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CANELO: “Let’s Let the Fists Do the Talking”

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CANELO ALVAREZ AND JAMES KIRKLAND FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE IN HOUSTON

LIVE ON HBO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

FROM MINUTE MAID PARK ON MAY 9

HOUSTON (May 7) – Canelo Alvarez and James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland hosted the final press conference in Houston on Thursday, May 7 ahead of their showdown on May 9 at Minute Maid Park and live on HBO World Championship Boxing ®. Golden Boy Promotions Founder and President Oscar De La Hoya, SMS Promotions Chairman and CEO Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and Future Hall of Famer and Golden Boy Promotions Partner Bernard Hopkins were also in attendance to support their fighters ahead of Saturday’s bout. Also in attendance were promoters Mike Battah, President of Leija*Battah Promotions and Jesse James Leija, Texas Boxing Legend and Founder of Leija*Battah Promotions.

Other fighters on the Canelo vs. Kirkland undercard in attendance at Thursday’s press conference included co-main event fighter Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto (65-8-2, 35 KOs),2012 Olympian Joseph “Jojo” Diaz Jr. (15-0, 10 KOs), Chinese heavyweight sensation, Taishan (3-0, 2 KOs), KeAndre Gibson (12-0-1, 5 KOs), Joshua Clottey (38-4, 22 KOs), Ryan Martin (12-0, 7 KOs), and James Leija Jr.

Here is what the fighters and the promoters had to say at the press conference:

CANELO ALVAREZ, Former WBC and WBA Super Welterweight World Champion:

“Thank you all for being here. I want to say thank you for all of the support you have been giving me. We have worked very hard to come out with this victory.

“It’s very easy to say words, but once we are in the ring, let’s let the fists do the talking.”

OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Founder and President of Golden Boy Promotions:

“We are excited to be once again partnering with the champion network, HBO, where everyone is guaranteed to watch the best that boxing has to offer.

“Some people weren’t too content with the May 2 performances but one thing is for sure: people are very excited to watch some action with Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland on May 9.

“As a promoter, you want to work with fighters that want to go against the very best. That is what is so exciting for me about promoting this event because that’s what we’ll have on May 9. The best fighting the best.

“James is one of the most decorated punchers and fighters. He brings power, and he brings excitement to ring.”

JAMES KIRKLAND, Super Welterweight Contender:

“I have been looking forward to this moment for a long time. We had this fight set up once before but it was canceled due to an injury.

“My training camp has been outstanding. Canelo brings a lot to the game; he has a great team backing him. I would like to thank the fans, HBO, and everyone who will be at the fight. Thank you. Team Kirkland!”

CURTIS “50 CENT” JACKSON, Founder and Chairman of SMS Promotions:

“This is excitement. Originally, I was just passionate about boxing, I was just a fan, but now, to be a part of what could possibly be the biggest fight of the year, that is really exciting.

“I want to thank everyone, Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, HBO, and everyone working behind the scenes to make this fight happen.

“One of my up and coming fighters for SMS Promotions, Ryan Martin, will also be fighting on May 9.

“We will definitely get a chance to see some action on May 9 at Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect place for this fight.”

HUMBERTO SOTO, Former Three-Division World Champion:

“I want to thank the promoters for bringing back this level of fighting.

“It’s going to be another great fight. We have youth versus experience, and the fans are going to win. Don’t miss this fight, thank you so much.”

BERNARD HOPKINS, Future Hall of Famer and Golden Boy Promotions Partner:

“Thank you everyone that participated in putting this event together. Right now, these fighters have a chance to be the ‘next big thing.’

“This will be the shortest comment I’ve ever made: Canelo, you’re healthy, right? (nod) Kirkland, you’re healthy, right? (nod) Then, we’re going to fight, ya’ll.”

Mike Battah, President of Lieja*Battah Promotions:

“When we started Leija*Battah Promotions three years ago our goal was to bring the best, fan friendly fights to Texas and years later we have proven it.

