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Klitschko-Haye: Both Fighters Withdrew From The Fight…LOTIERZO

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KlitschkoIbragimov_HOGAN_24This past Saturday night IBF/WBO heavyweight title holder Wladimir Klitschko 56-3 (49) won a 12-round unanimous decision over WBA title holder David Haye 25-2 (23). The fight, as it was stated here on March 14th, was a complete  dud. In the March article I said if the fight goes the distance and lacks action it'll be bantered about and repeated how Klitschko vs. Haye “was more the case of one fighter who can't fight, that being Haye, and the other one who won't fight, Klitschko.”

Well, after watching Wladimir and David halfheartedly attempt to provide for boxing fans who are starving for an action-packed heavyweight title bout, I'd say that perception probably rings true now. Haye's only shot to beat Klitschko was for him to attack and let his hands go. David had to win by punching and fighting, whereas Klitschko could win by either boxing or punching.

It's so obvious, make that painfully obvious, that Wladimir Klitschko enters the ring with one paramount thought, and that's not to get hit or nailed with his opponent's finishing right/left crosses or hooks. And if the opponent has a reputation of being any kind of a big puncher, Wladimir really fights in alert mode.

It was clear to see that David Haye had no intention whatsoever of fighting Wladimir Klitschko. His fight plan, something to which he alluded to after the fight, was to try and feint Klitschko into making a mistake and catch him in between punches. The only problem with that was Wladimir Klitschko doesn't fall for that style or strategy because he's only looking to punch himself when he deems that it's safe. Therefore Haye was never going get the shot on Klitschko that he wanted handed to him. No, what he needed to do was to go out and create the opening and nudge Klitschko out of his comfort zone. He obviously didn't do enough of this to be competitive during the fight.

David Haye probably didn't assert himself enough in at least nine of the 12 rounds the fight went. What he did do with his movement and feints was enough to spook Klitschko away from really pressing the action against him. And because of that I come away from Klitschko-Haye thinking more about what Klitschko should've tried and done during the bout, than what Haye didn't try or do. Sure, as Wladimir said after the fight, it's hard to knock out an opponent who's trying to avoid engaging with you. However, Klitschko didn't attempt to do anything creative or imaginative to bring Haye out of his comfort zone. In fact Wladimir must've forgot about throwing hooks and uppercuts with either hand. Because if he didn't, he sure chose not to throw them. And that's why his trainer Emanuel Steward excoriated him in between rounds a few times as the fight progressed. Then again it makes sense on Klitschko's part because straight lefts and occasional rights are much safer to throw than hooks and uppercuts. See, you have to get close to your opponent to cut loose with tight hooks and uppercuts, which of course put you in position for your opponent to give you a receipt, and Wlad doesn't really relish getting receipts.

In the next few days and weeks Haye will be taken apart by the boxing media, as he probably should be. But let's be honest, Klitschko was in there with a fighter in David Haye who was looking to land a lottery punch and nothing else. This was Wladimir Klitschko's signature fight and he needed to seal it with an exclamation point. Not only didn't he do that, but it's hard to see where he was even trying to fight with a sense of urgency. Sure, a win is a win and he claimed another title, but he's at the point now where he has to make a statement in a big fight if he wants to be remembered after he's retired from professional boxing.

Yes, Klitschko dominated Haye and you could even say that he should get credit for making Haye fight so cautiously. But at the same time Wladimir had a guy in front of him who he should've separated himself from and he didn't. It's clear to all after watching Haye that he's a talented fighter, but he's nowhere close to special or outstanding. Yet Klitschko just kept plodding and inching forward more with the intent of keeping Haye from becoming brave and attempting to raise a little hell, than he was trying to be the boss and seize the fight in a memorable fashion.

Perhaps Wladimir Klitschko is so strong and powerful that he would've broken the will of fighters such as Larry Holmes and Lennox Lewis. No, I doubt that's true, but you get the point. However, until he erases the picture that most fans have in their mind that he'd be in trouble versus a legitimate tough guy with character and marginal talent, he'll never get the benefit of the doubt from the fans and media. And it's doubtful that boxing fans are looking forward to seeing either Wladimir Klitschko or David Haye fight again anytime soon.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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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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