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Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag

12
Jan

Fight fans weigh in on boxing’s best prospects, some overlooked contenders, the heavyweight division, and much more in this week’s Monday Mailbag. Enjoy!

‘PRINCE’ YURIORKIS GAMBOA?

Ay dawg, I admit that Yuriorkis Gamboa has a huge upside with all of his natural gifts but I'm inclined to agree with Max Kellerman when he compared this guy to Naseem Hamed. His lack of fundamentals and recklessness, even though he did fight Speedy Gonzalez at a more measured pace Friday, will get him into trouble against the top guys IMO.

In fact, I can see JuanMa Lopez shattering him to bits in the future when they are fighting at the same weight. I think that Jorge Linares would take him to school as well. If Gamboa is going to be a long time featured attraction and a successful boxer he needs to really get himself a good corner and take the shells off of his ears so that he can take in all that he is being taught and implement it in the ring. If he does, he'll be a terror for a long time to come. If not, one hell of a shocking KO loss is in his near future. Holla back! – Fleetwood, St. Louis, MO

I agree that Gamboa needs to add some defensive prowess to his offense-minded game and tighten up his technique in order to reach his considerable potential, but even if he doesn’t make any changes I think his vast amateur experience, obvious athletic gifts and fighting heart will see him to at least one major title at 126 pounds, and he’ll probably stay undefeated this year.

I know he’s been down in three of his last four fights, but A) he was never hurt, and B) he either knocked the guy out (Marcos Ramirez) or won every minute of every round but the one he was knocked down in (Darling Jimenez and Roger Gonzalez).

I think it’s going to take a very quick-fisted well-schooled boxer-puncher to even compete with him much less take him out. Would I pick Gamboa over Juan Manuel Lopez or Jorge Linares. HELL NO! But those two are title holders who do not currently reside in the same weight class as Gamboa (Lopez is a 122 pounder and Linares just moved to 130 pounds). I don’t see anyone at 126 pounds that I would make a solid favorite to be beat Gamboa aside from WBA beltholder Chris John, and I think that would be a competitive match even though the titlist has 43 pro bouts and the Cuban only has 13.

Hopefully, Gamboa makes the effort to learn the pro craft because I’d love to see him gain popularity that would eventually build to big featherweight fights with badasses like Lopez. I like that he slowed down a bit and picked his shots versus Gonzalez. I’d like to see him keep his hands up more, move his head a bit and practice counter punching in his next few fights. I know you and I will both be watching what happens next with Gamboa.

CONCERNED ABOUT MARGARITO & MOSLEY

Dougie,
How in the world are you… I was meaning to write you a scolding message about how we teachers are the only ones allowed to have a long vacation, but with my luck you would have had some major illness in the family that was keeping you. Glad I located you, now I feel like the character Monk having finally tracked down his psychiatrist. You and K9 cool?

At any rate I am a little nervous for both combatants in the Margarito/Mosley encounter. I would like more longevity now for the Tijuana Tornado. Would you assume he will have to weather some serious Mosley leather early on? I would rather him not make a habit of that. And of course you have to worry about the ultimate survivor. Mosley having to withstand an onslaught at such a ripe old age. I still contend that his incredible showing against Miguel Cotto was his swan song at the elite level. Hopefully, he gets to 'go out' on the town after this affair. I see Margarito by decision. One of those fights that gets better as we get closer… Thanks for the time. – Geoff Glover, AK

I think I view the fight a lot like you do. I have some concern for both fighters because they are veterans who train like animals and go through a lot of sparring in camp and then let it all hang out in their often physical fights. Margarito took some major bombs to the dome in his fights with Kermit Cintron and Miguel Cotto last year. Mosley’s 37 years old with more than 30 years of wear and tear on his body and brain from competitive boxing.

I want to see a good fight, but I don’t want to see either man take unnecessary punishment. That fact that both fighters are down-to-earth gentlemen only adds to my confliction.

