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Sugar Ray Leonard Talks To TSS; Plus, Boxing Chatter



182903Boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard will appear at Pala Casino on Saturday, June 25 to sign autographs at a fight card that takes place that day. Leonard’s autobiography “The Big Fight: My Life in and out of the Ring” was recently released and is available at book stores now.

I spoke to Leonard by phone on Monday morning and as usual the classy former champion had very interesting things to say. Among the topics we discussed were subjects in his book, the 80s and life today.

“It took almost two years to write. It was a kind of an emotional tough journey process. But now that I’m finished and got it out it, it was a very therapeutic and cathartic endeavor if you will,” said Leonard about his autobiography.

The Hall of Fame champion was very honest about his failings and experiences.

“I think the sexual abuse. My actions and behavior as a husband with the first wife, my whole way of thinking as a father, it’s all those things that we take for granted,” said Leonard about his experiences as boxing royalty in his 20s. “You sit back as a grandfather and it bothered me who I was back then.”

“You come from rags to riches, have fame all over the world. There is no book or manual to tell you how to behave with this whole other world. You come from fighting guys on the street to meeting presidents.”

Among those presidents he met were Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Barack Obama. “I played golf with President Bill Clinton,” he told me.

Leonard says he golfs but is not on the same level as other athletes of note.

“My game is not up to par with Oscar’s (De La Hoya) game. He’s a few strokes better than me,” admits Leonard. “I love it. I still work on my game like I did with boxing.”

Most people fail to realize that Leonard made more than $100 million in his career but only had a total of 40 pro fights. That’s a very low number.

“If you really look at my career I didn’t have that many fights. I had defining moments in the ring. I had fights that were major fights from Marvin Hagler, (Roberto) Duran, (Tommy) Hearns, (Wilfred) Benitiz. They were moments in history.

“Most of my guys, they had 80 fights. They had a ton of fights. But because of my injury to the eye, me not wanting to be a fighter any more, I spent a few years away from the sport,” explained Leonard about the detached retina he suffered in the ring.

“Hell I didn’t know what a detached retina was when the doctor told me. They corrected it. I’ve been very lucky and blessed to be in a time to have the finances to pay for the best opthamologist in the world.”

Leonard, who won world titles in the welterweight, junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, said that he maintains a special kinship with all of his former foes despite the fierce battles they endured against each other.

“We talk trash and every now and then we mean it in the ring. Once it’s all over and the years have passed, we’ll embrace or just look at each others talent. You can’t deny that each other had talent,” said Leonard.

Recently, Leonard visited an old foe and he worries about that fighter’s condition.

“The last time I saw Wilfred (Benitez) I was in Puerto Rico and I was promoting boxing. I picked up his mom to ride down with me to see him. It was shocking to see him in that condition,” said Leonard of Puerto Rican great Benitez who is in poor health. “Outside of the ring we still support each other. That’s what’s so beautiful about our sport in particular.”

Leonard lives in Los Angeles and recently was an advisor for a coming motion picture.

“I was a boxing consultant for Hugh Jackman’s new movie “Real Steel” that comes out in October. Working behind the scenes in these movies is great. It was the same with “The Fighter.” I had a great time.”

There is much more, many compelling anecdotes, in Leonard’s autobiography that has just burst on the shelves of bookstores.

If you’d like to meet Leonard in person he’ll be at Pala Casino on Saturday signing autographs and posing for photos. The main event of the fight card is Dashon Johnson (12-4-3) against Bernardo Guereca (16-10-1) in a welterweight 10-rounder. For more information (877) 946-7252.

Other fight chatter

Former WBC junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander (21-1, 13 KOs) fights Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse (28-1, 26 KOs) on Saturday, June 25 in St. Charles, Missouri. Matthysse lost a close decision to Zab Judah in a world title fight though he knocked down the new IBF junior welterweight titleholder. “I’m going to make sure that there is no doubt I will be the winner this time,” said Matthysse, who trains in Oxnard with Sergio Martinez.  

WBO junior featherweight titleholder Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton (8-2-1) is testing the waters of a new weight division against Angel Gladney (6-3-1) on Friday, June 24 in Miami, Florida. Julaton and Gladney agreed to fight in the featherweight division. Julaton’s last fight was a win over Franchesca Alcanter.  

Chevelle “Fists of Steel” Hallback just opened her own gym in Tampa, Florida and will have the grand opening of Fists of Steel Boxing Academy on Tuesday, July 5.  “I am very excited to have my own gym,” said Hallback, a former world champion. “It's a dream come true to have the chance to prepare brand new fighters for the future, as well as encourage kids of all ages to get more involved with fitness.” For more information (813) 270-4375.

