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BORGES Mayweather-Ortiz Will Be Little More Than A Gym Fight

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MayweatherMediaDay4Molsey_Blevins_15Maybe Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is smarter than most people think he is, a reality he made obvious this week.

Mayweather not only scooped the world by announcing on his Twitter account his return to the ring after what will have been by fight time a 16-month hiatus but he figures to earn millions on September 17 for something that will be little more than a gym fight.

Certainly newly crowned WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz is younger, bigger and perhaps hungrier. He is a southpaw as well, one who packs considerable punching power and has in recent fights shown a resilience that earlier in his career didn’t seem to be present. But despite all of those attributes the simple fact is he’s a 24-year-old kid who two fights ago fought a draw with Lamont Peterson so how is he going to handle the speed, ring savvy, defensive wizardry and speed of someone who may well be the best fighter in the world?

He isn’t… and Mayweather knows it, yet will prepare for him as if he might, which is one of the things that has made Mayweather a five division world champion and one of the best fighters of his time.

Mayweather has not fought since he dismantled Shane Mosley on May 1, 2010, winning 11 of 12 rounds in ever more lopsided fashion until he had not only beaten Mosley but embarrassed him. Eight months earlier he inflicted even worse damage on one of the best fighters in the world, undersized but formidable Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez has twice taken Manny Pacquiao to the brink of defeat (and many would argue over it) yet looked like he didn’t belong in the same business with Mayweather.

What that all means is that Mayweather has fought only 24 rounds since stopping Ricky Hatton in December, 2007 with two lengthy layoffs. For a fighter whose trade centers on perfect timing, speed and precision that could mean problems but not against someone as raw and wide open to be hit as Ortiz.

Yet Ortiz will be sold as an opponent who is naturally bigger and a dangerous puncher and the world will buy it because underneath all the hype they know what this really is. It’s a showcase for Mayweather, a tune-up against someone who outwardly resembles Pacquiao but will offer none of his skill and only a fraction of his danger.

What he will offer though, is a chance for Mayweather to prepare himself against an aggressive southpaw who punches hard and likes to come forward. Sound like anybody you can think of?

“At this stage of my career these are the challenges I look for,’’ Mayweather tweeted. “Young, strong, rising stars looking to make his mark in boxing by beating me.’’

Mayweather went on to say Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KO) is destined to become “just another casualty, the 42nd one who tried and failed.’’ That’s about as honest an assessment of what is likely to happen as you’re going to get between now and Sept. 17.

To his credit, Ortiz twice got off the deck to dethrone Andre Berto on April 16, answering back both times with knockdowns of his own. By the end he seemed the fresher and more willing participant in what was his breakthrough moment. That’s the good news but if Berto could find the openings to twice drop him what will happen when Mayweather, who is an underrated puncher, unleashes his fast hands on those openings?

What is going to happen is that Ortiz is going to begin being hit by waves of punches, a volume the likes of which he has never seen. If that were all it might be more than enough but Mayweather (41-0, 25 KO) also comes armed with a defense that is all but impregnable. His defense is, in some ways, his offense, frustrating opponents into taking unwise chances and paying dearly for them.

Fighters like Mosley and Marquez, who were vastly more experienced and skilled than young Ortiz, were baffled by that defense and ultimately battered by what comes with it. Will a 24-year-old who struggled with Lamont Peterson have answers they did not?

Do we have to answer that question?

The point of this fight is that it is a master stroke of fistic and financial genius by Mayweather. By taking on Ortiz two months before Pacquiao fights his rubber match with Marquez (draw and split decision for Pac-Man in the first two, both hotly disputed by Marquez and many at ringside), Mayweather will have the opportunity to again showcase his rare combination of skills while picking off another potential Pacquiao opponent.

With the recent détente reached between Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, and Mayweather’s chief negotiator (but not quite promoter), Richard Schaefer and Golden Boy Promotions, this fight seems to finally set the stage for one next May that the world has been craving for – Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.
By then, Mayweather will have given himself a chance to fine tune his skills against an aggressive young southpaw with less skill and speed than Pacquiao but with enough similarities to make it a high paid gym session well worth taking.

Two months later, if history means anything, Pacquiao will square off with a far more complicated opponent in Marquez. Though at a size disadvantage and not quite what he once was, the 37-year-old Marquez has always seemed to be someone who had Pacquiao’s number. If he does again, Pacquiao is still the favorite to win but will he look as good against someone Mayweather destroyed as Mayweather will look against an inexperienced but willingly aggressive Ortiz?

Victor Ortiz will look at this all as an opportunity. At 24, it will be his biggest payday and his biggest fight. What it will also be though is a public sacrifice designed not to advance his career but the cause of making the biggest fight in boxing – Floyd Maywather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao.

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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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