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Who's Pumped For “Action Heroes?”

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“ACTION HEROES” TAKE TO THE BIG STAGE ON APRIL 9 IN AN EVENT FEATURING SIX ALL-ACTION CHAMPIONS

ERIK MORALES VS. MARCOS MAIDANA
WINKY WRIGHT VS. MATTHEW MACKLIN
ROBERT GUERRERO VS. MICHAEL KATSIDIS

FROM THE MGM GRAND GARDEN ARENA IN LAS VEGAS AND TELEVISED LIVE ON HBO PAY-PER-VIEW®

LOS ANGELES, CA (February 22) – To become a legend, you must beat a legend and on Saturday, April 9, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., six “Action Heroes” will be featured in one night of all-out action fights where every bout pits two fighters looking to prove something against each other.  The HBO Pay-Per-View televised event features Five-Time and Three-Division World Champion Erik “El Terrible” Morales taking on former WBA Interim Super Lightweight World Champion Marcos “El Chino” Maidana in the main event.  The telecast also features former Undisputed Junior Middleweight World Champion Winky Wright facing current European Middleweight Champion Matthew “Mack The Knife” Macklin as well as former World Champions Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Michael Katsidis “The Great” squaring off in what promises to be a slugfest. 

“Given the styles, heart and determination of both fighters, Morales vs. Maidana has Fight of the Year written all over it,” said Oscar de la Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions.  “These two fighters only know one way to fight, and that’s moving forward.  Plus, we have a crossroads battle between a future Hall of Famer in Winky Wright, against a young slugger trying to make a name for himself in the U.S. in Matthew Macklin.  You can expect one of the greatest matchups of lightweights in the game today when Robert Guerrero and Michael Katsidis, two warriors who will leave everything in the ring, face each other.  I personally can’t wait to watching all three of these great fights on April 9.”

“Boxing fans are filled with anticipation for April 9,” said Mark Taffet of HBO Pay-Per-View.  “Boxing legends Erik Morales and Winky Wright in tough comeback fights; non-stop action fighters like Marcos Maidana and Michael Katsidis; and courageous Robert Guerrero continuing his rise to the top.  We’re looking forward to a great event.” 

The pride of Tijuana, Erik “El Terrible” Morales (51-6, 35 KO’s) has epitomized the heart and skill of the Mexican warrior for 18 years and at 34 he believes he still has plenty to offer the boxing world.  A winner of world titles at junior featherweight, featherweight, and junior lightweight, Morales’ resume reads like a who’s who of the best of this era, with his list of vanquished foes including Daniel Zaragoza, Junior Jones, Wayne McCullough, Kevin Kelley, In-Jin Chi, Paulie Ayala, Jesus Chavez and Carlos Hernandez.  The last man to defeat Manny Pacquiao, which he did in their first of three bouts in 2005, “El Terrible” is best remembered for his classic trilogy with Marco Antonio Barrera, a rivalry which captivated all of Mexico and the entire boxing world.  Following his 2007 bout with David Diaz, Morales took a nearly three year hiatus from the ring, but upon his return in 2010, he has been in championship form with wins over Jose Alfaro, Willie Limond and Francisco Lorenzo, setting the stage for one of boxing’s most highly anticipated showdowns when he takes on Maidana. 

“Marcos Maidana is an exciting young fighter and there is no quit in either of us,” said Morales.  “Like true warriors, we will keep fighting until the end.  I know my hand will be raised as the winner when it is over.” 

Quickly becoming known as one of boxing’s most exciting fighters, Santa Fe, Argentina’s Marcos “El Chino” Maidana (29-2, 27 KO’s) has won over legions of fans in the United States since he made his American debut in June of 2009.  It was in that fight that Maidana burst onto the international boxing scene with a stunning upset victory over “Vicious” Victor Ortiz.  The bout lasted less than six rounds, but saw Maidana hit the canvas three times and Ortiz twice before the action was halted in the sixth round in a fight that received mention as a Fight of the Year candidate.  One of the most powerful and concussive punchers in the sport, as evidenced by the fact that 93% of his wins came via knockout, 27-year-old Maidana once again wowed fans in his last fight on December 11, 2010 when he took on WBA Super Lightweight World Champion Amir Khan in the Boxing Writers Association of America 2010 Fight of the Year.  In a back-and-forth battle, Maidana fought through a first round knockdown and endured through the early rounds as he closed the gap against Khan in the late rounds.  Khan survived a vicious tenth round onslaught by Maidana in which he looked to be on the brink of being knocked out, and went on to win a close unanimous decision in an instant classic.  Maidana will look to give his fans a little more of his brand of boxing excitement when he faces Morales on April 9. 

“Erik Morales is one of the greatest fighters of all-time and I’m honored and excited to be fighting him,” said Maidana.  “But when the bell rings, I will put respect aside and do what I do best – which is knock my opponent out.” 

