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Frankie Gomez Is Now “The Patient Pitbull”

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Frankie Gomez was seen by many as a sure thing when he entered the pro ranks in 2010, an East LA kid who’d come up from a humble beginning and would transition to superstar pugilist, piling up titles and gaudy checks. It’s been a couple years, and the going has been a bit slower than some predicted. Critiques are floating around, from name writers, labeling him a disappointment.

But I will take the contrary viewpoint, and point out the Pitbull is just 22. I shudder to recall what I was doing at that age, and so I am not prone to be the judge-y sort, label a prospect who was “can’t miss” a bust when he’s just 22.

On Friday, we shall see who is more right, the labelers, or me, who thinks that a 22 year old who owns a fully functional set of traits which add up to make him a complete pro is the exception, not the rule.

Gomez, a Golden Boy boxer, will headline against Vernon Paris on a Fox Sports 1 card from Fantasy Springs in Indio, CA.

He will take his 17-0 mark in against the Michiganer Paris, who sports a 28-1 mark, with the sole blemish coming at the hands of Zab Judah in 2012.

Paris hasn’t been that busy since then, fighting twice in 2013 and not at all in 2014, but he seems like a step up. Is that right, Frankie? “I think it is a step up for me,” Gomez told me. “He fought Judah, it is a big step for me, but I’ve been training hard for this.”

In his last outing, Gomez, trained by Freddie Roach, beat 12-3-1 Orlando Vazquez in April (via KO2). He said that the Wild Card has been superb for him, as he gets different looks all the time and is able to test himself against all different styles. Gomez worked with Abel Sanchez, Gennady Golovkin’s trainer, and learned a lot about defense, and moving his head more. With Roach, he’s learned to target more specifically, aim for the chin, dig to the body more, and pace himself, not expend excessive energy early on. He’s turning over his shots, stepping into punches more, and he’s thinking that’ll show against Paris. The vet is a slick fighter, who can whack you with counters, so Gomez said he won’t be over-aggressive. He’ll target the body, get the hands to drop, and then go up high, and head hunt later on. if and when he beats paris, he told me, he’d like one more fight to get some seasoning rounds, and then aim for a title crack; he’s not particular who. “I’ll fight anyone,” he said.

His family labeled him “Pitbull” when he was younger as he was fascinated with that breed, and wore t-shirts advertising his fondess. But of late, he said, he’s become more of “The Patient Pitbull,” someone who will be more methodical when he senses a foe is weak. Yeah, I know, “The Patient Pitbull” doesn’t have such a fearsome ring, right? But I think it speaks to how he’s acclimating more and more to the pro game….

Gomez said he isn’t bothered by the critiques from the naysayers who have never laced them up. He said he prefers to let his in ring actions speak loudest. Against Paris, Marvin Samodio will corner him, along with older brother Paul Gomez, with Roach being in NY with Glen Tapia, who’s fighting on the Golovkin-Geale undercard at MSG.

Asked for a prediction, Gomez lived up to that “The Patient Pitbull” tag I slapped on him.

“You have to wait and see,” he said.

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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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