Terence Crawford was the first male boxer to become two-weight undisputed champion this year, and feels that such a feat makes him the standout star of 2023.
‘Bud’ beat Errol Spence Jr handily in what was billed a 50/50 fight to add the remaining three welterweight belts to his collection.
The stoppage victory saw him catapult to the top of pound-for-pound lists, if he wasn’t there already, and had some backing him to make an incredible three-weight jump and give Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez a run for his money.
Despite it being his only outing this year, Crawford took to X to say that it was enough to sweep the Fighter of the Year awards.
“I’m the only fighter to beat a top five pound for pound fighter this year and the way I beat him was unmatched. 2023 Fighter Of The Year Is Me. Some might say but I only fought 1 time but that 1 fight was bigger than any of the others.”
I’m the only fighter to beat a top five pound for pound fighter this year and the way I beat him was unmatched. 2023 Fighter Of The Year Is Me. Some might say but I only fought 1 time but that 1 fight was bigger than any of the others. #facts
— Terence Crawford (@terencecrawford) December 27, 2023
Whilst many fans agree, others reserve the top spot for somebody else.
One such candidate is Naoya Inoue, who followed in Crawford’s footsteps to become four-belt champion for the second time. ‘The Monster’ continued to advertise the lower weight-classes with his speed and knockout power, dispatching of both Stephen Fulton and Marlon Tapales in his first two fights at super-bantamweight.
Devin Haney also made a strong case by defending his undisputed lightweight status against Vasily Lomachenko before moving up to 140 and dethroning WBC Champion, Regis Prograis.
Others believe David Benavidez, despite chasing titles rather than defending them, deserves a mention with wins over Caleb Plant and Demetrius Andrade as he continues to fight his way towards a shot at Canelo.
Regardless of who picks who, all examples point to an impressive year in the sport with another to come in 2024.