And by the way, I definitely believe the Jan. 24th showdown will be a competitive fight. Mosley will tee-off on Margarito with impunity during the first five rounds of the bout. I wouldn’t be shocked if Mosley hurt or rocked Margarito sometime over the first half of the bout. But as we all know the TJ Tornado gains strength as the fight wears on and I think it’s safe to say that he will put more pressure on Mosley than any of the future hall of famer’s previous ring foes. Still, Mosley has the heart of a warrior, so we will likely be treated to some serious action and drama down the stretch of this one.

I’m glad you found me, Geoff, and I hope you’re enjoying the revamped website. Kim and I aren’t around each other as much as we were when I was with MaxBoxing but he doesn’t hiss and spit at me when I see him at fights, so I assume we’re cool.

BOXING'S BEST PROSPECTS

Hey Doug,
Why leave Bernabe Concepcion out of you list of “Boxing’s best prospects”? Is this an oversight or do you really feel he doesn't deserve to be in the list? Enlighten us please. Thanks.

http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=pw5yLKFUgvg

— Isaw

It wasn’t an oversight but I don’t feel that Concepcion doesn’t deserve recognition as being one of the best young fighters in the game. I’m very familiar with the Filipino (I have often watched him train at the Wild Card gym) and I think he is a fabulous talent with vast potential (especially when one considers that he’s only 20).

He wasn’t on my “Sweet 16” list of hot prospects because despite his youth, he’s no longer a prospect. He’s a contender. A real contender recognized by THE RING (No. 9 in our junior featherweight rankings).

So unfortunately, he wasn’t eligible for my recent feature like Yuriorkis Gamboa, Victor Ortiz and other up-and-comers. Concepcion wasn’t the only stud who fell between my prospect piece and my first fighter list of the New Year, “Nine who will shine in ’09”, which featured accomplished young boxers who have won at least one major title belt and appear primed to pick up the torch from boxing’s old guard. Junior middleweight James Kirkland (ranked No. 10 by THE RING) and junior lightweights Urbano Antillon and Rocky Martinez (ranked No. 8 and No. 9 by THE RING) are other young guns I’m very high on that I didn’t have on either list.

MODEST HOPES FOR 2009

Hi Dougie,
I love reading your mailbag. I was interested in reading some of the recent Ring articles about rising stars for 2009, and noticed that Amir Khan was not included. THANK YOU! I enjoyed watching his early fights, and yes I think he’s talented, but the fact that he has become rich (making DVDs and writing books about his life, all off the back of an Olympic silver medal) without actually going toe to toe with anyone of note is farcical. Honestly, you’d think that we would have learned in the UK from when big Audley Harrison violated our post-Olympic TV screens and wallets. What about the guy who rendered poor Amir unconscious, Breidis Prescott? Is he about to get some big fights?

Also I am living in Japan now and I watched a match last week where a Paulus Moses from Namibia won the WBA lightweight title. What do you think about him? I thought he looked very good he was fast and looked pretty big. Mind you this is Japan.

Other than a lottery win to carry me to the city of sin to watch Ricky Hatton [one dimensionally?] take the Pacman to the trenches my hopes for the New Year are modest. I like everyone else just want to see the number 1 and 2 heavyweights who actually want to hit each other, unlike the current two, who won’t fight. WHY? Because they are brothers? There are brothers in my town back in Wales who won’t go a month without having a tear up, and they provide that show for free. So here’s hoping that David “the Haymaker” Haye and Chris Arreola “the Nightmare” [or “the marshmallow man”? Either’s ok], can sail in like pugilistic pirates and steal the gold. Maybe that’s a bit far fetched but hey we should all hope. – C. Jones, Nagoya Japan.

My hope is that one day a heavyweight contender will come out of Wales. My dream is that two Welsh brothers one day become the No. 1 and No. 2 heavyweights in the world, fight each other for undisputed honors and then have an immediate rematch at the bar where I’m having drinks later that night.

If that doesn’t happen I’ll settle for Haye vs. Arreola.

Paulus Moses is a very good lightweight. He’s not yet ranked in THE RING’s top 10, but I would favor him to beat some of the guys who are ranked like Antonio Pitalua, Yuri Romanov, and even David Diaz (currently ranked No. 5). The Namibian has a very nice jab (that he steps with), a hard right hand, good speed, reflexes and balance, excellent conditioning and pretty good defense. He goes to the body well, too. He’s not spectacular in any area but he’s solid all around.

