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Hopkins Is A Freak; Others Born in ’65 Long Retired

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1965: THE BIRTH OF “THE ALIEN”

BERNARD HOPKINS CONTINUES CHAMPIONSHIP REIGN WHILE CONTEMPORARIES WATCH FROM RETIREMENT

PHILADELPHIA (October 23, 2014) – There is one thing that virtually every professional athlete born in 1965 has in common – retirement from professional sports. The only exception is current IBF and WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins. On November 8, just two months shy of his 50th birthday, Hopkins will defend his titles against WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ live on HBO World Championship Boxing®.

At a time when most athletes his age have seen their skill set fade and long since walked away from their respective sports, Hopkins continues to enjoy his prime. After nearly 25 years, in arguably the most physically demanding of all sports, Hopkins defies retirement by continuing to defeat and outbox up-and-comers that are many years his junior.

Bernard Hopkins was born on January 15, 1965, and on November 8, 2014 he will step into the ring for his 64th professional bout. On that night Hopkins will attempt to break his own astonishing record, again, becoming the oldest champion in the history of major sports to win a world title. To appreciate Hopkins’ unbelievable, age-defying accomplishments, one should consider where other notable athletes born in 1965 are today.

* Former Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis was born on September 2, 1965. Lewis last fought professionally in 2003 when he stopped Vitali Klitschko. In 2004 he retired from the sweet science. More than a decade after Lewis’ last professional bout Hopkins is still fighting on.

* Pro Football Hall of Fame member and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Rod Woodson, was born on March 10, 1965. Woodson, who made an impressive 11 Pro Bowls and was elected first-team All-Pro six times over his 16-year NFL career, elected to hang up the cleats in 2003.

* Another NFL Hall of Famer, Cris Carter, was born on November 25, 1965. Carter, who was elected to the NFL 1990’s All-Decade Team, was an eight-time Pro Bowl player. He was elected first-team All-Pro twice, and second-team All-Pro once. After 15 seasons in the NFL, Carter played his last professional game in 2002.

* Former MLB standout Craig Biggio was born on December 14, 1965. The seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award winner, played an astounding 19 seasons in the majors, all of them with the Houston Astros. Biggio played his last professional game in 2007.

* Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member David Robinson, one of the NBA’s most dominating forces over the last half-century, was born on August 6, 1965. The 10-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA Champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner and 1995 NBA MVP had a prolific presence down low. Robinson was notorious for taking tremendous care of his body throughout his career, but even he was forced to retire, playing his last professional game in 2003.

* Another NBA Hall of Fame inductee, Scottie Pippen, was born on September 25, 1965. During his 16 seasons in the NBA, Pippen amassed six NBA Championships, two Olympic Gold Medals and an NBA All-Star Game MVP. Pippen was selected as an NBA All-Star seven times, and during the 1996-1997 season he was dubbed one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. He played his last professional game in 2008.

* Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mario Lemieux is widely considered one of the greatest NHL players of all time. Lemieux was born on October 5, 1965. He played during portions of 17 seasons, tallying three NHL MVP awards, two Stanley Cup titles and six Art Ross Trophies as the league’s leading scorer. Lemieux laced up his skates professionally for the last time in 2006.

Despite the greatness and longevity they exhibited throughout their playing careers, and all of the titles and awards they won, every other professional athlete that was born in 1965 has retired from their respective sport. Many have gone on to experience successful post-playing careers as coaches, analysts, actors and philanthropists. Some even came back for encore performances after their first retirement from their sport, but none continue to compete professionally, nonetheless at a championship level in 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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