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Solo Boxeo Ringside Report: Clear View to a Poor Decision

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101110 BoxeoSaturday night the Woodland, Ca. Community and Senior Center played host to Solo Boxeo Tecate. promoted by Golden Boy promotions in association with Paco Presents and Don Chargin productions. The main event featured quality prospects Paul Mendez, 10-2-1 (4 KO) and DonYil Livingston, 8-2-1(4 KO). Both fighters needed a win to springboard their careers.

The fight was filled with the controlled action of serious professional boxers, but ended in controversy as the officials proved not as fit for the task as the fighters. In the opening minute of the seventh, Mendez pinned Livingston against the ropes, unleashing a combination that ended with a hard, digging left hook that dug well below Livingston’s beltline and directly into the right side of his crotch. Livingston went down as if poked with an electric cattle prod, splayed out on the canvas on all fours.

As I had a direct view across the ring and saw the low blow clearly, I was surprised to see the referee, Dan Collins, begin to administer the count. So were some of Mendez’s corner men as I heard one of them say, “they didn’t see it, they didn’t see it.” Livingston arose at the count of eight, but with his hands down at his side and in obvious distress, the referee put his arm around Livingston and walked him to his corner, ending the fight. Mendez’s team stormed the ring to celebrate the victory with their fighter, and maybe, just as importantly, to hastily take his gloves off to make the idea of a restart less realistic.

Livingston’s chief second, Henry Ramirez, also stormed the ring in order to grab the referee’s arm to inform him that Livingston was hit with a low blow. Both fighters’ camps filled the ring. Sweat poured down the now literally red face of referee Dan Collins. Collins asked the judge sitting to the right of me, Susan Thomas Gitlin, if she saw a low blow. She answered no. A crowd of 20 to 30 spectators including much of Livingston’s family and friends gathered around the ringside Telefutura T.V. monitor. They let out audible gasps and shouts of “no” as they must have seen the replay of the low blow. Referee Collins returned to my side of the ring, leaned over to judge Susan Thomas Gitlin and said, “Red corner is disqualified, blue corner wins.” Livingston fought out of the blue corner.

A minute later the bell rang, singling the announcement of the decision. I expected mayhem to ensue from a disqualification ruling, but instead the ring announcer declared Mendez winner by TKO at 43 seconds of the seventh round.

After the bout, I asked referee Collins about the decision. He said he did not see the low blow and that all the three judges he polled did not see the low blow so his TKO ruling stands. When asked why he told the one judge there was a disqualification, he said that talk of disqualification came from ‘over here,’ referring to the state commission table we were standing next to, but that his decision superceded that call.

Mike Guzman, the CSAC official in charge, stated that Livingston could appeal, and if granted, the result would turn into a technical decision. With Livingston behind on all three scorecards at the time of stoppage, his appeal would only change the nature of his loss. Guzman said he had no idea where talk of a disqualification came from. The crowd left the arena quickly and quietly, shocked from sudden ending of a fight whose final act was building to a crescendo.

No one was cheated as much as Livingston, who was coming on stronger at the time of stoppage. Livingston handled a loss he knew he didn’t deserve with class, even calming furious members of his team in the ring. Paul Mendez was also cheated of a clear win in a fight fought with conviction and clean, crisp punches, especially when he worked off of his jab. Sitting in a chair outside of the now cleared ring with a blank exhausted look on his face sat Mendez’s trainer and strategist, Dean Familton, emotionally spent from the tension of his boxer’s fight and the confusion following. He looked at me and said, “It is a win.”

Next to him was Mendez’s cutman Joe Chavez, a lifetime veteran of the fight game. He shook his head. “These refs,” was all he had to say.

How a referee and three judges could fail to see the low blow may just be the bad luck of poor angles. Livingston should have been given 5 minutes to recover and continue to fight, to pursue his life dedicated dream. But if any sport has more ‘shouldas’ than boxing, I would like to know.

In other action, Manuel ‘Tino’ Avila, 10-0 (3), fought through a hip injury that occurred in training that limited his sparring and fought through the tough veteran pressure from John Albert Molina, 32-20-3 (20) to box his way to a unanimous 79-73 decision on all the judges’ scorecards. Guy Robb, 8-1 (4), of Sacramento outworked Jonathon Alcantara, 6-8-2 (1), of Novato. Robb knocked Alcantara down in the 3rd on his way to a 60-53 unanimous decision. In the opener, Jonathan Chicas, 7-0 (3), outgunned John Mendoza, 7-7 (3) winning their rematch 50-45 on all 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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