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Bernard Hopkins vs Teddy Atlas Was The Best Bout On Friday Night Fights

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591Bernard Hopkins made his way through the ESPN car wash today, appearing on just about ESPN show in existence. He capped the day with an appearance on Friday Night Fights, which beamed a signal from the Reno Events Center in Nevada. It turned out that Hopkins' tangle with Teddy Atlas was more compelling than the talents of the supposed upper tier American heavyweights on display.

The Executioner talked about how he was able to become the oldest man to win a title, and said the key was maintenance, watching what he ate 24-7. (I watch what I eat; I watch it go from the plate, to the fork, to my mouth, to my gut. One day, I will secure 20% of Hopkins' discipline in this area and I will be a slimmer, trimmer winner.) Hopkins said that he wasn't posturing when he and Pascal beefed during press conferences, that he truly took umbrage when Pascal accused him of taking PEDs. Hopkins admitted that he looks for psychological advantages when he signs the contract for a bout. The boxer explained that he took shots at Donovan McNabb because he is still the present, not the past like McNabb. He also said he was a bit nervous while he waited for the decision in Montreal last weekend. He explained his pushups before the round began, saying he decided that he'd get into Pascal's head by showing him that he was fresh.

Hopkins chatted with Teddy Atlas, and busted his chops for saying the week before the bout that it was possible that Pascal would stop Hopkins. Atlas didn't let the chopsbust lay; Atlas said Pascal wasn't busy enough, and telegraphed his shots. he then lauded Hopkins as a pros pro, a master of basics.

“At 46, you're taking advantage of what's there or in some cases, what's not there. I think that's very fair to say. Would you agree with that Bernard?” Atlas said.

“No, I don't Teddy. What I agree with is that I have the ability to make a guy fight my fight. That's a part of strategy,” Hopkins answered.

Atlas wouldn't give up. He called Hopkins “terrific” but said Pascal wasn't throwing straight, wasn't using his jab, was only fighting in spots.  Atlas said that guys in this era simply don't measure up, that they don't even master fundamentals.

These two could argue for a month and neither would give ground. This was some compelling TV, for the hardcore fight fan anyway. TSS Universe, you agree with Atlas, or Hopkins, or what? Frankly, sorry for being a Libra, but I agree to a degree with both men. Hopkins is a snake charmer in the ring, and Pascal absolutely cooperated by not working hard enough, not making the 46 year old push his body to the max.

Hopkins said he will fight Chad Dawson in the fall. Hopkins said he looks forward to Dawson having Emanuel Steward in his corner. The vet said he can look mellow but can explode. “I won't understimate him…I know he's going to be better than he was on the undercard,” he said. He laughed when it was pointed out he has some grays in his beard, and said he was against dye-ing.

“I am the Archie Moore of this era,” he said, and then looked at some video of Moore fighting.

Chris Arreola (age 30; from Riverside, CA; now 32-2 ) got the nod in the main event at the Reno Events Center. Weighing in at 236 pounds, tight and trim for him, Arreola met Kendrick Releford (living in Texas; age 29; now 22-16). This was Arreola's second fight in 13 days; he beat Nagy Aguilera KO3 on May 14. He looked sharp, though Releford is usually in catching mode, so that helps anyone look good. Arreola admitted that he liked the trimmer torso, because it helped him with his head movement. Atlas said he likes Arreola at this weight, maybe a couple pounds more or less.

Releford took a knee, off a left uppercut,  in the sixth. He'd eaten a lot of clean shots, and certainly earned his check. His dad was working his corner, for the record. The ref saw enough in the seventh, after a right uppercut-left hook combo landed on a clearly gassed Releford. The end came at 2:43.

In the TV opener, Maurice Harris (24-14-2 entering), age 35,  took on Tony Thompson (35-2; age 39) in a heavyweight eliminator. The winner would get to fight Eddie Chambers, and the winner of that fight would fight a Klitschko. The lefty Thompson kept Mo at bay with a jab, and then got to work in close early on. He scored a knockdown off a right hook which Mo didn't see in the second. In the third, Mo went down again, off a minor right to the chin. This occurred as Teddy Atlas said, “Does he want to stand up, that is the question?” TT clubbed Mo, who went to the deck from fatigue with 1:15 left. He got up, but had the look of a man who didn't want to be in the ring, so the ref stepped in and halted the affair, a TKO,  at 1:51 of the third. Not sure what is going on in Mo's life but his desire wasn't in the room.

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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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