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DEVON ALEXANDER: “Now I'm Ready To Rock 'n Roll”

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RETURN_TO_GREATNESSYou get the feeling this fight isn’t all about title belts.

It isn’t about paydays, hometown heroes, bragging rights or pound-for-pound lists. To Devon Alexander, this fight is about proving something to himself. And maybe proving it to anyone else who doesn‘t believe in him.

Since that nightmare loss back in January against Timothy Bradley, it seems like Alexander has been banished from the lofty list of top junior-welterweights in the world. You start talking about the best fighters in the division and Devon’s name doesn’t pop up quite as soon as he’d like it to. It’s not lonely at the top. It’s lonely when you’re not there anymore.

“Nobody likes to lose,” Alexander (21-1, 13 KOs) said on a conference call promoting his “comeback” fight with Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse (28-1, 26 KOs) on June 25 at the Family Arena in St. Charles Missouri (HBO). “I was upset for a couple weeks, but it’s not like it was the end of the world. It’s not like Bradley dominated the fight. It was something I didn’t do. Bradley didn’t do anything we didn’t expect him to do. It was all me.”

Well, it was a little bit of Bradley. He won on a technical decision in the tenth after another accidental clash of heads.

Expectations were sky high for the fight, but it never lived up to its top billing. It was more of a snoozer than an eye-opener, and it left Alexander standing out in the cold looking in, knowing he belonged inside.

And that’s what this fight with Matthysse is really about. It‘s a chance for Alexander to show that the fiasco in January was just a fluke, an anomaly, a lousy day at work.

We all have them.

“It was just one of those nights where you go in there and do what you want to do as opposed to what your (game) plan was,” Alexander said. “You listen to the crowd and start doing what the crowd wants you to do. That’s not how you do it. You’ve been following a game plan all through training camp and you had a perfect game plan and you throw it away in one night. I know I’m way better than Bradley. But I let it slip out of my hands.”

So Alexander is looking for a little redemption, a second chance, an opportunity to prove he’s among the top junior-welterweights in the world.

But the thing about redemption is that it requires a letdown, a mistake, something bad happening. You can’t have redemption without first having disappointment.

After his loss to Bradley, Alexander said he was reminded that Sugar Ray Leonard lost his first fight with Roberto Duran, but later came back and knocked him out in a rematch.

“There’s motivation,” he said.

But there were still hard questions about his poor performance.

“When you don’t go out and do what you’re capable of doing, and you come up short, you’re going to get criticized,” said Alexander’s trainer, Kevin Cunningham. “I accept the criticism and he accepts the criticism. We accept full responsibility for coming up short in a great opportunity that was before us. But I’m telling you, we won’t come up short on June 25 and I believe this fight is going to be a lot tougher fight than the Bradley fight.”

They didn’t exactly pick a tomato can for Alexander’s planned trip back to top contention. Matthysse has 26 knockouts in his 28 wins, his only set back coming last November when he lost a close, split decision to Zab Judah, who was knocked down by Matthysse in the later rounds.

“If I didn’t think Devon was the real deal – wasn’t exactly who we say he is – I would have taken steps to go find him a soft touch and start all over again,” Cunningham said. “But Devon is clearly one of the best fighters in the 140-pound division, so there is no need to find him a soft opponent.”

They didn’t.

“As far as the Bradley fight goes, yeah, Devon didn’t perform up to his capabilities and Bradley got the win, which he deserved,” Cunningham said. “But if you look at the fight, it’s nip-and-tuck and my guy is doing nothing that he’s capable of doing, but it‘s still a close fight with the No. 1 guy in the division. So there is no reason to step back. That’s why we’re taking on one of the strongest guys in the division.”

Alexander claims he’s put the loss to Bradley behind him.

“I use it as a learning lesson,” he said. “And now I’m ready to rock and roll.”

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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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