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Saul “Canelo” Alvarez Meets Matthew Hatton on Saturday

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Alvarez Meets Matthew HattonTalk about living fast.

20-year-old Saul “Canelo” Alvarez dates a former Miss Universe contestant, parties with the rich and is one of the most recognized celebrities in all of Mexico and parts of the United States.

Is the lovable redhead moving too fast?

No time for kisses and hugs this Saturday when Alvarez (35-0-1, 26 KOs) faces England’s Matthew Hatton (41-4-2, 16 KOs) for the vacant WBC junior middleweight world title at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The fight will be televised by HBO.

One man who knows a thing or two about international popularity is Alvarez’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya.

“I've been down with him in Mexico many times.  He does have that rock star-like following from the grandmothers to the teenagers.  It is truly incredible.  I haven't seen something like that, obviously, since I've been fighting,” said De La Hoya who generated more money than any prizefighter in history. “This fighter is not only charismatic and is a good looking kid, but he can fight.  I've been witness to that, up close and personal.  We feel that Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez can be the biggest thing that has hailed from Mexico inside that square circle.”

Alvarez, a very young world title challenger, may be moving too fast. One person who knows the feeling is Oxnard’s Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas who at the time was the youngest to win a junior middleweight world title back in 1998.

Is Alvarez ready for the more experienced boxer Hatton?

Hatton, 29, is the younger brother of Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton, who was England’s most popular fighter in decades and a former world champion. He’s mostly fought as a welterweight but a chance to fight for a world title whether it’s welterweight or junior middleweight enticed him to grab the opportunity.

“It's a fantastic opportunity for me.  It's a fight that I thought was coming around.  It's a fight that's been mentioned to me a couple of times in the past.  It's a fight I've always been up for.  It's not happened in the past, but finally, we can get it on now,” said Hatton who lives and trains in Manchester, England.

Hatton also believes that Alvarez has not been tested for his own brand of fighting skills.

“I think in his fights so far, he's had a lot of things his own way,” said Hatton during a telephone conference call. “I've had fights in my career in the past where I've had to dig deep and come through rough patches in fights.  I don't think he's had those experiences yet so far.”

Guadalajara’s Alvarez was the first to knock out Argentina’s Carlos Baldomir last September and followed that with a win over former world title challenger Lovemore N’Dou this past December. He’s living in the fast lane.

“I don't care about what they say about me, or the criticism.  I just go in there to win,” says Alvarez.

Just recently his older brother Rigoberto Alvarez, 33, fought for the vacant WBA junior middleweight world title but lost to New Mexico’s Austin Trout by unanimous decision. The fight took place in the Alvarez stronghold of Guadalajara. He still lost. Now the youngest of the Alvarez brothers fights in his Southern California stronghold.

“This is a tough fight.  I do think I'm going to win this fight, but it's going to be a tough fight.  I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but yes, I've always said that, all along, that I'm ready for the big names,” Alvarez insists.

Hatton knows he’s the villain on this show, but takes it in stride.

“Obviously, Saúl is very popular in Mexico.  Obviously, in L.A., it's like fighting in his backyard.  It's obviously going to be Saúl who is going to have the bulk of the support and rightly so, but no, it's not something where I'm concerning myself,” Hatton says. “I'm going to put on one hell of a show.  I hope the people will respect that.”

Can Opie, I mean Canelo win a world title at 20?

There’s a lot riding on his career including future dates with Miss Universe contestants.

That’s a lot of pressure.
.

Fights on television

Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Vicente Escobedo (22-3) vs. Walter Estrada (38-13-1).

Sat. HBO, 7 p.m., Saul Alvarez (35-0-1) vs. Matthew Hatton (41-4-2).

Sat. MTV2, 8 p.m., Bellator Fighting Championship welterweight MMA quarter finals.

Sat. Showtime, 8 p.m., Dan Henderson (26-8) vs. Rafael Cavalcante (10-2) MMA.

