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Vitali Klitschko Just Keeps Winning And Not Because Everybody Stinks….LOTIERZO

Frank Lotierzo

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Vitali Klitschko Just Keeps WinningThis past Saturday night WBC heavyweight title holder Vitali Klitschko 42-2 (39) made the sixth successful defense of his title with a first round stoppage over the WBC's number one ranked contender, Odlanier Solis 17-1 (12). With the fight having lasted barely three minutes, it's hard to draw many definitive conclusions on anything other than what actually transpired during the  round it lasted – other than the fact that Vitali Klitschko is clearly the best and most difficult heavyweight in the world to confront in the ring. He can box, he can punch and he's hard to hit. Along with that he's also very versatile and unemotional when he fights. 

The fight started off at the anticipated measured pace most expected, with Solis circling to the left and Klitschko inching his way forward. Other than Klitschko pawing with his jab, and Solis timing him with a few over hand rights that made contact, there wasn't much to distinguish between them. Then at the end of the round Klitschko landed a grazing left followed by a right high on the head that he got his weight behind, and after a delayed reaction Solis went down and grabbed his right leg. Odlanier beat the count but was on unsteady legs when he got up.

The knockdown looks totally legit to me after watching the replay several times. It was a sneaky right hand that Solis was open for and didn't see, and if you don't know, they're usually the ones that do the most damage to the fighter who got hit. I also believe the leg problem was likewise legit and since the fight it's been confirmed that Solis tore some ligaments around his right knee. So there was nothing to be done but to stop the fight. Vitali did what he was supposed to do and in part because of that, Odlanier never got the chance to do what he had hoped to do. That's boxing.

To those who were hoping to see Klitschko lose, they'll try and justify his performance as being nothing more than Solis's ineptness. And that's not accurate. Solis looked pretty good finding the exact spot and time to land those right leads and the few left hooks to the body he got through with. But even at that, it's hard not to fathom had the fight gone into the later rounds Klitschko would've probably won.

Vitali Klitschko is an outstanding natural fighter. He's not the type of fighter who blows you away when you watch him fight. At times he appears gawky and awkward, but don't think that's not a formidable weapon for a fighter. Right now the boxing world is in love with middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, but his unconventional attack is as much a problem for his opponents as is his skill-set and aptitude.

Vitali sees everything in the ring. He takes what his opponent gives him and then forces them to do what they don't want to do. His wide stance makes it hard for his opponents to reach him, but because of his height and reach he's usually in position to counter them off a miss or disrupt what they're trying to do. Another thing that many overlook when watching Vitali in the ring is his ability to effectively carry the fight against a retreating and circling opponent like Solis, or move away and out-box or counter an aggressor like Cris Arreola. Think about that. How many heavyweights can fight and be effective while moving forward or backwards? Not many. Add to that he's physically big and strong and knows how to make his opponent deal with his size and reach before they have a chance to try and implement their fight plan, makes him a hand full to deal with. He's also showed he can punch and is both physically and mentally tough.

Sure, his body broke down during his bouts with Chris Byrd and Lennox Lewis, but that had everything to do with heredity and genes more than it did toughness. Former 1970's heavyweight  contender Jerry Quarry was vulnerable to facial cuts and due to his skin, Jerry lost a few fights. No one ever questioned Quarry's toughness or heart, did they? It's not like he had any say over his skin having the durability of tissue paper when he was born. Well, in some ways that applies to Vitali Klitschko. No, I don't think he's as mentally tough as Quarry was (a fighter couldn't be tougher than Jerry). But I also don't believe he's a quitter like some have said over the last decade since he lost to Chris Byrd. Just because some so called experts say that's the way it is, doesn't make them right.

It gets tiring and becomes monotone hearing that Vitali, and even Wladimir Klitschko, always win because their opponents are terrible. It may be a fact that the current division is not one that'll be remembered by anyone in a few years. But if you were managing a heavyweight today and trying to move him along, Tony Thompson and Kirk Johnson would look like the biggest life-takers in the world since George Foreman. The point is – it's not easy to get wins that matter even in today's heavyweight division.

Vitali's domination of the heavyweight division since Lennox Lewis retired isn't just because it's pedestrian and lacking quality fighters (although that is in part true). It's more so because he's a much better and smarter fighter than people (including myself) originally thought. Other than a few rounds he fought against Lewis, no fighter has ever beat him up or punched him around the ring.  

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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