Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag
Fans from around the globe write in with their opinions on recent ring-online articles, title unifications, and much more in this week’s Monday mailbag. Enjoy!
I was surprised to see the omission of Yuriorkis Gamboa from your “Nine Who Will Shine in 09” list on TheRing-Online.com.
I think Gamboa is one of the most exciting prospects in the sport today. Much like Berto, he has tremendous power and a suspect chin. His defense also is lacking, so that always keeps his fights interesting.
Did Gamboa's sloppy defense prevent you from including him on your list? If so, I don't blame you. But I still think the kid is a hell of an exciting fighter who is really good for the sport.
I enjoyed reading your stories at The Ring. Keep up the good work. Take care. – Paul Kelly, Marcellus, N.Y.
Thanks Paul. I agree that Gamboa is one of the most exciting PROSPECTS in the game. But my story looked at proven CONTENDERS, and Gamboa is not yet rated by THE RING. He's still developing (only has 12 pro bouts) and he hasn't fought the level of competition that even the most inexperienced guys on my list of “Nine who will shine” have faced (young ‘uns like Bradley and Berto, both of whom hold world titles, by the way).
I'm writing a feature that looks at the top prospects going into ’09 this week and Gamboa is definitely on it.
First of all, a BIG thank you to all at TheRing-Online.com, because now I can get your articles and comments every day, after a long time without the magazine here in Argentina.
It is great to see that all of us boxing fans agree on our concern about how the champions are recognized and would like to change the current situation. I really think there should be a serious discussion about this and find a way that we all would prefer. Of course we have to realize the business part can not be forgotten, otherwise we would just be dreaming.
I believe that it is not realistic to expect the alphabet titles to disappear, but there should be a championship recognition that is above them.
Here’s how I would like to see it work: for a start, all the major title holders in every weight class should fight each other, but they WOULD NOT LOSE THEIR TITLES in these bouts. I think this is very important, because many champions do not want to risk their belts, or ask too much money to do it. For instance, I am from Argentina, and we have Omar Narvaez, the WBO flyweight champ. He has made 14 successful defenses, and he is a very good fighter. People talk about how he tied Carlos Monzon’s record, but we hardcore fans know how big the difference is, considering the opposition each of them faced. Anyway, you can not blame Narvaez. His job is to be the WBO champion, he makes a living out of that, and does not want to risk it. However, I am pretty sure if he could fight another champion and not lose his belt in case he lost the fight, he would go for it and probably obtain the glory that he has not achieved so far.
In every weight class there would be a semifinal between two
of the four champions, and where there are unified ones, they would be already qualified for the final.
After REAL champions are determined in this tournament, they would be obligated to face any new champion of the alphabet organizations, which would be like a qualifying requirement. In case they have already beaten all the others, then they can fight anybody they want.
I believe all these fights would be interesting and if you go weight class by weight class you would find they are not impossible to accomplish as a business and I think this option is workable since it keeps the importance of the current organizations, and gives champions the opportunity to grow into REAL champions without risking what they currently have.
I would really like to see a poll for us boxing fans to choose the option that we prefer and consider more likely to happen and send our proposal to promoters and organizations and see if we can actually change something! Best wishes for New Year from Argentina! – Nicolino Pell
Thanks for emailing, Nicolino. I think your intentions are good, but the ultimate truth about professional boxing is that nobody – not the fans, the managers, the promoters, networks or sanctioning organizations – can force two boxers fight each other if they don’t want to. These fighters aren’t playing a game in that ring. There’s more than just money and recognition that is at stake every time they fight. Sometimes they don’t want to fight certain guys and we have to accept that.
I’d love to be able to mandate that the holders of the four major titles (WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO) fight each other to determine an undisputed world champion in every division but the butt-naked truth is that boxing is international and way too spread out, fractured, individualistic and plain-old crazy to even pretend to be a centrally organized professional sport.
I agree with your desire to see, as you put it, a “championship recognition that is above” the sanctioning bodies, and at the risk of sounding like I’m tooting the horn of my new employers, I think the sport has it with THE RING rankings and world titles.
I know THE RING rankings are not perfect, and that occasionally a fighter earns THE RING title but still has his championship recognition disputed by significant portions of the media and fandom, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t a sincere and honest effort to bring some clarity to the sport.
And although I don’t always agree with THE RING’s ratings in every single division, I must say that on average they kick ass on the ratings of the sanctioning organizations.
