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Alvarez Beats Hatton For Junior Middleweight Crown

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canelo1You weigh in, TSS 2.0 Universe. How do you rate Canelo now, and what is his upside? (Paul Gallegos)

I see “good,” I don't see “great.”

Not yet, anyway, and definitely not in the way he handled the weigh in, and a foe with little power coming up from welterweight. That said, Saul Alvarez showed some nice tools while winning a UD12–by scores of 119-108 times three–from Matthew Hatton in the main event from the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA on Saturday night. The WBC's vacated 154 pound title was up for grabs, and Canelo was all over that from the opening bell on.

After, Canelo said Hatton was “a good rival.” He told Max Kellerman that the hefty crowd that came out to see him was promised world championships, and this one, he said, was the first. When would he fight stars, Kellerman wondered. “This is the first one of many more to come, I will have more fights with big names and I will be one of the big names from Mexico,” he said. He said maybe two more fights, and then he'd fight a megamatch.

Matthew Hatton after said he shared the ring “with a great fighter.” He said he was never hurt, but since he didn't bother Alvarez, he'll move back down to welter. He called Alvarez strong and intelligent, but didn't gush, and label him a future Hall of Famer. Basically, he said, he was in over his weight class. Roy Jones said Canelo still “has a way to go” to become great but that he has been blessed by God. “Can he make the leap to be great? I don't know,” Jones said.

Alvarez (age 20; 5-8; 151 3/4; 35-0 with 26 KOs entering; turned pro at 15; from Mexico) was 165 pounds on fightnight, while Hatton (age 29; 5-8; 149 1/2; 41-4-1 with 16 KOs entering; stopped once before, in his 16th pro bout; from England) was 157 pounds. HBO showed the fight.

Canelo, who dropped two notches when he didn't make 150 pounds and had to give up $70Gs for coming in heavy,  upped himself a notch in my eyes when he came to the ring to Survivor's “Burning Heart.”

In the first, Hatton came out aggressive. Canelo's power had Hatton flinching a minute in. Brother Ricky was not in Matt's corner, by the way. He sat in the front row, yelling encouragement.

In the second, blood streamed from Hatton's nose. He stayed in front of Canelo too much and needed to move more.

In the third, we noted that Alvarez best move his head more if not on this night, then moving forward. A strong neck won't keep his brain from getting bumped around as he takes on real bangers.

In the fourth, Hatton was getting hit more flush. A cut appeared on his left eyebrow. He said after the round that Canelo was not hurting him.

In the fifth, Hatton hung tough. He has a good bit of that Ricky heart, if not as much of his skills.

In the sixth, Hatton was still hanging in. He ate mucho leather but still winged shots often enough to keep Alvarez, now blasting left hooks with vicious intent,  from simply eating him alive.

In the seventh, things got chippy. Hatton got extra time when Canelo hit him as the ref came in to break them. Ref Moret took a point from Canelo. Canelo went into finisher mode, but Hatton, still with some energy left, answered, and didn't fold.

In the eighth, Alvarez stayed true to form. Aggressive, focused, winning rounds. Roy Jones said Alvarez is right up there with him and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad in the realm of left hooking to the body.

In the ninth, Hatton was the busier man early on. Alvarez got to work, though and took the round, for sure.

In the 10th, Hatton, as he did more as the fight went on, clinched when he needed to. The Brit landed a low blow and Alvarez blasted him as Moret stepped in between them. Hatton sat on his tush, and Moret got them right back to work. A left-right had Hatton holding on with 25 seconds left. Hatton was firing and barking at Canelo at the bell.

In the 11th, Hatton was jabbing, making Canelo earn his partial purse. Who wasn't rooting for him to go the distance?

In the 12th, Canelo looked relaxed and in possession of plenty of gas to start the round. A right cross tickled Hatton's chin at the 2:20 mark. But Hatton made it to the end, and a drama free reading of the cards.

Canelo had a 294-626 to 138-546 edge in punches thrown and landed department.

Please check back for David Avila's ringside report.

Follow Michael Woods on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/Woodsy1069

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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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