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Class of 2015 Announced in Canastota; Props Go To Lampley

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Congratulations to the estimable Jim Lampley, the HBO blow by blow ace who has handled his duties over decades with cerebral fitness, immense passion, dignity and sincerity…and has now been rewarded with a most meaningful honor. Lampley will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame next June, and I take this opportunity to congratulate him, right here, right now. His thoughtful manner has been an influence on what I do, and I’ve always believed the sport is lucky to have such a fixture as a foundation in coverage of the sweet and savage science.

I asked Lampley for his response to the honor today. Here is his reply: “I am pleased and honored to have been chosen and am deeply appreciative of the continuing support of all my close friends at ringside, including you.”

Thanks Jim, and thanks for your service to the sport. This is an honor most deserved!

Here is the release sent out by the Hall today:

RIDDICK BOWE, NASEEM HAMED & RAY MANCINI ELECTED TO INT’L BOXING HALL OF FAME Yoko Gushiken, Rafael Mendoza, Steve Smoger, Nigel Collins and Jim Lampley also enter Hall of Fame

CANASTOTA, NY – DECEMBER 4, 2014 – The International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum announced today the newest class of inductees to enter the Hall. Living inductees include heavyweight champion Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe, featherweight champion “Prince” Naseem Hamed and lightweight champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini in the Modern category; light flyweight champion Yoko Gushiken in the Old-Timer category; booking agent / manager Rafael Mendoza and referee Steve Smoger in the Non-Participant category; and editor / journalist Nigel Collins and broadcaster Jim Lampley in the Observer category.

“We’re extremely excited about the Class of 2015 and are very much looking forward to paying tribute to the new inductees in Canastota next June,” said Executive Director Edward Brophy.

The 2015 Hall of Fame Weekend is scheduled for June 11-14th in Canastota, NY. Over 10 events, including a golf tournament, banquet, parade and autograph card show, are planned. An impressive celebrity lineup of boxing greats of yesterday and today will attend this year’s Induction Weekend. The highlight of the weekend will be the Official Enshrinement Ceremony on the Hall of Fame Museum Grounds in Canastota, New York on Sunday, June 14th to welcome the newest members.

The Hall of Fame also released names of posthumous honorees: Masao Ohba andKen Overlin in the Old-Timer Category; and publicist John F.X. Condon in the Non Participant Category. Inductees were voted in by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.

For more information on the events planned for the 2015 International Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend, please call the Hall of Fame at (315) 697-7095, visit online at www.ibhof.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/InternationalBoxingHallofFame and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BoxingHall.

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COMMENTS UPON RECEIVING INDUCTION NEWS

“I’m ecstatic! As a kid, this is what I dreamed of. I’m just so happy. For me, hard work and determination got me in the Hall of Fame.”

– Riddick Bowe

“This is amazing news. It’s an absolute honor to be recognized with some of the best fighters that ever lived. I’m overwhelmed to hear this news. What can I say? I’m so happy that I officially got the call from the International Boxing Hall of Fame to tell me this. For every fighter this is the phone call of a dream because when you get a phone call saying you’re going to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, it’s not every day you get that call!”

– Naseem Hamed

“Wow. I’m humbled and I’m honored. To be in the International Boxing Hall of Fame with so many of my friends and heroes is overwhelming. “

– Ray Mancini

“This is great. This makes my day, my year and my life because I’ve been in boxing for almost 55 years. This is really something exciting for me. I will be very proud to be there because some of my fighters that I represented are already there like Alexis Arguello, Pipino Cuevas and ‘Chiquita’ Gonzalez. I’m very, very happy. This is the best news in my boxing life.”

– Rafael Mendoza

“I’m eternally grateful. It’s really the highest honor and it’s the culmination of a lifetime in the great sport of boxing. I’m humbled, honored and overwhelmed. Words can’t express my gratitude.”

– Steve Smoger

“I haven’t wiped the smile off my face since the Hall of Fame phoned and gave me the news. There is no higher honor in boxing than being elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame and I am deeply appreciative.”

– Nigel Collins

“I am surprised and delighted to learn of my election to the IBHOF. I look forward with great excitement to making my first trip to Canastota this summer to accept the honor on behalf of my family, my friends, and everyone at HBO and at ringside who has helped to support my long, lucky tenure in boxing. I couldn’t be more appreciative.”

– Jim Lampley

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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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