(Poster created by Ross Molovinsky)
(Written by Gary "Digital" Williams)
The Rookie of the Year is the boxer who had the most impact between January and November 2013 in their first year as a pro. As we said, the Beltway had 34 first-year boxers, the most ever in the BATB era.
However, one young man managed to stand out among a very large crowd. His electrifying performances throughout the year made him an instant fan favorite -- one of the boxers that, by the end of the year, fans demanded to see.
Mike “Yes, Indeed” Reed (6-0, four KO’s), junior welterweight, Waldorf, MD
Reed’s reputation preceded him from the first moment he stepped into a pro ring. The 20-year-old 2011 National Golden Gloves champion made a highly-anticipated pro debut on March 2 and scored a first-round TKO over Kareem McFarland at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD. After an easy 41 second knockout over Cassius Clay in April, Reed went the distance for the first time in his career, winning a four-round unanimous decision over DeMarcus Rogers on June 15 in DC.
By mid-year, Reed and his camp began to step up the opposition and Reed’s performances rose with that opposition. Reed stopped Roberto Lopez in the third round on July 13 in Fort Washington, MD, marking the first time Lopez had been stopped in his career. Then came Reed’s breakout performance -- a six-round knockout over Ramesis Gil on September 7 at Rosecroft. During the bout, Reed faced adversity as he was knocked down during the contest and came back to blast Gil in the final round.
That win along with his six-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Randy Fuentes on October 18, greatly enhanced Reed’s reputation in a manner that very few rookies in the Beltway enjoy. Reed is rapidly getting growing fan support and has become very difficult for promoters to match in recent months. This will be an exciting and interesting 2014 for this very talented boxer.
Honorable Mention (listed in alphabetical order):
Gervonta “Rambo” Davis (6-0, six KO’s), featherweight, Baltimore, MD
The 2012 National Golden Gloves champion came into the pro ranks with great fanfare and did not disappoint. Davis knocked five of his six opponents out in the first or second round. Davis went into the fourth round only once and scored a fourth-round TKO over Eric Jamar Goodall on October 17 in Bethlehem, PA. Davis has a lot of charisma and will be fun to watch in the new year.
Demond “D Best At It” Nicholson (5-0, five KO’s), super middleweight, Laurel, MD
The Demond Nicholson we saw in the amateurs was a pure boxer who was a part of an elite Beltway class in the 165-pound division -- a class that also included D’Mitrius Ballard, Jarrett Hurd and Monreco Goldston among others. Nicholson, at times, was overshadowed by his equally-talented Beltway brethren during that time period. The pro version of Nicholson, however, has stood out in a big way by scoring five powerful knockouts, four in the first round. Nicholson is showing power that we did not see in the amateur ranks. As his competition rises, it will be interesting to see if he continues this trend.
Jeremy Trussell (6-0, five KO’s), middleweight, Baltimore, MD
Trussell was actually slated to be part of the 2012 rookie class. However, the number of fights that fell out on him last year was astounding. Trussell made up for lost time this year. After debuting in August of 2013, Trussell fought five more times in a three-month stretch; his last two bouts coming in an eight-day period. Trussell was dominant in his bouts and will be riding a four-bout, first-round knockout streak into 2014.
(Photos by Juan Marshall)
Previous BATB Rookies of the Year:
2006: Jessie Nicklow
2007: Bayan Jargal
2008: Fernando Guerrero
2009: Dominic Wade
2010: Nick Kisner
2011: Dusty Hernandez Harrison
2012: Duane Mobley