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Thorougbred Pedraza Leaves Hoofprints On TKO Victim In NYC



image002From the little I saw of him, I really liked the looks of Puerto Rican prospect Jose Pedraza, who thrashed  Corben Page in the main event of Lou Dibella's Broadway Boxing card at BB Kings on Tuesday night in Manhattan.

It would have been nice to get at least a full round to assess the 21-year-old who took part in the 2008 Olympics for PR, but his hands were too heavy for Page, an Oregonian who dropped to 1-2.

The lightweight Pedraza, now 2-0, gave the dozens of people who came to cheer him on much to hoot about. A counter right knocked Page to the mat in the first, and a jab sent him to the floor after that. The ref took a hard look at Page, and stepped in to halt the massacre at 2:25 elapsed with Pedraza mauling him with both hands as he tried in vain to cover up in a corner.

I cannot say yet whether Pedraza is next in line to the PR throne, in the mix with royalty such JuanMa, Miguel Cotto and Tito Trinidad, but his backers are as amped a bunch as you'll see over a kid with two pro bouts.

Co-promoters Lou Dibella and Gary Shaw were in high spirits as they chatted with TSS after the win. The two men work with Javier Bustillo of Puerto Rico's Universal Promotions.

“He's the goods,” said Dibella of the lightweight who debuted in Puerto Rico with a win in June. “He's got a great pedigree, the poise, the body of a young Oscar De La Hoya. This is a thoroughbred.”

Page had to think so…a thoroughbred that left hoof prints on his head.

Dibella said he'd like the kid to fight every five or six weeks, and have him at 10-0 within ten months.

Shaw was almost as excited as the more outwardly passionate Dibella. “He's really poised,” he said. “He knows how to finish. And he moves so well. He looks like he's floating.”

Noting Shaw's enthusiasm, I asked him to offer a comparison to another prospect he'd been similarly gaga over.

“Francisco Bojado,” he answered after a brief pause. You may recall the young boxer who repped Mexico at the 2000 Olympics and was quite heralded as he turned pro under the guidance of Shelly Finkel. Bojado lost his tenth pro bout, lost focus, and called it quits after a 2007 loss to Steve Forbes. Hard to believe, but he could be in the prime of his career now, as he's only 27.

“It was Bojado's to lose, and he lost it,” Shaw said. “I saw it happening, his losing focus, and I'll not let anything like that happen here. I saw a piercing here, and then in the tongue, and tattoos…It was downhill from there.”

I gave Pedraza the third degree, to see if I could detect a loose cannon streak, or maybe get him to show me a weird piercing, and give Shaw a coronary.

He told me that he felt no undue pressure even though he's on the cover of the current ESPN Deportes magazine. “To the contrary, it stimulates me,” he said in Spanish.

The fighter mentioned JuanMa first when asked what PR fighters he looks up to, then Trinidad and then Cotto, for his dedication.

When asked to predict where he'd be in one year, Pedraza said he didn't want to say he'd hold a world title, but did allow that he'd be “at the top in my division.”

As for the possibility of pulling a Bojado, the kid showed a humorous side when he said, “Tattoos may be OK, but not on me.”

NYC area fight fans can check out Pedraza in June, when he'll fight locally, in conjunction with the June 12 Puerto Rican Day parade. He'll likely fight next in Puerto Rico, and basically bounce back and forth from PR and NYC.

Pedraza is married, and people tell me he's in a committed relationship to boxing, so for right now, it looks like the co-promotional squad can put off body checks for tats and piercings.

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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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