A mainstay on the pound-for-pound list throughout his reign as Undisputed Junior Middleweight World Champion and as a top middleweight contender, St. Petersburg, Florida’s Winky Wright (51-5-1, 25 KO’s) is a gifted technician in the ring whose skill and savvy have befuddled opponents for two decades.  The 39-year old Wright won his first world title in 1996 when he defeated Bronco McKart for the WBO Junior Middleweight crown and, with the exception of a majority decision loss to Harry Simon and a controversial majority decision loss to Fernando Vargas that most observers had Wright winning, he reigned over the 154-pound division for eight years.  His biggest wins came in 2004 when he defeated Shane Mosley in back-to-back bouts.  In 2005, Wright moved up to the middleweight division and issued defeats to Felix Trinidad, Sam Soliman and Ike Quartey, proving over and over that he was among boxing’s pound for pound best.  His only defeats in nearly a decade came at the hands of future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins (at Light Heavyweight) and Paul Williams in his last fight in April of 2009.  On April 9, he returns to the ring to begin his search of a fourth world championship.  A win for Wright likely means a world title shot will be in his immediate future.  A loss for Wright likely means the end of a great career and induction into the Hall of Fame in five years.  In Wright’s mind, the later is not an option right now.

“I can’t wait to get back in the ring on April 9th,” said Wright. “I feel stronger, faster and sharper than ever, and I’m ready to reclaim what’s mine, but first, I’ll have to show Matthew Macklin some new tricks in Vegas.”

A gritty battler hailing from Birmingham, England, Matthew Macklin (28-2, 19 KO’s) is coming back to fight in the United States for the first time since 2005, eager to show fans in Las Vegas just why he has become a European sensation over the last few years.  A crowd-pleaser whose only loss in the last seven years was in a classic 10-round brawl with Jamie Moore, the 28-year old Macklin has since won 11 in a row, six by knockout, including a first round TKO of 26-2 Amin Asikainen in September of 2009 that earned him the European Boxing Union Middleweight title.  Macklin has defended his title twice, most recently against Ruben Varon (W12) last December, but he’s ready to make a splash on the international stage against one of the best fighters in the game.  For Macklin, like Wright, a win on April 9 likely secures him a world title shot.  A loss will mean heading back to the drawing board in the U.K. to rebuild, but Macklin fully intends on making some history of his own at the expense of the future Hall of Famer.

“This is exactly the kind of fight I’ve been looking for and I believe it will bring out the absolute best in me,” said Macklin.  “Wright is someone I’ve looked up to throughout my career but this is my time to make a big impact in the U.S. and this is the perfect fight to do that in.”

One of boxing’s most talented and inspiring fighters, 27-year-old Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 KO’s) has built up an impressive boxing resume in winning the IBF Featherweight title in 2006, defending it several times, then moving up to junior lightweight and winning a World Championship there in 2009.  His achievements are even more impressive when you consider that he has done all of it while helping to care for his wife Casey who was diagnosed with Leukemia in late 2007.  In early 2010, Guerrero vacated his title in order to be at his wife’s side as she went through treatment which thankfully sent her cancer into remission.  With Casey on the mend, Guerrero returned to the ring, and re-established himself as one of the premier fighters in the world with wins over Roberto David Arrieta (TKO8), Cuban great Joel Casamayor (W10) and former U.S. Olympian Vicente Escobedo (W10).  In 2011, he will seek a world title in a third division, but first must get past Katsidis who will is looking to make some lightweight noise of his own.

“The opportunity to face Michael Katsidis after our first fight did not happen is something that means a great deal to me,” said Guerrero.  “I appreciate the fact that Michael stepped up for this fight especially when other champions and contenders wouldn’t. I think together we’re going to put on a great fight for the fans.”

The hard-charging pride of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, Michael Katsidis “The Great” (27-3, 22 KO’s) is a thrill-a-minute warrior who has gained fans around the globe with his “go-for-broke” fighting style.  Often compared to the late Arturo Gatti for his tendency to be involved in all-action, dramatic fights (as well as his tendency to get cut), Katsidis is an offensive machine who moves in one direction…forward at his opponents.  A two-time holder of the WBO Interim Lightweight crown, the 30-year-old is currently riding a streak of memorable performances which includes a stoppage of Jesus “Matador” Chavez, a stirring win over Vicente Escobedo, a three-round blitz of then-undefeated Kevin Mitchell.  Continuing that run, in his most recent bout, he took on Juan Manuel Marquez in a Fight of the Year candidate that saw Katsidis put the future Hall of Famer on the canvas before being halted in the ninth round by the Mexican superstar.  Katsidis will look to make a comeback statement against Robert Guerrero on April 9. 

“Robert Guerrero is an outstanding young fighter and our styles match up well for a fight everyone will remember,” said Katsidis.  “But I’m going to take him places he’s never gone in the ring and I know I will come out with a big win.” 

Tickets for “Action Heroes” priced at $350, $250, $150, $75, $50 and $25 are on sale now and available to charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com

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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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