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It Was Maidana’s Fight But Morales’s Night…LOTIERZO

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Punching and kicking are meant to disrupt and neutralize grappling and throwing. Just as grappling and throwing serve the purpose of disrupting and neutralizing punching and kicking. In professional boxing straight punches reach the target first and usually impede hooks and uppercuts. The fight is usually decided by the fighter who can impose his game/style over the other. If the fighter throwing straight lefts and rights is effective then the fighter who wants to get inside and land his hooks and uppercuts is at the disadvantage. And of course the opposite applies if the fighter who makes his living with his uppercut and hooks gets inside. Because once he’s there the fighter who is at his best launching straight lefts and rights is smothered and doesn’t have the space and leverage to get off.

This past weekend’s junior welterweight bout between Erik Morales 51-7 (35) and Marcos Maidana 30-2 (27) was a great exhibit of crisp straight lefts and rights (Morales) versus thudding hooks and uppercuts (Maidana). Forget for a moment that Morales is an old 34 and was fighting 10 pounds over his best weight, and Maidana is in his prime at 27 and fought at his natural ring weight of 140. The fight basically came down to whether or not Maidana could get past Morales’ stiff lefts and rights in order to work Morales’s head and body with his powerful hooks and uppercuts. And on my scorecard Maidana was better at forcing his fight on Morales during seven of the 12 rounds they fought. In the five rounds that went to Morales, he was very effective at getting through with his straight and hard left jab followed by a perfectly timed right behind the left that Maidana was forced to stop with his face and chin.

Maidana won the fight conclusively, but he had to really dig deep within himself to earn the majority decision he left the ring with. The fight, at least on my card, was decided during the final two rounds. And during those rounds Morales only had enough stamina to prevent Maidana from really seizing the fight. For the first 10 rounds Morales was able to stabilize the bout every time Maidana was trying to impose himself over his older opponent. But after dipping into his reserve every other round from rounds one through 10, Morales was too old, tired and spent to hold the surging Maidana off down the stretch.

There’s no controversy regarding the decision or the fight, it was Maidana’s fight. However, it was Morales’s night. Yes, Morales was supposed to get destroyed and prior to the fight it was said here that he was flirting with suicide. And that’s one of the reasons why boxing is the greatest sport of all because you just don’t know when the unexpected is going to happen. Who would’ve believed it before the fight if they were told Maidana was going to catch Morales all night with his Sunday left-hook and over hand right – and yet he’d never once be close to going down or out? In fact it was the opposite. Maidana was shook really good on at least two occasions during the fight and it looked for a brief moment that he was within a Morales combination of going down.

Maidana won the fight, but after watching he and Morales wage war for 12-rounds, there’s no doubt as to who the superior fighter is, and that’s Morales. Erik saw everything that Maidana, a dangerous one dimensional fighter, threw before it reached him (and he only had one good eye being that his right eye was completely swollen shut due to a beautiful Maidana left uppercut at the end of the first round), but due to his age and declining skills, he wasn’t able to get out of the way or counter it enough to gain the upper hand. His fundamentals and boxing basics really prevented him from being steam rolled and his technical superiority really exposed Maidana as the hard punching crude fighter he his. Morales’ sound structure and spacing really left Maidana open and vulnerable. Unfortunately for Morales at 34 he wasn’t capable of making Maidana really pay for his non-existent defense.

Coming into the fight everyone knew Erik Morales was not only a Hall of Fame fighter, but a great one at that. Against Marcos Maidana this past Saturday night his performance further endorsed that. Prior to the fight I didn’t think Morales was gonna make it beyond the sixth round. In addition to that, I liked Shane Mosley as a 6-1 underdog to upset Manny Pacquiao much more than I liked Morales as a 6-1 underdog to upset Maidana.

If Mosley gives Pacquiao the scare that Morales gave Maidana, Floyd Mayweather will be the happiest man alive and the boxing world will be in shock.

Frank Lotierzo can be reached 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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