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Gamboa Says He Isn't Fixated On JuanMa…FOLSTAD

Rick Folstad

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Gamboa Says He Isn't Fixated On JuanMaAnyone liking Solis for the upset? (Chris Farina-Top Rank)He isn’t Juan Manuel Lopez or Chris John, but Jorge Solis did put up a pretty good fight against Manny Pacquiao four years ago. Sure, he was stopped in the eighth, but so what?

Depending on your perspective, that’s how far we’ve come or fallen in the fight game since the Manny years. If a guy loses to Pacquiao, we still consider it a badge of honor if he looked good in losing. We don’t care if he only lasted six or eight rounds as long as he landed a punch or two before he was counted out.

That seems to be the important stuff on Solis. He looked good for awhile against Pacquiao, who is probably better now than he was in 2007, while Solis isn’t as good. And one of them put on a little weight.

Solis (40-2-2, 29 KOs), from Guadalajara, Mexico, is scheduled to fight WBA and IBF featherweight champ Yuriorkis Gamboa  (19-0, 15 KOs) Saturday night at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City (HBO Boxing After Dark). It’s part of what they’re calling “Featherweight Fury.”

Gamboa is favored in this fight, even though Solis “looked good” fighting Pacquiao. If he had somehow beaten Pacquiao back in 2007, well, we probably wouldn’t be talking about this fight right now.

On a conference call with Gamboa on Thursday, the Pacquiao versus Solis fight was brought up as a comparison. Gamboa was asked that if he stopped Solis quicker than Pacquiao did, would that be some kind of barometer comparing Gamboa with Pacquiao?

“The fight (between Solis and Pacquiao) happened awhile back and Manny is obviously a much better fighter now then he was then,” Gamboa said through an interpreter. “And Solis is not the same fighter at all. If anything, I think his skill level has diminished somewhat. I don’t think my fight with Solis is an indicator of anything (concerning a comparison with Pacquiao).

Gamboa is the new poster boy for Top Rank. Fast and hard-hitting, he‘s also a little unorthodox. But it’s a style that has been working pretty good for him.

“When you see him fight, you see his incredible natural ability,“ said Top Rank President Todd duBoef. “He has those natural gifts that aren’t seen everyday in this sport.”

Which is why Top Rank is doing whatever it can to market him. A four-time Cuban National Champ, Gamboa also has a gold medal from the 2004 Olympics safely tucked away among his title belts.

He defected from Cuba a few years ago and moved to Miami, turning pro in April 2007  and winning the title just 2 ½ years later in October 2009. He’s defended the title three times. He’ll try to do it a fourth time Saturday night against Solis.

Asked if he thought he needed a knockout against Solis to help him gain some recognition in this country – that marketability that Top Rank is looking for – Gamboa said he usually tries for a knockout, but he won’t force it. That could be foolish.

“I do push myself to try to win by knockout, “ he said. “It’s obviously something that everyone likes, and it‘s something I try to shoot for. But I’m not going to lose focus or concentration and risk losing the fight because of that.”

While Solis is getting the title shot, many fight fans are wondering when Gamboa – who has several family members still living in Cuba, including his mother – will fight a guy like Lopez, considered one of the top three or four featherweights in the world along with Gamboa and Chris John.

A fight between the two has been talked about for more than a year and Gamboa is tired of hearing about it.

“I don’t feel rushed to make that fight,” he said. “There’s been so much talk about whether or not the fight is going to happen. I just think Juan is one of the champions in our division. I could face another champion and gain just as much status. The thing that bothers me most is, they’ve created this whole expectation in the press about a fight that still hasn’t happened a whole year after they started talking about it. That’s why I’m in no rush. I’ll just continue collecting belts.”

As for Chris John, DuBoef said they’ve “reached out numerous times to see about his availability.“

Nothing yet.

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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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