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Dirrell, Abraham, Johnson, Bute Pick Ward, Kessler Picks Froch

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image002TOP SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS DELIVER SUPER SIX PREDICTIONS;

FOUR OF FIVE FAVOR ANDRE WARD TO DEFEAT CARL FROCH

IN THE FINAL ON  SHOWTIME®

 

Telecast Airs LIVE this Saturday, Dec. 17 at 9 p.m. ET / PT (delayed on the West Coast)

 

NEW YORK (Dec. 15, 2011) – Saturday’s blockbuster super middleweight showdown between Super Six World Boxing Classic finalists Andre Ward and Carl Froch has captivated the attention of the boxing world – especially those in the 168-pound division. Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson and Lucian Bute are predicting World Boxing Association super middleweight champion Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) will be the last man standing and proudly lifting the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup in victory come Saturday, Dec. 17, from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

Of the recently polled crop of 168-pounders, only Mikkel Kessler feels Froch (28-1, 20 KOs) has what it takes to hand Ward his first career loss.

Kessler and Abraham are the only boxers who have faced both Super Six finalists.

Dirrell, who served as Ward’s Olympic teammate in 2004 and suffered a tough split-decision loss to Froch early in the Super Six, feels Ward will not be influenced by Froch’s past fights and will stick to a carefully laid-out game plan.

 “Ward will make his own assessments from the fights that Froch has had,” Dirrell said. “I believe that Froch has gotten better since he fought me. I believe he’s grown with each fight so it will be a different fight. You could take the game plan that I had and use it against Froch. But Andre Ward is pretty set with his own game plan.”

Dirrell plans to see if his assessments are correct in person. He and his younger brother Anthony – also an aspiring super middleweight contender – will be ringside for The Final. Also expected in attendance are Bute and Kessler.

Here’s what a host of top super middleweights had to say about Saturday night’s fight, along with their individual results facing the Super Six finalists:

 

 

 

ANDRE DIRRELL:

Super Six Result: Lost split-decision to Froch (Oct. 17, 2009);

“My sense is going toward Ward. I believe Ward will win it – not just because he is a smart fighter but because when it’s time to battle, he knows how to battle. But ultimately, his smarts come into play. He knows how to handle these fighters. It’s almost like he dissects them. He’s pretty in tune to this sport. In every fight he’s had in the Super Six, he’s switched up his game plan and they worked to perfection. He has a game plan for Froch as well. It won’t be easy. I honestly believe there will be a cut in the fight. Andre Ward has his tactics and Froch has his tactics so it’s going to be a rough fight, maybe a few bumps and bruises. But overall, I see Andre Ward winning it.

“This tournament right here, this Final right here, both fighters will be put up on the pedestal win or lose. The greatest fighters in this division were in this tournament. Both Ward and Froch have proven themselves very well. Regardless if they win or lose, they’ll both have big things to come after the tournament. I hope for the best for both of them, honestly. “

ARTHUR ABRAHAM:

Super Six Result: Lost unanimous decision to Froch (Nov. 27, 2010) and Ward (May 14, 2011).

“I think Andre Ward is going to win on points. He is tactically better and his style is hard to fight against. I don’t think many fans like his style, though.

“Winning the Super Six tournament will be huge for the winner.

“To be considered the top of the division, the winner should fight Kessler.”

MIKKEL KESSLER:

Super Six Result: Lost technical decision to Ward (Nov. 21, 2009); Won unanimous decision over Froch (April 24, 2010).

“If he does his homework, I think Carl Froch is going to win. He is very strong and he wants to fight. Ward is good and fast, too, but I think Froch will win. He will have learned from the mistakes I did against Ward. So many things went wrong for me that night. Another advantage for Froch is the tournament history – he had some very tough fights that made him even stronger. So my pick is Froch.

“Winning the Super Six tournament will be as good as it gets. That is what we all have been fighting for. The winner will be one of the bests – not the best because he still has to fight me to prove he is the ultimate champion.”

GLEN JOHNSON:

Super Six Result: Lost a majority decision to Froch (June 4, 2011)

“The event means everything to the division.  It gave the super middleweight division the most attention – it’s everything.  It’s a launching pad, a stage where the best can fight the best and stars are made.  There’s no way the division would get this much attention without the tournament and these fights would never have happened.  It’s been a wonderful thing for not just the super middleweight division but also for boxing.   

“I have to go with Ward in The Final. He’s the only guy who’s undefeated in the tournament and he’s found a way to win. You’ve got to give him the biggest chance because of all the guys that fought the top fighters, he’s the only one who stayed undefeated at that level.

“Froch has a puncher’s chance, that’s the only chance I can give him. I don’t think he can win on points – he’s not a fast guy and he doesn’t throw a lot of combinations.  Ward has a tough style and Froch is going to have to land some big punches to change the opinion of the crowd.  And even though they are both champions, he’s going to have to beat the champ to win.  You’ll have to beat Ward to get that credit, and I just don’t see that happening.

“I don’t think Froch is fast enough to keep up with Ward’s combos.  There are some people who think Ward has a soft chin, but I don’t think it’s necessarily true.  Early on in his career Ward hadn’t adjusted with how to get hit without headgear, but now he has and Froch will only have a puncher’s chance to capture the Super Six Cup.”

LUCIAN BUTE, Current Undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion:

“In my opinion, I think Andre Ward will be the winner of the Super Six. He is a smart fighter with good skills and he will avoid the power punch of Carl Froch. The fight on Dec. 17 is huge for the 168-pound division. I want to face the champion of this classic and really reign over the super middleweight division. I'm ready to fight Ward or Froch anywhere, anytime.”

The event is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Matchroom Sport and Antonio Leonard Promotions, in association with Caesars Atlantic City and sponsored by Corona.

Tickets are on sale at the Boardwalk Hall box office or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at ticketmaster.com. All tickets purchased for the original event date will be honored on Dec. 17.  If ticket holders are not able to attend on Dec. 17, refunds are available at the point of purchase. The non-televised undercard begins at 6 p.m. ET.

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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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