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Ortiz Beats Berto In Fight of the Year Contender…WOODS

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Ortiz Beats Berto In Fight of the Year ContendeHogan Photos

They, we, questioned his heart.

No more.

The heart question is no more for Victor Ortiz. He said no mas in June 2009 against Marcos Maidana, but he was all heart, and muscle, and grit, against Andre Berto in the main event at Foxwoods in Connecticut on Saturday night. Both men hit the canvas multiple times, both went to the mat in a memorable sixth round, but it was Ortiz, exhibiting a palpable hunger, who told the judges that he wanted Berto's crown, and wanted that no mas to be erased.

The scores were 115-110, 114-112, and 114-111 for Ortiz, the new WBC welterweight champion. Stat-wise, Berto went 147-480, to 281-696 for Ortiz.  Berto went 115-251 in the power department, to 266-570 for Ortiz, who looked better than good in his 147 pound debut.

After, Ortiz said he didn't feel 100% on this night, surprisingly. He was asked by Larry Merchant if he wanted to fight Manny Pacquiao. Ortiz said yes, and said he'd talked to Manny, who told him he had the good to beat Berto. The loser said after to Merchant that he didn't underestimate Ortiz, “he was just the better man.”

In the first, Berto started out throwing power. The lefty Ortiz threw a left and knocked Berto down, but it was called a push. It should have counted. He went down for real with a minute to go, off a flurry. He basically took a knee, to get his head. Berto then landed a big right. But Ortiz was looking to stop it now. Berto escaped the round.

In the second, Ortiz came out nasty again. He was in torpedo mode, all the way. His straight left was landing. Then Berto got busy; a right counter in close dropped Ortiz. His glove touched the canvas with 20 seconds to go in round two. Two rounds, three times these two had been on the floor.

In the third, Berto was buzzed by Ortiz. He was wobbly with 1:40 left. Ortiz had mustard on every single thing he threw. Could he keep it up?

In the fourth, Ortiz again wobbled Berto's legs at the 1:20. His legs simply were not on sturdy ground. He needed to move, steer clear of the Ortiz power, but his legs weren't in that mode. He was on the ropes way too much.

In the fifth, Berto was on the ropes, eating, with 1:25 left. He wasn't keeping Ortiz off with a jab, or using his legs to lessen the punishment he was taking. Not great strategy, but also, Ortiz was a beast on this night.

In the sixth, Berto had better luck. In the center of the ring, he was landing first. He dropped Ortiz, off a right, with a minute left. His eyes looked OK. Berto landed clean, mean shots, and Ortiz ran. A left from Ortiz then dropped Berto at the very end of the round, as ref Mike Ortega looked to see if he should stop it. This was your round of the year, folks, Foreman-Lyle circa 2011.

In round seven, Berto smiled as the bell clanged to start it. He was smiling, but stumbling, towards the end. This was more mellow round, as fatigue hit both men.

In round eight, fatigue was again in play. Ortiz' power was on the wane, it looked like.

In the ninth, it was a tight round. In round ten, the ref took a point from Ortiz for hitting behind the head. I didn't agree with that call. Berto's legs were weak. And Ortiz was fighting like a man possessed.

In the 11th, Berto was maybe on his last legs. He looked at his corner, at the clock…

In the 12th, Berto looked for a KO finish. But he didn't get that done. We'd go to the cards.

COME BACK FOR GEORGE KIMBALL'S RINGSIDE REPORT

SPEEDBAG Steward said after Ortiz is a star. He said also that Ortiz could prove a problem for either Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather. Agree or disagree, fight fans?

–Merchant said in his wrapup that it was a joy to see Ortiz change his life.

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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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