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RINGSIDE FOR MAIDANA-MORALES…AVILA

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Did Maidana underestimate Morales? Is Maidana overrated? There are some questions still lingering in our minds after “Action Heroes” but one thing we do know: Morales deserves credit for performing at a high level. (Hogan Photos)

LAS VEGAS-Argentina’s Marcos Maidana pulled out a majority decision over Mexico’s Erik “El Terrible” Morales, whose heroic effort surprised many but not himself on Saturday. Many are calling it the Fight of the Year.

Morales (51-7, 35 KOs) brought in the old Tijuana crowd to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas who arrived with mostly hopes and dreams of a far-fetched victory over Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs. It turned out to be more reality than fiction.

Morales survived three rounds of onslaught and an egg-sized bump alongside his right eye and managed to rally from the fifth round on with pinpoint accuracy.

Maidana felt he had all but knocked out Morales in the first three rounds but the wily Mexican proved very slippery. Power shots rained all over from Maidana but he just couldn’t find Morales enough.

The fourth round saw Morales connect with a combination and send Maidana looking to survive.

“Morales is a strong fighter, he should continue to fight,” Maidana said. “He had a lot of technique and was very fast.”

Maidana said “it was my toughest fight ever.”

Morales seemed to catch up to the Argentine by the 10th  round.

“I think it was a close fight but not a clean win for him. I think I won the fight and I threw the better punches,” said Morales. “After I saw him fight I knew I had the speed and velocity but more important the dignity.”

Morales asked for a rematch and Maidana concurred.

The judges scored it 114-114 (Dick Hauck) a draw, and Jerry Roth and Adelaide Byrd scored it 116-112 for Maidana.

HBO Latino will air the fight on Friday April 15.

Guerrero vs. Katsidis

Guerrero out-slugged Michael Katsidis for 12 rounds of a savage lightweight bout that was marred with point deductions for late hits and low blows. Guerrero’s more accurate combinations proved a marked difference as the Aussie attempted to wear down the Northern Californian with body shots that ultimately resulted in point deductions in round eight.

Round five was Guerrero’s best round as he wobbled and nearly felled Katsidis with a left hand that beat the Aussie to the punch. Katsidis staggered around as Guerrero chased but he was able to maneuver away from further danger.

Both fighters showed extreme resilience as they fought furiously in the last four rounds. Guerrero was deducted a point in round nine for hitting on the break but it didn’t matter in the end. All three judges scored it widely for Guerrero who wins the interim WBA and WBO lightweight titles.

“I fought his fight but sometimes you have to do that,” said Guerrero. “I beat him at his own game.”

All three judges scored it for Guerrero 118-106, 118-107, 117-108.

Ishida Upsets Kirkland

Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida (23-6-2, 8 KOs) apparently didn’t care about James Kirkland’s (27-1, 24 KOs) punching power and won an exchange to floor the Texan early in round one. Two more knockdowns finished the job for the Japanese middleweight with the final knockdown coming by a one-two combination at 1:52 with referee Joe Cortez stopping the middleweight fight.

“He didn’t respect me so he ran into my punches,” said Ishida.

Kirkland felt the fight was stopped prematurely.

“I’m good,” said Kirkland. “I wanted to fight.”

After the fight Ishida walked up and down the aisles of the Garden Arena with a Japanese flag and took bows and congratulations from all of the fans. He was a big hit with people in the stands.

Malignaggi Beats Big Cotto

Brooklyn’s Paul Malignaggi (29-4, 6 KOs) was wobbled in the first round by a Jose Cotto (32-3-1, 24 KOs) left hook then slipped into jabbing gear and separated himself from the marauding Boricua. Four, five and six-punch combinations by Malignaggi kept Cotto on defense for most of the 10-round fight. Though cut on the side of both eyes Malignaggi kept his eye on the prize and showed world class skills in using the jab in-between Cotto’s shots. All three judges scored it a wide margin for Malignaggi 99-91 twice and 97-93.

What most people didn’t know is the former junior welterweight world champion hurt both hands on Cotto’s head.

“I was planning to box him for the first four rounds then go after him. But I think I broke my left hand,” said Malignaggi. “I wanted to make a statement.”

Cotto felt the scores were off.

“He kept moving and I kept pressuring,” said Cotto. “I didn’t think the scores were right.”

Garcia vs. Campbell

Young stud Danny “Swift” Garcia (21-0, 14 KOs) beat always dangerous Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell (33-8-1, 25 KOs) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in a junior welterweight match. Campbell withstood the early onslaught but just couldn’t generate enough punches to keep up with Garcia after 10 rounds but the former lightweight world champion had his moments.

Other bouts

Canada’s Mikael Zewski (9-0, 5 KOs) won by split decision over California’s Clint Coronel (4-2-2) after six rounds of a junior middleweight match. Coronel fired more blows but Zewski hit harder. Two judges liked the harder blows though Coronel did seem to stun Zewski twice in the six round bout. Tim Cheatham 60-54, Ricardo Ocasio 59-55 for Zewski. Herb Santos scored 60-54 for Coronel.

Russia’s Rakhim Chakhliev (9-0, 7 KOs) knocked out Detroit’s Harvey Jolly (12-16-1) at 2:18 of the third round of a cruiserweight clash. Jolly was floored with a body shot in round two. The end came apparently from a glancing blow behind the ear of Jolly.

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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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