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BORGES TO MAYWEATHER: The Time Has Come To Put Up, Or Shut Up

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Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has not become irrelevant, despite  his best efforts to do so. What he has become is the B side of a fight in which he should be the A side.

While Manny Pacquiao simply keeps training, fighting, cashing large checks and enhancing his worldwide popularity, Mayweather makes what money he can at gambling parlors that have broken richer men than him and more and more sounds like a guy who talks a great fight but no longer wants to be involved in a great fight.

Recently Mayweather went on a rambling dissertation on a Chicago radio station about how he’s an American and hence…well, it beats me.

“The thing is this, I’m an America citizen and I represent this country with the red, white and blue,’’ he told ESPN Chicago. “The only thing I want is the people in my country to stand behind me. I’m in my own country and I have a lot of people against me.

“Our country is a great country, it’s a clean country, and all I ask him (Pacquiao) to do is take the test. That’s it. He takes the test and we got a fight.’’

Mayweather is referring to random blood testing for performance enhancing drugs, which he’s made a requirement for a fight with Pacquiao. It is not an unreasonable request and although he balked at it for a time, Pacquiao claims he’s since agreed to do it in the same manner Shane Mosley did when he fought Mayweather. If he has, someone needs to tell Mayweather it’s time to go back to work.

The fact that one of the few boxing matches general sports fans actually want to see can’t be made points to the reason why the sport has marginalized itself in this country. Hate to say it but if Mayweather and Pacquiao were UFC fighters they would have been inside the Octagon three times by now. That’s why UFC is flourishing while boxing’s relevance in America is approaching horse racing’s.

It doesn’t have to be that way nor is it inevitable that boxing here cannot again flourish as it is in Europe and from time to time does in the United States. All the fighters have to do is fight each other, starting with Mayweather and Pacquiao.

When the interviewer suggested Mayweather-Pacquiao might “save boxing’’ (which is more than a bit of hyperbole because the sport doesn’t need to be saved, it needs to be managed like a proper business), he said. “My job is to keep my family close and take care of my family. My job is not to fight for everybody else. My job is to fight for Floyd Mayweather.’’

Agreed. So fight already.

The odd thing about listening to Mayweather when the subject of Manny Pacquiao comes up is eventually he is drawn inexorably – no matter what the real subject of the conversation is – into pointing out that he’s undefeated and Pacquiao is not.

So what? The truest measure of a fighter is not that he’s undefeated. If it was it would make Joe Mesi bigger than Joe Louis.

An unblemished record may mean you’re great or it may mean you did your best to avoid your most dangerous challenger, which Pacquiao surely is for Mayweather. If that’s the case, then what does it mean to be undefeated?
Frankly, for Floyd, it means less every day.

“You guys must realize about Pacquiao, that’s just a media creation,’’ Mayweather said. “That’s somebody who just came around. For someone to beat me would be abnormal. For someone to beat him is normal because he’s already been beaten three times and knocked out twice. It’s nothing new.’’

Sadly, neither are his words. This has become an old song and a boring one. Although he has always had a fair point about the need for more stringent drug testing in a blood sport like boxing, he seems to have won it but still wants to fight over it.

If he hasn’t, than that would be quickly revealed in any negotiation with Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, and turn the eye of suspicion back on the most popular fighter in the world. And that is what Manny Pacquiao is, a fact that surely grates on a former Dancing With The Stars entrant.

As for Pacquiao’s record, if it’s so normal to beat him then why doesn’t Mayweather just agree to go do it himself and be done with it? If he thinks he can add a fourth blemish to Pacquiao’s record, what’s the hold up?

For a time, Floyd Mayweather had a point in his demands and still does if Pacquiao tries to dodge the issue of blood testing for performance enhancing drugs. But absent that issue, the time has come to put up or shut up.

Boxing is a simple sport in some regards. You’re either a fighter or you’re not.

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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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