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Dzinziruk's No Pacman Or Cotto, But Martinez Still Respects Him

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sergio-martinez-vs-sergiy-dzinziruk-300Lou Dibella tried to lure Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao into a fight with 2010's Fighter of the Year, Sergio Martinez, but those big fish slithered away, keen for now on fighting less threatening animals.

So Plan C, or D, sometimes it's hard to keep up with all the machinations, which are affected by the networks, and who they will give a thumbs up to, and the promoters, especially Arum, who has lately been loathe to play outside the Top Rank sandbox that much, and the sanctioning bodies, which have their own agendas to attend to, is Sergiy Dzinziruk.

Beyond the hardcore, the types who search out talent and scout them on YouTube, the reaction to that name is…Who?

But it sounds like the southpaw Martinez isn't in that mode, is well aware of what the left-handed Ukrainian born hitter with the 37-0 mark brings to the table, and therefore doesn't seem to be a likely candidate to follow up up his thrilling demolition of Paul Williams on Nov. 20th in Atlantic City with a stinker showing because he was overconfident.

On a Wednesday conference call to bang the drums for their March 12 matchup  at Foxwoods in Connecticut, Martinez told the press that he thinks Dzinzi is the best available person for him to face, beyond the other two guys previously mentioned. Dibella called Dzinzi “the best fighter in the world no one knows,” and Martinez, who brings a 46-2 record to Connecticut, promised his promoter that he will knock out his foe. “I'm shamed,” he said thru an interpreter–his English lessons are a work in progress–“that people maybe don't know the quality of the challenger I will knock out.”

Dibella termed this scrap a “no win” sort of outing, though from my seat, I think it would speak volumes if Martinez KOs a guy who hasn't lost in 37 outings, even if his people have not brought the creme de la creme over to his digs, Germany, to test him.

Martinez, who turned 36 on Feb. 21, meanwhile, hasn't been knocking down bowling pins as of late. Dibella termed the crew he's battled, Kermit Cintron, Kelly Pavlik, and Williams, twice, a “murderers row,” as difficult a slate fight-after-fight as anyone in recent memory has taken on. For that reason, I see Martinez winning most every round, though I think Dzinzi, who turned 35 on March 1,  will be in survivor mode, and won't cave in to a KO.

We all recall that hellacious shot on Williams, which some have termed a “lucky” punch. The boxer told me that it was no lucky shot, that he threw it six times in the bout and landed five of them, and that it was “predetermined.” We shall see if he has become more of a heavy-artillery type following that nasty rubout of Williams.

Martinez said he'll dictate the pace and tone, as befitting his stature as a pound for pounder, and that he and trainer Gabriel Sarmiento, who has been overseeing sparring with ex 154 pound champ Daniel Santos and current WBA 154 pound semi-titlist Austin Trout, will next work on a specific strategy. Santos, by the way, met Dzinzi, in a 2005 WBO title defense, and dropped a tight UD12, so props to Martinez advisor Sampson Lewkowicz for securing quality personnel to practice on.

Martinez' tone on the call was that of a confident fighter, and a smooth politician. He said he was excited to fight for the WBC diamond belt, and wasn't overly miffed that his WBC middleweight crown was taken from him, and given to Sebastian Zbik (30-0), who was No. 1 ranked at 160 in the WBC ratings. HBO didn't want Martinez-Zbik, so Martinez and Dibella didn't want Zbik, so the sanctioning body stripped Martinez, made Zbik champ, and have him fighting Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in his first defense. Blah blah blah. Sanctioning body silliness is often boring to try and decipher, and I frequently decide to just dispense with it, and talk about the matchup, rather than the ancillary noise and BS surrounding it. Martinez did make clear that he feels he wasn't forced into anything. “I've never been forced on who I need to fight,” he said.

Please weigh in in our Forum on what you see going down on March 12.

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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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