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Be Ready For A Long Night, Lucian Bute…FOLSTAD




Johnson_1Be ready for a long night, Lucian Bute. Eat healthy, stay in shape and get lots of rest the day of the fight. Don’t party, don’t stay up too late, don’t skip your roadwork and don’t look past this guy. You give him an opening, he’ll stomp on you. He isn’t just some over-the-hill tomato can looking for another big paycheck before he hangs up his gloves. He’s a former world champ. He expects to win this fight just like he expects to win all his fights. And he’s got enough ring savvy and fire still left inside him to do it if you’re not ready.


But you knew that, didn’t you Lucian. You spent more than a few hours sparring with Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson back in the fall of 2009 when you were getting ready to fight Librado Andrade and Johnson was getting ready to fight “Bad” Chad Dawson. Almost 100 rounds of swapping punches between you two guys and you got to be friends. And you still are, though that friendship has been put on the shelf until your fight is over.


And what did you two learn from sparring with each other? Aside from gaining some mutual respect, no one is letting out any secrets.


Bute (29-0, 24 KOs) is the IBF super-middleweight champion and he’s scheduled to fight Johnson (51-15-2, 35 KOs) on Nov. 5 at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City on SHOWTIME. And Bute knows a win over Johnson , a former light-heavyweight champion, would add a big name to his resume.


“We know that sparring is always different from a real fight,” Bute said on a recent conference call. “I think the one that gained the most between the two of us in that sparring was me. I came there and it built up my confidence. It was hard sparring and we wanted to win every day. It was competitive, it was great and I think I improved and gained my confidence sparring with Glen Johnson.”


Glen Johnson got something back, too.


“It was great work,” Johnson said.  “Both of us accomplished our goal. We were doing hard work and I believe we both got better. Obviously, I was fighting a better guy (Dawson) than Lucian was fighting. I came out on the losing side and he came out on the winning side.”


Friends or not, Bute says Johnson, 42, has seen and done almost everything in boxing, so there is not a lot they can do to catch him by surprise.


“He’s always there and he’s always in great condition,” Bute said. “He’s faced all the greatest fighters. (Roy) Jones, (Antonio) Tarver, Dawson twice, (Bernard) Hopkins in the beginning.  I watched them all and I can say by far, he is my best opponent with the best credibility and the best resume. For me, it’s a major step up.”


“I have a lot of respect for Lucian,” Johnson said. “But you’re fighting for your career, you’re fighting for everything, so you’ve got to go out there and give it your all. You can resume your friendship later.”


“We have mutual respect, but our careers are on the line here,” Bute said. “The night of the fight, I’m going to give it my all. There are no friends in the ring. We’re going to be friends after the (fight). But I’m going to have my survival instincts on the night of the fight.”


For Johnson, this is just another long plane ride to another strange city for another tough fight. He’s called the “Road Warrior” for a reason. He carries his passport in his gym bag, has an extra set of clean clothes hanging in his locker, and he’s got enough frequent flier miles for a free trip around the world. But he’s already been there.


As for fighting in front of hostile crowds, Johnson, who lives in Miami and was born in Jamaica, has a knack of winning them over. The crowd usually starts out booing him but after a few rounds, they see the kind of fighter he is and they can’t help but start clapping for the old guy.


Bute, meanwhile, is the hometown favorite in this fight. Though born in Romania, he lives in Montreal, which means the undefeated champ doesn’t need an airline ticket to get to the Coliseum, just cab fare. This will be his ninth title defense. He’s scored seven knockouts in his previous eight defenses.


The winner of the fight will probably get a shot at the winner of the Super Six World Boxing Classic Final scheduled for Dec. 17 between world champions Andre Ward and Carl Froch.


In his last fight, Johnson lost a majority decision to Froch and said he’s pulling for Froch to beat Ward so he gets another shot at him.


“I’d like a chance to avenge my loss,” he said.


Even if it’s on the road.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura



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



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



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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