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Paul Williams Gets Decision Over Erislandy Lara in AC…WOODS

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williams-laraThe little guy, it looked to us, won the fight. The judges thought otherwise. Maybe their glasses were fogged? Follow Woods on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/Woodsy1069

His trainer George Peterson had been mightily dismissive when the questions were posed to Paul Williams leading up to his main event scrap against Erislandy Lara which unfolded at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Saturday night. Are you what you were? Will there be a lasting effect from that vicious one-punch KO at the hands of Sergio Martinez last year?

Peterson did not, at least to the press, admit that there was any cause for alarm, or even cause for a query, along the lines of: did Martinez take something away from Long Tall Paul that he could not get back. It turns out there was cause to ask the questions, and it appears they were answered, to the detriment of Williams' career. Underdog Lara, undersized, looking like he was two weight classes lighter than Williams, hit LTP time and again with an overhand left, and used his feet to get angles while he whacked away at the bigger but diminished man. After twelve rounds, the main question in one's mind was: will Williams fight again? The outcome wasn't in doubt, not to me anyway… but the judges didn't agree. They gave Williams the edge, by scores of 114-114, from Al Bennett, 115-114-Hilton Whittaker II, and 116-114-Don Givens.

Remember, this is the theater of the unexpected, and much of the time, the unexpected comes via wacky scorecards. Lara had the edge in punches landed in the stat war, 178-383, but the judges liked the busier guy, Williams, who went 161-766.

After, Max Kellerman told LTP that Peterson told him he needed a KO to win late in the fight, and asked him to explain the decision. “That was motivation,” the fighter said. Do you believe you won, he was asked. “Of course I believe I won,” he said. LTP said he wants Martinez before he bows out. He said he was being “lazy” and that is why he was getting hit with the left hand. Lara told Max he knew he won, and he wants a rematch with LTP. The “loser” said he was able to land the left because he practiced the left with trainer Ronnie Shields. Kellerman said aloud he considers Lara the winner.

Williams (age 29; 153 1/2, 170 on fight night; 39-2 with 27 KOs entering; from Georgia; 6-2 ) lives in South Carolina, while Lara (from Cuba; age 28; 153 pounds, to 160 on fight night; 15-0-1 with 10 KOs entering; 5-9) resides in Florida.

In the first round of the HBO Boxing After Dark show, we saw Williams' heavy weight advantage. He looked a full head-plus taller than the Cuban. Lara tackled Williams, who fell on his butt 1:30 in. Lara found Williams with a straight left shortly after. Of the two lefties, it looked like Lara had the quicker hands early.

In the second, Williams started being first more. He imposed his size advantage, but Lara didn't shrink and hide. He knocked Williams back, with a jab follow,  at the 1:20 mark. George Peterson, Williams' trainer, told him he needed to fire with some snap, and feint more, and move his head.

In the third, we saw Williams reach, and lunge quite often, same old song. Lara, meanwhile, used his feet wisely, to get out of range, and to get himself angles. His straight left worked several times. Plus, he'd grab Williams when he wanted to, to dampen Williams' attack.

In the fourth, Lara got a timeout after being hit low. LTP came forward more aggressively, and it looked like maybe the worm was turning.

In the fifth, we saw a nasty knot on Lara's face, from a head butt It was a baseball, on the left side of his forehead. But he stayed busy, even though he wasn't moving as much. Williams had a cut on his left eye, which dripped into his peeper, from the same butt.

In the sixth, Williams was trying to take the round with volume. He was busy, and it was easier to be busy, because Lara now stood in front of him for most of the frame.

In the seventh, the over the top left hand for Lara scored points, once again. Work to the body by Williams looked like it hurt but Lara didn't succumb. The worm was back in place.

In the eighth, we heard Roy Jones talk about how this sort of fight could affect Williams after he retires. No one noted the irony there…Lara got his feet working again, and while Williams had some luck to the body, he wasn't switching up his ways in order to shift the momentum.

In the ninth, we heard from Peterson. He said to Max Kellerman that LTP should be getting off first, that Lara was running away and didn't want to fight, said Paul should be taking away the left hand, and would need to see how he lost if he lost, before he'd counsel retirement. Lara's corner after the round told him he'd win the fight with his legs.

In the 10th, and the 11th, Jones worried that Williams was taking scary punishment, the sort that could leave him compromised. Blood streamed down from his left eye, and nose, and we wondered if Williams would get to his last planned fight, a tiebreaker with Sergio Martinez.

In the 12th, Lara boxed like a fox. LTP came forward, but without any spring in his step.

SPEEDBAG TSS's George Kimball, trainer Bouie Fisher and ex champ Billy Costello received an honorary ten count before the main event began.

—I chuckle…Kimball HATED HATED HATED the thought of covering events off TV, and desired heavily to be present at the arena. Me, I love the edge the DVR gives me, to rewind and see just what the heck landed, and to hear what was said in the ring after the fight. Plus, I like working in my underwear. But George would have been present in AC tonight, and man oh man, would he have ripped those judges a couple new holes.

—The body language was clear..Williams put up his hands half-heartedly after the fight. He didn't think he won.

–Roy Jones said after he felt bad for LTP. “I think you've seen the best of Paul Williams,” Jones said, unless he gets another trainer. If Martinez was Lara, Jones said, LTP would be in the hospital.

–Kellerman wrapped it up  by saying “this decision was indescribably bad” and “incompetent.” Lara, he said, should be treated like he won. Williams' future, he said, is in serious jeopardy.

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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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