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Tommy Gets Z Silent Treatment: Ocho Cinco Brags, Backs Off….WOODS



Zbikowski_media_luncheon_110323_001aTommy Z soaking up wisdom from Hall of Fame trainer Manny Steward in NYC on Wednesday. (Chris Farina-Top Rank)I'm guessing that the master media manipulator Ocho Cinco-Chad Johnson is just stirring the pot, looking to get some cheap pub, and he has no intention of following through on his posturing, of actually boxing fellow NFLer Tom Zbikowski.

But just in case he isn't, and his Twitter war is something more than just a brand awareness campaign, let me try and persuade Ocho to find other folly to delve into. Because he doesn't want, or shouldn't want, a piece of Tommy Z, who fights this Saturday on the Yuriorkis Gamboa-Jorge Solis Top Rank undercard which unfolds at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Tommy Z had a 75-15 amateur record. This isn't some Toughman level dude just thrown on the undercard as a freak show attraction. (Not that Arum would EVER do that cough cough Butterbean.) Yes, he's 2-0 as a pro, but this kid has a solid foundation in pugilism, and that's going to get that much more solid when he starts working with Emanuel Steward, the Hall of Fame trainer, after his Saturday clash with 0-0-1 Caleb Grummet of Michigan.

Ocho's last Tweet in his Twitter war with Z, which ran two weeks ago, was this:

“in all seriousness I'd give you the ass whooping I owe Ray Lewis so let's go,n any of your other teammates can get beat up 2”

Then, silence. He promised a whupping, and then when invited to cash the check his mouth wrote, the wide receiver clammed up.

“In all seriousness, Top Rank and I would like to extend an invitation to Chad Ocho Cinco and his agent to make this fight happen,” the 25-year-old Illinois native wrote in response.


Z followed up. “I would like to personally invite @ochoCinco to my fight this Saturday in Vegas, ON ME…Come out and do some advanced scouting for May,” Tweeted the ex Notre Dame All-American who plays safety for the Baltimore Ravens. He then sent out a shot of himself in the gym, but Ocho by then had moved on, to the myriad of topics which rush through a brain which seems like it should be overwhelmed by the sheer number of topics, spewed out with the precision and focus of material that comes out of a wood chipper.

I asked Z at a Wednesday NYC luncheon hosted by Top Rank if he'd still give the Bengals Ocho a shot in the ring if the All-Pro receiver asked for it. He would, he indicated. Zbikowski however dismissed Ocho's seriousness by saying, “But he's playing soccer, if that answers your question.”

And if he gets serious, after his tryout with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer, then?

“Yeah,” said Zbikowski, who by the way has a level of darkness and hardness in his eyes which would send me to the soccer field if I were Ocho…

No one of course should hold their breath for an NFLer vs. NFLer showdown. Ocho is brash, and his flight of ideas can make you think he's a candidate for meds, but he's no fool. He knows damn well Z would drop him and stop him.

So, we wonder, is Z just dabbling? Is this just something to pass the time until the NFL owners and the players find enough common ground to get back to work?

Steward says no. He worked with Z for a few days in Vegas recently and was pleasantly surprised. Z showed good skills, nice footwork. And he also showed Steward a picture, taken in March 1998. Young Tommy is standing next to Steward (Funny aside: I said, “You look just the same now, Manny!” I said. “Eff you, Mike,” the trainer responded, laughing.). This picture was snapped when Steward was working with Lennox Lewis before his fight with Shannon Briggs. The trainer said his nephew remembered Zbikowski, in fact, because he used to spar Kronk kids.

Steward isn't going to promote Z as the next big thing, or even the next semi big thing. First, he wants to see him spar with top echelon guys, like  Chad Dawson, and Andy Lee, then Steward said, “We'll see where he's at. He's testing the waters. We'll see his potential as a pro.

NOTE: Highlights from Zbikowski's fight on the non-televised undercard of Saturday's Yuriorkis Gamboa-Jorge Solis world featherweight championship fight, in Atlantic City, will be shown by HBO on “Boxing After Dark,” beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).  This will mark Tommy Z's first fight with Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward working his cormer.

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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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