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Zbik vs Chavez : “A” Level Fighters or “B” Level Title?



Zbik_Chavez_Jr_weighin_110603_003aJune 3, 2011, Los Angeles, Ca. —   (L-R) Unbeaten WBC Middleweight Champion Sebastian Zbik of Germany and #1 contender Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Culiacan, Mexico pose during the weighin (Zbik 158.8 lb, Chavez Jr 160 lb) at Staples Center in Los Angeles for their upcoming WBC World Middleweight title fight.  Zbik vs Chavez Jr. is promoted by Top Rank in association with Zanfer Promotions, Universum Media Network, Tecate and Staples Center and will take place on Saturday, June 4 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and be televised on HBO Boxing After Dark.   — photo by Chris Farina

NOW OR NEVER – If Sebastian Zbik had achieved his initial goal for this summer, his upcoming opponent would be consensus world champion Sergio Martinez, not Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.

Zbik, who came in for the Chavez fight at 158 3/4, deserves credit for trying to prove himself against the best potential foe, just like his German countryman Sergi Dzinziruk did in previously coming to the States for better competition; though Dzinziruk eventually got creamed by Martinez last March.

Rumbling reality indicates very strongly that the 29 year old Zbik, 30-0 (10), faces a similarly disappointing disaster should he get his wish to face Martinez.   

That's not necessarily the case at all against Chavez, 42-0 (30), as Zbik prepares to defend the WBC belt upgraded from previous alphabet “interim” status without having a fight.

If this now is Zbik's trial by fire, at least it's not the most major blaze. The same can be said from conservatively promoted but excellently marketed Chavez's corner, where they are not attempting to wrest a crown from a proven champion.

Zbik is well respected in Germany, but the Chavez name carries weight even along the Rhein and Junior gets the benefit of unseen doubt as a seemingly slight favorite. 

Zbik and Chavez have each compiled undefeated records against standard tutorial type opposition. Neither has beaten a foe in the legitimate top 10 to 15 range. Chavez's resume of usual Southwestern suspects is less suspect that Zbik's list of European pugs.

Now is time to step up to the big league leather for both.  

Having seen Zbik  fight a couple of times in Western Germany during '08 – '09 and Chavez Jr. on a few occasions during his early Vegas grooming I would lean toward Zbik winning a mechanical, sloppy decision.

Considering the Fred Roach factor and Chavez Jr's maturing, I 'd pick 25 year old Chavez winning a mechanical, sloppy decision.

Considering that this is Zbik's first fight outside the European region, in Staples Center where a noisy crowd should erupt at the strains of anything Maraichi-like, it's not any Pacific Coast Highway stretch to envision Chavez scoring a stoppage over a too tentative Zbik.

If Chavez does indeed roar out and break Zbik down by reaching around with well schooled hooks that crumple the too inflexible titlist, Top Rank's PR ace Lee Samuels could have a field day with side-by-side father son body shot images.    

Zbik will probably throw more punches in the first couple of rounds. What happens during the 3rd an 4th, after Chavez and Roach have a chance to adjust; could determine the fight. 

If Chavez does get the win, the biggest immediate question becomes how much more he might be protected. Don't count on ever seeing him against Martinez. 

For Zbik, a slight underdog in this affair overall, the horizon could soon hold a much bigger payday and a higher international profile than Zbik has yet experienced.

Win or lose, depending on his showing; Zbik might still get his previously attempted match-up with Kelly Pavlik. If he beats Chavez impressively he could even see Martinez across the ring this year after all.

At this point though,without more of a punch, realistic odds against proven, elite fighters remain against Zbik even if he stops Chavez, which is unlikely. For Zbik, a big win at Staples would quite likely be the highlight of his campaign unless he beats somebody like Arthur Abraham back home in Germany. Zbik appears to have just about reached his peak potential, and we'll soon find out if that's enough to keep a belt.

On the other gloved hand, Chavez will probably continue to improve win or lose. Again, the Roach factor. 

For many observers on either side of the ocean, Chavez or Zbik have yet to display a level of prowess which even indicates they could be competitive against a fighter like Martinez even if they fought as a tag team.

Still, the amount of dismissive diatribes againt either fighter are excessive. There's no doubt that both men have put in the training hours and absorbed the pounding it takes to reach headlining status in a high-profile bout, whether the bout sizzles or fizzles.

Few fight observers believe either boxer is the best, or even near the best boxers at 160 pounds. Its no certainty that Zbik or Chavez could top undefeated junior midleweight Vanes Martirosyan, who meets gamely travelled Saul Roman on the undercard. 

At least Saturday night in LA is a real shot for both Zbik and Chavez to prove themselves.

Thats all either one have been asking for.

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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.



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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.


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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


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