Trainer, commentator and fight analyst Teddy Atlas has given his verdict on who should claim the coveted 2023 Fighter of the Year award, and he did so without a doubt in his mind.
As the year draws to a close, most fans and pundits are split between Terence Crawford, Naoya Inoue and Devin Haney when it comes to who should be crowned as the vert best of the calendar year.
Atlas told ProBox TV that there is only one guy who should be considered – Crawford – despite recognising the obvious argument against his choice – Inoue.
“He is so damn special, Inoue, he’s got two wins for the year, over [Stephen] Fulton, who a lot of people were giving a chance of beating him and then [Marlon] Tapales, a real, solid, solid guy and a real busy guy. So, I understand [picking] Inoue, you can’t go wrong in that direction, but for me it is one guy, it’s Crawford.”
“I know that the argument back is going to be ‘Teddy, he only fought one fight’, yeah, but my argument right back to you is going to be ‘did you see who he fought? [Errol Spence Jr]’.”
“It wasn’t just that he won, it’s how he did it. He just took him apart, literally, piece by piece. He was like a surgeon, piece by piece, it got to the point where it was hard to watch. It was hard to watch him taking apart a guy who was pound-for-pound one of the top guys, that is the thing. He wouldn’t have got the spot if it was just [against] someone else, but it wasn’t someone else, it was Spence.”
“To take apart a fighter of that ilk, of that worth, and to do it the way he did it, wow.”
Should Crawford win the award with the Ring Magazine, he would become the first fighter to win it outright with just one fight to his name since Joe Frazier in 1971, who defeated Muhammad Ali that year.