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Gamboa Scores Technical UD Over Ponce in AC…WOODS

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Yuriorkis-Gamboa-vs-Daniel-Ponce-de-Leon-Fight-VideoThings started out promisingly enough for Ponce De Leon in the main event which unfolded at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Saturday night. In the first round, his skill set looked to match up well with flashy Cuban defector Yuriorkis Gamboa. Then Gamboa got loose, got into a ryhthm, and pulled away from the Mexican. Gamboa came in an 8-to-1 favorite and lived up to it, as he used his quicker hands, feet and powerful, accurate launches to impress the judges.

The fight came to disappointing end, when a clash of heads in the eighth opened a nasty gash on Ponce's left eye. The fight was halted at 1:24, and we went to the cards, with no drama. The scores were 70-63, 70-63, 69-64, for the speedy power puncher, Gamboa.

The victor won the stat war, 116-379 to 91-360. After, Gamboa told Max Kellerman, who said he didn't look as sensational as we'd seen before, that he wanted to extend the fight, because he thought Ponce would be dangerous early. Max said he thought that was strange, if indeed he wanted a super fight next. Gamboa said Manny Pacquiao is in his sights, because there are no challengers in his weight class. Kellerman named Mikey Garcia and Gary Russell Jr. Gamboa said if they think they are one of the best, he's game.

Gamboa wants to be in the pound for pound mix. While he is an ace pugilist, he'll need to pick off a couple top tier names to get into the top five;  and in some eyes, he's not even in the top ten. There is a perception that he is less than the sum of his parts, that he sometimes coasts, instead of maximizing his considerable arsenal.

Gamboa (ex featherweight champion; age 29; 20-0 with 18 KOs entering; 2004 Olympic gold medalist; from Cuba, now lives in Miami) weighed 127, 138 on fight night,  while Ponce (from Mexico; ex 122 pound champ; age 31;  41-3 with 34 KOs entering; coming off controversial loss to Adrian Broner) was 127 at the weigh in, 137 pounds on fight night.

Jim Lampley called the action on HBO with Manny Steward and Max Kellerman. Steward said Ponce needed a KO to win, before the action kicked off.

Allan Huggins was the ref.

In the first, the lefty Ponce came out banging. Gamboa was more measured, as his jab was half hearted most of the first. After the round, Gamboa's trainer told him to keep his rhythm, and if he did so, he'd win easily.

In the second, Gamboa pressured to start. He ate a straight left, and really, Ponce didn't look out of his element at all. Gamboa used his feet more, and fought with more pep in this round.

In the third, Gamboa's left hook, fast and hard, scored. He started to make Ponce miss noticeably at times. The underdog Ponce was now backing up more than before.

In the fourth, Gamboa went lefty, and ripped four shots off on Ponce. He switched back, but it was clear he was in another zone confidence-wise. Gamboa drew a warning form the ref for cuffing Ponce off a break. There was no need for this transgression; he was getting things into his control, and didn't need to digress. This can be a problem with Gamboa. He loses focuses. No real wonder, he's fought over 300 times, amateur and pro. He can do it in his sleep, and at times, does.

In the fifth, a hard right counter wobbled Ponce. The Mexican got a launch in soon after. He wasn't going to disintegrate, despite Gamboa's speed and power edge. That said, his long left was usually short, as Gamboa saw it coming, and slithered backwards. Gamboa's side to side movement kept Ponce of balance for most of the round.

In the sixth, as he typically does, Gamboa used the jab mostly to keep the other guy at bay. That's no knock, he knows what he's doing, and is comfortable and effective with the power-punching style. He is so accurate, and so quick, that his foe can see the punch coming, and still not slip it. The Ponce crew told their man to “press a little bit more” after the round.

In the seventh, Gamboa wowed the crowd with a left hook thrown as Ponce lunged toward him. A left hook-right follow hit home, hard, soon after. Ponce for the second time stood still and gestured for Gamboa to come to him, and mix it up.

In the eighth, a hard clash of heads opened a cut on Ponce's left eye. The ref called for a break and the doctor looked at it. He didn't like what he saw and recommended a halt.

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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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