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Anselmo Moreno Wants Nonito Donaire

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GoldenboyAbner Mares, Eric Morel and Anselmo Moreno participated in a media conference call on Friday to discuss their fights on the upcoming SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast on Saturday, April 21, which will be broadcast live on SHOWTIME® (9:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.

Unbeaten former Bantamweight World Champion Abner Mares (23-0-1, 13 KO’s), of Hawaiian Gardens, Calif. by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, will return to the 122-pound division for the first time since 2006 to face former Two-Time World Champion Eric “Little Hands of Steel” Morel (46-2, 23 KO’s), of Madison, Wis. by way of San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight World Championship in the 12-round main event.

In a second world title fight, World Boxing Association (WBA) Bantamweight Super World Champion Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno (32-2-1, 11 KO’s), of Panama City, Panama, will risk his crown for a 10th time when he faces Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico’s David “Morita” de la Mora (24-1, 17 KO’s) in the 12-round co-featured bout.

“Mares vs. Morel: Battle on the Border” is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. Just prior to the SHOWTIME Championship Boxing doubleheader, preliminary bouts will air live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

A special preview episode of THE FRANCHISE: A SEASON WITH THE MIAMI MARLINS will air at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) immediately preceding SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on SHOWTIME.

Tickets, priced at $25, $50, $75 and $150, are available for purchase at the UTEP Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com. For more information, please call: (915) 747-5234.

Here’s what the fighters had to say on Friday:

Do you consider yourself the best bantamweight in the world?

MORENO: “I wouldn’t consider myself the best, but I am considered one of the best and I’m training and working hard to become the best.Right now I want work hard and have fans be the judge.”

Is there anyone you want to fight after this and are you going to stay at 118 or are you going to be moving up to 122 pounds?

MORENO: “I think right now my biggest opponent would be the daily workouts in the gym – the heavy bag, the speed bag, working the mitts with my trainer. That would be the toughest because we work very, very hard. As far as opponents, I’m ready to fight the best and I’ve shown that in the past. I’m staying at 118 maybe for one more fight and them I’m ready to jump to 122 to fight the biggest names out there.”

Did you expect a more competitive fight from Vic Darchinyan?

MORENO: “There was a lot of talk from people that it was a dangerous fight, that I was in over my head and that he was going to run me over, but I was never worried about that. I was always very confident about my skills. Once I stepped in the ring, I was very comfortable and I was very confident that I could outbox him and beat him clearly.”

People have compared you to Pernell Whitaker. What do you think of that comparison?

MORENO: “I’ve been told that, not only Whitaker, but also many past fighters from Panama. I’m proud and honored, but this is a style that I was born with. I was born in the streets and fought in the streets and I learned there.”

Is your style appreciated?

MORENO: “Definitely. You have to remember that the fight against Darchinyan was my first fight in the United States, so I was a little more reserved. Now I’m very excited to be fighting in the United States again and you’ll see a little bit of difference. I’m going to be the same boxer style-wise, but you’ll see a little bit more. I’m very anxious to get in the ring, please the crowd and defend my title again.”

Would you like to fight Nonito Donaire?

MORENO: “That is a dream of mine. I’ve been dreaming about it, thinking about it and that is something I look forward to. Work my way up to 122 pounds and fighting Nonito Donaire is definitely something that I have on my mind.”

Do you see yourself moving up to 122 and fighting the winner of Mares-Morel?

MORENO: “I don’t pick opponents. Everybody that knows me knows I don’t pick opponents. I let my promoter, my management and my team pick the opponents and I just fight. To go up to 122 to fight Morel, to fight Mares and fight the best out there, that’s my goal and that’s what I’ll do.”

MARES: “I’m happy to be on SHOWTIME again and to give another great fight. I can’t wait to be a world champion in a different weight class.”

You’re 37 years old now. What can you show Mares that he hasn’t already seen?

MOREL: “Mares is a great fighter, but my age is nothing but a number. I’m in great shape, my speed is there and I have more power. I feel like nothing is going to stop me. I can guarantee you that age isn’t catching up to me.”

Abner, you’ve been through the gauntlet in your last few fights.What have those fights given you in terms of facing a guy like Morel?

MARES: “I’m not worried and I’m not training any different because he’s 37 years old. I’m not training less because he has more fights.I’m just training like I always train for any opponent. I just look at this fight like another fight. Another opponent, another fight. I’ve fought top opposition and I’ve been able to adjust to every fighter. That’s just because of the way I train and the way I set myself mentally. I’m not concerned with my age, younger, older. I know he trains hard and I do expect a tough fight. None of that crosses my mind.”

Do you know what you’re getting yourself into with Eric and can you access his abilities?

