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Golovkin Stays Busy While Awaiting BIG Fights

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Gennady-GolovkinFor a fighter I have seen precious little of, I love Gennady Golovkin. Why? Let's start with the fact that the 30 year-old old Kazakhstani with a 22-0 mark says he will drop down to 154, or go up to 168 to secure the most meaningful fights. In this day and age, of reticent champs, isn't that refreshing to hear?

Sadly, if your appetite has been whetted by that factoid, or the fact that his trainer Abel Sanchez likes the WBA sort-of middleweight champion more than any boxer he's ever worked with, and that includes Terry Norris (!), you'll be unhappy to know that it's still hard to find footage of the German resident. He fights on Saturday, against someone named Makoto Fuchigami (age 28), in the Ukraine. No, HBO or Showtime won't televise, nor will EPIX or anyone else; you'll have to be an enterprising sort who tracks down a stream, or waits for a YouTube post, to see if he can go to 23-0 with 20 stops against the 19-6 Japanese boxer, who is fighting for the first time out of Japan.

By the way, I wrote “sort-of” middleweight champion because the WBA decided awhile ago to elevate Felix Sturm to their super middleweight champion, or so I hear, I don't even want to clarify that issue because it defies common sense to not have one single champion in a weight class. Golovkin has been doing everything short of hiring a plane to taunt Sturm with sky-writing the last couple years; he says that his ex Universum stable-mate knows he's got chops, so he doesn't want to tangle with him. “We knew each other pretty well,” Golovkin said on a conference call yesterday.”We used to see each other in the gym all the time.We trained together but we never sparred together.I believe that the reason why Sturm does not want to fight me is because he knows me well and knows that he can’t beat me.He knows me and I know him and I want the fight.”

He thinks it could happen Sept. 30, but based on Sturm's defensive abilities–he last fought a mandatory in Neveruary, and no recent “name” champion has been allowed to defend a crown against journeymen and B+ level competition like the 33 year-old Sturm has been–we would not be surprised if it doesn't. Golovkin says he'd happily rumble with Dmitriy Pirog, the WBO middleweight champion (age 31; from Russia; 20-0 with 15 KOs).

Golovkin's manager Tom Loeffler said on the call that we could easily see Golovkin back in the ring, provided all goes well Saturday, on July 7, on the Wladimir Klitschko-Tony Thompson card, which EPIX will show. EPIX, he said, would be keen to show Sturm-Golovkin, and HBO told him they think highly of the Kazahk, and so did Showtime, with the right foe. Trainer Sanchez hopes the fighter can get his profile upped with more work. “Felix has dodged him for two years and continues to dodge him,” he said.”Even a credible opponent, 1 thru 9, when we started this training came, would not fight him.This is a high-risk, low-reward fight and hopefully that will change (later) in 2012.”

Golovkin, who spends almost the whole year in Big Bear, CA., has that 'I will fight anyone' mentality, and says he'd sign to fight Sergio Martinez today. He's told me he has an inkling he's the best middleweight, bar none, but knows talk is cheap and that he needs to meet and defeat Martinez to be able to say that with certainty. Chavez Jr. isn't on Sergio's level, Golovkin said on the call, for the record.

Loeffler said Golvkin fighting in NY makes much sense, and that's on the to do list.

Golovkin returns to action following a first round knockout of Philadelphia based contender Lajuan Simon on December 9th in Dusseldorf, Germany. Simon had not been stopped over his eight-year career, including a twelve round war with then world champion Arthur Abraham and going the distance with Sebastian Sylvester, both in 2009. Golovkin won the WBA world middleweight title on December 16, 2010 with a third round stoppage of Nilson Julio Tapia in Astana, Kazakhstan.His first defense came in Panama City, Panama against former champion Kassim Ouma on June 17, 2011 with a tenth round TKO.

I always perk up when someone is out there announcing his willingness to fight the very best. It is a rarer and rarer commodity, with so many boxers having more of a this-is-a-business mentality these days. (Not that that is so bad, of course. The fighters have to look out for themselves and make sure they get what is due them..but I would like a balance, with some of that old-school warrior, you got-to-beat-the-best to be the best attitude on display sometimes.) This is a reason why I pay a bit more attention to PR releases about Golovkin than others. Time to get this kid on HBO or Showtime, and see if his skills match the appetite for top-flight opposition.

Feel free to check out this video on the Golovkin-Fuchigami match.

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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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