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Dougie’s FAT Friday Mailbag

09
Jan

Read on for fans’ thoughts on Margarito-Mosley, Darchinyan-Arce, upsets, THE RING championships, “major” title belts, African-American fighters and more in this week’s FFMB. Enjoy!

SOUTHERN CALI. SHOWS

Hello Dougie,
I got tickets to Margarito vs. Mosley and Darchinyan vs. Arce. For the Margarito fight I'm taking my uncle and for the Arce fight I'm taking my brother in law. Hopefully, they transition from casual to hardcore fans, afterwards. Anyway, I'm feeling very frantic about these upcoming shows. Can you give me your predictions for said fights and maybe a little bit of info on the undercard fights.

I know Darchinyan/Arce has Demarco vs. Kid Diamond (LOL sorry! Can’t spell his last or first name) on the undercard, which should be good, but what about Margarito/Mosley? Does that have any noteworthy fights? Any info on the undercards would help the anticipation grow, even though the main events got me counting down the days already.

Margartito wins by TKO in 9th or 10th. Darchinyan TKO's Arce inside of 4 rounds – although I'm praying for an Arce miracle. Viva Tijuana! Viva Los Mochis! I can’t wait. – Jorge, San Diego

You’re not alone, Jorge. The feeling I’m getting from fans via email and on the street is that there will be at least 15,000 real fans packed in Staples Center for Margarito-Mosley and I don’t think the welterweights will disappoint. I like Margarito by decision and I think Mosley will give as good as he gets – just not often enough to take the decision or take Margarito out. The undercard is just OK. Two young fighters I think will make some noise this year – 115 pounder Raul Martinez and 130 pounder Robert Guerrero – will be in action, but I don’t think they’ll be in with solid opposition.

I have no doubt that Darchinyan-Arce will turn your brother in law into a stone-cold fight freak. The little guys seldom disappoint and these two tiny mights are F’n crazy. I’ll go with Darchinyan by mid-to-late rounds stoppage, but I think he’ll get bloodied, buzzed and maybe put down in the process of chopping up the shopworn but still dangerous and always gutsy Travieso. I’d give Arce a real shot if Darchinyan wasn’t a southpaw. This undercard has a one really good fight and it’s DeMacro-Raiymkulov (it’s not that hard to spell; I didn’t even look it up on Boxrec). In a mild upset, I’m going with the Tijuana native. Vanes Martirosyan (nope, I didn’t have to look his last name up, either) is also on the card against tough but limited Billy Lyell.

Have fun at both cards and don’t be a stranger if you see me working my ass off at ringside.

WHAT IF?

Hey Dougie,
Happy New Year! Wish you the best in ’09. The Ring has become my home of boxing ever since you joined.

This year is destined to be a even bigger year for boxing as more of the young talent are raising through the ranks and establishing themselves as real contenders, but what if we have set backs and have massive upsets for our champions?

Jennings v Cotto – what if Cotto is unable to find his rhythm again (since his heart breaking lost to Margarito) and loses to the highly rated British-born fighter? Would Cotto then consider retirement or a break to protect his pride?

Pavlik v Rubio – what if Pavlik is still not in the correct mind state and has the wrong attitude since his defeat to Bernard? Would this be the final blow at Pavlik’s credibility and the interest to see him fight Arthur?

Manny v Hatton – what if Hatton stuns the world and beats Manny? Would this see Manny drop back to featherweight?

Mosley v Margarito – what if Mosley is able to beat the tough Mexican? Would Margarito’s run be classified as just a lucky streak?

Klitschko v Arreola – what if the Chris catches Klitschko off his game and takes the heavyweight crown? Where would the Ukrainian go from here? Retire?

What if these events took place? What would it do to the world of boxing? Would it create more excitement or would it turn fans away from boxing seeing their favourites beaten? What major effects would it have on the sport and the fighters careers?

Keep up the good work, look forward to ’09. Cheers. – Ali, Sydney

Before I answer your questions and comment on your scenarios I just want to state that the “What If?” comic book was one of my favorite Marvel publications during the ’80s. What’s not love about the all-seeing (but never intervening) Watcher introducing us to alternative realities?

Anyway, if all of the upsets you propose happened this year it would create tremendous excitement and but also a lot of chaos, and it probably would have a negative cumulative effect on the world-class U.S. scene until the end of the year, but boxing, as always, would survive.

