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“Was This Fight As Close As Many Seem To Think It Was?”

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ArYNg6-CEAIi-DdWas this fight really as close as many seem to think it was? I've watched it twice now, once with the sound off, and I scored it 117-111.

The fight reminded me a lot of the James Toney-Vissily Jirov fight from 2003. That fight was also considered close by some, and wide by others. Last night, I thought the enthusiastic crowd and the blood on Floyd's nose, along with the destination of most of the action, made some of the rounds appear alot closer than they really were.

When the action took place in the centre of the ring, Mayweather dominated with his overhand right- a clear indication that he had studied the Shane Mosley-Miguel Cotto fight. At times, Floyd didn't even bother to set it up behind a jab, he was literally throwing it one right hand after the other. Don't confuse this for Floyd's regular straight right hand lead, this was a far more aggressive, looping shot. Cotto, who's hands were in his usual high guard defensive position, had no answer for it. Also when the fight was in the centre of the ring, Floyd dominated with his rythm breaking jab, to the head and body, and a punch i've seldom seen Floyd utilize – a lead hand uppercut. This punch was effective because Mayweather threw it from the same angle as his jab, which resulted in Miguel not being able to anticipate what punch Floyd was going to throw next. When Cotto did mount his offense, he was stifled and stymied by Mayweather's uncanny ability to read an attack. By dipping low enough to make Cotto land off the mark, or by simply shutting down the left hook by raising his right arm in such a way that his right elbow was protecting his face and body, Cotto did not get in enough clean, scoring shots for my liking. In the centre of the ring, Floyd dominated.

Now here is where there is a misconception in boxing. If a fighter has his back to the ropes, it does not automatically mean that his opponent has gained the upper hand. There are very few fighters who are as comfortable as Floyd Mayweather is when he is in this, a percieved negative position-only James Toney could match him in this area. In other words, because it's not the norm to see a fighter voluntarily go to the ropes, when it happens, many view it as a sign that said fighter is being forced there against his will.

Like in the James Toney-Vassily Jirov fight, Mayweather actually got the better of the exchanges in close up on the ropes. Yes, Cotto did have some success there, he was throwing enough to get at least a few clean shots in, which he did. However, the vast majority of Cotto's swings were finding nothing but elbows and thin air. Mayweather on the other hand, was actually landing the better, cleaner shots with his back to the ropes. Take another look at the fight, you will see Mayweather fire off short crisp combinations -mainly left hooks and uppercuts- with his back against the ropes. This really was a dissitation on inside fighting. Mayweather's relaxation, visual clarity and extreme comfort in this position, amid punches raining down on him, is a sight to behold. Again, go back and watch the action without paying attention to the crowd every time Cotto swings at him, there were very few occasions when anything landed clean on Floyd. With his back to the ropes-Cotto's most dangerous offensive position-Mayweather got the better of almost every exchange.

Cotto deserves a lot of credit for his effort. He fought a very disciplined fight, but I dont think the fight was close as most seem to think it was. Cotto's ;lack of footspeed hurt him in the centre of the ring, and Mayweather's impregnable defense hurt him in close and up on the ropes.At 35 years-old, I dont think there were any significant signs of a Mayweather decline. Mayweather, a defensive specialist,is so dominant, that any landed shots on him are going to be blown out of context.

For once, we know what is next for Floyd Mayweather. After that? As usual, who knows. Lets hope it's the fight we all want to see.

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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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