MARES: “I do know what I’m getting myself into because I’ve been in the same position he has. I’ve been there where nobody knew about me.It’s a big step-up fight for him and he’s trying to get his name out there again. He’s basically trying to make a comeback and I get that. I’ve been there. When I first fought Yohnny Perez nobody knew about me. I definitely know what he’s thinking, I definitely know what I’m getting myself into. I know it’s going to be a tough fight. I know he’s going to train hard. I know he’s trying to prove to everybody that he’s ready, but, again, I train hard too. I’m ready for him and I hope that it turns out to be a great fight for the fans.”

Do you think it helped you that you had to go the full 12-round distance for all four of your last fights?

MARES: “Yes, we all know that at times it’s better going the full 12 rounds. It’s better to have way more experience than to be knocking guys out in the first or second round and then you get this fight that goes the full 12 rounds and you don’t know what to do. I’ve seen it all already and I’m blessed that I went 12 rounds in my last four fights.”

MOREL: “It’s going to be a great fight like I said before.Mares is not going to bring anything to the table that I haven’t seen before. I’m a veteran, I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve got to prove myself. Therefore, I’ve been training extremely hard and I’m not looking past this fight. It’s going to be a great fight. It’s do or die for me.”

How are you feeling at 122 pounds?

MOREL: “The fight is going to be a catch weight at 120 pounds. I’ve been fighting at 120 for the past three or four fights. It’s going to be an advantage, I think, because I won’t have to make 118. I’m not saying I have problems making 118 but I can come into the ring a little stronger.”

What do you think about the rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico?

MARES: “I really don’t focus on that. When I go inside the ring it’s just Abner vs. whoever. I don’t look to see if he’s from Puerto Rico, Canada or Europe. At the end of the day, it’s just another fight. It’s fun and it’s great that people like the Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry because they know that Mexico and Puerto Rico always brings great fighters and I’m thrilled this is another Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry. It’s going to be a great fight.”

MOREL: “Puerto Rico and Mexico have been going at it for a very long time and lately we’ve been doing bad, but on April 21 I’m going to change that.”

Why did you make the move up to 122?

MARES: “It was obviously a team decision. Why not? I think 122 is really interesting right now. Big names are there. I’ve fought everybody at 118 and 122 has great names and I can face all these guys back-to-back and I’d love to. I’m blessed and thrilled that this next fight is for a 122-pound title.”

Who would you like to fight at 122 pounds?

MARES: “I’m going to name like five and all of them would be great fights from bottom to top: Victor Terrazas, Fernando Montiel, Rafael Marquez, Wilfredo Vasquez Jr., Jorge Arce and the big name that is up there is, no doubt, Nonito Donaire. If all those fights can be made I’m more than willing to take those fights.”

Can you guys talk about your Olympic experience and how much it meant to you?

MARES: “It was great. It was short, but it was great. I lost in my first fight but it was something that no one can take away from me. It was great to go in 2004 and represent my country [Mexico]. It was, without a doubt, my best accomplishment. The whole journey – going to different parts of the world, meeting different people – to this day I still have contact with those people that I met on that journey. It was just a great experience and something that has helped me now as a professional fighter.”

MARES: “Mine was short as well because I lost to the Gold Medalist in my first round, but it was a great experience. I got to meet all kinds of athletes from all over the world. It was one of the goals that I had when I was growing up and I achieved that. To represent the U.S. in the biggest game was great and something that I will never forget.”

This is a compelling fight because of the contrast of styles with one guy being a boxer-puncher and one guy being a counter-puncher. Can you guys talk about that?

MOREL: “This is a great matchup and the best man’s going to win.The hungrier man is going to win, the one that comes in more prepared.Mares is a very complete fighter and I know what I’m getting into. It’s going to be great.”

MARES: “I agree that it’s going to be a great fight. Eric brings to the ring experience and a great style. He’s a good boxer and I’m going to adjust to his style. It’s going to be fun and interesting to go into the ring and try to figure out the style. I do go in there with a plan, but it always turns out that I figure out the opponent in the ring and I make a plan there. It’s going to be interesting figuring out his style. It’s going to be a great matchup.”

Are you excited for this opportunity?

MOREL: “I’m extremely thankful to SHOWTIME. Without them, none of this would be possible. It’s a great opportunity that SHOWTIME, Golden Boy and Team Mares has given me. I want to make sure the fans leave the place happy.”

MARES: “No doubt my life has changed tremendously after my first four fights on SHOWTIME. I’ll never forget the opportunity they’ve given me to showcase my style and showcase Abner Mares, not only inside the ring but outside the ring. It’s been great. It’s changed to the point where now I’m on TV and people recognize me, but I’m still going to stay the same. Going back to Hawaiian Gardens where I grew up, I’m the same guy, but it’s just great that people know me now.”

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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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