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Farhood's Top 10 Heavy Hitters

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564530 397036887030445 33644327 nVitali Klitschko (right) is slotted at No. 4, with little brother Wladimir, on Farhood's big bopper list.

NEW YORK (Sept. 5, 2012) –- For sheer drama, excitement and exhilaration, there are few, if any, spectacles in sports that can compare to witnessing the sudden, stunning and memorable ending that comes with a one-punch knockout.

Below is a Top 10 list of today’s heaviest-handed hitters compiled by renowned boxing historian and SHOWTIME analyst Steve Farhood.

Two of Farhood’s top three will be seen in action in the next two weeks on SHOWTIME. One is Lucas Matthysse (31-2, 29 KO’s), whom Farhood ranks No. 3. Matthysee meets unbeaten Nigerian Olusegun Ajose for the vacant WBC Interim Super Lightweight World Championship this Saturday, Sept. 8, in the main event on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

Farhood’s No. 2, Jhonny Gonzalez (52-7, 45 KO’s), will defend his WBC Featherweight World Championship against former World Champion Daniel Ponce De Leon in one of three world title fights on Saturday,Sept. 15, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). In the main event of “Knockout Kings” from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., superstar Canelo Alvarez risks his WBC Super Welterweight World Championship against breakout star Josesito Lopez.

The No. 1 one-punch KO artist on the list is Randall Bailey, who was scheduled to defend his IBF welterweight title against former World Champion Devon Alexander this Saturday, but withdrew after suffering an injury late last week. The fight will likely take place this fall on SHOWTIME.

Farhood’s Biggest Boppers:
1. Randall Bailey (43-7, 37 KO’s): The purest right hand in the game. Just ask welterweight Mike Jones, who in June was ahead on points when Bailey exploded with a straight right in round 10, and a fight-ending right uppercut in the 11th round. Bailey’s hook can be devastating as well. In 1999, he won his first world title on Showtime with a 41-second left hook knockout of Carlos Gonzalez.

2. Jhonny Gonzalez: History tells us that rangy, long-armed fighters can be devastating punchers (Thomas Hearns and Bob Foster, for example). Mexico’s Gonzalez has carried his power from bantamweight to featherweight. Sixteen of his 18 most recent bouts have ended in four rounds or less. Check out his hook-to-the-body, hook-to-the-head knockout of Roinet Caballero on YouTube. It’s chilling.

3. Lucas Matthysse: Lots of fighters compile eye-opening knockout stats against mediocre opposition, but Argentina's Matthysse has displayed his power against the world’s best 140-pounders. He floored both Zab Judah and Devon Alexander, and his knockdown of former champion Humberto Soto in June was the first of the Mexican’s 68-bout career.

4. Wladimir Klitschko (58-3, 51 KO’s) and Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40 KO’s): No sense separating them; they are both giants, and when they create maximum leverage with their respective straight right hands, their opponents fall stiff. Wlad has stopped his opponents in 16 of 19 title-fight wins, and Vitali has done the same in 11 of 14 such wins.

5. Sergio Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KO’s): The Argentine middleweight’s knockout percentage isn't overwhelming, but that’s because Martinez’s style is more boxer than puncher. The southpaw’s four most recent performances, however, have been from the George Foreman School of Carnage: one-punch knockouts of Paul Williams and Darren Barker, and a combined eight knockdowns in stoppage wins over Sergiy Dzinziruk and Matthew Macklin.

6. Adonis Stevenson (18-1, 15 KO’s): This Canada-based super middleweight hasn’t yet faced the division’s best, but his concussive power has been evident in all of his recent wins. The stocky southpaw’s left hand has wrecked Noe Gonzalez, Jesus Gonzalez and Aaron Pryor Jr.

7. Roman Gonzalez (32-0, 27 KO’s): You may not recognize the victims on this Nicaraguan powerhouse’s record. Then again, you may not be aware of Gonzalez at all. Trust me: he’s a two-division (105 and 108 pounds) titlist who steamrolls his opponents with constant pressure, exceptional strength and bludgeoning power. Plus he’s done almost all of his work on the road.

8. Kendall Holt (28-5, 16 KO’s): A relatively low knockout percentage, especially among this group, but as a puncher, Holt is his own worst enemy: he often fights far too cautiously. His one-punch, left hook power has surfaced against quality fighters, such as Timothy Bradley (a particularly vicious knockdown in round one), Julio Diaz, Ricardo Torres and Tim Coleman.

9. Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KO’s): Donaire’s one-punch sock surfaced in his two most recent wins; he failed to stop junior featherweights Jeffrey Mathebula and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., but downed them along the way for the first time in their respective careers. With Donaire, it’s almost always the left hook. His knockouts of Vic Darchinyan and Fernando Montiel are highlight-reel staples.

10. Javier Fortuna (20-0, 15 KO’s): Granted, this Dominican junior lightweight is only beginning to establish himself as a contender, but his southpaw left has been responsible for the type of knockout crunch that speaks of a championship future. In his two most recent starts, he smashed the usually sturdy Cristobal Cruz and unbeaten prospect Yuandale Evans. Fortuna’s 2010 knockout of Victor Valenzuela (available on YouTube) is among the most devastating you’ll ever see.

Ajose vs. Matthysse, a 12-round fight for the vacant WBC Interim Super Lightweight World Championship taking place Saturday, September 8 at The Joint At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with DiBella Entertainment, Gary Shaw Productions and Arano Box Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will air live at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) with middleweight prospects J’Leon Love and Ramon Valenzuela squaring off in a 10-round co-featured bout presented in association with Mayweather Promotions. Preliminary fights will air live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, along with a limited number of VIP suite seats priced at $150, are on sale and may be purchased at the Hard Rock Hotel Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

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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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