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Dougie’s FAT Friday Mailbag

16
Jan

Dougie’s FAT Friday Mailbag
By Doug Fischer

Fight fans weigh-in with questions about Berto-Collazo, Margarito-Mosley, HBO and Golden Boy Promotions, and much more in this week’s FFMB. Enjoy!

BERTO-COLLAZO

Who do you think will win? I think that the Andre Berto-Luis Callozo fight will be real interesting!!! I am really looking forward to the fight.

Also, do you know when Joshua Clottey will fight next? I know he was injured when they were trying to make a Margarito fight. Well, take care and best of luck in your new job. – MB

When the Berto-Collazo fight was first made I was comfortable in favoring Berto, who I had just watched out-box Steve Forbes in Carson, Calif. (the co-feature to Mosley-Mayorga; Collazo stopped a journeyman on that undercard, by the way). My reasoning was that Collazo didn’t have the punching power or brute physical strength to hurt or intimidate the young Haitian-American. I also thought that the 12 rounds Berto went with Forbes was a positive learning experience for the 25-year-old Floridian. He made some mid-fight adjustments vs. Forbes that let me know that he can do more than simply attack in short linear bursts. And he’ll need versatility to deal with true contenders of the 147-pound division.

However, as the fight gets closer, I can’t help but doubt Berto a little bit. When “Little Stevie Forbes” is the best opponent on an up-and-comer’s resume, and that fight took place at welterweight, do we really know how good that fighter is? Collazo looked a little rusty in the opening rounds of his fight (vs. Russell Jordan) but once the southpaw began to settle down and time his opponent, his shots had more effect until he stopped the tall spoiler in the eighth round with a crisp hook. I can’t help but think about how Collazo adjusted to the speed and frenetic style of Ricky Hatton mid-way through their 2006 bout, punishing the Brit down the stretch of the fight, and wonder what he’ll do to Berto, who has considerably less experience than the Hitman. I keep envisioning Collazo landing his right hook on the button and Berto’s legs going all “Bojangles” on him.

Who knows? Maybe Berto’s fights with Cosme Rivera, David Estrada and Forbes have given him enough experience to prevail against a tough and difficult stylist like Collazo. We’ll find out Saturday. I still favor the young titleholder to win, just not as strongly as I did last year.

What’s up with Joshua Clottey? Well, I know he’s not going to be fighting Kermit Cintron any time soon. You can’t be mad at Cintron. He’s getting paid twice as much to fight Sergio Martinez on a card that will receive more exposure, and it’s not like he’s facing a chump. I think Martinez is a more difficult opponent than Clottey (and I have a lot of respect for the Ghanaian).

If I were advising Clottey, I’d try to get him back in the ring ASAP, perhaps against a fellow Top Rank-promoted welterweight like Jesus Soto-Karass, and preferably on Top Rank’s Feb. 21st pay-per-view show. And then I’d lobby like hell to get the winners of Berto-Collazo or Margarito-Mosley (fat chance) in the ring later in the year.

MARGARITO-MOSLEY QUESTIONS

Dougie,
Glad I finally found you. I thought you got abducted or something. I am happy to have a new site to visit. I now have the big 4 to keep me in the know. This is great. Couple questions:

1. Are you going to the Mosley fight? If so, please send me a suggestion on where to go b4 and after. I am big time excited about this fight, got a $300 ticket and am a free man that night.

2. Are they having the weigh-in on Friday afternoon? Is it open to the public?

3. Any word on the undercard? Is HBO only showing one fight that night?

4. Where is the King Triple Header going to be located at?

Best Regards. – Chris from Bethel Park

I’m glad you found me, Chris. I’ll answer your questions in order.

1)Yes, I’ll definitely be at next Saturday’s fight. It’s a “home game” and covering boxing is my job. If I wasn’t a boxing writer, I’d still be there as a fan. Mosley and Margarito are two of my favorite fighters. I haven’t checked it out yet, but the newly constructed “L.A. Live”, the glitzy open-air plaza across from Staples Center, should have everything fans need (quality bars and restaurants) before and after the fight. There’s also a Palms Restaurant and a Holiday Inn near Staples where fans, fight scribes and industry types often go to get their drink on.

2)The weighin will begin at 3 p.m. at the Nokia Plaza (part of L.A. Live) Friday. It is open to the public. So is Thursday’s final press conference, which begins at noon at the same spot.

3)HBO is only showing the main event, but the undercard is not bad. Aside from the return of Roberto Guerrero, who fights journeyman Edel Ruiz, it’s all prospects. Some prospects have just turned pro like Cincinnati’s flashy Adrien Broner and Russian Olympian Matt Korobov. They’ll be in with fairly easy opposition. But the more mature prospects are in pretty tough. Hollywood-based Scotsman Craig McEwan (a 12-0 middleweight) is scheduled to face Pomona’s Ivan Stovall, who is a tough cookie. Mexico’s Juan Carlos Salgado (18-0) takes on Cleveland’s former amateur star Mickey Bey Jr. (12-0) in a solid lightweight bout.

