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Slap Happy Time: A Glove Full of Dukes That Might Replace Mayweather-Pacquiao..WOOLEVER

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 2HernandezCunninghamHernandez-Cunningham II should be a legit slugfest in Stuttgart on Saturday.

ALTERNATIVE CORNERS – Is the Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather saga getting blabbed away to the point of becoming a lowest common denominator?
 
Instead of wham bam, thank you Mon and Man, we get blah blah blah, yakety yak.
 
If the twain shan't meet, it ain't the end of the boxing world.
 
This is not to dispute the near certainty that Mayweather- Pacquiao isn't the best possible pairing amongst however many tens of thousand professional boxers there are on these planet these days.
 
That superfight might not get signed for a spell. So, while there isn't anything on the horizon of a similar magnitude in the mean time, there are other options on the wish list.
 
Less star power, but not too shabby.
 
Notice that the operative term of this piece's title is “might”.
 
Nothing supersedes a clash between the fighters, in whatever very disputable order you put them, proven and perceived as the top two pound for pounders in the business. However, some speculation carries too much sense of urgency. As if Mayweather-Pacquiao fails to materialize it's another steep, irreversible tumble in the sport's inevitable decline.
 
No so at all. In fact, despite motivational problems in a few major fighters' performances, and official gaffes in big events like Mayweather-Victor Ortiz or Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson, 2011 was not a bad year for boxing. That bellowing should be ignored, the same as doofs who insist boxing is dying, year after year after year. Recognition and respect in the public eye continued a rejuvenation, far more vital for the sport overall than any fight or result.
 
2012 will be OK whether or not Floyd, Manny and whatever powers at be decide to share in the slugging synchronicity or not.
 
The gloved-up game will rumble on despite any two participants. Outside financial gains (true, a primary objective) neither “Pac-man” or “Money” is yet as complete a global star as Ali or Tyson were. In another decade there will be new, currently unknown names on the list of future legends.
 
Meanwhile, in an old school boxer's dozen, actually, over 15 rounds worth; we present some fights beside Pacquiao-Mayweather that qualify as potentially classic clobberings. Those who scoff at the notion of good fights among the big boys may want to join the bad year/boxing is dead association.
 
Topping the list of potentially titanic tilts, but also topping the list of those least likely to occur, comes the non-existent sibling rivalry between the Brothers Klitschko, Vitali, 56-3 (49), and Wladimir 43-2 (40). Won't happen, but if it did recent form favors big brother.
 
Another dare to be great clash that could restore some of the division's lost lustre would be an eliminator between towering, undefeated contenders Robert Helenius and Tyson Fury. Both men are currently 17-0. Fury has 12 KOs, Helenius 11 KOs versus higher ranked opposition. Helenius seems to have more punching power, Fury seems to have more staying power. Tim-ber!
 
One battle that not only should happen but probably will, especially since it's scheduled to go down in Stuttgart on February 25th, pits Alexander Povetkin, 23-0 (16), against Marco Huck, 34-1 (25). If Povetkin trainer Teddy Atlas remains out of that corner it helps cruiserweight titlist Huck's chances, but probably not nearly enough. For all the hype about Huck's speed and aggression, it remains way uphill. Povetkin is just as fast and tougher than he looks. Povetkin by TKO around the 8th, in an exciting brawl.
 
Tomasz Adamek, 44-2 (26), wants a couple decent victories to put him back in title contention after Vitali conked him. Soviet southpaw Denis Lebedev, 23-1 (17), says he wants to move up after a successful cruiser career. Adamek has already done so. Neither man is likely to budge. If they held this Poland-Russia rivalry in a place like Wroclaw's new soccer stadium it could draw 50,000 fans who'd get their money's worth from the spectacle alone. Right now, it's Adamek by late round, bloody stoppage. Unless the fight is in Russia, where all bets are off.
 
Yet another 200 plus pound punchout with primo potential pits semi-retired, still squawking attraction David Haye, 25-2 (23), against brash, seemingly much more willing swing swapper Dereck Chisora, 15-2 (9) (who faces Vitali K February 18th, in another potentially solid match). Chisora give Haye plenty of his own style prefight insults, and gladly match any stunt “The Hayemaker” pulled.
 
At the 200 pound limit, Yoan Pablo Hernandez, 25-1 (13), meets former titlist Steve “USS” Cunningham again, February 4th in Stuttgart. Their bout last October was shaping up as a thriller before it was halted due to Hernandez cuts from accidental butts, while Hernandez held a very slim lead. Cunningham, 24-3 (12),  had been decked early but he was coming back strong. It was anybody's fight at the premature conclusion. Despite moderate KO ratios, this fight is unlikely to go 12. Pick 'em. Either Cunningham's revenge or Hernandez's star rising. Whoever lands the first left hook wins.
 
