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Garcia-Malinaggi Has The Makings Of An Interesting Scrap

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Call it Philly versus New York or New York versus Philly. It’s a storied history between the two cities less than a mere 100 miles apart. It’s the Giants vs. Eagles…Flyers vs. Rangers…and Yankees/Mets vs. Phillies. In fact Philly’s favorite adopted son “Smokin” Joe Frazier considered Madison Square Garden home. Most don’t know that Joe actually resided in New York before he settled in Philadelphia.

This weekend at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York the rivalry gets renewed via welterweight fighters Danny Garcia 30-0 (17) of Philadelphia versus Paulie Malinaggi 33-6 (7) of New York. Add to that both Garcia and Malinaggi are tough and never mince their words and often border on being cocky. The only negative pertaining to the fight is one of them, Garcia, 27, is on the ascend and the other, Malinaggi, 34, is on the decline. However, the contrast in styles should make for an interesting fight for as long as it last. Garcia will no doubt assume the role as the attacker while looking to force Malinaggi to engage with him. That is a stark contrast to how Malinaggi will be looking to box and Garcia’s feet moving and turning.

Both Garcia and Malinaggi are first class pros and no doubt respect each other. Garcia hasn’t looked good in two of his last three outings and Malinaggi was beaten up and stopped in his last bout 17 months ago against Shawn Porter. As to why Garcia wasn’t impressive in his last three bouts versus Mauricio Herrera, Rod Salka and Lamont Peterson, Danny blames having to get down to close 140. He said his strength and ability to cut off the ring was compromised. In this fight both Garcia and Malinaggi will have the luxury of coming in at 147.

“147 is a new chapter in my boxing career,” Garcia said about becoming a welterweight. “I feel like I did everything I could do at 140. (Moving up) feels great because I feel my style matches up great with anybody at 147. I’m ready, but first I have to handle Paulie Malignaggi. I know he’s coming. It’s Brooklyn, his hometown. He’s got something to prove. This is a big fight for him. He’s got to go in there and look good. So, I prepared myself 110%, and I got to go in there and show my Brooklyn fans and my Philly fans, and all my fans around the world, who’s a better fighter that night.”

And for Garcia, his ability to cut off the ring will be monumental because Paulie has pretty good wheels, or at least he used to. Back in March of 2014 Garcia fought Mauricio Herrera who was an awkward mover, and Danny was clearly befuddled by that and never really solved Herrera’s style. Granted, at this time Herrera is probably more dangerous than Malinaggi. However, Malinaggi, even though he doesn’t get credit for it…..is without a doubt one of the best thinking minds in professional boxing. Paulie no doubt knows what he needs to do against Garcia, the question is, does he have the physicality to do it or is he too shopworn, especially after the going over he absorbed against Shawn Porter.

Garcia clearly has thoughts on what to expect from Malinaggi:

“I have a pretty good idea of what he’s going to go in there and try to do,” Garcia said. “I think he has a good jab. I think that’s his best game, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to try to utilize it. I prepare for whatever. I’m going to go in there and get off first. I’m going to set the pace. I’m going to go in there and pop my jab at him. So, we’re going to see who got the better jab that night.”

That’s sounds about right. It’s the typical fighter versus boxer contrast. Garcia is younger and more of a live wire. In addition to that, Danny is so tough and determined. If he really was weakened by getting down to the junior welterweight limit, and there is every reason to believe he was, then he should be energetic and strong Saturday night against Malinaggi. And if he is, it’ll be a tough night for Malinaggi. Because Danny is so tough and durable, it’s hard to envision, because of his lack of fight altering power, that Paulie can make Danny do anything he wants or needs him to do in order to dictate the fight. Add to that Malinaggi is on the decline and Garcia is looking to re-boot his career that plateaued during the last year and a half, it’s really hard to find a path to victory concerning Malinaggi.

Let’s be honest, Garcia is the A-side and Malinaggi is the opponent, and Paulie knows it. This is something that will make him dangerous because we know Paulie likes to rock the boat and throw a monkey wrench into the establishments best laid plans.

“This is what the networks wanted,” Garcia said. “This is what my manager wanted, and this is how we been doing it my whole career. Give me a name. I never go against the grain. I believe in destiny. I believe that’s what it’s supposed to be. And if you ask me, the fight makes complete sense. He’s from Brooklyn, I’m from Philly. You’ve got the Italian fans, the Puerto Rican fans, the Philadelphia fans, all the fans on the East Coast. He’s a former 147-pound champion and I believe it’s a great fight.”

It should be an interesting fight for all the reasons stated by Garcia. You have the New York vs. Philly dynamic, fighter versus boxer and what amounts to a crossroads fight for both. It should be a good go for however long it last because both guys know what’s riding on the outcome.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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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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