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Victor Conte Working With Edwin Rodriguez

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DiBellaLogo-no-websiteWORCESTER, Mass. (March 13, 2012) – Four years of planning, hard work and dedication culminates Saturday night for Team Rodriguez as undefeated super middleweight Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez makes his HBO debut against Donovan George at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

The International Boxing Federation's (“IBF”) No. 3-ranked Rodriguez (20-0, 14 KOs) challenges IBF No. 11-rated, United States Boxing Association (“USBA”) champion Donovan (22-1-1, 19 KOs) in the co-feature supporting the Sergio MartinezMatthew Macklin main event on the DiBella Entertainment-promoted St. Patrick's Day show, THE REAL Middleweight Championship – Get Your Irish Up.

Rodriguez breaks his Houston training camp today (Tuesday) after eight weeks of preparation with his head trainer, Ronnie Shields, for Saturday evening's showdown that will likely propel the winner closer to a world title shot. “We had a great training camp, the best of my career,” Rodriguez said. “I had great sparring, especially with Cornelius White. Ronnie's put together a great game plan for this fight and I'm ready. From the very beginning we've pointed towards a fight like this – HBO at Madison Square Garden – but we all realize that there's still a long way to go and our ultimate goal is to be world champion.”

Rodriguez' manager, Larry Army, has constructed Team Rodriquez, switching to head trainer Ronnie Shields a year ago, and recently adding nutritionist Victor Conte. Army chuckled to himself on a conference call last month when he heard that a strength-and-conditioning coach was brought in for the first time to work with George.

“My job as Edwin's manager is to assemble a team of the best in the business,” Army explained. “We have the No. 3 super middleweight in the world working with a future Hall of Fame trainer, Ronnie Shields, and now Conte who has worked with so many world record holders and all-stars. From the day I signed Edwin, we've treated him like a world champion. We didn't wait until now to invest in our world-class athlete. He's always had a strength-and-conditioning coach and nutritionist. We have all prepared the last four years for this fight. We've upgraded the team over time and Saturday night we expect the last four years to pay dividends.”

Army decided last year to send Edwin away from his Worcester home and New England training base to Houston and Shields, who agrees with Rodriguez that this camp was tremendously beneficial for his fighter's mental and physical preparation for George.

“We had an all-around great camp,” Ronnie confirmed. “This was our third camp together and we worked a lot on his defense. He's gotten it down and Edwin's ready to go. He's confident knowing that he's in great shape and we have a great game plan developed over the past eight weeks. Maybe for the first time he's been able to focus on just one thing. I sit and talk to him a lot about the high expectations I have for him and that he should have the same for me. We've really meshed well together this camp. Edwin's very comfortable and confident. I think we'll really see Victor Conte's work in the fight.”

Conte is the last piece to the Team Rodriguez puzzle. “Science has been brought into the mix at the elite level of sports,” Army remarked, “but boxing is still far behind in that respect. Victor is the best in terms of bringing scientific advances into boxing. We've seen what he's done with (Nonito) Donaire and (Andre) Berto. What Victor has done with Edwin is making a big difference in terms of his energy, mental focus and recovery. Victor has developed a program for Edwin to use at various stages of training, including different legal supplements, protein drinks, vitamins, minerals and, of course, proper diet and rest”

Army was referred to Conte by Berto's trainer, Tony Morgan. “We drew Edwin's blood to collect data in order to determine what may be depleted,” Conte broke down the evaluation procedure. “We addressed any imbalances or deficiencies with nutritional supplements. We developed a comprehensive profile looking at his immunity system and oxygen intake. The goal is for Edwin to achieve optimum balance. This isn't about mega-dosing, only what he needs. He has to increase training intensity but also rest properly for recovery, repair and growth. There's also the final cutting product for the weigh in and prime hydration leading up to the fight. The exact approach is for the individual, not the same for all.”

Conte's methods had a profound effect on Rodriguez during training camp with even more positives expected this week. “I felt a big difference during training camp,” Rodriguez concluded. “It's a great feeling knowing that it isn't all about training. I'm less stressed than normal because of the proper rest, vitamins and minerals, diet and information provided by Victor. I am more of a complete fighter.”

Tickets are priced at $505, $355, $205, $125 and $65, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased through the Madison Square Garden Box Office or through Ticketmaster, at ticketmaster.com, or by calling (866) 858-0008. Call DiBella Entertainment at (212) 947-2577, or visit www.dbe1.com and @loudibella on Twitter for more information.

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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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