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Bernard Hopkins, Reppin' For the Over 40 Crowd

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BERNARD HOPKINS REPRESENTS GREATNESS FOR OVER 40 CROWD

The Former Two-Division World Champion And Future Hall of Famer Represents Older Athletes When He Faces 28-Year-Old Jean Pascal This Saturday Night At The Bell Centre in Montreal live on HBO World Championship Boxing®

Montreal, Canada (May 16) – When former Two-Division World Champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins enters the ring this Saturday, May 21 to face WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal at the Bell Centre in Montreal Canada, he will be 46 years, four months and six days old, over a half a year (192 days) older that George Foreman was when he defeated Michael Moorer for the heavyweight championship on November 5, 1994.  A win for Hopkins not only means becoming the Light Heavyweight World Champion again, but it also means he will break Foreman's longstanding record as the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a major world title.

“This fight is more about history than redemption,” said Hopkins.  “I want to be known as the modern day Archie Moore.  Moore also went up to Montreal when he was over the age of 40, faced a younger hometown favorite [Yvon Durrelle] and knocked him out.  It means more to me to break the age record and prove that I am representing not just the older fighters, but older athletes in any sport.”

Regardless of the outcome of Saturday's fight, Hopkins is already among an elite class of athletes who have made statements in their respective sports well into their forties.  Hopkins' first victory at the age of 40 came when he defeated Howard Eastman on February 19, 2005.  He followed that with wins over Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, Kelly Pavlik, Enrique Ornelas and Roy Jones Jr.

“This is not just historically significant for boxing,” said Oscar de la Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions and Ten-Time World Champion in six weight divisions.  “This is history making in sports…period.  For Bernard to perform at this level at his age is something to be honored, revered and noted by students of this game and sports fans across the board.  Yes, we have seen great athletes compete into their forties, but for Hopkins to be 46 and competing like this is just incredible.”

“I am going to go out there on Saturday night and fight for all of the old guys out there,” said Hopkins.  “I am living proof that life isn't over at 40.  I am leading by example to show that you can continue to do what you love well into your forties.  My motivation is to get in that ring and prove to the young lion that the old lion still rules the jungle.”

NOTABLE ATHLETES OVER THE AGE OF 40*:

·         Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA) – The iconic L.A. Laker retired in 1989 at the age of 42 after helping lead his team to back-to-back championships in '87 and '88.  At the time of his retirement, Abdul-Jabbar was the all-time leader in points scored, games played, minutes played and field goals made.

·         George Blanda (NFL) – An all-time leading NFL scorer, Blanda played until the age of 48 (from the 1940s-1970s). He is still the oldest player to suit up for an NFL game.

·         Brett Favre (NFL) – The 20-year NFL veteran is the first quarterback to have wins against all 32 NFL franchises and the only quarterback to throw for over 70,000 yards.  In the 2009-2010 season, Favre became the first 40-year-old quarterback to win a playoff game when he led the Minnesota Vikings to victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

·         Bob Fitzsimmons (Boxing) – Boxing's first three-division world champion, Fitzsimmons retired from the sport in 1914 at the age of 51.  He is revered as one of the greatest punchers to ever step into the ring.

·         Gordie Howe (NHL) – The NHL Hall of Famer is the only player to grace the ice into his 50s and to play in six different decades (1940s-1990s).  After stepping away from the NHL at the age of 43, he returned nine years later at the age of 52 to play for the Harford Whalers, scoring 15 goals in the '79-80 season.

·         Archie Moore (Boxing) – “The Old Mongoose” had one of the longest careers in the history of boxing.  With 219 professional fights and the most knockouts in history (131), he won the light heavyweight world title at the age of 39 and continued to fight until he was 47 years old.

·         Jamie Moyer (MLB) – As part of the 2009 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, Moyer pitched a team-high 16 wins at the age of 45.

·         Jack Nicklaus (PGA) – The most decorated golfer in PGA history, Nicklaus began amassing championship wins in his twenties.  At 40, he won both the PGA Championship and U.S. Open.  Nicklaus made history again when he won the Masters at the age of 46 and still holds the record as the oldest Masters champion.

·         Richard Petty (NASCAR) – The winningest driver in NASCAR history, Petty drove in over 2,000 races during his 35-year career, winning the Daytona 500 twice after his 40th birthday.  He retired in 1984 at the age of 47.

·         Jerry Rice (NFL) – At the age of 40, the Hall of Fame wide receiver scored his two hundredth career touchdown and surpassed Walter Payton to become the NFL's all-time leader in total yardage.  That same year (2002 NFL season), he helped lead the Oakland Raiders to Super Bowl XXXVII. Rice's 48-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of that game made him the first NFL player to score a touchdown in four Super Bowls.

·         Nolan Ryan (MLB) – Ryan threw two no-hitters at the age of 40 and amassed over 1,000 strikeouts in his six seasons after hitting the four-decade mark.  He retired at the age of 46.

·         Willie Shoemaker (Horse Racing) – In 1986, Shoemaker became the oldest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby.  He was 54 years old.

·         Dara Torres (Olympic Swimming) – At the age of 41, Torres swam her way to three silver medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.  She is the oldest swimmer in history to be placed on the U.S. Olympic team.

*References: SI.com, Askmen.com and Wikipedia.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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