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Don King Wants Tavoris Cloud-Bernard Hopkins

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CloudMack Waters15You get the feeling Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud didn’t grow up blue collar or white collar, he grew up no collar. His shirts were probably hand-me-downs with no buttons or sleeves, just a few sizes too small and some frayed edges.

Born in Tallahassee, Cloud is from the old school, that dark place where the best fighters always seem to come from, a place where you grew up sharing a bedroom with two or three other kids, some who were actually part of your family.

Listening to Cloud, it’s easy to see him putting in 40 honest hours a week to feed his family if that’s what he had to do, if it hadn’t been for the fight game and his knack for bringing mayhem into the ring with him.

Cloud (23-0, 19 KOs) , who hasn’t fought since last June when he stopped Yusaf  Mack in eight rounds while defending his IBF light-heavyweight title for the third time, will make a fourth title defense Feb. 18 against Gabriel Campillo (21-3-1, 8 KOs) of Spain at the American Bank Center Arena in Corpus Christi, Texas.

His fight with Campillo is part of a SHOWTIME double-header featuring former world champion Paul Williams (40-2, 27 KOs) going against hard-hitting junior-middleweight Nobuhiro Ishida (24-6-2, 9 KOs) of Japan in the main event.

For Cloud, this fight is a chance to get his name out there again, show the world what he can do if given the chance.

 “I’m going to put on an exciting show just like I always do,” Cloud said on a recent conference call promoting his fight with Campillo. “There ain’t gonna be any duckin’ or dodgin’. I’m going straight for my opponent. I just hope my opponent is ready, but I think he is. On Feb. 18, I’ll be there doing my thing.”

Cloud sounds like a guy who likes things simple and straight forward, someone who just wants to fight the best light-heavyweights out there and make enough money to take care of his family.

“This is my job, this is my profession, this is how I support my family,” he said. “I’m not going to over-think the situation. My goal right now is to get into the ring on (Feb. 18) and do my job and defend my title and go home to my wife and kids.”

It sounds pretty simple and easy until you realize Cloud’s promoter is Don King, and King is anything but simple and easy.

“We’ll take on anyone and everyone as quickly as possible, one right after the other,” King said on the same conference call. “We haven’t been getting the TV deals because most of the fighters out there are afraid to face him. Tavoris Cloud is the best in the world and if you don’t believe it, then you’d better come in and disprove that. We’re ready to take on any one of  (the top light-heavies) and maybe two or three of them on the same night.”

Asked if he needed to win this fight big to keep his name in the hunt after such a long layoff,  Cloud said it’s important to win every fight big.  

“It’s always important to put a stamp on the fight,” he said, having stamped on 19 of the 23 guys he’s faced. “I just believe that people respect knockouts more than they respect decisions. Those are the type of fighters they like.”

They’re also the kind of fighters King likes. Asked who he would like to see Cloud fight next if he gets past Campillo, King didn’t miss a step.

“I’d like to see him fight Bernard Hopkins,” he said. “That’s the best name out there. That’s the oldest name out there. It’s a name that has credibility. Tavoris, I have the utmost confidence in him. I believe in him and everything they do they’re going to try to separate him from me if they can.”

Not without a fight, they won’t. King is still the most entertaining promoter out there, and he doesn’t go easy when someone threatens his livelihood.

As for Campillo, this will be only his second fight in America. A southpaw, most of his fights have been in his home country of Spain.

Asked why he thought he could beat Cloud, Campillo said through an interpreter that there were three reasons he would win. He had “better physical conditioning, more speed and more intelligence.”

You could hear King laugh in the background.

“Tavoris comes to fight,” King said. “No matter what happens, he comes to fight and this is what the people want to see. A fighter that fights. That’s why they call them fighters.”

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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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