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After Waking Up From Coma, Jose Sulaiman’s First Words Were…

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There are often little tidbits, amusing nuggets, neat little anecdotes, which are scattered into the weekly column sent out by WBC chief Jose Sulaiman.

Now, to be sure, the WBC and all the sanctioning bodies are the most convenient whipping posts for boxing media, for reasons both sound an unsound. Yes, the ratings they offer often defy common sense and the explanations they offer for some of the moves they make defy common sense. But sometimes I think some guys just hammer the sanctioning bodies because it satisfies their outrage quotient against a foe that really has no means to get back at them. If Joe Keyboard-Tapper hammers the WBC, what’s going to happen, is the WBC going to cut off access? Rhetorical question…

So, with that in mind, I try not to reflexively bash the WBC, or any sanctioning body, if for no other reason than that by and large they just back some belts, and nobody is forced to align themselves with them, and besides, of all the things wrong with the sport (cough crappy judges cough), I think there are other issues that merit more attention.

The latest column from the 82-year-old Sulaiman is actually written by some family members, as the WBC boss recovers from a heart bypass operation, and complications from the procedure. There are some tidbits in here, to be sure, such as what Sulaiman said upon coming out of anaesthesia post-surgery and from an induced coma. Read on…

November 19, 2013 – Mexico City.

From the office of WBC President Dr. José Sulaimán:

The following is one of the weekly “Hook to the Liver” columns that have been published in El Universal every Sunday for the last five years and written by WBC President Jose Sulaiman.

This column was written by his wife, Martha, and children – Pepe, Lucy, Hector, Fernando, Mauricio, and Claudia – while he recovers from surgery. From November 17, translated from Spanish:

HOOK TO THE LIVER

Technology in Boxing

Even though we are still at the same Intensive Care Unit waiting room, our dad has progressed immensely and for the first time in six weeks, we could ask him what would be his topic if he was to write this weekly column, “Hook to the Liver,” which has been his passion for the past five years. He responded: “Technology in Boxing.” It is important for us to share that his first words after he woke up from surgery on October 2 were, “Floyd Mayweather.” His first words when he woke up from the induced coma he was placed in for 22 days: “Convention.” His life has been, and will always be BOXING .

The World Boxing Council changed the world of boxing and continues to work diligently to make it safer for the boxers, and also to bring justice and clarity in the results of fights. It is precisely here where technology can by of great support.

JUDGING SCORING SYSTEM

The WBC invented and introduced the 10-point must system which has been used for the past 35 years. It has served as a fair solution, but it is now time to implement changes to address the current problematic and evident failure of such system, as 95 percent of the rounds are scored 10-9 regardless of how such round was won – slightly, moderately, clearly, or by absolute and complete dominance and power. The new system, which Jose Sulaiman has been working on for several years, is a complex one, but it gathers the knowledge of many great officials and many years of experience. The idea is to score the rounds by providing a much wider range for officials to score, selecting such score “by concept,” providing a numeric figure through an algorithm bringing officials a possibility of scoring with much more precision. This will not be easy. It will take time, but works are underway to have it available in the future.

INSTANT REPLAY

Many sports use the review of actions with instant replay to correct human error by officials, or make the right call of fast actions which were not clear to the officials: the NFL, tennis, baseball, and some others have found great success. The WBC uses instant replay in most of its fights to review only extreme actions which can change the outcome of the bout, such as the source of a cut or revision of a major foul. The last five years have brought great results and the challenge is to have most, if not all, jurisdictions accept to use the technological advantages and use the instant replay rule.

OPEN SCORING AFTER THE 4TH AND 8TH ROUND

Boxing is the only sport in which nobody knows the scores until the end of the event. The WBC introduced the announcement of the official scores after the fourth and eighth rounds, having the last four rounds with drama and uncertainty for the end result. In seven years, the results have been fantastic – boxers and corners appreciate knowing how the fight is being scored and can adjust their strategy, fights have been more competitive and with more action, and there has not been one single negative incident.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Boxing, as most things in current life, is run with the tremendous influence of social media. Press reports and fan interaction is more active every day on the different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on. Fights are promoted differently: fighters make their own news by direct contact with fans, and boxing has reached places that, without social media, would be impossible to accomplish. We invite you to join the WBC Facebook page, to follow the WBC twitter accounts: @wbcboxing, @josesulaiman, @wbcmoro, @wbccares, and others.

We are thrilled to see how our father is getting better. This has been a long journey and there is still a long way to go, but with the support and care that we have been receiving from so many people, and the prayers which have given us so much strength and faith, we now can look ahead and enjoy this beautiful life.

Martha Sulaiman and kids….

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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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