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Tim Bradley Won Speed Battle With Devon Alexander

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Bradley_with_WBO_belt_1_by_Kat_smallTimothy Bradley wasn’t the only reason Devon Alexander lost, it was the voices around him including many in the media who cited the St. Louis boxer as the faster of the two.

Blame the media for Alexander’s loss. They mentioned it so often that Alexander actually believed it.

“Desert Storm” Bradley swept through Alexander’s defense and so-called superior speed with ease in winning the battle between undefeated junior welterweights and taking his WBC belt back.

“I was faster,” exhorted Bradley by telephone immediately following the end of the fight. “I’m not trying to brag, but I’m faster and my strength is my strength.”

Before the fight and even during the initial rounds the HBO television crew including famed trainer Emanuel Steward insisted Alexander was the faster fighter. By round three it was obvious that Bradley had quicker hands, quicker feet and the willingness to match his speed and power against Alexander the Great.

Speed isn’t the most important factor in boxing but it sure helps. When speedy Floyd Mayweather Jr. was set to fight against the equally speedy Zab Judah in 2006, the question was posed: how to beat a speedy fighter?

“Timing beats speed,” said Mayweather who proceeded to conquer Judah when they met.

Of course speed gives many boxers an advantage but one distinct disadvantage is when a fighter walks into a fight thinking he’s the quicker fighter and suddenly is overcome by a blitz of punches from all angles.

Bradley surprised Alexander with superior hand speed and foot speed just as he did against Britain’s Junior Witter back in 2008. On that day too Witter was supposedly faster fighter. Then he got dropped and realized he was not.

Judging speed in a boxer is not always easy. Probably the best way to determine the faster boxer is matching them together. After a few rounds of exchanges the truly faster fighter will pull ahead and land more. It happened in Bradley’s win.

A number of possibilities await Bradley in the talent rich junior welterweight division. There’s current IBF titleholder Amir Khan who not only has speed to match Bradley but long arms too. Others include Argentina’s duo of bombers, Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse, who aren’t as fast but punch like they have anvils in their gloves.

“I’ll fight whoever the fans want me to fight,” Bradley says.

Fastest boxers today

A number of elite fighters stand alone in the speed category. One fighter who’s kept the radar gun humming for more than a decade has been Mayweather. Together with his superb defense and masterful boxing technique Mayweather has remained unbeaten since turning professional in 1996.

Andre Berto has emerged as another of the quicker pugilists on the scene. The welterweight hasn’t been tested on the elite level but does exhibit wonderful hand and foot speed. His one punch knockout of Mexico’s Freddy Hernandez exemplified blinding quickness.

Nonito Donaire, a bantamweight, has shown top notch speed throughout his career. The one-punch knockout of Vic Darchinyan was an example of the faster boxer beating the other to the punch. It ended brutally and with sudden crushing finality.

Manny Pacquiao has also used speed to climb all the way from the 112-pound flyweight division to the 154-pound junior middleweight division. A sturdy chin also helped, but his pure speed enabled him to get out of trouble on the double against the bigger bangers.

Speed is a wonderful thing if you know how to use it. Last weekend, Bradley finally showed he’s one of the fastest guns in the west or east.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Sergio Mora (22-1-2) vs. Bryan Vera (17-5).

Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Lateef  Kayode ( 15-0) vs. Nicholas Iannuzzi ( 16-1).

Sat. pay-per-view, 7 p.m., UFC Anderson Silva (27-4) vs. Vitor Belfort (19-8).

Sat. Fox Sports, 8 p.m., Francisco Sierra (23-3) vs. Dyah Davis (18-2).

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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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