France’s Anne Sophie Mathis (23-1, 20 KOs) defends her WBF and WIBA welterweight titles against undefeated fellow Frenchwoman Olivia Boudouma (8-0) today in France. Boudouma fights out of Switzerland.

Prospects Ramon Valadez, Jamie Kavanagh and Ernesto Ocon lead a Golden Boy Promotions fight card today at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles.

Canada’s Jelena Mrdjenovich (24-7) is trying to snap a two fight losing streak and win the vacant WIBA featherweight world title against Irma Adler (12-1) on Friday, June 24. The world title fight takes place in Alberta, Canada. On the same card Brandy Badry fights Monique Duval.

Undefeated heavyweight David Rodriguez (34-0, 32 KOs) of Texas fights Owen “What the Heck” Beck (29-7, 20 KOs) on Friday, June 24 in El Paso. A regional WBC title will be at stake in the heavyweight contest.

WBA middleweight titleholder Felix Sturm (35-2-1, 15 KOs) of Germany defends his title against United Kingdom’s Matthew Macklin (28-2, 19 KOs) on Saturday, June 25 in Cologne, Germany.

Former world champion Fernando Montiel returns to the ring for the first time since losing by brutal knockout to Nonito Donaire. Montiel (44-3-2, 34 KOs) fights Nehomar Cermeno (20-3, 12 KOs) on Saturday, June 25, in Culiacan, Mexico.

WBC lightweight world titleholder Humberto Soto (55-7-2, 32 KOs) defends against Motoki Sasaki (36-8-1, 23 KOs) on Saturday in Cozumel, Mexico. Soto last fought in March in a non-title fight he won over Fidel Munoz in Nayarit, Mexico.

IBF light heavyweight titleholder Tavoris Cloud (22-0, 18 KOs) defends against Yusaf Mack (29-3-2, 17 KOs) and IBF junior middleweight titleholder Cornelius Bundrage (30-4, 18 KOs) defends against Sechew Powell (26-2, 15 KOs) on Saturday in Missouri.

WIBF junior bantamweight world titleholder Nadia Hokmi (18-6-1) beat Julia Sahin (20-3) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds last Saturday in France. It was Hokmi’s first title defense.

Mexico’s popular Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (37-0-1, 27 KOs) successfully won his first world title defense of the WBC junior middleweight belt with a 12th round knockout of United Kingdom’s Ryan Rhodes (45-5, 31 KOs) on Saturday. On the same card undefeated Adrian Broner (21-0, 17 KOs) knocked out Jason Litzau (28-3, 21 KOs) in the first round.   

World champions Giovanni Segura (28-1-1, 24 KOs) and Miguel Vazquez (29-3, 13 KOs) both won non-title fights in Mexico over the weekend. Segura scored a first round knockout of Eddy Zuniga and Vazquez Stopped Marlon Aguilar in two rounds in Toluca, Mexico.

Martin Murray (23-0, 10 KOs) stopped Nick Blackwell (8-1) in the fifth round of a middleweight battle in Lancashire, England on Saturday. Also, Joe Murray remained undefeated with a win by unanimous decision over James Ancliff (11-14-2) in a featherweight bout.

Junior lightweight Melissa St. Vil (2-1-2) beat Evette Collazo (4-2) by unanimous decision on Saturday in Rising Sun, Indiana. St. Vil fights out of New York City and Collazo fights out of Chicago.

Yory Boy Campos (98-15-1, 77 KOs) knocked out Rogelio Medina (26-2, 19 KOs) at the end of the fifth round on Friday in Navajoa, Mexico. Campos is a former welterweight and junior middleweight world champion.

WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovtkin (21-0, 18 KOs) scored a technical knockout over Riverside’s Kassim Ouma (27-8-1, 17 KOs) at 1:57 of round 10. The title fight took place in Panama City, Panama. In another title match Anselmo Moreno (31-1-1, 11 KOs) won the vacant WBA bantamweight title by knockout over Lorenzo Parra (31-3-1, 18 KOs) in round eight.

Karim Mayfield (14-0-1, 9 KOs) stopped former world champion Steve Forbes (35-10) at 1:03 of round 10 in a welterweight bout on Friday in Austin, Texas. On the same card, dangerous Grady Brewer (28-12, 16 KOs) upset another undefeated contender with a fourth round stoppage of Fernando Guerrero (21-1, 16 KOs) in a middleweight clash.


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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