It would be intriguing to watch light-heavy champ Bernard Hopkins, 52-5-2 (32), meet top dog super-middleweight Andre Ward, 25-0 (13), at a catch weigh around 171, if possible. The experience of Father Time, versus the future. At 6'1 with a listed 75″ reach Hopkins and Ward, at 6'0 and 71″ could be one of the best stinging chess matches ever, pitting Hopkins' size and wit against Ward's youth and speed. Hard to call, depending on the weight. Hopkins – Dawson II is a good start.
 
If the usually crowd pleasing Carl Froch, 28-2 (20), doesn't formalize his two fight, home and away agreement with Lucian Bute, Froch still has highly profitable options like a rematch of his fine fracas with Mikkel Kessler. It would be quite a sight of combos should Froch decide on tackling German Robert Stieglitz, 41-2 (23), with a lady friend who appeared as photogenic as Froch's partner Rachel Cordingly. The obviously shy Cordingly wouldn't have to go solo with the burden of cameras aimed, supposedly, at her face.  
 
At middleweight, the often discussed (in Germany at least) but never negotiated epic between Felix Sturm and Arthur Abraham is losing its shelf live but still a great match that would electrify a soccer/stadium or sell out a 20,000 capacity arena. Three or four years back this might have been the best perspective matchup in the bunch. But while each man claimed they were anxious to prove supremacy, both camps seemed hesitant to actually bring the fight to fruition. While each man is considered faded these days, it's still not a too little too late situation. Sturm by convincing decision. It's not only perceived vulnerability that has most contenders chasing Sturm. It looks like he is off to a great start as a promotional partner, including good treatment for participants.
 
Another stimulating 160 range encounter would feature emerging alphabet titlist Genady Golovkin, 22-0 (19), against Mathew Macklin, 28-3 (19), in a rumble that could be over in a minute or could see 12 full frames of toe to toe trading. Both men are 29, aggressive, and near peak form. Macklin has strong motivation after a disputable loss to Sturm, and subsequently relocating to the USA. Golovkin looked awesome when he smashed Lujan Simon. A highly combustible collision, with Macklin favored slightly through a higher level of competition but Golovkin showing more room for continued improvement. Any chance of this fight happening depends on Macklin's challenge of Sergio Martinez.
 
Ortiz – Andre Berto II. A proven commodity that speaks for itself. All that needs to be said. We hope Berto's bicep clears up and these two can re-set-up the sequel sluggathon.
 
 A potential classic waits in the welterweight wings for top 147 pound prospects, and it could be the best young gun test imaginable. 28 year old Mike Jones of Philadelphia is undefeated at 26-0. The UK's 25 year old Kell Brook is 26-0. Jones has 19 knockouts. Brook has 18 knockouts. Both men claim to be ready for anybody. Need we say more? Slap happy time.
 
In the lighter weight realm, a pair of proven performers are ready for another hard earned, career defining payday. A bantam range bout around 115 between Jorge Arce,
59-6-2 (45), and Brian Viloria, 30-3 (17), could be dynamite. Both the 32 year old Arce and 31 year old Viloria had been written off as damaged goods before returning to capture major titles and resurrect stardom. Arce has five more years of hard wear but that also means more experience in the trenches, which favors him. Upset! Viloria by late, bloody, come from behind TKO rally.
 
Until Mayweather -Pacquiao is contracted, almost every aforementioned proposal except the unlikely K2 conflict (almost a complete impossibility) is just as feasible, maybe more so, than the currently craved superfight between Mayweather and Pacquiao. Some contests listed here have already been scheduled.
 
Even if by some quick twisted of fistic fate Mayweather-Pacquiao does happen this year, its already questionable whether the fight occurs anywhere near their respective, concurrent primes.
 
If or whenever they do engage : Mayweather by controversial, maybe riot causing TKO 9.
 
The only thing that might excuse their excellencies from actually boxing would be if Pacquiao gave Juan Manuel Marquez a break and a rematch while Mayweather challenged Sergio Martinez. About as likely as Pacquiao and Mayweather agreeing to fight by the time you read this.
 
Maybe Pacquiao and Mayweather are content to share the distinction of being number 1 and 1a, without the judgment of actual competition. They've already got legitimate bragging rights wrapped up for the decade. Each elite performer has achieved status likely to remain unparalleled for twenty years.  

Maybe they are indeed aiming to own the era.
 
Maybe, without much doubt, it's even more of a business than it appears.
 
Maybe its just the intricately simple matter of boxing politics, not personal preferences, keeping Pacquiao and Mayweather from testing each other.
 
Maybe nobody should worry about it.
 
It will be interesting to see the fireworks if Mayweather – Pacquiao is signed, sealed, delivered.
 
It will be interesting to see the perception of their legacies if they don't fight.
 
It may be a simple matter one way or the other when compared to other champions, who may not have beaten every great foe they faced, but were willing to try.

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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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