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Dougie’s FAT Friday Mailbag

13
Feb

Read on for fans thoughts on Antonio Margarito’s license revocation, Alfred Angulo, Vic Darchinyan and much more in this week’s FFMB. Enjoy!

ALFRED ANGULO

Ay dawg, Angulo can be the man if they keep him away from anyone that will test his ability to adapt in the ring. I've seen him track down runners and stop them but not fighters that will keep him turning and constantly having to reset in the ring. I think that not fighting the likes of Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez will do him some good right now. Even though Williams would be there to be hit way more than he should be IMO. Also, it's too early to have him in with a bunch of killers right now anyway.

I think that Nate Campbell should take care of business but it won't be the walk in the park that the uninformed are thinking. Hopefully, he can take on the winner of Marquez-Diaz. I would favor him against either guy by decision. Martinez-Cintron. I don't see Kermit beating this dude if he doesn't KO him. If the Martinez that we saw against Alex Bunema wasn't a mirage we'll see Kermit get beat to the punch all night. I still remember what he looked like against that dude on Shobox (Ali Ouali I think) all those years ago and even though he's come a long way since then he still hasn't fought a lot of guys with movement. Holla Back! – Fleetwood, St. Louis, MO.

“Guys with movement” will always bother aggressive fighters like Angulo and Cintron, and even Campbell to a lesser degree, despite his experience and ring intelligence. The Martinez fight is a hard one to call. I think Martinez is a much better boxer and technician than Cintron, but he really hasn’t faced a lot of major-league punchers. Of course, he’s no slouch in the punching department, either. I think Martinez-Cintron could be the fight of the night, tomorrow. I slightly favor Martinez by competitive decision. But I think if Cintron is properly focused he can catch the sharp stick-and-move southpaw.

The 6-foot-1, rangy and quick Ali Funeka has “difficult” written all over him. I think Campbell has the experience to grind this live dog from South Africa down, but it’s going to be very hard for the unified lightweight titleholder to look dominant in doing so. If Campbell does win I’d also like to see him take on the winner of Marquez-Diaz (as I suspect all hardcore fans do). I’m not so sure that he beats Marquez.

Angulo should take care of business against Cosme Rivera (a pretty sturdy late-sub), but don’t be surprised if he has to work hard for his victory. Rivera gave Joel Julio all he could handle and he’s only been stopped once in his long career (and that was against a prime Zab Judah). I think any talk of Angulo fighting the likes of Martinez or Williams is premature. We have to remind ourselves that the Mexican Olympian only has 14 pro bouts. Martinez has 46. Williams has 37. Aside form their obvious style difficulties, those two are also vastly more seasoned pros. We should allow Angulo to get at least close to 20 pro bouts before we clamor for “the dog” to be thrown to the wolves.

COTTO & ILLEGAL HAND WRAPS

Dougie,
How can any fight fan not love Miguel Cotto? He fights his heart out, rarely clinches and makes zero excuses. Being a big Cotto fan, I'd like to believe that his loss to Margo was in part due to illegal handwraps. But when asked whether he believes Margarito used the illegal handwraps in their fight he responded, “You know what? They are the only ones that can answer that question,” he answered. “I can’t answer that question. The fans might have a question about that, but I don’t. Margarito had a great night and I’ll leave it at that.” How many times have we heard fighters say, I don't want to make any excuses, only to follow that statement with a laundry list of them?

On to my question: Cotto recently made a statement regarding a question I had on my mind, and I'd like to hear your take on it. He essentially said that a boxer can tell whether his hands are wrapped illegally or not. I'm inclined to believe that this is true, but having never had my hands wrapped, I obviously can't say for sure. In your opinion, could a professional fighter with the experience that Margarito has, have been that oblivious to what his trainer did? I wonder what the general consensus is amongst fighters. Lastly, Capetillo said that he always wraps Margarito's hands the same way, do you consider this admission that he's done this before? Cheers. – KC, NJ

Cotto’s class outside of the ring is part of why he’s one of my favorite fighters of this decade.

