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In New York, Floyd Was Being Floyd, And Now I'm Helping To Keep Him Relevant…WOODS

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MayweatherOrtizNYPC_Hoganphotos1Floyd Mayweather has always looked to me like he could carry of the “Pretty Boy Floyd” nickname. He turns 35 in February, but until recently, he had something of a baby face. He'd summon that high wattage smile, flash the gleaming choppers, his unlined eyes beaming, sending out a message of: Who me, worry?

But looking at Floyd in New York yesterday, at the press conference to hype his Sept. 17 showdown with Victor Ortiz, I saw a man who has aged a couple years in the last year or so. Now, Floyd basically looks his age.

When not beaming, when not animately discussing his showdown against the powerful but somewhat defensively suspect Ortiz, you could see little bags under Floyd's eyes.

I know bags, being the father to two girls, aged 4 and nine months. Sleep deprivation will do that.

I'm not busting on Floyd, not trying to make too much of the matter. Lord knows, with all he's got on his plate, the man is allowed a few more lines on his mug, a few sessions of laying his head on his pillow, worrying if it's all going to come crashing down on him.

I wrote a column for ESPN New York on the presser yesterday (http://es.pn/jUG6tz), and was proud to include some analysis from ace attorney Keith Sullivan, who is a contributor to MSNBC, and Fox News. He puts into sharper detail some of the woes that have weathered Floyd somewhat.

“Currently, Floyd has more legal problems than a boxing gym has gloves,” Sullivan said.

“On the home front, he has a domestic violence charge pending, for the alleged assault on his ex.  This case won't hit the Courts until after the Ortiz fight.  However, he is looking at 4 felony charges.

He also has two pending misdemeanor assault cases involving security guards at his housing complex.  One of the two is scheduled for trial on Sept. 1.  His attorneys are likely to get this matter adjourned until after the fight.

Manny seems poised to score a knockout victory against Floyd in the Federal defamation suit.  Mayweather violated the judges Order to appear for a deposition in mid-June.  Disobeying any judge is never good, but particularly a Federal Judge.  Manny's lawyer will likely seek a default judgment against Floyd.  If the two ever fight, Manny may be able to walk with BOTH purses to satisfy the judgment!

Allegedly, the IRS is also back looking for more outstanding taxes.

Lastly, Las Vegas media is reporting that Floyd is being sued for assault over having allegedly ordered his bodyguards to rough up a fan who asked Floyd why he was ducking Manny.  Criminal charges were not brought.
The most serious legal problem is the felony domestic violence charges.  This case is set for trial 2 weeks before the Ortiz fight.  While Floyd is one of the most focused fighters, mounting legal problems have an impact on a person, especially when jail is a possible outcome.  I suspect his legal team will do everything in their power to show the Court that Floyd is contrite and willing to partake in anger-management programs and community service as punishment.  This case hinges almost entirely on his exes willingness to testify against him.  Doing so, may not be in the best interest of their children's financial future- sadly, for her economics may play a role in deciding if she wants to cooperate.

I'm glad to see Floyd getting back in the ring.  He needs to focus and get stability back in his life.  Hopefully he finds it through boxing.  I also hope he has his lawyers on speed dial as his legal issues seem to grow faster than his bank account.  He can run, slip, duck, bob & weave away from fighters, but the law is said to have a “long-arm” for a reason, it always catches up to you.”

I asked Floyd if that legal stuff distracted him, and he said no, everyone has to go through stuff in life. He switched gears, to blame the media for focusing on the negative stuff. I asked if people target him, as they did Mike Tyson back in the day. “I don't really know,” he said, choosing his words carefully, and then added that there has been one instance of someone who accused him of assault that didn't even get touched.

In NY, Floyd was Floyd. He was his charismatic self, showing all the characteristics that make him a must see entertainer. He bragged, he showed humility, he thanked God, he told us how much he loved his kids–who were with him–and his mom, he praised Ortiz, he told us he didn't accuse Pacquiao of using steroids, and then deftly implied that Manny has used illegal performance enhancers to become a star midway through his career, something Mayweather said just doesn't happen. I had to tip my hat to him, when he thanked guys like me, who often are not fans of his conduct, for keeping him “relevant.”

He said, again, that he would like to fight Manny Pacquiao, if Manny accedes to his demands to testing protocol. That's actually not news, for the record. He then blamed the media for pushing the fight further away, by accusing him of being a coward. “Why the world want to see a coward, someone that's scared fight, me myself personally, I don't  want to see a coward fight,” he said. I call BS on that front; we may have power to push buttons, to influence the conversation, but we darn well don't have the power to make or break Mayweather-Pacquiao. If we do, then I'd say we are underpaid.

Again, this was Floyd being Floyd. At times showing a softer side, making sense, then mixing in material that doesn't pass the sniff test, doesn't meet my definition as being totally logical. He is the most compelling personality in the sport, among the most compelling in all of sports, and I actually appreciate him more and more as the years pass. I think I've come to identify with him more than I used to, I suppose, and often look past the bragging, and see the sadness, the insecurity. Hey, my four year old does silly things, sometimes infuriates me, but I am over-the-moon fond of her….

I asked Floyd why he didn't fight more often; seeing as how he is a compelling character and makes my job easier, I'd like it, and so would has fans. He said it takes a long period of time to build a pay per view fight. I also asked him if he was liking the sport, a couple years after he took time off because he was burnt out. He didn't say he loved or liked boxing, but did say he was entitled to some time off. Fair enough.

Then Floyd said he had nothing bad to say about Bob Arum, a half hour after busting on Bob for his involvement in the 199 IBF/Bob Lee bribery scandal.

Floyd being Floyd. You can either shake your head in disgust, or marvel at the chutzpah.

“I'm older, I'm wiser, the only thing I want is the best for my children, that's all I want, I want the best for my babies,” he told us, and I wanted to believe him.

He talked the talk and walked it in that regard, when he told us he'll be happy to get his just due down the line, when a new batch of writers come on the scene.

In closing: I hope Floyd irons out the legal stuff. I hope he enjoys unity within his family, and is able to bond like he wants to with his kids. I hope we see him fighting more often. He's good for boxing, and as a character, he's entertaining, if sometimes in a semi infuriating way.

FOLLOW WOODS ON TWITTER HERE: http://twitter.com/#!/Woodsy1069

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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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