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Sheer Sports Wants Talent, Character, Personality

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sheer 3312dThe low barrier to entry is one of the most attractive things about boxing, both for athletes, and for those curious about dipping their toes into those waters, and dipping into their wallets to make a play in the sweet science.

The lack of moats and barbed wire sometimes lets cads and rare do wells into the courtyard, but also allows people of means and pure motive to enter the realm, and look to leave a mark, find a foothold, and then expand it.

In that category is a crew based out of Santa Monica, California, a small shop which is seeking to build a management entity which will house champions, and do so, according to the folks involved, while maintaining high grade integrity. The newly formed outfit, Sheer Sports, is topped by commercial-industrial-residential real estate titan Ken Sheer.

Lyle Green, an Ohio native, is doing much of the day to day brick and mortar work, aided by industry vet Rachel Charles, a PR pro, and ex heavyweight contender Courage Tshabalala (1993-2005, 26-4 record) is in the mix, as tutor/talent scout. (In photo, from left to right, Courage, Green, Charles).

I chatted with Sheer VP Green for a spell, to get a sense of what Sheer wants to be, how big, how committed they are, and how they think they can bring something new to the courtyard.

Green told me he comes to boxing from a long line; his grandpa was a manager and trainer in NYC in the 50s and 60s, and boxing entered his blood, and didn't leave. He won Golden Gloves in Ohio, and was trained by Aaron Pryors' coach, Jackie Shropshire. An owner of a marketing and communications company, which specializes in technology, in the health insurance realm, Green started the promotional company almost two years ago with CEO Sheer, and said they have been meticulously putting together steps to ascend.

Their client list is slight so far, with heavyweight Scott Alexander (age 24; 8-0 with 4 KOs) and UK boxer Johnny Quigley (age 23; 11-0 with 2 KOs) under the Sheer umbrella. “Alexander is a future star,” Green told me. “He just needs time in the gym.” He started in the now defunct feeder program run by former TV syndicator Michael King, All American Heavyweights. (That is not to be confused with a similar program funded by Kris Lawrence, a real estate developer from Florida. One of his guys, Quadtrine Hill, made the cover of ESPN Mag..and then retired after losing 2 of six pro bouts.)

And Quigley plans to go to 126, and fights like Prince Naseem Hamed, with his hands down, Green said. More signing should be announced shortly, he noted.

And will Sheer do their own shows? “We're going to be placing fighters on other promotions but down the line, maybe,” he said. “We're surrounding ourselves with great people, like Courage. Is he a better trainer than he was fighter? He's definitely a better trainer than boxer. He understands the sport and what guys are not capable of doing. He will train you and take your best attributes and play them up. Down the line, we'd love a stable of 15 champions!”

And what makes Sheer different, and better? “We're a small company, we concentrate on fighters, no one gets lost in the mix,” he said. Green and I agreed that companies that have massive rosters sometimes results in talents getting underplayed; we both would like to see a guy like a Keith Thurman fighting five times a year, to name one example.

Sheer, Green said, is committed for a long haul. He used to own the property the Floyd Mayweather Gym sits, Green told me. He's an astute businessman and has patience, to boot.

Next up, Alexander will glove up March 15, in Mexico, while a date for Quigley is being sought sometime in March.

“We're taking things slowly,” Green said, in closing. “We're not looking to do a big land grab. We're looking at fighters with personality, and character, as well as fighting talent.

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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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