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Melendez and Vidal Featured on Fri. “ShoBox”

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NEW YORK (June 4, 2013) — For boxing enthusiasts, it doesn’t get better than the International Boxing Hall Of Fame weekend that begins this Friday and runs through Sunday in the small town of Canastota in upstate New York.

Helping celebrate the sports of boxing to kick-start the highly anticipated three-day event will be a ShoBox: The New Generation doubleheader live on SHOWTIME® on Friday, June 7 (10 p.m. ET/PT delayed on the West Coast) from the Turning Stone Casino in nearby Verona. Many former and future Hall of Famers may partake in the fights, including one who will be inducted during Sunday’s ceremonies, longtime SHOWTIME ring announcer, Jimmy Lennon Jr., who will work the fights on Friday and will be interviewed ringside on the telecast.

“This is a great setting for a ShoBox show because Canastota is so close to Verona (approximately 10 miles apart),’’ said ShoBox expert analyst and boxing historian Steve Farhood. “Canastota is boxing heaven for fight fans and the Hall of Fame weekend is the greatest weekend of the year for them.’’

In the ShoBox main event, exciting world-ranked junior middleweight knockout specialist Jorge “Destroyer” Melendez (26-2-1, 25 KO’s), of Bayamon, P.R., faces former amateur standout Nick “The Machine Gun” Brinson (14-1-2, 6 KO’s), of Rochester, N.Y., in a 10-round middleweight match. World-ranked Jonathan “Pitbull” Vidal (16-0, 8 KO’s), of San Juan, P.R., and Mario “Yayo” Muñoz (13-0-1, 1 NC, 10 KO’s), of Guadalajara, Mexico, clash in a battle of unbeaten bantamweights in the eight round co-feature. The fight card is presented by Miguel Cotto Promotions and H2 Entertainment.

The streaking Melendez is not known for putting in a full night’s work. Only two of his 29 fights have gone the distance, and he has gone more than six full rounds only one time. One of the most prolific knockout artists in boxing today, the 5-foot-11, 24-year-old has won 13 in a row, 12 by knockout, and has not lost since July 2010.

Melendez has registered 10 knockdowns in his last five fights. In his last start the WBO Junior Middleweight Latino champion and current WBO No. 4-ranked contender put the deep and talented 154-pound division on notice, delivering a highlight-reel knockout of Ryan Davis on March 2 in Las Vegas on SHOWTIME EXTREME. Melendez dropped Davis in the third round and finished him with a single right uppercut 13 seconds into the fourth.

Melendez’ four previous bouts went a total of 13 rounds. The only times the aggressive-minded Melendez went the distance came on a four-round draw in his pro debut in May 2007 and on Oct. 29, 2011, when he took a close, unanimous 10-round decision over veteran Eric Mitchell. That was also the last time he failed to score a knockdown.

Like many huge punchers, Melendez is susceptible to a big punch himself. He was stopped in both his defeats – against fighters with sub .500 records. He lost by TKO 6 to Doel Carrisquillo (12-15-1) in July 2010 and by TKO 5 to Clarence Taylor (13-22-4) in July 2009. Melendez went down three times against Taylor.

“The main event features a very exciting fighter from Puerto Rico in Jorge Melendez, exciting not just because he can punch but because he’s an all or nothing fighter,’’ Farhood said. “He’s a puncher in the truest sense; he tries to knock you out with every punch and he is very right-hand happy.

“But his two losses both came by knockout.’’

Melendez will be making his second start this year. He fought four times in 2012 and six times in 2011. This will be his sixth scheduled 10-rounder.

“I’ve been training very hard, knowing that I’m going to a higher level regarding my opponents,’’ said Melendez, who is making his ShoBox debut, third consecutive start in the U,S. and sixth overall in the states. “I’m more of a brawler and a knockout artist. I am not a great technical fighter, but I’m working on my technique.

“I’ve been doing new exercises in training camp and I’m feeling a lot stronger, faster and more fit. I don’t know who my opponent is but we’ll be ready for anything he brings.”

One of nine children, Melendez was born in Manati, P.R., and raised in Vega Baja. He turned to boxing at the age of 12. “I had a lot of problems in the streets when I was growing up, so my grandfather told me I should learn to fight in the ring. That way I wouldn’t get into trouble,’’ said Melendez, who went 42-6 in the amateurs.

