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Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Woods

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This Saturday in the world of college football,  Colorado is a hefty 24 point favorite over San Diego St., Washington St. is a big 28 point favorite over Idaho, Maryland's spread against underdog Akron in 23 points, Tennessee is expected to down Middle Tennessee St. by at least 27, and then finally Kansas St- long known for scheduling out-of-conference patsies- is giving up 40 points to UL-Monroe.

Blowouts are expected in each game. And you know what? They're all probably going to be more competitive than the bout between undisputed light heavyweight champion Roy Jones and his WBC mis-mandatory challenger Clinton Woods. You see, Jones must get his fight itinerary done by the Kansas St. athletic director. Don't believe me? Just look at his last several bouts: Glenn Kelly, Julio Gonzalez and Derrick Harmon. All were heavy underdogs but Woods, who comes out of Sheffield,  England, takes the cake. Noted odds-maker Herb Lambeck lists Woods as a 100-1 underdog.

Woods comes in with a ledger of 32-1, but 17 of those wins have come against fighters who's record is at .500 or below. He is the very definition of a built-up fighter whose management has successfully been allowed to exploit the corrupt rankings system. This time the WBC is the culprit and we shouldn't be surprised. For so long Jose Suliaman has been protecting his big money champions by feeding them an endless list of no-hopers to feast on. While the Oscar De La Hoya's get Patrick Charpentier as their mandatory challenger,  Stevie Johnston's would get legitimate tough guys like Cesar Bazan.

It's pretty clear, if you're a marquee money maker,  you get free rides. If you're not, well, we'll just find somebody who can be to defeat you.

It's another farce being perpetrated by not only the WBC but Roy Jones himself, who pockets right around $4 million for what amounts to a highly glorified sparring session. I give Jones this, he's a great manager. Anyone that can get that much money for that easy of a fight has to be doing something right. But just don't call him an all-time great, ok?

He's basically had one big fight (against James Toney in 1994) and since then has avoided any live bodies that could have given him trouble. And this talk of him being up there with the likes of Archie Moore,  Ezzard Charles, and Bob Foster amongst the all-timers at light heavyweight? Puuuuh-leeeeze. If you saw Jones struggle with Montell Griffin the first time out or against a one-armed Eric Harding for nine rounds, to say that would be straight out sacrilege. And let's be honest here, I don't see any Yaqui Lopez's or even any Mike Rossmans around as contenders.

Yes, some of his apologists will argue that he is a victim of circumstances and such. But, on the flip side, he MADE those circumstances all too prevalent. Remember it was he, himself that stated he would make the Dariusz Michalczewski fight happen, it was he, that stated he would go up to heavyweight and fight Buster Douglas in 1998, and now he's using protracted negotiations with Bernard Hopkins and talk of a bout with John Ruiz to fight the likes of Clinton Woods. It'll be the same old song and dance after he disposes of Woods. While Larry Merchant of HBO grills him,  Jones will boast he only did this fight because he had to and that bigger and better things are on the way.

It'll sound like the same broken record to me.

DESERVING

Now, if Jones should face his IBF mandatory next,  Antonio Tarver, nobody should raise a protest about that bout. Tarver, in his last four bouts has downed Lincoln Carter, Chris Johnson, Reggie Johnson and then gained revenge on Eric Harding this past July for the IBF light heavyweight title eliminator. No, it may not be the Mt. Rushmore of 175-pounders, but I will say this, in the context of today’s game, it's a pretty impressive run and all the above-mentioned names were
ranked within the top 10.

And you know what, just compare those last four names to the last four guys Jones has defeated: Kelly, Julio Gonzalez, Derrick Harmon and Harding.

THE BUDDY SYSTEM

One of the reason why Tarver has improved so much recently is that he hooked up with Buddy McGirt. McGirt, once a highly respected welterweight champion,  is quickly earning a rep as one of the game's premiere teachers and trainers.

“Tremendous knowledge and experience,” says Tarver of his trainer.” The guy has walked in my footsteps. I'm trying to walk in his. Buddy McGirt is a tremendous trainer; he's not a one-dimensional trainer, that's what I love about him. I mean, he takes each fighter and maximizes their positives and he works hard on their negatives as far as being a complete boxer.”

BY THE WAY

Does Tarver know who Woods is?

” Unfortunately, not,” said Tarver with a chuckle.” I'm like the rest of the boxing world. But hopefully he can get it over with quick and move onto the next stage.”

TAPIA TRAINER

As I'm writing this, Johnny Tapia is still awaiting word from Al Mitchell on whether Mitchell will train Tapia for his November 2nd date against Marco Antonio Barrera.

Regardless of who's in his corner that night, it's been evident for a long time that Tapia is one of these guys that trains himself. Just wind him up and go. He's a born fighter, and will be one to the day he dies. When you're in his corner what you're really doing his working as his pit crew, just setting down his stool, cleaning out his mouth-piece, getting him some water and then getting out of the way.

But I will say this, if there's anybody that can give you an honest assessment of all the trainers out there today, it's gotta be Tapia. After all, it seems like he's worked with every single one of them- at least twice.

HEAVYWEIGHTS

With the announcement that Lennox Lewis will be dropping his IBF belt, Chris Byrd and Evander Holyfield will duke it out for the vacant title, most likely in December on HBO.

Also, it looks like Wladimir Klitschko could be facing Jameel McCline later this year.

As for Lewis, he will most likely take on his WBC mandatory Vitali Klitschko next.

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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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