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Media Poll: 12 Like Hopkins, 11 Like Kovalev

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BOXING PUNDITS REVEAL THEIR

“ALIEN VS. KRUSHER: HOPKINS VS. KOVALEV” PREDICTIONS

The Light Heavyweight Unification Bout Takes Place Saturday, Nov. 8 At Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City Live On HBO World Championship Boxing®

ATLANTIC CITY (Oct. 22, 2014) – One of the most anticipated fights of the year, the light heavyweight unification bout between Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins and Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, has the boxing world split with the fight just weeks away.

This will be one of the biggest obstacles of each man’s career as they look to unify titles and stake their claim as the best light heavyweight in the world.

Take a look at how top media members see the Nov. 8 unification bout going:

(Answers compiled by Jack Obermayer)

BOB VELIN (USA Today): “Kovalev might be the hardest puncher Hopkins has faced, and there is no doubt Hopkins is the smartest boxer Kovalev has faced. That should make for a fascinating matchup. Hopkins is older than old for a fighter, but is probably in better shape than the Russian destroyer, and has avoided damaging punishment. That said, I don’t think he will escape Kovalev’s ample power and Kovalev will not lose patience like so many of Hopkins’ most recent victims.”

Kovalev: KO 10

DAN RAFAEL (ESPN.com): “Hopkins has been in this exact position many times, and pulled an upset. I’ve learned my lesson. It’s a tough fight, but Hopkin’s ring intelligence, experience, and chin trump a Kovalev whose opponents have not been much to write home about.”

Hopkins: Decision

DAVE WEINBERG (Atlantic City Press): “Hopkins will frustrate and confuse Kovalev for the first few rounds, but Kovalev’s power will eventually be the difference.”

Kovalev: Late-round KO

GEORGE WILLIS (New York Post): “Hopkins has proved me wrong plenty of times. He hasn’t had too much trouble with punchers. He beat Trinidad and ruined Pavlik. He’ll have to prove me wrong again.”

Kovalev: KO 10

MITCH ABRAMSON (New York Daily News): “Hopkins is just too crafty, too smart and still possesses the necessary athleticism to beat a top fighter. Insane that a near 50 year old can win? No it’s not.”

Hopkins: Decision

RON BORGES (Boston Herald): “Hopkins will do what he does best. He’ll mystify Kovalev into a fog of inaction and find a way to outpoint him.”

Hopkins: Decision

KEITH IDEC(The Record, Woodland Park, NJ):

“Hopkins took this difficult fight because he sees flaws in the heavily hyped Kovalev that he knows he can exploit. Hopkins has never been stopped, either, and his vast experience advantage over Kovalev in 12-round fights will serve him well.”

Hopkins: Decision

BERNARD FERNANDEZ (veteran boxing writer): “Can’t believe I’m going to the well again. Hopkins has a history of success against big punchers who come forward, and try to take his head off. Will Kovalev be the guy who finally does hand it to him? No.”

Hopkins: Decision

DOUG FISCHER (RingTV.com): “I think Kovalev overcomes a shaky, somewhat careful start and begins making things uncomfortable for Hopkins when he hurts the living legend to the body in the middle rounds. Kovalev’s smart pressure and heavy but accurate combination punching takes over in the late rounds and puts Hopkins into survival mode.”

Kovalev: Decision

DANNY FLEXEN (British Boxing News): “Hopkins struggles with speed and work rate, far more so than strength, power and aggression. Kovalev is a dangerous predator but neither the fastest or busiest.”

Hopkins: Decision

JERRY GLICK (FightNews.com): “At 49 years old Bernard Hopkins has proven he is still great. The pick is that he will maintain his skills against the hard-hitting Kovalev and control the action to win.”

Hopkins: Decision

LEE GROVES (RingTV.com): “If Kovalev fights the man instead of the icon and avoids trying to box with him, his youth, his strength and aggression should be enough. Also, John David Jackson — who fought Hopkins and worked with him in many training camps will provide Kovalev unique insights into what makes Hopkins tick, as well as what ticks him off.”

Kovalev: Decision

GRAHAM HOUSTON (British Boxing Monthly): “I think Kovalev will out-work

Hopkins; don’t think he will try to blast out the old ring general.”

Kovalev: Decision

JAKE KAPLAN (Philadelphia Daily News): “The ageless Hopkins will defy the odds again — against an opponent young enough to be his son. Like many opponents before him, Kovalev will have trouble handling Hopkins’ mind games before and during the fight.”

Hopkins: Decision

STEVE KIM (UCNLive.com): “I have a gut feeling that Kovalev will be the one guy to not fall into the trap that Hopkins lays so well and will continue to bang away at the arms and shoulders of ‘The Alien’ to win.”

Kovalev: Decision

MICHAEL MARLEY (Boxing Examiner.com): “Bernard may be an old dog, but he is an old dog who doesn’t need to learn new tricks. His old bags, of tricks still work exceedingly well, thank you. Kovalev is a typical tough Russian, but he will be out-slicked and out-tricked by BHop.”

Hopkins: Decision

ROBERT MORALES (Los Angeles Daily News): “I rarely go against Hopkins because of his defense and trickery, but have to go with Kovalev in this one because he’ll be unfazed by the stuff that lulls others to sleep when they are in with Hopkins.”

Kovalev: Late-round KO

TONY PAIGE (WFAN 660 Radio): “Sounds crazy, but this is it for Hopkins. Kovalev’s too strong and too busy. Dare I say…”

Kovalev: KO 9

CLIFF ROLD (BoxingScene.com): “Eventually the sand runs out of the hourglass. Kovalev isn’t just a good puncher, he’s a smart boxer. Along with youth, that will be too much for the old man.”

Kovalev: KO 10

MICHAEL ROSENTHAL (The Ring): “I suspect Hopkins bit off more than he can chew in this case. Kovalev isn’t the boxer Hopkins is, but I believe his skills are better than some might realize, certainly good enough to give Hopkins trouble. That combined with the Russian’s unquestioned punching power will be too much for Hopkins to handle.”

Kovalev: KO 10

LEM SATTERFIELD (RingTV.com): “Hopkins will be completely relaxed in this fight. He once told me that Kovalev is the virtual mirror image of Pavlik. However, I don’t think that this will be as easy, but I do believe that he’ll find a way to be victorious.”

Hopkins: Decision

TIM STRUBY (ESPN The Magazine): “Once again, Hopkins will defy conventional thought. He’ll stay out of range, trash talk, hold and frustrate Kovalev. Hopkins will also pick precise spots to stick and move; it won’t be pretty.”

Hopkins: Decision

STEVE TOBEY (MaxBoxing.com): “Yes, Kovalev has youth and power, but Hopkins is smarter and still able to execute. He wouldn’t have taken this fight otherwise.”

Hopkins: Decision

FINAL TALLY – Bernard Hopkins: 12, Sergey Kovalev: 11

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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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