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WBC Is “Proud” To Strip Sergio Of His Belt

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The WBC made some news today when they announced that they were making Sergio Martinez their “meritus champion” and installing Seb Zbik the new middleweight champ. Here is the release they sent out; it sort of sounds like it was crafted by the talented Mr. Luntz.

WBC MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION UPDATE

The WBC is proud to announce the appointment of Sergio Martinez as Emeritus Champion.

Sergio Martinez is a two-time world champion, as he conquered the WBC super welterweight championship and then defeated great champion Kelly Pavlik to conquer the WBC middleweight championship.

He then defeated Paul Williams with a dramatic “Knockout of the Year.”

Sergio Martinez is a true example for the youth outside the ring and is constantly active in the WBC Cares Program, visiting children’s hospitals, underprivileged children’s housing, and has a formal company in support of abused women making him a true influence all around the world.

With Sergio Martinez’ designation as Emeritus Champion and Ambassador of Good Will and Peace, WBC interim champion Sebastian Zbik of Germany becomes the WBC world middleweight champion and must face the mandatory contender Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

I asked someone associated with the WBC to clarify what this all means.

“Emeritus” means that he can come back and challenge for the title whenever he wants to, but he is no longer champion,” I was told.

I followed up. “Would he if he wanted to be Zbik's first challenger… or Zbik has to fight his mandatory first?”

“The mandatory comes first,” the insider replied.  “Martinez wouldn't do it – because of his HBO commitment, of course – which is why he lost the title in the first place.”

Further, I was told, the WBC discussed this development in October. Their release then read: “World champion Sergio Martinez of Argentina has a voluntary title defense scheduled against No. 2 ranked Paul Williams of the United States on November 20. The winner of this fight must fight WBC interim champion Sebastian Zbik. A final eliminator was ordered to determine the mandatory challenger between No. 3 ranked David Lemieux of Canada and No. 4 ranked Marco Antonio Rubio of Mexico. WBC Silver champion and No. 1 ranked Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. of Mexico has the option to make a mandatory challenge against the winner of Martinez-Williams, in which case the winner of Lemieux-Rubio would become the next mandatory challenger.

The insider continued, “WBC ratings say that the last middleweight mandatory defense was made by Kelly Pavlik on Feb. 21, 2009, so it is way overdue.” I asked if exceptions hadn't in the past been made, so a champ was given more time to fight non mandatories…

“I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I'm sure that there have been exceptions in the past when the champion worked out a “step aside” deal with the mandatory challenger.  To my knowledge, Martinez' representatives didn't try to work out a deal with Zbik.  They fight for HBO, HBO has no interest in Zbik, and apparently they just go with that.”

So there you go. Maybe a bit more clarity for you. You already know that Martinez will glove up on March 12, against Sergiy Dzinziruk in Connecticut.

Thoughts?

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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