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Lennox Lewis Staying Retired, Likes Vitali To Beat Solis….. WOODS

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Klitschko_Solis_PosterLennox Lewis weighed in on a conference call Wednesday and offered fight fans some insight on what Vitali Klitschko (41-2; turns 40 in July), who gloved up with Lewis in the Brit's last pro bout, in 2003, has to do to take down challenger Odlanier Solis on Saturday.

“I believe that he has to really do what he usually does, and that's keep that jab out there and keep his man off balance,” said the 45-year-old Lewis, who will do analysis on the fight, along with Sam Rosen and Tony Paige. “He does that really well. I noticed that he hasn't been moving too much on his feet.  He still has to keep that foot movement and give his opponent some different angles.

Lewis also told fans what the immense Cuban, the 30-year-old Solis, has to do to spring the upset. “I think he needs to really go to the body and just really come inside on Klitschko and really not get hit while he's coming inside and also use his feet, because I noticed that he's stationary on his feet – a little more feet action.  He's got a tremendous history,” Lewis said of the hitter, who held a 227-14 amateur record, and won heavyweight gold at the 2004 Olympic Games. “It kind of reminds me of my own being a world junior champion and having all the different amateur accolades. I think if he puts a lot of that into motion, use a lot of different amateur moves, such as you know combination punches and some quickness and definitely, like I said, on the body, and throw some good left hooks to the head as well if he reaches Klitschko's.  Because, like I said, Klitschko's long and he moves back all the time.  So he's a little bit awkward.”

I would've liked to see Lewis bring up what I see as the single biggest X factor with Solis: will he be roly poly, or fit and trim on Saturday? Along the lines of Samuel Peter, Solis impacts his flexibility and mobility by packing on too many pounds on his 6-1 1/2 inch frame. In his 17 pro fights, he's been in the 240s three times, the 250s ten times, in the 260s three times, and was in the 270s (271) once, against Monte Barrett in 2009. The extra bulk hasn't hampered him too badly, he is after all undefeated. But unless he's the lightest he's been as a pro at the weigh-in today, then I wouldn't be inclined to wager a dime on the Cuban.

In case any of you were still pining for Lewis to ditch the mike and put the trunks back on, the 45 year old threw cold water on that idea, for the record. He was asked, “Are you surprised that Vitali is this effective at his age?  You know he's pushing 40 and still virtually unbeatable? Lewis answered, “He's got a good diet and he's still got a lot of drive in him to continue, which is great.  I've passed my prime in that sense, and I just want to do other things.”

Lewis, I have to be honest, annoyed me when he went into shill mode, when someone asked, “How do you see David Haye and his chances of beating Wladimir or Vitali.  We don't know who will be in the ring, but – so probably Wladimir.  How do you see his chances?”

“I think we should talk about that when that fight happens, but right now you should ask me about Solis,” Lewis said.

C'mon big man, you're one of us now, stop pandering to the promoters, will you?

He got off the wussy wagon when asked who would win Saturday. “Obviously the best boxer of the night,” he said. “I think Klitschko has a tremendous advantage, just because you know the experience aspect, the height, the reach and the fact that he doesn't get hit too often.  And he knows how to really use his weight. So I think the man with the most advantages is obviously Vitali Klitschko.  So you know I'm edging him to win.”

Vitali finished the call on a classy note, addressing the sad, scary saga in Japan, which is holding its collective breath as the threat of a meltdown at nuclear reactors impacted by the tsunami last weekend looms.  “I know one of the judges will be from Japan, and coming from Ukraine, and I was, in 1986, close to Chernobyl.  My father was there.  And I know how big this tragedy is.  And I understand right now the attention of the whole world is on Japan, and everybody is looking how the situation will develop. I want to support Japan's people. I want to support the people who are fighting right now against this tragedy.  And we definitely will make a donation from this fight to support Japan. Sport connects people – sport can change the world.  And I'm more than sure we have a lot of power to help the Japanese people who have problems – first from the earthquake and from the tsunami and now their nuclear problem.”

TSS Universe, I see this one going the distance, with Solis touching Vitali a bit more than he's been touched recently. But he won't have much more luck getting past the force field jab than others have. Klitschko UD12.  How do you all see it?

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EPIX, the multiplatform premium entertainment service, will exclusively televise the Vitali Klitschko vs. Odlanier Solis WBC heavyweight championship This Saturday!  March 19, live in the U.S., beginning at 5 p.m. ET, with select undercard bouts, followed by the main event World Heavyweight Championship at 6 p.m. ET.  EpixHD.com will stream the fights live, also beginning at 5 p.m. ET,  as part of a free two-week trial offer.  To sign-up for the free two-week trial go to:  http://www.epixhd.com/freetrial-boxing/

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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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