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Mayweather vs Pacquiao Is More Stale Than Aunt Betty’s Fruitcake

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The year seems to have flown by in a flash of sorts. Certainly, there have been a number of highly entertaining bouts within the boxing world as well as the fair share of leaden fruitcakes with those grotesque dried fruits encased around a preservative-heavy high-fructosey spongecake.

Those are the types that leave a foul taste in your mouth and the type of lasting memory you’d soon choose to forget. Speaking of unsavory and less than palatable pugilistic aromas, we may be having a difficult time diverting our attention from the constant drumbeat of the consummate “fantasy faceoff,” the possibility of a matchup between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

There was a brief moment in time back in 2009 or perhaps 2010 when Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions actually included a link on their website which allowed fans and casual listeners alike to tune into an open phone line in the hopes that Mayweather would call in and say, “yes” to a bout with the Filipino superstar.

Of course, those who were glued to their respective computer screens were not even treated to a dial tone as the call, as expected, never came. We’re now just a few weeks away from the year 2015. I fear that we will look back to 2015 as yet another year that Floyd and Manny get no closer to fighting than we get to really savoring every scrumptious morsel of Aunt Betty’s annual cakebomb, er, most thoughtful fruitcake delivery.

There’s been rumblings of all sorts in the past ten days or so. It goes without blatantly saying so that the sporting public in general is long since fed up with the antics (on each side, for whatever reason) with the mega matchup still failing to materialize. At this point, there is nowhere left to go for either man. The amount of money to be made for both competitors is beyond staggering and potential hosts are coming out of the proverbial woodwork. Quickly, let’s look at few suitors looking to impress. There is of course Las Vegas, yet the capacity of the MGM Grand Garden Arena is better situated for basketball.

The real world’s version of Monte Burns, Jerry Jones, has offered his monstrosity of a stadium in Arlington, Texas more than once as a site for the bout.

Last week, a high ranking individual in the United Arab Emirates was reportedly prepared to come up with a purse upwards of two hundred million dollars. It would be a big thumb in the eye to the paying public if the bout took place outside of the United States. For starters, many people can’t find Abu Dhabi or Dubai on a map and let’s not forget that although the UAE is a glowing jewel of a tourist destination and has more relaxed regulations than other countries in the region, gambling is forbidden there. Sports betting, however, has at times been allowed. The lure for many of a bout in Las Vegas is the casinos and the 24/7 availability of the action.

This week’s release of college football’s version of the final four has indicated that an undefeated record by a defending champion doesn’t necessarily indicate that they’re the best of the best. Perhaps those of the opinion that Manny Pacquiao is a “B Side” of the potential showdown should check a few facts. For example, how many “B Side” participants have the bulk of a continent behind them? Likewise, does street crime halt in Las Vegas whenever Floyd Mayweather, Jr. takes to the ring?

Speaking of, there are several quality bouts taking place in Sin City this weekend which feature a few fighters that are more than ready to take the sport closer to the mainstream than two who just can’t seem to agree on anything. Quite frankly, the back and forth bickering is just plain bad for our beloved sport. Like, much worse than Aunt Betty’s fruitcake bad. Here’s hoping Aunt Betty finds a new recipe, and so do Manny and Floyd–this recipe being one that results in a sweet concoction of fistic fury.

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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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