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Pascal Should've Waited Until Closer To The Fight To Raise Hopkins' Ire…LOTIERZO

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PascalHopkins2NYPC_Fusco6Pascal and Hopkins gave a preview of their May rematch Monday in Montreal. TSS Universe, do you think Pascal made a mistake getting Hopkins too fired up? Or is it a plus that he made the consummate mind-messer lose his cool? Please say your peace in our Forum. (Hogan)

When WBC light heavyweight title holder Jean Pascal 26-1 (16) and former middleweight/light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins 51-2-2 (32) met last December, two things happened during the bout that no one foresaw. One – Hopkins took the powerful and rough Pascal to boxing school 101. Sure, some of us expected Hopkins to win the fight, but none of us expected Bernard to take Pascal apart like he did over the last two thirds of the fight the way he did. The other unforeseen occurrence was Pascal managed to drop Hopkins twice during the first third of the bout. That alone instantly made the bout must-see.

Prior to their first meeting, there wasn't much anticipation of the fireworks that took place over the 12-rounds Pascal and Hopkins exchanged blows. And after 12-rounds of boxing, Pascal was lucky to retain his title when the bout was declared a draw. Pascal should count his blessings that as of this writing he can still refer to himself as the WBC light heavyweight champ. Because I've yet to hear anyone who saw the fight say they thought Pascal won it, and at the end of the day was jobbed out of the decision. No, it's the complete opposite, everyone who saw the fight thinks Hopkins should be celebrating his second reign as the top light heavyweight in the world.

Earlier this week Pascal and Hopkins met at Planet Hollywood at Times Square in NY as part of the promotional tour for their rematch in Quebec Montreal which will air on HBO this coming May 21st. And for the better part of an hour the two fighters tossed insults at each other. In fact they almost came to blows after Pascal said Hopkins must've been on something illegal during their first bout. Pascal even suggested that Hopkins subject himself to a drug test before their rematch. And if you don't know the long history of Bernard Hopkins' career, there isn't much worse that Pascal could've accused Hopkins of. Simply because Hopkins is known to be one of the best conditioned and disciplined athletes, not just fighters, in the world. Hopkins never lets himself get out of shape and the fact that he can still fight at the championship level at age 46 is a testament to how well he takes care of himself both mentally and physically. In reality, Bernard Hopkins is probably the last fighter in the world who would subject his body to any type of steroids or HGH.

The fact that Hopkins and Pascal had to be physically separated is conformation that Pascal is one of the few fighters who've found Bernard's hot button. And from this vantage point it appears that Pascal has made two mistakes regarding Hopkins. One – he should've never agreed to fighting him again. From a style vantage point, he's made for Bernard and he's not the type of fighter who can change up and show Hopkins something different this time. Pascal, as it was the case last time, is totally dependent upon his strength and power in order to have a shot at getting Hopkins outta there. And at this stage of his career, those are the type of fighters that Bernard can eat up, as we saw the last time they fought. If Pascal couldn't get the stoppage win the last time, how's he gonna do it this time?

The other mistake Pascal made is he's made it more personal between them this time than it was the last time. As we know, Hopkins always makes it personal. But with Pascal accusing him of being a cheater – that's something Bernard will feed off of for sure. Pascal was fortunate to get the rise out of Mr. Cool the way he did at Planet Hollywood. It's usually Hopkins who manages to shake his opponent up before they get into the ring. Only this time, he was the one caught off guard and who lost his cool. The problem is Pascal should've waited until the weigh in or closer to the fight to get under Bernard's skin and catch him off guard. Now Hopkins knows what Pascal is going to attempt to do, only now it won't work.

I doubt that after this week we'll see Hopkins come undone again. Actually, I'd be shocked to see him twisted like that again. From now until the night of the fight Hopkins will mentally and physically prepare himself to get back the title he feels he was cheated out of the last time in Pascal's hometown. Bernard is too shrewd and cool for Pascal to beat him before the bell for the first round when they meet on May 21st.

Having said that, if I were Pascal I'd keep pouring on the insults and accusing Hopkins of every dirty trick under the sun. He might as well say Bernard's been cheating and on something since he won the middleweight title back in 1995. I mean he already got his ire up and has his attention. Why worry now? It's not like Hopkins is gonna show him any mercy if suddenly he becomes nice and apologizes for what he said this week. Maybe Pascal can get lucky and possibly be the beneficiary and hope Bernard has stayed around one fight too long and is there to beat him on that night. Because we all know that Bernard's not leaving boxing having won his last fight.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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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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