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Alvarez-Decarie Tops Friday Night Fights

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Tomorrow Atlantic City's Shamone “The Truth” Alvarez (21-3, 12KO's) travels across the border, as he looks to get back into the win column when he takes on Canada's WBA #8 rated welterweight, Antoni Decarie (24-1, 7KO's) at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.  The bout, scheduled for ten rounds, will headline this week's edition of ESPN's “Friday Night Fights.”  Alvarez-Decarie marks the return of Groupe Yvon Michel's highly regarded FAST AND FURIOUS boxing series, and is presented by the Casino de Montreal in collaboration with Videotron, and Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing

The last time anyone saw Alvarez on ESPN was back in March of 2009 at the Mohegan Sun, when he went to war for twelve rounds with hometown favorite Delvin Rodriguez, ultimately losing a razor thin decision and in the process missing out, once again, on his shot at the IBF Welterweight Championship.  The bout against Rodriguez was an official IBF Welterweight Title Eliminator, the same Eliminator he lost in two years prior, to eventual IBF Champion, Joshua Clottey.

Alvarez road through the paid ranks has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride.  After an impressive amateur career, which saw him win numerous state and regional titles, Alvarez turned pro in July of 2002, scoring a first round knockout over Steve Evans.  Over the next five years, Alvarez would improve his record to an impressive 19-0, 11KO's, picking up the WBO NABO Welterweight Title  along the way and steadily moving up the welterweight world rankings as well as beginning to gain national attention and exposure fighting on ESPN and Showtime.

Then came his shot at his first world title opportunity, all he needed to do was get by Joshua Clottey.  Alvarez, was competitive, and fought a tough fight, but in the end, it wasn't enough, something Alvarez blaims on his lack of experience to that point in big fights.  Clottey would go on to challenge for and win the IBF Championship, just a year later, while Alvarez was forced to sit inactive and watch from the sidelines.

Finally just a little over a year after the Clottey fight, and a switch of promoters to Star Boxing, Alvarez got his career back on track, winning a ten round decision over former U.S. Olympian Terrance Cauthen.  Then came the aforementioned bout with Rodriguez, one that was very debatable, but one that the humble Alvarez blaims on no one but himself.

“I let the fight be too close.  I should have never let it get as close as it was.  If I stuck to my game plan, I would have easily walked out of there that night as the winner, but hey, that's boxing.  It was a learning experience for me.  I know if I ever get on that stage again, what I can and can't do if I want to come out on top.  It is never a good idea to leave it up to the judges hands, especially in someone's hometown, and I have no intentions of doing that on Friday night.”

Alvarez once again bounced back from his defeat against Rodriguez, when he took on heavy-handed Alexis Camacho in March of 2010.  Alvarez controlled the bout against Camacho before scoring a brutal one punch knockout in the 7th round of their scheduled ten rounder.

In his most recent outing, Alvarez was upset by Ghana's Ayi Bruce, losing another close decision, one that Alvarez says was very hard to swallow.

“The loss to Bruce was tough for me, because there is no way that he even belongs in the same ring as me. I take nothing away from the kid, he is tough, but he is just nowhere near on my skill level.  I had an off night and that's all it is, that was not the Shamone Alvarez I, or everyone else knows in that ring that night.”

Though he has three losses on his record, Alvarez has by no means ever been “beat up” in the ring.  Each of his losses has been close, and he has been highly competitive in.  Each time in his career Alvarez has had his back to the ropes, he has be able to bounce back, something Alvarez guarantees will once again happen this Friday.

“I know I am going to bounce back just like I have in the past.  The important thing is not how you lose, but how you bounce back, and that's where my mind is right now.  Everyone is going to see the real Shamone Alvarez in the ring this Friday.  I know I am one of the top welterweights in the world, and for those who don't believe it, make sure to tune in.”

Alvarez-Decarie is promoted by Groupe Yvon Michel in association with Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing and is presented by Casino de Montreal in collaboration with Videotron.  ESPN2 will begin live coverage at 9PM ET.

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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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