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Wolak Beats Foreman, Who Doesn't Come Out For Round Seven….WOODS

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Wolak Beats Foreman(Chris Farina) In the top support bout to the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga feature attraction, Brooklyn's Yuri Foreman didn't come out for round seven, giving Pawel Wolak his career best win in a 154 pound showdown at the MGM Grand.

Wolak was in Foreman's face from the moment he entered the building, landing rights over a low left, and was running up points on the cards. The ref stopped the fight on advice of the corner, Jimmy Lennon said, and it leaves folks wondering if Foreman has the desire to keep at this most dangerous game. He wasn't getting destroyed by any means, and while things didn't look upbeat for him, the situation wasn't looking hopeless.

Jim Gray talked to Wolak after. The Pole/Jerseyite said he trained super hard, and that he was helped by Brooks' presence, as well as his superior sparring. He said he wanted a title shot next, maybe against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Foreman then told Gray, “I'm OK, I'm OK..so many things happened since the last fight, I didn't feel like myself tonight.” The knee didn't bother him, he said, but the long layoff didn't help him. He said he will take a break, and think things over.

Wolak (age 29; works in construction; 154 pounds; 28-1 with 18 KOs entering; No. 7 WBA), a Pole living in New Jersey, entered with a record.  His trainer Tommy Brooks used to train Foreman. Brooks yelled, “Gonna bleed tonight, Yuri” as the staredown/touch of gloves ended. He was referring to his left eye, which was cut during training, and was still red.

Foreman (age 30; born in Belarus, lived in Israel; 28-1-1ND with just 8 KOs entering; ex WBA 154 pound champion ) weighed 155 on Friday. He was testing his right knee, which got torn up in his bout with Miguel Cotto last summer, and required surgery. Trainer was supposed to be working with Al Certo but Al couldn't make it, due to medical reasons. Pedro Saiz subbed in.

In the first, Foreman's knee looked OK. He was as mobile as ever, as he stuck and move. Wolak was same old Wolak, in his face, letting him know he had garlic during lunch.

In the second, Wolak kept in Yuri's grill. Foreman did clip the Pole, and slip away at times, but he also ate leather from the determined plugger.

In the third, we had to wonder what the judges would see. Would they appreciate Foreman's move and hit style, or reward Wolak's aggressiveness? An overhand right, over Yuri's low left, hit home for the Pole. Foreman moved less in this round, not sure by design or by necessity, or fatigue, or what.

In the fourth, Foreman's legs played a bigger part early. But as the minutes ticked down, the action was infighting, and that favored Wolak.

In the fifth, Foreman had better luck striking from a distance more conducive to his arsenal. But Wolak wouldn't be persuaded to back up, and his right hand was dialed in.

In the sixth, we saw Wolak's left eye looking worse. A left hand knocked out Yuri's mouthpiece. But that didn't put him off. Was Foreman aware that he was probably down on the cards? No matter, he didn't come out for the seventh.

Baltimore Raven Tommy Z (193 pounds; Notre Dame graduate) met nutritionist Rich Bryant (225 pounds)  in a heavyweight bout scheduled for four or less. The NFLer Zbikowski, the day after the NFL went into lockout mode, entered the ring with a 1-0 record. He has said he believes when all is said and done he will be remembered as a boxer, not a football player. A body shot with 1:25 left sent Bryant down. He got up, and wanted to continue, but the ref said no mas for him. It was a left hook to the solar plexus that felled the game but green Bryant. By the way, Steve Albert agreed with the folks who booed, insinuating that Bryant went down easy. I have to disagree; the shot looked like it was perfectly placed against a man whose body said he didn't live the spartan existence in getting ready for this event.

Mayorga kept on working the masterful trash talking til the very last moment. He called Cotto “vulgar,” and said he didn't like him when queried by Jim Gray in his dressing room about an hour before his bout began. Cotto said to Gray he had surgery on his right shoulder last year, and he was looking forward to having a 100% shoulder at his disposal. Cotto told Gray Mayorga hasn't gotten under his skin with all his mudslinging prior to fightnight.

Bob Arum, breaking out in a wide grin, told Gray that on “our 100th birthday we (he and Don King) want to co-promote.”

Please follow Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.

Check back for David Avila's ringside report.

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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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