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Is Sergio Too Brittle? Cotto Too Small? 3 Days To Fightnight in NYC

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The time for talk is very nearly over and quite frankly, the pre fight gabbing has not been a potent selling point for the Saturday clash between 39 year old Sergio Martinez, the WBC middleweight champ, and 33 year old Miguel Cotto, seeking to win a crown in his fourth weight class, the first Puerto Rican boxer to do so.

The bout and card, promoted by Top Rank and Lou DiBella, Sergio’ s guy, does not need ancillary points of attraction because it has such merit on surface: two warriors, a bit past their prime, ok, but ever so ready and willing to walk on hot coals to get the W.

The event will run on pay per view, produced by Team HBO.

The principals gathered at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, where on Saturday night, eardrums will be ringing when 17,000 Cotto rooters and 5,000 Martinez fans will try to bolster their mans’ chances to get the nod. The affair was respectful, with any folks desiring bombast getting their fill from Arum, the 80 something impresario never shy with an opinion, especially if it is a scathing one aimed at Richard Schaefer, the former Golden Boy day to day boss.

A boatload of supposed experts are saying that Martinez could have a cakewalk night, that his power edge, his familiarity with that weight class, will prove to be too much for Cotto. Miguel’s power won’t be enough to dent let alone crack Sergio, and the Argentine will have Cotto’s face looking like it did when he met another crafty lefty, Austin Trout, in late 2012, they say.

But some smarties are also pointing out that Martinez’ limbs have been failing him the last couple years and that his chin gets checked these days more often than it used to. If Cotto and trainer Freddie Roach are truly as simpatico as they say, and Freddie can get Miguel to command the ring, get the angles that benefit him, and Martinez’ mobility has been compromised by leg injuries, then the Puerto Rican could collect that crown he seeks.

Martinez was asked about the excess of queries about his age and injuries. He said that is indicative of a lack of inventiveness on the part of the press, and he has a point. He said his knees are feeling great and that he will wear sleeves on them only because his doctor advised him to do so, for a bit of extra support. The hitter said that he thinks Team Cotto ratted him out to the commission and that Cotto will pay for that.

DiBella said he is a bit irked his guy had to do extra MRIs to prove he is healthy, but commended the NYSAC for promptly handling BraceGate.

Sergio does note that Cotto has taken heavy fire in recent fights, but expects the best of Cotto. His own chin is solid, he said, and noted that even Hall of Famers get knocked down…but like the best, he always gets up. One very key statement he made which stood out for me–the hands are secondary to the feet, he stated. I do not think enough of us harp on how important it is for your feet to move you into a spot where your hands can succeed…

Trainer Roach spoke, and said that his guy will want to control the ring 90 percent of the time and if he can, he will win. He said Sergio can be prone to wrecklessness and wants his guy to stay off the ropes and out of corners. Dedham Freddie admitted Team Cotto did alert NYSAC about the sleeve/brace issue…and I get the drift that they think that Sergio’s mobility could indeed be compromised.

Roach also said that his kid, who he said is the most focused of any boxer he has worked with, is the better boxer, even if Sergio is a better athlete. “The fight against Chavez Junior was Sergio’s ‘ last hurrah,” said Roach. The wear and tear has gotten to Sergio, he believes; after all, Chavez trained only five days for him, and knocked him down, he pointed out.

Check back for much more material from the presser, including great stuff from Roach on Manny Pacquiao, and Arum on what is maybe next for Manny.

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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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