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George Foreman Predicts Hopkins Will End Drought, KO Pascal

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george-foreman-7GEORGE FOREMAN CONFERENCE CALL HIGHLIGHTS

“Big” George Foreman Discusses The Possibility Of Bernard Hopkins Breaking His Record As The Oldest Fighter In Boxing History To Win A Significant World Title

To download an MP3 of the call in its entirety, please click HERE.

“You must get a knockout.  This fight and the record will not be broken on a unanimous decision.  There must be a knockout.

“He is the last, truly, thinking man’s fighter, boxer and puncher.  That’s what makes Bernard unique.  He thinks in the ring.

“I’ll be watching HBO.  Can you imagine?  HBO was there when I knocked out Joe Frazier as the inauguration of their fighting program on television.  Now, if they’re able to televise Bernard Hopkins breaking the record of George Foreman—man, what a milestone.

[On his own record and career] “I thought such a record would last a lot longer than it has lasted because 45 is phenomenal and just think, Bernard Hopkins is 46.  He’s probably the only one who could break such a record because not only does he possess this big punch to get a knockout, but he’s also a good boxer and at times, a counter-puncher.  He can pull it off, no doubt about it.

“I think if Bernard has any idea of how great an opportunity this is not only for boxing, but for all sports.  Once I became champion again, it pushed other athletes in other sports to even drive and do things at a later age.  If Bernard is able to win this thing and do it decisively, it’s going to help boxing.  I don’t think guys should be looking at their career as over just because they’re 35.  You need time to pursue other things, like get a college education, be a movie star, and then come back, lick your fingers and be a champion again.

[On the similarities between Foreman and Hopkins] “It’s all about pride.  That’s about it.  It’s not limited to just pride in yourself, but also your community, your family, and boxing.  Those are the similarities we have.  He looks in the mirror and he still sees a young kid.  Bernard Hopkins—he still thinks he’s a kid, you know?  I did the same thing.

“You step into the ring at 46, you just got to understand that you are just a kid like the other guy across the ring.  You can’t look at yourself as a 46—and that’s a challenge, too.  It is a challenge because you walk in the ring.  Everybody you know—all your buddies and friends got gray hair.  You’re going to have to just get over there and say, ‘I’m not one of those guys!’

“After I lost the title to Muhammad Ali and then [lost to] Jimmy Young, I had so much time off.  If I had made up my mind to continue, I think that I could have been champion, regained the title and the reign would have lasted all the way into ’94.  Time helped me, but not as much as if I’d been active, I could’ve done it a lot easier.

“Larry Holmes once told me when I made up my mind to get back into boxing, he said, ‘George, you can do it.’  He said, ‘If I had your punch, there wouldn’t be any question about it.’  He encouraged me more than anyone.  Muhammad Ali was always, ‘Keep punching.  You can do it.’ Joe Frazier—he had a little faith in me.  So, from the days back, the previous guys did encourage me in their own way.

“It was so hard to come back after 10 years.  I was out there relaxing and enjoying—eating and sleeping when I wanted to.  Desserts were on the menu, something I didn’t do previously.  To stop all of that and then pursue boxing, go to bed early when babies are crying around the house.  I didn’t have that originally.  It was rough.  It became a job.

“In the first time around, I had this dynamite program with reflexes.  I could stop punches before they’d get there, catch them in the air, just before you hit me, I’d hit you; I had this dynamic program of reflexes.  Coming back in the gym, I found out, that’s not going to work.  So, I had to change my style, set my defense exactly where a guy is going to hit me and not move them around too much.  I would have to go longer distance because I knew people would try to extend me because of my age.  So, from three and a half miles, I had to add 10 miles to my program of running.

[Staying in shape past 40] “A great obstacle that a lot of people don’t understand is that as you get older, you start looking at young people as if to say, “Oh, that kid.”  You can’t do that.  That’s the obstacle.  Make certain that you look and see—every guy that you see is not a kid.  Though he’s 21, 22, or 23, it’s an obstacle to not look at them as competitors equal to you when that bell rings.  It’s great.

