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Dougie’s FAT Friday Mailbag

02
Jan

Happy New Year, everyone! The first mailbag of the year is upon us and with it is the usual grab-bag of various boxing topics and questions, so read on and start ’09 off right.

GOOD-BYE 2008!

Hey Doug,
Just wanna wish you a Happy New Year, all the best for you, your wife and Josephine, and the little one (I forgot her name).

Even though it finished on a low note because of the Holyfield-Valuev and Klitshko-Rahman fights, I think '08 was a good year for boxing.

It’s a year that had me surprised (Williams-Quintana I), breathtaking (Vazquez-Marquez III), on the edge of my seat (Marquez-Pacquiao II), inspired (Margarito-Cotto), and in awe (Hopkins-Pavlik).

I can go on and on mentioning fights like Marquez-Casamayor, Casamayor-Katsidis, Cunningham-Adamek, and even Mosley-Mayorga.

I think ’09 is shaping up already to be a good year for boxing fans too.

I also agree with something you mentioned in your Monday mailbag that VM3 is the fight of the year. Have a good one, Happy New Year! – Steve, Montreal

Thanks for the well wishes, Steve. The “little one” (I put that in quotes because she’s only 8 months and at least 25 pounds) is named Jeanne-Imani.

I agree with you. I think 2008 was a very good year for the U.S. boxing scene. Any year that includes both Vazquez-Marquez III and Cotto-Margarito can’t be all bad, right?

But the year had more than just action, it gave us constant upsets and surprises, beginning with Karmazin-Bunema and continuing with Williams-Q uintana I, Forrest-Mora I, Pavlik-Hopkins, Mijares-Darchinyan and De La Hoya-Pacquiao. And how about the skill and class of some of the standouts of the year? Think about the high level of ring generalship we saw with Marquez-Pacquiao II, Marquez-Casamayor, and Hopkins-Calzaghe. These are some incredibly accomplished, complete fighters. I think they (especially Hopkins and Marquez) could have competed in any era. I think the heart and tenacity that Vazquez and Margarito displayed would have been appreciated in any era. What a pleasure it was to watch them fight and what an honor it was to cover them in the gym and from ringside.

With Margarito-Mosley, Darchinyan-Arce, Angulo-Mayorga, Marquez-Diaz, Bradley-Holt and Hatton-Pacquiao already scheduled, 2009 is looking like it might match or even exceed the drama and excitement of ’08.

KEEP IT UP IN '09

Hey, Doug – just wanted to drop a quick note and say Happy Holidays to you and the family. For what it's worth (and this is coming from someone who's been reading your work on a regular basis for a number of years), I totally disagree with this week's mailbag reader's negative assessment of your move to The Ring. Your features and mailbags have been just as honest and informed as ever, and I'm thrilled to have the one-two punch of Maxboxing and TheRing-Online as part of my daily fix of boxing news. Keep it up, and all the best in '09. – Wilson, Washington, DC

Thanks Wilson. A few readers have told me that I was too hard on the kid, but I guess I don’t take too kindly to being called a “sell out” without any proof of bias or an agenda. Anyway, I think you have the right attitude. With the revamping and emergence of The Ring’s official website there’s just another quality boxing destination to visit on the web. There’s no reason for anyone to get their boxer shorts in a bunch. I think if you’re a real fan of the sport, you’re going to make the rounds from TheRing-Online and MaxBoxing to the boxing pages on Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com to BoxingScene and Fightnews to SecondsOut, TheSweetScience, 15Rounds, EastsideBoxing, BoxingTalk, FightHype and whatever else is out there. I don’t visit everyone of those sites everyday (or even every week), but I certainly don’t rule any particular site out.

IS DANA WHITE RIGHT?

Doug,
I thought I was a Maxboxing fan for the last two years, but it turns out I'm a Dougiemaniac! After missing the mailbags and TNR, I just couldn't log on to the site anymore. I actually had to Google you to find out where you went. Congrats on the new job, The Ring will now be my source for boxing news.

On to my question, Dana White recently made some statements in an interview that bothered me. He said something to the effect that boxing is dying because De La Hoya won't invest in its future. He said De La Hoya should have stacked the undercard of the Mayweather fight that did 1,000,000 buys with Golden Boy talent and paid them out of his pocket if necessary.

I agree with this and wonder what your take is on Dana White's comments and whether or not De La Hoya is investing in boxing's long term future. – Bryan Trafford, Augusta, Ga

My take on Dana White is that he’s a baldheaded buttwipe, but he speaks the truth and I absolutely agree with what he said about the undercards of De La Hoya’s recent pay-per-view blockbusters. More could have done with them to promote future players in the sport.