Fight Chatter

Greg Goossen, 65, a former Major League Baseball player, passed away last Saturday, Feb. 26. He was the older brother of boxing promoter Dan Goossen and boxing trainer Joe Goossen. He was scheduled to be inducted in the Notre Dame High School Hall of Fame on the very day he died. Services will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday March 10, at St. Francis Church located at 13368 Valleyheart Drive in Sherman Oaks, Calif. 91423. For more information call (818) 784-9573.

Junior lightweight contender Vicente “Chente” Escobedo (22-3) headlines the main event on Friday at Fantasy Springs Casino when he fights Walter Estrada (38-13-1) in a 10 round bout. Also, Coachella’s Randy Caballero (7-0) challenges dangerous Palm Spring’s fighter Hugo Ramos (3-7-2) whose record is deceiving. Las Vegas boxer Sharif Bogere (18-0) is also on the card. For more information (800) 827-2946.

Light heavyweight Otis Griffin (23-6-2) fights Yusaf Mack (28-3-2) on Friday, March 4 at Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills. Mexico’s Raymundo Beltran (23-4) meets Carlos Vinan (10-8-4) in a lightweight bout. For more information contact Bash Boxing Promotions (626) 388-8888.

Temecula’s Dan Henderson (26-8) fights Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (10-2) for the Strikeforce light heavyweight title on Saturday at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The MMA superstar Henderson is coming off a solid win over Babalu Sobral. The fight will be televised on Showtime at 10 p.m.

Battle of the Badges, a charity boxing event takes place Saturday March 5 at Pala Casino to benefit Cops 4 Kids and Communities. Firefighters, police officers and various other law enforcement officers will be battling each other to raise money for the non-profit organization. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. For more information (800) 585-3737.

The new WBA lightweight world champion Brandon Rios from Oxnard has ties to the Riverside area. His trainer Robert Garcia is the brother of Moreno Valley’s Miguel Garcia, one of the top rated featherweights in the world. The father Eduardo Garcia also lives in Moreno Valley. Rios knocked out Miguel Acosta last Saturday in Las Vegas.

Riverside’s Michael Franco (18-0, 12 KOs) knocked out Martin Armenta (15-27-3) at 2:19 of the fourth round in a featherweight bout. Franco was scheduled to fight at San Manuel but then opted to fight in Mexico.

WBO junior featherweight world titleholder Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton (8-2-1) successfully defended her title with a unanimous decision win over Franchesca Alcanter (18-10-1) after 10 rounds in Point Richmond, California. Julaton is from Daly City.

Mexico City’s Marco Periban (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out Michigan’s Dion Savage (10-1, 6 KOs) in 33 seconds of a super middleweight fight in San Diego last Friday. Both were undefeated but Periban had faced the tougher competition. On the same card welterweight Danny Garcia (20-0, 14 KOs) stopped John Figueroa (7-9-3).

Former junior welterweight and welterweight world champion Zab Judah (40-6, 27 KOs) fights for the vacant IBF junior welterweight title against Kaizer Mabuza (23-6-3, 14 KOs) on Saturday at the Prudential Center’s small theater in Newark, New Jersey.

WBO flyweight world titleholder Julio Cesar Miranda (35-5-1, 28 KOs) knocked out challenger Arden Diale (14-6-3) of the Philippines at 1:29 of the fourth round to retain the title on Saturday in Queretaro, Mexico. It was Miranda’s third successive title defense and all came via the knockout.  

WBC junior flyweight titleholder Gilberto Keb Bass (35-20-4, 22 KOs) stopped Jose Aguirre (35-10-1) at the end of the eighth round to keep the world title. It was Bass’ first world title defense. The fight took place in Yucatan, Mexico.

The Bellator Fighting Championship quarter finals for the welterweight title takes place at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, California. Participating will be Jay Hieron versus Anthony Lapsley; Lyman Good against Chris Lozano; Dan Hornbuckle meeting Brent Weedman and Rick Hawn fighting Jim Wallhead to name one pool. The MMA fight card will be televised by MTV2 at 8 p.m.

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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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