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Mayorga Talks Good Fight, Can He Fight One?

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photo courtesy Chris Farina/Top Rank, taken at end of Cotto-Mayorga press conference in Puerto Rico on Thursday

For a guy who was 4-4 in his last eight fights, Ricardo Mayorga sure can talk a good fight. The question is, can he still deliver one.

He was pretty good at backing up his mouth five or six years ago. He‘d insult a guy, tell us it was going to be an easy fight, than go out and thump him in three or four rounds. It was like a prophesy or a promise. How do you argue with a guy who kept his word?

But that was a few years ago, back when he kept regular gym hours and fought two or three times a year. He was also a little younger, which is always a big plus to a fighter unless your last name is Holyfield or Hopkins.

Mayorga is neither. He’s more Don Rickles, only he‘s not as nice.

You could tolerate the old Mayorga because he was good enough to be a world champion, which is pretty big stuff in anybody’s book. And you could always tune out the trash talking if you got bored with it, and just watched the fighter do the work instead of his busy mouth. It was easier that way.

But if you are choosing to talk trash, you better win. And that might be a growing problem for Mayorga, who will face Miguel Cotto on March 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for Cotto’s WBA super-welterweight title.

If he played it smart, Mayorga would shut up and concentrate on getting into the best shape a 37-year-old can get in.

But that’s not Mayorga. His big mouth and his cutting insults are as much a part of  his training regimen as roadwork and sparring. If he didn‘t have someone to bad-mouth, I think he’d quit the fight game and wither up and die.

He’s already started working on Cotto. He called him a woman and teased him about his small hands at a press conference in New York on Wednesday announcing the fight, which will be co-promoted by Bob Arum (Top Rank) and Don King.

“I’m going to use Cotto as my red carpet to open the door to even bigger fights,” Mayorga said. “Cotto was quoted in Puerto Rico saying it was the ‘lie of the year,‘ when I said I would fight him. It looks like he had bad information as the so-called lie has become a reality.“

Pretty tame stuff for Mayorga, but he did mention that Cotto’s fans would be “wearing black” on March 12 for Cotto’s wake. And let’s be honest. It’s still pretty early in this fight. Mayorga is just warming up with his pocket full of slurs.
“I see fear in your eyes,“ he told Cotto, who could stare down Freddy Krueger.

Or there was this little zinger from Mayorga: “Hold my belt and polish it for me. I’ll pick it up in March.”

Now that’s funny.

While Mayorga has already jump started his game plan to get inside Cotto’s head, it might be a futile effort. Cotto has never been one to let trash-talking get in the way of a good fight.

“No one wins with their mouth,“ he said. “You’re a clown and your whole career is a joke.”

Not bad for someone who doesn’t like to hold long conversations.

If there is a question surrounding this fight, it might be how did an unranked Mayorga get a  title shot? I don’t think it was based on Mayorga’s recent “big” win over some guy named Michael Walker, who was 19-5-1 when he was stopped by Mayorga in the ninth   round last month. It was Mayorga’s only fight in more than two years. I guess that’s all it takes to get a title shot when you’ve got two of the best promoters in the fight game working on the same side, and you’re being promoted by one of them.

“Ricardo Mayorga is my enigma,” King said at the press conference. “But I have always believed in his abilities. He’s soared to great heights and he is poised to soar again.”

Arum, who promotes Cotto, saw the fight in a different light.

“Top Rank is delighted to give Miguel Cotto an opportunity to do a demolition job on Ricardo Mayorga,“ Arum said.

Sometimes a fight just sounds good.

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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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