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Hauser Goes From The Dickensian Scene in Boxing, To Actual Dickens

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I call him “The Dean” of fightwriters, sometimes to his face, and I don’t think it displeases him.

I’m actually not totally sold on “The Dean,” because I think Thomas Hauser’s talents, and bearing and decades-long track record, and, frankly, somewhat puzzling presence in the game, deserve a more fitting, maybe more complex appellation.

I’m working’ on it…

But while I do so, I’m also digging into a new Hauser work. The man is prolific; he’s authored 47 books, and functions like a prizefighter who has the sweet science damn well mastered, a guy who throws 80 punches a round, but not one hundred, because he knows at what point he approaches burnout. He is something of the Seymour Hersh–look it up, or, here’s the Wiki–of our set, a guy who could teach a class on journalism methods. He makes the calls, and then more calls, and fills up what I guess is a ream-room of yellow legal pads full of notes for every story.

Back to that “puzzling” reference…I do sometimes find myself looking at him, sort of regal, professorial, ever-slim and relaxed-dapper, his visage fitting his writing style, not prone to over-emoting, or showy ebullience, and wondering what the heck he’s doing here. The intellect is of a level which is not unknown to our beloved red light district of sports entertainment, but yes, one that could serve him in, how to put this, less malodorous sectors. Er, OK, he was an attorney, who came from Wall St., so, there’s that…that fact could send me into a rabbit hole of compare and contrast on the merits and downsides and relative moral fibers of the fight game set and the wizards of high frequency foolishness, the vampire squid brigade….

I digress…

The latest Hauser work isn’t, believe it or not, a boxing book. People who follow his career know that’s not an aberration. His first novel, “Missing,” was nominated for a Pulitzer, and was the basis for an Academy-Award winning film. His “Muhammad Ali: His LIfe and Times” is the current and forever standard-bearer for biographies on The Greatest…and that in itself is legacy enough, a work of that quality on the greatest sportsman the world has ever and will ever know.

Right now, I’m a couple chapters in to “The Final Recollections of Charles Dickens.”  Truth be told, I’d not use the book for anything other than a prop for one of my air conditioners if my pal Tom didn’t write it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying it. I rely on Hauser as one of those people who spur me to go outside my proverbial safe zones, and reading this work of historical fiction indeed has made a part of my brain pretty dormant since, like 1991, activate.

The book has Dickens writing in first person, and Hauser urges us to suspend disbelief, and settle into the construct. Oh, I’m OK at that, being a fightwriter, I must suppress disbelief on a daily basis lest I become too cynical, and invite flies into my gaping maw, so often do the fight games sundry citizens test my set standards of perceived norms and accepted practices.

I found myself thinking of Hauser, sorry Tom, not Dickens, when I read, “I please myself with thinking that my success has opened the way for others and that I will leave the position of literary men better and more independent than I found it.” Hauser, when his arc is stilled, will leave the canon of fightwriting much better than when he entered this arena.

So anyway, I’m making my way into the effort and enjoying it so far. Actually, digging it more than most of the Dickens stuff teachers made me read, so props to Tom. I admit, I will always prefer to read Hauser’s work he sends me for TSS and the like…but I appreciate the way he manages to keep me turning pages on the subject of the man who wrote the best selling novel of all time, A Tale of Two Cities.  I’m thinking I will be employing, properly, the term “Dickensian” in the next few weeks, in homage to The Dean, for this rock-solid effort.

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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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