Regarding Khan, there’s was no way I was going to include him on the best prospect list going into ’09, but I’m not one of these Armchair Eddie Futches who are completely writing him off after his first loss. I think the young man can come back and maybe become a better boxer under Freddie Roach’s influence. We’ll see. Perhaps by the end of the year, Khan will again be considered one of the top prospects going into 2010.

I made a point to include a few once-beaten fighters on my “Boxing’s best prospects” list – Vicente Escobedo, Deandre Latimore and Nestor Rocha – to show that a loss isn’t the end of the line for a young up-and-comer. Sometimes it takes a few years, but young fighters can rebound if they set their minds to it.

Regarding Breidis Prescott, I have no idea what his management plans to do next. I hope they don’t just sit around and wait for a big-money rematch with Khan. I’d like to see the Colombian banger take on Anthony Peterson. Prescott is the WBO’s No. 5 contender; Peterson is No. 4. Since the WBO’s No. 3 and No. 2 contenders Juan Diaz and JM Marquez are fighting Marquez’s RING title next month, the winner of Peterson-Prescott would be next in line to fight titleholder Nate Campbell after Marco Antonio Barrera gets his shot. Plus, I think it would be a good fight between a puncher and an aggressive technician.

MONTIEL OVERSIGHT

Dougie,
I have been writing to you about this injustice since you were at that other internet site. I just checked out your pound for pound ratings and was shocked to see that not even one of you great boxing writers has voted for Fernando Montiel. I have been telling you and anyone who will hear me that he is a top 5 p for p fighter since the days when all of you were all over Cristian Mijares' jock. Give the man some respect! You guys even have votes for Vic Darchinyan who just crashed the weight class by exposing the light hitting, back pedaling, overrated Mijares. Common man! Sincerely. – ScottyD., Coral Springs, Fl.

You must be referring to the pound-for-pound top 10 list on Yahoo! Sports. THE RING’s pound-for-pound top 10 doesn’t have a panel of voters.

I’ve always felt that Montiel is an ultra-talented boxer-puncher. However, he’s hampered his own progress and recognition in the past by allowing fighters to get in his head as he did when he fought an old Mark Johnson and Jhonny Gonzalez. He really laid eggs in those two HBO-televised bouts. Montiel also underperformed against undefeated but unheralded and unproven Thai vet Pramuansak Posuwan and he went life and death with Luis Melendez, a tough Colombian hombre, but who did that guy ever beat?

To Montiel’s credit he regained his form and looked great last year blowing out a somewhat faded Martin Castillo and Luis Maldonado, but I’m afraid those victories are not going to earn him top five pound-for-pound honors on anybody’s list.

I disagree with your perception of Mijares. He earned his props with impressive victories over Jorge Arce, Jose Navarro and Alex Munoz. He tried to unify the belts by taking on dangerous Vic Darchinyan and he lost. So what? He didn’t lose to a chump. I give him credit for taking on Darchinyan. Montiel didn’t get in the ring with Darchinyan, so why would his stature raise because Mijares took a risk and lost? Darchinyan’s stock simply rises in my eyes.

If Montiel were to go through with the proposed showdown with Nonito Donaire and win, he would definitely break into the P4P top 10 of most boxing publications. But it doesn’t look like that fight is going to happen now.

PAY-PER-FEW

Did you notice the lack of pay-per-view shows scheduled so far this year?

Do you think the future of heavyweights is in the cruiserweight division as guys are now 200 pounds? For my money they have more skill and throw more punches and its enough with the fat slobs posing as heavyweights who lumber around the ring. What do you think? – Omar, Baltimore

I don’t think many real heavyweight contenders will emerge from the cruiserweight division (David Haye has the best chance to make some noise with the big boys and I’m not convinced of his chances), but I’d much rather watch the cruiserweights fight than the heavyweights. I wish more cable networks would take a chance on the 200-pound division. Think about it. Vassiliy Jirov-James Toney (HBO), both Jean Marc Mormeck-O’Neil Bell bouts (Showtime and MSG), and more recently Steve Cunningham-Tomzasz Adamek (Versus) have all been excellent prize fights.

