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Counting Down To Boxing Back on PRIMETIME!

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BOXING MAKES ITS SPECTACULAR RETURN

TO PRIMETIME NETWORK TELEVISION

ON MARCH 7 WITH PREMIER BOXING CHAMPIONS ON NBC

LAS VEGAS (March 2, 2015) – In the days of Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard, sports fans could tune in during primetime on network television and catch the greatest sports stars of the day in the biggest events in the world, without it costing them a cent.

With NBC bringing fights back to primetime network television, the glory days of boxing are making a comeback. NBC’s last primetime bout took place in 1985 when Larry Holmes defended his heavyweight world championship against Carl Williams.

The matchups taking place on March 7 featuring Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero and Adrien Bronervs. John Molina Jr. harken back to the days when boxing dominated the sports world with Hall of Famers like Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns.

Before Leonard became a household name, boxing on television began humbly on June 1, 1939 when NBC aired a bout that featured Lou Nova defeating Max Baer at Yankee Stadium.

Eventually NBC created a weekly series that ran on Friday nights called Cavalcade of Sports that ran on the network from 1946-1960. Cavalcade of Sports captivated sports fans, averaging about 17 million viewers for each fight with viewership peaking at 50 million people and a 24.8 share of all televisions.

CBS was also delivering primetime boxing with their Pabst Blue Ribbon Bouts on Wednesday nights. This series ran from 1948-1955 and averaged a 24.1 share through the duration of the series.

When ABC began featuring boxing on their Wide World of Sports series, they were able to give a young Muhammad Ali the national exposure he would need to become one of the most famous men in American history. The first heavyweight title fight they ever aired saw Ali, who went by Cassius Clay at the time; defeat the current champion Sonny Liston with a seventh-round knockout.

Ali and George Foreman’s fight from Zaire, also known as the “Rumble in the Jungle”, took place in 1975 and is still to this day the second highest-rated show in Wide World of Sports history. Ali’s power to pull people on national television never wavered as his 1977 fight with Earnie Shavers was aired live on NBC and drew a 37.3 rating and a 57 share, the highest rated program for that week.

Even past the Ali-era, boxing continued to shine on national television. Leonard became one of the staples who built their fan base through the national television outlets, dating all the way back to his first professional fight, which, aired on CBS in 1977.

In 1979 ABC televised Leonard vs. Wilfred Benitez, marking the first time in 15 years that a fight below the heavyweight division was showcased in a primetime spot. In 1980, a Holmes title defense on ABC featured a bout with Leonard and drew a 25.8 rating and a 41 share, with an estimated audience of 55 million viewers.

It is reported to be the most-watched fight that did not involve Ali. Making the ratings even more impressive, and proving the crossover appeal of boxing in this era, was that the card went up against such iconic shows as “Little House on the Prairie”, “M*A*S*H” and “WKRP in Cincinnati”.

Boxing would still make appearances on national television but the regularity died down as fighters began to take their talents to pay-per-view events. December 1995 saw one of the last major fights on primetime national television when Mike Tyson’s comeback fight against Buster Mathis Jr. was aired on the FOX Network. The show did a 16.1 rating with a 28 share and contributed to FOX’s highest-rated night ever in primetime, with an estimated 43 million viewers.

Recent years have seen the occasional bout make its way to national television, but never in a primetime spot. CBS aired an afternoon world title match in 2012 between Leo Santa Cruz and Albert Guevara. The network hadn’t aired live boxing since a 1997 bout between Bernard Hopkins and Glen Johnson.

Now, boxing returns with a new zeal and a full stable of great champions set to go toe-to-toe and lay it all on the line to give sports fans what they have wanted for so long.

A new era of boxing has arrived and on March 7 fight fans around the country will be able to get the first look at the next generation of boxing stars.

PBC on NBC on Saturday, March 7 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena is promoted by Goossen Promotions and features Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero and Adrien Broner vs. John Molina, Jr. that will air live on NBC (8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT).

The Abner Mares vs. Arturo Santos Reyes bout will be televised live on Saturday, March 7, on the NBC show (8:30 – 11 p.m. ET) or on the NBCSN telecast (11 p.m. ET).

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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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