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Showtime Crew Analyzes Ward-Froch

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image002SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING ANNOUNCE TEAM

OFFERS THE KEYS TO VICTORY FOR ANDRE WARD & CARL FROCH

 

Gus Johnson, Al Bernstein, Antonio Tarver and Jim Gray Sound Off

On The Final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic

LIVE on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME® (Delayed on the West Coast)  

NEW YORK (Dec. 9, 2011) – Through the last two years, no four men have been closer to the action in the Super Six World Boxing Classic than SHOWTIME announcers Gus Johnson, Al Bernstein, Antonio Tarver and Jim Gray. Appropriately, the entire team will again sit ringside on Saturday, Dec. 17 as Andre Ward and Carl Froch battle for super middleweight supremacy in The Final LIVE on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

 

Each member of the Super Six broadcast team offered their commentary on the historic bout.

Gus Johnson, Play-by-Play Announcer

“We’re witnessing two fighters who haven’t reached their peak yet. This fight is going to go a long way in determining what path they take. The winner has the opportunity to launch into super stardom at 168. The winner will have the chance to potentially become a household name moving forward.

“These two men are meeting each other at the right time. They’re young. They’re strong. They’re hungry, humble and – maybe most importantly – they really want to test themselves. It’s tailor made. Ward-Froch will be cataclysmic.”

Al Bernstein, Expert Analyst

“Andre Ward is the consummate boxer-puncher. We thought Mikkel Kessler was the most skilled fighter in the tournament and Andre dominated him. In this match, Ward must bring the kind of ring generalship that allowed Andre Dirrell to do well against Froch – even in losing. The Ward jab needs to be established early and he must punch in combination, while mixing in just enough lateral movement.

“Carl Froch is a much more nuanced fighter than we expected to see in this tournament. He is a better pure boxer than he's given credit for being. He showed that in wins over Arthur Abraham and Glen Johnson. He also has an iron chin. Ward will not attack him like Johnson and Abraham so Froch will need to push the pace more. He, too, must establish the jab early and then land his right hand behind it. He has not used his excellent uppercut as much in the Super Six; this would be a good time to bring it out of mothballs.”

Antonio Tarver, Expert Analyst

“The key for Andre Ward is to stay within himself, keep boxing and keep winning the rounds. I think there is a lot of pressure on him to do something exciting, to do something great, but he can’t play into that hype. He must stay disciplined. I think that’s the key word when I look at what he needs for this battle: discipline.

“For Froch, he’s going to have to cut the ring off. He’s going to have to limit Andre Ward’s movement. Carl is going to have to press him and I think he’s going to have to be the aggressor. He needs to make it a fight instead of a boxing match. Froch will have to corner Ward and make him fight with his back against the ropes. And if he can do that and sustain that kind of attack, press him mentally and physically, Froch will give Ward the hardest fight he’s ever had. If anybody gets knocked out in this fight, I see Froch catching Ward.

“I really feel like the winner of this fight will write his own ticket as to what he’d like to do in the near future so there is a lot at stake. I’m looking forward to it. We could be looking at the Fighter of the Year. When you look at what they’ve gone through, you’ve got to put Ward or Froch in the category for Fighter of the Year if one man can win convincingly.”

Jim Gray, Ringside Reporter

“The key for Ward will be to be patient. He needs to fight at his pace and not be lured in by Froch to brawl. He must also know that Froch has a great chin, and not be frustrated that Froch may not budge with his best shots.

“The key for Froch would be to somehow be able to get Ward to brawl. To get him into wild exchanges and catch him. Froch is tough and he has the ability to take fighters out of their plan and create opportunities.”

The event is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Matchroom Sport and Antonio Leonard Promotions, in association with Caesars Atlantic City and sponsored by Corona.

Tickets are on sale at the Boardwalk Hall box office or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at ticketmaster.com. All tickets purchased for the original event date will be honored on Dec. 17.  If ticket holders are not able to attend on Dec. 17, refunds are available at the point of purchase. The non-televised undercard begins at 6 p.m. ET.

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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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