I have noticed the lack of pay-per-view shows in the first quarter of ’09 and I think it’s good for the growth of the sport that quality matchups like Margarito-Mosley, Darchinyan-Arce and Marquez-Diaz are on HBO and Showtime and not PPV.

You know what else is good for the sport? Big fights landing in cities other than Las Vegas. I think it’s great that the first major Vegas fight isn’t until the May 2nd Hatton-Pacquiao showdown. Margarito-Mosley will likely have 15,000 real fans in L.A.’s Staples Center. I bet Arce-Darchinyan will do around 9,000 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. And I wouldn’t be shocked if more than 15,000 fill the Toyota Center in Houston for the Marquez-Diaz/John-Juarez double header. Kelly Pavlik will sellout the Chevrolet Center in Youngstown and Miguel Cotto will pack ’em in at Madison Square Garden. If the fans who attend those fights are treated to a good show, they’ll be back for more.

If boxing’s “dead”, at least it’s a popular dead sport.

THE WBO

Just a comment on your reply to “WHO DECIDES WHICH BELTS ARE ‘MAJOR’?” email in the most recent Friday Mailbag. In addition to what you wrote about the number of quality fighters holding the WBO title as well as its longevity I wanted to remind you that it is also one of the four sanctioning bodies recognized by the IBHOF along with the WBA, WBC and IBF. By the way I'm a huge fan. – Stormy, Houston, Texas

Thanks Stormy. I didn’t know that about the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but it’s a good point.

THE WBU

Doug,
Thanks for the insight into the boxing associations. It’s funny, if I recall, and I could be wrong, but I thought Corrie Sanders (the South African, not T Bone, I never remember which one spells it which way) held the WBU title at one point. Now, he was no world-beater when he held itÔǪ but still and all, he went on to beat a world beater in W. Klitschko. So who is to say which organization is legit or not?

Of course, that leads to the main problemÔǪthe overabundance of titles and the understandable proclivity of fighters to attain their belt and just defend against their mandatoriesÔǪ.I can’t blame the fighters b/c people act according to their best interests. If you take punches for a living and you make a nice living fighting in your hometown, wellÔǪcan you blame them? It’s the system that’s flawed not the fightersÔǪ

By the way, what indeed is not love about UATU, the all seeing Watcher? Hahaha.. Anywaykeep up the writing. РLou, Yuma, AZ

Ricky Hatton was the longtime WBU 140-pound beltholder before he won the RING title from Kostya Tszyu in 2005. There have been more than a few future hall of famers who held the IBO title, including Lennox Lewis and Roy Jones Jr. But at the end of the day they are all just considered belts unless they are held by a true all-time great or at lest partially unified by the holders. Generally speaking, but not always, the top three RING contenders hold title belts and if they fight each other the last man standing is at least a partially unified belt holder as well as THE RING world champ. The first RING champs of the new decade were unified titleholders like Lewis and Jones. That was the story with Kostya Tszyu, who lost to Hatton. That was the story with Bernard Hopkins at middleweight, Joe Calzaghe at 168 pounds and so on.

MORE NUT-HUGGING

HahaÔǪI don’t’ even have to compose my own email – I can copy the one from Fleetwood verbatim. It’s exactly how I felt. When I sent some emails to your Maxboxing email address and got nothing back, I felt like a clingy girlfriend who just got broken up with. LOL. Good luck at The Ring. I already subscribe to the magazine, but the revamped website is a nice addition to my daily boxing diet. – Bim

Thanks Bim. I really appreciate the props. TheRing-Online.com will get even better as the year proceeds.

THE HEAVYWEIGHTS

Doug,
I hear that Wlad Klitschko is going to take on Chris Arreola on 16 MayÔǪ.what do you think about this match up? Precisely what has Arreloa done to deserve this fight so quickly? Who is the biggest name in his resume? It isn’t that I don’t think he is talented, or don’t like himÔǪ it just seems like way too big of a leap in quality. Although, on the other hand, I guess I can’t think of a whole lot of heavies for him to fight first. But why not a bout with Haye? And what about Povetkin? Or Chagaev? Of God forbid that Valuev takes on a big name.