You’re not going to see Kali Meehan listed as THE RING’s No. 1 heavyweight contender as the undeserving big man is recognized by the WBA. You’re not going to see a bona fide prospect like Jonathan Banks as THE RING’s No. 1 cruiserweight contender as he is with the WBO. You’re not going to see an ancient Silvio Branco installed as our No. 1 light heavyweight contender as the 42-year-old Italian is in the WBC’s rankings. I can go on and on with examples (the WBA’s No. 1 super middleweight Gusmyl Perdomo, the WBO’s No. 1 middleweight, Sebastian Zbik, and their No. 1 junior middleweight Oscar De La Hoya) but you get the picture.
Regarding your idea about title holders keeping their belts when they lose in unification fights, I see what you’re getting at, but I don’t like it. If the belts aren’t on the line, then isn’t it really just a glorified non-title bout? I don’t know about you, but knowing that the title holders won’t gain another belt or lose theirs no matter what happens kind of takes the “sport” out of the contest. It might as well be a “no-decision” bout like they had way back in the day, or an exhibition.
And I disagree that the fighter with the belt (like Argentina’s Narvaez) “can’t be blamed” for not facing fellow title holders. Why not? They way I see it, title holders with the balls to challenge other title holders deserve extra recognition for their willingness to take risks and create excitement in the sport. I always gave fighters who sought to totally unify their divisions (the way Pernell Whitaker, Bernard Hopkins, Winky Wright, and Joe Calzaghe did, and the way Vic Darchinyan is attempting now) more credit than those who did not.
I think if the fans and media laud and patron fighters who fight the best, and ignore those who don’t, the promoters and networks will do their best to accommodate the market and make the bouts we want to see, including title unifications.
WHAT’S UP FROM CANADA
Nice to finally email you in a mailbag for free. I have been reading you for years, from Vancouver Island, Canada. We Canadian fans get to watch a show on our national sports network (TSN) hosted by Russ Anber. Back in September I emailed them and my question was picked to be on the show. My question to them was if Miguel Cotto had a chance against Antonio Margarito in a rematch. Anber said Cotto would need to bring a bat in order to win. It seems the fight will happen, and I hope Cotto can win it. So my question to you is does Cotto have a chance and what must he do?
Also I am a diehard Manny Pacquiao fan, now that he is a huge star, do we Canadians lose all hope in Manny coming to fight in Vancouver? You rule, Doug! – Joe, Victoria, B.C
I wouldn’t count Cotto out in a rematch with Margarito, but I have to favor the Mexican mauler in the return match because of the manner in which he won the first fight. Cotto appeared to do everything right and he still got beat up en route to a late-rounds stoppage. He also clearly got the worst of the punishment dished out. I need to see what he looks like in his first fight back before I can really make an educated guess as to how he would fair against Margarito this year. And I also need to see how Margarito looks versus Shane Mosley this month. He won the fight with Cotto, but he took some hellacious shots to the dome for six or seven rounds. Who knows how much those punches, plus tough training camps for Paul Williams, Kermit Cintron and others, and 15 years of pro boxing have taken out of Margarito?
You can always hope for the PacMan to come to your town, but I think all his fights will take place in Las Vegas from now on.
THE ONLY FIGHT FOR MARGARITO
Despite all the big names at welterweight, surprisingly I only see one single interesting matchup for Antonio Margarito, and of course it's with the last man to beat him, Paul Williams.
The Shane Mosley fight is a really bad idea for the aging fighter. Mosley has never been knocked out; it's very likely that Margarito is going to seriously hurt him for all 12 rounds. I'm hoping for a body shot KO in the middle to late rounds to spare Mosley the brain trauma in a one-sided distance affair.
The Miguel Cotto rematch will offer no surprises, just as the Cintron rematch didn't. I thought Cotto fought about as perfect as he could have the first time around and he was already in his physical prime. Margarito is only 30 and shows no signs of slipping.
Andre Berto is too green. Joshua Clottey would be game, but a healthy Margarito will beat him more decisively than the first time.
Let's hope that Bob Arum gets real and puts together Margarito-Williams II sometime in 2009.
I hope we see some new stars emerge this year! Out with the old (De La Hoya, Hopkins, Calzaghe, Holyfield) and in with the new! (Juan Manuel Lopez, David Haye, James Kirkland, Edwin Valero)! – JL, San Diego
I think it’s possible for Margarito-Williams II to take place late this year (October or November) – beyond Mosley and Cotto again, who’s out there for the Tijuana Tornado to fight? Regardless of what Bob Arum says the fight will happen as long as both Margarito and Williams keep winning. We’ll see if they can. You seem pretty sure that Margarito will absolutely crush anyone not named Williams, but we won’t really know until he gets in the ring and dukes it out with them. Much bigger upsets occurred just this past year than a Mosley win over Margarito would be considered.
That’s why they fight the fights, my man. However, I agree that the best and the most significant fight at 147 pounds is Margarito-Williams II.
