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Nonito Donaire Tested, Gets Past Jeffrey Mathebula, UD12

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Donaire Mathebula 120707 003aWhat did you think of Donaire's effort tonight, readers? (Chris Farina-Top Rank)

WBO 122 pound champion Nonito Donaire sent Jeffrey Mathebula down to the mat for the first time in his career, in round four, and it looked like that might be all she wrote, because the South African arose on weak legs. But the bell clanged to end the round, and Mathebula, the IBF champ, regained his legs, and kept on chopping away. He did well to enter the later rounds, but not well enough to sway the judges his way. Donaire scored a UD12 victory in his first title defense, via scores of 117-110, 118-109, 119-108, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

Donaire went 151-515, to 231-919, but the judges liked the power edge of Donaire. Readers, did you? Was this scoring solid?

After, Donaire spoke to Max Kellerman. He said Mathebula was tough and faster than he thought, and hard to counter. The jab of the loser was hard to handle, he said, of the loser, who he termed a “great champion.” Of the knockdown, he said he didn't expect it, but later on, was smarter defensively. The winner said he should have used the right more. He said he thought the fight was close. “It was fun, I really had a good time,” he said, and then stated he had cramping in round six, after his leg fell asleep before the fight. He said he has had that experience before. And what's next? Arce, Rigo, Nishi? He mentioned Nishioka, then Mares, then Rigo, and then Nishioka again. He said soon he will go to 126, but he wants to get stronger first.

The loser had a bit of luck early, with volume, and making Donaire miss. Mathebula stayed busy, and regained his legs enough to stay mobile enough to stay safe for the most part, so some had to be surprised that he got into the later rounds. Certainly some of those folks who like Donaire as top five pound for pounder might have thought he'd take the loser out after that knockdown, but many of his boosters, in all likelihood, might be conceding that his pop isn't the same as he moves up in weight class.

On the HBO feed, it was sort of funny to hear how Bob Papa, Max Kellerman, Roy Jones and Harold Lederman all talked with fresh memories of The Decision in their heads; Lederman noted midway through that Mathebula's volume, in his eyes, didn't speak more than Donaire's crisper tosses. Papa lauded Lederman for explaining the though processes of the judges at one point as well.

Donaire was the forward mover, as he stalked the South African, who moved to avoid contact, and also featured an active upper body to steer clear of launches. His jab was not Holmesian at all, but he was active enough with it to put Donaire off. He threw about 60 of them per round, but these weren't scoring blows, not like Donaire's clean connects. Or were they? Dobaire's face looked like he'd been in a fight by the fifth, with some swelling telling Mathebula he was doing some nice work.

Lederman had it 86-84 after round nine, and the judge said Donaire chased too much, and didn't throw enough. He also noted Donaire complaining of a leg falling asleep; is it just me, or are we seeing a spate of guys with leg woes, cramps, calf problems, etc, in the last couple years? Donaire stepped it up in round 11, after trainer Robert Garcia told him to excel in the championship rounds. Blood flowed from the loser's mouth in this round, and we wondered if he broke his jaw. His punch output was less than half his typical output after eating a mean right. The right came perfectly timed, as Mathebula was readying his own right, and Nonito spied it. (It turned out he had a cracked tooth.) In round twelve, Mathebula got a bit busier. But not busy enough.

SPEEDBAG If there is a mullet Hall of Fame, eternal mullet-man Nick Durandt, Mathebula's trainer, should have a wing to himself.

–You can watch the fights on HBO at 10 AM on Sunday.

Will Rosinsky of Queens gave a decent account of himself, but Kelly Pavlik (now 40-2) showed himself to be of a higher grade than in the end. Pavlik won a UD10 in a super middleweight tussle, and we should be seeing him step up to a higher grade foe next time around. he said after he wants carl Froch, Lucian Bute, Andre Ward and Mikkel Kessler.

Pavlik sent Rosinsky, now 16-2, down in the second, but he rose, and with clear eyes. Some might have liked more of a killer instinct in the victor, if you want to play critic. The judges saw it 98-91, 98-91, 97-92.

“It was a tough fight,” the victor said after. “I didn't get off as fast as I wanted to. It was a good 10-round fight.”

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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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