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Website Publisher Greg Leon Now CEO of Pascal Promotions

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He gives hope to print guys, and web guys and Bronx residents.

Greg Leon, publisher of the site Boxing Talk, has done pretty darn well for himself in the last few years, and upped his game a notch higher with word that he is now CEO of light heavyweight Jean Pascal’s promotional company.

He has been working for a few months now, he told me, on a deal announced on Wednesday, one which seems to give Pascal, the Haitian-born Canadian a good deal of leverage and autonomy.

Basically, Pascal stays with promoter Yvon Michel, but is also working along with InterBox, the other large-scale Canadian promotional outfit.  “It’s a two-fight partnership,” Leon told me. The boxer’s promotional deal with Michel was up after his last fight, which came on Jan. 18 in Montral, and saw him down Lucian Bute (UD12), an InterBox athlete.

A release which went out Wednesday talked about the ramifications of the deal:

Greg Leon, CEO of Jean Pascal Promotions, said, “”I want to thank Group Yvon Michel and InterBox for making our negotiation smooth and seamless. Jean Pascal Promotions and I are truly looking forward to promoting with such outstanding organizations. Jean Pascal is already the box office champion of the Canadian market and without question that is a position that he will only have a firmer stronghold of following these next two events. We are looking forward to giving the fans the fights they are craving and I have no doubt that Jean Pascal will be the last man standing when all is said and done.”

“We will work closely with GYM and InterBox across all platforms to design an integrated strategy that grows Jean Pascal’s brand globally. Our entire team is very excited with the deal we have concluded,” added Raven Brosier, consultant for Jean Pascal Promotions.

Leon said Pascal’s promotional arm won’t be a vanity project, that they will sign boxers, with an eye toward building a brand which will help provide a transition to Pascal’s post in-ring tenure.

Leon wouldn’t give me much when I asked what’s next for the ex light heavy world champ. “It depends which network his next fight is televised on,” he said.

The Bute bout was on HBO, but the talent is spread out in the light heavy division. HBO has a multifight deal with Sergey Kovalev, while Adonis Stevenson is tied in to Showtime, because he’s on board the Al Haymon express now. If Bernard Hopkins beats Beibut Shumenov on Saturday, then the oldster will be able to bargain with two belts in hand.

Leon admitted he does have a preference on the direction Pascal takes, but is keeping his thinking under his cap, as negotiations will be ongoing.

His next foe will be announced within a month or so, Leon said, but the site will likely be Montreal, where Pascal sells seats. Pascal will be able to fill the undercard with some of his JPP talent, Leon said, and we could well see him in the ring in September, and then again in December.

Leon seems like he’s not in a rush to call out the two top dogs in the division, Kovalev and Stevenson, and would like to let a mega-clash marinate some. Off the top of my head, I can see another bout with Bute getting hashed out. While the January contest wasn’t a thriller, Bute did show he has the ability to fight with energy and ferocity in the last part of the last round, so if he could bottle that flurry, and apply it more consistently, then he could, concievably, have more luck in a re-do.

Pascal, age 31, appeared on many radar screens when he had some luck in a 2008 loss to Carl Froch. He enjoyed wins over Canuck Adrian Diacanou (2009), and then won an upset W against Chad Dawson. A draw and a loss with Bernard Hopkins in Quebec kept him busy in 2010 and 2011 and he tread some water until the January faceoff with Bute.

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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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