It just seems that both Haye and Arreloa are jumping the gun in terms of quality.what sayeth thou? РLouie

I think either Klitschko is a huge jump in quality for almost every heavyweight out there aside for perhaps Ruslan Chagaev, who has a hard time staying healthy enough to fight.

I don’t think Haye or Arreola ready for Wladimir or Vitali, but either guy could lose to a fringe contender in their next fight and only make six-figures. If they fight a Klitschko, yeah they’ll likely lose, but they’ll also make seven figures. And ya never know? I’d say either guy has a puncher’s chance vs. Wladdy.

From what I’ve been told, Wlad Klitschko’s trainer Emanuel Steward would like to see his prize pupil take on both Haye and Arreola, but those fights are far from being done. And you’re right, Alexander Povetik still has a mandatory that his peeps can press.

I’m fine with either of those fights (vs. Povetik, Arreola or Haye). Who else is out there for him? Chagaev is always sick or injured. Toney didn’t show us anything vs. Fres Oquendo. I don’t care to see Valuev fight anybody. And Wladdy has already beat Thompson, Peter, Ibragimov, Brewster, Rahman, and Brock in recent years.

LITTLE HANDS OF STEEL

Dear Doug,
I'm super glad to see you are now with The Ring online. The Ring is boxing's best magazine and it deserved a website of equal caliber and more top writers. The Ring has reached a great point, but is there any chance you'll have a comments section for the blogs? I'd love to see instant feedback from fellow fight fans.

If I may, I wanted to ask you about fellow Madison, Wisconsin raised Puerto Rican Eric Morel (a few Boricuas, like me, also grew up in Madison). While the man fell from grace in 2005, he did come back this year with five solid wins. Two were over Heriberto Ruiz and Ricardo Vargas. IMHO, this boxer's underrated and I'd love it if the Ring gave the man some props (or a top 10 spot in the bantamweight ratings).

While I'm in the fly/bantamweight scene, is there any chance we'll see Armeniageddon fight against Fernando Montiel? Both Montiel and Vic Darchynian are explosive guys who are great to watch. It'd be cool to see these guys duke it out.

Finally, is there any chance The Ring will crown the winner of the Mosley-Margarito fight the champion of the Welterweight Champion? If Margarito wins he'll have beaten both the #2, #3 and #4 rated guys in the division.

Thanks for your time. Sincerely. – Enrique, Washington, DC

THE RING’s Ratings Panel took a vote and narrowly decided not to put the vacant RING welterweight title up for grabs for the winner of Margarito-Mosley. I think the main reasons were that Mosley lost to Cotto in his last welterweight bout (the Mayorga fight was at junior welterweight, and aside from Sugar Shane’s decision over Luis Collazo at the start of ’07, he hasn’t defeated a RING-rated 147-pound contender in many years) and Margarito’s unfinished business with Paul Williams.

“Armeniageddon”! That’s an awesome nickname for Darchinyan. It would also be a good name for an all-Armenian fight card. I’ll have to suggest it to local Armenian fighter-turned-promoter Kahren Harutyunyan.

Regarding a possible Darchinyan-Montiel showdown, I know that “Armeniageddon” is ready and willing.

As for Eric Morel, I did commentary work for his decision over Ruiz and I thought he looked better at 118 pounds than he did as a flyweight titlist. He’s the total package (except for a KO punch). I think he’s very close to breaking into THE RING top 10. I think he would handle our current No. 10 bantamweight contender, William Gonzalez, and I would not count him out vs. the likes of Joseph Agbeko, Gerry Penalosa or Abner Mares.

TheRing-Online.com will soon have a comments section for the blogs and all of the features (written and video) that appear on the site. A message boards/forum area is also in the works.

Send emails for the mailbag to [email protected]; remember to keep it brief, and to include your name and where you're from.

Homepage photo taken by Mary Ann Owen/ Hoganphotos.com.

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