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The Many Faces Of Mexico’s Fernando Montiel

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Mexico’s Fernando MontielYou never know which Fernando “Cochulito” Montiel will show up.Sure, recently he’s been fighting more aggressively and with more knockout intention. But now he’s facing an opponent that is actually favored to beat him.

“I changed my style and became more aggressive.  I wanted to give people a better show, a better fight.  I think I have done that,” said Montiel. “My style is better and it has shown in my fights.”

Will he keep that aggressiveness against Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire?

WBO and WBC titleholder Montiel (44-2-2, 34 KOs) seeks to prove that his 44 magnum style is for real and he will use it against fellow pound for pound member Donaire (25-1, 17 KOs) when they meet on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. HBO will televise.

Of course Donaire packs a magnum too.

Long ago Montiel was a Mexican gunslinger who looked to end fights dramatically after displaying his dexterity and speed in the ring. It was common to see the Los Mochis boxer befuddle then blast opponents out of there with the finality of a TNT blast.

It was the year 2000 when Montiel manhandled the WBO flyweight champion Isidro “Chino” Garcia before stopping him. Garcia was a quicksilver boxer with great skills but he was flattened by Montiel. That was his introduction to the boxing world and his first world title.

In 2002 Montiel moved up in weight and defeated Panama’s undefeated Pedro Alcazar for the WBO junior bantamweight with a withering battering attack. The Mexican fighter showed no mercy in hitting the Panamanian from all angles until the fight was stopped in the sixth round. A few days later Alcazar died.

Death in the ring is a constant possibility for professional boxers. Every year a number of prizefighters die from injuries endured. The winners of those fights often suffer some kind of mental block that subtly appears in their fighting style. Maybe they don’t fire the combinations as fluidly or with some fighters the aggressiveness is gone. Montiel seemed to change after Alcazar died.

“We all face danger,” said Montiel, 31.

Four years passed and though Montiel motored along winning almost all of his fights by utilizing his speed and skill, something was missing. Then he decided to move up in weight again to fight fellow Mexican Jhonny Gonzalez long arms and all for the WBO bantamweight title in 2006. It was a disastrous showing for Montiel as fans booed the lack of action and most blamed him as he lost by split decision.

That killer instinct that had made him unique was absent. He was cut loose by his former promoters.

That sparked something in Montiel.

After signing with Top Rank, Montiel reverted back to his old style of seek and destroy. But few realized it until he met Colombia’s hard hitting Luis Melendez in Las Vegas. That night both fighters were knocked down with Montiel finally ending the Colombian’s night in the 12th and final round.

Montiel was back to form and just last year grabbed the WBO title against Ciso Morales and the WBC against Japan’s talented Hozumi Hasegawa by knockout. Those two wins launched him into the pound for pound rankings.

Nonito

Donaire, 28, is also ranked in the pound for pound rankings. When he dismantled seemingly indestructible Vic “The Destroyer” Darchinyan with a single punch in July 2007 the boxing world was in shock. Since then Donaire has fought seven foes and only one escaped the knockout.

“I don’t expect this fight to go the distance,” said Donaire,  a remarkably eloquent speaker who resembles a choir boy, not a deadly puncher. “Whoever makes a mistake will lose.”

For years Donaire sought out a marquee opponent to match wits and strength and it looked like it might never happen. A move up in weight to the 118-pound bantamweight division helped develop this showdown.

Donaire has dreams of becoming the first undisputed world champion of Asian extraction. He needs to beat Montiel to accomplish that goal.

“Definitely experience and his ability to adapt to certain things is one of his strong points,” said Donaire,  comparing Montiel’s strength with his own. “If he feels he has to do something different he can be versatile. He has a tremendous body punch. I think in terms of strength I have it. I think I faced enough good guys. He has a good punch but I also have that.”

Montiel seeks to prove he can still win a firefight regardless of the danger.

“You have to fight smart but I am here to entertain too.  I want people to go in there and say that is a fight that they will remember for a long time,” Montiel said.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Fernando Guerrero (20-0) vs. Derrick Findley (17-4).

Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Mercito Gesta (20-0-1) vs. Genaro Trazancos (22-13-1).

Sat. Televisa, 8:30 p.m., Rocky Juarez (28-7-1) vs. Alejandro Sanabria (26-1-1).

Sat. HBO, 9:45 p.m., Fernando Montiel (44-2-2) vs. Nonito Donaire (25-1).

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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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