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Hopkins-Kovalev Predictions From Lou DiBella, Michael Woods, Sergio Mora

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Photo credit : David Spagnolo

 

UPDATE: Ex champ Sergi Mora touched base with TSS, and gave his take on the Kovalev-Hopkins tangle. “Hopkins was outmatched by power, youth, size and strength…but this time, another boxer with a smart gameplan. Other fighters have given in to Hopkins’ mind games and ring generalship. Kovalev with the help of John David Jackson didn’t,” he said.

I noted I saw how Hopkins’ punches at times looked so very pitty-pat, and that Kovalev’s strength meant Hopkins knew he couldn’t employ clinch-y-ness into his defense, because the Russian would be able to disengage more easily than other foes and also would do more damage in close. Hopkins knew if he invested hard into his shots, his defense would be compromised and he would be in that much more danger of being stopped. “You’re absolutely right,” Mora told me. “That’s sometimes what I do with strong puncher. Fast feints are the key to that problem. Hopkins’ feints were too slow.”

 

Promoter Lou DiBella has a…rich…history with Bernard Hopkins. The two were lovie dovie, and then had one of the nastier fallings out the boxing world can recall. They can be cordial today though, and that sort of semi forgive and basically forget relationship is a hallmark of our savage science of a sport.

I reached out to the NY-based promoter to see how he thinks the Hopkins vs. Sergey Kovalev scrap will play out in AC tomorrow night.

“Hopkins outboxes Kovalev or checks out before he can get knocked out,” said the ace dealmaker, who helped Sergio Martinez reach a stardom place and is now re-loading his company with a parcel of young guns, prospects and contenders.

I also reached out to a hitter whose analysis I always dig, Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora, a 154-160 pound contender and ex champ who likes Hopkins to get the W. He gloves up Dec. 11, btw, on the Austin Trout/ESPN card. “I see Hopkins by decision,” Mora told me. “Kovalev is not active enough. Even if he starts fast, Bernard will weather it and Kovalev will tire. If Hopkins loses, it’s by brutal KO, or disqualification, like in the first Chad Dawson fight.”

Me, I think if pretty crafty Cedric Agnew can hang awhile with Kovalev, into round seven, then the ULTRA crafty Hopkins can do more than that, he can go the distance. A distance fight favors the marathon man Hopkins, the best snake charmer in the game today, and one of the best ever. He can lull a foe, hypnotize him into a slower pace than is advisable, and win rounds with ring generalship and the odd flurry. Hopkins at almost 50 is a full shade better than the Campillos or Cleverlys, or whoever you see as Sergey’s best win. Then again, with so many fight folk tabbing the youngest old man in the world to win, that might just signify a “market top,” and you might want to employ contrary logic, realizing that us humans are quite often late to a logic party. Yep, there’s my hedge…but I’d put more of my money on Hopkins than on the heavier hitter who hasn’t contended with anything mildly resembling this alien pugilist.

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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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