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Ortiz Revives His Career With One Round And A Short Left…LOTIERZO

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image007photo by Neil Abramson

Heading into this past Saturday night's bout with WBC welterweight title holder Andre Berto 27-1 (21) challenger Victor Ortiz 29-2- (22) had many questions hovering over him. Questions about his heart, desire and stamina were at the top of the list. Berto was perceived as the tougher fighter mentally and emotionally and most observers and fans felt at the end of the day that would be the difference and Andre would most likely retain his title in what would be a pretty action packed fight. And that of course turned out to be half right.

For 12-rounds there was sustained action and each fighter scored a pair of knockdowns along the way. That's the good news about the fight. On the negative side the fight was conducted on one of the least developed levels of any title fight I've seen in quite some time. Sure, it was fun to watch, but for the most part it looked more like a Tough Man Competition between two in shape guys than it did a professional boxing match at the highest level.

When it was over Ortiz was a unanimous decision winner and is the new WBC welterweight title holder. More importantly he saved his career and will no doubt be a draw the next time he fights and like everybody else who's won a high profile bout recently (weighing between 140-147), his name will be mentioned as a future opponent for Manny Pacquiao assuming he beats Shane Mosley next month.

Ortiz proved that if you combine his power and aggression with a mindset that has something to prove, he's a dangerous opponent for anybody. At this time based on what he showed as far as his character,  he met the burden of proof against Andre Berto and showed that his constitution deserves the benefit of the doubt.

The fight hinged on two things that favored Ortiz and ultimately turned the fight in his favor. Before touching on that, I must say that I do think Berto took Ortiz a little for granted in the back of his mind and banked on him folding and looking for a way out once the pressure escalated and things weren't going his way. And there were a few points during the fight that Ortiz could've packed it in if he wanted to but he never did.

Ortiz opened the fight like a hurricane and no doubt wanted to send the message to Berto that he wasn't some chump, that he could just show up wearing gloves and take his heart. Berto didn't seem at all surprised or bothered by Ortiz's tactic and his body language projected that he thought Victor would be doing well at the onset but once he emptied his wagon the fight would turn around in his favor, never to be relinquished. The only problem was Berto didn't count on getting worked over and having to endure so many big shots from Ortiz. Not only did Berto find out in the first round that Ortiz could hurt him with almost anything he touched him with, he also discovered that he wasn't able to find him with his counters with the ease he anticipated that he would.

Berto was hurt really bad in the first round and although I believe he recovered mentally, he never recovered physically and for the rest of the fight he was on unsteady legs. I think this was a combination of Berto not being in the best shape he could be in and Ortiz perhaps carrying a bigger punch as a welterweight than he did a junior welterweight. Regardless of the reason why, Berto never recovered from the beating Ortiz administered to him in the first round. And for the next four rounds Ortiz did all he could to keep the pressure on and tried to get Berto out.

Then in the sixth round it looked like the old Ortiz showed up and he was perhaps on the verge of hitting the wall and running out of gas. Berto seized on that and all of the sudden he was rejuvenated and dictating the tempo of the fight. Andre hurt and dropped Ortiz and it looked like he was now the predator and Ortiz was the prey, a complete role reversal of the first five rounds. And just as it looked as though Ortiz might be on the verge of succumbing mentally and physically, he nailed Berto with a short left inside that dropped him and for all intents and purpose swung the momentum of the fight back in his favor. And from that point forward Berto never really gained control of the fight.

A lot has been written about how Ortiz answered all the questions most had about him. So remember when you're reading about or discussing the fight that it really wasn't such a sophisticated game plan that resurrected Victor's career. What it basically boiled down to was he really put it on Berto in the first couple rounds and Andre never recovered from the going over he was forced to absorb in the early going. And just when it looked like Ortiz was about to tire and open the door for Berto to gain control, he caught him with that short left at the end of the sixth round and shut the door on him for the rest of the fight. I'm just not totally convinced that Ortiz goes on to win the fight without that left that dropped Berto at the end of the sixth round. But he did and that's all that matters.

Victor Ortiz deserves a lot of props for his performance Saturday night. But the fight was basically won in the first round and sealed with a single left in the sixth round. And I'm not sure that answers all the questions that were out there before the fight, but it's a great start.

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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