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Believe Him Or Not

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KhanGarcia Hogan43Where did that come from? Who could have predicted that? Danny Garcia and his father/trainer Angel Garcia could.In a fight HBO introduced as a night that was not supposed to be, Daniel Garcia shocked almost everyone in the boxing community except himself and his team, who never wavered in their belief they were fulfilling Danny’s destiny. The boxing public believed they were going to see one thing. Danny Garcia believed in himself.

While a lot of things spring forth from the manic energy that is Angel Garcia, his love for his son may be the purest. Emanuel Steward referring to Angel Garcia during the pre-fight remarks stated, “Such love I never saw from a father.” In a Sky Sports Behind the Ropes documentary leading up to the fight, Angel Garcia professes that from Danny’s birth he knew Danny was special, “I don’t know why people don’t see it. People are just blind to it. I guess it is just me that sees it for now, but Danny is meant to be here. He is gifted. He is just going to have to prove it.”

Maybe Angel Garcia’s hurricane love allows Danny to sit so calmly confident in the eye of storms, whether the storms be his father, the streets of his working class Philly neighborhood, the gym or in the ring with the best fighters in the world. Danny Garcia surrounds himself with what he knows. His father is his trainer. His brother works his corner. His mom and sister hang out in his house. Bags in his gym are held together with duct tape. He makes hip-hop videos with his friends. He wants to renovate the park he grew up in. Maybe his confidence springs from this knowledge of place. Maybe this confidence arises from his 130 amateur fights. Whatever the origin, this calm confidence centers his identity as a fighter, as a counterpuncher.

Any doubts Danny Garcia had about himself as a world class fighter were put to rest during the 11th round of his fight with Eric Morales.To many of us this fight was about a good young fighter beating a badly faded version of a once great fighter. “I beat a legend for the title,” is how Danny describes that fight. He did so at the moment of the fight when things looked their worst. He steeled himself. He let his hands go. He countered.

As Danny Garcia entered the ring to fight Amir Khan, Jim Lampley stated that in Garcia, “there is no one fantastic quality that sticks out about him.” But, if you hit Danny Garcia with a left, he is going to hit you with his right. If you try to hit him with your right, he is going to hit you with his left. By the time the night was over, Danny Garcia showed this deceptively difficult ability is what makes him fantastic.

Khan attacked from the opening bell. Garcia immediately responded to those attacks with enough speed and quickness to let Khan know this was a fight. Khan used one-two’s and one-two-three’s. Garcia fired back with hook-cross and cross-hook combinations. The counter hook wasn’t landing, but Garcia found particular success with his right, looping it around Khan’s left.

In round 2 Khan came forward with even more multi-punch combinations, especially the 1-2-3. Again Garcia kept responding.

In round 3 during a period where Garcia was spending more time defending than responding, Khan must have forgotten the nature of the man he was dealing with. Khan walked in slowly with his right hand dangling well below his chin and compounded his mistake by throwing a sloppy right uppercut. Khan’s foolishness was met with Garcia’s perfect counter left hook. A lifetime of work realized in a moment. No accident, no blindly thrown punch, but a punch that was meant to be.

So did the kid who does nothing spectacular luck out again. Do we diminish Garcia’s accomplishment because Khan is diminished yet again in our eyes? The next time Danny Garcia steps into a ring with one of the best fighters in the world Danny Garcia and his father will certainly believe that he is supposed to be there. Will we believe?

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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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