Brinson took this fight on a week’s notice, but he’s sharp, been active and never been knocked down. The 5-foot-11, 25-year-old is unbeaten in his last eight outings (7-0-1) since suffering his lone loss in November 2010, and will be making his fourth start this year. The New York State Middleweight Champion, Brinson is coming off a clear 10-round unanimous decision over the more experienced Jose Medina in his last outing on April 25.

Before turning pro at the age of 21 in November 2008, Brinson was a skilled amateur. Among those he beat in his 90-or-so-bout amateur career included Olympians Shawn Estrada and Errol Spence.

“I got the call last Saturday (to fight Melendez),’’ Brinson said. “I wish it was more time – but I’ve been busy. I’ve only been in the gym about a week and a half but I believe in myself, and I believe that I can still do it.’’

Brinson is a substitute for Lanardo Tyner, who was a replacement for Melendez’ original foe, Luis Grajeda.

“I’ve seen Melendez’ record,’’ said Brinson, a fast-handed boxer who possesses good skills and movement. “He must be a decent puncher. I don’t know much about him, I haven’t seen much film, but I imagine he’s going to come forward and try to take me out. I’ll be ready for that. I’ll outbox and out-skill him.

“I’m a great counterpuncher, so I’ll be expecting that.”

Brinson’s lone loss came in his ninth fight on a seventh-round TKO to Lennox Allen. In a good action matchup, Brinson scored a knockdown in the second and Allen was cut over his right eye in the fifth. But Brinson tired and was staggered by a series of punches in the seventh. He was out on his feet when the referee stopped the fight at 2:59.

“I only lost to Lennox Allen because I ran out of stamina,’’ Brinson said. “I should still be undefeated.”

The co-feature matches two up-and-coming 118-pounders in their toughest fights to date. “This is a quintessential ShoBox fight of undefeated prospects, who are both taking leaps in class,’’ Farhood said, “One is from Puerto Rico, the other from Mexico, so we have that great rivalry going.’’

Vidal, a 5-foot-4, 28-year-old, is making his 2013, ShoBox and U.S. debut. This will be the third fight outside Puerto Rico for the WBC’s No. 12-ranked bantamweight, who had one fight in Nicaragua in 2008 and one in the Dominican Republic in 2011. He is coming off a dominant third-round TKO win over Josean “El Tren” Figueroa on Oct. 20, 2012.

“That was a great victory for me,’’ Vidal said. “I felt strong and fast. I look forward to fighting with the best bantamweights. I’m ready for them.”

Vidal, whose idol not surprisingly is Puerto Rican boxing legend Felix “Tito” Trinidad, is an aggressive-minded boxer-puncher. “I want to be smart in the ring, always, cautious,” he said. “But when it’s time to put the pressure on my opponent, I definitely know how to do that.”

In by far his closest encounter, he won an eight-round split decision over Angel Cruz on June 30, 2012. A tight fight was scored 76-75 twice for Vidal and 76-75 for Cruz.

Vidal hails from a fighting family. Two cousins on his mother’s side, brothers Julian (WBA Bantamweight Champion) and Rafael Solis (a super featherweight world title challenger), were top fighters. Vidal went 69-5 in the amateurs before turning pro in November 2007.

Munoz, who’s making his ShoBox debut, has campaigned exclusively in Mexico since turning pro in October 2012. He is 4-0 with one no-contest since boxing a four-round draw with Eduardo Ramirez in October 2011. The 5-foot-7, 22-year-old scored two knockdowns en route to a fifth-round knockout over Cecilio Santos in his last outing on Jan. 19 in Guadalajara. Vidal also fought Santos, winning an eight-round decision in May 2011.

“I’ve been training for this fight for two months in Guadalajara,’’ Munoz said. “I’m an all-around fighter. I have technique. I like to go forward. I think I do a little of everything.

“All I know about my opponent is that he’s a very strong fighter and goes forward, and he gives his all in the ring. I’m training hard to put on a great fight, and I don’t want anybody to miss it.’’

Munoz’ scheduled 10-round fight with Moises Flores on Nov. 10, 2012, ended in a no-contest after Munoz was cut over his left eye by a clash of heads in the fourth round. Several brawls broke out in the audience after the fight was stopped at 1:12.

A three-time national Junior Olympic Champion, Munoz went 140-10 in the amateurs before going pro at the age of 19 in September 2010. He won his initial nine fights before the draw with Ramirez.

Tickets priced at $75, $45, $35 and $25, plus tax and service charges, are on sale at the box office of the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, by calling (315) 361-SHOW (7469) and also through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.turningstone.com

Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Farhood and former World Champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.

 

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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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