Ranking the Most Dominant Boxing Performances of 2014 So Far
Before you start wondering if I put Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s performance against Marcos Maidana on this list, the short answer is no. However, as a boxer who often dominates his opponents, I thought including his picture would be a good idea.
As a side note, if I was asked to rank the most dominant performances of 2013, his defeat of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez would be at the top of the list, despite whatever judge C.J. Ross thought she saw that night.
Marcos Maidana over Adrien Broner, Manny Pacquiao over Brandon Rios and Ruslan Provodnikov over Mike Alvarado would also make the list for 2013.
That was then, so let's talk about now.
Every boxer promises to dominate his opponent during the promotional press conferences leading up to the fight, but they pull off that feat way less than it's guaranteed.
Over the following six slides I'll rank the boxers who actually backed up their talk with a dominating walk through the first half of 2014.
As "Stone Cold" Steve Austin would say, "They stomped a mud hole in them and walked it dry."
Punch totals, quality of the opponent, controlling the style and tempo and what was at stake all played a factor in how I ranked the six performances on this list.
Dominant performances that just missed the list include Wladimir Klitschko over Alex Leapai, Demetrius Andrade over Brian Rose and Amir Khan over Luis Collazo.
6. Gennady Golovkin over Daniel Geale
Outcome of the Fight: Gennady Golovkin by third-round TKO.
How He Dominated: To put it simply and shortly, he used short, accurate power punches that shook his opponent from head to toe. Lots of boxers have great power, but what makes Golovkin special is how efficiently and effectively he delivers his powerful blows.
His punches are compact and crisp, have no wasted motion and land with incredible accuracy—a devastating combination.
Daniel Geale fought a good fight and landed nearly the same amount of punches as Golovkin; Geale's just had much less on them compared to the most feared fighter at 160 pounds. Geale also used good lateral movement, but Golovkin's ability to cut off the ring as he stalks his prey is the best of any current boxer I've seen.
Geale is a solid fighter, but to borrow baseball terminology, his power punches topped out in the mid-to-high 80s like Jamie Moyer, while Golovkin was breaking triple digits on the radar gun like Aroldis Chapman. Geale tried to back Golovkin up with his jab and movement, but GGG walked right through and landed his own shots.
Some doubters questioned the chin and defense of GGG. Those questions were answered emphatically when Golovkin took a clean shot from Geale and not only stayed on his feet but managed to deliver the knockout blow a split-second later.
Brian Campbell of ESPN talked about that jaw-dropping moment and Golovkin's place among boxing's elite:
Few of Golovkin’s fights have failed to entertain or provide at least one shake-your-head moment of surprise. His finish of Geale fit that category completely as Golovkin ate his opponent’s best shot flush on the chin and followed through simultaneously on a heinous counter right hand that floored Geale and led to his exit.
With a frightening level of poise and craft to match his other-worldly power, Golovkin isn’t just the class of the middleweight division (Geale’s promoter, Gary Shaw, called Golovkin the best 160-pounder he has ever seen after the fight); he has stamped his spot among the sport’s pound-for-pound best.
There's a pretty good chance Golovkin will continue to make his way onto lists like this for the next several years. The dude has scary power.
5. Juan Manuel Marquez over Mike Alvarado
Outcome of the Fight: Unanimous decision for Juan Manuel Marquez 119-108, 117-109 twice.
How He Dominated: Marquez overwhelmed Mike Alvarado early in the fight with pressure and better accuracy. Alvarado looked utterly baffled as his chin absorbed jabs and counter right hands through the first eight rounds.
Alvarado picked it up with a knockdown in the ninth round, but despite being the smaller man in terms of size, Marquez fought like the bigger man in the ring that night. If you hadn't previously known otherwise, you would also have thought that Alvarado was the fighter entering the end of his career and not Marquez.
Marquez was faster and reacted quicker; his accuracy was much sharper with every punch he threw. Alvarado couldn't land his own shots and looked hopeless trying to get out of the way of the punches coming back in his direction.
In the end Marquez outlanded Alvarado in 11 of the 12 rounds, according to CompuBox, with a final total of 278 landed punches to 178.
Dominance is the perfect word to describe what happened in the ring on May 17.
4. Bernard Hopkins over Beibut Shumenov
Outcome of the Fight: Split decision for Bernard Hopkins 116-111 twice, 114-113 for Beibut Shumenov.
How He Dominated: First off, forget the score in favor of Shumenov. You should even forget the two scores from the judges who only gave Hopkins eight rounds. That fight should have been scored 118-109 with the late knockdown factored in.
