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Klitschko-Haye Could Easily Be A Dud…LOTIERZO

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Now that it looks as though IBF/WBO heavyweight title holder Wladimir Klitschko 55-3 (49) and WBA title holder David Haye 25-1 (23) are finally going to fight, some writers and pundits are proclaiming that the fight is what boxing needs to shine. And that it's about time there's some interest in the heavyweight division. Some even view a potential Klitschko-Haye showdown as being perhaps the most significant heavyweight fight since former champ Lennox Lewis stopped Vitali Klitschko almost eight years ago. I guess that's a fair point. However, both Lennox and Vitali had been training for different opponents when they were suddenly matched up. So it's not like there was a whole lot of drama and build up leading to the bout before hand.  

I certainly do agree it's a welcome change that there's finally a fight in the heavyweight division that even the casual observers are aware of and care about. But as far as this being a fight that will reflect well on the current state of professional boxing or the heavyweight division, I'm not so sure. Do those who are lauding the merits of a Klitschko-Haye bout even fathom that the fight has the potential to be a 12-round snooze fest? Because it certainly does.

Think about it, in Klitschko and Haye you have two powerful heavyweights who posses big right hands who have both been knocked out in high profile bouts. There's a better than 50 percent chance that Wladimir will look to impose his jab and size advantage against Haye, and only open up if he's pressured by him. On the other hand, once Haye is in the ring with Klitschko and realizes his size and feels his strength, he just may revert back to the fight plan he employed against Nikolay Valuev. In other words move and feint like he's going to cut loose with something with bad intentions, but basically only extend his jab as he waits for the perfect opening or counter.

And as far as the heavyweight division being better for realizing Klitschko-Haye, I doubt it. There's three possible scenarios that'll likely unfold in this fight, and not one of them is one where it'll be a memorable one. One, Klitschko ices Haye with one or two shots within the first five rounds of the bout. To which everyone will say afterward that Haye was an over-fed cruiserweight with no chin. Two, Haye ices Klitschko with a big right hand somewhere in the midst of a dreadful fight, and then it'll be dismissed because Wladimir had already been stopped by Ross Purity, Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster. And three, the most plausible scenario is, the fight goes the distance because neither Wladimir or David had the gumption to take a chance as both fought measured and with great trepidation looking exclusively to avoid being tagged with something big and getting knocked out.

If one of the three scenarios above plays out, the heavyweight division will be excoriated by the media. It will be said that Klitschko-Haye was more the case of one fighter who can't fight, that being Haye, and the other one who won't fight, Klitschko. But then again that's the perception of the heavyweight division today. In fact the only way Klitschko-Haye gets big props afterward is if the fight goes 7-10 rounds and it's a give and take knockdown drag-out war, with both fighters showing toughness and fortitude until one of them emerges superior.

Here's what we can hope for: If Haye decides he's gun shy after seeing who he's really in with, Wladimir will, for the first time in his career, go in to take him out. Haye could get away with all kinds of stalling and not fighting against Valuev (and, even so, barely won). He won't have those luxuries with Klitschko, who I think genuinely doesn't like him. On the other hand, if Haye gets lucky early, he'll throw caution to the wind. If this is how the fight unfolds, I guess that's the best we could hope for. 

Now that I've denigrated the hopefully upcoming Klitschko-Haye bout, let me conclude that when all is said and done, the fight has to be embraced. There's no question that Wladimir and David are two of the top three or four heavyweight fighters/boxers in the world. And anytime boxing can get the best heavyweights in the world together with the title on the line, it's a good thing. It's just that getting your hopes up into thinking the fight will be Foreman-Lyle or Moorer-Cooper could lead to you ending up very disappointed when it's over.

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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