fighter with little more than a plan A.
Hopkins is the truth; if you're a fighter with vulnerabilities, he'll find them. Cloud has his share, but one assumed he'd pressure Hopkins, hit him everywhere and try to wear him down. That was his best chance to win, and he failed miserably.
Cloud can be a fun fighter to watch if he's in with another banger. If his handlers are wise, they'll find the brawlers at 175 and line them up for him. If Gabriel Campillo showed some kinks in Cloud's armor in 2012, Hopkins tore the armor clean off this year.
Sometimes, you can win and still disappoint.
Sergio Martinez has been on an absolute tear for the last couple of years, wrecking everything in front of him in the middleweight division. He was coming off a masterpiece win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., where he dominated his younger foe and held on in the 12th after being badly hurt to pull out the win.
It's probably not fair to expect a home run every time he fights. But when Martinez walked into the ring in front of tens of thousands of his screaming countrymen, he certainly envisioned something better than squeaking out a decision victory in a life and death fight.
Perhaps it was that his injuries hadn't quite healed. Maybe it had to do with the fact that he's a 38-year-old fighter who relies on freakish agility and lateral movement to win fights. Whatever the reason, Martinez was not the same fighter against Martin Murray that we've come to expect.
You could feel the tension in the crowd as the rounds wore on and Martinez had yet to assert himself in the fight, culminating when he was dropped by a one-two from Murray in the 8th round. He was able to bear down with a champion's grit in the championship rounds to win the fight, but he left the ring with more questions than answers.
Has Martinez started the inevitable decline to mortality, or was he simply a wounded fighter with too much pride to call the fight off? Unfortunately, we likely won't find out until next year.
Guerrero said all the right things before the fight, and he trained like a man possessed. But sometimes, simply wanting to win isn't enough.
That is especially true when fighting Floyd Mayweather.
Instead of Guerrero pressuring a fading Mayweather into wilting down the stretch, Guerrero was absolutely schooled by a far superior fighter who has slipped exactly 0 percent. He wasn't given much of a chance to win but fans were at least hoping for a competitive fight.
That's not to say Guerrero did anything wrong; good fighters don't beat all-time-great fighters. He can still beat a lot of quality opponents, but on this night, he was embarrassed and blown out.
While the booing during the fight was seemingly directed at Mayweather, the massive skill disparity between the two fighters was to blame.
If "Money" fights long enough, he'll eventually lose a step. Perhaps then someone will be able to battle him on even terms. As tough as Robert Guerrero is, he's not that guy.
David Price is an absolutely gigantic man. At 6'8", he's one of the few fighters that either Klitschko brother would have to look up at. In fact, the last couple of years, the English fighter has been touted by many as someone who could finally topple the Klitschko heavyweight reign.
Unfortunately, in February when he fought Tony Thompson, he wouldn't have beaten the Klitschkos' great aunt (insert stereotypical Ukrainian name here...).
Tony Thompson, who has scored KO victories over such iron chinned beasts as Maurice Harris, Owen Beck and Adnan Serin, popped Price with a seemingly harmless short right hook. Price took the shot as well as a drunken toddler as he collapsed to the mat.
He rose, but with no balance left in his legs, the referee stopped the fight. Klitschko. Dream. Over.
He'll get a shot to redeem himself in July with a rematch against Thompson, but the knockout loss has cast serious doubts as to whether he'll ever be ready to handle the champs. Maybe he just happened to get caught in the perfect spot.
Or maybe he's just a "chinny" heavyweight who would get absolutely destroyed by Vitali or Vladimir. Time will tell.
Donaire's 2012 could not have gone any better. After what transpired in April, he probably wishes he could turn back the clock.
Donaire was defeated by Guillermo Rigondeaux. It wasn't the loss that was shocking, but the ease at which Rigo handled him. For the first several rounds, Donaire was continually fanning air when trying to catch the Cuban, who was bouncing out of the way and popping Donaire with counter shots any time he felt like it.
Donaire did manage to close the gap and scored a knockdown later in the fight, but when Rigondeaux felt like stepping on the gas and attacking, Donaire could do nothing to stop him.
In fact, one got the feeling like Donaire could have been stopped if Rigo felt like going in for the finish. But he's not that kind of fighter. He is content to get the win by decision. Donaire, however, wants blood. He looks to end every fight with one punch because he's capable of just that.
It was this approach that caused his demise.
Donaire is way too talented to be down for too long. He'll get the opportunity to avenge his loss at some point, but so far, he's put in the most disappointing performance of the year.