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YAHOO! Boxing Back on Free TV, Dec. 15 and Dec. 22

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Fight fans, you put up with a lot of BS. The no brainer fights that obviously should get made don’t because of territorial marking, because too often personal conflicts get in the way of smart business decisions which would also most benefit the customers. Too many of the best bouts get kicked to PPV, and name fighters get too many showcase bouts, for reasons that are unfathomable to most of us.

I may get proved wrong, I hope I am, but I am still searching for how and why Kelly Pavlik, who hasn’t looked real sharp in three years, gets an opportunity against maybe the best pugilist in the world, Andre Ward. Hey, I’m no dummy, I get it that “names” get gigs, that many guys whose best days are way in the rear view mirror keep getting title cracks, because they have a rep (cough cough Zab Judah)….Again, let’s just say I hope Kelly Pavlik shocks the whole world on Jan. 26, because it’s hard to see how Andre Ward doesn’t toy with him….But I digress…

On to some good news–boxing is getting back on free TV, on CBS and then on NBC, and that is something to celebrate.

For too long, the promoters have been coasting. “The networks won’t put on boxing.” “We have a bad reputation, it’s Don King’s fault.” “Advertisers don’t want to touch boxing.” And there was some merit in the explanations/excuses…but boxing content has been too often the proverbial needle in the cable haystack, hard to find unless you hunted hard for it. There’s no substitute for having a compelling, action fight on a free terrestrial channel. Idle channel flippers can happen across the bout, and stay awhile, and voila…new fight fans are born! Radical concept, isn’t it!? So, CBS will be first out of the block and then NBC will show Main Events bouts on Dec. 22, kicking off at 4 PM. Here is the release that went out touting the Dec. 15 “free TV” event on CBS.

NEW YORK (Dec. 2, 2012) – Boxing returns to network television when SHOWTIME Sports, Golden Boy Promotions and CBS Television Network team up for an unprecedented day-night doubleheader that features up to seven live fights on two networks on Saturday, Dec. 15 from the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

A special Saturday of boxing will begin with a live afternoon doubleheader of “SHOWTIME Boxing on CBS” (4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT, CBS). In the main event, voracious young IBF Bantamweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz (22-0-1, 13 KOs) will face fellow unbeaten Alberto “Metro” Guevara (16-0, 6 KOs) of Mazatlan, Mexico.

2012 United States Olympian, the highly regarded Joseph “Jo-Jo” Diaz Jr., 19, of South El Monte, Calif., will make his anticipated professional debut against an opponent to be announced in the opening bout of the CBS broadcast.

It has been 15 years since CBS last aired live boxing. On Jan. 20, 1997, the most watched network presented then-middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins’ knock-out win over Glen Johnson. The most recent broadcast network presentation of live boxing was The Contender in 2005.

“We are proud to deliver one of today’s most exciting fighters in Leo Santa Cruz, taking on an undefeated challenger in Alberto Guevara, to a broadcast television audience,” said SHOWTIME Sports Executive Vice President and General Manager, Stephen Espinoza. “Coupled with the pro debut of Olympian Jo-Jo Diaz on CBS and the evening’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event makes December 15 a very special day for boxing.”

Later that evening, SHOWTIME EXTREME (8:30 p.m. ET/PT) and SHOWTIME (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) will present an additional slate of boxing on the premium network. The live fistic marathon will culminate with popular fan favorite and former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion and British superstar, Amir “King” Khan (26-3, 18 KOs), of Bolton England, facing undefeated contender Carlos Molina (17-0-1, 7 KOs), a former National Amateur Champion from Norwalk, Calif., in a 12-round junior welterweight fight. Additional fights on SHOWTIME and preliminary fights on SHOWTIME EXTREME are to be announced.

This has been a breakout year for the fast-rising, 5-foot-7½, 24-year-old Santa Cruz, who’ll be making his fifth start of 2012. He won the IBF 118-pound crown with an impressive 12-round unanimous decision over Vusi Malinga last June 2. A volume-punching pressure fighter, Santa Cruz retained his title with a fifth-round technical knockout win over former World Champion Eric Morel on Sept. 15 and by ninth-round knockout over Victor Zaleta this past Nov. 10. All three of his thrilling title fights were on SHOWTIME.

Guevara, who will be making his United States debut, has fought exclusively in Mexico with all but six of his pro fights in his native Mazatlan. A pro since November 2009, Guevara will be fighting for the third time this year. He is coming off of a unanimous eight-round decision victory over Raul Hidalgo last Aug. 4 in Mazatlan. Guevara’s most noteworthy victory came two outings ago when he captured a lopsided 10-round decision in a wild, one-sided bout against Khabir Suleymanov on April 14, of this year.

Diaz is a talented, promising southpaw who was the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team. A two-time national amateur champion at bantamweight and graduate of South El Monte High, Diaz went 108-6 in the amateurs. He advanced to the round of 16 in the London Games before losing to top-rated Cuban and eventual Bronze medalist, Lazaro Alvarez. Diaz, who is trained by his father, turns pro with one immediate goal: buy his parents a new house.

Other bouts on SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME EXTREME will be announced soon. All the fistic action on Saturday, Dec. 15 is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T.

 

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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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