4)Nobody knows, including Don King, who’s supposed to find the venue. I’ve heard one of the big Chicago-area venues might be in the running, but that was a while ago.

THE RING WELTERWEIGHT TITLE

You may have answered this in a previous email, so I'll apologize in advance if you have. My friend told me the Margarito/Mosley fight is not for The Ring belt. Is this true? Why? Margarito is #1, Mosley is #3, and the Ring #2 Cotto was just knocked out by #1. Why doesn't this qualify as a title fight? My friend said it had to do with Paul Williams. I know Williams beat Margarito but The Ring doesn't have him ranked as a welterweight. Thanks for all you do and the great site. – Brock, Dayton, OH

I did answer this in a recent mailbag but since ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael and BoxingScene.com’s Cliff Rold both have written about the subject, it figures that some fans will be curious.

THE RING welterweight title will not be up for grabs next Saturday. When the RING’s no. 1 and no. 2 ranked contenders fight in a division where THE RING world title is vacant, the winner gets the belt, no questions asked. However, when the no. 1 and no. 3 contenders go at it, it’s up for debate. THE RING’s Editor-In-Chief Nigel Collins did the ring thing by putting it up for a vote among the members of THE RING’s Ratings Panel, and 55 percent of those who answered his email voted for the belt to remain vacant. I was one of those who voted against the title being up from grabs. And yes, Paul Williams was the main reason, but not the only reason.

As I’ve stated before, had Williams left the welterweight division because he could no longer make weight or if he announced that he was going to set up shop at 154 pounds and middleweight and never go back down to 147 pounds, I would have less of a problem with allowing Margarito and Mosley to fight for THE RING world title. But Williams and his promoter have repeatedly stated that he isn’t permanently leaving the welterweight division. They’ve made a big deal about campaigning in three weight classes and to their credit, that’s just what they’re doing. They’re going to go wherever the best fights can be made for Williams, including welterweight if anyone of note wants to tango with the 6-foot-3 southpaw.

I could care less if Williams dumped his WBO welterweight title. If it were up to me, he would still be ranked among THE RING’s 147-pound contenders, and I would have him ahead of Mosley. I don’t see why Williams isn’t ranked at welterweight AND junior middleweight. Manny Pacquiao is ranked at both lightweight and welterweight, and both he and his trainer have repeatedly said that he would not return to the lightweight division. (But that’s a debate for another time.) The bottom line is that Williams has a victory over Margarito, a close fight (one that I thought Margarito won by two points) but a win nonetheless, and he’s willing to face the ‘Tijuana Tornado’ at 147 pounds.

The other reason I wasn’t keen on THE RING belt being up for grabs was Mosley’s track record at welterweight. If boxing writers and fans are going to penalize Williams for division hopping, shouldn’t Mosley’s 147-pound ranking standing also be affected? Over the past six years, Mosley has fought more as a junior middleweight than a welterweight. He fought at 154 pounds in ’03 and ’04, before dropping back to 147 for two bouts in ’05, but then he went back to junior middleweight in ’06 for his two-fight series with Fernando Vargas. In ’07, he went 1-1 versus Puerto Rican contenders Luis Collazo and Miguel Cotto (and looked very good, I admit). But what division did he fight in for his last bout versus Ricardo Mayorga (and his only fight of ’08)? It wasn’t welterweight, folks. Only four of Mosley’s last 10 bouts were at welterweight. And he has only one victory over a RING-rated contender (Collazo) in that span that goes back five years (unless Jose Luis Cruz and David Estrada were ranked by THE RING, which I doubt). So you fans have to ask yourselves, should Mosley, a part-time welterweight (at best) with only one win over a top-10 contender in the last several years, be fighting for the WORLD welterweight title?

If you say “yes”, I respect that answer because I have the utmost respect for both Margarito and Mosley. I also respect the opinions of Rafael, Rold and the other 45 percent of the RING Ratings Panelists that voted in favor of next Saturday’s big fight being a RING championship bout.

HBO & GBP

Wow, you put my email in your mailbag I feel very privileged 🙂 I don't expect that all the time, obviously. I was wondering if you had read Tom Hauser's memorandum to HBO for '09 and what your thoughts were? Now granted I know Golden Boy employs you but do you feel there is anything to the argument that HBO seems to be granting Golden Boy more dates with higher license fees and the result being bad fights or mismatches? – Omar, Baltimore

I did read Mr. Hauser’s typically comprehensive memo to Ross Greenburg and the boxing side of HBO Sports. It took me an hour and half to get through it all, but I read it. Much of it I already knew (and read about in his column “HBO: 2008”, which he wrote last May), and I agreed with most of his points, but not all of them.

Perhaps Golden Boy Promotions has received more dates than other promoters (more on that later), but I don’t see where they have put on any more “mismatches” or “bad fights” than any other promoter. They put on some good fights like Casamayor-Katsidis and they put on some boring ones like Hopkins-Calzaghe. Top Rank put on some fun fights like Margarito-Cintron II and they put on some God-awful mismatches like Pavlik-Lockett and Cotto-Gomez. Lou DiBella made a good fight (with Dan Goossen) in the abbreviated Arreola-Witherspoon clash, but bored me with Andre Berto’s fights with Michel Trabant, Miguel Rodriguez and Steve Forbes.

