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Inside Mayweather/Pacquiao Epilogue: “Another Quintessential Mayweather Performance”

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Expectations were fierce as we counted down to the supposed Fight of the Century, no surprise since every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Woodsy was flogging the heck out of the hype drum, obsessing on every minute detail, breathlessly reporting on every bowel movement performed by the principals as we all looked to May 2.

And then the fight happened, and the blowback was swift and fairly severe. We paid how much for THAT?

I admit I’m still processing the event, what it meant to me, to boxing, to boxing journalism, being that journos had their credentials dangled over their head and some were shut out of the clash, because they wrote or said things that didn’t pass muster with some powers that be who are obsessive and ruthless about controlling dissent.

I looked for some clues, to what happened, and for some guidance, I guess, on how to move foreword, in the epilogue episode of Inside Mayweather/Pacquiao, the Showtime produced documercial series.

The spectacle didn’t satisfy the “public’s bloodlust,” we heard the narrator intone. So, points for honesty, as we were told this was the quintessential Mayeather effort. Spectacle was promised, but something more subtle was in fact handed over, we are told. So far, so good..

We travel back, to the beginning of fight week, when hoped reigned in the brains of the Pac-maniacs. Manny snubbed the official MGM grand welcoming, you recall. Manny spoke and said his confidence was “one hundred percent,” and didn’t give any hint that his right shoulder was hurting him.

Then, we see a marching band accompanying Floyd at his welcoming event. Floyd fields questions, and smacks down Manny for no showing and not “being professional.” We hear that Floyd is less keen than usual to deal with fans and media. Was he on edge, worried about losing? We didn’t see evidence of that on fight night, did we…

At the weigh in, which I managed to cover from the floor after Top Rank’s Lee Samuels rescued me from the stands, where I was situated by the event planners, who sent their message what they thought of print media time and again, I saw Floyd look irked that Manny drew so much love. Did the boos bother him? I don’t worry about that, Floyd said. Then he thanks the media for “doing a tremendous job,” though he chided them for writing negative stories at the post-fight presser. These contradictions are part of what make his personality as interesting as it is…

We see Floyd filling out paper-work for the commission. All medical conditions are supposed to be disclosed…Floyd recalls that he had an MRI from a headbutt. Manny, we hear, declares no injury…Cue harbinger music…

Then, we see pumped up fight fans. It’s fight day and then fight night. Floyd heads to the arena. “This is history,” he says. He discusses what time he will walk to the ring, and reminds all that this is his show, he’s in control.

Then, Freddie Roach watches Floyd get his hand wrapped. Roach doesn’t like the thickness of the tape used and Floyd chuckles. Floyd mutters, as Roach discussed the gauze being used. “Floyd’s demeanor remains unchanged,” the narrator says, and Floyd says it’s another day at the office. Manny says he’s excited for the clash. “I have something to prove,” the Congressman says.

Floyd walks to the ring and says, “It gets no bigger than Floyd Mayweather.” Ali fans know better, of course, but what is history worth, anyway, maybe the present is in fact what mostly matters, and predominately what should be trafficked in.

We see snippets from the fight…The Floyd crew chants TBE and Floyd Sr asks for more hard work. Roach calls for head movement and feints after the first…More video. Pacman lands and Floyd shakes his head to indicate there’s no worry. “You have to take advantage of him on the ropes,” Roach says. Sr tells Floyd that he’s fighting scared, and that was a dynamic that I found surprising and interesting, pretty rare for this promotion. Ah, the unfinished business and attachment issues playing out between those two..Senior tells the son that the judges might favor Pacman and thus, he wants more offense.

“It’s been another quintessential Floyd Mayweather performance,” Mauro Ranallo tells us. “No matter what, I love you,” Jr tells Sr after the final bell rings, and dad tells him he done good. “I know I won,” Floyd barks at the fans, angrily, without serenity or joy, still something to prove making his blood boil, no matter how much he talks about being TBE. He is the best of this era, Ranallo tells us, and I concur. In the dressing room, Floyd accepts adulation, getting a hit of needed supply to bolster his ego, more fragile than he’d have you know.

Floyd is then happy, and brags about his one hundred million dollar check. Manny walks to the dressing room, and the narrator calls the event anti-climactic. We hear about his right shoulder injury, and Roach said the shoulder made the hook hard to throw. Floyd is told that Manny is talking the shoulder and he calls them “excuses, excuses, excuses.” He calls the explanation BS…Then, we see the commission try to throw Top Rank under the bus, with the announcement that they were not aware of a shoulder injury till fight night.

“Manny Pacquiao, he’s not a better fighter than me,” Floyd says post-fight. The winner throws it in the face of the media for opining that he was a chicken. He wants us to write that we became believers, and still has that chip on his shoulder. Its part of what makes him such a superb pugilist, he uses it all as fuel…

Floyd soaks it up at an after party, and the narrator tells us the next question: who will he beat next?

My take: I admire all the sharp fight fans, even pretty casual ones, who note that Mayweather fought as he always does, and that he didn’t promise to become Mike Tyson for this fight. The promotion, we know, made oodles of money, but most of us, when we reach a certain level of maturity and wisdom, comprehend the non-correlative relationship between money and earnings and quality. We can seperate the money side and the real worth of the faceoff in terms of legacy and payoff, and all in all, decide that the fight made a few people a load of money, underperformed from a drama standpoint, helped prove that Floyd is far and away the best fighter of his generation…and that there is no need for a sequel. One and done, that one wasn’t all that much fun, looking back.

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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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