Personally, I love upsets. If there weren’t any upsets in boxing I’d get bored with the sport rather quickly. You asked if boxing would lose fans if there are too many upsets and the answer yes, the nut-hugger-type fan who only follows one particular boxer, but the general fans of the sport would probably be just as entertained, perhaps more so than if the favorites always won. And here’s the flip-side to your scenarios: WHAT IF the fighters who pulled the upsets attract their own fans? It happens, you know.

Sometimes, if the underdog is a quality fighter, all an upset does is introduce a new player to the sport. Almost eight years ago, Shane Mosley lost to Vernon Forrest twice and the game said: “Welcome, Viper!” Then Forrest lost twice to Ricardo Mayorga and the sport said: “Hello, El Matador! Have a cigarette!” All three are still players to this day.

Lamon Brewster upset Wladimir Klistchko. Brewster had a nice, often entertaining, run as WBO titlist, while Wladdy went back to the drawing board, and now Baby Bro is back on top. Carlos Baldomir upset Zab Judah and got two seven-figure paydays out of it (Gatti and Money). (I always felt Baldy should have paid Zab some residuals for helping to put him on the map.)

I guess my point is that upsets are not the end of the world. In fact, I think fans and the media should embrace them. On to your scenarios:

Jennings v Cotto – If Jennings beats Cotto, he becomes a star back home and maybe earns a big payday with an eventual 147-pound showdown with Ricky Hatton. Cotto probably retires for a year or two before making a successful comeback that culminates in a long-overdue showdown with Floyd Mayweather.

Pavlik v Rubio – If Rubio beats Pavlik, he becomes a hero in Mexico, makes two wildly entertaining defenses of the WBC title (vs. Miguel Espino and Enrique Ornelas in a Fight of the Year-candidate rematch) before losing to either David Lopez or Pavlik in a rematch. And yeah, Pavlik would lose credibility with the Rubio loss. So much so that nobody would care to see him fight Abraham, but if he was exciting in the loss (and in the rematch that happens in this alternative reality) he can become a popular Gatti-type action fighter.

Manny v Hatton – First of all I don’t think a Hatton victory would be a tremendous upset. I favor Pacquiao but only slightly. Anyway, you should know what would happen. Hatton, who is already huge in the UK would be declared the best British fighter ever, and he’d cash out of the sport with a monster rematch with Money May. I think Pacquiao would stay at 140 pounds and take on the winner of JM Marquez-Juan Diaz or Edwin Valero (if “my son” signs with Top Rank).

Mosley v Margarito – Again, I don’t think a Mosley win on Jan. 24th would be such a big upset. I favor Margarito but only slightly. I think the TJ Tornado is in for a tough fight. But if Mosley wins, I think he sets up a mega-fight with Mayweather, a rematch with Cotto (in a reality where the Puerto Rican handles Jennings as expected), or a unification bout with Andre Berto. Margarito haters would declare him to be a “Steve Kim creation” in the immediate aftermath of the Mosley loss, but you know what the Tijuana Tornado would do about it? He would do what he does best and kick Kermit Cintron’s ass a third time to get right back into the title picture. (Don’t you just love boxing?)

Klitschko v Arreola – If Arreola beats Klitschko he will become the biggest Southern California attraction since Ruben Olivares was rockin’ the house at the Inglewood Forum. Hopefully, Arreola’s promoter Dan Goossen won’t temp fate by trying to go after Big Brother. Little Brother would either retire and enjoy his family, money, various hobbies and philanthropic projects, or he would dust himself off, build himself back up, and eventually press for a rematch with Arreola the way he did with Brewster.

THE RING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Yo Dougie,
Awhile ago you and I got into a protracted debate about the validity of The Ring championships, my argument was for, yours was against. Has your stance changed now that you write for The Ring online? Nice move, BTW and an awesome web site. – Michael, Vermont

Mike, I've never vehemently complained about or taken a HARD stance against THE RING ratings. If I was really that much against THE RING's championship policy I wouldn't have taken this job and I never would have accepted the invitation to be part of the magazine's Ratings Panel of boxing journalists, which I joined last year (or maybe it was in ’06? You get my point).

