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Showing Heart and Stones Galore, Rios KOs Acosta

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Feb. 26, 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada  —  Brandon Rios knocks out  Miguel Acosta in the 10th round to win the WBA World Lightweight title on Saturday night at Palms Resort Casino in Las Vegas.  — Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank 

The early going was rough for Brandon Rios in the main event from the Palms in Las Vegas which ran on Showtime Saturday night. It was looking through the first four rounds like the 24-year-old was in a bit over his head, like he'd stepped up a bit too far, like Freddie Roach had done him in with some voodoo. But he kept coming forward, and broke down the WBA lightweight champion Miguel Acosta. Rios scored knockdowns in the sixth  and eighth, and with a couple doozy right hands in the tenth, sent Acosta to the floor for good.

The end came at 1:14 of the tenth, and the victor let loose with a scream to the heavens when it sunk it that the belt would be his. After, Rios told Jim Gray that “I'm a late bloomer..in the late rounds I get stronger and stronger.” He admitted that he learned just how good his chin is now, after eating some nasty Acosta blows. He said he'd be ready for anyone, whoever his promoter Bob Arum put in front of him. Arum said he was a star, and would consider a rematch with Acosta, but down the round.

Acosta told Gray that “Rios has power.” He said that after the first knockdown, he felt dizzy and couldn't recuperate.

Rios went 190-454, while Acosta was 156-464 in total punches.

Acosta's WBA 135 pound title was up for grabs. The judges on hand were Adelaide Byrd, Dick Houck and CJ Ross, and they all saw it 86-83 for Rios through nine complete.

Acosta (age 32; 28-3-2 entering; from Venezuela; coming in with 19 straight wins) weighed  134 1/2 pounds in his first title defense, while  Rios (age 24; 26-0-1 with 18 KOs entering; from Oxnard, CA) was 134 1/2 pounds.

Rios, who admits he is a loose cannon, and who dipped himself into a pot of hot water when he mocked Freddie Roach's tremors from Parkinsons on a video which went mega viral before the Pacquiao-Margarito fight, was looking to try and make his in-ring work help restore his rep.

In the first, a counter right by Acosta right away. A right clipped Rios a minute in, and bang, another one landed pretty flush. The challenger came forward, but we wondered how long he would, or frankly, if this thing would go long. Acosta features a lively defensive style, and is hard to pinpoint as his head movement is rapid and frequent.

In the second, Rios wanted to crowd Acosta, who owns nimble feet. With his gloves glued to his face, Rios left himself out of position to fire quite often.

In the third, Acosta stayed mobile, and Rios came forward. But he ate a few rights, and reeled back, buzzed, in the last ten seconds.

In the fourth, Acosta got it done from the outside, as he was able to get full extension and sting Rios. Rios was now backing up, by the middle of the round. The vet showed his experience, as he didn't get over-enthused as he had his way with Rios. The kid ate left hooks to the body, and crackerjack rights in the round. This was an education, boxing style, that would leave bruises and bumps galore in the days following.

In the fifth, Rios stayed in the game, stayed in attack mode. Acosta has the heavier hands, though Rios had more moments than in rounds previous.

In the sixth, Acosta went down with two minutes to go, off a left hook to the neck, and a followup jab. This was the Rios who opened out eyes last year, against Anthony Peterson. Acosta got his legs back some, but continued to eat Rios shots when trapped on the ropes. His cutman worked on a slice on his right eye after the round. His corner told him to tie up because Rios has power.

In the seventh, Acosta's movement, which earlier looked like it would be his best asset, read like a deficiency. Rios was in stalking mode. But the champ's effort looked more like the first three rounds rather than the difficult sixth.

In the eighth, we saw further evidence that Rios has a stellar chin. He ate a bomb, then answered and sent Acosta to the mat for the second time with 35 seconds remaining. The telling blow was a left hook, which looked like it got some help from fatigue. Acosta's corner told him to hold when he got buzzed, strangely, since that doesn't seem to be in his arsenal.

In the ninth, Acosta went to the floor, from fatigue, thirty seconds in. The stalker Rios  wasn't as bothered by Acosta's punches, which had lost a bunch of steam. He laid on the ropes, working, but leaving himself open to getting tagged. This was a helluva round, you won't see many busier over the course of a year.

In the tenth, Rios sent Acosta to the mat, for the third and final time. Two vicious rights had him down and his corner was in the ring with a towel.

In  the TV opener, Antonio DeMarco (from Los Mochis, Mexico; age 25; a loser in a world title crack, against Edwin Valero in Feb. 2010; No. 1 in WBC) won a UD12 over Reyes Sanchez (from Mexico City; age 25; No. 2 in WBC; sporting a pink Mohawk with a white skunk tail). This lightweight bout took place in Grand Island, Nebraska.

The judges saw it 115-113, 116-112, 117-111 for the lefty DeMarco, who went to 25-2-1. He opened a cut on Reyes' left eye in the first minute of the tussle and was in control for the first portion of the tiff. DeMarco's long left stung Sanchez early on. His corner gave him the business, told him to “concentrate” after the fifth. The cornerman, by the way, was his manager, subbing for his trainer, who couldn't get here from Mexico.

The seventh saw some sweet trades. The slight Sanchez, boasting the body of a 15 year old boy who is most fond of video games and has no yen for junk food, shoved DeMarco around, surprisingly, towards the later rounds. If this was 22-plus years ago, and this bout was set for 15 rounds, Sanchez might've gotten the nod.

The loser, who came in with a well crafted record, falls to 20-4-1.

DeMarco will get a chance at champion Humberto Soto, or Urbano Antillon, who is scheduled to face the champ in a rematch from their Dec. 4 scrap, which resulted in a UD12 Soto win.

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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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