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Hector Camacho Sr Training Hector Camacho Jr.

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Camacho (1)PROVIDENCE, R.I. (March 13, 2012) – Even in some of the more impoverished streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Hector Camacho Jr. finds signs of encouragement.

A morning jog results in a chance encounter with champions both past and present – Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Lopez – all of whom train regularly in their native Puerto Rico, which Camacho Jr. calls “an island for fighters.”

“Every so often you run by them and yell, ‘Keep it up, champ!’ and they acknowledge you back,” said Camacho Jr., who’ll return to the United States later this month to face World Boxing Council U.S. National Boxing Council (WBC USNBC) middleweight champion Elvin Ayala (25-4-1, 11 KOs) of New Haven, Conn., in a 10-round title bout on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” March 30th, 2012 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino’s MGM Grand Theater, presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports.

“We want to see each other win. We back each other. It’s great motivation.”

The son of former four-time world champion Hector “Macho” Camacho Sr., Camacho Jr. (53-4-1, 28 KOs) has spent the past five weeks in Puerto Rico training for what may be the biggest fight of his life – and his first in more than a year since beating Juan Astorga in February of 2011. As an added incentive, he’s working directly with his father, absorbing the knowledge and wisdom of one of boxing’s most electrifying showmen for the first time in his career.

Considering his father, who’ll turn 50 in May, has only been retired for two years, this is one of the few opportunities Camacho Sr. has had to work exclusively with his son without simultaneously having to prepare for one of his own fights. Even though they once fought together on the same show during the latter stages of Senior’s career, this is still the first time the proud father of four has trained his eldest son, quite possibly the highlight of their relationship.

“He’s a great son,” Camacho Sr. said. “I almost cried when he asked me to train him.”

“I wish I had done it sooner,” Camacho Jr. added. “The thing is I trained for years in Puerto Rico with my team. I started off 33-0. Things were going great, and I didn’t think I needed him around. Plus, he had his own career.

“With his life and all of his traveling, we were never on the same page. We finally are now.”

Camacho Sr. has always done things his way – his “Macho World,” as Junior calls it – and he applies that same lifestyle to the manner in which he trains his son.

Senior’s ring exploits, both good and bad, are legendary; in what could be best described as an extravagant career fueled by both unabashed confidence and, at times, prideful stubbornness, Camacho Sr.’s resume includes wins over Roberto Duran and “Sugar” Ray Leonard – the latter which ended Leonard’s career – along with a baffling loss to Greg Haugen in which he lost a point prior to the 12th and final round for refusing to touch gloves with his opponent. Had it not been for the point deduction, the fight would’ve ended in a draw and Camacho Sr. would’ve retained his title.

Even with retirement setting in, Senior remains as fiery as ever, pushing his son to the limit with a style Junior refers to as “tough love” mixed with some of the “Macho” flair that led his father to 79 victories and four world titles.

“He’s always cursing at me and screaming at me; I’m not used to it, but I like it,” Camacho Jr. said. “I’m seeing things start to pan out. He’s on my ass everyday. ‘I did this when I trained!’ or, ‘Why are you running six miles? I ran 10!’ At times, he’ll come off as rude. He’ll yell, ‘Move your fat ass!’ Hey, it works.

“He pushes me. He incorporates some of his old-school training into my training regimen. The work is harder, but I’m seeing the results. As a veteran, there are shortcuts you can take [in camp], but there aren’t any this time – not with my father.”

“He’s sharp,” Camacho Sr. added. “As long as he listens, I won’t get mad at him.”

Though he promises fight fans will see a little bit of his father in him on March 30th, Camacho Jr. won’t change his style completely, not with 53 wins and 28 knockouts under his belt. This is part of the delicate balance he’s dealt with his entire career, constantly weighing the pros and cons of being the son of a living legend. If anything, working with his father has helped Camacho Jr. unwind.

“You’ll see a looser Camacho Jr., that I can tell you,” he said. “My whole approach, my attitude – I feel relaxed. I feel like I’m the more experienced fighter, the bigger puncher, the better fighter; these last six weeks with my father have made a difference.

“I have an edge now.”

While he’s not as flamboyant as his father, Camacho Jr. is still a marketable fighter with the ability to draw crowds and make fans with his respectful attitude and positive energy. In the ring, he’s what Ayala describes as an “agile” fighter who “knows a lot of tricks.”

“He’s very fast,” Ayala said. “He moves a lot. I’ve been working on throwing a lot more punches. Instead of the usual one shot here, and another shot there, I’m adding to my repertoire based on the type of fighter Hector is.”

Ultimately, Camacho Jr.’s goal is to carve his own niche independent of what his father accomplished, a theme prevalent throughout his training camp and supported wholeheartedly by his father, who constantly reminds Junior to “be yourself.”

“Hector always wants to prove that he can be as good or as big as his father,” Camacho Sr. said. “I’ve always told him there’s no comparison. In my time, it was ‘Macho’ time. Now it’s ‘Junior’ time. You just have to be the best you can be by being yourself. If you can’t be the best by being yourself, something’s wrong with you.

“In his own mind, he’s a winner,” he added. “He should be able to go out there and outclass [Ayala] with his boxing ability. I think he’s going to be powerful.”

The 10-round main event on March 30th features features Philadelphia’s “Hammerin’” Hank Lundy (21-1-1, 11 KOs) – ranked No. 4 in the WBC – defending his North American Boxing Federation (NABF) lightweight title against No. 11-ranked Dannie Williams (21-1, 17 KOs), the NABF’s No. 1 contender.

The show, titled “All In,” also features Philadelphia’s Frankie Trader (8-0, 2 KOs) facing Adrian Perez (7-4-1, 1 KO) of Sarasota, Fla., in a six-round super featherweight bout; and Shelton, Conn., super middleweight Nick Lavin (2-2, 2 KOs) battling Steven Chadwick (0-3) of Jacksonville, Fla. New London, Conn., featherweight Shelito Vincent (1-0) will face Karen Dulin (2-10, 1 KO) of Mystic, Conn., in a four-round rematch; and Josh Crespo (0-1-1) of New Haven will take on Alfredo Garcia (2-0) of Sarasota in a four-round super bantamweight bout. New Haven welterweight Christian Lao (3-1, 1 KO) will face Thomas Miller (2-0, 2 KOs) of Huntington, W.V., in a four-round bout.

Light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr. (7-1, 7 KOs) of Long Island, N.Y.; will face Loren Meyers (8-14-1, 1 KO) of Fresno, Calif., in a four-round bout while Providence, R.I., cruiserweight Donte Wiggins (1-0, 1 KO) and newcomer Abner Lloveras of Barcelona, Spain – the winner of the Spanish Olympic Boxing Tournament in 2010 who also has won 14 victories on his resume in professional mixed martial arts – will be featured in separate four-round bouts.

Tickets for “All In” are $40.00, $65.00, and $125.00 (VIP ringside) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, or the Foxwoods box office at 800.200.2882, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.foxwoods.com. Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.

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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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