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Catching Up With Terri “The Boss” Moss

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There may be no easier person on earth to talk to about boxing than Terri “The Boss” Moss. I caught up with the recently inducted hall of famer, and as usual, all I had to do was say “hello” and we were off to the races.

There may also be no busier person in boxing either. To simply discuss with Terri what she’s been up to recently and what she has cooking is to make the interviewer very thankful for having a recording device. To Terri Moss, movement is life. So move she does.

Not many people would cut short the celebration of their own career as Terri did upon entering the Women’s International Boxing Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale on July 11th of this year, but the prolific trainer/promoter did just that. She had boxers from her Buckhead Gym in Atlanta competing in the Women’s National Golden Gloves over that stretch. Until Terri learns to be in two places at once—something she’s probably working on right now—she will occasionally have to make choices. When it comes to enjoying recognition for her own career achievements or being with her fighters, the decision is easy. For Terri her boxers come first. So Terri left “the red carpet to work the corner of a 42 year old” amateur. Rubbing elbows with Laila Ali and other luminaries would have to wait for another time.

Her fighters left the tournament with no small level of accomplishment too. Three won their weight class, one took runner up, and another took third place. She is one of the most fervent supporters of women’s boxing. While the climb for the sport is ongoing and steep, she can see the potential. When women’s boxing was first introduced, it was seen as a novelty. Maybe to some it still is. But as she points out, there is real depth to the competition compared to those early days. With the support of USA Boxing, there is a true infrastructure for developing amateurs. The inclusion of women’s boxing in the 2012 Olympic Games points to the growing legitimacy and relevance of the sport.

Terri thinks the biggest need in women’s boxing is simply one thing. That of a star. As she reminded me, UFC President Dana White once had no interest in showcasing women in MMA bouts. Then along came Rousey, perhaps not all that arguably the biggest star in MMA and near the top in all combat sports. Like with any endeavor, exposure is key. With boxing now more ubiquitous than ever thanks to Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, there could also be an opportunity on the women’s side too. All that’s needed is the right fighter and the right promoter to offer the chance. Terri suggested keeping your eye on Claressa Shields and Katie Taylor in particular after the 2016 games in Rio. Now is the time to get in too. As Terri points out, “The cost for a women’s title fight is so much less to promote than a man’s.” The risk-reward equation tips in the favor of the latter.

It should be noted that Terri trains male fighters too. In fact, way more men than women. Among them, Joshua Balbuena will be competing in the US Olympic trials later in September, and thanks to dual citizenship could be a part of the Jamaican team if he doesn’t make Team USA. She’s also excited about two brothers (Abel and David Aparicio) who she refers to as her “heartthrobs.” Both are off to fast starts as flyweight amateurs with intentions of turning pro within the next year or two.

I can’t imagine a trainer with a bigger heart than Terri Moss. She came to boxing the hard way, as a 35 year old novice, taking hard knocks and some losses at the outset, but eventually becoming the WIBA World Strawweight champion in 2007 at the tender age of 41. She understands how tough this sport is to commit to and how much work and courage it takes to progress at it. As she put it, “The least likely to succeed would have been me.” For Terri, “That’s what boxing is made of. The everyday guy that wants to take a chance and be somebody when he could have been nobody. That’s the history of boxing.”

Terri’s had significant success as a promoter as well. Her “Corporate Fight Night” charity boxing series in Atlanta which she originated in October of 2010, just passed its 9th iteration in February and she’s aiming at November for the even 10th in support of the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. It’s an ingenious idea—allowing people with regular jobs who want to dabble in boxing do just that. The event has been so successful that USA Boxing is going to create a “masters level” tournament for novice enthusiasts next year.

There are now Corporate Fight Night style events all over the United States. Terri told me of a promoter in Charlotte who copied her site “word for word” in attempting to set up a similar event. Terri didn’t mind. She figures if “someone is copying you, you must be doing something right.” The shows Terri sets up have large budgets. Sometimes up to $65,000. The proceeds help support her gym as well as making significant contributions to such organizations as The Wounded Warrior Project and Children’s Health Care of Atlanta.

The success of the event does more than raise funds for her gym and charity, it also provides access for those who love boxing and want to try their hand at it. Anyone can join a soft-ball league or pick up a basketball and go to the park. Boxing isn’t quite as easy. “I do want the everyday person to not only be able to follow (boxing), but to be inside of it.” On the dreaming big side, Terri hopes to get Corporate Fight Night on television someday. Perhaps as a reality show competition series.

Terri also promoted a US vs. China event for female Olympic hopefuls in Atlanta in April that was covered by ESPN, CNN, and Nightline. She refers to it as a “fantastic experience.” The officials at USA Boxing were so taken with her gym that they hope to use her facility for future events. It was the first women’s international tournament in the United States in over 11 years.

Despite her late entry to the sport, her success within it as a competitor and now as a trainer and promoter is remarkable. Her Buckhead Fight Club in Atlanta is a 15,000 square foot facility with an Olympic size ring that has no trouble attracting fighters and even the occasional celebrity (I have it straight from Terri that Ludacris is a really nice guy). She even had a commercial for Haymon’s upcoming PBC on Bounce TV shot at her spot.

Even so, Terri still feels like she is only getting started. She is humble and grateful to boxing for the life it has given her. “This is such an extraordinary life. To do this for a living,” she told me. “I have so much more to do,” she continued. “I’m so not finished. I want to be a landmark in boxing.”

I think we can go ahead and start molding the clay now.

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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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