FIGHTS WE WON’T SEE IN ’09
Excellent article at: http://www.thering-online.com/blog/189/fights_wed_like_to_see_in_09_but_probably_wont/
I agree with most of what was said but I’d like to put in my two cents, which I admit is a little long for two cents – so I’m hurting my chances of making the mailbag – but this is important, Doug – LOL!
Klitschko vs. Klitschko:
I would have to go with Vitali on this one I think Wladimir would have trouble with big bro’s height and stick. Plus I think that Vitali’s chin is better. But this is the one on your list least likely to happen. However if it does and you gotta bet, go with the sure thing and bet on Klitschko!
Calzaghe vs. Dawson:
An interesting fight, but I’d favor Joe to win. Neither fighter has faced an opponent as slick as the other, but Calzaghe showed me something when he faced Hopkins (which I thought was a draw at best). It would be a nice fight though, but I think Calzaghe’s work rate would be the difference. Dawson is no slouch in this department but he likes to take time off, Joe is like that energizer bunny. I don’t think Joe is afraid of Chad, but what’s in it for Joe really?
Pacquiao vs. Valero:
I see Manny winning this one easily. Edwin just has not had the level of competition that Manny has and has never faced anyone remotely on Manny’s level. The PacMan has faced quality competition with the only thing missing from his resume being a slick fighter like a Nate Campbell, the type of fighter that he may never face unless he gets paid very well to fight Mayweather. Unlike you, I don’t like Pacquiao’s chances with that type of fighter and Arum obviously doesn’t either. Arum made a serious mistake with Pavlik, he will not repeat that mistake unless he can get millions for it.
Hatton vs. Bradley:
Despite his popularity Hatton is one-dimensional, so I would have to go with Bradley here. I don’t think Ricky would be motivated in a fight where he is not making millions, and I agree that this would never happen anyway, but if it did happen I see Hatton getting outworked, and the only thing worse than losing is losing for not much money.
Marquez vs. Campbell:
Golden Boy knows better, they will not make this one. Campbell would take Marquez to school precisely because he would be the first fighter that Marquez faced that actually has some serious defense (yes, Casamayor did not have great defense in my opinion). And Campbell can crack also, I don’t even want to get into the size difference also. Marquez caught Casa at the right time, but Campbell, because of his defense, has taken far less punishment in his career, a lot less than Marquez, who will seem to get old overnight. Obviously I’m high on Nate. I was one who thought he would mow down Diaz and now you see they won’t even mention his name, they know the deal. However, I can’t wait to see Campbell-Funeka.
Darchinyan vs. Donaire:
This could go either way. I thought that Darchinyan was overconfident and cocky (as always) in the first fight and got surprised. Even though Donaire won, he fought like he was scared to me and looked surprised that he got the knockout. I would actually go with Vic on the rematch based on how they have looked since then (I did not see the Vic-Gorres fight).
Pavlik vs. Abraham:
Kelly was not exposed to me, I thought all along that he was one dimensional and would get taken to school as soon as he faced someone with some D. I was certain that Pavlik was going to lose to Hopkins, giving Kelly only that puncher’s chance (big punchers always have that at least). And although I’m not as confident that Abraham’s style will dismantle Kelly as I was sure that Hopkins’ style would, I still think that Abraham would give Kelly a lot of problems, plus Abraham can pop too. Just walking straight in and trading shots is not a great style to have, although it’s nice for the fans. I don’t think any trainer will be able to give extra dimensions to Pavlik, gotta go with Abraham for this one.
Margarito vs. Williams:
Bad style match-up for the Tornado, as simple as that. And as mentioned, Williams has gotten a lot better and is really sitting down on his shots now while being more accurate and still keeping the same work rate, bad news for whomever he is facing. Paul is not invincible, just a hard, hard night for anyone.
Forrest vs. Williams:
There is a reason Forrest has been avoiding southpaws, and if he ever fights Williams we will see a classic example of why. Even if he had experience with southpaws William’s style is all wrong for Forrest. Vernon, especially at this stage of is career, is not a busy fighter, Williams would plow through him. The fight to make at this weight is Paul Williams vs. Sergio Martinez.
Vazquez vs. Lopez:
Bad, bad fight for Izzy. Vazquez is all heart, and that’s his problem, he’s all heart and no D. Getting touched like he normally does by a puncher like Lopez would not only be a very bad career move (after all those wars) but would just be plain stupid. Let Lopez fight people like Caballero and other fresher fighters.
