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Avila’s Updated Pound for Pound List May 2011

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Avila's Number 5 and Number 10, representing at the BWAA dinner in Vegas on May 6. (Hogan)

The sad loss by Roy Jones Jr. is a reminder of how difficult the world of prizefighting truly can be. While Jones was losing in Russia, Bernard Hopkins was winning in Canada and remains in the pound for pound list after all of these years.

For the past two years many asked why Hopkins is on this list and this past Saturday he personally answered that question: he can still beat world champion caliber fighters.

Several weeks ago Sugar Shane Mosley also attempted the same feat and was dismissed by Manny Pacquiao who is among the best pro boxers of the last 50 years.

Jones, Mosley and Hopkins were all on pound for pound list at the same time back in 2000. Only B-Hop remains on at least this list since that time and before. It’s a remarkable achievement and one that is often overlooked.

No major changes took place on the list but there were several exclamation points including Andre Ward’s big win over Arthur Abraham, Robert Guerrero’s domination over Michael Katsidis and Giovanni Segura’s second knockout of former pound for pound member Ivan Calderon.

Here’s the list:

1.    Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) – Pacquiao was supposed to receive a somewhat tough test against Sugar Shane Mosley. Instead, the Filipino speedster mowed through former pound for pound champion Mosley like dry grass on a summer day. Round after round Pacman oblliterated Mosley’s defense with ease and remains at the top of the list and perhaps one of the greatest boxers of all time. Next up for Pacquiao will be old nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico in November.

2.    Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) – “Money” Mayweather is still on this list because he still has a ton of legal problems that have kept him from the ring. Rumors of a match with new WBC welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz are floating and if it transpires look for the boxing wizard to return to the ring in September. Should he defeat Ortiz then a possible showdown with Pacquiao looms.

3.    Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) – Lots of people criticized me, asking why Hopkins remained on this list. This past Saturday Hopkins proved why he belongs with a solid win over Canada’s Jean Pascal to take the light heavyweight world championship. Hopkins, 46, became the oldest ever to win a world title. He’s a true boxing master who is also a fitness freak. How else could he beat a 28-year-old? The Philadelphia prizefighter known as “the Executioner” is truly a living legend and is still among the best pound for pound boxers today. He’s a real master.

4.    Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KOs) – The Mexico City wizard recently signed a deal to return to the ring against Pacquiao for a third time. This test will prove to be Marquez’s most difficult by far just because of the weight class. The last time Marquez fought as a welterweight he looked awful slow and not just because he was facing Mayweather. The extra weight seemed to weigh him down. The added weight has not slowed Pacquiao one bit. But if anybody can mount a fight plan against Pacman it’s going to be Marquez. He’s one of the real boxing masters of the sport like B-Hop, Mayweather or James Toney. It looks like Las Vegas will be the location for their third match.

5.    Sergio Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs) – Martinez would love to fight Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao or even Alfredo Angulo. At 36, Martinez seems to be still in his prime and has an incredible workout routine that keeps him in top form. He deserves to be seen in a mega-fight where fans can witness his remarkable boxing abilities. Maybe he’s the next Hopkins?  The big problem is the boxing world still doesn’t know who he is. Only the hardcore fans recognize his talent. Could he beat Mayweather, Pacquiao or Angulo? The boxing world would sure love to see those fights happen.                

6.    Timothy Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs) – The Palm Springs Desert fighter was supposed to fight fellow pound for pound boxer Amir Khan but contract disputes have put the fight in limbo. Too bad. His dominating win over Devon Alexander should have launched him to another plateau but fans will have to wait. Bradley reminds me of a young Sugar Shane Mosley with his speed and aggressiveness. Few other fighters are as committed to winning as Bradley. His willpower is his strength. Complaints about him head butting are always going to be there because he likes fighting inside. He’s shorter than most of his foes so heads are going to collide. It’s a bad rap but can’t be avoided.                

7.    Robert Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs) – Guerrero seems to be the most overlooked in all of pro boxing. The lanky boxer-puncher can do it all and because he’s a southpaw he is even tougher to figure out. Wins over Michael Katsidis, Joel Casamayor, and world titles at featherweight and junior lightweight have shown that the kid from Gilroy, California is a very unique and talented prizefighter. He can easily move up to junior welterweight or welterweight. So far he’s a hidden nugget just waiting to be discovered by the rest of the boxing world. He’s one of boxing’s most dangerous boxers.                     

8.    Nonito Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) – When you see Donaire in street clothes he resembles a young college freshman on his way to class. Inside the ring he’s a terror who dismantles opponents with blinding speed and power. Just ask Mexico’s Fernando Montiel who lasted less than two rounds against the “Filipino Flash.” Donaire is ready to cause havoc once again whether its at bantamweight, junior featherweight or featherweight. He’s something special to watch with his blinding speed and crackerjack punching power. You can’t blink when Donaire is fighting cause you just might miss a knockout.

9.    Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) – Ward is a consummate professional prizefighter who can battle inside as well as outside. His domination over Germany’s Arthur Abraham formed slowly when they met. Once Ward discovered he was the stronger fighter he showed he could stand right in front and punch at will. The Oakland-based boxer is just one step away from winning the Super Six tournament. Next for Ward is an appointment with another reputedly strong super middleweight in Carl Froch of Great Britain. It should be another great showcase for Ward.                 

10.    Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) – Speed merchant Khan made short work of fellow Brit Paul McCloskey last April. Khan was supposed to fight the equally speedy Bradley in July but a promotional contract dispute has forced a change. Now Khan’s promoters Golden Boy are looking for another opponent. Those being mentioned are Erik Morales and Zab Judah. Khan and Marcos Maidana were recently awarded “Fight of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association for their encounter last December. Khan is trained by Freddie Roach and often spars with Pacquiao.               

11.    Giovanni Segura (27-1-1, 23 KOs) – Segura’s devastating knockout of former pound for pound fighter Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon proved that little guys can indeed punch. Segura has plans to move up in weight and win another world title. He’s fearless and fast and is always willing to trade punches as long as he can get his in. Though born and raised in Mexico he makes Southern California his training base. Segura is one of the most exciting prizefighters today and needs a showcase.

12.    Paul Williams (39-2, 27 KOs) – Since losing by cold knockout last November the long limbed Mr. Williams has not returned to the ring. Still, he’s one of the best prizefighters in the world and can still fight in multiple divisions including welterweight or light heavyweight. A tentative bout against Cuba’s Erislandy Lara is scheduled for July. Williams turns 30 this summer.

Honorable mention:

Abner Mares, Wladimir Klitschko, Miguel Cotto, Lucian Bute, Yuri Gamboa, Chad Dawson, Vic Darchinyan, Marco Huck, Humberto Soto

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Chris Arreola (31-2) vs. Kendrick Releford (22-14-2).
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Carlos Molina (14-0) vs. Angel Chacon (30-9-2).
Sat. pay-per-view, Rampage Jackson (31-8) vs. Matt Hamill (10-2).

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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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