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Some Ideas For Andre Ward's Next



WardDawson TJHogan11Are you as struck as we are with the look on Ward's face in this moment? Look how focused he is. See how dialed in he is, how hyper-aware. Who on this list could best test SOG, readers?(Hogan)

It’s the best of times and the worst of times for Andre Ward. How to capitalize on his great win over Chad Dawson and continued dominance? I don’t see a single clear path for him. Playing his manager/promoter, I’d place these 20 names in front of me as options. In no particular order of significance but asterisks are next to genuinely viable options for next couple of opponents.

· Tommy Oostuzien (May be the best unknown, albeit untested ‘68…I’m feeling this kid.)

· Tavoris Cloud (Stock went way down with desultory performance vs Campillo, but not exactly a chump to test the 175 waters.)

· Gabriel Campillo (Excellent boxer at ’75 and deserves a break after three robberies. If he had pop, he’d be king.)

· Kelly Pavlik (Big money marketable fight if he stays off the sauce, in Oxnard, and earns a respectable ’68 scalp first.)

· Chavez Jr (If Chavez beat Martinez this would have been a serious PPV early next year, and maybe the #1 option. Chavez is game; his handlers not so much.)

· Lucian Bute (He beats Grachev (who starched ultra-gifted Sillakh) and somehow avenges his loss to Froch, this shoots to the top of the heap.)

· Andre Dirrell (Matrix would sign to fight his bro first. But he’s so talented, he’s one of the few with the style, size and ability to trouble anyone, even SOG. But his mental game is soft as overripe melon.)

· Tony Bellew (Go to England and raise your profile there. A solid ’75.)

· Nathan Cleverly (Same as above. But undefeated and no joke.)

· Isaac Chilemba (Decent ’75, but maybe #17 as far as options go.)

· Beibut Shumenov (He’s not as bad as people say and seems to have a gift for marketing.)

· Denis Grachev (Say he starches Bute; that’s two big scalps in a row.)

· Ismayl Sillakh (Major talent. Thought he was the truth. Would’ve been great option hadn’t he gone all house-of-cards on us.)

· Mikkel Kessler (Don’t need to see this rematch unless Mikkel does big things @ ’75.)

· Lateef Kayode (Not joking here. Ward would beat him now, giving up 30 pounds. Why not give up 15 and do it. People will tune in.)

· BJ Flores (Same as above. Also just think he’s kind of a fraud and wanna see his XL commentating head get dented.)

· Marco Huck (Say Ward did this really soon, it would have echoes of Jones-Ruiz. It’s a very compelling and dangerous yet winnable fight for Ward @ 175, while giving up significant size and weigh to the rough and tough, heavy-handed cruiser.)

· Gennady Golovkin (Why not, while the iron is hot? I think Golovkin could hang…despite looking like a junior middle…But would be thrilled to see him versus Martinez or do that fight with Pirog, which was my favorite 2012 match-up of up-and-comers, albeit titlists.)

· Dmitriy Pirog (For no other reason, Pirogi owes me for beating that drum like few others. Seriously, would love to see it, as Pirog works well on the inside, has good size and I just believe in him…but, yes, let him first prove himself @ ’60.)

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura



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



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



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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