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What Got Into Carson Jones

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325px-Carson JonesWelterweight contender Carson Jones (34-8-2, 24 KOs) wasn’t always, well, a contender. The 25-year-old has already been through more adversity in his boxing career than many of the sport’s grizzled veterans.

In these modern days of the fight game, boxing is a sport none too kind to fighters who take on a loss or two. Jones? He’s already got eight of them, along with two draws—blemishes which were accumulated as he made his way through what is perhaps the cruelest of sports, as a too heavy junior middleweight and, in his opinion, a largely mismanaged one.

“I have eight losses,” he said. “I’m just resilient. I knew what was happening early in my career. I knew I was being thrown to the wolves just for a few bucks here and there.”

Soon after hooking up with Oklahoma boxing manager Bobby Dobbs, Jones decided to move down a weight class. Since then, Jones’ career has really taken off. He’s won eight straight contests as a 147 pound fighter, all by knockout.

“It’s the perfect division for me,” he said. “I’m bigger and stronger at this weight.”

Results like that get you noticed, and he’s parlayed it into a fight against undefeated UK prospect Kell Brook (27-0, 18 KOs), scheduled for Saturday, July 7th in England.

While Brook has built a good following in his homeland thus far, and is considered a promising prospect in the sport, Jones expects to be able to take home what would be the biggest win of his career when the two meet in Brook’s backyard of Yorkshire.

“I think he’s a decent fighter—a decent boxer. He’s hyped, but he doesn’t have the kind of power everybody thinks he does,” said Jones. “I’ll stop him towards the end of the fight.”

Jones is confident but not in an overly cocky way. He speaks like someone who knows how the fight game works, and he reaffirmed his belief about how important the business side of boxing is to fighters (the careful management of opponents, the selection of who to fight when), and he believes it has helped his opponent, actually one year his senior at twenty-six years of age, get to where he is today.

“He’s been managed well. They’ve done a good job picking his opponents.”

Jones has never fought overseas before, but he is anxious to give it a try. In fact, he seems to relish the opportunity to travel abroad to fight what is boxing’s version of an away game.

“I don’t have a problem going over there.I’ve been to people’s hometowns before, and I’ve done my job to take home the victory. When it comes down to it, it’s just me and him fighting whether it’s his hometown or mine…it’s not going to change the outcome.”

Jones is headed there a week beforehand so his body can get used to the time change. While he’s over there, don’t be surprised if you hear about him trying to get into his opponent’s head a little bit with some trash talk.When the fight was announced in the UK, Jones let his bark do the talking at the presser in a fervent display of bravado and trash talk. Jones admitted he does this type of thing on purpose as a way to test out his opponent’s mental make-up, and that he was glad to find it seemed to have its intended effect on Brook.

“He’s never had anybody up in his face before, and he really didn’t know how to react to it. He looked a little scared to me.”

Whether or not Brook was really scared remains to be seen, but Jones intends to find out. Jones is adamant that he’ll knock his opponent out in similar fashion to his last eight, and the way he says it would make even the most doubting Thomas a true believer.

Should he upset Brook, the resurgent Carson Jones said he would be open to any fight at welterweight. The Brook contest is scheduled as an IBF title eliminator for the opportunity to perhaps face Randall Bailey in the near future, but the seasoned fighter knows how sanctioning bodies can be, and he isn’t putting all his eggs into one basket.

He mentioned Bailey as a possible opponent as well as Brook’s countryman, Amir Khan, but also said there were so many others out there he’d love an opportunity against once he takes care of business against Brook.

“One fight at a time,” he said almost as if to remind himself.

I asked Jones what made him choose boxing. Arguably the most difficult of sports to make a living in, why did Jones decide on boxing in the first place, and how in the world did he stick with it after those early rough patches.

“Boxing was the only thing I’ve ever been good at,” he chuckled. “I suck at basketball. I’m not good at football…. I’m good at boxing and eating!”

Jones is a renowned connoisseur of sorts. He loves food and is eager to try out new foods whenever he gets the chance. It’s a likeable, everyman-sort-of-trait he seems to posses, one that l wins him fast friends during his many travels. In fact, a frequent topic of conversation with the UK press while he was over there for the fight’s promotion, was where could get the best fish n’ chips in town.

Fighters don’t make it in boxing by being affable, though, so I begin to wonder what makes Jones the fighter he is today.

I asked Carson Jones just what exactly got into him. How does a guy like him rebound the way he did to become a bonafide contender in a sport eager to throw careers into the sewer at the first sign of trouble.What’s his secret? What does he know that others might not get?

“What got into me?” he replied with amusement. “Some hard ass work!”

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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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