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Mayweather Is Watching As Pacquiao Eliminates His Options

Frank Lotierzo

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Manny Pacquiao vs Shane MosleyIt's been slightly over 10 months since Floyd Mayweather 41-0 (25) scored what has to be considered the signature win of his career over Shane Mosley. Yeah, it may have been eight years after the late Vernon Forest beat a prime Mosley more convincingly than Floyd did, and he did it twice. And granted, though Mosley was a totally spent and empty package the night he fought Mayweather, except for one big right hand in the second round, Shane was still the most formidable and dangerous fighter Floyd's ever shared a ring with. On that there can be no denying, and in Mayweather's defense, he clearly out-thought and out-fought Mosley for 10 of the 12 rounds they spent in the ring fighting. 

Since the night Mayweather outclassed Mosley, his rival and career nemesis, Manny Pacquiao, has brutalized Antonio Margarito, (who Mayweather had a chance to fight circa 2006/2007 but thought it was too risky) and is about to fight and defeat Mosley more impressively and conclusively than Mayweather did. Once again in Mayweather's defense, if Pacquiao beats Mosley more decisively than Mayweather did, it'll be more of a testament to style matchups than it is an indicator as to what would happen if Pacquiao and Mayweather ever fight.

Last week in an interview with Fighthype, Jeff Mayweather said Floyd is considering a summer bout in South Africa in celebration of former president Nelson Mandela's 93rd birthday. For those who don't know, Mandela is a big boxing fan. It's been said elsewhere that Mayweather's decision to fight in honor of Mandela is due to Pacquiao having recently been invited to the White House to meet US president Obama. This is very plausible considering Mayweather's limited options. The fact of the matter is, all Floyd Mayweather can do is watch, wait and hope. Because there are no real alternatives for him.

If you look closely, Pacquiao is doing to Mayweather almost exactly what Muhammad Ali did to reigning heavyweight champ “Smokin” Joe Frazier, circa 1971/1972.

For those who aren't aware of what Ali did in order to secure a rematch with Frazier after Joe handed him his first defeat, it goes like this and it almost worked perfectly. Immediately after Frazier won the “Fight Of The Century” Ali began lobbying for a rematch. There were a lot of things said as to why it didn't materialize, but at the end of the day Muhammad and Joe couldn't agree on purse parity. Frazier felt that he did Ali a favor splitting the purse for their first fight and believed since he won it, he shouldn't have to spit it again as undisputed heavyweight champ. On the other hand, Ali felt because he was the superstar and draw, he deserved at least purse parity.

When Joe declined and said he can't become the champ until he fights me, the hell with him, Ali said, I'll fight and eliminate all the other top contenders so that he'll either have to defend against me or be stripped of the title. For the next year and a half Ali fought every top contender in the world except the one he couldn't get in the ring, George Foreman. And that's only because Foreman's manager and trainer, Dick Saddler, told Ali, “we want to fight the champion, and his style is better suited for young George than yours.” Twenty two months after Frazier defeated Ali to become undisputed heavyweight champ, he lost the title to George Foreman 37-0 (34) and the rest is history. 

Back in those days promoter Bob Arum, who promotes Manny Pacquiao, worked with Ali. Now it looks as if Arum has Pacquiao fighting and eliminating all the available opponents left for Mayweather. As long as Pacquiao doesn't run into a welterweight George Foreman along the way, Mayweather is pretty much boxed in. The reality is, there's only fight that matters in the eyes of the public pertaining to Floyd Mayweather and that's a showdown with Pacquiao. Aside from that, Mayweather will have to conjure a huge gimmick to generate interest in his next fight if it isn't against Pacquiao or retire.

Joe Frazier was asked every time he was in public for a year and a half after their first fight, “when are you fighting Ali again?” Mayweather hears the same in reference to Pacquiao these days. The difference is Frazier did fight Ali and beat him legitimately in Super Fight I. Floyd can't say he fought Pacquiao, let alone claim a victory over him. There's really nowhere for Mayweather to turn unless he gives the public the only fight they want from him. So all he can do is watch, wait and hope that Pacquiao either loses or shows some signs that he's on the decline. 

On a personal note, if Pacquiao was fighting Mayweather instead of Mosley on May 7th, I'd probably favor him to win. But obviously Floyd has some reservation about sharing a boxing ring with Manny. Pacquiao must be better than I thought?

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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