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John Duddy Retires, Effective Immediately

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DuddyVanda_Bailey_11He might be looked back upon as fighter of who never quite measured up, more sizzle than steak, the product of a skilled hype-a-thon and his pale skin. But middleweight John Duddy, the 31-year-old Irishman who came to the US and generated a considerable following in New York City, has decided that what he has accomplished in the ring since he turned pro in 2003 will simply have to do.

The Derry Destroyer, who boasts a 29-2 record, with 18 KOs, released a statement announcing that he is quitting the sport, despite the fact that he was set up for a showdown with fellow Emerald Islander Andy Lee on March 12th.

 After a great deal of soul-searching, I have decided to retire from boxing.

In many ways, continuing to fight would be the easy course of action.  I have been offered the opportunity to fight Andy Lee on HBO for a purse in excess of $100,000.  A win would put me in position to fight for a world championship.  This is not an opportunity that I cast aside lightly.

I started watching my father train in the gym when I was five years old.  I began fighting competitively at age ten.  For more than twenty years, I loved being a boxer.  I still feel that it’s an enormous honor to be a boxer.  But I don’t love it anymore.

I no longer have the enthusiasm and willingness to make the sacrifices that are necessary to honor the craft of prizefighting.  I used to love going to the gym.  Now it’s a chore.  I wish I still had the hunger, but I don’t.  The fire has burned out.  And I know myself well enough to know that it won’t return.

It would be unfair to my fans, my trainer and manager, and everyone else involved in the promotion of my fights for me to continue boxing when I know that my heart isn’t in it.  I’ve always given one hundred percent in the gym and in my fights.  I have too much respect for boxing and the people around me to continue fighting when I know that I can’t do that anymore.

I haven’t accomplished everything that I wanted to achieve in boxing.  But I’ve had a rewarding career.  I‘ve enjoyed the satisfaction of winning twenty-nine professional fights and learned lessons from my two losses.  I’ve experienced the thrill of fighting in Madison Square Garden, Cowboys Stadium, and, also, my beloved Ireland with crowds cheering for me.  I look forward to finding future challenges that bring as much passion and joy into my life as boxing has over the past twenty years.

Barry McGuigan was one of my childhood heroes.  His photograph was one of the first things that visitors saw when entering our home in Derry.  He had great influence on me when I was a boy.

Barry McGuigan once said, “Fighters are the first people to know when they should retire and the last to admit it.”

I know that it’s time for me to retire from boxing, and I’m admitting it.

I’m fortunate to have had the support of many good people throughout my career. To my fans; to the people in the boxing business who have been part of my team over the years; and most of all, to my wife Grainne and the rest of my family; thank you for your love and support.

I give you my word; I will not come back.

We confess, we were floored by the release, and by Duddy’s choice. We wonder—will he look back in a year, or two, or ten, and wonder why he exited?  That final sentence, though, that leaves us believing that the guy has said what he means, and he means what he says.

Mostly, we are happy for him, and applaud his move. He won’t be going through the motions just for money, or to fulfill others’ expectations. He is following his heart, and in this day and age, there sometimes seems like there’s a dearth of those willing to do that. Too many people chase money and fame like those are the keys to everlasting happiness and serenity. Good luck John Duddy, and thanks for giving us keyboard tappers a good bit to work with.

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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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