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Klimas Dubious That Ward-Kovalev Could Be Made

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I’m getting the sense that maybe Andre Ward is bored.

His crew has been making noise recently, indicating that he’s in shape, ready to rock. Most of his fighting of late has been of the court-room/arbitration variety, as he attempts to wriggle free from his promotional deal with Dan Goossen. That wriggling inclination has made it so the 30-year-old Ward has been appearing in the ring quite infrequently, when paired with the shoulder injury which sidetracked him from a Kelly Pavlik fight early last year. He last gloved up on November 2013, easily handling Edwin Rodriguez. Who knows, maybe now he senses that his quest to switch promotional deals is keeping him off peoples’ radars to the point that he risks being almost forgotten in this what-have-ya-done-for me lately society…

Thus, perhaps that’s why his crew is pushing for Gennady Golovkin to tiptoe up to 168 and test out Ward.

I get the sense that isn’t in Team Golovkins’ plans for now or the near future. No, they’d prefer to test Miguel Cotto, or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., or Sam Soliman, who holds a middleweight crown, or maybe Peter Quillin if the Cold War thaw gets to the point where he could fight on HBO. A Golovkin-Ward scrap isn’t tantalizing to Team Golovkin, if you listen to promoter Tom Loeffler, who on Saturday night at MSG, post-fight, said that Ward’s money ask makes a fight against Triple G a no go. Ward would want A side money, and so would Gennady…though Gennady would accept sizeable B side money against someone who is a proven draw, a Cotto or a Chavez. Ward isn’t an arena draw, and isn’t a PPV guy…so, in Loefflers’ view, it makes the slicing of the pie too difficult to let alone contemplate, let alone hash out.

Now, more than some folk think Team Golovkin also isn’t keen on possibly losing his prized “0” to such a canny pugilist, like a Ward (27-0 with 14 KOs; fought once in 2012, once in 2013, not at all in 2014), someone who maybe could prove too technically skilled for a Golovkin. His technique, combined with the edge that emerges in making Golovkin go up eight pounds…yep, I think you see why even fight fans who’d like to see if Golovkin could solve such a puzzle understand the risk-reward to a Golovkin-Ward bout doesn’t make all that much sense for the grinning assassin.

To me, I think a Ward-Sergey Kovalev fight makes more sense. For starters, what is left to do for Ward at 168? Rinse and repeat and recycle against Carl Froch? No interest there…Lure Chavez to the table so Junior could get schooled against the punch and clinch wizardry of Ward? Think Junior would go for that? And we go back to, what’s the pot for that fight, how much would HBO put up for that, and how would it be distributed? I think Ward’s work is done at 168, and light heavy should be his next move. And that means Kovalev, first and foremost, as Ward has already made clear he wasn’t overly thrilled with a matchup against Bernard Hopkins, unless the money pile was so immense he couldn’t turn it down. Wouldn’t you like to see the grinder Kovalev, always intent on separating his foe from his senses, see if he could render Ward ready for a ten count? And wouldn’t it maybe be more likely that HBO could figure out acceptable terms, if they’re doing a deal with two studs of their stable, Kovalev and Ward?

I floated the idea of a Kovalev-Ward scrap to Egis Klimas, manager to Kovalev, who gloves up Saturday in Atlantic City, against Blake Caparello. Does he think Kovalev-Ward could be made? “Andre Ward already announced his plans,” Klimas said. “Staying at 168, saying there is no reason to move up. He’s looking always for some kind of excuses, saying if I beat Kovalev, who is next for me, there is nobody in that weight class….Then he said he would go, but said Kovalev is not a pay per view fighter. It’s just excuses after excuses. You’re not going to hear excuses from my side. Whatever comes, we take it.”

Klimas recalled that for his first 18 fights, Klimas paid for all Sergey’s fights himself. He had no promotional backing. And he said if he called Kovalev, and said there is a fight planned for next Saturday, he’d hop on it. No questions asked. No queries about weight, and stance, and experience of foe. No questions asked. Just, “What weight should I be?” and “Where is the fight?” All the other guys, who is mama, who is papa, was he an amateur champion?”

Point taken; Kovalev wants to test himself, against the best…to see if he is the best. Not cherry pick, and play manager/pugilist…But take on all comers, the best and the brighest, target the Goliaths and look to fell them. Props to him…let’s hope some more of that attitude gets to be contagious, and we see a spell of best fighting the best fights get made for the second half of 2014.

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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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