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“Star Power” Brings Boxing and Showbiz Together

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“STAR POWER: Mayweather vs. Ortiz”

At The Intersection Of The Boxing Biz And Show Biz

 

Las Vegas (August 31) – As we near the September 17 mega-event “STAR POWER: Mayweather vs. Ortiz” emanating from both the boxing capital of the world, Las Vegas, and the celebrity capital of the world, Los Angeles, the connection between the squared circle and the silver screen comes even more into focus. This fight card is called “STAR POWER” and the eight fighters featured on the HBO Pay-Per-View® televised event carry on the proud tradition of fighters rubbing elbows with Hollywood's elite, romancing stunning starlets and flashing smiles that can make female fans' knees buckle.

Atop the bill is Mayweather, who rocketed to A-list celebrity status when he competed on ABC's Dancing With The Stars in 2007. Claiming rapper and actor 50 Cent as one of his closest friends, Mayweather's fights regular draw ringside observers that include the likes of big name stars such as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Jay-Z and Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Sean Puffy Combs, Denzel Washington as well as top dollar athletes in Tiger Woods, David Beckham, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley. You name them, he pulls them.

Headlining the L.A. portion of the show is Canelo Alvarez, who was at one time engaged to model/actress/sports reporter Marisol Gonzalez. Alvarez's opponent is Alfonso Gomez who rose to fame with Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard by his side on the inaugural season of NBC's The Contender and, playing in the hip-hop/rock band Hy3rid, has straddled the fence between boxing and the entertainment industry ever since.

Canelo brings the added element of pop-idol-like appeal among female fight fans; crossing over to sex symbol status like no boxer has since Oscar De La Hoya (who just happens to be the promoter of “STAR POWER”). Once in a generation, if that, a fighter comes along who makes the girls shriek like something out of Beatles concert. Alvarez possesses that quality.

However, Canelo is far from the only fighter on this card with a fan base that includes the fairer sex. Mayweather's sparkling smile has caught the eye of the ladies since he rose to fame in his late teens, Ortiz has drawn comparisons to De La Hoya himself because of his good looks and the fighters who will open the pay-per-view broadcast, Jessie Vargas and Josesito Lopez, both have Latino heartthrob potential.

Any of these fighters might look natural with starlets on their arms, which would mean they'd be carrying on a proud tradition that goes all the way back to 19th century heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan, who famously dated voluptuous chorus girl Ann Livingston. Other heavyweight champs made it more official: Jack Dempsey married movie star Estelle Taylor, Max Schmeling wed actress Anny Ondra and more recently, Mike Tyson was briefly, and tempestuously, married to actress Robin Givens. The latest boxing/Hollywood heavyweight couple featured Wladimir Klitschko and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere, who ended their two-year relationship just a few months ago.

Such romances aren't limited only to the heavyweight fighters. Two of the most notable boxer-celebrity unions in history involved middleweight champs: Marcel Cerdan with French singer and cultural icon Edith Piaf and Gorilla Jones with actress and sex symbol Mae West.

For all of the star fighters who've romanced in Hollywood circles, countless more have “bromanced” in those circles. Former light heavyweight champ Jose Torres was best friends with Ryan O'Neal (who starred in the 1979 boxing movie The Main Event). Sugar Ray Leonard palled around with many of Hollywood's heavy hitters and famously told Michael J. Fox, before anyone else, that he intended to come out of retirement and fight Marvin Hagler. Tyson is now an actor of sorts himself, appearing in The Hangover and The Hangover 2, but long before that, he ran with many of the biggest names in television, film and music. In fact, his friendship with Tupac Shakur was the subject of a 2010 documentary entitled One Night In Vegas.

The connections between the worlds of boxing and entertainment are numerous, and they will be on display again when “STAR POWER” spans the distance from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Many of Tinseltown's top draws will be seated ringside at both MGM Grand and STAPLES Center. So much so that the ring announcers at the venues will likely spend as much time introducing the celebrities as they do the fighters.

HBO analyst Larry Merchant has famously referred to boxing as “the theater of the unexpected.” What is not unexpected is that boxing will provide great theater, and attract the most famous names and faces from the celebrity world.

 

# # #

 

“STAR POWER: Mayweather vs. Ortiz” is a mega-event taking place on Saturday, Sept. 17 from two world-class cities with three world titles at stake. Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz will face off in a 12-round fight for Ortiz's WBC Welterweight World Title from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Canelo Alvarez and Alfonso Gomez will do battle in a 12-round fight for Alvarez's WBC Super Welterweight World Title from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Also live in Las Vegas, will be Erik Morales vs. Lucas Matthysse in a 12 round fight for the vacant WBC Super Lightweight World Title and an opening fight featuring undefeated rising star Jessie Vargas against top contender Josesito Lopez. The mega event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, DeWALT Tools and AT&T. Alvarez vs. Gomez is presented in association with Canelo Promotions and Morales vs. Matthysse is presented in association with Box Latino Promotions and Arano Box Promotions.

 

The HBO Pay-Per-View® telecast beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 92 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View®, a division of Home Box Office, Inc., is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For Mayweather vs. Ortiz fight week updates, log on to www.hbo.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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