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TYSON: “I Don’t Want To Hear You Guys Talk About Respect For Each Other”

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TYSON, THE PROMOTER, FIRES UP THE FIGHTERS DURING THURSDAY’S SHOBOX: THE NEW GENERATION FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE & WEIGH-IN

Tripleheader Tomorrow/Friday, April 18, LIVE on SHOWTIME (10:45 p.m. ET/PT)

From Monroeville Convention Center in Monroeville, Pa.

MONROEVILLE, Pa. (April 17, 2014) – It turns out promoter Mike Tyson can stir the pot almost as much as heavyweight champ Mike Tyson. Almost.

Tyson seemed right at home in his new role as promoter Thursday as he guided his Iron Mike Productions fighters through the final press conference and weigh-in for tomorrow’s ShoBox: The New Generation event.

Friday’s tripleheader airs live on SHOWTIME®, home of 16 of Tyson’s last 18 fights, at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) from the Monroeville Convention Center in Monroeville, Pa., located outside of the Pittsburgh.

Tyson egged on his fighters, enticed trash talking and did his best to create some controversy during the presser before the official weigh-in. In other words, typical Tyson.

“Listen, I don’t want to hear you guys talk about respect for each other,’’ Tyson said. “I want to hear what you guys are going to do to each other tomorrow night. I want to hear that you’re going to knock him out.

“Don’t worry about making weight. Listen, we’re only talking about a few pounds here. I fought as a heavyweight and it didn’t matter. This is boxing. We’re here to see some people beat each other up tomorrow. Weight doesn’t matter; we’re here to watch you fight.

“I’m excited to have such a great card and exciting event for my return to SHOWTIME. We’re a very young organization but we’re moving pretty fast.”

Hard-hitting Cuban lightweight Alexei “The Hurricane” Collado (18-0, 16 KOs), of Miami, Fla., weighed in at 131.6 pounds for his 10-round main event showdown with Pittsburgh-area crowd favorite “Lightning” Rod Salka (18-3, 3 KOs), who tipped the scales at 132.6 pounds.

Undefeated southpaw and Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz (14-0, 8 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., by way of Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, measured 139.6 pounds while Emmanuel Lartey (15-1-1, 7 KOs), of Brooklyn by way of Ghana, weighed in at 142.7 pounds for their eight-round junior welterweight bout.

Local favorite and war veteran Sammy Vasquez, Jr. (13-0, 9 KOs), of Monesson, Pa., weighed in at 146.8 pounds for his eight-round welterweight showdown with fellow unbeaten Juan “The Beast” Rodriguez, Jr. (11-0, 5 KOs), of Union City, N.J., who tipped the scale at 148 pounds.

Here’s what the fighters had to say during Thursday’s events.

ALEXEI COLLADO:

“I think he’s the toughest fighter I’ve faced, but we’re looking at this more as an opportunity than a challenge.

“My career has changed since I moved to Miami to train. I now have all the opportunity in the world. Fighting on SHOWTIME opens the door even more. Now all I have to do is win.

“I’m ready for anyone in this division. I let my team make the opportunities, I just handle the fighting. But I think I’m getting close to a title shot.

“We’re looking for the best fight of my career. I’m looking to make a statement and knock this guy out. A win is a win – we’ll take a decision – but we’d love a knockout.

“I’m not concerned about the judges or fighting in his hometown. I’m coming in with confidence. I’ve fought in Cuba, Ireland, the U.S. I’ll fight anywhere. If you win every round then there is no way the judges can take that away from you.

“It’s going to be a good, hard fight. We took a tough opponent – he’s smart, fast and strong.”

ROD SALKA:

“I can’t wait to get in the ring. This is a job; I’m here to fight. That’s all that matters.

“We have 10 rounds or less to finish this fight. Why wouldn’t I want to knock him out? It’s 10 rounds or less for a reason. We’ll see tomorrow when we get in the ring.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time in Pittsburgh. You know what we’re about. I look forward to showing it in the ring.

