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Devon Alexander Can Redeem Himself, or Slide Further Down the 140 Ladder…BORGES



BradleyAlexander_Waters5That cut opened, and questions about Alexander's heart poured forth. Will he redeem himself against Matthysse, or did fight fans see the real Devon against Bradley? (Hogan)

Everything in the Internet Age is about instant glorification, instant gratification or instant dramatization. Boxing has become no different.

News is old before it’s even been verified. Video is shown before authenticated or anyone understands its context. Celebrities rise and fall in an instant and so do careers. Boxing is not immune to any of that.

Yet just as the ascension of Devon Alexander to “Alexander the Great’’ proved premature so, perhaps, have been the hints at his slide into irrelevance since losing badly to Timothy Bradley six months ago in a much anticipated junior welterweight unification fight.

Alexander seemed to lose steam and then heart that cold night in January at the Pontiac Silverdome in ways that did not enhance his reputation. As Bradley established his dominance and his relentlessness, Alexander grew daunted for the first time in his career, eventually seeming to shrink into himself before acquiescing without a fight when referee Frank Garza and ring physician Dr. Peter Samet stopped the match after an inadvertent head butt in the 10th round opened a gash above Alexander’s right eye that seemed far from life threatening.

Once there was a time in boxing where one bad night would not condemn you instantly to the dust bin but that was before YouTube, Facebook, Groupon and LinkedIn. It was before fighters were crowned the next great (fill in the blank) before they’d learned their trade or dismissed as a fraud because of one desultory performance.

Certainly Alexander, his trainer Kevin Cunningham and his promoter Don King all had to be sorely disappointed in the way he looked against Bradley but the fact is up until that night he’d been a bundle of speed and control, a package that had left him undefeated and skilled enough to be considered one of the three or four top 140 pounders in the world.

Perhaps that all dissolved in the face of Bradley’s superior will and skill but Saturday night Alexander and Alexander alone will determine the steepness of his fall. In his first fight since Bradley broke him, he will take on a fair test in heavy handed Lucas Matthysse, whose only loss was by split decision to Zab Judah last November in a title eliminator.

If Alexander (21-1, 13 KO) is to re-establish himself this would be the fight to do it. Matthysse (28-1, 26 KO) is a guy who will pressure him, desperately trying to rekindle inside him the doubts that grew during the Bradley fight.

If Alexander can stand up to that and use his speed, defensive skill and ring generalship to control spacing, the terms of engagement and, ultimately, Matthysse, he will have gone a long way to quickly re-establishing himself as a guy who belongs in the discussion when names like Bradley, Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana and Judah come up. A strong performance on Saturday would call into question that one bad night against Bradley just as quickly as that night called into question all the promise he’d shown up until that point.

“No one likes to lose,’’ Alexander said of his first defeat. “I was upset for about a couple of weeks but my coach was talking to me and it wasn’t like it was the end of the world.

“It’s not like Bradley dominated the fight (I beg to differ there). It was something I didn’t do. I didn’t follow the game plan.’’

After a while he also didn’t fight, which is where the doubters stepped in. What bodes well for Alexander against Matthysse is that the former champion has not turned to the old saws. He hasn’t claimed he over trained. He didn’t fire Cunningham as if it was his fault. Most important, he didn’t take a year off to lick his wounds.

Instead, Alexander accepted his culpability and demanded to get back to work to right his reputation, knowing the only way to do it was to face another of the division’s most dangerous practitioners.

“It was all me,’’ Alexander said of the loss. “Bradley didn’t do anything we didn’t prepare for in camp.

“I definitely learned from that. That fight taught me what I had to do, what I needed to do, in any circumstance. I listened to the crowd and did what they wanted me to do, which is just go out there and fight. That’s not how I do it.

“I didn’t do what I was supposed to do and you saw the result of that. Whoever saw the fight saw that Bradley wasn’t better than me that night. It was all me and what I didn’t do. We had the perfect game plan and we threw it all away in one night and that’s not good. That’s why we’re taking on a tough guy like Matthysse because the Bradley fight didn’t take anything away from me.’’

Actually it did. It took away his aura of dominance and it called into question whether all he had done before was simply a mirage erased by the hard-edged reality of Timothy Bradley in his face.

That’s why Alexander is right about the meaning of stepping right back in on HBO against Matthysse, who would be in any legitimate top 10 ratings for the division. What it means is he is willing to test himself harshly to prove his lone loss came on a bad night and nothing more.

Yet he also understands that in today’s world you can disappear faster than you ever appeared, so while one bad night can very likely be written off, two would be intolerable.

“At this point in my career every fight means everything,’’ Alexander said. “I have to stay focused no matter how high the stakes are or how low the stakes are. We know what we have in front of us.’’

Unlike in the build up to past fights, Cunningham has not downplayed Matthysse’s danger, a mistake he made against Bradley. Whether that led his fighter into a false sense of security is unknown but this time, like Alexander himself, Cunningham is taking no such chances.

“I call him Lucas “The Beast’’ Matthysse,’’ Cunningham said. “He’s got the highest knockout percentage in the division and that makes him the biggest puncher in the division.

“This fight is a lot more dangerous than the Tim Bradley fight. Devon has to be on his game. He has to be focused. If you want to claim you are the best in your division these are the type of fights you have to take on.

“If I thought Devon wasn’t the real deal and exactly who we say he is then I would think about taking a couple steps back and find a soft touch. But Devon is clearly one of the best fighters in the division so we don’t need to look for a soft opponent.’’

That Devon Alexander agreed was the first step back from the brink of extinction. What he does now will have less to do with Matthysse frankly than with himself. It is a fact Alexander seemed well aware of as the clock ticked down toward Saturday night.

“I want to beat him convincingly,’’ Alexander said. “Not just go in there and it be an OK fight. I want to say ‘OK, I lost the Bradley fight but now I’m back on top.’ I want to be one of the best in the division.

“People want to criticize everything you do. People criticize Pacquiao, Mayweather, Obama, everyone that is at the top of their game. It’s part of the territory.

“I knew there was going to be criticism. I stayed away from it, just blocked it all out. I know what I’m capable of doing in the ring and it only motivated me to get back to the gym and get back on top. Just like our T-shirts say, ‘R-E-D-E-M-P-T-I-O-N’ is going to happen on Saturday night.”

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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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