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Pacquiao, Rios, Arum Hype Nov. 23 Scrap at LA Presser

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Pacquiao Rios BvHills PC 130808 001aManny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios will face off in Macao on Nov. 23, and faced off in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon, at a Top Rank press conference to hype their PPV scrap.

Promoter Bob Arum presided over the event, held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, which was the final leg of a 23,722-mile trek to hype Pacman's comeback.

The Congressman, looking to show the world that his December KO loss at the right hand of Juan Manuel Marquez hasn't left lingering mental or physical effects, seeks to halt a two-fight slide against Rios, who has been on his best behavior on the tour, treating it almost like a sightseeing-filled vacation, more than an opportunity to create buzz with combative trash talk.

The media tour began last week in Asia and included stops in Macau, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore. This week's U.S. phase of the tour had a full-day of interviews at the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., and press conferences in New York and LA. Joining Pacquiao and Rios at the hotel was trainers Freddie Roach and Robert Garcia, Rios' manager Cameron Dunkin, HBO PPV guru Mark Taffet, fighter Zou Shiming, Pacman advisor Michael Koncz, and Edward Tracy, President and CEO of Sands China Ltd.

Arum started out talking about the promise China holds, with 1.4 billion citizens present. He called the Macao PPV “historic” and “memorable.” He said the headline bout would be a “fight for the ages,” and Rios nodded his head vigorously.

Arum gave a snippet account of the visit to each leg of the hype tour. He was wowed by elements of each location, he said. “I think the fighters will tell you they were blown away by Signapore and whatever else they saw in China,” he said.

Arum introed Pacquiao ( seen above, with Rios in LA pose-off, in Chris Farina-Top Rank photo) as a giant of charitable giving, as he provides scholarships, and so much more, with his purse money. He campaigns against sex trafficking, Arum said, and is a “man who is making a diffference, a man who counts.”

Pacman thanked God for everything and said he's looking forward to training. “We've been flying all over the world,” he said, admitting he didn't love the Signapore to NY leg. He thanked the media, and the fans for their support. He invited them to the “big event” in Macao. He said he picked Rios because he didn't want a tuneup fight, and Rios will help give “more action in the ring.” He promised a “memorable” fight and finished by saying, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.”

Arum said he was worried about pressers in China, because he knew Rios is sometimes “a little careless with his language” and China isn't afraid to punish verbal missteps. But, “he was so charming and so funny that the Chinese really loved him,” the promoter said. Arum told him he did a “terrific job” repping the US.

Rios spoke and said he couldn't cuss in China, but it was still great. He thought China had a lot of ghettoes with poor kids running around but his view changed. “China was badass,” he joked. He said this fight is his “first rodeo” but he will be ready. “He ain't no joke,” he said, and will assume Manny will be in top form. He said “thank you” in Chinese and was happy when he seemed to get it out correctly.

Arum then showed an excerpt from the movie “Manny,” set to be released on Nov. 13.

Freddie Roach, in his turn at the mike, called Rios a “very tough opponent” and said Pacman will train the whole time in the Philippines.

Arum brought Pacman attorney Franklin Gacal to the mike. Gacal said there are a few good reasons to watch the bout. First, this is the first time people can watch a second term Congressman fight. Foes are now worried that he will run for President, he said. Also, both men are coming off loses. “This fight is the real hunger games,” he said.

Arum said he expects a sellout and noted there will be closed circuit at the Sands. He announced Dunkin, who doesn't like to talk much. Next up, Arum brought up Garcia. The Rios trainer said the trek has been a good experience for him and Rios. He said everyone has been “respectful” and “kind” to them. But on fight night, inside the ring, “they will not be friends.”

The promoter also brought Zou to the mike; he said Zou will fight an eight rounder on the Pacman card, and will train in the Philippines, with trainer Roach, and Pacman. Zou spoke Chinese, and an interpreter offered a translation.

Arum touted a media package, which includes a roundtrip flight, from LA, San Fran or NY to Macao, and seven nights lodging, for $1500. Only accredited media will make the cut, he said. He said media will eat in the press room enough to make food costs reasonable.

HBO's Taffett said on Nov. 2 HBO will show Max Kellerman's Face Off, with Pacman and Rios, and the first episode of the 24/7 docu-mercial will kick off on Nov. 9. Also, HBO will show the weigh in, the day before the bout.

All in all, it was professional and streamlined show. There was no trash talk, no hint of malevolnce, mostly marketing going on. No, not overly compelling, but this is the boxing business, and business was front, center, and everywhere, on this day.

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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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