As for your question about handwraps, I think each fighter is different. Cotto is a very serious, focused young man. Maybe he notices every little thing that his trainer does, but I think a lot of fighters – and most folks who workout at boxing gyms, really – tend to zone out when they get their hands wrapped. I know I always did when I used to train. Shane Mosley recently stated that he doesn’t pay close attention to what his trainers are doing to his hands during the wrapping process. I know a lot of boxing writers (particularly those who have never had their hands wrapped) think it’s impossible for someone not to notice what’s going on right under their noses, but they should think back to all the times they’ve interviewed fighters while their hands are being wrapped and they should try to recall explicit details of what was going on right under their noses. My guess is that they’ve never paid close attention, either.

And in when training in the gym, trainers usually add extra cushion – be it cut up sponges or foam rubber, or even specially manufactured knuckle protectors – to the wraps to help protect the fighters’ hands while training. I think what Cotto said about fighters’ knowing if something extra was added to their wraps is probably true but don’t think most would know it until they actually started hitting someone or something.

Capetillo said he always wraps his fighters’ hands the same, but he also said he made a “mistake” when he added the hard/firm/doctored up gauze to Margarito’s wraps that fateful night at the Staples Center, which I agree sounds pretty fishy; but then it also doesn’t make sense that he would blatantly try to cheat under the noses of the state inspectors and one very paranoid black Muslim (Mosley’s trainer Naazim Richardson).

THE NEXT MEXICAN IDOL

Hey Boss,
Your last article (Next Mexican Idol) was brilliant. It’s perfect timing because the feeling Mexican fans are having for their favorite fighters is kinda like the feeling about Pandas. They are becoming an endangered species. I know there's plenty of good fighters but not one that stands out above the rest. Not at this point. I disagree with Gary Shaw that Alfredo Angulo beating Antonio Margarito would garner him that idol status in Mexico. Yes it would make a helluva fight but, Mexicans always adore fighters who beat great fighters of another nationality, such as Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Edwin Rosario (PR), Meldrick Taylor (US), and Hector Camacho (PR); or when Salvador Sanchez beat Little Red Lopez (US), Wilfredo Gomez (PR), and Azumah Nelson (GH). Margarito's huge success was after he defeated Cotto (PR). If Angulo beats Shane Mosley or Vernon Forrest @ 154 he'd be the new Mexican Idol.

Look at Morales and Barrera, they nearly killed each other in the ring but never gained the recognition they deserved. Barrera gained more props by defeating Hamed (UK) and Morales was just beloved for his ultimate fighting spirit and gutsy performances. Same goes for Marquez/Vazquez, those guys are known and respected for their battles but IF Vazquez or Marquez would beat Vic Darchinyan (AUS/ARM) or Juan Manuel Lopez (PR) you'd see their stock skyrocket in Mexico.

Still, Margarito/Angulo is a must see TV fight that I’d buy a ticket to. The problem with Mexican civil wars is you never know which fighter to root for and when one comes out a winner we expect them to go out and defeat other great fighters of other respected nationalities.

Marco Antonio Rubio is almost a Ghost in Mexico but if he beats the Ghost you'll see that bandwagon shuttle in full service. Take care, Dougie. Sorry this email was looooong. – Jorge, San Diego

That was a long email, but you made a point that history backs up.

So by that “logic”, maybe the Kirkland-Julio winner is an appropriate “coming out” party for Angulo. Mosley and Forrest are excellent names for any young up-and-comer to have n his resume, but both are still too dangerous for Angulo despite being 11 years older. If Cintron upsets Martinez, he would make for the perfect high-profile fight for Angulo given his puncher’s style and Puerto Rican background. Fellow 154-pound prospects Deandre Latimore and Vanes Martirosyan would make for fun fights that would earn Angulo extra points with Mexican fans if he won.

