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Gonzalez, With Weight Advantage, Draws With Dzinziruk on HBO

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HBO BADNeither Jonathan Gonzalez nor Sergiy Dzinziruk made the sort of impression that would make fight fans say, “I want to see that guy again,” and come to think of it, maybe HBO should have just pulled the plug pre-show on the opener on HBO's Boxing After Dark, which unfolded at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY. Gonzalez was nine pounds over the weight limit Friday, but handed over much of his purse, and the show went on. It was a ho-hum affair, and ended with a ho-hum decision, a draw after 12. The scores were 117-111 (Gonzalez), 115-113 (Dzinziruk) and 114-114.

Dazini went 166-610 to 170-621 for Heavy G. G had the edge in power shots (131 to 100), and on my totally unofficial card, rendered ultra-iffy because of my boredom, I liked the 117-111 card for G.

Gonzalez joined the Scale Fail Club, when he weighed in Friday for his fight versus Sergiy Dzinziruk at 163 pounds (to 156 1/2 for Dzinzi), well over the contracted 154 pound limit for their opening tussle on Saturday's HBO Boxing After Darl Show at the Turning Stone in Verona, NY.

The two teams decided if at 8 AM Gonzalez was 167 pounds or less, the fight could proceed. Behind closed doors, he was 165 pounds.

On fight night, G was 172, to 162 for Dzinzi, a two-weight division gulf between them.

HBO's Max Kellerman spoke to the Puerto Rican prospect, and asked him how he missed weight so badly. The boxer blamed the “travel” for making weight; he was to make $125,000, but he had to give up $60,000 as a penalty. The events promoters also handed over another $40,000, according to HBO, to Dzinzi, to sweeten the pot and help him get over the edge Gonzo had in eating whatever the hell he wanted weeks before the fight.

Gonzalez (15-0 entering; age 23) banged Dzinzi to the body, using a bulk edge against the lefty, a Ukrainian who lives in Germany. The 36 year old Dzinzi, best known for losing to Sergio Martinez (TKO8) in March 2011, started slowly. He ate sharp right in both the first two rounds. Gonzo backed up, but Dzinzi didn't press him, make him hustle to avoid contact. He maybe thought his jab to the body would take the steam out of Heavy G. The Puerto Rican would rush in now and again with a flurry, but this was a slowly paced bout through three.

In the fourth, the pace didn't accelerate much. G's corner asked him to press more after the round. In round five, G stuck with what worked on the lefty, the right hand, often a lead right. “Press, without holding back,” G's corner said after the round. In the sixth, G started to make Dzinzi back up. In the seventh, things stayed tight. To their man, Dzinzi's corner told him not to be “lazy.” In the eighth, Dzinzi's defense dropped a notch. He wasn't even bothering to try and slip shots much of the time.

In the ninth, Dzinzi ended with a flurry, maybe getting that he could easily be down on the cards. In the tenth, Dzinzi didn't show the urgency he needed to. In the 11th and 12th, the story was the same. Dzini didn't have the pop to bother Heavy G, G was calm and threw the heavier leather, if not as frequently as you'd like. “You gotta stop this guy,” the Gonzalez corner said before the twelfth. He didn't, though the two did amp it up some in the last frame, and we went to the cards.

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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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