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About the Purse For Soliman-Taylor and Why GGG Was Spurned

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Can’t blame Sam Soliman, can you, for choosing to go with the vastly lesser fearsome option, in Jermain Taylor, nearly a decade past his prime, instead of taking a date with the grinning assassin, the man quick with a grin and a KO-shot to your chin, Gennady Golovkin.

The Aussie Soliman (44-11) is 40, turns 41 in November, and holds the IBF middleweight strap.

Taylor, by virtue of his name, still boldface even if his skills have faded and his medical history is enough to give pause to anyone and everyone with even a minimal base of knowledge of his career, obtained a title crack against Soliman, who beat Felix Sturm in May (UD12) to gain the strap.

Certainly, it doesn’t hurt that he is advised by the most powerful man in boxing, Al Haymon, the man whose presence is felt everywhere, but whose physical presence, and interaction with the press and the public is the total opposite. (My point being, we never do get to hear from Haymon about how and why decisions get made from his end…and, I dare say, I sometimes wonder of other people get blamed for decisions and moves that come from his cell phone.)

Taylor, who turned 36 on Monday, beat JC Candelo last December (TKO7), and Raul Munoz via KO2 in his previous outing, in October 2012. He defeated Twitter giant Caleb Truax, now also a Haymon fighter,  via UD10 seven months before that, after starting a comeback with a TKO8 win over club fighter Jessie Nicklow in December 2011. The comeback came about after Taylor stepped away from the game for medical reasons, specifically the bleeding in his brain which came about from punishment taken at the hands of Arthur Abraham in October 2009. That KO12 loss was the second straight last-round stoppage loss in a row for the Arkansan; he was stopped by Carl Froch in April 2009.

Soliman was near the top of the target list for Team Golovkin in a thin-picking middleweight division. After it became clear they couldn’t lure Miguel Cotto or Canelo Alvarez to the table, Soliman was offered the opportunity of meeting Golovkin. It was considered, his advisor, attorney Kurt Emhoff said, but the more lucrative, and presumably, less risky scrap with Taylor spoke louder to Team Solimon. Smart and common sensical move by Emhoff–he knows Solimon has been at this since 1997, and but of course dollars make mucho sense when calculating paths to take. As he’s told media, Emhoff recognizes that you hold your breath when you watch Taylor now. But, the advisor said, he feels better that JT has been seen by docs at the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic, and an ace neurologist in Nevada.

One element of this that I couldn’t figure out what the implication that I see floating around that Soliman chose more moolah for a fight which will run on ESPN, not known for their generosity in meting out purse packages, and not HBO, which isn’t as cheap. I spoke to Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler, of K2. “Solimon was one of our choices since he had the IBF title,” he said, when I asked if Solimon was the first choice among Plans B, “and we made a significant offer to them, but Taylor is naturally the easier fight.” And about that rumor that the offer to Solimon to fight Golovkin was inferior to the purse to meet Taylor? “I’m not at liberty to say what it was, but they matched our offer and if someone can fight Jermain Taylor instead of Triple G, they will take that route, for the same price.”

Soliman fights Taylor on October 4 at Foxwoods in Connecticut.

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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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