WRAP GATE

How come the CSAC didn’t report on exactly what it found in the wraps? What I read is that they simply said he broke rule number ‘XYZ’ and his license is revoked. Was it plaster? Was it just an old wrap? Was there something in there? I read your boy was at the hearing, we want more details. I want more details. – Jason

By “my boy” do you mean Michael Rosenthal? He’s gone from sports editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune to “Dougie’s boy”? Yikes! You are aware that he’s the co-editor of RingTV.com, aren’t you? Yeah, he was at the hearing in Van Nuys, Calif. Tuesday.

All we know is that something was on the wraps. We don’t know what it is. But we do know that nothing is supposed to go on those wraps.

Rosenthal says the confiscated wraps and whatever substance is on them are “still in the lab… and that the CSAC won’t have results until next month.”

That’s my one problem with Tuesday’s proceedings. I think the boxing commission – and the public – should know for sure what was on those wraps before the final verdict was rendered. By revoking both Capetillo and Margarito’s licenses the CSAC is saying that they did more than just improperly wrap hands; they are saying that something hard was maliciously placed over Margarito’s knuckles. In other words, they’re saying that foul play was at hand, and since the combatants in a professional boxing match can die under “normal” or fair circumstances, what the CSAC is basically saying is that the trainer and the fighter are guilty of attempted murder.

That’s a serious allegation. If I’m going to say someone broke the rules with murderous intent, I’d want to be DAMN sure of it. And I have to admit that I’m not damn sure like many of my peers, including Rosenthal, Kevin Iole, and well, pretty much every writer/columnist I’ve read since the ruling.

I should also admit that I’ve been what Iole would call a “Margarito supporter” for many years. I’ve watched him train, seen him interact with fans and other fighters in gyms and at local club shows, and I’ve covered him from ringside for more than a decade; I’ve admired his work ethic and determination long before he beat Miguel Cotto. I never seen anything that made me pause and think that he was a dirty fighter or a ruthless and cold-hearted individual. You can say I’m biased, and you can say I’m na├»ve, but despite Margarito’s rugged ring style, I don’t believe he would ever knowingly try to hurt an opponent beyond what legally transpires in a prize fight.

Capetillo’s a little bit of a different story. At times, I’ve thought “the General” was nuts; but I have never sensed a sadistic human being beneath his gruff exterior.

Then again, what do I know? I don’t personally know any of these boxing people I interview. When it was first revealed that Shane Mosley was connected to BALCO, I vehemently defended him to the hundreds of angry Oscar De La Hoya fans who emailed me. I told them that until there was irrefutable proof that Mosley knowingly took illegal performance-enhancing drugs I would give Sugar Shane the benefit of the doubt. Well, we know what happened with thatÔǪ but I think most would agree that what Capetillo and Margarito are suspected of is infinitely worse than “juicing” before a fight (although I believe that being on performance enhancers can result in more damage being done to the “natural” combatant for obvious reasons).

Rosenthal said the evidence photos the prosecution showed of Margarito’s confiscated wraps “made it clear there was plaster like stuff on them”.

I would like to know for sure what it was. We’ll never know what was really going through Capetillo and Margarito’s mind when they were going through their hand-wrapping routine, but like I did with Mosley I’m going to give the fighter the benefit of the doubt.

BLESSING (MEDICALLY) IN DISGUISE?

Doug,
Medically, this license revocation may be the best thing that could have happened to Margarito. No doubt he can use the year off or step down in competition if he fights in Mexico. Cotto, Mosley, then Cotto again is a helluva year and lots of wear on the body and brain (not to mention his past grinds w/ Cintron, Clottey, Santos, etc.). – Bakari (Jersey City, NJ)

You make a very good point, Bakari (as usual). Lost in the hand-wrapping controversy is the fact that Margarito fought a flat, listless fight against Mosley. He had the look of a burnt-out fighter from the first minute of the first round until Mosley finally took him out in the ninth. Because Margarito eventually stopped both Cintron and Cotto last year, fans tend to forget about all the flush power shots he took from those two Puerto Rican punchers. Maybe a year off will be good for him, physically speaking.