“I’m relying on everyone from Pittsburgh to cheer me on. Once we get in the ring I won’t have to do any more talking.

“If I win this fight I’m going to fly to California for the (Omar) Figueroa-(Jerry) Belmontes fight. I want the winner of that. If they can’t make that happen then I’ll fight anyone with a big name. That’s what I’m ready for.

“I’m sick of being the guy that people build their fighters up against. I’m looking for a signature win to make myself viable in this division.

“People know I looked good against (Ricardo) Alvarez. I need to look good in this fight and get my big shot.

“I love fighting guys that come forward. I think Figueroa would be perfect for me. If you put me in there with that guy it’s going to be an exciting fight.

“I’m not looking past Collado. This guy is tough – he comes forward and comes to fight. But if I come out throwing 80 or 90 punches a round it’s going to tough to beat me.”

FELIX DIAZ:

“I guarantee an exciting fight and a victory. I didn’t come here to lose.

“I went to Oxnard, Calif., to train with Robert Garcia and he’s done a hell of a job getting me ready.

“My outlook has always been the same and my style is the same. But Robert has improved my conditioning. I’m more well-rounded. My game has always been about reflexes and being quick, but training up there has made me a better fighter.

“He’s faced a few guys that might be tougher than me on paper. But at the same time I’m going to show why I’m the undefeated fighter.”

EMMANUEL LARTEY:

“This opportunity is everything. I wouldn’t mess this up for anything in the world. I’m here to win. I know Diaz is undefeated but I’m not anything or anybody to look past.

“I’m ready. I’ll fight this guy anywhere, anytime. I’m here to fight and I’m here to win.

“He not the toughest guy I’ve faced. I fought Kaizer Mabuza, who got a shot at a title, and I beat him. I think Diaz is between him and (Errol) Spence as far as talent. He may be tough, but tomorrow will be my day.

“His record doesn’t impress me. Olympics is Olympics, professional is professional. I went to Commonwealth games and was the captain of the Ghana team. I have a good amateur record as well. So I’m not afraid of him or his resume.

“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a very long time and I just didn’t get a chance. People always took me as an opponent but I always proved myself. This is the right time for me to prove who I really am.”

SAMMY VASQUEZ, JR.:

“He’s coming into my town and messing with what I represent. My record speaks for itself. It’s not me going to sleep. It’s time for him to lay down.

“I’m here to handle business. I’m happy that we get to do this in Pittsburgh and we get to showcase this city and our skills to the world.

“I’m excited for the opportunity. To be on TV is a great experience. I’ve been on AFN (American Forces Network) before and that was great, but this is a whole different level.

“I have family in Texas, Florida, California, and now they can all watch my fight on SHOWTIME.

“Bringing a nationally televised fight to my town is a big deal. I’ve trained hard. Everyone knows who I am here – that statement has been made – but I’m looking to show the rest of the country what I have.

“I respect every fighter that steps in there with me. My job is to get him out of there. I’ll set him up with the shots and take care of business. I’m the first undefeated fighter he’s faced so he’s looking to make a statement as well.

“I think I’ve definitely faced the tougher opponents.

“I’ve already received some messages from friends over in Afghanistan that they’re going to watch my fight on AFN. It means a lot to have my fellow veterans and active military supporting me overseas.”

JUAN RODRIGUEZ, JR.:

“We have two undefeated fighters both putting their records on the line early in their career. It’s going to be a show. We didn’t come here to lose and I know he didn’t come here to lose. But we’re here to put him to sleep.

“We will just beat him up really bad, abuse him. Even though sometimes the judges don’t agree, we can abuse him and have fun with him if we don’t knock him out.

“It’s a step up for both of us. We’re both equal fighters. I don’t think he has an advantage over me. He’s only fought one other fighter with an undefeated record so I’m not worried. It’s a step up for both of us.

“I’m looking to show the world out there what I’m really about. I’m looking to make a statement to my Puerto Rican fan base and everyone out there. I want to show them my skills and talent.

“It’s time for the beast to be unleashed.”

Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.

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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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