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What Goes Up, Must Come Down

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Jr. welterweight Zab Judah makes his return this Saturday night in Tunica, Mississippi against Argentinian Omar Weis.

The last we saw of 'Super' Judah he was being poleaxed by a thunderous right hand from Kostya Tszyu and doing a funny little dance that caused referee Jay Nady to call a halt to the bout.

From there, Judah would proceed to incite a mini-riot that included throwing a stool at a cadre of security and police that were there to keep the peace and attempted to choke out Nady.

And who says that Mike Tyson was a bad role model for Judah? It looked to everyone there at the MGM Grand that he was following his example perfectly.

It was as sickening as it was immature and for his actions Judah would be suspended for six months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Which seemed a bit lenient if you ask me, afterall, he would have been suspended for three months anyway for getting stopped by Tszyu in the first place.

It was only a short time ago that Judah was considered one of the bright prospects in boxing. And he was, but like many other young phenoms it was a classic case of 'too much, too soon'.

 Judah, would fall in line with the likes of Fernando Vargas, David Reid, Diego Corrales and Floyd Mayweather.

Who one way or another, found that oftentimes the most difficult times occur outside the ring.

Only Mayweather remains unscathed inside the ropes but his life continues to be turbulent outside of it.

Judah, coming into his November date versus Tszyu was poised to capture the undisputed jr. welterweight crown and take his place among the game's elite performers pound-for-pound.

Instead, as Tszyu withstood an early fusillade of this young southpaws punches, Judah, would be exposed as a not-ready-for-prime-time performer.

By the second round Judah would be in a full retreat that only France could appreciate and it was clear that this was a matchup of an experienced, hardened professional against an ill-prepared prospect.

While Judah was running through and around hand-picked opponents, Tszyu was going up against the likes of Vince Phillips, Diobelys Hurtado, Sharmba Mitchell and Miguel Angel Gonzalez.

We should have seen this coming-but most of us didn't (I admit, I didn't).

Judah, had flat-lined for the better part of two years and his progress as a prizefighter stagnated.

Blessed with immense God-given tools, Judah's performances would become less and less impressive as time went on and it's no coincidence that this occurred right around the time he became the surrogate little brother of fellow Brooklynite Mike Tyson.  He became more concerned about his hip-hop persona than his profession.

And while trying to become boxing's version of Nas, he came into his bout with Tszyu with a certain type of hubris and arrogance that would leave a young Cassius Clay blushing.

Sources say that Tsyzu was taken so lightly that the 29th floor of the MGM Grand was turned into one big, week-long block party. Judah and his father Yoel were said to have been making demands of Showtime to provide them with some extra perks (like cars) after dispatching of Tszyu. Too bad they still had to actually fight.

The Russian born, Australian would turn out the lights on Judah's party with one single punch and Judah would go from prospect to suspect.

He had hit rock bottom. It go so bad that during his disgusting behavior in the aftermath of his KO loss, Tyson was one of several people trying to calm Judah down. You know it's bad when 'Iron' Mike is playing the role of peacemaker.

But perhaps this was exactly what Judah needed- a comeuppance and if he can't look in the mirror and mature from this, he never will. Things had come a little bit too easy for Judah leading into his first loss. Blessed with a high powered promotional company(Main Events) and an influential manager (Shelly Finkel), he was fed a buffet of hand-picked fights and high exposure in a sport that you have to be hungry to succeed in.

As he comes back this Saturday night he finds the road will now be a bit bumpier. Where he was once considered flawless, he now has a reputation of having shaky chin and a shakier level of character and maturity, with everything to prove. He shouldn't just be hungry, he should be downright starving now.

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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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