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Guillermo Jones-Mike Marrone Headlines Nov. 5 King Card

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla.—Don King returns to Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 5 with a fight card headlined by a cruiserweight world championship pitting World Boxing Association titleholder Guillermo “El Felino” Jones (37-3-2, 29 KOs) against WBA No. 14-ranked cruiserweight Mike Marrone (20-3, 15 KOs), from Vero Beach, Fla.

King, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, has stacked the card with South Florida favorites including Miami’s Joey “Twinkle Fingers” Hernandez, the United States Boxing Organization junior middleweight champion, facing Elco “The Animal” Garcia (25-7, 12 KOs), from Guachochi, Mexico; undefeated Cuban prospect Angelo “La Cobra” Santana (11-0, 8 KOs)—now living in Miami—taking on southpaw Broderick Antone (11-11-1, 5 KOs), from Troy, N.Y.; and WBA No. 1-ranked cruiserweight (and mandatory challenger to the champion) Francisco “The Wizard” Palacios (20-1, 13 KOs), a Puerto Rican now living in Orlando, will face an opponent to be named.

“I promoted a big fight at Seminole Hard Rock back in 2007 and everyone had a great time,” King, a South Florida resident, said.  “It’s been too long since I was there, so I’m happy to be bringing another world championship fight card back to this great entertainment venue.”

The WBA cruiserweight champion Jones is looking forward to defending his title in the main event.

“I was on Don King’s fight card at the Hard Rock in South Florida back in 2007 when Samuel Peter defeated James Toney,” Jones said.  “It was the year before I won the world title.  It will be an honor to defend my belt at Hard Rock Live.”

Jones has a great boxing backstory.  He began his career at the 147-pound welterweight limit, but it took him adding an astonishing 53 pounds and fighting at the 200-pound cruiserweight limit before he won his first world championship, a 10th-round technical knockout over Firat Arslan in 2008.  Jones is a gifted athlete who possesses an uncanny ability to find a way to win in almost every circumstance.

The Panamanian lost a disputed split decision in 2005 to future cruiserweight world champion Steve “USS” Cunningham, but he rebounded to defeat former world champions Kelvin “Concrete” Davis and Wayne “Big Truck” Braithwaite to earn the right to vie for a world title.

In his last appearance, Jones scored an 11th-round technical knockout over respected former interim WBA cruiserweight world champion Valery Brudov when the two met last year in Panama City, Panama.

His upcoming opponent, Mike Marrone, had a successful amateur career and reeled off 18 consecutive wins at heavyweight before being turned back earlier this year by seasoned professionals like New York State Champion Darrel “King David” Madison on Dec. 17 and former top-ranked heavyweight DaVarryl “Touch of Sleep” Williamson on April 23.

Feeling his power and quick hands might be more effective at cruiserweight, Marrone has taken the risky but opportune move of fighting for a world championship in his first match at the 200-pound limit.

Joey Hernandez has developed a strong South Florida fan base that resulted in back-to-back sellouts in 2009 and 2010 against fellow South Floridian Ed Parades.  Hernandez scored the most important win of his career on April 25, defeating the respected Angel Hernandez in that fighter’s adopted hometown of Chicago.

Hernandez expects a tough challenge from Mexican Elco Garcia whose nickname is “The Animal.”  The match is set for 12 rounds.

Francisco Palacios, born in New York but raised in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and now living and fighting out of Orlando, has fought many times in South Florida.  His last match took place in Poland on April 2 and ended in controversy.  

Palacios had earned the right to appear in his first world title match against WBC cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Wlodarzcyk, a Pole fighting in his home country.  Palacios fell victim to what he and many others felt was a hometown split-decision loss.  The WBC was concerned enough that they left Palacios as their No. 1-ranked cruiserweight and mandatory challenger to the champion, but they allowed Wlodarzczyk a voluntary defense.  He will take on Danny Green on Nov. 30, a respected former light heavyweight champion, but the WBC has ordered the winner of Wlodarzcyk vs. Green to next face Palacios.  

Another emerging local fighter appearing on the card has been creating a national buzz among sportswriters and boxing aficionados.  He is undefeated WBA FEDCARIBE super lightweight regional champion Angelo Santana.  He washed up on the shores of Miami in a makeshift boat in 2007.  A heralded Cuban amateur, he has advanced to 11-0 as a professional.

Santana made a statement in his last match by defeating a previously undefeated Russian fighter, Ramzan Adaev, when they met in Las Vegas on Aug. 13.  Santana raised admiring eyebrows at ringside after a flurry of combinations in the second round led referee Kenny Bayless to halt the match.  

Santana will face a slick southpaw from Albany, N.Y., Broderick Antone, in a match scheduled for nine rounds.

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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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