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Escobedo, Bloodied, Takes UD From Estrada In California

David A. Avila

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INDIO-Despite several cuts caused by head butts Sacramento’s Vicente Escobedo toughed out a bloody 10-round lightweight struggle against Colombia’s Walter Estrada (38-14-1, 25 KOs) to win by unanimous decision on Friday.

It was Escobedo’s first fight since losing to Northern California rival Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero last November, but he didn’t find it easy despite fighting in front of 1,440 fans at Fantasy Springs Casino.

“He was an awkward and clever boxer,” said Escobedo (23-3, 14 KOs).

A triple combination in the first round nearly dropped Estrada, whose knees bent from a riveting right to the body.

Lead right hands kept landing for Escobedo so he dried out the well in the second round with a slew of right cross leads. Another triple combination landed for the Indio boxer.

Estrada began getting friskier after the third round. Some right hooks and straight lefts connected but Escobedo’s combinations and body punches continued to score points. Every so often that right lead would connect through Estrada’s gloves. That was a precursor to later in the fight.

Finally, in the seventh, a right dropped Estrada on his pants. The Colombian beat the count and was nearly dropped again with another right and held on as much as possible for the remainder of the round.

“I thought I was going to take him out after I knocked him down twice, but he was smart,” Escobedo said.

A clash of heads in the eighth round opened up a bad gash along side Escobedo’s right eye. Blood poured into his eye and seemed to bother the Indio boxer. Estrada had his best round as he continued pouring on punches as Escobedo retreated.

“Lefthanders are always hard to fight,” said Joel Diaz, who trains Escobedo in Indio. “This guy was a crafty veteran.”

In the final two rounds Escobedo stayed in front and pounded it out against Estrada. Both felt the fight was too close to take a chance on safety and exchanged freely. After 10 rounds two judges scored it 97-92 twice and one judge 96-93, for Escobedo.

“It was tough,” said Escobedo who endured two cuts around the right eye and left side of his forehead from butts. “I’ve been suspended for 60 days due to the cuts. I was ready to train tomorrow.”

Rolando Arellano, current manager of Victor Ortiz, is now managing Escobedo and said they took another fight against a southpaw to satisfy the television network and get the Indio-based fighter back on the world title track at 130-pounds.

Caballero

Crowds arrived early to see Coachella’s Randy Caballero (8-0, 4 KOs)  fight Palm Springs fighter Hugo Ramos (3-8-2) in a battle of local desert boxers. Both knew each other and had sparred many times, but this time it was for real. Caballero won by unanimous decision by using his superior speed and boxing skills to outmaneuver and out-score hard swinging Ramos in a six round junior featherweight match. All three judges scored it 60-54 for Caballero.

“There are no friends once we get in the ring,” said Caballero who sparred many times with Ramos. “I knew he could take a punch and he was going to come forward.”

Though Caballero won every round Ramos waited for his moments to land the big blow. He did manage to land a few bombs but not enough to slow down Caballero’s race to the end with quick combinations and pinpoint right crosses. Most of the crowd got its money’s worth.

“The tougher the guys the better. We want to get going,” said Caballero, who will fight anywhere between bantamweight and junior featherweight. “I’m ready to take them out.”

Other bouts

Las Vegas boxer Sharif Bogere (19-0, 12 KOs) blitzed Brooklyn’s Shamir Reyes (18-9-2) and knocked him down twice before referee Jerry Cantu stopped the fight at 2:37 of the first round of the lightweight bout.

A missed knocked down cost San Bernardino’s Juan Sandoval (2-6-1) the win over Indio’s Diego Madrigal (1-0-1). Instead, the four round featherweight bout was scored a draw 38-38. Sandoval landed two big right hands to drop Madrigal in the third round but referee Tony Crebs ruled it a slip. From there on Madrigal ran around the ring for the remainder of the fight. Sandoval won the crowd’s favor but gained only an impasse. In a prior fight Sandoval knocked out Puerto Rican amateur star Robert Figueroa.

Alabama’s Michael Finney (7-0, 7 KOs) scored his seventh knockout in seven fights when he stopped Joshua Beeman (4-9-2) at 1:12 of the fifth round of a welterweight fight.

Canada’s Mikael Zewski (8-0) scored a third round technical knockout over Mexico City’s Gerardo Prieto (6-11-1) in a middleweight contest. The fight was stopped at the end of the third round. Prieto was never knocked down.

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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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