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If Solis Brings His A-Game, And Vitali Looks Past Him….LOTIERZO

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ADA_7498V weighed 249, Solis 246 1/2 on Friday for their Saturday clash. This is a decent sign for those craving an upset…that's the lightest Solis has been as a professional.

Now with the Wladimir Klitschko-David Haye heavyweight title bout pretty much set for this coming summer, those who still love and follow the heavyweight division will have their eyes on Saturday's WBC heavyweight title clash between champ Vitali Klitschko 41-2 (38) and undefeated contender Odlanier Solis 17-0 (12). And the 30-year-old Solis, as some have said since the bout was signed, just may be the most dangerous opponent Vitali will face during his second title reign since he beat Samuel Peter back in October of 2008 to win the vacant WBC belt.

The WBC's top contender was an accomplished amateur who won a Gold Medal at the 2004 Olympics for Cuba in the 201 pound division. He then defected to the United States and isn't a joke among today's so called heavyweight elite. He's big and confident, but Solis' his work ethic leaves a lot to be desired. Add to that he's openly admitted that he doesn't even like boxing and says it's just a job and doesn't even bother to look at tapes of his opponents, it's hard to get excited about his chances to compete with Klitschko, let alone beat him. But if he shows up in the best shape of his career, something I'll assume he will, he does posses the needed tools to topple Vitali. Even if his body doesn't break down, something that's always in play when Vitali fights.

In some ways Vitali at age 39 looks almost as good as he ever has. But his legs have looked stiff at times during his recent bouts and he doesn't seem to punch with the speed and fluidity he once did. There's also been rumors abound that Vitali has labored in getting to the gym to train for the fight. As always these type rumors seem to surface whenever Vitali fights. Yet on fight night he's always prepared and wins handily and seldom loses a round to his opponent.

Counting on either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko to look past or take any opponent lightly has been a losing proposition for the last seven years, but at the end of the day, just maybe Vitali took a peek at Solis's last fight, a ten-round disqualification win over Ray Austin? If he did, he saw a lethargic Solis beating the 40 year old Austin without having to call on his reservoir of skill and talent. And it's easy to see a fighter as confident as Vitali Klitschko looking at Solis and think he's fighting Samuel Peter with a little bit more of an imaginative offense and style. And we all saw how well Peter competed with a rusty Vitali coming off an almost four year period of inactivity. He didn't.

It's been a common theme among boxing observers to declare that some of Vitali's opponents have approached their fights against him with a sparring partners' mentality. And that's a well founded thought, however, Vitali has shown that he's quite capable of shutting his opponents down and breaking their will by the midway point of the fight. And once he senses they're fighting more to survive and go the distance than anything, he goes about picking up the pace and gets the late round stoppage.

That said, I get the notion Solis will bring his A-game on Saturday and try to push an aging Vitali off the cliff. And if Vitali just so happens to have read too much into the Ray Austin fight and doesn't see Solis as the threat he potentially is, he just may find himself in for a long night, and it may even cost him his WBC title.

Solis showing up in great shape and Vitali looking past him is a bet I wouldn't take. Actually, the safer bet is Vitali showing up in the best possible shape he can be in, and Solis weighing-in at a career high. Obviously, we'll be hoping that Solis's effort and preparation for the fight were at least equal to or better than Vitali's. Then we just may see a heavyweight title bout that we'll be talking about the next day.

No doubt Vitali Klitschko's career is winding down, and he hasn't been shy about hiding his political aspirations when he's through boxing. He's been an under appreciated title holder during his career. And more than likely he'll get his just due a few years after he retires like other past champions have. He hasn't been pushed during a fight since he fought Lennox Lewis in 2003. And in that fight, despite losing it, he received more props than he had in any of his victories before or afterward.

Maybe if Solis is good enough to push Klitschko and he has to dig deep, but manages to find a way to win, Vitali will get some of the past due homage that has never been paid to him once during his career. Forget about how great one may think he is or isn't, the fact is the guy has dominated his era and never ducked or avoided one single heavyweight of his generation who was a perceived threat to him.

And there's something to be said for that, isn't there?

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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