The 2013 ESPY Awards ceremony from Los Angeles was the ultimate celebration of sports, but it wasn’t without its fair share of snubs and surprises.
All of the voting for the following categories could have gone a different way, but the fans made their collective voice clear and chose the athletes they enjoyed the most.
The popular vote doesn’t necessarily mean it was the right selection, though.
Here are the biggest snubs and surprises from this always-entertaining event.
No. 1 Biggest Snub: Sebastian Vettel
Best Driver ESPY Winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay
Candidates: Ryan Hunter-Reay (IndyCar), Tony Kanaan (IndyCar), Brad Keselowski (NASCAR), Sebastian Vettel (Formula One)
While there is no discounting how talented Ryan Hunter-Reay is as a driver and what he accomplished by winning the 2012 IndyCar series championship, the best driver of the last year was Sebastian Vettel in Formula One.
Not only did Vettel win the Formula One championship for the third straight year—five overall wins in 2012 and four thus far in 2013—but he is currently leading the standings once again and is heading toward another title.
Hunter-Reay is in third in the point standings this year, but his success does not compare to the dominance of Vettel in Formula One. With the lack of focus on F1 in the United States, this was a robbery.
No. 2 Biggest Snub: Manny Pacquiao's KO Loss
Best Upset ESPY Winner: Florida Gulf Coast over Georgetown
Candidates: Florida Gulf Coast over Georgetown (Men's NCAA Basketball), Louisville over Baylor (Women's NCAA Basketball), Marquez over Pacquiao (Boxing), Texas A&M over Alabama (College Football)
Watching Florida Gulf Coast’s run in the NCAA tournament and the team’s victory over Georgetown was exhilarating as a sports fan, but there was no bigger upset over the last year than the knockout of Manny Pacquiao.
As one of the greatest boxers of all time, Pacquiao was coming into his fight with longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez looking to avenge a tough decision loss.
Instead of finding redemption, Pac-Man was knocked out in brutal fashion.
There are huge upsets in NCAA basketball all the time—this was the seventh time a No. 15 seed upset a No. 2 seed, per Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports—but devastating knockouts in boxing to bona fide legends are something much more special.
No. 1: Best Coach/Manager, Rick Pitino
Candidates: Bruce Arians (Indianapolis Colts), Geno Auriemma (UConn Women's Basketball), John Danowski (Duke Lacrosse), Rick Pitino (Louisville Men's Basketball), Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat)
While the Miami Heat and the individual players were all over the award ceremony, head coach Erik Spoelstra was not the winner of the Coach of the Year ESPY. That award was given to Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.
Pitino took his Cardinals to the 2013 National Championship game and walked out as champions. While his accomplishments were impressive, the entire cast of characters nominated deserved to win.
In what turned out to be the most unpredictable category, Pitino shocked many fans by winning the ESPY, but there is no question that he fully deserves the honor. It was a very close race for the victory.
No. 2: Best Fighter, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Candidates: Canelo Alvarez (Boxing), Danny Garcia (Boxing), Jon "Bones" Jones (MMA), Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Boxing), Anderson Silva (MMA)
The fans came out in force for veteran boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., and while it's not a total surprise to have the crowd favorite win, the fact that he beat out UFC champion Jon Jones for the honor was a bit of a shocker.
Mayweather only had one pay-per-view fight since the last ESPYS, and it was a decision victory. Jones has main-evented two PPVs and beaten Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen via submission and TKO respectively.
With Mayweather’s mediocre performance against Robert Guerrero—the undefeated champion did just enough to earn the win—Jones should have won the award. There is always next year, though.
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