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Malignaggi Not Talking Like A Man Edging Toward Retirement

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Sorry haters, and there are scads of you, and even more since he went on a social media strafing run, an anti PED kick which saw him kicking dirt and throwing mud in a raucous “I’m mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore!” groove…but I do think Paulie Malignaggi isn’t going to shrink back full-time into the analyst seat, and become a milder, more politically correct animal.

You were maybe hoping the Pride of Bensonhurst would hang ’em up, sit on the sidelines with us lowly tappers and at 34, settle into a vocational second life. You were hoping, those of you who call him “Pillowfist,” and find yourselves seizing up and getting antsy when you hear his Brooklyn-ese wafting over the Showtime airwaves, that he’d lower his profile after his last outing, a stoppage loss to Shawn Porter last April (TKO4), and edge closer into darkness.

You were thanking those lucky stars there would be little likelihood that the man who injected the term “sidepiece” into the fight game lexicon, to the shame and dismay of many an old school soul, would be in a position to repeat those antics.

So sorry haters, because the way Paulie is talking, he ain’t ready to recede. I seriously doubt we’ll ever see a diminishment of his hyper-caffeinated verbal stylings, the rat-a-tat analysis which combines technical acumen and the ability to offer concise bites of said material. And I don’t believe now is the time that we’ll see how he handles that all-important shift into a new mindset, that of being an active warrior, into a past-tense soldier.

Twitter-heads have seen some banter concerning Malignaggi and his sniffs of interest in K9 Bundrage, who holds a junior middleweight belt.

What about it Paulie, still got that fighting spirit, thinking you might want a crack at a belt in a third weigh class?

“Any world title fight interests me, I’m a fighter,” he told me.

Please note the present tense, and the lack of nuance or shading or equivocation…

“K9 is an interesting style matchup because it would be my boxing against his physicality. Of course, I’m not in charge of making the fights though.

“When I turned pro my goal was to win titles in three weight classes,” the mouthy one continued. “I can’t move up more than 154 and even 154, I have to fight very smart. Because the size itself presents a big risk. I’m not a junior middleweight, but a move up for a world title against K9 would be a calculated risk.”

I reached out to Bundrage (34-5; fought last in October, beat then champ Carlos Molina for IBF strap); K9, would you entertain a twirl with Paulie? “Absolutely,” the 41-year-old Michigan native told me. “There are some big fights out there for Team K9. I’m a two-time world champion. I want all the top guys. The fans deserve to see great championship fights. My next fight will be big…Canelo, Cotto, Bradley, Malignaggi…Who’s next for K9?”

No, indeed, but you are in charge of choosing whether to continue the campaign, which you started as pro in 2001. I do wonder, is there not now present in your mind any sense of doubt in your ability to do it, to take the blows, seeing as how Porters’ launches had your head aching for a spell after in a way you hadn’t felt before?

“No, I don’t have any doubt in my mind from the loss,” he said, noting that this version of Porter was of a different variety from the guy he scouted a few years before,” and possessed a level of power that has Malignaggi wondering where that rapid onset influx came from…. “The damage taken, I don’t worry about that, I have no more lingering effects. If I fight, I fight a few more times at most, then I’ll be done…but only if there’s some sort of plan that’s worth it.”

Yes, he said, he’s had a battery of tests from top docs who have given him the thumbs up.

And what of family, and the inner sanctum of pals and such…are they all down with him gloving up again? Or would they like him to transition to the “easy” chair at the Showtime announce booth, full time?

“Yeah, they aren’t thrilled if I fight, but they support whatever decision I make.”

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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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