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Verdejo Kicks Off PPV With Win; Shiming, Ruiz Also Gets Ws

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Felix Verdejo opened up the Pacquiao-Rios pay per view broadcast from the CotaiArena, in Macao, on Sunday morning, or Saturday night in the US, and bettered a Thai fighter named Pet Duannaymukdahan in a lightweight scrap. The scores presented to viewers of the HBO PPV presentation were 60-53, across the board, for the 20-year-old.

The Puerto Rican, hoping to be the next Puerto Rican pugilistic standard bearer, won every round at the Venetian Macao, on the card promoted by Top Rank. The left hook to the body worked well, as did the right to the torso early. Both men clowned some, and played to the crowd in round two. Felix’ long jab was effective and bothersome, and he was beating his foe up through three. He went southpaw to land a filthy right hook, the best launch of the night.

The uppercut was in evidence by Felix in the fourth. The Thai boxer gestured to the crowd, in a WWE-ish manner, after the fifth, a round he lost badly. A right uppercut almost dropped the loser, as his mouthpiece started coming out. In the final round, the Thai fighter had a point taken for “excessive blow lows.” It didn’t matter, I guess, though I can’t speak for Verdejos’ testes.

Zou Shiming went to 3-0, beat Juan Tozcano (4-1) in a flyweight contest in the second televised bout on the Pacquiao-Rios PPV show from Macao. Marvin Samodio was in Shiming’s corner, not Freddie Roach, who was back with Pacquiao in the dressing room. Shiming looked like he was gotten more of a taste of the pro style, as he ripped with a bit more vigor than we’ve seen before. The 32-year-old two-time gold medal winner for China drew blood under the right eye of the loser in the third. The ref had the doc look at the cut during the round. The doc let it go. Zou kept on whacking away at the Mexican and the ref let it go, to the distaste of the announcers, Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones. Scores were 60-54, 60-54, 60-52.

Andy Ruiz took on Tor Hamer in a heavyweight clash on the third televised fight on the Pacquiao-Rios PPV. We heard Max Kellerman call Ruiz a “special” fighter, and said he was the best American to come along since maybe Chris Byrd. Roy Jones called him “spectacular” before round one. A stiff right by Hamer landed hard and clean on the man with the jelly belly in the first. The kind buildup looked too kind, as Ruiz ate clean shots into round three. But in the third, Ruiz got the jab pumping, started backing Hamer up. Body shots sapped the New Yorker a good deal. He stayed on the stool and didn’t come out for the fourth. He did the same against Czar Glazkov three fights ago, after four rounds. He whispered to his trainer, who told the ref no mas. It wouldn’t suprise me if some powers that be talked to Hamer, and suggested that this racket isn’t for him. No real shame in that. His promoter, Lou DiBella, though wasn’t pleased. “By the way, Tor, you are released,” he Tweeted.

SPEEDBAG Jim Lampley will present an episode of The Fight Game on Dec. 21, and he will offer a report on boxing’s cold war.

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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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