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Did Cornerman, And/Or Commission Drop The Ball In Mosley 'No Mas' Situation?

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PacquiaoMosley_Hogan_8The bookmakers back in England make Carl Froch a 4-1 favorite to retain his WBC title and, more importantly, move into the final of Showtime’s World Boxing Classic when he meets 42 year-old Glen Johnson in the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall Saturday night.

He probably will, but if we’d put our money where our mouth was every time Glencoffe didn’t have a chance over the last ten years, we’d have been broke ten times over, so we won’t be tempted to reach into the pocket for this one, either.

At the same time, all logic argues in favor of Froch (27-1) having his way and moving into the Super Six Grand Finale against unbeaten (24-0) WBA champ Andre Ward, if for no other reason than that he, alone among the eight participants (the original dirty half-dozen plus two subs acquired along the way), appears to have actually improved his game as the tournament progressed.

Froch dramatically announced his presence on these shores in April of 2009 with his last-minute knockout of Jermain Taylor at Foxwoods. (While it was a fight that matched two Super Six participants, Froch-Taylor actually preceded the announcement of the Classic by several months, and was not part of the tournament proper.)

But until he separated Taylor from his senses with less than half a minute to go, Froch had looked awkward and amateurish for the better part of the evening. Taylor had floored him in the third round, and built up such a commanding lead that he could literally have lost only by a knockout.

In his next two Super Six bouts, Froch defended his title with a split decision over American Andre Dirrell in Nottingham, lost a hometown decision to Mikkel Kessler in Denmark, and then utterly dominated Arthur Abraham, the onetime tournament favorite, barely losing a round (if he lost one at all) in Finland back in November to earn his No. 2 seed in the semifinal.

Not only has Froch improved with every bout over the raw, unpolished fighter who pulled the rabbit out of the hat in the Taylor fight, but he’s done it from an underdog’s role against what turned out to be the tournament’s toughest draw. In fact, since the beginning of 2004, Froch’s list of opponents – Jean Pascal, Taylor, Dirrell, Kessler, Abraham, and now Johnson – looks like a veritable murderers’ row alongside anyone else’s.

Johnson (51-14-2) got into this position on the basis of one Super Six fight – a knockout of Allan Green, who wangled his way into the tournament as a substitute for the injured Kessler and then didn’t win a single fight. And Ward captured his half of the draw by beating Kessler, Green, and what was left of Abraham.

“I’d agree that Froch has looked much better as the tournament has gone on, said Leon Margules, who promotes Johnson in conjunction with Lou DiBella. “But this has been such a diverse field with contrasting styles that it’s hard to know whether that’s part of a pattern.

“Many would have agreed that Taylor was the most talented boxer of the bunch, so it isn’t surprising that he seemed to handle Froch so easily in that fight. And, as Froch and then Abraham demonstrated, he had stamina problems and chin problems. The Dirrell fight I’m not sure Froch even won, and I thought Kessler pretty clearly beat him. Yes, Froch looked masterful against Abraham, but then Abraham turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the whole tournament.”

Indeed, following his knockout of Taylor, the World Boxing Classic was Abraham’s to lose, and he did just that, losing his next three tournament bouts on the trot.

“I think you have to wait until after this fight to make any meaningful evaluation of Froch,” said Margules. “He won’t be fighting Arthur Abraham this time. Glen could give him a world of problems he’s never even dreamed of.”  

At the prefight press conference in New York Wednesday, Froch and Johnson were respectful and cordial, but Glencoffe’s trainer Orlando Cuellar sucked half the oxygen out of the room with some long-winded woofing on Johnson’s behalf. Froch termed Cuellar “absolutely delusional.

“Not only is his fighter not going to win the fight, he’s not going to win a round,” predicted the Englishman. “He’s not going to win a single minute of any round. Write that down, would you?”

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Although the main event isn’t scheduled until 10, Showtime planned to go on the air at 9 o’clock, preceding the live Super Six semi with a tape-delayed broadcast of Kessler’s [non-tournament] fight against Mehdi Bouadla from Copenhagen.

A few days ago the kickoff was moved up to 8:45 pm – to make room for a special episode of “Fight Camp 360: Pacquiao vs. Mosley.”

Now, you might wonder about the programming wisdom of running an extra episode of a one-sided fight that occurred more than a month ago, but that, it turns out, is only one of many questions that need to be asked in light of what Showtime itself calls a “shocking” revelation.

On Wednesday, Showtime’s publicists leaked to the media a 30-second preview of the Pacquiao-Mosley footage that will air Saturday night, revealing that, on his stool just before the 10th round, Mosley pleaded with trainer Naazim Richardson “You’ve got to stop the fight. I can’t move.”

Richardson, crouched in front of Mosley, ignores the fighter’s plea and basically tells him to suck it up.

“Shane, you got to get down and find it,” Naz tells him.

Okay, it didn’t materially affect the outcome, since Mosley went on to lose the eleventh and twelfth, just as he had the first 10 rounds. But what if he’d been seriously hurt in those last three minutes? Would we still have waited four weeks to find out he wanted to quit before the last round?

Naazim Richardson isn’t the only one who should be called into question here. The footage also shows a Nevada State Athletic Commission inspector perched just over the trainer’s shoulder, intently listening to every word of the exchange.

Once it became apparent that the trainer was going to ignore his fighter’s wishes, shouldn’t the inspector have been ethically bound to call it to the attention of either the ringside physician or his immediate superiors?

If Showtime will find itself answering some uncomfortable questions about its handling of the “shocking” (their word, not ours) scene, what about its partner in the much-ballyhooed arrangement with CBS, which was supposed to get first crack at airing the Fight Camp 360 episodes for that fight?

Who knew what, and when? Was CBS a participant in thee decision to suppress the footage for a month?

Have a look and judge for yourself:

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*    *   *

As for the other question fight fans have been asking about Saturday’s telecast – given her past performances, will Showtime again put a mike on Froch’s fiancée Rachael Cordingely? – we’ve got news for you: They’ve never miked her before.

While the network has during several of Froch’s fights used its cameras to zoom in for “Honey shots” of the comely Ms. Cordingely, those blood-curdling shrieks just happen to be her natural decibel level, picked up by Showtime’s ringside microphones.

The pity is that Jermain Taylor didn’t last long enough in the tournament for him and Froch to meet in Little Rock. Rachael’s mantra sounds so much like the Arkansas “Woo! Pig! Sooey!” cheer that the locals would have been wondering which guy she was rooting for.

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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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