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Welcome to the Jungle, Haye..The Lion is Awake….FOLSTAD

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619818_33_preview Maybe David Haye has this thing figured out. Maybe he knows the perfect words to heckle the one fighter who could define his career if he could find a way to beat him. And that won’t be easy.

It’s like Haye is tweaking a sleeping lion’s whiskers, giving its tail a nasty twist. He‘s daring it to wake up, get to it’s feet and take a swipe at him.

Sure, they might deny it over at the Klitschko camp. They’ll tell you it’s just the mouth that’s roaring, that no one is listening to the silly babble coming from that crazy Haye guy. He’s just trying to break into Wladimir’s head, cause him a little confusion, a sliver of doubt. Stifle some of that hidden swagger that Wladimir seldom reveals.

Among other insults, Haye, who was born in London,  refers to Klitschko as bitchko and said the only time he’ll shake Klitschko’s hand is in when he visits him in the hospital after the fight.

Funny stuff, but it’s easy to understand where Haye gets his material. He’s had two years to work on his delivery. That‘s about how long it’s been since Haye first started pointing fingers at the Klitschkos, demanding satisfaction and then disappearing into the night. Along with t-shirts featuring the decapitated heads of the two brothers, he’s also predicted he’ll stop Wladimir in round 6 of Saturday’s fight at the Hamburg (Germany) Imtech Arena.

Who is this guy?

“(Haye) has made a name for himself through his mouth, not through his fights,” Wladimir recently told a German magazine. “He is a would-be heavyweight boxer who belongs in the cruiserweight division.“

Not exactly a scathing comeback by the Ukrainian. But no one worries about covering their kid’s ears when Wladimir goes on a verbal rampage.

And he has a point. He’s a big heavyweight. Haye, the WBA champ, is a smaller one. And an inexperienced one. His heavyweight career is only five fights old. It’s still just a baby. Most of his knockouts (23 in 25 wins) wins were against cruiserweights.

Klitschko, meanwhile, has had 58 fights against heavyweights and he’s won 49 of them by knockout. The WBO and IBF champ, he’ll be looking for number 50 on Saturday night.

Welcome to the jungle, Haye. The lion is awake.

Saturday’s title fight (HBO) from Hamburg is expected to draw a pretty good crowd to the 55,000-seat soccer stadium. Credit Haye with filling most of the seats. He’s like the bandit who rode his horse through a crowded school yard on his way out of town after robbing the bank and shooting the teller. Now they want to see him hang in the town square. Tickets are going fast. They want to see the bad guy swing. 

On top of that, the Klitschkos are the most popular one-two combination to hit Germany since they started slathering sour kraut on brats. You don’t stomp on the reputation of local legends. You don’t call them names, cut their heads off on a t-shirt and you sure don’t thumb your nose in their general direction.

If nothing else, you figure Haye is having a good time with all this teasing. You almost expect him to give you a sly wink right after he points down and tells Wladimir his shoes are untied.

But when you get past all the name-calling, the taunting and the boasting, you have to come down to earth. Does Haye really have a chance of beating Klitschko?

Klitschko’s trainer, Manny Stewart, would probably tell you the Haye bad-mouthing appears to have rousted Wladimir, set him off a little. He says he’s never seen his heavyweight so “pumped up,“ for a fight.

Still, the goading continues.

For all of Haye’s badgering, he claims Wladimir just doesn’t have the right mindset to be a fighter. He’s just too nice a guy.

“To be a truly successful boxer, you have to be one with violence,“ Haye told the Daily Mail. “Mike Tyson, for instance. He was one with violence. It spilled over into his personal life, but in the ring, you need that tenacity to become great. Whether people like it or not, I must bring that to this fight.”

That and maybe a Louisville Slugger.

Maybe Wladimir doesn’t have that “necessary” violent streak that Haye says you need in the fight game in order to be great. But so far, he hasn’t needed it.

Maybe Wladimir was right when he said “there’s a nice guy in Haye trying to get out.”

Whoever that guy is, he better not show up Saturday night.

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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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