I've always said that for the most part I AGREE with THE RING rankings and recognize the fighters who hold its titles as the real champs. However, as you know, sometimes I don't – and I have no problem letting fight fans know why.

If memory serves me right our debate began when I wrote something to the effect that if Floyd Mayweather, who was THE RING welterweight champ at the time, didn't defend his title against the winner of Cotto-Margarito, I wouldn't consider him to be the “undisputed” champ at 147 pounds. At the time, Mayweather had not defended the title (that he won from Carlos Baldomir in Nov. of '06) against a RING-ranked welterweight contender in over a year. In the meantime, Miguel Cotto, who stepped up to the 147-pound division in Dec. of ’06, had defeated four consecutive RING-ranked contenders (Carlos Quintana, Oktay Urkal, Zab Judah and Shane Mosley). To my thinking, Cotto’s strong presence in the welterweight division and Mayweather’s seemingly unwillingness to face the Puerto Rican (or any other 147-pound contender) put Money’s claim to the real championship in dispute. I felt that if Cotto beat Margarito, Mayweather would be honor-bound to eventually fight him, and if he didn’t do so in a reasonable amount of time, fans and the media more than had a right to question whether he deserved to hold THE RING world title.

(By the way, I stated on record that if Margarito were to beat Cotto, the Tijuana Tornado would have to avenge his close loss to Paul Williams before he could legitimately dispute Mayweather’s championship claim; but the winner of Margarito-Williams II certainly would have that right. Mayweather wisely retired a month before Cotto-Margarito making my argument moot.)

Anyway, my affiliation with THE RING's official website changes nothing in the way I think. If Joe Calzaghe, for example, doesn't retire but doesn't defend his RING light heavyweight title in more than a year, or if he fails to fight a single rated contender in that time, I believe his claim to the championship will become
“disputed”, and I would have no problem writing that opinion in my columns. Especially, if during the same period Calzaghe is sitting on his duff or fighting chumps, a top contender, such as Chad Dawson, is busy beating world-class opposition.

WHO DECIDES WHICH BELTS ARE 'MAJOR'?

Doug,
In your last mailbag, you referred to the “major” boxing organizations (WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO). I've always wondered: Who decides what orgs are “major” and is there any interaction between the organizations?

For example, and please correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the WBC gain credibility because Muhammad Ali refused to face Ken Norton? And didn't Holmes legitimize the IBF?

I recall the WBO being regarded as “spurious” not all that many years ago. Was it Riddick Bowe holding the title that added the WBO bauble to the list of titles needed to be undisputed champ?

In other words, did it just sort of “happen” that each successive title became part of the whole enchilada, or was it accomplished by some sort of agreement between the organizations? And if there are four titles now, is the WBU next in line? Where does it end? Thanks. – Louie, Yuma, AZ

Where it begins and ends is up the individual – be he or she a fighter, fan, member of the media, promoter, manager, network programmer, or otherwise.

I choose to recognize the WBO along with the WBA, WBC and IBF because I believe the Puerto Rican-based organization has been around long enough, recognized in enough regions of the world, and represented by enough top fighters over the years to be considered “major”.

But that’s just my opinion. THE RING magazine does NOT recognize the WBO, for just the same reason you ended your email with – where does it all end? In Japan, only the WBC and WBA are recognized. The IBF is a “Johnny Come Lately” organization like the WBO as far as Japanese promoters, TV executives, and the Japan Boxing Commission are concerned. But in Europe – particularly Germany and the UK – the WBO and IBF are as welcome as the WBC and WBA.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Hell if I know. All I know is the sport is pretty damn strong in Germany, the UK and Japan.

I think THE RING titles can do a lot in terms of clearing up confusion as to who the real “champions” of the sport are, but I also recognize that the sanctioning organizations are an integral part of the international boxing industry. So while I don’t agree with much of their machinations (let’s face it, they aren’t really “organizations”, “councils” or “federations”, they’re BUSINESSES – and NO there isn’t a whole lot of interaction between them), and I don’t pay much attention to their multitudes of regional, interim, and specialty titles, I don’t completely ignore them, either.

I’ll try to answer your questions, but I really don’t know if the WBC stripping Ali (after he chose to fight Leon Spinks in a rematch instead of engaging Norton, their No.1 contender, in a fourth fight) earned the Mexico-based organization credibility. Perhaps, with some fans; but I’m sure the WBC lost credibility with just as many folks when they simply awarded Norton their vacant belt.

