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Golden Boy Farewell Fiesta for L.A. Sports Arena “Heart and Soul” of L.A.

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LOS ANGELES-Southern California sports fans are invited to say farewell to a place that was the heart and soul of sports the L.A. Sports Arena.

Golden Boy Promotions plans a massive fiesta on Saturday at the L.A. Sports Arena when it puts its local prize Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera against Philadelphia’s Hank Lundy for the vacant NABF junior welterweight title.

HBO Latino will televise.

Boxing busted opened the doors of the L.A. Sports Arena in 1959 and it’s shutting down the historic sports venue 56 years later.

When the doors first opened Mexico’s Jose Becerra challenged and defeated France’s Alphonse Halimi for the bantamweight world title and won. He became the first of many Mexican world champions to come.

It was also where John F. Kennedy was introduced and won the Democratic Convention in 1960. He would proceed to become the President of the United States that same year. In its seven decades it housed indoor track and field, saw Jerry West and Elgin Baylor lead the L.A. Lakers, saw Lew Alcindor lead UCLA past Houston in the 1968 Final Four and Bill Walton lead UCLA past Florida State in the 1972 Final Four, and it was where the 1984 Olympic Games housed the boxing tournament that introduced Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Paul Gonzalez, Mark Breland and Meldrick Taylor to the world of boxing.

On Saturday the fiesta begins at 1 p.m. with a Corona beer garden, food booths, mariachi music and autograph booths featuring boxing stars of the past such as Paul Gonzalez, Gato Gonzalez, Gabe Ruelas, Henry Tillman, and stars of today like Randy Caballero and Julian Ramirez; it will take place outside of the Sports Arena.

It’s going to be a party.

The Fights

Inside the arena a massive array of local and international prizefighters will put on display their talent.

Ireland’s Jason Quigley (6-0, 6 Kos), a middleweight prospect with thunder and lightning, faces Michigan’s Tom Howard (8-3, 4 Kos) in a six round affair. Quigley has been very impressive especially fighting so far away from home. He’s adapted to Southern California and looks very good.

“Jason is on the fast track and has tremendous speed, tremendous power and has a fan friendly style,” said Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy and a former mega star. “He’s matched up tough.”

Former U.S. Olympian Jojo Diaz (16-0, 10 Kos) also has a tough opponent in Nicaragua’s Rene Alvarado (22-4, 15 Kos). Anytime someone from Central America makes his way to the U.S. you can bet he’s not easy pickings.

“This victory will be for Nicaragua,” said Alvarado, adding he wants to continue the winning streak that fighters such as Randy Caballero and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez have started in Southern California. “We have the courage and spirit to be successful in this sport.”

Michael “The Artist” Perez (22-1-2, 10 Kos), who is a native of Newark, N.J. but trains in Riverside, Calif. with Robert Garcia, has his hands full with Mexico’s Luis Sanchez (17-3-1, 5 Kos).

“Sparring Mikey Garcia and Saul Rodriguez I come prepared and ready to let the world know I want to be champ,” said Perez. “It’s a huge card with a lot of prospects. Thank you guys for seeing something in me.”

Brooklyn’s Zachary Ochoa (11-0, 5 Kos) meets veteran fighter David Rodela (17-10-4) in a super lightweight showdown.

“This is my first time in L.A.,” said Ochoa. “This is my first time fighting a guy with that kind of experience. I’m ready to go.”

Also ready to go are Philadelphia’s Lundy and Riverside’s Herrera.

“This fight coming up is going to be a great fight,” said Lundy, who was married during training. “You got two hungry fighters. On my wedding day I ran seven miles. He (Herrera) is going to pay for it.”

Herrera didn’t blink upon hearing those words.

“Lundy is a tough fighter. Both of us had it tough. We’ll see who is hungrier,” said Herrera. “In Lundy’s hometown they know I beat Danny Garcia.”

Herrera realizes he’s taking part in a significant night that will essentially be the last gasp for the L.A. Sports Arena.

“I’m going to come out victorious that night and you can close the arena after that fight,” Herrera said.

De La Hoya, who grew up a mere five miles away from the L.A. Sports Arena and saw many sports events there, said, “It’s a special place. There’s a lot of history involved in the Sports Arena.”

Boxing opened its doors 56 years ago and now will help shut it down. It’s only fitting.

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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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