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Steward And Me Disagree: Manny Says Haye Will Go Through With Wladimir Fight…WOODS

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Note: The rumor that Wladimir's abdomen is still less than one hundred percent is false, Steward told Editor Mike. Vitali will not be subbing in for Little Brother.
Regular readers know that I am not the president of the David Haye Fanclub.

Not even a VP.

Not even a junior member.

My estimation of Haye dipped in June 2009, when he pulled out of a scheduled bout with Wladimir Klitschko, with a hand injury first being cited, then a bad back. Rumors flowed that focused on an injured TV outfit, backer Setanta, which was kaput and wouldn't be ponying up Haye's money. Then he lured the other brother, Vitali, in for a tangle, in September 2009. Klitschko management tried to finalize the contract, and learned out of the blue that Haye had been wasting their time, and was going to fight an easier foe, Nicolay Valuev in November. This, after talking loads of trash, boasting about how he'd beat both Klitschkos.

My lack of like for Haye grew in that Valuev fight. He fought like a scared bunny. Some said he fought the smart fight; but to me, I take what you say at face value. He promised he'd topple the giant with a fierce attack, then on Nov. 7, 2009 potshotted and went all track meet on the seven footer. BO-RING.

Then I lost what little respect I had for Haye when he went overboard, waaay overboard, in hyping his November 13, 2010 bout against 27-4, 39-year-old Audley Harrison. He said the bout with Harrison, perpetually an underachiever and hardly a worthy challenger, would be ‘as one-sided as a gang rape.’

Given every opportunity to walk it back, Haye refused.

Basically, he said he has a big mouth, tough tamales. Get over it.

Well, we're all stupid at one time or another. Lord knows that if everyone wrote me off every time I went into moron territory I'd be without anything resembling a family and friend sphere. But Haye's no kid. He's 30. Christ, I figured, someone in his circle, past or present, was probably touched by rape, and likely cringed when they heard him. Mind you, I'm not one to be overly PC. I've got some Irish in me, and I can shrug off boozing cracks.

Anyway, between his squirrely pullouts and his over-the-line trash talk, I just don't hold Haye (25-1 with 23 KOs) in high esteem as a sportsman. I did like some of his candid Tweets after Solis crumpled to the mat last weekend against Vitali, however. So it's not as if I've just written the guy off, and can't be moved in my assessment of him…

All in all, bottom line, I simply think that until we see Haye in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko, and the bell rings, and they start trading punches, none of us should really, truly believe that he'll go through with it. I think maybe Haye knows in the back of his brain that his whiskers won't hold firm against Wlad. But I'm just a keyboard tapper, a critic with access to a computer and a kindly publisher who allows TSS to function as what it is…So I posed the question to Emanuel Steward, Wladimir's trainer since his April 10, 2004 bout with Lamon Brewster. Does he think Haye is serious, and fully intends to glove up with Wladimir on June 25 or July 2nd, as has been reported?

“Yes,” Steward told me. “After this one, there's no other big fight.” Steward said the English media hammered Haye for that farce with Harrison, so he cannot get away with an easy defense against an Evander Holyfield or Antonio Tarver. “With Audley, it looked like they had a rehearsal,” Steward cracked.

So, part of you, Manny, doesn't think Haye will announce an injury right before the bout, his subconscious causing a pulled groin or some such thing, because he fears he will get dropped and stopped by a guy who might legitimately be pissed off, after Haye upset his mum by posing with artwork depicting him holding the severed heads of the Brothers K? What percentage chance is there, Manny, that Haye ducks out?

“Zero,” Steward said. “I had doubts about it, but I talked to him. He's one hundred percent serious about the fight.”

Manny showed me pictures of him from a recent meeting with Haye. They are both grinning. Manny indicated that he has no distaste for Haye, even after he wasted so much Klitschko time and energy. “We're cool,” the trainer/manager said. “I like David. But that rape comment, that was bad. We have daughters, mothers…

But I think Haye will be overmatched. He told me, 'I will test Wladimir's heart.' I told him, 'Wladimir will pass that test.' And I said, 'You guys both have questionable chins. It will be very exciting.'''

So, Manny, what are the odds here? Could Haye upset Wladimir?

“If I'm a betting guy, the odds are for Wladimir, two to one,” he said. “Wladimir has every physical advantage. But Haye does have that punch.”

I say Wlad is a prohibitive favorite. We might see a somewhat fiery passion from him on fight night, a burning desire to hurt Haye for torturing the Ks, and I could see Wlad taking the ex cruiser champ out early.

Haye likely run, if he makes it to the arena without a phantom injury, but there will be no option to hide. Wladimir will seek, and destroy David Haye.

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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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