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Where Is The Buzz For Klitschko-Haye?….WOODS

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klitschkohayevq8We are a scant 11 days away from what some have said is the most meaningful, most anticipated fight in the heavyweight division since Lennox Lewis took on the shell of Mike Tyson,  on June 8, 2002 in Memphis. And I have to say, the lack of buzz surrounding the Wladimir Klitschko-David Haye fight leaves me downright bewildered.

Where is the hype? Where is the promotion? Who's banging the drums for this?

It's not like this one is a dud being foisted on the paying public. There is genuine animosity between these two hitters, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why there is a ho-hummmedness associated with Klitschko-Haye.

If you had told me, back in the spring of 2009, after we saw Haye (25-1 with 23 KOs; age 30) get hypodermic needle-deep under the Klitschko skin, when he wore a t-shirt with a rendering of himself holding the severed heads of the Brothers K, that when Haye and Wladimir (55-3 with 49 KOs; age 35) hooked up there'd be this little electricity, I'd have scoffed.

Off the top of my head, a couple reasons stand out to explain the buzz-less-ness.

1) The fight will run in the States on HBO. HBO pays their fee, they get the rights to show the fight, done deal. They would like a nice rating for the show but since there's no pay per view, there is no overly resonant reason for HBO to put their full-on marketing push into the clash.

2) Perhaps ticket sales are trending so well for the tussle at Imtech arena in Hamburg that the promoters, the Klitschko brothers' K2, and Haye's promotional arm, don't see a need to prime the pump. That's nice for them, but what about growing the sport?

3) This event needs and Arum  or a King. You've all heard this before, most often from Arum himself, who decries the lack of promotional skills in this current generation of promoters. I have to agree with him; why haven't Klitschko and Haye done at least a mini tour in the US, of New York and California? If the guaranteed money is so immense that they don't need to, well, why not just do that because it's the right thing to do, for the future? Don't both men want the maximum number of eyeballs on them to see them do their thing?

Now, the ball has not been totally dropped. Max Kellerman again did a nice job on his “Face Off,” which put Wlad and Haye in chairs two feet apart, and allowed fight fans to assess the two men's countenance a month away from their clash. The affair got off to a compelling start when Haye refused to play nice from the get go, as he refused to shake Wlad's hand.

“I sense genuine animosity between you to,” Max said. “Why do you dislike David Haye?” Wlad said Haye talks too much, that he's a “wannabe.”

“He talked himself into the fight,” said Wlad, giving props, before he busted on Haye for pulling out of their planned June 20, 2009 fight.

Haye was asked why he hates Klitschko. “Clearly, he's a d—head,” he answered.

Haye promised to knock Wlad out, as Wlad sat, seething, but maintaining a veneer of cool.

Haye was asked about being labeled a liar for pulling out with an injury and then not furnishing documentation. He said he thinks it gives Wlad comfort to believe he is scared.

Max said that this fight is the richest fight in boxing now, apart from Mayweather-Pacquiao, which bolsters my case, and heightens my puzzlement as to why we aren't hearing more about the fight.

Wlad said Haye crossed the line with his decapitated heads t-shirt, while Haye said he wanted both the brothers' heads, and that he will have them. Wlad didn't flinch an inch as he fastened his magnetized gaze on Haye. You have to think Manny Steward was liking Wlad's intensity.

Interestingly, Haye felt the need to comment on the mood. He couldn't simply stay fixed in that atmosphere, as he promised a stellar fight, said he could feel the tension, and that he thought Wlad might punch him then and there, and that he might need to duck.

Both men predicted a KO win. Wlad then said, “He needs to be taught how to behave himself and that's exactly what I'm going to do…I hope I will see him in person, in the ring on July second,” a reference to a fear I harbor, that Haye will pull out with an injury, or an “injury.”

To end the session, Haye again refused a handshake.

There's no good reason I know of the energy, the tension, the promise of controlled violence that was in that room hasn't been presented to more fight fans, semi fans and potential fans out and about.

Hey, K2, Hayemaker Promotions,  there's still time…not to be flippant, but maybe y'all should call up Arum or King, and cut them in for a taste, and get a hand in promoting this fight in proper fashion in the home stretch.

SPEEDBAG The brown leather jacket Wlad was wearing in Face Off was I believe the selfsame one Richie Aprile took off Rocco DeMaio and then gave to Tony Soprano, the one Tony then gave to his cleaning lady's hubby.

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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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