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De La Hoya Would Like A Redo Of The Last Nine Minutes With Trinidad

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Oscar De La Hoya vs Felix TrinidadDuring the past week former six division champ Oscar De La Hoya has been making headlines. There have been rumors circulating about him returning to the ring to scratch the boxing itch he's developed since he last fought back in December of 2008. Let's hope that Oscar comes to his senses and decides to work on his golf game instead of getting back into the ring. Remember, he only sought to fight Manny Pacquiao because he thought he could take advantage of his size advantage and get the easy win.

The last time boxing fans saw Oscar in the ring he was taking a ceaseless pummeling from current WBO welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao 52-3-2 (38) before he decided it was best for him not to come out for the ninth round. Shortly after the Pacquiao bout, De La Hoya smartly retired at age 35. During the fight with Pacquiao, Oscar looked like an empty package and a fighter who was completely finished. Granted, Pacquiao had a lot to do with how bad De La Hoya looked that night. But in reality Oscar hadn't really looked like an upper-tier fighter since the night he took apart Fernando Vargas back in 2002.

The other reason Oscar has been in the news is because he and his company (Golden Boy Promotions) are a major player in the hopefully forthcoming negotiations between his client, Floyd Mayweather, and Manny Pacquaio. Recently, Oscar has been asked if he believes Pacquiao-Mayweather will ever be made. And to that Oscar has said that he does in fact think that Manny and Floyd will fight in the not too distant future and finally give boxing fans the one fight they really want.

Oscar continued, “They are the best fighters out there and I feel they both really want this fight to happen. When the time comes, people will enjoy a tremendous fight because styles make fights.”

Interestingly, while he was speaking about a possible Pacquiao-Mayweather bout, Oscar was asked if he had any regrets pertaining to his own successful boxing career. To which he said,

“I wouldn't change anything with my career or my life. Everything always happens for a reason. But if there was one fight that I could really change it would have to be the last three rounds when I boxed Felix Trinidad in 1999. For me, that was the biggest fight in non-heavyweight history at the time. And that fight was fairly easy for me but over the last three rounds I lost the fight. So if I could change anything from my career, it would have to be those last three rounds.”

One can only imagine how frustrating it must be for Oscar thinking back to those last three rounds against Felix Trinidad back on September 18, 1999 which technically cost him the fight between the two undefeated welterweights. More on that in a moment. Let's be clear on one thing, regardless of what you think of Oscar De La Hoya the fighter, he conclusively beat Felix Trinidad when they fought. Obviously, great fighters, and De La Hoya wasn't one, don't run out the clock in a big spot in the signature fight of their career at the time. That said, De La Hoya was in complete control of the fight and won at least seven of the first nine rounds versus Trinidad. He was pot-shotting Tito at will. In fact Oscar never boxed so well in his career and was making Trinidad look like a novice.

Back to the scoring: After nine rounds it's 7-2 De La Hoya. Trinidad won the last three rounds of the fight, I doubt anyone disputes that. So if you give Trinidad the last three rounds, it's Oscar's fight 7-5 in rounds or 115-113 on points. And what most fail to mention about those last three rounds is, Trinidad wasn't beating De La Hoya all over the ring. In fact there really wasn't any meaningful exchanges during them. Yes, Felix was fighting more aggressively, but it's not like he landed anything of consequence. The main reason he won those rounds is because he was at least trying to make the fight during a nine minute span where no serious fighting was transpiring. Again, De La Hoya beat Trinidad 115-113 any way you look at it.

The big question is; why did De La Hoya shut it down and decide to run out the clock after the ninth round? And there's only two possible reasons why Oscar chose to do it. One, he was so comfortable in how much he was in command, that he listened to trainer Gil Clancy and decided to not give Trinidad a chance to catch him with a lottery punch and steal the fight. Or, somewhere along the line down the stretch Trinidad hurt him, only Oscar hid it well, but thought to himself, “damn, he almost put me away there and I don't wanna give him that chance again, so I'm going to fight defensively and not engage with him since I have the fight won.”

To me, those are the only two plausible scenarios that were in play that night. The bottom line is Oscar De La Hoya clearly beat Felix Trinidad in their showdown. And the other undeniable truth is, great fighters finish strong and don't run out the clock. Oscar may have been a borderline outstanding fighter, and he did fight the best of his era when they were at or near their prime, but a great fighter he wasn't.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.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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