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Forum All-Stars Talk Crawford Star Turn, Gamboa’s Probs

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It was pretty much a unanimous decision in our Fabulous Forum at TSS, with poster digging the Terence Crawford win over an under-sized YuriorkisGamboa on Saturday night, in Omaha, and on HBO.

Poetic pugilist-specialist Radam, in his inimitable—is it patented?—style, made clear that he won’t forget Crawford’s TKO takedown on the Cuban at the end of 2014, when we assess the year in fighting, in order to choose some viable award candidates. “It was a thrilla, a chilla, a knockdown spilla, a fight of the year candidate killa!” Radam said in response to Editor Mike’s fight report.

The Roast also gave two hearty thumbs up, and, as happens to often in our Forum, proved himself a dignified and humble soul, when he wrote, “Sensational slugfest! I was wrong about Crawford, he got it done tonight. He was the bigger fighter and he was able to hurt Gamboa enough to put him down four times. Gamboa was winning early with superior speed but Crawford was able to pull even with his advantage in size and power. Gamboa should move down to 130 if he can. His chin let him down tonight. Whenever he got hit with a clean shot his legs went out from under him. I give credit to Crawford for facing a very risky foe and credit to Gamboa for risking his O against a very skilled fighter in his hometown. I look forward to seeing both fighters again in a rematch or other opponents.”

Cleanly and smartly stated.

The HBO crew pretty much agreed a star in Crawford was born that night, and it seems like Dave B is on board with that take. Me, I want to give proper credit but also wonder if a right-sized foe, someone perhaps not better suited for 130, not 135, would have proved a tougher out than the Cuban…

“Crawford fought more like Ray Robinson than Ray Robinson fought like Ray Robinson,” Dave B wrote. “Gamboa tested his mettle and boy did he find it in a way he didn’t want to. Crawford is the guy at 135. He responded like a champ. Great fight against the hard hitting Gamboa. I will give Gamboa extra credit because of his guts and the slippery canvas but Crawford was just sensational. We have been given some evenly matched fights on paper at least these last few weeks. Quite refreshing.”

New columnist The Commish might tell me to not bother waiting, that Crawford is a full-on real deal. He wrote, “Yuri Gamboa certainly made it interesting for the first four rounds. In that time, he showed the capacity raucous crowd that he had come to take their man’s title. Then came round five. Terence Crawford woke up. He reached down and pulled out a victory worthy of the champion he is. Last night, on HBO, another boxing star was born.”

MichaelAlbii isn’t on the star train crew. “I am not quite ready to declare Crawford a “great” fighter however,” he wrote. “He showed calmness and poise in the first few rounds which is good for a young, developing fighter but I saw him give a lot of openings to a rather wild and unfocused albeit gutty Gamboa. In fact Gamboa may have stopped him if he had the legs to follow up when he hurt Crawford. Crawford has an excellent jab however and if he uses it like a power jab which he occasionally does he would make his fights much easier. Gamboa lacks the discipline of a truly great fighter – though he is blessed with great athletic skills, he needs to develop a focused and disciplined style that works for a great athlete with a weak chin.”

Nothing to dissect or challenge there on my end…

But Radam took issue…

The Cuban has a problem with his balance, not the weakness of his chin. Holla!” He cited rust as an issue for Gamboa. “He will be fine. T-Craw just whupped his rusty behind. Styles make fights.”

Toto Bato had an idea for next for TC. Timing beat speed,” he wrote. “Crawford figured out the short speedster Gamboa. It would be interesting to see him figure out tall and slick (Miguel) Vazquez (the 34-3 Mexican who owns the IBF lightweight crown).

Oubobcat had some smart suggestions for Crawfords’ next.

“A rematch is possible down the line but not right away. If Crawford stays at 135, I think Ray Beltran, Hank Lundy or Juan Diaz may get a shot at him. Petr Petrov as well may be in the mix. It will be a step down from Gamboa. If Crawford goes to 140, I look for Jessie Vargas as the opponent if Vargas comes out successful in his title defense in August.

Ultimo Shogun came down on the side of, I dare say, the majority, when he wrote, “Gamboa should avoid the 135 division.” His thumbs were both pointing up after the pier-sixer. “Great fight! Crawford is now on my must see list!”

Amayseng wouldn’t have a problem if the matchmakers didn’t try to be clever, if they just let Crawford and Gamboa do a series of battles. “Gamboa did get a little careless leaving that right hand to drag back to his waist and not back to protect the chin, obviously…but man did he show heart,” he wrote. “Crawford made the appropriate adjustments and timed the faster Gamboa. I could watch these two fight weekly. These two really stepped up their game, what a high level of skill and tenacity.”

Seems like most figure Gamboa’s chin is an easy target for Crawford, and the Cuban might be better suited to try other targets. But Amay and Ou both mentioned rematch. I didn’t hear Gamboa banging the drums for one, so methinks he knows the writing on the wall is there telling him a brutal truth…

I’m letting Brown Sugar, the esteemed sensei, have the last word on the fight and the subject. “Gamboa walks around at about 150 pounds. Crawford walks around at about 157. Too much muscle and bone mass for Gamboa to walk through. Gamboa doesn’t have the best punch resistance. But he’s ornery and stubborn and recuperates well. I don’t know if Gamboa can overhaul his tendency to toss common sense out the window and regress into “caveman mode.” Maybe it’s a carry-over from the days he used to dominate everybody on his athletic ability alone. But I’m a firm believer that he can succeed at 135 if learns how to control himself. He would have to become a disciple of boxing like Terence. I am personally not in favor of a rematch. Nothing will change except Crawford will get him to trade earlier and end the fight a few rounds sooner. What I saw from Gamboa wasn’t heart (Gamboa always had that) but what lost him the fight is his tendency to start a fight in the midst of a boxing match. May work at the bar… But not in the ring.”

The Forum All-Stars, people. Pros in amateur gear…

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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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