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Ward vs Dawson: Who Do Ya Like?

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ward-dawsonOAKLAND, CALIF.(June 21, 2012) – Two young, exciting, classy, established world champions, both from the United States, both in their primes and both widely recognized as the best in their weight class, will clash when undefeated Andre “SOG'' Ward (25-0, 13 KOs) defends his WBA, WBC and RING super middleweight championships against once-beaten WBC and RING light heavyweight titleholder “Bad” Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) of New Haven, Conn., in the main event of “Ward vs. Dawson – World Champions – Made In America'' on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.

The mega-super fight, which was recently announced in Las Vegas, is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions in association with Antonio Leonard Productions and SOG Promotions. Tickets, priced at $300, $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, will go on sale TOMORROW, Friday, June 22 and will be available for purchase at the Oracle Arena box office, by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or online at ticketmaster.com. The scheduled 12-rounder will be televised live on HBO® World Championship Boxing at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT.

This type of compelling matchup where the top fighter in one division faces the No. 1 boxer in another division happens only occasionally in boxing. A few examples (where the smaller boxer won):

Floyd Mayweather was welterweight champion when he moved up and defeated Oscar De La Hoya for a junior middleweight title (May 5, 2007); Manny Pacquiao was the lineal 140-pound titlist when he beat Miguel Cotto for a welterweight belt (Nov. 14, 2009); Roy Jones was the undisputed light heavyweight boss when he went up and whipped John Ruiz for a heavyweight crown (March 1, 2003); and Timothy Bradley was a 140-pound belt-holder when he “beat” welterweight champion Pacquiao (June 9, 2012).

Much rarer is when the No. 1 in a weight class drops a division to face the leading man, such as what Dawson is doing. One example is Jones, who, one fight after dethroning Ruiz, went back to 175 pounds and defeated then-light heavy champion Antonio Tarver (Nov. 8, 2003).

Ward, universally acknowledged as 2011 Fighter of the Year and the lone U.S. boxer to win a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, and Dawson, a two-time world champion at 175, are both coming off impressive victories in the highest-profile matches of their careers.

The 6-foot, 28-year-old Ward, despite a broken hand, proved he was the planet's No. 1 super middleweight when he won the Super Six World Boxing Classic on Dec. 17, 2011, by mostly manhandling England's Carl Froch, who would go on to destroy Canada's Lucian Bute last May 26. Going into that fight there was a small faction who believed that Bute was still at the head of the weight class. Now, however, there is absolutely no question that Ward is the man at 168.

The 6-foot-1 Dawson, who turns 30 on July 13, is coming off a dominant 12-round majority decision over the legendary Bernard Hopkins last April 24. At the post-fight press conference, Dawson expressed a desire to drop down and meet Ward rather than defend against a lesser-known light heavy contender. Dawson turned pro at super middleweight, but this will be his first start at 168 since February 2006.

“Chad's the best in his division and I'm the best in my division,” said Ward, who'll be giving away five inches in reach. “Chad has proven he wants to fight the best.I want to fight the best. You want to make a statement when you can, and this is the right time for a big fight like this. He's coming off his best win. He's a tree. I have to find a way to chop him down.

“Neither of us are all-time greats yet. We still have work to do.”

“Neither of us are all-time greats yet. We still have work to do.”

Said Dawson, “We're both great champions, two young guys taking each other on. I think this fight is great for the sport of boxing. It's a situation where he didn't have to take the fight and I didn't have to take the fight. (But) The deal got done, and there was no confusion. Everything went smooth.”

“Chad and Andre are the best fighters in their respected divisions, and both are worthy of pound for pound status,” said promoter Gary Shaw. “Anytime you have two great champions willing to risk it all, as we do in this fight, the fans are the ones who benefit the most. On September 8th, the world will witness, what I believe might be the fight of the year. It is highly unusual when two world champions, both owning the Ring belt in two divisions, agree to fight one another.”

“The fact that Dawson is coming down from light heavyweight to super middleweight and challenging Ward, who was “Fighter of the Year” in 2011, on his home turf, is proof that he has the heart of a warrior. He must be commended for his great courage, and these are what the old-time throwback fighters were all about.”

Oracle Arena has hosted four of the last seven Ward fights. “I'm excited. I would've fought anywhere, and I think I proved that in my last fight (against Froch in Atlantic City),'' Ward said. “It's great for me, and it's going to be great for Oakland to have their champion come home.''

Offered promoter Dan Goossen, “It's a risky fight, and Andre's taking on a huge challenge, having just won the unified super middleweight title and now fighting the light heavyweight champ. But he's ready for this challenge and the fans are going to see who is the preeminent world champion of these divisions.

“I commend both Chad and his promoter Gary Shaw being so confident in fighting Andre. The beneficiaries of this confidence will be the Bay Area fans and HBO subscribers, and I know the fighters will give them a great fight.

“We believe there will be 19,000 strong at Oracle Arena on September 8 screaming wildly for Andre to defend his championships in front of his hometown fans. I know the city and fans are thrilled we're there and we're going to bring a Las Vegas-level event to Oakland.”

“Fight fans win when elite fighters who have proven to be the best in their respective weight classes agree to meet in the ring and provide the sport with a compelling showdown,” said Kery Davis, senior vice president of programming, HBO Sports. “We applaud both Chad and Andre for stepping up and taking on this challenge and we're thrilled to be televising the event live on our flagship boxing series.”

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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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