Capping off my “Best of 2013” series of galleries is the one you’ve all been waiting for. This is a collection of my best fight action images from this year. I limited it to the top 50 images – ok, 52 in total, but one is a 3-image sequence. Some will say that’s probably too many, but I had to cut out so many good ones just to get to that number. It’s amazing just how many fights I shot this past year.
The obvious choice for my favorite would be the renown sequence of Stefan Struve getting his jaw broken at the left hand of Mark Hunt. But, I have a different one that has stuck in my head ever since I captured it. The Diego Sanchez v Gilbert Melendez fight was one of the best fights of the year, if not in UFC history. As soon as I knew I had this shot (at right), I tagged it and set it aside for this gallery. I knew nothing else would top it.
Here is a slideshow of the full gallery. Please click through to my site and view everything at full resolution to get the full effect.
Last night, I covered the Showtime boxing card dubbed “Knockout Kings” for Getty Images. The main event featured championship bout between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Josesito Lopez. Also on the undercard were three other title fights. I had the pleasure again of working with my good friend Nick Laham, and that proved to be a huge help as he has shot a number of boxing events in his career, so I was able to ask him a number of questions throughout the day and night. Plus, it’s just always nice to be working with people you know rather than being the new kid on the block.
We showed up about an hour before the first bout to find our positions and get setup. One aspect about boxing that is drastically different than UFC is the lack of importance of the undercard fights. I felt really bad for the guys in the first few bouts. There were less than 50 people in the arena for the first couple of bouts, and most of those were the commissioners, production staff, and a handful of media.
The main card broadcast started at 6:00 pm, leading off with a war between IBF Bantamweight Champion Leo Santa Cruz and former title holder Eric Morel. Santa Cruz punished Morel to the body from the onset and as the fight drew on it allowed him to put together more combinations to the head. Morel’s corner eventually stopped the fight after the fifth round.
Up next was another war between Marcos Maidana and Jesus Soto Karass for the vacant WBA intercontinental welterweight title. This fight had a little bit of everything. Both guys had points deducted for unsportsmanlike conduct after hitting and shoving on the break numerous times. Maidana later had another point taken for a second offense. Both guys were moving forward and throwing heavy leather. It looked like Karass was wearing down Maidana around the fifth or sixth round, but then Maidana mounted a comeback scoring a knockdown in the seventh round and then later finishing off Karass with a TKO in the eighth.
In the last bout before the main event, WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez dropped his belt to Daniel Ponce De Leon after suffering a cut from an accidental headbutt in the eighth round. By rule, the round is scored and then a decision is declared. Ponce De Leon was ahead on all judges scorecards and was awarded the unanimous technical decision victory.
The arena had finally filled in time for the main event. Mexico’s next big star, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was making the fifth defense of his WBC super welterweight title against Josesito Lopez. The much lighter Lopez was at a disadvantage from the start as it was obvious the size difference would be a decisive factor. Lopez showed glimpses of success, but in the end would succumb to the attack of Alvarez. After seeing Lopez knocked down in rounds 2, 3, and 4, referee Joe Cortez halted the bout in the bout in the fifth as Alvarez was landing punishing shots against the ropes. I think Lopez definitely did better than a lot of people expected and he has a bright future, but at a lighter weight.
For anyone curious about camera settings, I shot most of the night using the following settings: ISO 4000, 1/1250s, f3.2. Most were shot with the EF 24-70 2.8L, though a few were using the 70-200mm 2.8L II and the 16-35mm 2.8L. All of course on Canon EOS-1Dx bodies.
Here is a slideshow of my shots from the entire night. You can also view the full take at GettyImages.com.