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Birthday Boy Vitali Klitschko Promises More Drama Vs. Adamek Than Wlad-Haye Fight…WOODS

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VKlitschkoArreola_Hogan61If Vitali wanted to, he could follow Woods on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/Woodsy1069

There was a beehive worth of buzz leading up to the Wladimir Klitschko-David Haye fight in some circles, though in the US, there was an absence of  expected electricity. That was largely stemming from the fact that the fight took place in Hamburg, and wasn't truly promoted in the States like it could've been. But some of us strongly considered the possibility that the actual contest wouldn't match the pre-fight hype, the two plus years of heated back and forth between crap-stirrer David “All Hat, No Cattle” Haye and Wladimir. And sad to say, the clash was a bigger dud than most anyone predicted, as Haye went all Gandhi that night, and Wlad didn't let his blood reach a boil, didn't let Haye's verbal campaign distract him from his strategy.

There won't be as much buzz as we look ahead to the next meaningful heavyweight clash, which pits big brother Vitali Klitschko (42-2 with 39 KOs)  against Polish contender Tomasz Adamek (44-1 with 28 KOs; sole loss to Chad Dawson, as a light heavyweight, in 2007), but we will bet the kids' college fund that fight, which will take place in Poland on Sept. 10,  will be a more fan friendly encounter than the Wlad-Haye hoedown.

Vitali Klitscko and Adamek promised as much on Tuesday afternoon, at a press luncheon at HBO headquarters in Manhattan. Now, one might not have gotten that impression if one saw Adamek wish Klitschko a happy birthday–he turned 40 on Tuesday–and seen the men hug each other, or heard Vitali joke, “You will fight against an old man.” But if you're at all familiar with Adamek's resume, and V's KO-percentage, which is 89%, the highest of any heavyweight titlist in history, then you know that any fears we will see another dreary waltz are overstated.

A slight cloud hung over the room, as all fightwriters in attendance were well aware that HBO boxing boss Ross Greenburg had officially announced his impending resignation from the company a day before. But it was business as usual for the crew working the event, which included senior VP Kery Davis, and media relations' Ray Stallone and Kevin Flaherty. “Business as usually,” they stated when asked if Greenburg was still making decisions. Fair enough, considering that HBO will show a high profile tussle, the Amir Khan-Zab Judah fight, on Saturday night. TSS came away with the belief that truly, the folks underneath Greenburg are simply hacking away, doing their jobs, and waiting for some clarity on the future of boxing at the company.

“I know how good Adamek is, I know this will be a real battle, this will not be an easy fight,” said the birthday boy, who was relaxed, and thoughtful during the 1 1/2 hour session. “I do  not want to underestimate him.”

Vitali addressed the lingering stink from the Wlad-Haye event, directly and indirectly, a few times. “A couple weeks ago, my brother fought Haye. Many journalists asked me, who is the stronger fighter. David Haye no question is the much stronger than Adamek…by talking. He's unbeatable by talking…It will be much more interesting than Haye fight. David Haye doesn't want to fight, he wants to run away. I know for Adamek it's a good challenge, good motivation to be world champion.”

Vitali reiterated his desire to fight Haye, and said he wants to knock Haye to the canvas, to punish him for his trashtalking. He stated that he didn't want to look past Adamek, and cited Mike Tyson looking past Buster Douglas, and his brother looking past Corrie Sanders as examples of what can happen if one looks past a foe.

“I am more than sure the fight September tenth will be much more dramatic, more action, than the my brother against Haye, because Haye runs away, he doesn't want to to fight, Tomasz is a fighter.”

Adamek took a slap at Haye as well. “I watched the fight, Haye doesn't want to win,” the Pole said.

Vitali was of good spirits, but he did work some psychology on the Pole. “I'm sorry, you were born light,” V said to Adamek, playing up his size advantage. “Speed is power,” the Pole said.

“A wise man once said, it's not the size of the man, it's the size of his heart,” Adamek's promoter Kathy Duva interjected. “And I might add, the size of his (cajones) to that.”

“Woman know better than anybody, that's not important,” Vitali countered, drawing gales of laughter.

 Adamek is the anti David Haye, in many ways. He will never be tasked with hyping a fight, as he is a soft spoken man who is disarmingly down to earth, almost shy, in public settings.

But that doesn't mean he lacks confidence. I asked him if he will beat Vitali Klitschko when they tangle on Sept. 10.

Yes, an obvious question…but it's one I like to ask, because you'd be surprised how many fighters will not go out on a limb, and say that they will win. Not so Adamek; he didn't hesitate a second before saying.

“Yeah,” he said, stating that a firm belief in oneself is necessary.

But.. later, he talked of “giving a good show.” Also, he said, “If Vitali doesn't hold me, we will make good fight.” I do realize this is the realm of pop psychology, but Vitali picked up on it, and asked him if he wasn't laying the groundwork for an excuse, as David Haye did. So I'm not quite sure how much, deep in his heart, Adamek truly believes he parlay some perceived edges, or a single perceived edge, speed, into a win.

Adamek's chances will be helped immensely if Vitali turning 40 marked a deterioration in the fighter. I haven't seen it, and asked him if he had. Vitali said he has not, and said his trainer Fritz Sdunek is tasked with telling him if he's lost anything. The fighter said Sdunek was up front with him when he tore a knee ligament before a 2005 fight with Hasim Rahman, and told him not to fight, when others said to fight on, and wear a brace.

But of late, his body has held up quite well. Vitali said “not long” when asked how much longer he'd stay in the sport. He then alluded to a “dream” he held on to, which keeps him in the sport. I took it to mean a David Haye fight. I asked Vitali about fighting Haye. He said he wanted to fight Haye, but Wlad convinced V to let him fight the Brit. The elder bro said he wanted to punish Haye for his trash talking, and that “I want very much to send him to the floor, and I know I can do that.”

A few times, he had to bring himself back to the present task, Adamek, but it seems clear Haye is on his mind. Manager Bernd Bonte spoke up, and said that Team Klitschko wasn't pursuing a another Haye fight. He likened Haye to Sultan Ibragimov, and portrayed the Brit as unworthy of being considered for another Klitschko tussle, because of his poor showing.

I asked Vitali if the way he won was important to him.

“The biggest entertainment for boxing fans is when you send your opponent to the floor,” he answered. “I know Tomasz has good chin, good speed, but it's good challenge, can I send him to the floor. I can.”

Adamek, who won titles at 175, and cruiserweight, said he will come in around 218-220 on fight night. Vitali has been around 250 pounds for the last ten years, and is 6-7 1/2, versus 6-1 1/2 for the 34-year-old Adamek.

I don't see Adamek being able to have that much more luck than most everyone Vitali has beaten since he won the vacant WBC belt against Sanders in 2004. I like underdogs, and I admit a fondness for Duva, whose candor and determination I admire, so I hope he performs well. She deserves mucho credit for her long term planning to get Adamek to this place, where he figures to make over $3 million. But a diet of Kevin McBride, Vinnie Maddalone, Michael Grant etc won't do Adamek any favors in his quest. Then again, as Duva pointed out, apart from Wlad, it's not like there are others out there who could've provided a similar level of test for the Pole.

TSS Universe, please weigh in. Could Adamek break Vitali's ten fight winning streak? Or will he have to be happy with being rewarded for patience and resilience with a career-high payday, his IRA fight?

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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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