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Mayorga, As Blunt As A Hammer…AVILA

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As Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga stepped in front of the microphone this sudden whisk of déjà vu crept into my mind as the mad Nicaraguan began to rant about the shortcomings of Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto with a smiling Don King behind him.

Had I seen this before?

Boxing repeats and repeats some scenarios more than others, but if ever a prizefighter could enliven an approaching confrontation, no one surpasses Mayorga. Not even Don King.

“He truly is insane,” crows King.

The insanity of Mayorga (29-7-1, 23 KOs) steps forward to fight WBA junior middleweight world titleholder Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs) on Saturday at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The heavy duty Top Rank card will be televised on Showtime pay-per-view.

If Mayorga could speak English he’d topple boxing empires. Speaking solely Spanish he’s been able to dig roots into pro boxing because of his promotional prowess and his mighty punch.

Cotto is Cotto. The boricua has proven he’s not only one of this era’s best pugilists, but also proven to be a magnet for women who love boxing. Whether the woman is Puerto Rican, Colombian, Costa Rican or Mexican, all the women love Cotto. It’s unexplainable.

“I didn’t know this,” said Cotto who smiled and shrunk at the question of his attraction to women. “I must be blessed to have any fans.”

That’s Cotto, a gentleman to the end. Inside the ring he’ll be dealing with a beast.

“Miguel and Emanuel are clowns,” said Mayorga with a shrug and looking like a 21st century version of Il duce Benito Mussolini. “They’re both failures.”

“You can say whatever you want to say but we still have to fight inside the ring with our fists,” counters Cotto.

Mayorga loves to brag, intimidate and dare the world he’s not a champion. He’s at his best during the weigh ins.

“I’m going to step on the scales with a plate of Puerto Rican food,” joked Mayorga, 37.
But you can bet he means it.

Who can forget back in July 2003 when Mayorga stepped on a scale with a whole pizza and munched while being weighed to fight Vernon Forrest in a rematch, or his smoking a cigarette immediately after a win against Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis.

Mayorga has a little insanity about him and maybe that’s a good thing.

“He’s insane,” insists his promoter Don King.

Cotto, on the other hand, is one of the good souls of the sport. He’s never involved in drug or steroid scandals though he’s become one of Latina women’s favorite boxers. Ask any woman who follows the sport and they’ll point to Cotto as their favorite.

The Puerto Rican is now trained by Emanuel Steward and is seeking to defend the WBA junior middleweight world title he won against Yuri Foreman last summer. Realistically there is far more on his mind than simply a title defense: he wants another crack at Manny Pacquiao.

Cotto won’t talk about fighting Pacquiao out of respect for Mayorga, but the Nicaraguan is not shy about his intentions.

“I’m going to fight the Filipino Manny Pacquiao. If I don’t, it’s my fault,” said Mayorga who was told a win over Cotto would put him in line to fight Pacquiao should that boxer defeat Shane Mosley on May 7. “I want that fight with Pacquiao. If I don’t beat Cotto by knockout, I don’t feel I’m deserving of a fight with Pacquiao.”

That’s Mayorga for you. He’s colorful and blunt as a hammer.

Co-main event

Mexico’s Miguel Vazquez (27-3, 12 KOs) defends the IBF lightweight title against Australia’s Leonardo Zappavigna (25-0, 17 KOs) at the MGM Grand Casino. It’s Vazquez’ second title defense.

Vazquez worked out at Azteca Boxing club in Bell and looked sharp with his foot work. He’s a tall and lanky type of fighter. Zappavigna is a muscular pressure fighter. It should be interesting.

Fights on television

Sat. Showtime pay-per-view, 6 p.m., Miguel Cotto vs. Ricardo Mayorga

Sat. HBO, 7:30 p.m. Sergio Martinez vs. Sergiy Dzinziruk

Other fight chatter

Promoter Oscar De La Hoya reported his wallet missing last Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim. He was offering $1.5 million for its return. “There is something in there that money can’t buy,” De La Hoya tweeted on Sunday. Golden Boy Promotions staged the Saul Alvarez fight with Matthew Hatton in Anaheim. Alvarez won the WBC junior middleweight title by decision.

WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (46-2-2, 25 KOs) fights WBO middleweight titleholder Sergiy Dzinziruk (37-0, 23 KOs) on Saturday in Connecticut. Martinez, who lives and trains in Oxnard, is considered one of the best boxers pound for pound. Dzinziruk, a Ukrainian, lives in Germany. Both are southpaws. The middleweight clash will be shown on HBO.

Two former world champions Joel “El Cepillo” Casamayor and “Mighty” Mike Anchondo collide this Friday March 11 at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Cuba’s Casamayor (37-5-1, 22 KOs) is hoping to rebound from a loss to Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero last summer. La Puente’s Anchondo (30-3, 19 KOs) was stopped in four by Freddy Hernandez. It will not be televised.

Mexico’s Mariana Juarez and Italy’s Simona Galassi finally square off for the WBC flyweight world title after numerous attempts to bring them together dissolved. Juarez (27-5-3, 13 KOs) has been the number one contender for more than two years. Galassi (14-0-1) has refused to fight outside of Europe, but the title fight will be held Saturday in Mexico City.

Scotland’s undefeated middleweight Craig McEwan  (19-0) fights Ireland’s Andy Lee (24-1, 18 KOs) on Saturday at the Foxwood Casino in Connecticut. McEwan is trained by Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Boxing gym.

Hector Camacho Jr. (53-4-1, 28 KOs) fights Juan De La Rosa (20-3-1, 15 KOs) on Friday in Norcross, Georgia. Puerto Rico’s Camacho last fought and won against Juan Astorga last month. De La Rosa hasn’t fought in two years and was a former participant of the Contender reality television show.

Temecula’s Dan Henderson grabbed the Strikeforce light heavyweight world title with a third round knockout of Rafael Cavalcante (10-3) on Saturday. The fight took place in Columbus, Ohio. “I want to thank Feijao for giving me this opportunity,” said Henderson (27-8). It’s Henderson’s fifth MMA world title.

WBC and WBO junior welterweight titleholder Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs) and WBA titleholder Amir Khan (24-1, 17 KOs) met at the Honda Center and chatted a bit about their future. “I hope you win your fight, I really do,” Bradley told Khan who is fighting Ireland’s Paul McCloskey (22-0) on April 16. “Then maybe we can do something.”

Fantasy Springs Casino announced former flyweight world champions Eric Morel (43-2, 21 KOs) of Puerto Rico and Martin Castillo (35-4, 18 KOs) of Mexico will fight a rematch on April 1. No fooling. Castillo beat Morel in 2005. Also added on the card is local fireplug Randy Caballero of Coachella. For tickets (800) 827-2946.

Mexico’s Anibel Ortiz (7-1) defends the WBC minimum weight world title against Japan’s Naoko Fujioka (5-0) on Saturday March 12, in Tokyo. It’s Ortiz’s second title defense in Tokyo. The Mexico City boxer beat Carina Moreno for the title October 2009.

Super middleweight contender Don “da Bomb” George (21-1-1, 18 KOs) fights Maxell “The General” Taylor (15-2-1, 6 KOs) at UIC Pavilion on April 1 in Chicago. George is coming off a nationally televised fight where he knocked out Cornelius White. (312) 413-5740.

Undefeated Melinda Cooper (21-0, 11 KOs) is signed to fight Florida’s Ada Velez (18-3-3) for the vacant IBF junior featherweight world title on March 31 in Costa Rica. Cooper lives in Las Vegas and is trained by James Pena. She is a former flyweight world champion. Velez is a former bantamweight world champion.

Jose “Shibata” Flores (45-10, 26 KOs) has agreed to fight Roberto Garcia (28-3, 21 KOs) of Texas at the Commerce Casino in Southern California on March 25. Flores is a former title challenger who fought Fernando Vargas. Garcia’s last fight was a loss by decision to Antonio Margarito in May 2010.

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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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