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Macklin Leads Irish Parade at MSG March 17

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175Macklin leading Team Gang Green boxers
Into MSG for St. Patty's celebration
Martinez vs. Macklin, Rodriguez vs. George

Head trainer James “Buddy” McGirt & Mathew Macklin (above)
(Photo By: Teddy Blackburn)
 
NEW YORK (March 22012) – Irish eyes will really be smilin' on St. Patty's evening if Matthew “Mack the Knife” Macklin upsets World Middleweight Champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KOs) and the other five members of Team Gang Green also have their hands raised in victory. 
 
“THE REAL Middleweight Championship – Get Your Irish Up,” presented by DiBella Entertainment, promises to feature bag pipes, step dancers, and passionate fans singing “Ole Ole” and proudly waving Irish flags, on March 17 (St. Patrick's Day) in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
 
The 12-round main event showcases Martinez, Ring Magazine's No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter, defending against former European champion Macklin (28-3, 19 KOs). In the 10-round “Bombs Away” co-feature, super middleweight Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (20-0, 14 KOs) faces Don “Da Bomb” George (22-1-1, 19 KOs), who is half-Irish, in fan-friendly brawl with possible future world title shot implications. Martinez-Macklin and Rodriguez-George will both air live on HBO's “World Championship Boxing,” starting at 10 PM/ET 7 PM/PT.
 
Tickets, priced at $505, $355, $205, $125 and $65, are available to purchase through the Madison Square Garden Box Office, through Ticketmaster at Ticketmaster.com or by calling (866) 858-0008. Call DiBella Entertainment at (212) 947-2577, visit www.dbe1.com and @loudibella on Twitter for more information.
 
The Irish and boxing go together like corned beef and cabbage. Macklin, rated No. 3 by Ring Magazine and No. 2 by the World Boxing Council (“WBC”), embodies some of the same qualities as great fighters of Irish blood such as Jack Dempsey, Jimmy McLarnin, Terry McGovern, Barry McGuigan, Wayne McCullough and Packy McFarland.
 
Born and raised in Birmingham, England, Macklin was outright robbed in his last fight, dropping a highly-contested 12-round unanimous decision last June to World Boxing Association (“WBA”) Super Middleweight Champion Felix Sturm in Germany.   Matthew's father is from Four Roads in County Roscommon, his mother hails from County Tipperary. Macklin learned how to play hurling, Ireland's national sport, in Ireland and played for an elite youth team from County Tipperary. Matthew is close friends with Irish hurling stars Eoin Kelly and Lars Corbett, who supported Macklin at his recent open workout in New York City.
 
Macklin is trained by James “Buddy” McGirt, a two-time world champion and 2002 BWAA Trainer of the Year, who has trained the likes of Antonio Tarver, the late Vernon Forrest and the late Arturo Gatti.
 
If Macklin knocks off Martinez, Matthew and McGirt may break out into an Irish jig right in the ring.
 
Also fighting on the Irish-accented card is popular Irish-American light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (12-0, 8 KOs), a bricklayer from Long Beach (NY) whose parents are from Nevan and County Meath in Ireland. Monaghan takes on Eric Watkins (6-1) in an eight-rounder.
 
The “Fighting Publicist,” Catskills middleweight Kevin Rooney Jr. (3-1, 1 KO), returns in a four-round bout, prior to going back to work for DiBella Entertainment later that night. His father is former pro fighter and Mike Tyson's trainer, Kevin Rooney Sr., and their Irish ancestors are from County Clare.
 
Junior welterweight Danny “Little Mac” McDermott (9-3-2, 4 KOs), whose grandparents lived in Donegal and Foxford, County Mayo, faces Carl “Chi-Town Assassin” McNichols (7-3, 6 KOs) in an eight-round fight.
 
Dublin-born heavyweight Thomas Hardwick, fighting out of Yonkers, is a bricklayer for Irish-owned H. F. Construction. He spars with Monaghan and another DiBella heavyweight prospect, Tor Hamer. Hardwick meets Blu Delong (0-3) in a four-round bout.
 
Also fighting on the undercard is a pair of undefeated heavyweights, WBA No. 15-rated Magomed “Mago” Abdusalamov (13-0, 13 KOs) and Jason Pettaway (11-0, 8 KOs), in a 10/12 round fight for the vacant World Boxing Council (“WBC”) Silver Championship.
OPBF and Japanese junior middleweight champion Charlie Ota (19-1-1, 13 KOs), presently rated No. 6 by the WBA, fights for the first time outside of Japan, ironically, in the city in which he was born.
 
Former world title challenger and Ring Magazine No. 7 rated junior lightweight, dangerous Dominican Argenis Mendez (19-2, 10 KOs), will be fighting close to his Brooklyn home in an eight-round bout.

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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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