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Adonis Stevenson Should Fight Sergey Kovalev Next

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If Stevenson Is Smart He’ll Fight Kovalev Next

By Frank Lotierzo

Now that Sergey Kovalev has conclusively defeated Bernard Hopkins this past weekend, hopefully Canadian light heavyweight Adonis Stevenson has received the message.

And that message is: fight Kovalev ASAP.

Stevenson 24-1 (20) who holds the WBC light heavyweight lineal title, is fighting Dmitry Sukhotsky 22-2 (16) on December 19th in Quebec Canada. If things go as expected, the hard hitting southpaw should take care of business and defeat Sukhotsky, clearing the way for him to answer the call and agree to meet Kovalev with all the titles on the line.

It wasn’t long ago that Stevenson was in the driver’s seat and appeared to be close to fighting Hopkins, and Kovalev was the odd man out. Then Hopkins flipped the script and decided to fight the undefeated Kovalev with the WBA/IBF and WBO titles up for grabs. Kovalev delivered the signature performance of his career and now must be regarded as boxing’s brightest new emerging star. And yes, that includes middleweight sensation Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin is no doubt the real article, but he has yet to face a fighter who is as tough, experienced, versatile and resourceful as Bernard Hopkins. And that’s because there’s only one Hopkins around and in 2014 and he’s a light heavyweight, not a middleweight.

In an era in which it’s nearly impossible to get the best to meet the best in boxing, as evidenced by the five year soap opera starring Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in what has to be regarded as the biggest non- fight of the twenty first century. In a reversal of trends, Hopkins and Kovalev, the two most noteworthy fighters in the light heavyweight division, followed by Stevenson, agreed in early August to meet in early November. Both Bernard and Sergey put their titles on the line and the bout came to fruition quickly. What a welcome change it was for sport of boxing. And Kovalev’s dominant performance announced with great fanfare his official arrival onto the boxing landscape as a star fighter.

Now it’s time for Stevenson to get off the fence and stop throwing up road blocks and meet Kovalev. Kovalev and his promoter Kathy Duva took questions about fighting Stevenson next at the post fight press conference after Sergey defeated Hopkins. Both Kovalev and Duva said they would be more than willing to meet the “other guy” with a title in Sergey’s next bout. There’s no doubt the people around Stevenson are asking him when he’s going to meet Kovalev, I think, too…

After losing to Kovalev, Hopkins said at ring center while being interviewed by Max Kellerman, that Kovalev is now the fighter to beat in the light heavyweight division. And every boxing fan knows this as well. Hopkins even repeated his sentiments about Kovalev being the fighter to beat in the division when he spoke in front of the press after the fight.

If I were managing Adonis Stevenson, I’d roll the dice on a fight with Sergey Kovalev. Stevenson is already viewed as being the Floyd Mayweather to Manny Pacquiao in the eyes of many believing that like Floyd, Adonis, for whatever reason, is the more reluctant party when it comes to touching gloves with his career rival. And if you’re Stevenson, where else is he going to go? Adonis is 37 or so now, so time isn’t on his side. If he loses in an exciting shootout against Kovalev, he gets paid and maybe even a rematch if he acquits himself well. And if he wins, he’s a momentary superstar and becomes the man to beat in the division.

I’m not one to accuse fighters of being afraid of other fighters. I believe Mayweather is the fighter who has avoided making the fight with Pacquiao more than the opposite. That said, I have no doubt at all that Floyd now believes he will beat Pacquiao when they eventually fight. I also believe that Stevenson isn’t fearful of Kovalev, but he certainly has been the one dragging his feet when it comes to being serious about making the fight a reality. It’s not like Kovalev showed him much against Hopkins that wasn’t already known about him as a fighter, aside from him going 12-rounds for the first time in his career. If Stevenson was spooked by the thought of fighting Kovalev before the Hopkins fight, I doubt anything has changed.

If by chance Stevenson needs an infusion of confidence, he might take note that Kovalev isn’t at his best fighting on the inside, and he is hittable. Adonis is a bigger one shot puncher than Hopkins, and I think Hopkins more than got Kovalev’s attention with a few rushed throw away punches during the last few rounds of their fight. I’m not saying Kovalev doesn’t have a sturdy chin, because he does, it’s just not in the same class as Hopkins.’

If the fight is made, I would favor Kovalev to beat Stevenson. But it’s not like Stevenson only has a puncher’s chance to win. It’s just that Kovalev has more weapons and ways to come out on top. That, and he got another degree in furthering his boxing education after 12-rounds of class matching wits and skills with professor Hopkins.

It’s not only good for boxing if Stevenson fights Kovalev next, it makes good business sense.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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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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