The one that I would like to see is less likely to happen than Klitschko vs. Klitschko, and that’s Pacquiao vs. Campbell (Nate would move up to 140 for that one). I’m tired of all these phony Ring belts, until you beat Campbell you can’t call yourself the champ at this 135, that goes for Marquez, Diaz or any of the others. If everybody was willing to call Diaz number one, now you have to say its Campbell. Who has Marquez really beat at this weight? Answer, Casamayor, who really lost two fights before against Santa Cruz and even looked like crap again with his win over the not-too-smart over-hyped Katsidis – pleeeaaze! Marquez is a great fighter, but he is not the champ in the 135 pound division in my opinion – I guess it pays that is promoter owns The Ring – one fight at 135 against a suspect champion and you are the recognized champ, give me a break. PFP does not count in divisional rankings, it should be about what you have done in this division, you have to beat the champs of this division. Campbell’s win is more impressive than Marquez’s as Nate had the studier challenge, now cats are avoiding him like the plague.
I’d love to see all of these fights, except for the matches where I fear for the other fighters health, i.e. Vazquez vs. Lopez and Forrest vs. Williams. But there are some great match-ups to be made. All we need is for people like Oscar to retire once and for all! Peace. – Steve
Jeez Steve, you’re lucky I like you and that it was a slow week. Damn, why don’t you just get your own column?
Anyway, I agree with most of your analysis, but not with all of your picks. I see Calzaghe-Dawson, Hatton-Bradley and Marquez-Campbell as toss-up fights.
I agree that Pacquiao’s skill, experience and technique absolutely trumps Valero’s but by no means do I think the PacMan has an easy time with “my son” and you better believe I give the V-nom a puncher’s chance in that fight. Valero isn’t in Marquez’s class but he hits a hell of lot harder than the Mexican master, and he’s faster, stronger, more powerful and confident than David Diaz and the wornout version of De La Hoya that Pacquiao fought. Take it from someone who has literally seen hundreds of rounds of sparring and training of both Pacquiao and Valero – if there’s a fighter out there who works as hard and intensely in the gym as the PacMan, it’s Valero.
Anyway, you knew I was going to stick up for my boy. Now let’s talk about your “son”, Nate Campbell. I agree that he’s arguably the best lightweight in the world and obviously he’s got more experience in the 135-pound division than Marquez, who JUST stepped up to the division, but to accuse Golden Boy Promotions or Marquez of avoiding Campbell, calling his RING belt “phony”, and totally dismissing his victory over Casamayor is ludicrous.
First of all, Marquez was in talks to fight Campbell before the Casamayor fight was made. Team Marquez and GBP aren’t running from Campbell. Marquez just entered the division last September. You get so impatient and ridiculous about the fighters you like that if the top dogs don’t call them out or challenge immediately, you call them cowards and make up all kinds of silly ass-message board-fan boy-conspiracy theories about boxing politics and all that jazz (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Calm down, brotha. Campbell had a tremendous win LAST MARCH. I know it’s not Campbell’s fault that Joan Guzman ate himself out of a title shot, but the fact remains that your boy has yet to defend any of his belts. So let’s no go out and make him a combination of a prime Roberto Duran and Ike Williams before we see how well he looks against a contender with a different style than Juan Diaz’s. You talk about Campbell having all this “D” like he’s the second coming of Pernell Whitaker, but let’s see how slick he is against Ali Funeka. I hope he’s ready for the South African. Campbell hasn’t always been the most consistent fighter out there. I want to see if he can put two impressive performances together before I start questioning the heart and merits of Juan Manuel Marquez.
If Campbell kicks ass against Funeka, and Marquez takes care of biz with Diaz, you better believe I’ll be pounding the drums for a showdown between the two. Until then, Marquez is the RING champ and Campbell is the man with the belts. Who’s better is a matter of opinion (just like whether Campbell’s win over Diaz is more impressive than Marquez’s TKO of Casamayor – I was more impressed with Marquez’s win) until they actually fight.
If Marquez beats Diaz he will probably aim for the winner of Hatton-Pacquiao if he can get that mega-fight (and mega-payday). You shouldn’t have a problem with that. You basically stated in your email that Hatton should avoid Bradley because he’ll lose and not get paid much for his trouble. And in regards to Calzaghe-Dawson, you wrote: “I don’t think Joe is afraid of Chad, but what’s in it for Joe really?”
A lot of fans would ask the same thing about Marquez and Campbell. But I don’t think Marquez will avoid Campbell beyond Diaz and potential showdowns with Hatton or Pacquiao.
Want to email a question or comment to Dougie's mailbag? Contact Fischer at [email protected] and please keep it shorter than Steve and Nicolino did in this week's mailbag; also remember to include your first name and where you are from.
Homepage photo of Antonio Margarito was taken by Tom Hogan/ Hoganphotos.com