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RASKIN’S RANTS: Matt Hatt Won’t Lie Flat, Wlad’s Abs Won’t Rehab




Everything in life eventually gets watered down, overdone, and cheapened. Examples from this past week: If Saul Alvarez and Matthew Hatton can fight for a title, then titles mean nothing; putting “#winning” or “#tigerblood” at the end of every tweet was funny for the first day or two but painfully lame when people were still doing it a few days later; Hatton ruined the perfect ring-entrance song, “You’re The Best Around,” by deciding actually being the best around wasn’t a requirement for using it.

This is why I’m continuing to limit my mini mailbag to one solid, interesting email each week. The goal is to leave you wanting more, not leave you complaining that the mini mailbag has jumped the shark like … well … the phrase “jump the shark.” So here’s this week’s best email and my response:

Hi Mr. Raskin,

Thought I would drop you an email saying it’s a shame that you ain’t writing for, but it’s great to see you are writing for, always enjoy reading your articles and listening to Ring Theory.

I think if they could get some money out of it, Sulaiman and co. would make dead men champions. I can imagine Sulaiman at Sugar Ray Robinson’s grave draping that belt over his grave stone announcing him as the welterweight champion of eternity and releasing one of those creepy press releases that read like royal decrees proclaiming that, what the hell, he almost beat Joey Maxim so here’s a light heavyweight title, now he’s a champion in three weight classes.

Larry Merchant, as you wrote, said of Saul Alvarez, “He is, for 20 years old, as good looking a young fighter as I’ve seen.” I think Larry must be losing his memory. Wilfred Benitez was 17 when he beat Cervantes, Pipino Cuevas was 18 when he won the welterweight title, Edwin Rosario was 20 win he beat Jose Luis Ramirez, and Marco Antonio Barrera was only 22 when he beat McKinney in his fifth title defense on B.A.D. I think it’s safe to say Larry might be overstating it.



First off, please don’t call me “Mr. Raskin.” Only my wife calls me that.

Secondly, I pray that Jose Sulaiman doesn’t read my columns, because I think you’ve given him an idea so ludicrous he’d try to make it happen. And why stop with dead fighters? How about titles for unborn fighters? Next time Floyd Mayweather gets someone pregnant, Jose’s personal ultrasound will show little sanctioning fees growing in that womb.

As for Merchant, I agree, he’s going overboard on “Canelo” and maybe losing perspective a little bit. But something about this kid has struck a chord in Larry, who has never been into cautious technical boxers and values Alvarez’s fan-friendly style as much as he values his talent. And on a side note, a couple of months ago, I interviewed Larry for a piece I wrote about his controversial suggestion of an eventual Manny Pacquiao-Alvarez fight, and Larry did something not many interview subjects will do: He called me again two days after our interview to offer additional thoughts after watching Alvarez fight Lovemore Ndou. Merchant is a boxing writer’s best friend, someone who cares about the quotes he gives and the articles in which he’s quoted. So with that in mind, I’ll cut him some slack for getting a little carried away driving the Canelo bandwagon.

And now, it’s time for me to get behind the wheel of the Rant-wagon …

• So David Haye is close to finalizing a fight with a Klitschko, huh? I’ll believe it when I see Haye flat on his back in the ring. Er, um, I mean, I’ll believe it when the bell rings to start the fight.

• In all seriousness, if we get one Klitschko against Haye and the other against Tomasz Adamek, that’s about as good a 2011 as we could hope for from the heavyweight division.

• As for Wladimir pulling out of the Derek Chisora fight again because of his nagging abdominal injury: What’s the point in dating Hayden Panettierre if she can’t use her superhero healing powers on you?

• What can you really say about the Alvarez-Hatton fight? Canelo was good but not great and Hatton was freakishly game but never had any chance of winning. My only knock on Hatton (other than his choice of entrance music) comes from his pathetic bid for a DQ after Alvarez hit him on the break in retaliation for a low blow. Hatton’s acting was so bad, Vin Diesel called me to criticize it. Good for ref Lou Moret for not buying it for a second.

• I really want to like Adrien Broner. He has talent. He has personality. I loved that he had a cornerman brushing his hair during the prefight introductions. Cocky young punks inject energy and excitement into the fight game—when they back it up in the ring. Broner did not back it up against Daniel Ponce De Leon. He can theoretically bounce back from this; let’s face it, this fight wasn’t half as bad as Andre Dirrell vs. Curtis Stevens, and it only took Dirrell about a year or so after that to get some momentum back. But right now, I’d much rather see Ponce De Leon back on HBO in his next fight. Ponce De Leon does this thing called “throwing punches,” which I find makes for good TV.

• If judge Tony Crebs thought Broner won that fight 99-91, then he probably also thinks Chris Arreola deserved a draw against Tomasz Adamek. What’s that you say? He DID score Adamek-Arreola a 114-114 draw? Tony, please drop the pencil, put your hands where I can see them, and slowly back away.

• As you may have heard, Mark Wahlberg hinted last week about a possible sequel to The Fighter that would focus on the Micky Ward-Arturo Gatti trilogy. It’s doomed not to be as good a movie as its predecessor, but I have no objection to them trying to make it. I figure Micky’s health issues between the second and third fights—he later told me that he bluffed his way through the physicals to get that last seven-figure payday—could make for compelling drama, and the Ward-Gatti relationship could replace the Micky-Dicky relationship as the emotional centerpiece of the film.

• Is it too late to go back, fix the blown knockdown calls and the questionable judging, and reverse Freddie Norwood’s win over Juan Manuel Marquez? I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t look right on JMM’s record.

•’s Bill Simmons tweeted the draft order of his “next celeb to go off the deep end” pool on Saturday night, and you might be interested to know that Floyd Mayweather was selected 25th. Manny Pacquiao was not selected. So there you go, Floyd; you rank higher than Manny in something.

• Once again, let’s bring it home with Raskin’s Recommendations: Adam Carolla’s podcast ( makes the cut again with another boxing-themed episode, as Lights Out star Holt McCallany appeared on the show last week and somehow Carolla and McCallany hitting the pads together for five minutes made for semi-compelling radio; I’m sucking up to my editor here, but it’s well-deserved, as I think everyone will get a lot out of Michael Woods’ article on Don King and Bob Arum  and lastly, the Ring Theory podcast ( returns this week with special guest Rich Marotta, one of the true class acts of the boxing broadcasting world. So thanks in advance to Rich for slumming it with two low-class individuals such as me and Bill Dettloff.

Eric Raskin can be contacted at You can follow him on Twitter @EricRaskin and listen to new episodes of his podcast, Ring Theory, at


2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura



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



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



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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