Connect with us


Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans: Black-on-Black conflict



Jon_Jones_being_interviewed_by_Dave_Mair_at_MMA_LiveJon Jones being interviewed by Dave Mair at MMA Live.

What started with the opportunity of a lifetime—the promise of a long-awaited and much-deserved title shot has turned into a bush league feud between former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

The deeper issue that lit the fuse started with the idea that Jon Jones had betrayed Rashad Evans by agreeing to face his former teammate after Jones won the title from Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua at UFC 128 in New Jersey.

Put on the spot at UFC 128 by commentator Joe Rogan during the post-fight interview, Jones had this to say about facing Evans: “You know, we are teammates and it sucks that I have to do this, but this is my dream and everything I believe in. And I know that God wouldn't bring me this far to leave me, so I’ve got to do exactly what I’ve got to do.”

Perhaps Jones was coerced into this position by unseen currents—the UFC brass has been adamant about encouraging teammates to face-off for years. Some correlate MMA drama to ratings and viewer interest; others view the sowing of conflict between friends as a clever way to divide and conquer MMA fighters contractually.

The end result has been Rashad Evans leaving longtime trainer Greg Jackson. For his part, Jackson bowed out of cornering either fighter—but Evans felt that as the senior member of Team Jackson, he was entitled to his coach’s support.

Last week, Jon Jones explained to me that Greg Jackson didn’t take a cent from his professional fighters for coaching services rendered.

“He just says, ‘Pay me what you feel you have to pay me,’” said Jones while making a promotional appearance at ‘MMA Live’ in London, Ontario.

Jackson’s altruism might make sense for the myriad of MMA fighters who live from fight purse to fight purse with zero passive income or a day job to support them, but his desire to please everyone is directly responsible for the current predicament between Evans and Jones.  

“You can't say you are not going to have anything to do with it when you are a big part of the reason why the situation originated,” Evans said in an interview with of Greg Jackson’s refusal to take sides.

As for Jon Jones, the weight of holding the 205 lb strap meant he needed the absolute best people to lean on. Distractions in training, combined with incidental injuries and the cloud of self-doubt can be fatal to any fighter—no matter what physical gifts they possess.

“Who knows what would have happened if I had decided to go somewhere else,” said Jones, “Jackson’s seemed like the place for me.”

Citing a hand injury, Jon Jones pulled out of his tentative bout at UFC 133 with number one contender Rashad Evans. Rising American Kickboxing Academy star Phil Davis stepped in for Jones, creating yet another sticky situation, as Evans would be risking his title shot against a dangerous undefeated opponent in Davis.

The drama continued to build, thanks to a nightclub altercation, as well as a series of back-and-forth text messages between Evans and Jones. The upshot of all these events is yet to be revealed, as Jones’ most likely next opponent will be either Lyoto Machida or Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, pending this weekend’s bout between Jackson and Matt Hamill at UFC 130.

What most people agree on with the benefit of hindsight is that it was a mistake for this conflict to spill out into the public sphere. The arguments made both parties look bad, and the dispute could have been handled differently from the start. With multiple trainers and camps affiliated with Greg Jackson’s team—some sort of mutually beneficial arrangement could have been agreed upon in private, just as Matt Serra insisted his coach Renzo Gracie have nothing to do with training Georges St-Pierre before the GSP-Serra rematch in 2008.

It’s going to be difficult going forward for Rashad Evans, who sat out for over a year since beating Quinton Jackson in May of 2010 in order to guarantee his place in line to face an injured Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. Ironically, when Evans injured his knee in practice, Jon Jones then stepped in and snapped up the belt.

As for Jones, the accolades bestowed upon him for smashing Shogun Rua so convincingly have turned into criticism for allegedly ducking Evans. In the end, people may not remember who started the feud, but they will remember who comes out on top if Jon Jones and Rashad Evans meet in the near future.

Watch this video of D'Souza interviewing Jones.

Brian J. D’Souza is a Canadian writer who has covered Mixed Martial Arts for, and FIGHT! magazine.


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.



Continue Reading


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.


Continue Reading


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


Continue Reading