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Donaire Is Both Jekyll and Hyde…FOLSTAD

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Donaire_Narvaez_PC_111020_003aNonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire is too nice a guy to be in this line of work. He should be a minister or a camp counselor or someone who stands in front of a soup line and hands out hot food to homeless people. He shouldn’t be knocking people silly. He should be helping them to their feet.

Donaire is both Jekyll and Hyde, a gentleman outside the ring and an evil genius inside it. He goes from Boy Scout to Doctor Destructo in the time it takes to ring a bell. The nice kid next door becomes the worst nightmare on the block. He doesn’t win fights, he ends them.

He takes his record (26-1, 18 KOs), his bantamweight title and his top-five pound-for-pound ranking into the ring with him Saturday night at Madison Square Garden against undefeated WBO super-flyweight champion Omar “El Huracan” Narvaez  (35-0-2, 23 KOs) of Argentina (HBO). It’s Donaire’s first fight in the Garden and he realizes the history behind the place.

“It’s a big part of me, looking at the old-school fights,” said Donaire, who was born in the Philippines but grew up in California. “Just the fights they put together. Sugar Ray Robinson and Carmen Basilio.  Those guys were incredible. They fought with no fear and they fought guys over and over. They showed incredible heart, something I would like to bring out there.”

A former flyweight and super flyweight world champion, Donaire, 28, said this will be his last fight at 118 pounds. Too tough losing those last few pounds. He’s putting on muscle and muscle has a tendency to stick around for a while once you build it up.

“Making 118 pounds has been difficult the last two fights,” he said. “We want to be healthy and be at our best, so we’re looking forward to 122 pounds. There are a lot of incredible fighters at 122.”

Narvaez, 36, doesn’t seem to have a weight problem. A former flyweight champ and the reigning 115-pound WBO champ, he’s moving up in weight for this fight, smiling and eating his way into a new division.

“(Narvaez) is a helluva fighter,” said Donaire’s trainer, Robert Garcia. “He knows how to take a fighter into the latter rounds, and I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s going to try to do. He’s a veteran at this.”

If Narvaez does take the fight into the latter rounds, he might regret it later. It’s like being caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella. You’re just going to get wetter and colder the longer it rains.

Narvaez is just going to get beat up that much more.

That’s because Donaire has that rare ability to knock people out with one punch. While Narvaez has gone the distance against his last five opponents, Donaire has stopped his last four opponents and won nine of his last 10 by knockout. He’s on a nine-year, 25-fight winning streak. That includes a spectacular win in his last fight in February when he stopped the highly- touted Fernando Montiel in their fight at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Donaire did most of the damage with a left hook that dropped Montiel in the second round. Though he gamely staggered back to his feet, he was done, the referee stopping the fight a couple punches later.

A student of the game, Donaire says he sets his opponents up and is usually three or four steps ahead of them. That’s what happened to Montiel.

“I didn’t expect Montiel to throw a looping right with the body position he had at that time,” Donaire said. “I was expecting a right hook.”

Knowing what punch was coming gave Donaire an extra second and he was in perfect position to throw a hook of his own.

Doctor Destructo.

“I’ve been around a long time and that was one of the most devastating punches I have seen,” said promoter Bob Arum. “He caved in Montiel’s face. It was scary and it demonstrates to me that not only is Nonito a good boxer, but he has lethal power in his hands. It’s going to be tough for anyone to beat him.”

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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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