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Keith Thurman Can’t KO Toughie Bundu, Wins UD

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In the third fight on Showtime’s card, welterweight knockout artist, Keith “One Time” Thurman (23-0, 1 No Decision, 21 KOs) faced the 40-year-old, but undefeated, southpaw and former European Welterweight Champion, Leonard Bundu (31-0-2 with 11 KOs).

Thurman took the fight with ease on the scorecards, but Bundu’s awkward style challenged “One Time” and forced him to show both patience and boxing skills. All four judges scored it a shutout for Thurman with identical score cards of 120-107.

Round One: Thurman drops Bundu at the 2:15 mark with a hard left hook as “One Time” turned southpaw. Bundu beats the count and appears to have his legs. Instead of jumping on Bundu, Thurman chooses to box. Bundu switches from his natural southpaw style. Bundu is game, but lands nothing of merit. An easy 10-8 round for the judges.

Round Two: Thurman seems content to box out of the gate. Bundu comes forward, but Thurman seems to want to counter. Thurman lands a wicked left hand counter as Bundu comes forward. Bundu takes it reasonable well. Thurman is mixing body and head shots with skill and consistency. Thurman lands a hard right over the top. Bundu feels Thurman’s power from both hands. “One Time: is doing whatever he wants. You get the feeling that if Thurman steps on the gas, he can make this a short night.

Round Three: Bundu lands a sharp left that backs Thurman up inside the first minute of the round. By far his best punch of the fight. Thurman is unhurt, but aggravated. Thurman goes back to boxing, controlling the round with his hand speed and skill. Thurman is throwing over five times as many punches as Bundu.

Round Four: Bundu still looks fit, but he’s just not throwing. Thurman is moving with great ease and confidence. Thus far, Thurman has landed 47 power punches to Bundu’s 5. Thurman is showing more of a willingness to box. Maybe too willing for the crowd as a few boos inspire Thurman to pick up the place and close the round with more activity.

Round Five: While Bundu is willing, he just can’t find Thurman to let his hands go. “One Time” has become more cautious as the fight goes on. It’s hard to say why. Other than one decent shot, Bundu has landed nothing to dissuade Thurman from coming forward. Paulie Malinaggi rightly points out that Bundu is coming forward, but also being reactive and moving his body a lot as he comes in. His somewhat awkward style may be forcing Thurman to be more patient.

Round Six: Thurman starts off throwing more jabs. Still looking to pick his spots to let his hands go. Thurman seems determined to counter, but Bundu’s unwillingness to throw seems to be offsetting those efforts. Thurman digs in a good body shot, but can’t put a combination together. Thurman is winning easily, if not excitingly.

Round Seven: Hard counter left hook by Thurman to start the round, but again, nothing behind it. The crowd is getting restless. Bundu might have more faints than punches thrown tonight. The fight is settiling into a groove now. Bundu comes forward, acts like he’s going to throw, but rarely does. Thurman lands all the worthwhile punches, but almost all are coming one at a time.

Round Eight: Bundu comes forward, and my god, he’s throwing! Thurman weathers it fine and begins to control distance. Thurman knocks Bundu off balance for a moment with a left jab and a straight right. Strong overhand right lands for Thurman. Bundu has a decent beard.

Round Nine: The amount of movement by Bundu is making it hard for Thurman to sit down on his punches. “One Time” is boxing well overall against an awkward and committed fighter. Another less than thrilling round, taken easily by Thurman simply due to greater activity and precision.

Round Ten: Bundu flurries to the body and then backs away. Thurman retakes control with his superior skill level. No one is ever going to want to fight Bundu after this. Not if they want to look good anyway. If you’re going to give Bundu a round, I suppose you could give him this one. I wouldn’t.

Round Eleven: Thurman presses the action right out of the corner, then returns to boxing. Thurman has moved really well tonight. He’s countering reasonably well against a very awkward fighter. To say that Bundu needs a knockout in the twelfth would be a massive understatement.

Round Twelve: Thurman seems content to stick, move, and coast his way out of the remainder of the fight. Bundu counters nicely in the final minute of the round. Thurman was never in trouble at any point, but wasn’t going for the KO. Bundu might have taken a very nondescript final round if the judges were feeling generous.

Thurman is in an interesting spot for a contender. He’s both too dangerous and not marketable enough to score the big money fights he’s looking for. Therefore, he has to not only take the fights he can get, but look really good doing it.

However, Thurman deserves some credit here. “One Time” was coming into this fight after an eight round layoff due to a shoulder injury and Bundu was certainly awkward and crafty. It will be interesting to see how this fight affects both his marketability and the desire of the top fighters in the division to give Thurman a shot. “One Time” was definitely bothered by the boos at the end of his night while being interviewed by Jim Gray. He did call out Marcos Maidana who was at ringside wearing a rather awesome pair of green rimmed nerd glasses. Yeah, it was the kind of fight where you notice that sort of thing.

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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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