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Hopkins Says He Will Pull An Ali, Make Pascal Apologize In Ring….WOODS

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Jean-Pascal-Bernard-Hopkins16Follow Woods on Twitter here https://twitter.com/Woodsy1069

A pretty fierce debate was waged after Jean Pascal sprung a call for pre-fight drug screening on Bernard Hopkins at their March 28th press conference in Montreal, and Hopkins finally snapped after absorbing the Canadian’s verbal abuse, resulting in a shoving match between the men who will fight a sequel to their December clash on May 21.

Some folks gave Pascal props for “getting into Hopkins’ head,” getting under his skin, making the crafty vet, who is 99% of the time the one doing the under-the-skin-burrowing, lose his cool. I myself gave this round to Pascal, as I didn’t recall any press conference skirmish occurring when Hopkins wasn’t the ringleader, the one responsible for stirring up the pot to a mad boil.

But after talking to the 46 year old hitter on Tuesday afternoon, I’ve changed my tune, for two reasons.

First, as Hopkins pointed out, nobody should be carelessly throwing around accusations, or insinuations, as Pascal did (“Take the test! take the test!”) in Montreal. Without proof–and I mean true proof, not suspicion, based on what one expects a 46 year old man, or a little Filipino chap who has rocketed up the weight class ladder like a Tomahawk missile, should look like in the squared circle–folks would be best served to keep their suspicions to themselves.

“I think it’s a copout for guys to say it without having proof,” Hopkins told me. “My company is getting sued for it, that’s a matter of public record. You can’t say it without having proof to say something. My lawyers know how they’ll handle (the Pascal accusation).”

So I stand corrected. Even if I think Pascal did well to get under Hopkins’ skin, the method he used was foul, and out of bounds.

In chatting more with Hopkins, my take on the Pascal trash talk episode veered even more. Hopkins told me that he intends to pull a Muhammad Ali, and make “Pascal apologize in the ring” for insinuating that he used banned substances to get an unfair advantage. You might recall Ali took his time against Ernie Terrell in the Astrodome in their Feb. 6, 1967 fight. Terrell in the buildup to the fight had continued to call the Greatest “Clay,” though he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali three years before. During the bout, Ali kept yelling, “What’s my name?” as he raked the 6-6 underdog with snappy pokes. Yes, it appears that while Pascal might have gotten a momentary charge from causing Hopkins’ blood pressure to rise, he may just have handed helped Hopkins an extra dose of motivation as he gets into the heart of his training camp.

“He didn’t get me heated, he motivated me,” Hopkins told me. “He woke the lion up. He was walking past the lion with piece of steak in his pocket.  Red meat.

“I’m already in his head. It’s reverse psychology. If he thinks I’m on something maybe he’s saying it so he can take something himself.  He’s thinking, ‘Is he or isn’t he?’ He’s in denial about how the first fight went.”

I mentioned that I’ve been surprised to hear Pascal defend his outing, that he didn’t seem to be questioning his strategy in the first fight, and admitted that if I were a betting man, I’d be leaning that much harder towards Bernard in the rematch, because I need to hear Pascal at least consider that his plan went awry in the middle of the bout. In my inexpert opinion, I told Hopkins that it seems wise to me if Pascal tried to adopt a volume strategy in the rematch, make the older man work his tail off, and hope he acts his age. “If he fights like Calzaghe did, Pascal will get tired in fifth round and get knocked out,” Hopkins answered. “He’s muscled, built up. His muscles get depleted later in the fight. If I keep pace with you and you do run out of gas, I will beat you down, I will methodically beat you down and take your heart away.”

As I told Hopkins, I believe. I will never again predict against him, not even if he decides he wants to test a Klitschko at age 50.

Finally, congrats go out to Bernard and his missus. She is pregnant, and due May 5.

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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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