However, I should point out that White is not 100% correct about De La Hoya (or Golden Boy Promotions) investing it the future. While GBP is not as good as Top Rank at developing young fighters (what U.S.-based promoter is?), and often pays more attention to already-established vets like Juan Manuel Marquez and Bernard Hopkins, the company does invest a lot of money in signing and moving up-and-coming talent (the Velasquez twins, Danny Garcia, etc.); probably more than any other American boxing company.

And while GBP didn’t “stack” the recent De La Hoya pay-per-view cards with its talent, the televised undercard to the Mayweather event (which did over 2 million buys, by the way) featured Rocky Juarez and Rey Bautista, and the Pacquiao co-promotion with Top Rank featured Victor Ortiz (GBP) and JuanMa Lopez (Top Rank). The problem is that the Ortiz and Lopez fights were blowouts, and the Juarez fight on the Mayweather undercard was boring. It was bad enough that De La Hoya-Mayweather lacked action.

If boxing promoters and the distributing cable networks (namely HBO) are going to be in the business of major pay-per-view cards they need to go back to putting on quality main events and well-matched undercard bouts. That’s one area where MMA (Dana White’s UFC in particular) kicks boxing’s butt and I’ll admit this to anyone.

BEST ACTIVE BLACK FIGHTERS

Dougie,
Nice to see that you put my email in the mailbag! Though you shot me down in a few places I still miss pieces that were in-depth like the SCN and others. Are you going to continue your road work?

Anyways, the article on black fighters was interesting though I don't think that Hopkins is the last great one. I had a question about the list of active black fighters. How could Nate Campbell, a proven, hard working champ with a major victory over Juan Diaz, be ranked under Andre Berto, who's first big test is coming up against a perhaps shot Luis Collazo? I only say perhaps shot because he did get a working over by Mosley so I'm interested to see how he recovers from that major loss. Where's the love for The Galaxy Warrior? I know you got props for him, but… – Mike, Philly

I got love for Nate. Where’s your love for Collazo? LOL. The guy loses a close fight (that he probably should have won) to Ricky Hatton and then gets out-worked by future hall of famer Shane Mosley and you say he might be “shot”? Has he been stumbling around in his recent fights? Does he slur his words? I don’t think so, but you’re already writing his obituary.

Anyway, I agree that Campbell should be ranked ahead of Berto even though the young gun is undefeated and Nate does have a history of being inconsistent. That blog list was compiled by me and TheRing-Online co-editor Michael Rosenthal. I thought the top 10 was just going to be young African-American fighters (guys under 30) so I didn’t include Hopkins, Mosley, Forrest, Campbell and other vets in their 30s and 40s. Rosenthal went through my list and placed the old lions where he saw fit. For the most part I agree with his placements, although one could argue that B-Hop should be at the top of the list. (For the record I was fine with where Hopkins, No. 3, was placed.)

As for my “road work”, it starts up next week. I’m going to try to have a Southern California Notebook ready for Thursday, the usual day for the column back when it was on Maxboxing.

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2009

Hey Doug,
I was pleasantly surprised to come across your name at your new home at The Ring. I always enjoyed reading your work at Maxboxing. It gives me at least some hope that there are some people on this planet that can speak honestly about a sport they love while not falling into the “fanboy” category (unfortunately it seems like I'm surrounded by them). Anyway, now that enough smoke has been blown around, I have just a few questions for you.

First, what are some fights that you think should've/could've been made in 2008 that have potential to happen in 2009? And speaking of the New Year, how do you see 2009 playing out in regard to the welterweights, starting off in a few weeks with Berto-Collazo & Margarito-Mosley? Of course, there is the potential Cotto-Margarito rematch, but how do you see the rest of the year taking shape for this division?

On a side note, I have to agree with you that Vazquez-Marquez III was the fight of the year, though I can't argue too much against Cotto-Margarito. I flew out for that one, and it was definitely the right choice for my first trip to Las Vegas. Anyway, thanks for your time, and as I said previously, I look forward to reading more of your work at The Ring. – Jesse, New Jersey

Thanks Jesse.

A few fights that should have been made in ’08 that could take place in ’09 include Chris Arreola vs. David Tua, Paul Williams vs. Kermit Cintron (at 147 or 154 pounds), Gerry Penalosa vs. Abner Mares, JuanMa Lopez vs. Jhonny Gonzalez, Librado Andrade vs. Sakio Bika, and Kendal Holt vs. Ricardo Torres III.