DARCHINYAN, POUND-FOR-POUND?

Doug –
So with the announcement of Joe Calzaghe’s retirement, and the lambasting that Cristian Mijares and now Jorge Arce have taken at the hands of Darchinyan, and the fact that everyone on every site and ‘zine has been saying that he’s “lethal” and “hard to match up” and all the other things people have been saying, what are the chances of us seeing him on The Ring’s Pound-For-Pound list?

We’ll miss you Joe Calzaghe, but you did the right thing, so many other fighters have failed to leave at the right time. Holyfield, Jones, ToneyÔǪ

Say “Hi” to Bill Dettloff for us, Dougie. I think you’re doing a great job so far, but I’m somewhat resistant to change. Bill is great people as well. – Mac Harris

Don’t be resistant to change, Mac. Change is good. And Dettloff is a very good writer/columnist. I’m glad that he’s part of RingTV.com’s weekly rotation. This week’s column on late heavyweight Olympian Ed Sanders is a must read. I’ve only met William once (at the Cotto-Quintana/Margarito-Clottey double header in Atlantic City December of 2006), but he was definitely cool people.

As for Vic Darchinyan’s pound-for-pound merit, for the record I though the cocky junior bantie badass deserved to crack the top 10 when he dominated and KO’d Cristian Mijares. I gave him props for traveling to the Philippines to face Z Gorres (a close fight resulting in a draw that I thought he won) and for blasting Dmitri Kirillov in five rounds. I give Darchinyan his due props for beating up on ultra-tough Jorge Arce for 11 rounds. Keep in mind, that Darchinyan’s fights with Gorres, Kirillov, Mijares and Arce took place in a 12-month span. That’s the way it should be done. That’s the kind of schedule so-called “elite” fighters should keep.

So I definitely think Darchinyan’s a pound-for-pound caliber fighter, and so does THE RING, which now ranks ‘Sick Vic’ No. 1 on its pound-for-pound list.

I’m a one of the boxing writers that are polled once a month for the pound-for-pound top 10 list that appears on Yahoo! Sports’ boxing page. For the record, here’s my current list:

1. Manny Pacquiao
2. Juan Manuel Marquez
3. Bernard Hopkins
4. Israel Vazquez
5. Rafael Marquez
6. Ivan Calderon
7. Shane Mosley
8. Vic Darchinyan
9. Chad Dawson
10. Ricky Hatton

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Hey, Dougie, once again!
I hope this letter will make your mailbag. I'm excited to finally see you as a Ring magazine stalwart and praise you as the new face of its (better than ever) web portal! I hope you are feeling as good here as you were in your previous home of Maxboxing.

I watched Vic Darchinyan's fight this Saturday night and, though all kudos go to both fighters for their mentality and bravery, I wasn't that impressed with Darchinyan's performance. He should have done better than that. I had it 107-102 on my virtual scorecard; not a bad fight on Jorge Arce's behalf!

What is your take on Vic's possible matchups? I think, Israel Vasquez is too big for him and will stop this little cocky man. Ditto Rafael Marquez. Vic should win possible fights with Joseph Agbeko and Gerry Penalosa. He should destroy the winner of Posuwan-Lopez, both Moreno and Monitel bouts are toss-ups, and he will probably lose on points to relatively unknown but extremely skillful Japanese Hozumi Hasegawa (he impressed me against Sahaprom, Vetyeka, Valdez and Maludrottu).

And what is about all-time match-ups against, say, Khaosai Galaxy, Johnny Tapia, Gilberto Roman and Jiro Watanabe? I think, the first two would have stopped him late, while he has a good chance on finishing the last two.

Keep up a good work. Best wishes for your and your family. – Alexey, Moscow-city, Russia

Thanks for writing in, