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Vazquez Jr-Sonsona Tops Cotto-Martinez Undercard

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WILFREDO VAZQUEZ JR. vs. MARVIN SONSONA; JORGE MELENDEZ vs. YURI FOREMAN; ANDY LEE vs. JOHN JACKSON TO BE FEATURED ON COTTO-MARTÍNEZ MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP PAY-PER-VIEW

Saturday, June 7 at Madison Square Garden

Presented Live by HBO Pay-Per-View®

NEW YORK (May 12, 2014) — Miguel Cotto Promotions, DiBella Entertainment and Sampson Boxing will present three intriguing 10-round battles which will be featured on the pay-per-view undercard headlined by the MIGUEL COTTO vs. SERGIO “Maravilla” MARTÍNEZ World Middleweight Championship. The Cotto vs. Martinez world middleweight championship event will take place on Saturday, June 7 at Madison Square Garden and will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View®, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.

The pay-per-view telecast will open with one-time world title challenger ANDY LEE and Top-Five contender JOHN JACKSON in a middleweight rumble, followed by a junior middleweight battle between rising contender JORGE MELENDEZ and former world champion and future rabbi YURI FOREMAN who is on the comeback trail. The final bout before the main event will pit former world champions WILFREDO VAZQUEZ, JR. and MARVIN SONSONA in a long-awaited rematch, this time in a featherweight fight that could propel the winner back into world title contention.

“I am thrilled to have Wilfredo Vazquez Jr and Jorge Melendez in big fights on my pay-per-view undercard,” said Miguel Cotto. “They are two very talented fighters from my stable, and I wanted to open opportunities of massive exposure and good fights to further their careers. The fans will love it.”

“We have a strong undercard with true warriors who will give it their all in their fights,” said Héctor Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “They will put on a good show. Having the former super bantamweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. and a knockout artist like Jorge Melendez in solid fights makes a very attractive pay-per-view undercard for the fans.”

“At 154, Andy Lee is going to be more dangerous than ever,” said Lou DiBella. “John Jackson is a very tough and talented fighter, coming from a great family pedigree. That being said, I think that Andy Lee is going to shine in this fight and show the world that he is a true force in the junior middleweight division. I expect myself and Sampson to be enjoying a great victory together with Sergio in the main event, but I am very confident that he will be licking his wounds after Andy defeats Jackson.

DiBella continued, “Yuri is currently on a four-fight win streak and he is looking to show that he is still one of the elite 154 lb. fighters in the world. This is an opportunity to not only fight in his hometown but also on the biggest stage possible, and prove to the world that he is once again ready for a world title opportunity.”

“I am so happy to bring to the historic Cotto-Martínez undercard two of my best prospects in very competitive and dangerous fights, the son of the legendary Julian “The Hawk” Jackson, John “Da Rock” Jackson of the U.S. Virgin Islands and “Marvelous” Marvin Sonsona, the second youngest World Champion to come from the Philippines. Don’t miss these great fights,” added Sampson Lewkowicz.

Promoted by Miguel Cotto Promotions, Top Rank®, DiBella Entertainment and Sampson Boxing, in association with Maravilla Box, Tecate, PS4 and Madison Square Garden, remaining tickets to the Cotto vs. Martínez World Middleweight Championship event, priced at $750, $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com.

Vazquez Jr. (23-3-1, 19 KOs), of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, captured the World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior featherweight title in 2010, stopping Sonsona in the fourth round. He successfully defended the title twice during his 15-month reign, knocking out Zsolt Bedak and Ivan Hernandez in the 10th and 11th rounds, respectively. In his last bout, on September 20, 2013, he recaptured the WBO International junior featherweight title via a 12-round unanimous decision over Guillermo Avila. Vazquez is currently world-rated No. 14 by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and the World Boxing Organization (WBO).

Sonsona (18-1-1, 15 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines, was 19 when he captured the WBO junior bantamweight title in 2009, winning a unanimous decision over Jose Lopez. After one successful title defense — a draw against Alejandro Hernandez — he moved up two weight divisions in 2010 and took on Vazquez in an unsuccessful challenge for the WBO junior featherweight title. Since that fight, Sonsona has run the table and enters this fight on a four-bout winning streak with the last three victories coming by way of knockout, including his last fight, a third-round knockout of Akifumi Shimoda for the WBO International featherweight title. Sonsona is currently world-rated No. 4 by the World Boxing Association (WBA), and the WBC, No. 7 by the WBO and No. 9 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF).

Melendez (28-3-1, 26 KOs), of Manati, Puerto Rico, enters this fight having won 15 of his last 16 bouts, with 13 of those victories coming by way of knockout. A disciplined veteran who has spent his entire professional career at the same weight division, Melendez first came to prominence when he captured the WBO Latin America junior middleweight title in 2011, outpointing Eric Mitchell. He successfully defended his title twice, knocking out Marcus Willis and Milton Nuñez in 2012. He enters this fight having captured the WBC’s Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE) super welterweight title on March 22 via a unanimous decision over Richard Gutierrez. He is currently world-rated No.17 by the WBC.

Foreman (32-2, 9 KOs), of Brooklyn, has been a New York favorite since his professional debut in 2002. An active rabbinical student, Foreman captured the world’s attention in 2009 when he dethroned WBA super welterweight champion Daniel Santos to become the first Orthodox Jew to win a world championship in nearly 75 years. Raised in Israel, Foreman immigrated to Brooklyn and captured the 2001 New York Golden Gloves and turned professional in 2002. He lost the world title to Cotto in 2010 in the first fight ever held in the new Yankee Stadium, Foreman enters this fight riding a four-bout winning streak, including a one-round knockout of Javier Gomez last November. He is currently world-rated No. 14 by the WBC.

Lee (32-2, 22 KOs), a native of Limerick, Ireland as well as a New York fan favorite, enter this fight having won 17 or his last 18 bouts dating back to 2008. The lone blemish was a seventh-round TKO loss to defending WBC middleweight champion Julio César Chávez Jr. in 2012. Ireland’s sole representative in the 2004 Olympics he is also a disciple of the great Emanuel Steward. Steward often referred to Lee as “my left-handed Tommy Hearns.” Three of Lee’s last five victories have been by way of knockout. He is currently world-rated No. 6 by the WBC and No. 10 by the WBA.

Jackson (18-1, 15 KOs), of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, the son of former two-division and three-time world champion Julian “The Hawk” Jackson, will be making his New York debut on this card. He enters this fight riding a two-year, five-bout winning streak, including three by way of knockout. In his last fight, he stopped Jorge Miranda in the seventh round on December 7 in Argentina. He is currently world-rated No. 4 by the WBC.

HBO’s Emmy-Award®-winning reality series “24/7,” which has captured 18 Sports Emmys in its first seven seasons, returns with an all-new edition when “24/7 Cotto/Martínez” premieres Saturday, May 31 at 11:15 p.m. (ET/PT) on HBO.

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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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