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HOPKINS: “Kovalev Is A Threat To Anybody, It Won’t Be An Easy Fight

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BERNARD HOPKINS PHILADELPHIA MEDIA WORKOUT

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 28, 2014) – With just a little over a week until fight night, Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins worked out in front of a packed media contingent that traveled from far and wide to see the 49-year-old ageless light heavyweight champion train for his Saturday, Nov. 8 light unification bout against Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City live on HBO World Championship Boxing®.

President and founder of Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya was also in attendance to talk to the media and watch Hopkins train. Here is what the participants had to say.

BERNARD HOPKINS, IBF and WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion

“To be able to bring a lot of the top writers in the out here to cover history is great. This fight has a lot of historic things about it.

“Oscar was talking about me fighting without pressure. It’s the pressure of the unknown. The unknown is the reward that comes after taking on such a challenge. For me it’s about never taking anyone lightly. I’m ready mentally and physically for this challenge, come November 8.

“I believe the difference comes in the execution. If you think about it too much beforehand it will keep you up at night. You can’t worry about things you can’t change. I prepare to do what I know how to do best. That rule of code has never betrayed me.

“There’s not one fighter I wouldn’t put my record up against. In this era – in any weight class. I put the work in to have the track record and be taken seriously.

“There are a lot of things I look at that I used to do, even though I was successful, as a waste of time. But those are the things you have to go through. We are young before we are old. We are immature before we become mature.

“When I look back at the last five years of my career, I’m spending less time in the gym than I did in the beginning of my career. I’m fighting 12-round fights, why am I training for four hours? These are the things you do when you’re young. When you get older you realize that you had to survive it, that’s how I got here.

“When you look at the things I do, the lifestyle and the discipline. You would say I’m preserved. You would say that I’m well kept. You would say I’m clean in the garage. The mechanics are all brand new, because I took care of them.

“I have the same thoughts on Kovalev that most people here do. He’s a dangerous puncher. He has an over 90 percent knockout rate and anyone who fights this guy has the opportunity to not be the same once he exits the ring. We won’t take anything away from this guy because he’s real.

“Kovalev is a threat to anybody. It won’t be an easy fight, even if it looks easy to you. I don’t just have to beat the man, but I have to beat a lot of people. They’re either going to watch me win or watch me lose, and I don’t mind playing that game. I don’t believe in luck. I believe in whoever brings the best and whoever sacrifices the most to be victorious will win.

“It doesn’t bother me if people are rooting for me or not. My family, are the only thing that matters at the end of the day. If you’re motivated by other things, you’ll never stop. No matter how many people you beat there will always be something else.

“No one expected me to be gone 10-15 years ago. I became their worst nightmare. I still have my senses and my intellect. I can still articulate. That makes me an even bigger force.”

NAAZIM RICHARDSON, Hopkins’ Trainer

“With some of the young guys, you have to be on them before they get comfortable. But with Bernard he comes in knowing what he wants to do and it’s just a pleasure to work with him.

“You can’t be undedicated in this job, you have to be in there and be a part of everything. We’re dealing with a freak of nature in Kovalev, he might be the hardest puncher in the history of boxing, we’ll see.

“Bernard can watch Kovalev’s tapes, but until you feel the punches you don’t know what it is. We don’t know how hard he can punch, but we’ve fought some guys who could punch. We saw with Pavlik, Tarver and Trinidad, those guys had power.

“The only thing Bernard hasn’t done in this sport is lose badly, so I told him to get out of this sport before he does everything. But he proved me wrong because then he beat Pavlik and Pascal and all of the other guys.”

OSCAR DE LA HOYA, President and Founder of Golden Boy Promotions

“We’ll never see anything like Bernard Hopkins again. We won’t see any athlete in any sport compete at the highest level. It’s unheard of. You can talk about any era, or any great fighter, no one has been able to compete at this level. Everybody in America should be cheering for him.

“When you take a look at Hopkins being 49-years-old, almost 50, you have basically a kid in the other corner who punches like a man. It’s a 50-50 fight.

“I haven’t counted Hopkins out since he beat me, even before that. Hopkins is a master at what he does. The question is how will Kovalev react psychologically to an ‘alien?’ He’s never fought an athlete like Hopkins. How will he react when he hits the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

“Everything he does is calculated. Everything he consumes. It’s all calculated. It’s clean living for a very long time. There’s more to it but that’s a lot of it.

“At this point. Hopkins is already in the Hall of Fame. He’s already going to be talked about as one of the greats. So he doesn’t have that added pressure of trying to prove himself. I think people already have the utmost respect for him.

“People respect the fact that at 49-years-old, he’s still going strong. There’s no sign of him slowing down. He’s getting faster, he’s getting stronger and he has more energy. He’s toying with young fighters, half his age. For Hopkins it’s starts outside the ring, he breaks you.

“What comes to mind from my fight with Hopkins, was one of his teeth fell off and he was, ‘well that’s old-age.’ Now I look back and think wow, he made me think I was fighting this old man. I had in my mind that if I just got through training camp, without doing any extra, that I could take this guy on. He made me complacent. He didn’t need to talk trash or get in my face, he’s a master.

“I believe that Hopkins focuses not on what he’s going to do physically, but on what he can do to get his opponent out of their comfort zone and what combinations does he not expect from me. I wouldn’t say he’s awkward, but he knows how to offset his opponents.

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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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