[On being 45 and setting the age record] “You find yourself at open houses with your children.  Then, all of a sudden, you realize you have a grandchild.  I had a grandchild.  I was having grandkids.  Then, you think, ‘Is that possible?  I’m the heavyweight champion of the world, a grandfather?’  It did start to sink in.  I wondered, ‘I don’t think anyone would ever do this.’  That’s why it’s very important.  I’ll be watching anxiously to see how this will turn out because grandpas are competing now.

[On Pascal] “He’s a great fighter.  He’s from a great country that has great boxers.  He understands that this fight is not only going up to defend his title, but at the same time, he’s got pride in what he’s doing.

[On Pascal’s chances of winning on points in Montreal] “Well, one thing you got to understand is that hometown thing.  It gives you an extra something in your body that you generally don’t have.  I mean, it gives you more courage.  It gives you more speed.  He is able to land shots that Bernard Hopkins is not able to land.  Bernard is a decisive, good, crisp puncher.  He doesn’t waste time on throwing nothing shots.  The champion—he doesn’t mind.  Any shot is a point and I think he’s better equipped to win because he’s not looking for a knockout.  It’s a point system and he is better equipped to win this fight on the point system [in Montreal].

[On Hopkins] “The last time I had a chance to communicate with Bernard, he was at a competitive age.  He was just doing what he was supposed to do.  Of course, he was a veteran fighter, but at this point, we’ve never had a chance to talk about it.  He’s one of those guys who just continuously goes out and does what he’s going to do.  Probably recently, he’s starting to say, ‘I’m a senior here.  This is going to have to be undertaken as a feat,’ but I’ve never had such a conversation with him.

“My hope is that he’ll go out there and put on a good fight.  Understand that these fights generally are not won by decisions.  In the latter rounds; he should look for a knockout like I did.  There was no way I could have been in the record books without that one-two knockout punch.  Bernard Hopkins—he’s got it, but he’s going to have to get it by way of knockout.

“Bernard is a thinking man’s fighter.  I didn’t realize that until he fought Trinidad.  I had no idea.  I always considered him a good, rough-and-tough fighter, but with the Trinidad fight, he took his time.  He measured the ring.  He measured the fighter, used his jab, and threw his right hand from a distance until the time for the knockout.  He is the last, truly, thinking man’s fighter, boxer and puncher.  That’s what makes Bernard unique.  He thinks in the ring.  Most people, even myself, were overtaken with that moment.  You get excited.  A guy hits you in the eye.  You got to get him back.  You got to get payback.  This man thinks.  He doesn’t wait for the corner to tell him what’s going on.  He thinks while he’s active in the ring.

[On Pascal vs. Hopkins I] “I was just sitting there on the edge, hoping that he’d pull it off, but Bernard has to realize, as I did when I fought Michael Moorer, you must get a knockout.  This fight and the record will not be broken on a unanimous decision.  There must be a knockout.

[On Pascal vs. Hopkins II] “It is important to appeal to the youthful pride.  Meet in the middle of the ring and say, ‘Let’s fight.  What are you running from?  C’mon.’  [If you do that] you appeal to all of the boxers, ex-boxers and all the fans who want boxing back in its proper position.

“Bernard has to understand that this guy, the champion, could land one punch, two punches, three punches that mean nothing to him, but they could be points in the bag.  That’s why I expecting Bernard to load up in the latter end of the fight, and go for the knockout, break that record, and break it fair and square where everybody can see it.

“The first fight is going to have to be erased.  The decision was not of quality.  The second time around, Bernard will get a knockout.

“I’ll be watching HBO.  Can you imagine?  HBO was there when I knocked out Joe Frazier as the inauguration of their fighting program on television.  Now, if they’re able to televise Bernard Hopkins breaking the record of George Foreman—man, what a milestone..

Foreman Introduces Hopkins:

“Bernard Hopkins—probably the only man that stands a chance to break all records, one that’s going to set and stay there for a long time.  Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the great one.”

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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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