See the top boxing stars from the HBO stable in their best performances for the past year during a replay series this week.
SAN DIEGO – December 27, 2015 – In the return of a holiday tradition for fight fans, HBO Boxing airs its best fights from the 2015 for fans to enjoy again, or perhaps catch up with for the first time. Starting Sunday and for four consecutive nights, HBO will air two top bouts back to back each night, plus a bonus fight tonight.
HBO’s producers have done a good job selecting its featured contests from several exceptional choices. Christmas songs are lovely and all that, but fight freaks want Santa to bring the action.
All times are 11 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Pacific. These bouts air on HBO Latino in Spanish at the same times each night. All the fights will also be available on HBO ON DEMAND® as well as the HBO NOW and HBO GO® services.
See a preview video here.
Read more about the complete HBO “Boxing’s Best” lineup plus our original coverage.
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev had to use all the tools in his toolkit to stop Haitian-Canadian Jean Pascal in front of his hometown fans in Montreal Saturday in an eighth round TKO victory. En route to the victory, Pascal (29-4-1, 17 KOs) gave Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) all he could handle, making him eat serious punches. For once, Kovalev looked like he’d been in a serious fight at the end of the bout. The pair are set for a rematch on January 30, 2016.
Undefeated super lightweight Terence Crawford. Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs) put on the show his fans in Omaha wanted to see, winning his first title defense with a tenth round TKO win over the admirable effort of Dierry Jean (29-2, 20 KOs) of Canada. The 2014 Fighter of the Year reconfirmed all the reasons he earned the honor from the majority of boxing writers. Crawford demonstrated thoughtful aggression putting him in the elite ranks of today’s boxing talent.
As a bonus, HBO airs eight action packed minutes from the super welterweight bout between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and James Kirkland. None of the 30,000 plus fans at Minute Maid Park in Houston felt one bit cheated by the brief contest. Neither did the home audience watching on HBO, who took to social media giddy over the results.
It wasn’t the Fight of the Year candidate everyone predicted in my view, but Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov are never in bad fights. For sheer entertainment value, it’s hard to name a better matchup. Matthysse was the busier and more productive fighter, and appeared to be directing the course of the fight. Provodnikov suffered a cut over the left brow from a headbutt early in the fight. He didn’t let it stop him, but there is a psychological impact from seeing one fighter’s face roughed up. Was it the difference in this razor thin draw for Matthysse? Watch and you be the judge.
The matchup between Timothy Bradley Jr. and Brandon Rios had “Fight of the Year” candidate written all over it, but Rios came in overweight and lacking in drive. This isn’t to take anything away from Bradley, who gave an energized performance under his new trainer, Teddy Atlas. This bout also produced one of the highlight moments in all of boxing for 2015, Atlas’s infamous “We Are Firemen!” speech to Bradley between rounds seven and eight. It’s classic Atlas and one of many reasons we’re glad to see him back in the corner.
Middleweight powerhouse Gennady Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) took apart challenger David Lemieux (34-3, 31 KOs), retaining his three middleweight titles and adding Lemieux’s IBF belt as his fourth with an eighth round TKO win. Prior to the bout, Golovkin was paid a dressing room visit by business mogul and presidential candidate Donald Trump. What did Golovkin think of Trump? “I’m a boxer, not a politician. I respect that he loves boxing, the sport.” When it’s a talent like Triple G in the ring, who doesn’t? The win sets Golovkin up for a collision course with Canelo Alvarez late in 2016, and the fans can’t wait.
Super featherweight Francisco Vargas (23-0-1, 17 KOs) of Mexico and Takashi Miura (29-3-2, 22 KOs) of Japan provided a fan-friendly show of force in the Gatti-Ward tradition. Never was a fighter nickname more fitting: “El Bandito” stole the victory. Vargas’ face showed a lot of damage, but the smile on his face said it all after his ninth round TKO victory. You’ll have a smile on your face too after watching this leading candidate for 2015 Fight of the Year.
Cotto vs. Canelo delivered on its promise of an exciting bout, if not quite a Fight of the Year candidate, with Alvarez delivering a unanimous decision victory that will join a long legacy of success for Mexican boxing stars. It also puts the 25 year old on a collision course with Gennady Golovkin in 2016.
It was the year of Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez’s coming out party in the U.S. The Nicaraguan flyweight champion became an ambassador for the many talented boxers in the smaller weight divisions. In his ninth round TKO win over American Brian Viloria, Gonzalez showed all the qualities any boxer needs. Footwork. Hand speed. Ring generalship. Patience. Power and Accuracy. The will to win that keeps a champion undefeated.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for CDN. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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