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Hopkins Says He Will Fight To 50, As Long As He’s Still Hungry

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PascalHopkins2_Hoganphotos1Note to those who didn’t see the momentous occasion. HBO Sports will air a replay of the May 21 World Championship Boxing telecast:

Tonight, Monday, May 23 (11:15 p.m.) on HBO.

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, May 24 (11:00 p.m.) on HBO2.
(Times are ET/PT)

Fight recap:

Sports history was made Saturday night when Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KO’s), at 46 years old, defeated 28-year-old former WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Champion Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KO’s), making Hopkins the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a significant world title.  Not only did Hopkins take the belts from Pascal in front of 17,560 fans in his hometown of Montreal (an indoor boxing event record in Canada), but he defeated father time once again and solidified his place as one of the greatest athletes ever to compete over the age of 40.

With his unanimous decision victory, Hopkins became boxing’s oldest world champion, breaking George Foreman’s record, which was set 16 and half years ago.  Foreman, who was 45 when he knocked out Michael Moorer for the heavyweight title on November 5, 1994, was 192 days younger than Hopkins when he captured his title.

Hopkins displayed his excellent conditioning and ring fortitude throughout the bout and hammered the point home at the beginning of the seventh round, when while waiting for Pascal to leave his corner, Hopkins dropped to the canvas and started doing push-ups.  According to the scorecards, that round went to Hopkins too.  It was a great night of boxing with a spectacular performance by the ageless wonder Bernard Hopkins.

Bernard Hopkins & George Foreman Post-Fight Quotes

Bernard Hopkins:

“[Beating the record] feels great.  I did exactly what I wanted to do, which was break this record.  I knew it was going to be a tough fight, but I wasn’t going to be denied.  You don’t get a chance to do this too often.  You are supposed to win titles when you are younger…in your twenties, not when you’re 46.

“I didn’t feel 46 tonight. I felt more like 36.

“I can say I am a great fighter.  It was exciting.  I think everybody enjoyed themselves.

“I have been accused of being boring, but I saved the best for last.  I am going to fight like this [with a more exciting style] as long as I am boxing.  I believe I am an entertainer.  When you are in your last performances, you give it all you’ve got.

“I want to box as well as I can, and I think there are still great fights to come before I leave this game.

“I give you breathtaking!

“I always fight with my heart, but I had to be careful too.  I knew this guy was dangerous.  He punched hard, but I knew I had to be strong too.  Like I said before, I saved the best for last and gave you a blockbuster performance.

“I am going to keep fighting like this until I leave this game and trust me, when I leave, I will not be punch drunk, beat up or broke.

“Be happy I am still here because one thing we can say is that I am not wasting anybody’s time.  I went in there with a guy who that is young enough to be my son.

“I don’t see anyone beating this strong bull from Canada.  Coming from a veteran, he shouldn’t load up on his punches.  He needs to take advice from this legend and not throw his punches so strongly.

“He is a tough kid and he hit me with some good shots, but I am in tremendous shape.

“I think Canada will welcome me back to fight [Lucian] Bute.  I want either Bute or [Chad] Dawson.

“This is in the top two moments of my career, right there alongside beating Felix Trinidad and the relevance of that.

“I showed him a little bit of Hearns, Wolcott and Ray Robinson, but mostly, I showed him me.

“Thanks to Golden Boy for getting this fight together after the first fight.  We had to deal with a couple of things that worked out for everybody, especially the fans which is very important.

“I would like to thank everybody in Canada that gave me the respect.  I hope it was what everyone wanted.

“He [Pascal] is a quality and respectful champion.  He will be one of the ones that will stay around for a long time if uses this education that he experienced tonight.

“I just felt that I had to show that guy [Pascal] that he was fading and I was growing stronger.  I wanted him to see me doing something crazy.  I am the king of mind games.  [On doing push-ups in his corner prior to round seven.]

“If I want to box until I am 50, I will as long as I come out unscathed.  I will fight as long as I am hungry.

“If I don’t win, this is over for me.  I know there is no tomorrow.  If I want to still box, I don’t want to embarrass myself.  I understand the stats are against me.  I had to put myself in a situation where I had to be near perfect.

“I want to thank everyone for enjoying history.

“I talked to George Foreman on the phone.  He said he might come out of retirement to break my record [laughs].

“If you thought tonight was something, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

George Foreman’s Reaction:

“I was on the edge of my seat every round.  It was such an exciting fight.  Bernard was the better athlete, the smarter fighter and was in the better condition. Now that a 46 [year-old] has done it, next a 47[year-old], a 48[year-old], a 49[year-old] and a 50 [year-old] will do it, and if somebody does it at 60, then I’ll have to get back in there.

“Look, Hopkins did push-ups.  What great conditioning, and he did it in Pascal’s hometown.  Isn’t that something?  He was just so much better.  I’m happy for Hopkins and I’m happy for mature athletes.

“If my record goes down, you want to see it go down that way.  If it was the Olympics, Bernard gets the Gold Medal and breaks the record for the world championship.  This was the best I’ve seen Bernard take charge of the fight with a young strong champion like Pascal.  Long live the king.”

# # #

“Dynasty: Pascal vs. Hopkins” was promoted by Groupe Yvon Michel Inc. and Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Casino de Montreal, Videotron and Coors Light.  In addition to airing live on HBO’s World Championship Boxing, the event was distributed live on pay-per-view in Canada on Canal Indigo, Bell TV, Shaw TV, Viewer’s Choice and Sasktel in French and English.

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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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