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There's Less of the Lovable Arreola To Love…WOODS



ArreolavsVitali-weigh-in-photoArreola is now acting like a professional athlete, taking care of his temple. Could he take care of Wladimir if they fought?

You have to root for Cris Arreola when you meet the genial, super candid Mexican-American heavyweight in person.

Well, you don't have to, but it's easy to do so. Especially now that he's a trimmer version of himself, and you don't find yourself shaking your head at the potential missed opportunities his eating and training habits have caused.

At the Williams-Lara press conference at the Palm West in NYC Wednesday, Arreola (32-2, with 28 KOs; age 30), who fights journeyman Friday Ahunanya (24-7-3; age 39) on the undercard, Arreola told me he's walking around in the “low 240s, high 230s.”

Pretty solid for a guy who'd creep over over 275 plus in between fights a couple years ago.

So, what sparked the change?

He was sitting at home, staring at the wall and it hit him that his 2010 stunk the joint out. He lost to Tomasz Adamek, and then went the distance with Manny Quezada. This came after a cruddy September 2009, when he got battered by Vitali Klitschko. “I realized it was all my fault,” he admitted. He knew he should have blasted out Quezada in three or four rounds, so he got serious.

No more late night taco and brewski binges for the Californian. He still had and has urges, but gulps waters like a camel in the desert instead of indulging.

He tuned in to the Klitschko-Haye fight, he said, and found it “kind of embarrassing,” he said. He chose not to smack Haye brutally for his toe excuse, telling me that he hurt a pinky badly before a bout, but still fought on. But, he said, “I'm not a mover like Haye. I'm not going to degrade Haye, but a toe injury doesn't affect your hands.”

So he's looking to stay active, stay in good shape in between bouts, and would like to fight Wladimir in the US by the end of the year. He said that he thinks of the two brothers, Vitali has the bigger cajones, and hits harder. “He throws thudding, hard punches. I sparred Wladimir after I had three fights, and his punches were crisp, with a lot of zip.”

If and when he and Wlad meet, getting inside will be key. He says he tried like the dickens to do that against Vitali, but couldn't. Now, he's been working on more head and body movement to help in that department. Footwork, and a strong jab are also keys to success, he said.

Arreola got off a good line during the presser. He told all he's watching his weight. “I'm watching food instead of eating it,” he joked.

HBO will show highlights of the Arreola-Ahunanya fight on Saturday.

As I said, it is easy to root for Arreola. The partisan side of me would like him to down Vitali, as I think the game could use some fresh air.

Major props to Chris for getting his habits under control, of course, but I wonder if he has grown enough technically to have much more luck against Wlad than he did Vitali. Remember, Arreola was active for a heavy guy. It's not like he started huffing and puffing and crumbling after three rounds.

Me, I'd counsel all who fight Wladmir to go back to the Corrie Sanders tape, and study it.

Rush him. Bully him. Flurry his face off. Fire all your guns and explode into his space. Go like a madman for a single round, and then let the chips fall. Because he will dissect you from a distance over the course of twelve rounds.

Tear into him like one of those tacos you used to inhale, Chris.

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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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