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Beltran Upsets Lundy on Friday Night Fights

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FNFRay Beltran graduated from sparring partner, to Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, to champion, and upset NABF lightweight titlist Hank Lundy in the main event of Friday Night Fights from Resorts in Atlantic City. After ten rounds, the judges scored it 95-95, 96-94, 96-94, for the aggressor Beltran, and you could hear the hearts of Team Lundy drop into their guts when the scores were announced. Lundy, rated No. 1 at 135 by the WBC, behind champion Antonio DeMarco, needed to win to hope alive for an Adrien Broner fight.

There will be second guessing, my guess is, for taking the fight, and for fighting in the manner he did. Should he have waited for a title shot, and just fought a softie in the meantime? Did he fight too defensively on this night, and sacrifice some snarl in the name of safety?

Lundy provided some drama at the Thursday weigh-in, needing four tries to make 135. To his credit, he didn't stop sweating until he made the weight. We wonder–would he have showed more against Beltran if he was on weight before Thursday evening?

Beltran had the edge in the stat department; the Mexican went 167-541 to 153-516 for the loser. By and large, the best advice any trainer can give his fighter, as always, is be busier than the other guy.

In the first round, Lundy (21-1-1; age 28; from Philly) showed off a hand speed advantage. He popped a jab and moved his feet smartly to get out of range after doing what he needed to do. In the second, Beltran (age 31; 25-6; from Mexico; longtime sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao) went to the body to good effect early. But Lundy impressed with his torso movement, as he slipped punches with veteran poise. In the third, Beltran kept plowing forward on Lundy. He was cut on his left eye, and the quarters closed late in the third. Beltran got and stayed in Lundy's face. A body shot hurt Lundy and then left hooks had him badly buzzed, but he made it to the end of the round. They both landed left hooks at the same time, and we almost had a double knockdown. Staying stationary hurt Lundy and his corner told him to move more in the fourth. The round was tight, with Lundy moving more, but that took from his offense. Beltran, ever patient, stalked, and looked to land power hooks. Lundy went to lefty and then back righty again.

We wondered if Lundy would get any above and beyond love from the judges if it went to the cards after a tight fifth, because he is the East Coast guy.

In the sixth, Lundy dictated terms with the jab. In the seventh, Lundy fought smart again, keeping off the ropes, making Beltran miss. Beltran in round eight looked to step it up, sensing the end being near. In the ninth, Lundy stayed smart. In round ten,

SPEEDBAG Zab Judah sat in for Teddy Atlas. He looked over and saw perhaps future foe Danny Garcia, sitting in the front row, watching the scraps.

—Shane Mosley joins Joe Tess next week.

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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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