Holmes was the first major fighter to recognize and hold the IBF title and it definitely helped the only U.S.-based organization get on its feet during the ’80s, as did undisputed middleweight king Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s agreeing to carry the new belt along with his WBA and WBC titles.

Bowe’s holding the WBO title didn’t gain that organization instant recognition with Yours Truly. It was Oscar De La Hoya, Chris Eubank, Joe Calzaghe, Marco Antonio Barrera, Johnny Tapia, John David Jackson, Junior Jones, Dariusz Michalczewski, Naseem Hamed, and other top-class fighters of the ’90s that I respected who “legitimized” the WBO in my eyes.

Is the WBU next in line? I don’t know. If the same number of fighters who are of equal talent and stature as the list of former WBO titlists I just provided were to win, hold and defend the WBU belt from now until 2019, then yeah maybe the UK-based organization is next.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN BOXERS

Dougie,
Thank God for the up and coming fighters you listed! I read The Ring article by Joe Santoliquito that basically talked about how African-Americans aren't dominating boxing at the numbers we once were, and while that may be true, I felt as though a) that may be a positive thing in that as each socio-economic class improves its position, it sees fewer of its members competing as high-end boxers (e.g., Jews, Irish and Italian-Americans), and so long as we have some representatives, I'm okay with that. With the election of Barack Obama and other things, I would hope the status and opportunities of our community as a whole increases, and if our participation as top level boxers decreases as a result, well then, for the greater good, so be it

And b) I felt the article focused on African-Americans as the standard bearer for American boxing. I felt it should have expanded its perspective to review how American boxers as a whole are doing in the sport, not just black Americans. It left me feeling like African-American boxers have been left holding the bag for the decline of top notch American boxers as a whole, when in fact as a general rule African-American boxers have been carrying America's water since the ’50s or ’60s in this sport!

Anyway, all that said, I was reading your article on the next generation of boxers, and I couldn't be more pleased in seeing Chad Dawson, Paul Williams, Andre Berto, and Tim Bradley on that list. I would also add Kendall Holt to it as well. Eff around, Chad Dawson and P-Will are about to be my new favortie active boxers. Time to focus on the future! – Bakari, Jersey City, NJ

Indeed. I think boxing’s future is in good hands – read both my “Nine who will shine in ’09” and “Sweet Sixteen: Boxing’s best propsects” articles and you’ll know just some of the new players – and I’m sure you agree that a significant number of those hands will belong to African-American fighters.

Boxing has always been an immigrants’ or “poor-man’s” sport, so maybe you’re right that the dearth of black professional fighters in the U.S. is a sign that African Americans are finally making strides up America’s social ladder. That’s all goody good, and like you, I’m happy as long there are some quality representation. I think Dawson, Williams, Bradley, Berto, Deandre Latimore, James Kirkland, the Peterson brothers and the other fighters you mentioned like Holt (who’s definitely on the map if he can beat Bradley in April) will make for dozens of compelling fights and eventually high-profile events as they do their best to continue the rich legacy of the African-American prize fighter.

JUST A LITTLE NUT-HUGGING

Ay man, I have to let you know that you are my dude. I know I have shot you a couple of e-mails already but you can't imagine what I was thinking when I didn't see your articles or mailbags on Maxboxing for almost a month. I guess I was going into some kind of withdrawal or something. LOL! Anyway, I have had a chance to check out the site and even though I'll still be on Maxboxing everyday, this is my new home, Bruh. Hope I didn't sound like too much of nut hugger. Holla back! – Fleetwood, St. Louis, Mo.

Thanks, Fleet. You can get off my nuts now. I ain’t Floyd Mayweather.

In all seriousness, I’m glad you finally found my new home. My mailbags wouldn’t be the same without your opinions and comments. So please, holla at me and your fellow fight fans as often as you want.

If you want to holla at Dougie email him at [email protected] Remember to keep it brief – even though Michael and Fleetwood were the only ones to do so in this bag – and to include your name and where you’re from.

Homepage photo of the Margarito-Mosley press conference pose taken by Gene Blevins/ Hoganphotos.com.

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