“Where else can you get a megastar like Canelo and a dangerous fighter like Kirkland fighting two or three hours from your home? We have fighters from Houston, and San Antonio, and other parts of Texas that will be on a mega-fight undercard like they have never experienced. It is important to showcase these Texas fighters on this big stage.”

JESSE JAMES LEIJA, Texas Boxing Legend and Founder of Leija*Battah Promotions:

“Houston, we want you to come and bring out the best boxing fans in the world. It is the best atmosphere to be boxing in a baseball stadium.

“On May 9 at Minute Maid Park my son is making his professional boxing debut. He is a graduate of St. Mary’s University. Come out and support this great event.

“I want to thank these two amazing fighters, Canelo and Kirkland in advance, because we are going to have a great night.”

JOSE “CHEPO” REYNOSO, Manager and Trainer for Canelo Alvarez:

“On Saturday night we are going to see two tremendous warriors go toe to toe.

“At the end of the night Canelo will be shouting Viva Mexico with his fists.”

EDDY REYNOSO, Head Trainer for Canelo Alvarez:

“At training camp we worked very hard, very dedicated. And, once again, thanks to all the press for the coverage you’ve given us.”

PETER NELSON, HBO Sports Vice President of Programing:

“This is exactly the kind of caliber event that makes stars.

“More people are going to see this event than anything since Muhammad Ali fought here in Texas.

“I think that this is one of the signature events HBO will have this year. These are the stars of today, Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland.

“This presents a great opportunity for Humberto Soto to bring his career back to a big stage. We are going to see fighters fulfill their potential on Saturday night.”

REID RYAN, President of Business Operations for Houston:

“The fight is definitely being talked about in the City of Houston. We are very excited about this event.

“There is a buzz surrounding this event. The phone has been ringing all day at the stadium. People are excited for this event. It will be the first boxing event at Minute Maid Park.”

BAY BAY McCLINTON, Strength and Conditioning Trainer to James Kirkland:

“I only train greatness. On Saturday night, you will see greatness. You are going to see a different James Kirkland.

“The last time Mexico came to Texas, remember this: remember the Alamo.

“I always ask my fighters, ‘You want to be good, or you want to be great?’ Tomorrow, he’s [Kirkland] going to be great.”

GREG ALVAREZ, Combative Sports Manager of the Texas Department of License & Regulation:

“Thank you to Golden Boy Promotions, Leija*Battah Promotions and all the people that are putting this show on.

“This is the biggest single day event Texas is going to have.

“I’m real excited for this big fight, the real fight.”

Tickets for May 9 Canelo vs. Kirkland are priced at $350, $150, $100, $50 and $25, plus applicable fees and service charges, are available for purchase at Astros.com/boxing, the Minute Maid Park Box Office (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) all Ticketmaster outlets, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000, online at www.ticketmaster.com. There is a 19-ticket limit per household.

Canelo Alvarez vs. James Kirkland is a 12-round super welterweight bout presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Canelo Promotions, SMS Promotions and Leija*Battah Promotions. The fight will take place Saturday, May 9 at Minute Maid Park in Houston and is sponsored by Corona Extra, Mexico – Live it to Believe it!, Fred Loya Insurance and O’Reilly Auto Parts. Doors open at 11:00 a.m. CT and first bout starts at 11:10 a.m. CT, the HBO World Championship Boxing telecast begins at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

For more information, visit www.goldenboypromotions.com, www.canelopromotions.com.mx, www.smsboxing.com, www.hbo.com/boxing and www.astros.com/boxing, follow on Twitter at @GoldenBoyBoxing, @SMS_Boxing, @HBOBoxing, @Canelo, @KOKirkland, @Astros @LeijaBattahPR become a fan on Facebook at Golden Boy Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/SMSBoxing, www.facebook.com/HBOBoxing or www.facebook.com/astros and visit us on Instagram @GoldenBoyBoxing, @smsboxing and @HBOboxing, @Canelopower, @Kirklandsworld. Follow the conversation using #CaneloKirkland.

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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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