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Riverside’s Saul Rodriguez Still Unbeaten; Belasco Theater and More

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Saul Rodriguez 6d24fYou can usually tell a fighter’s worth when he fights another undefeated fighter.

Saul “Neno” Rodriguez found out against formerly undefeated Antonio Capulin just how tough it is to hang a loss on someone that doesn’t know how to lose, when they met last Saturday in Hollywood, Calif.

Despite knocking down Capulin in the first round and nearly stopping him in the second round, Rodriguez (seen above in Al Applerose photo) quickly discovered the Houston, Texan’s mettle.

“It was tough because he was able to take a lot of punishment and had a lot of heart and a good chin. He did take a lot of punishment,” said Rodriguez, 22, of Riverside, Ca. “I was so close to stopping him. I was just teeing off on him but he kept up so I just slowed down and kept winning the rounds. I didn’t want to gas myself out like Alfredo Angulo against James Kirkland.”

With the whole world expecting a knockout, compliments of advanced advertisement by UniMas television, which did a 90-minute special on him the weekend before, Rodriguez could have expended the entire fuel supply trying to take out Capulin. He resisted and showed great maturity.

“I won all the rounds. I had never gone past the 6th round before. This was my first time going to eight. It was my first decision since 2012,” Rodriguez said on Tuesday, adding that his trainer Eduardo Garcia slowed him down. “Eduardo was telling me to use my jab more and not get impatient.”

It’s the same wise trainer who guided Fernando Vargas, Roberto Garcia and Mikey Garcia to world titles. He now only works with Rodriguez, alongside his sons Mikey and Robert.

The Riverside Poly High graduate expects a contender status soon and anxiously awaits another venture into the boxing ring.

“I feel like I’m entering as a contender now. I made a lot of noise in this fight. A lot of people in the boxing world are paying attention,” said Rodriguez. “It was a lot of exposure for the fight. I have a lot of people watching from Puerto Rico, Mexico and the US. It’s exciting to have a lot of people watching; especially the Latino community. They support fighters a lot.”

 

Golden Boy in L.A.

Puerto Rico’s Jayson Velez (22-0-1, 16 Kos) faces Mexico’s Daniel Ramirez (11-2, 5 Kos) in the main event on Thursday, June 4, at Belasco Theater. The venue also serves as a salsa and Bachata hot spot on the same night and on weekends.

Golden Boy Promotions has put forth perhaps the best venue for prizefighting since the days of the Olympic Auditorium, which is located about five blocks south. It truly is a vibrant spot for boxing. I’ve been around to see many of the now defunct venues and this one ranks up with the best the Los Angeles area has ever seen.

Where else would people line up around the building several hours before the show to anxiously buy tickets and watch boxing in L.A. It’s the entertainment capital of the world and there are a million things to do every night. Yet, fans come early and eager. The doors open at 5 p.m.

Oscar De La Hoya will be available to meet fans between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. inside the venue.

 

Other boxing chatter

WBC middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 Kos) of Puerto Rico fights challenger Daniel Geale (31-3, 16 Kos) of Australia on Saturday June 6, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Cotto looks to test himself against Geale before possibly facing Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or undefeated Gennady “GGG” Golovkin later this year.

WBC lightweight champion Jorge Linares (39-3, 26 Kos) survived a first round knockdown and eventually knocked out tough British challenger Kevin Mitchell (39-3, 29 Kos) at 2:57 of the 10th round. The world title fight took place Saturday May 30, at the O2 arena in London, England. Linares trains in Los Angeles and is originally from Venezuela. In the co-main event, IBF featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich (19-1-1) lost the title by technical decision to Lee Selby (21-1, 8 Kos). The fight ended in the eighth round due to a cut over Gradovich’s right eye and all three judges had Selby ahead on their score cards.

Fights on television

Thurs. Fox Sports 1, 7 p.m., Jayson Velez (20-0-1) vs. Daniel Ramirez (11-2).

Sat. NBC, noon, Robert Guerrero (32-3) vs. Aron Martinez (19-3-1).

Sat. HBO, 7 p.m., Miguel Cotto (39-4) vs. Daniel Geale (31-3).

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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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