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Melinda Cooper vs. Ada Velez Could Be Fight of the Year

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Melinda_Cooper_punch_2010Undefeated Melinda “La Maravilla” Cooper and Ada “Ace” Velez meet to fight for the vacant IBF junior featherweight world title on Thursday. It could very well be the Fight of the Year.

The two former world champions are heading at full speed toward Costa Rica where they’ll determine who will be one of the heirs to the throne as the best super bantamweight female fighter today.

Will it be the youthful blockbusting power punching of Las Vegas’s Cooper (21-0, 11 KOs) or the slick counter punching experience of Puerto Rico’s Velez (18-3-3, 6 KOs) when they meet on the under card of Hanna Gabriel and Melisenda Perez’s junior middleweight title fight?

“I’m ready to get it on,” said southpaw Velez, adding that she had plenty of sparring. “I’ve practiced my speed and timing for Melinda. She’s young and fast so that’s two things I been practicing a lot with my boys.”

Like Velez, Cooper also spars with male boxers when preparing for a fight.

“She hates sparring with girls,” said James Pena who trains Cooper. “She says they’re too easy.”

Most experts in the female fight world are predicting a very competitive and explosive battle between the two.

Cooper has long been considered one of the best female fighters in the world but her talent has remained rather mysterious due to her lack of opponents in the past three years. Last minute cancellations are common for the speedy power puncher from the gambling Mecca of Las Vegas.

“Lot of people don’t know that she has been boxing since she was 10,” says Pena who has trained her since then. “Guys like Eddie Futch were always giving her tips and showing her what to do. How many people can say that?”

In this past year there have been three fights cancelled for Cooper. So back to the gym she goes honing her craft.

Now here comes Velez who has fought the top female fighters in her weight class for the past 11 years while picking up world titles in both the bantamweight and junior featherweight divisions.

“Power she has but I too have power,” said Velez. “It’s going to be the better skilled person in this fight and I know I’ve proven to lots of people around the world who is the best.”

Cooper is simply anxious to return to the ring and fight for a world title again. It’s been six years since she defeated Anissa Zamarron for the flyweight world title. Now she’s ready to fight for the junior featherweight title.

“Every fight that I have had so far has been difficult in its own way. Each fighter has her own style, strengths, and drive,” said Cooper whose last prize fight on U.S. soil was three years ago. “I’m really excited to be fighting for a world title again.”

The Velez-Cooper showdown is beginning to warm up now. At first, many felt the match would evaporate like so many others that Cooper was scheduled to engage. But Velez is just as anxious to fight for the world title again.

“I will prove once again who is the best. Melinda Cooper, I give much respect, but neither coach or manager will be inside that ring,” says Velez. “Get ready because here I come.”

The ever quiet spoken Cooper relishes the idea of fighting a world class fighter again like Velez. She also sees a clear path to her objectives:

“It's a goal of mine in boxing to win as many titles as possible and to continue making history,” she says.

It just might be the Fight of the Year.

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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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