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Bradley Stripped, Morales To Fight Barrios For Title…WOODS

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It’s been a busy week-plus for Tim Bradley, and not in a good way. On July 20, word leaked that he’s being sued by his promoters, Gary Shaw and Ken Thompson, who are miffed the fighter didn’t take a fight with Amir Khan, which they had set up. They lost a cut from that bout, which instead went to Zab Judah. Today, Dan Rafael reports, Bradley’s WBC junior welterweight title was taken from him from that sanctioning body. Allegedly, they did this because Bradley has been inactive. That doesn’t on surface make all that much sense, because he last fought six months ago–he beat Devon Alexander, and added Alexander’s WBC belt to go with his WBO 140 pound strap–and name fighters frequently fight just twice a year. And while the WBC can, if they wish, cite something or other in their rule book, which is routinely subject to interpretation and manipulation, we all know that quite likely some other reasoning beyond “doing the right thing” is behind this move.

With the word that 34-year-old Erik Morales (51-2), the Mexican legend, will meet 34 year-old Jorge Barrios (50-4-1)–who basically defines “inactive” by the way, since he last fought in October 2010, against journeyman Wilson Alcorro–we’ll take the liberty of reading in between the lines here. The hope in some corners is that Morales beats Barrios, which could happen, as he looked surprisingly decent in losing to Marcos Maidana in April after taking 2008 and 2009 off during a spell of “retirement.” Then he could act as a solid “name” foe for Amir Khan, though we do wonder if fans will buy into that bout as a legit test for the WBA, IBF 140 pound champ Khan, who would seem to have too much in every department for a guy who turns 35 in September.

And Barrios is a Golden Boy fighter, so if he were to win, it’d be easy to make a Barrios-Khan fight, as Khan works under the Golden Boy banner. He is not to my knowledge in anyone’s top 20 at 140, for the record, so I am eager to hear the reasoning and justification for him getting this title crack. He did hold the WBO super feather crown for a spell in 2005-2006 but did nothing to elevate him to a place where he is “owed” this honor.

In a game where you need a daily dose of Head and Shoulders to combat the head scratchers that pop up, how Barrios, who fought at 130 as of Sept. 2008, and has fought just three times since, against sub-marquee names, got this gig is a biggie.

This bout, if it doesn’t fall apart under the heat of media and fan critiques, is due to unfold on Sept. 17, on the Mayweather-Victor Ortiz undercard in Vegas. I typically steer clear of sanctioning body silliness; I see it sort of like aggressive panhandlers on the subway. I figure if I ignore ’em, they’ll go away. Fans know who is the real deal, who should be fighting who, and don’t go by who is wearing what belt to help inform them. So, if the fans speak out, and make it clear who they want to see fight in this weight class, perhaps the panhandler will find another car to annoy.

LOL, I won’t bet on it…

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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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