The judge in question—Gustavo Padilla of Panama—should have his license removed or at least have to go through training before judging a major title fight again.
Hopkins' style doesn't lend itself to a ton of thrown punches, but he did have a big advantage over Shumenov in the percentage of punches landed.
Overall during the fight, Hopkins landed 49 percent of his punches compared to just 20 percent for Shumenov; there's no doubt who was the more effective puncher on April 19. The margin for percentage of power punches was equally lopsided.
As he always does, Hopkins was patient and picked his moments. What was a little different than most of his fights was that he landed cleaner and with more power than usual, which resulted in his late knockdown of Shumenov.
The offensive defense from Shumenov also helped Hopkins land frequently and cleanly. On the knockdown, the challengers' defense was so bad that when Hopkins tried to set him up with a feint, Shumenov never even reacted to it but was still wide open for Hopkins' big right hand.
A great performance from Hopkins plus an awful performance from Shumenov added up to a dominant win for the ageless wonder of boxing.
3. Shawn Porter over Paulie Malignaggi
Outcome of the Fight: Shawn Porter by fourth-round KO.
How He Dominated: Porter flattened Paulie Malignaggi like a steamroller. After a relatively close first round, Porter overwhelmed Malignaggi with pressure in the second until he eventually collapsed in the fourth round.
Paulie Malignaggi is shook up going back to the corner. Porter winging power shots. Missed a bunch but did substantial damage.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) April 20, 2014
Malignaggi—who might be the softest-hitting fighter at welterweight—has to win fights by landing his jab and moving like a pure boxer. Porter didn't allow Malignaggi to breathe, much less work that game plan.
The younger fighter came forward, worked the body and threw big rights over the top that seemed to knock Malignaggi onto a different planet each time they landed.
By the time referee Sam Williams stopped the fight, Porter had landed 50 percent of his power punches with exactly three times as many landed in total—63 to 21—compared to Malignaggi.
Really, the difference in power shots landed is more than that number even suggests when you consider the power each fighter has behind his punches; Porter's jab is harder than Malignaggi's power punches.
2. Canelo Alvarez over Alfredo Angulo
Outcome of the Fight: Saul "Canelo" Alvarez by 10th-round TKO.
How He Dominated: Alvarez landed heavy bombs all night on what was essentially a stationary target. Like most other fans, I also thought Canelo would win the match, but his level of dominance was surprising and staggering.
Alfredo Angulo rarely let his hands go during the fight. Alvarez showed better movement than he had in the past, but he wasn't exactly Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao in the ring.
Angulo never adjusted. He tried to come forward but was mostly standing still with his gloves up like rabbit ears. Meanwhile, Alvarez would move a little bit to change the angle and throw power punches in combination that landed with sickening thuds.
The rabbit ears defense—much like the prevent defense in football—rarely works against a great fighter since there are still openings between and around the guard. Angulo's defense was so ineffective that it allowed Alvarez to land 64 percent of his power punches during the fight.
Landing 50 percent of your power shots is a great number; landing 64 percent is absurd and points to awful defense from the opponent. The total number of power punches landed was massively lopsided as well, with Alvarez landing 197 compared to just 78 from Angulo.
It seemed like Angulo was specifically picked to make Alvarez look good in his return to the ring after being dominated by Mayweather; I'd have to say mission accomplished.
1. Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Martinez
Outcome of the Fight: Miguel Cotto by 10th-round TKO.
How He Dominated: By landing punishing hooks to the body and head of an opponent who wasn't mobile enough to escape his attack.
There was doubt among many boxing fans and media members in regard to the health of Sergio Martinez leading up to the fight because of the injuries he suffered in his two previous fights; there was no doubt afterward.
I don't bring up Martinez's injuries to take away credit from Cotto, but it was obvious the former 160-pound champion wasn't 100 percent on June 7.
Whatever injury Martinez was attempting to fight through was made worse when Cotto knocked him down three times in the first round, which seemed to create or worsen a problem with his knee when he fell.
Like many other great fighters who have teamed up with Freddie Roach, Cotto put on an offensive masterpiece against Martinez with relentless pressure, hard jabs and his signature devastating left hooks.
Cotto was never even dazed for a second, while Martinez was wobbly and had one eye badly damaged.
The CompuBox numbers tell the story of the fight with 212 punches landed for Cotto to just 100 for Martinez; the connect percentage was equally lopsided.
Factoring in the level of dominance with what was at stake and the prestige of his opponent, Cotto's stoppage victory over Martinez was the only logical choice to put at the top of this list.