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2023 was an outstanding year for the sport of boxing, filled with memorable fights, thrilling performances and long-desired matchups actually materializing in the ring. But what boxer stood out as the best in such a memorable year?

Multiple fighters became undisputed champions. Some fighters, already recognized for their elite skills, locked down the trademark wins their careers had been lacking. And others continued to rise through weight classes while running through some of the best fighters on earth with ease.

Our panel of CBS Sports experts sat down, debated and cast our votes for Fighter of the Year. Let's take a look at the results.

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Winner: Naoya Inoue

It was another incredible year for "The Monster," who has pieced together many of the most impressive performances of the past several years. Never one to pass up a new challenge, Inoue's 2023 saw him move to a new weight and become undisputed champion in a two-fight span.

In July, Inoue made his super bantamweight debut when he faced Stephen Fulton, a legitimately elite fighter and WBC and WBO titleholder. As good as Fulton is, Inoue made him look foolish and ineffective before a brutal knockout in the eighth round. It was a quick and brutal answer to whether Inoue, who began his career at 108 pounds, could carry his trademark speed and power into the 122-pound division.

WBA and IBF champ Marlon Tapales entered the ring after Inoue's win over Fulton for a respectful confrontation to make it known that both men wanted to pursue an undisputed title fight before the end of the year. That fight came in late December and Tapales put up a good fight, as good as almost anyone who has faced Inoue in recent years. Despite all his efforts, Tapales was dropped in the fourth round and stopped in the 10th as Inoue went undisputed at super bantamweight just over one year after having done the same at bantamweight.

The only question left for Inoue is how far up in weight he can go before hitting a wall. For right now, he's a man who has blitzed through division after division, dominating his opposition in ways that are nearly unfathomable.

Honorable mentions

Devin Haney

Fair or not, there were some who felt Haney's path to becoming undisputed champion was unimpressive, taking three world titles off George Kambosos Jr., who was not truly one of the best fighters in the lightweight division. Haney got the kind of fight people wanted in May when he defended his four world championships against Vasiliy Lomachenko. Haney outlasted Lomachenko in a wonderful technical war before winning a mildly controversial unanimous decision. Haney would move up to super lightweight in his next fight, dominating Regis Prograis in December to win the WBC title in a lopsided fight where Prograis never got out of first gear while Haney battered him around the ring. At just 25 years old, Haney's future is as bright as anyone in boxing, especially if he continues the aggressive style he showed against Prograis.

Terence Crawford

Were Fighter of the Year judged on a single performance, Crawford would have locked up the award in July. Just days after Inoue thumped Fulton and seemingly locked down the No. 1 spot in the pound-for-pound rankings, Crawford took on Errol Spence Jr. in a long-awaited bout to crown an undisputed welterweight champion. In a battle of elite pound-for-pound talents, Crawford absolutely dominated Spence, repeatedly hurting him, outboxing him and finally scoring the stoppage in Round 9 to loudly make his own case as the best boxer in the world. Ultimately, Crawford came up a bit short in the CBS Sports voting for only having one fight in 2023, as impressive as that one fight was.

Others receiving votes: David Benavidez