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Trinidad to Cotto: “Go Toe to Toe With Floyd”

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MayweatherCottoMay51LOS ANGELES, May 2 – Many great fighters have come from the boxing-rich island of Puerto Rico, one of those being WBA Super Welterweight World Champion Miguel Cotto, who hails from the city of Caguas and now carries the torch passed to him by the last great Puerto Rican pugilist, Felix “Tito” Trinidad.

Cotto is nearing the biggest and most difficult fight of his career taking place this Saturday, May 5 against Floyd “Money” Mayweather at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. which will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®. Though he is the defending champion putting his 154-pound belt on the line, in many ways he is the challenger. That is simply because his opponent is Mayweather, undefeated at 42-0, a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Fame inductee and one of the greatest fighters of this era.

However, when boxers from Puerto Rico step into the ring, they don't just feel the pressure of facing another man, they fight with the expectations of millions, carrying the burden of a culture that lives and breathes for the sport of boxing.

The history of Puerto Rican boxing presents a remarkable lineage: Light Heavyweight World Champion Jose Torres; Lightweight and Super Lightweight World Champion Carlos Ortiz; Lightweight World Champion Esteban DeJesus; Junior Welterweight, Welterweight and Super Welterweight World Champion Wilfred Benitez; 122-pound, 126-pound and 130-pound World Champion Wilfredo Gomez; 135-pound and 140-pound World Champion Edwin Rosario and Felix “Tito” Trinidad, who captured world titles at welterweight, super welterweight and middleweight.

In an interview with Puerto Rico's El Nuevo Dia newspaper, Trinidad said Cotto will need to be fast enough to overcome Mayweather's speed and upper body movement.

“He should stay toe to toe with Mayweather, round-by-round, close to Mayweather like all Puerto Ricans know how to do, put all his heart in and stay toe-to-toe,” Trinidad said. “Try to look for a good shot and soften him little by little.”

Trinidad continued, “It is going to be very difficult for Cotto because the other guy has the physical conditioning, the intelligence, doesn't take many shots and is very elusive. Cotto can win, but it's not going to be easy.”

In recent years, other Puerto Rican fighters such as Juan Manuel Lopez and Ivan Calderon have also earned popularity and fame; however Cotto has been the face of Puerto Rico boxing for nearly a decade.

The 31-year-old Caguas native has taken on a wide range of opponents in his 11 years as a professional, which has included world title reigns at super lightweight, welterweight and currently super welterweight. He has shared the ring with countless champions and top contenders including Randall Bailey, Joshua Clottey, DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, Zab “Super” Judah, Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi, Antonio Margarito, Carlos Maussa, Sugar Shane Mosley, Lovemore N'dou, Manny Pacquiao, Carlos Quintana and Ricardo Torres. During this run, only future Hall of Famer Pacquiao and Margarito have defeated the Puerto Rican powerhouse, with Cotto avenging his controversial 2008 loss to Margarito with a cathartic and triumphant performance in December of last year.

A champion since 2004, Cotto who has successfully defended his titles 13 times, his accomplishments have earned him a shot at the top fighter in the sport.

His place as a Puerto Rican luminary is evidenced by the large crowds he has drawn to his mega-fights.

No other fighter in recent history has sold as many tickets in the city of New York as Cotto. Puerto Rican fans have come out in droves to see his fights live, buying more than 100,000 tickets for his seven bouts at Madison Square Garden and his fight in the outfield of Yankee Stadium.

Cotto, who already is a great champion, beloved by the people of Puerto Rico and beyond, has the golden opportunity to hand Mayweather the first loss of his professional career this Saturday night and solidify his place as a boxing legend.

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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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