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Stern View: FOX Sports 1 Ringside Report

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tss fight report 3dae2On Monday, October 28, FOX Sports 1 showed card from Redwood City, Ca. presented by Golden Boy Promotions, Don Chargin Productions and Paco Presents. The televised portion of the card featured local headliners, the superbantamweight Manuel ‘Tino’ Avila and middleweight Paul ‘El Gallo Negro’ Mendez, who hoped to take the rare opportunity of boxing on national television to springboard their careers to the next level. While neither fighter lost, a spider bite and a game opponent, respectively, prevented each fighter from showcasing their talents as desired.

The event took place in the back of a massive steel building called the Sport House. Indoor soccer, lacrosse, and basketball were all being played by youth and adults like any other night. One would never know what was taking place behind the double doors at the back. Behind those doors was a lively and youthful boxing crowd filling the room to near capacity. Energized by the combination of spectators personally knowing the participants, the T.V. lights and cameras, ring card girls acting as ushers and the presence of some professional boxing royalty including Amir Khan and Floyd Mayweather, Sr., the room was transformed into an event.

The main event featured super bantamweight Manuel ‘Tino’ Avila, 13(5)-0, of Fairfield, Ca. against late substitute Jose Angel Cota, 8-9-1, of Mexicali, Mexico. Cota has never won in multiple attempts in the U.S. Nagging injuries and lack of opponents have slowed Avila’s recent development. This night Avila was supposed to face Jose Silveira of Mexico, a veteran of 10 round fights against quality opposition. Alas, Silveira had to pull out of the fight on late notice, victim of a vicious spider bite.

In 2012, Avila showed he was making the transition from the amateurs to the professionals, sitting down on his punches more, going for the finish when presented and shooting the jab hard. When he is on, Avila is on, with quick reflexes, counter punching in combination off of the cross or the left hook and that sharp jab. Cota didn’t provide Avila much of a chance to showcase these skills as Cota was bloodied early and disposed of in the 2nd after failing to respond to a fifty plus punch combination. Signed by Golden Boy at 17 and managed by Cameron Dunkin, Avila is in good hands and will surely be afforded the opportunity to reveal to the boxing public at large what he can truly do against a real test.

After Salinas, Ca. based middleweight Paul Mendez’s draw to Louis Rose in the co-main event, Mendez’ dream of being a top ten ranked middleweight will now have to take a longer and more difficult path. Mendez, 14-2-2, entered the ring dressed in crisp white and with a focused demeanor hoping to build on a seven fight win streak. Louis ‘The Unknown’ Rose of Lynwood, Ca. entered the ring with trunks half bearing the flag of the U.S. and the other half the flag of Greece, to honor his Greek-American trainer who has taken him in after an unstable childhood. Relaxed and smiling, Rose looking more like an honor student about to embark on a trip to the model United Nations than a boxer in a ten round fight on national television. But, Rose is used to traveling to towns not his own to face the prospect he isn’t supposed to beat.

The 1st round saw both men looking, feinting for openings and trying the establish range with the jab. Despite taking a Mendez 1-2, Rose won the round by being busier and with a hard hook to Mendez’ body in the last 30 seconds. Mendez bounced back in the 2nd, finding his cross from shorter range and slipping and ducking Rose’s 1-2. But, Rose was able to work his way inside without much difficulty, a problem that would haunt Mendez for the remainder of the fight. In the 3rd, Rose invested heavily to the body, pounding with hooks and uppercuts. This continued in the 4th, though Mendez found some success with his rear uppercut.

One got the sense that this was to be Rose’s fight. Members of The Money Team kept excitedly telling Floyd Mayweather Sr. that they got to bring this guy to their gym. Mendez’ trainers, Max Garcia and Dean Familton, who normally shout out technical instructions of what punches to throw at what ranges, were reduced to shouting out “be first” and “c’mon Paul”. They were no longer controlling the rounds, the rounds were happening to them.

The 5th through 7th, saw Rose tiring and Mendez landing the harder shots, though neither fighter could find the openings to land clean. Mendez often found himself smothered and unable to take advantage of his 76 inch reach, but his uppercuts and short rights were the best punches of the rounds.

In the 8th , Rose hurt Mendez with a right hook-left hook combination followed by a cross and another set of hooks. Mendez looked to be done, but stormed with a flurry of his own driving Rose to the ropes. The fight finished in a phone booth, with Rose outworking and landing the harder shots punctuated by a clean left hook to Mendez’ chin at the bell.

Neither fighter celebrated at the bell, the exhausted Rose slumped over the ropes and Mendez appeared pushed to the limit. Mendez’ corner looked stunned and saddened, this was not the showing they were looking for regardless of what the forthcoming decision would bear. When the split draw was announced, neither side got the desired result. In contemporary boxing, winning is generally what is remembered, and as the drained fighters tried to exit the ring, their path was blocked by the throng of fans focused on taking pictures with Floyd Mayweather Sr., as the fighters were already an afterthought.

In other action, San Francisco’s junior welterweight Jonathan Chicas, 11(4)-1, defeated Joaquin Chavez, 6(2)-11-2, of Los Angeles via 6 round unanimous decision. Chicas put in good work during the first three rounds, landing hard hooks set up from a crisp jab. Chicas seems to have learned from his only defeat and no longer rushes in off balance. The last half of the fight found Chicas slowing down and Chavez able to pick off the jab preventing Chicas from landing his follow up. But, Chavez had little answer of his own.

San Jose, Ca., lightweight Andy Vences, 5(2)-0, looked far sharper than his last outing, cruising to a four round unanimous decision over Jose Garcia, 3(2)-7-1. Vences played matador to Garcia’s bull, using his jab, pivots, slips and rolls to finish the last three rounds virtually untouched.

Backed by about 100 followers San Leandro’s Benjamin Briceno, 3-1, received an undeserved decision over junior featherweight Mario Ayala, 2-2, of Sacramento. Ayala out boxed and marked up Briceno. But, Ayala, who recently lost to an inferior fighter who out busied him, had to experience the life of an opponent. A role he may now have to repeat.

Hometown fighter Jesus Sandoval, 3-1-3, and Sammy Perez, 1-2-3, of Ohio, fought to a majority draw.

Salinas based junior welterweight Darwin Price, 3(2), outclassed Omar Avelar, 2-10, in every way causing the ref to halt the fight in the 2nd, not because Avelar was in any specific danger, but there just wasn’t any point in continuing.

In the opening bout, cruiserweight Andrew Tabiti, 3(3)-0, of Las Vegas faced opponent Eric Slocum. Tabiti, trained by Floyd Mayweather, Sr. and walked to the ring by a single Watson twin, looked cut from ebony with a back as wide as the ring and appears ready to conquer the boxing world. Slocum, with his three day stubble and grey gut, looked like he just conquered GTA on Xbox. Tabiti knocked down Eric ‘The Underdog’ Slocum three times in the first 1:30 causing a simultaneous ref stoppage. corner towel throwing.

With the fights over and the gym that housed them emptying, small groups of people filled the lobby of the Sports House surrounding the now dressed boxers who they knew and came to see. Oblivious to the over forty indoor soccer league taking place on the other side of the plexy glass, family, friends, girlfriends, the boxer’s boyz from school each waited patiently to hug, take a picture, shake hands or just acknowledge the boxer for doing something very few people can do. The boxers graciously accepted it all like men on their wedding day, only with black eyes and facial contusions. While most of these boxers will never fulfill their boxing dreams, these moments, as well as the moments they shared with the another fighter in the ring, will remain, forever, real.

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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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