I’m a hardcore fight fan, which means if I was in Ross Greenburg or Kerry Davis’ positions there would more fights like Diaz-Campbell (Don King), Angulo-Gutierrez (Gary Shaw), and Williams-Quintana I (Goossen) and less overpriced bouts like Hopkins-Calzaghe and De La Hoya-Forbes or blowouts like Pavlik-Lockett and Cotto-Gomez.

Every fight I’d put on the network would be a lighter-weight barnburner. With their budget, I’d have at least six Corrales-Castillo/Vazquez-Marquez-type matchups a year, with more than enough funds left to develop young prospects in solid bouts. But HBO has never been in the business of putting on hardcore fights for nutcakes like me. They’ve always been in the star-making business. De La Hoya is a bona fide star. Calzaghe is potential star. Pavlik and Cotto were stars in the making. Berto is a star in the making. So HBO bent over (and continues to bend over) backwards for those fighters and their promoters (please note that not all are Golden Boy fighters).

The folks at HBO Sports have always prided themselves on showcasing the most talented and the most marketable fighters on the planet while building towards sport-transcending events like Hagler-Leonard, Tyson-Spinks, Holyfield-Foreman, De La Hoya-Trinidad, and De La Hoya-Mayweather. Since the Lewis-Tyson pay per view (a co-production with Showtime), the biggest name and the biggest money-earner in the sport has been Oscar De La Hoya. The Golden Boy’s 19 pay-per-view events have totaled close to $700 million in gross revenue. That figure doesn’t include the gates or the sponsors of his fights.

De La Hoya makes money for everyone involved with him – lots of money! Since De La Hoya’s basically been his own promoter, he’s done 925,000 PPV buys vs. Ricardo Mayorga, a record-breaking 2.4 million buys vs. Mayweather, and 1.25 million buys vs. Manny Pacquiao. At $50 to $60 bucks a pop, you do the math, Omar. And guess who promotes De La Hoya? That’s right, Golden Boy Promotions. So of course, HBO wants to keep the Golden Goose’s company happy. And of course every other promoter in the U.S. is going to be jealous as hell. And of course, they are going to voice their displeasure through journalists like Mr. Hauser. They have every right to do so, and Hauser does a good job with his articles.

But I’d like to bring up something with the younger fans reading this mailbag. This is nothing new. When De La Hoya was promoted by Top Rank EVERYTHING that is being said (or complained) and written about Golden Boy Promotions today was said and written about Bob Arum & Company.

And you know what? If Lou DiBella promoted De La Hoya, everybody would be talking s__t about him. If Gary Shaw promoted De La Hoya, everybody would be jealous of him. And so on.

Before De La Hoya was the pay-per-view king, it was Mike Tyson. When Don King took Mighty Mike over to Showtime in 1991, you better believe they bent over backwards for Don King Productions. In fact, DKP pretty much had an exclusive deal with Showtime for a few years. The only other promoter who had Showtime dates in those days was Frank Warren and when his fighters fought in the States, King was the co-promoter. At first the fights were pretty damn good but after awhile King started slapping fans across the face with Keith Holmes and Frankie Liles fights. Warren tortured us with Chris Eubanks fights. It was some dreadfully boring s__t. Imagine wanting to watch a prime Felix Trinidad do his thing, but having to sit through 12 horrible rounds of “Fabulous” Frankie vs. some rock-headed Russian freak (Andrey Shkalikov, I looked it up on BoxRec.com). Well, that’s what was happening on Showtime in the mid-to-late ’90s.

Fans complained. Promoters complained. Boxing writers wrote about it. And the folks at Showtime didn’t care because Tyson = money. When he got out of jail in ’95, it was debatable if he had any legs or desire left (never mind the fact that he was a convicted-f__king-rapist), but Showtime did an exclusive three-year deal with Tyson and King. Was it worth all the headaches with King, Tyson and Mike’s goofy managers Rory Holloway and John Horne? Hell yes! Tyson vs. Peter McNeely did 1.66 million PPV buys. Tyson fought a straight-up tomato can and generated $80 million in domestic revenue! Tyson vs. Holyfield I did 1.6 million, too. Tyson vs. Holyfield II did 1.99 million. Again, do the math, Omar. I’m sure there were better fights that Showtime could have put on during the Don King days of the ’90s and they could have done more business with other promoters, but at the end of the day, the subscriber cable network, like HBO, was about making money.

Tyson and De La Hoya were those rare fighters who could capture the attention of the general public and keep it even when they underperformed or plain-old got their butts kicked in the ring. But that kind of magic doesn’t last forever. Tyson is gone. De La Hoya will be gone soon, too, and then we’ll have a more even playing field… until the next super star comes along.

Do you want to send a question or comment to the mailbag? Go for it! But please keep your emails short (as you can see, I can’t do that, but hey, I’m a respected boxing writer like Thomas Hauser, I get PAID to be long-winded) and send them to [email protected] Don’t forget to include your name and where you’re from.

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