The other day I was thinking about how most of the year-end awards already have several strong candidates. If the year ended today, we would definitely have a few worthy candidates for fighter of the year, fight of the year, knockout of the year, round of the year and upset of the year.
The one award I found myself struggling with is "Trainer of the year". This is mostly because oftentimes the award is associated either with the year's most impressive performance by an individual fighter in an individual bout or with trainers who have large stables of very good fighters (Freddie Roach, Robert Garcia, Virgil Hunter). This year Floyd Mayweather has delivered the most impressive and memorable high-profile performances, but this does not translate well to the Trainer of the Year discussion since Floyd pretty much trains himself and I feel it would be possibly unfair to reward Floyd Sr. for his son's performances this year.
As far as the high-profile trainers with large stables, I'd like to enlist your guys' help as I may be missing out on some fighters I might not be aware are being trained by the following:
1) Freddie Roach
Freddie's stable of fighters has diminished. He did get Cotto to look noticeably better against the somewhat soft opposition of Delvin Rodriguez. If Pacquiao wins impressively, these two high-profile bouts alone would enter him in the discussion although personally I would like to see a greater sample size.
Who else trains with Freddie? I guess if Vanes Martirosyan managed to win the WBO light-middleweight belt against Andrade, that would be something. Other than that, Freddie has been pretty inactive this year. Does anyone know if Peter Quillin is still working with Freddy Roach?
2) Robert Garcia
Robert's main achievement this year has been guiding Mickey Garcia to a really impressive run that would be made even more impressive with a second title in a second weight-class 10 months if he defeats Roman Martinez. If Brandon Rios were to defeat Manny Pacquiao in november, that would probably make Robert the frontrunner for the award. Working against him are the high profile defeats of Brandon Rios against Mike Alvarado and especially Nonito Donaire against Guillermo Rigondeaux, both of which can be partially attributed to a faulty gameplan.
Who else trains with Robert Garcia? Evgeny Gradovich who has had a pretty good year out of left field. Marcos Maidana who has also had a good year and could also potentially make a big statement against Adrien Broner (although it is a bit unlikely)
3) Virgil Hunter
Andre Ward can have at most one impressive performance this year against a guy everybody is expecting him to beat, frankly. Amir Khan looked underwhelming in his lone bout so far this year.
Who else does Virgil train? Alfredo Angulo looked better than expected against Lara but ultimately lost. Brandon Gonzalez looked good against a jaded Tommy Gun Oosthuizen and got a draw. Demetrius Andrade can make a statement against Martirosyan.
I would say overall Virgil has no chance this year unless Khan gets an impressive win in December, which is unlikely given that right now he isn't even scheduled to fight anyone.
4) Nacho Beristain
One of the higher profile bouts of the year is this weekend's Bradley - Marquez. If somehow Marquez gets an emphatic win, I expect Nacho to pop up in the discussion. I believe he was also in Jhonny Gonzalez' corner for the big time upset of Abner Mares.
5) Joel Diaz
Similarly, if Bradley were to beat Marquez in emphatic fashion, you could possibly make an argument for Joel Diaz. If I am not mistaked, Abner Mares is also trained by Joel, which wouldn't help his cause.
6) Angel Garcia
Not a very popular choice, I'm sure and also only really trains one fighter, but that fighter was most impressive in 2013.
Ronnie Shields trains Edwin Rodriguez. If Edwin were to somehow upset Andre Ward, he would definitely enter the discussion, especially given Vera's performance against JCC Jr. But I just don't see that happening.
Javan "Sugar" Hill trained Adonis Stevenson for his two extremely impressive wins this year but trains nobody else of note...
Abel Sanchez trained Gennady Golovkin to a very impressive record in 2013 (so far). He also trains Carlos Abregu.
Rob McCracken deserves a mention for his excellent work with Carl Froch, especially if Froch beats Groves. It's easy to forget now what a huge event Froch - Kessler 2 was.
What do you guys say? Am I missing someone? Who do you think will take it?
I say if Manny beats Rios as he is expected to and adding a possible Peter Quillin victory over Rosado, Freddy Roach is in a strong position.