Regarding the welterweights in ’09, I think Margarito will out-work Mosley in a good fight and Berto’s explosive speed and power will enable him to get by Collazo. I don’t think we’ll see the winners of those bouts fight each other. I’d rather see Margarito take on Paul Williams than engage in a rematch with Cotto (for Cotto’s sake), I’d rather watch Cotto test himself against Kermit Cintron or Joshua Clottey before tangling with the Tijuana Tornado again, and I’m happy to allow Berto to develop into a real contender/title holder with bouts against Jackson Bonsu or Zab Judah before taking on Mosley by the end of the year. Beyond the two bouts that have already been set and Margarito-Cotto II, I have no idea what will actually unfold as the year progresses. But it doesn’t matter as long as the top contenders fight each other. There are many interesting matchups (that don’t even include Margarito or Williams) that can be made including: Berto-Clottey, Clottey-Cintron, Berto-Cotto, Cotto-Cintron, Quintana-Cintron, Mosley-Berto, and Mosley-Judah.

WHERE DOES THE MALIGNAGGI GO?

Dougie,
Long time fan, first time writing. I just found out today that you are now writing for The Ring. Anyway, I've always admired Paulie Malignaggi for his courage and boxing ability. I was very disappointed to see him lose to Ricky Hatton (especially in such a one-sided fashion). Do you think Malignaggi has a shot at bigger fights if he moves down to lightweight? Do you think he might have more power? I just don't see him being an elite fighter at 140 anymore with fighters like Hatton, Pacquiao, and Bradley at the top. Keep up the great work! – Nate, Indianapolis, IN

I don’t think Malignaggi can drop down to 135 pounds. Lightweight (132) was his amateur weight and the Brooklynite is already 28. I’ve seen him in-between fights and he looks like a junior middleweight (without any body fat whatsoever) so I just can’t imagine that he could make 135 pounds at this stage of his career.

I think that’s OK because there are still opportunities for him at 140 pounds. There’s no shame in losing to Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton and now that Cotto is a welterweight and Hatton’s ’09 is locked up with mega-matchups there really is no 140-pound star, which means the young guns will have to fight each other for recognition. That’s already happened with Holt-Torres I and II, Holt-Hopkins and the Tim Bradley-Holt showdown scheduled for April. Let’s face it, the winner of Bradley-Holt is not going to get a shot at Manny Pacquiao (I don’t care what Bob Arum tells the press) and Hatton’s winding down his career, looking only at the big-money bouts, so who does that leave in the division with has any name recognition who is also willing to fight the “regular guys”? Your boy Paulie.

All Malignaggi has to do is hang around, maybe take a stay-busy fight or two, and the winner of Holt-Bradley (who will hold two belts), WBA titlist Andreas Kotelnik and the winner of Urango-Ngoudjo (who will grab Paulie’s old belt) will all come calling for him by the fall of this year.

THREE QUICK QUESTIONS

1. I thought Tony Margarito did lose to Paul Williams by starting too late; I know you feel otherwise. Regardless, with the psychological edge Williams could take from that victory, if the two did meet again, would Margarito be able to turn the tables?

2. Do you believe that decisions in favor of boxers proved to have used steroids immediately before a match (they won), should suffer having their victories reversed, – or are steroids “simply part of today's sports scene, unlike to go away?” and thus their victories upheld?

3. Should boxing judges who consistently render score cards wildly at odds with the public's as well as respected boxing journalist's perception of the various fights they judge be investigated by the Nevada and other, state athletic commissions?

Thanks. – Allan L. Cerf

1)You can never count out an ultra-tough, experienced and dedicated warrior like Margarito. Although I think Williams presents definite style problems for the TJ Tornado, I know Margarito can improve on his performance in their first bout. However, if and when they meet again, I don’t think Margarito will face the same version of Williams he fought in the summer of ’07. I think Williams has matured and improved his technique, which doesn’t bode well for Margarito. I think the confidence of both fighters is at an all time high, which is why I think the rematch (if it ever happens) will be even better than the first fight.

2)I definitely believe that a fighter who won a bout while using any banned substance or known performance enhancer – from steroids to stimulants to blood doping – should not only have the result of that fight changed to a “No Contest” but should also be fined and suspended from the sport for at least one year. Repeat offenders should be banned from the sport. I don’t think steroids should be tolerated and I believe that the drugs are detrimental to the long-term health of the fighters who use them.

3)Well, let’s remember that the judges aren’t there to put out scorecards that agree with the members of the audience (who usually don’t score a fight round-by-round, are often biased for a particular fighter, and/or inebriated) or the press (who are sometimes woefully ignorant of the rules the sport and the technical and strategic nuances of the game). And the judges aren’t there to agree with each other, either. That’s why they sit on opposite sides of the ring. However, a bad scorecard is a bad scorecard. Anyone can have a bad night, but judges who repeatedly turn in questionable scorecards should have to answer to a committee within their state athletic commission and adequately explain why they scored the rounds the way they did. Judges who repeatedly screw up shouldn’t get the choice assignments. It’s as simple as that.

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