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JuanMa vs Salido Runs April 16 on SHOWTIME

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WBO FEATHERWEIGHT KINGPIN JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ
TO DEFEND AGAINST EX-CHAMP ORLANDO SALIDO
SATURDAY, APRIL 16, LIVE ON SHOWTIME®

Top Puerto Rican Contenders Luis Cruz and Roman Martinez Clash in Co-Feature
Live at 10:30 p.m. ET From Ruben Rodriguez Coliseo in Bayamon, Puerto Rico

NEW YORK (April 1, 2011) – Unbeaten Juan Manuel “Juanma’’ Lopez has caught the attention of most everybody in boxing with his exciting, explosive style and unwavering charisma.  Following in the footsteps of his countrymen like Puerto Rican superstars Felix Trinidad, Wilfred Benitez and Miguel Cotto, Lopez has been virtually unstoppable as he’s compiled a record of 30-0 with 27 knockouts.

On Saturday, April 16, Lopez, of San Juan, returns to SHOWTIME® to defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight title against former International Boxing Federation (IBF) 126-pound belt-holder Orlando “Siri’’ Salido (34-11-2, 22 KOs), of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, in the main event live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

In an excellent co-feature from  Ruben Rodriguez Coliseo in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, undefeated Luis Cruz (17-0, 14 KOs), of Philadelphia by way of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, will take on fellow world-ranked Puerto Rican and former WBO champion Roman “Rocky’’ Martinez (24-1-1, 15 KOs), of Vega Baja, in a 12-round junior lightweight bout. Top Rank, Inc. will promote the doubleheader.

The 27-year-old Lopez, a two-division world champion, is coming off the most significant win of his career, an eighth-round TKO over Mexico’s boxing legend and future Hall of Famer, Rafael Marquez, in a tense give-and-take slugfest last Nov. 6 on SHOWTIME.  The victory came in the crowd-pleasing, powerful southpaw’s second title defense and third fight at 126 pounds.

Lopez came away victorious after Marquez, who was vying for a world title in his third weight division,  could not answer the bell after the eighth round due to a shoulder injury. Despite a point deduction in the fourth, Lopez was ahead by the scores of 78-73, 77-73 and 77-74.

A five-year pro, Lopez made five successful defenses of the WBO 122-pound title before abandoning the division to challenge WBO 126-pound champion Steven Luevano on Jan. 28, 2010.

If triumphant on April 16, Lopez could be looking at several possible compelling matchups, but he isn’t underestimating the challenger.

“I expect a very tough fight against a strong fighter like Salido, who is a true warrior,’’ Lopez said.  “But at the end of the day, I will be victorious and will give my Puerto Rican fans a fight to remember.”

An aggressive power-puncher who has knocked out 90 percent of his opponents, Lopez may not remain at 126 pounds for much longer. He recently stated he intends to move up to 130 pounds after two more fights – the defense against Salido and a possible rematch with Marquez.

“I really feel strong at 126,” Lopez said. “I’m eating well. I’m doing my diet the proper way. I definitely feel better than I did at 122 and I’m much stronger. But I may be moving up after the end of the year.”

Salido dropped defending champion Cristobal Cruz twice en route to winning a resounding decision and the IBF featherweight crown on May 15, 2010, in Ciudad Obregon. A convincing points victory – 117-109 twice and 116-110 – came in a rematch of a fight for the vacant IBF belt won by Cruz via split decision by the scores of 116-112 twice and 113-115 on Oct. 23, 2008, in Spokane, Wash.

In his last start, Salido lost a decision to his WBA counterpart, Yuriorkis Gamboa, in a wild knockdown affair on Sept. 11, 2010, in Las Vegas. Salido dropped Gamboa in the eighth, but went down twice himself in the 12th. At the finish, Gamboa had survived by the scores of 114-109, 115-109 and 116-109.

Salido, who turned pro at the tender age of 16 in March 1996, also went the distance while losing a decision to pound-for-pound mainstay and then-World Boxing Association (WBA)/IBF featherweight kingpin,, Juan Manuel Marquez – Rafael’s brother – in September 2004.

“It’s never easy to fight in a champion’s backyard, but I will give it my all to win and bring the belt back to Mexico,” said Salido, who’ll be making his sixth appearance in a world title fight. “I know one thing, Lopez is a great champion who likes to fight and with my style it should make for a great and exciting fight.”

The 25-year-old, hard-hitting Cruz is ranked No. 11 by the IBF at 130 pounds and has won six in a row by knockout, including a TKO 2 over Wilfredo Acuna in his most recent start last Dec. 4, and 11 of his last 12 inside the distance. Cruz has gone the route only three times since turning professional in March 2007. The furthest he’s gone is 10 rounds.

But Cruz will be getting his sternest challenge to date against Martinez, the WBO’s No. 3-ranked contender whose only setback came in his last start on a close nod to local favorite Ricky Burns in an explosive, hotly contested match on Sept. 4, 2010, in Glasgow, Scotland.

The 28-year-old Martinez scored a knockdown in the first and won the early rounds, but Burns rallied to earn a victory after 36 minutes of gripping action by the scores of 115-113 and 115-112 twice.

Martinez captured the WBO belt in March 2009 with a fourth-round TKO over Nicky Cook in Manchester, England, and made two successful defenses in Puerto Rico. He scored a ninth-round TKO over Feider Viloria in September 2009 and stopped Gonzalo Munguia in the fourth in May 2010.

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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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