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The Best Advertisement Pacquiao vs. Mosley Could Have Asked For….RASKIN



Manny should probably send Morales a thank you card for goosing the PPV sales, as he reminded us all that the underdog does sometimes surpass expectations. Morales might like that…but he'd probably prefer another lucrative scrap with the Congressman. Er…don't give Arum any ideas, right? (Chris Farina)

Bob Arum probably won’t be putting a personalized thank-you note to Richard Schaefer in the mail anytime soon. But the president of Top Rank should seriously consider it. It’s the right thing to do after someone provides you with the kind of free advertising Schaefer’s Golden Boy Promotions recently did for Arum.

Top Rank, as we all know, is currently putting the bulk of its resources and energy into promoting the May 7 bout between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley. The forces behind Pacquiao vs. Mosley are trying to cross over to the casual boxing fan by running commercials (anywhere from 15 seconds long to 30 minutes long) on CBS and simply continuing to rev the excitement-generating engine that is Pacquiao, who grows more iconic with every victory, every talk-show appearance, every spray-bottle-enhanced photo shoot.

But the hardcore fight fan is an entirely different target. Some boxing enthusiasts will fork over $65 for the HD version of the pay-per-view just because that’s what they do, habitually, every month or two. But others want nothing to do with this fight because they know what’s going to happen and they can watch it for 65 fewer clams when it re-airs a week later on Showtime. The crowd that sees this as a gross mismatch and wouldn’t bet on Mosley at 10-1 odds—which describes almost everyone who saw Mosley’s most recent fight, against Sergio Mora—is a tough sell.

And that’s where Golden Boy comes in. Two Saturdays ago, GBP promoted a PPV card headlined by a fight between Marcos Maidana and Erik Morales that elicited the same prefight reaction as Pacquiao-Mosley: “It’s a public execution, and I don’t want to see a legend get brutalized and embarrassed like that.” Except a funny thing happened on the way to the morgue: Morales turned back the clock about five years, gave a magnificent performance, and damned near won the fight.

To mix all of the traditional overused Mexican metaphors, Morales was supposed to get gored like a deported piñata at a bull fight. For three rounds, it looked like “El Terrible” might indeed spill blood and/or candy from his slightly soft-looking belly. Then he started fighting with a little more intensity, started taking more advantage of the holes in Maidana’s game, started winning rounds, started threatening to actually win the fight. It was a performance that flew in the face of everything we thought we knew.

It was a reminder that sometimes we—the media, the fans, the industry insiders—don’t actually know anything.

(And before the handful of observers who predicted a competitive fight get all high and mighty about how they weren’t surprised in the least, I’ll ask them to dismount from the horse for a moment and remember all the other times a fighter has proven them dead wrong. Go along with the premise here, even if it doesn’t apply to you in this one particular instance.)

Though there are people out there who give Mosley a chance against Pacquiao, the great majority are predicting that Pac-Man will win via inhumane bludgeoning, that it won’t be competitive, that we should fear for Sugar Shane’s safety.

But do we have to rethink that at all, or at least express our opinion with less confidence, based on Maidana-Morales?

Obviously, there are stylistic and situational differences between Pacquiao-Mosley and Maidana-Morales. They begin with the fact that Maidana on his best day ain’t Pacquiao on his worst. Then there’s the reality that speed and reflexes were never quite as instrumental to Morales’ success as they were to Mosley’s. And you can also put some stock in the notion that Morales, at 34, hadn’t used up his “one last great performance” yet before facing Maidana; Mosley, who is 39, might have spent his against Antonio Margarito two years ago.

The point is that Morales giving Maidana fits doesn’t actually affect the likelihood that Mosley will give Pacquiao fits. But it affects the PERCEIVED likelihood. It plants a seed of doubt.

And that seed can help Arum sell the hardcore fans on what every logical neuron shooting from their brains says is a mismatch.

You can almost hear Arum now, prattling on at a press conference after someone asks him about the wide betting odds or about how 98 percent of the writers are picking Pacquiao to win: “When have the writers ever been right? Or the oddsmakers? Or the fans? They all said Erik Morales was shot, and look what happened! This is why they fight the fights, and Shane Mosley is ready for the fight of his life, and anyone who thinks this is going to be easy for Manny doesn’t know what he’s talking about!”

The hardcore fight fans got some bad news last week when Humberto Soto vs. Urbano Antillon II, by far the most promising fight we thought was on the card, fell apart. Without Soto-Antillon, there’s no longer an “I can’t afford to miss this” fight on the PPV for the serious boxing fans. That means it’s now a little more urgent that Arum and Showtime convince those fans that the main event is something they can’t afford to miss. Yes, the networks, promoters, and distributors make the bulk of their money on Pacquiao pay-per-views from people who don’t follow boxing week in and week out. But they still would love to have the folks who DO follow the sport week in and week out pumping up the buy-rate.

Some of those hardcore fans won’t be shaken by what happened in Maidana-Morales. But some of them will. Some of them will spend the next few weeks quoting Larry Merchant’s famous “theater of the unexpected” line until they can’t help but click the “Buy” button.

And for that, Top Rank owes Golden Boy a thank you. Morales made those who labeled his last fight a suicide mission question themselves. In all probability, Pacquiao-Mosley will go the other direction and give the fight’s detractors reason to say, “I told you so.” But as long as Arum has their money first, he doesn’t care if they’re gloating afterward.

Eric Raskin can be contacted at You can follow him on Twitter @EricRaskin and listen to new episodes of his podcast, Ring Theory, at

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura



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



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



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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