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So What Have we Learned So Far?

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But the reaction to this performance proves that the industry is looking for it's white knight in it's glamour division. Even better if he can be articulate and attractive like Klitschko. But remember, he still hasn't faced a guy who can throw some leather back in his direction and he was still awfully marked up for a guy that was barely hit this past Saturday. Great fights still occur: Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti proved that this past May with their pulsating 10-round war. Ward would earn the razor thin decision, but the real winner here was boxing. And what was refreshing about this was that this was a fight made on the premise that these two would make for a good scrap.

It had nothing to do with protecting a promoters cash cow, or an HBO fighter trying to fight someone of lesser ability( ala, Roy Jones) and the most refreshing thing is, it was fought for no titles. It was made on the premise that it would be a good fight- imagine that. Too often these days, the best fights are never made for all the wrong reasons: either fighters have exclusive deals with competing networks(HBO or Showtime), politics bogging down negotiations or managements wanting to go with the least possible risks. But every once in a while, as Ward-Gatti proved, fights can break out when you put fighters who are willing to put it all on the line and spill their guts. Close decisions don't mean controversial: so did you like the consistency of Erik Morales or the harder and cleaner punching of Marco Antonio Barrera, did you like the boxing of Floyd Mayweather or the aggression of Jose Luis Castillo?Ask those two questions and you'll get an even split from boxing fans. Many have labeled these decision controversial, I choose to say that they were close. I was at both fights ringside and can truly say that each bout could have gone either way. But it shows again that when you put on competitive matches at the highest levels, close fights will occur and the usual disagreement over who actually won the fight will sometimes be just as heated as the fights themselves. But it doesn't always necessarily mean that it was a corrupted process that took place in coming up with the scores. But what the Manuel Medina- Johnny Tapia fight proved was that sometimes those with the promotional and marquee backing( like Tapia) sometimes get undeserved decision that should be looked at closely. Nobody is invincible: Remember prior to his bout with Vernon Forrest that many pundits had 'Sugar' Shane Mosley as the top rated 'pound-for-pound' boxer in the world and the equal to his predecessors with the same moniker- Ray Leonard and Ray Robinson. Well, Forrest proved that nobody is unbeatable by completely dominating Mosley over 12 shocking rounds. And my how things have changed, Mosley was over a 7 to 1 favorite coming into their first bout, now, for the rematch, he's a pick'em. He went from legend to question mark in less than seven months. But Mosley wasn't the only highly regarded fighter to get their comeuppance the past year or so, guys like Felix Trinidad, Zab Judah and Naseem Hamed, all of whom were considered among the game's elite were beaten as sizable favorites in 2001 in big fights. As goes the heavyweight division, so goes boxing: This one irks me since I'm not really a fan of the big guys, myself, I prefer the skill and speed of the lower weight classes, but the pay-per-view numbers of Lewis-Tyson( 1.8 million buys) proves that this division is the single biggest anchor the game has. And even with the lopsided nature of this bout, it created a buzz with the general public and media afterwards. Something that rarely happens with anything associated with the sport these days. Even the rebroadcast a week later on HBO did a very good rating of around an 11, that left Time Warner executives estatic. On the flip side, Barrera-Morales II, a much better fight coming in, did around 325,000 pay-per-view buys. It may not sound like much, but it's the most ever for a featherweight bout. Prospects are really suspects until proven otherwise: Yeah, yeah, I admit, I wasn't just on the Francisco Bojado bandwagon, I was driving it. But hey, what was not to love, the kid had unbelievable skills: the power, the reflexes, the quickness, the speed and the boxing ability and he was a good looking lad who was Mexican. He seemed like a promoters dream.Except, we would all find out later that his work ethic left a lot to be desired and when career journeyman Juan Carlos Rubio had the temerity to forget that he was brought in merely as an 'opponent' and decided to punch this phenon back, well, Bojado got exposed and handed his first loss. Hold off on the trip to Canastota guys, Bojado's still got a few things to learn.It just goes to show that until we see guys in there over a course of time being tested( in and out of the ring) that we really don't know that much about them. It's those that can stand early prosperity or overcome adversity in and out of the ring that become champions.

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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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