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Now, Onto the Real Fights

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Ding dong the witch is dead. Mike Tyson has been vanquished and with it the last vestiges of the 'Iron Mike' that tore through the heavyweight division in the late 80's. Lennox Lewis, in knocking the starch out of Tyson didn't save any of us from the apocalypse or save western civilization( although, HBO would argue that point) but what he did do was signal a new age of boxing.

Not necessarily inside the ring, after a couple of hundred years under the 'Marquis of Queensberry' regulations, boxing has pretty much evolved as much as it's ever going to. But what Lewis' knockout of Tyson brings about is the passing of an era where boxing was too often overshadowed by shadowy figures and oftentimes, proven by Tyson, dependant on them.

Throughout his turbulent times, Tyson's tail would wag the boxing dog, time and time again. Rules were routinely broken and regulations( in and out of the ring) were oftentimes ignored. Now, that Tyson's market value has hit rock-bottom he can no longer be the 800-pound gorilla( and you know where they sit-anywhere they want to). And with that, Tyson can no longer be portrayed by the general media as the poster-boy for boxing. Tyson, ceased being about 'the sweet science' long ago.

Lewis, not only saved boxing from Tyson, but he reaffirmed certain tried and true adages that this game was built upon according to HBO's sage boxing analyst, Larry Merchant.

” I think in the boxing world there was a certain dread that Tyson would once again become the dominant figure in the sport,” explained Merchant. ” Overshadowing all of the outstanding fighters and good guys in the game.
So I suppose there is a sense of relief about what happened. But also I think there's a certain relief, in that, what you call the 'eternal varieties' of the sport were confirmed.

” That you can't go 10 years fighting just one good fighter, get whipped both times and fight a bunch of set-ups and be prepared to step-up to the highest level and just get in shape for that one fight and turn the clock back 15 years and be the guy many fantasized you were and just perform at that level. You can't do that, so on those two levels, I think there was a certain amount of relief in the boxing world.”

And what Lewis-Tyson proved is that boxing, at it's purest essence , is the hardest and toughest game of them all. Not something that can be necessarily preordained or scripted to make the most money- as so many cynics openly suggest. Tyson, in all reality was a badly faded fighter, living off the reputation that he earned during the time the United States had it's first Bush in office and had feasted on a collection of Triple A practitioners. Lewis, had proven time and time again that he was a major league quality heavyweight. Reality would win out over fantasy, thus restoring some of the faith that many had lost in the sport.

” Maybe, to some degree subconciously,” said Merchant, who was ringside in Memphis as Lewis took apart Tyson.” that a lot of people have got to think of boxing as a kind of WWF, where there were master puppeteers behind the scenes deciding what went on and where money or the prospect of making money always triumphed and where the guy who yelled the loudest, most obscene things would somehow always triumph in an immoral world.

” So in that sense, yes. But I wouldn't make too much of it because we should celebrate boxing getting rid of a black eye because more often than not, boxing manages to get black eyes.”

True, and what's great about this weekends fight in Las Vegas between Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales is that you have two angry Mexican's who want to do nothing more than blacken each others eye's time and time again.

In fact, both Barrera and Morales will be seperated throughout the week leading up to the fight to ensure that the rematch doesn't take place before Saturday night. Lewis and Tyson were seperated for a whole different reason- to protect the financial interests of those who had chosen to milk the cash cow that was Tyson( namely Showtime and Shelly Finkel). As soon as the first bell rung for that fight, the fight was won, Tyson would be able to pay off the debts owed to various entities and the cable companies(HBO and Showtime, who jointly produced the pay-per-view telecast) would line their coffers by not having to issue refunds juuuuust in case Tyson somehow sabotaged this fight again.

Barrera-Morales II is a rematch of one of the best fights of recent memory. Their first encounter in February of 2000 was 12-rounds of skill and savagery that was riveting as it was frightening in it's violence and danger. And what makes it so appealing is that both men promise to bring much of the same this weekend. It's an authentic fight, between authentic fighters.

” I've always looked forward to this weekend because it seems that we had a pretty good idea of what we were going to get( on June 8th),” explained Merchant, who will be part of the broadcast team on Saturday night.” There's a real emotional feeling between the two fighters, they are the best in the world, one of them isn't a fake challenger who's gotten there by hype and reputation, rather than achievement. And it's a sequel to one of the great fights of recent times and we know were going to have a passionate crowd there for both fighters. It doesn't get much better than that.”

No it doesn't.

WHAT ABOUT BOB?

Bob Arum is the lead promoter for Barrera-Morales II, what would he have thought of a Tyson win?

” I thought that a Tyson win would have been horrific for boxing,” said the president of Top Rank Boxing, who has promoted the likes of Marvin Hagler and Oscar De La Hoya throughout his career.” A crazy incident would have been horrific for boxing. Thank God, Lennox Lewis did what he was supposed to do and there were no incidents, it went off like a normal fight.'

CAMP TYSON

One person that wasn't surprised by Tyson's lethargic performace was his former trainer Tommy Brooks. Brooks was let go by Team Tyson over, what else, money. As Tyson was looking to cut corners as he was swimming in red ink. Brooks, like many others in the game, wonder why would Tyson train in the less-than-Spartan conditions of Maui,Hawaii.

” C'mon, you gotta be kidding me,” said Brooks, who's now working with the Klitschko brothers.” I mean, first off all, if a guy is supposed to be broke, why are you training in Maui? I mean you gotta import everything there. And number two, that's a vacation spot, man. You got people on vacation there, from what I understand the weed is flowing like wine. So those guys partake in that type of thing, it's kinda hard to stay focused and do what you're supposed to do.”

TIME WARNER-AOL

HBO's boxing budget is one of the victims of the Time Warner-AOL merger which has been one of the most disastrous in recent memory.

IBF lightweight titlist Paul Spadafora and his people were negotiating to take on WBO titlist Arturo Grigorian on August 17th, but instead will now take on Stefano Zoff because according to my sources, HBO wanted to save some bucks on that fight so they could put another fight on that 'Boxing After Dark'
telecast.

So what was potentially a matchup of two undefeated lightweight titlists is now a nondescript bout between Spadafora and a 36-year old European fighter nobody cares about.

Also, the October 5th telecast featuring the rematch of Floyd Mayweather and Jose Luis Castillo, as of right now, will not have another bout on that broadcast.

Good thing, Time Warner didn't merge with Enron. They'd be 'Six Feet Under'.

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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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