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Judah Declares He’s Best In the Business, Pound For Pound

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Former five time champion Zab Judah and two time ex champ Paul Malignaggi took part in a Tuesday conference call to hype their Dec. 7 clash at Barclays Center. Those expecting a trash talk bonanza were five years too late, alas, as both men came off as seasoned pros, doing their jobs with focus and discipline.

Judah, the Brownsville native who now lives in Vegas, said camp has been great and he looks forward to coming back and being crowned “the king of BK.” Judah said the concept of the fight only became a possibility after his last fight, against Danny Garcia. He initially dismissed it, because “Paulie is my homie.” He was asked about a time when he coached Paulie when he was fighting amateur, and said he was impressed with the kid then.

Malignaggi, called “the best color commentator in the sport,” for his work with Showtime, by promoter Richard Schaefer, said that his camp has also been stellar. He’d like to see a record crowd at the arena, and he touted the “great supporting cast” on the card. Paulie said that Zab was a guy to look up to, and crossing paths didn’t come to mind till recently, because they were in different weight classes and were at different junctures of their career. He heard rumbling the last year or two, and it became reality with both coming off losses, and with Judah signing with Golden Boy after his April loss to Garcia.

The two were asked about the lack of trash talk, and if it is harder to get motivated because of that. No, Judah said, he is motivated by the opportunity, by the possibly being called the king of the borough. Malignaggi said that the competition is what drives all of them. “The competition is always the driving force,” he said. “Winning means everything to me…it’s not hard to get up for a fight like this.”

Paulie said losing in front of so many locals would make it that much more difficult to deal with. Zab didn’t really take on the query about the possibility of losing at home.

Both men were asked when they were at their peak. Judah said when he was 15-0, and fought Micky Ward (in 1998). “We had a dog camp and when we won the fight,” he said. “I was very sharp.” But he didn’t want to choose one time period, noting that he felt good during his last outing. Malignaggi said in 2003-2004 he felt he was coming into his own, and his hands felt good. Then his progress was hindered by hand injuries, he said, and he does wonder how good he might have been if not for the busted hand.

Zab said he admires Paulie standing up for Brooklyn pride, and he respects him as a fighter, because he respects all fighters. Paulie said he most admires Zab because he saw him doing it, exceling, and he looked up to him as a role model.

Malignaggi said he isn’t thinking that this one could be the last fight, that yes, he thinks about leaving before camp, maybe, but once he enters a fight, he is all in.

Judah declared that he doesn’t think of himself as old, and that Mayweather is older than him, as are Juan Manuel Marquez and Bernard Hopkins. He is, in his mind, the best ever to put on a pair of gloves, right here and now. Yes, it seems he doesn’t entertain the notion that he’s slipped at all. “I am the best pound for pound fighter in the world,” he said. Anyone wanting to test that notion is welcome to, he said. (Hint Floyd Mayweather hint.)

Paulie said you have to have a short memory in boxing, and have to put wins and losses behind you, and put your focus on today.

To sum up: both men feel they are still world class, aren’t giving the appearance of hanging on just to get paid, are promising a solid scrap in BK…and neither it seems will give trash talk fanatics a taste!

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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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