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Showtime Crew Analyzes Cotto-Mayorga

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SHOWTIME RETURNS TO PAY-PER-VIEW BUSINESS WITH

VETERAN CREW ON BOTH SIDES OF CAMERA

Boxing Announcers Steve Albert, Al Bernstein, Antonio Tarver and Jim Gray

Give Their Keys to Victory for Cotto vs. Mayorga

LIVE on Saturday, March 12 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on SHOWTIME PPV®

NEW YORK (March 8, 2011) – From the network that brought boxing fans the blockbuster fights of Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez, SHOWTIME returns to the pay-per-view business with a cast and crew of veterans. The March 12 card headlined by Miguel Cotto vs. Ricardo Mayorga will be called by Steve Albert with Al Bernstein and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts and Jim Gray reporting from ringside. David Dinkins Jr. is the executive producer for SHOWTIME Sports® with Ray Smaltz producing and Bob Dunphy directing. All of whom bring to the table a tremendous amount of pay-per-view experience to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev., LIVE on SHOWTIME PPV, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

In addition to countless editions of SHOWTIME Championship Boxing, the experienced group last worked together in a pay-per-view capacity to produce and distribute the highly anticipated rematch between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo in 2005.

Cotto, the Pride of Puerto Rico, will defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight title against two-division world champion Mayorga in the main event.  Cotto, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, has held a world title every year since 2004 and has won 15 of the 17 world championship bouts he has fought.  Mayorga, of Managua, Nicaragua, is known for his reckless abandon and fearlessness inside the ring – a style of fighting that has produced 23 knockouts in 29 victories and legions of fans.

The veteran SHOWTIME announcing crew has some words of advice and keys to victory for the world championship event between Cotto and Mayorga:

A member of the prestigious World Boxing Hall of Fame, Albert has called some of the biggest and most memorable world championship fights in boxing history.  Albert, who will serve as play-by-play announcer for the pay-per-view telecast, has drawn up a game plan for each man to walk away with the WBA title.

“Cotto needs to get inside Mayorga’s wide shots with compact, accurate punches,” Albert said.  “Cotto is one of the best short-distance punchers in the sport.  He needs to jab and move and blast that left hook, which is still one of the best in the business.  He should use the entire arsenal.  Fans want to see if that right hand is effective since the shoulder surgery.  And make sure he has a Plan B, C and D.

“Mayorga, don’t smoke between rounds!  Seriously, he’s physically bigger so he should impose his will and do what he always does, keep punching from all angles.  He needs to keep Cotto guessing and make it wild.”

Bernstein, who has called more than 2,500 fights and 67 pay-per-view telecasts and will serve as expert analyst for this Saturday’s event, had similar thoughts for each fighter.

“Cotto needs to get inside the wide punches and work the double left hook,” Bernstein said.  “He should go to the body – Mayorga is 37-years-old and a smoker.

“On the other hand, Mayorga needs to straighten out the right because wide ones won’t land.  He should attack from the beginning because Cotto has been hurt by smaller fighters.  Finally, he should make it a street fight – rough him up.”

The newest member of the SHOWTIME announce team, Tarver, is a former undisputed light heavyweight world champion and the first man to knock out former pound-for-pound king Roy Jones, Jr.

He joined SHOWTIME in 2008 as a boxing analyst.  In ‘06, Tarver displayed his versatility and crossover appeal when he portrayed heavyweight champion Mason “The Line” Dixon in the blockbuster motion picture “Rocky Balboa,” the final installment of the legendary film series created by and starring Sylvester Stallone.

“It’s been a while since Mayorga has been in a significant fight after having some tough losses. For Mayorga, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Tarver, who is in the process of transitioning from the ring to ringside, “It could be his final chance to get back into the mix in the weight division so I see him being focused.

“He’s going to have to use his erratic and unpredictable style to win and he needs to fight really hard.  When Cotto is forced to fight out of his rhythm he has some problems, so it will be important for Mayorga to press and not let Cotto time his punches.  No rhythm, just wow! Be aggressive and fight hard.  Mayorga has to make it nasty.”

While Mayorga needs to get wild and push Cotto out of his comfort zone, Tarver feels Cotto needs to do the same things he’s done to become one of the best fighters of the past 10 years.

“Cotto needs to keep the pace, continue to fight his fight, time his punches and move,” Tarver said.  “As long as he can do that without being hurt he’ll be OK. Cotto needs to get up under those wild shots — that’s Mayorga’s style and Cotto can’t fall prey to that.

“I’m curious to see how much wear and tear Cotto has from his past fights and how that will affect him.”

Versatile, Emmy® Award-winning Gray, who will serve as roving reporter on the telecast, believes Cotto’s speed will be the difference maker and warns Mayorga to be patient against the talented champion.

“Cotto needs it more and is going to be able to take advantage of Mayorga, who has had long layoffs,” Gray said.  “While Mayorga is colorful with his taunting and his words, the older you get the harder it is to back up all that commentary.

“I believe that Cotto will be much faster and should be able to avoid getting hit.  Emanuel Steward will not let Cotto veer off course. Mayorga is very crafty and will have to pace himself and I believe he will have to pick his spots and try and do some damage if he can find an opening. He will have to be very patient.”

You can follow Bernstein and Tarver on Twitter at @AlBernstein and @AntonioTarver.

“RELENTLESS” will be produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV®, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, at a suggested retail price of $49.95. Bernardo Osuna will call the blow-by-blow on Spanish simulcast will call the with Raul Marquez providing color commentary.

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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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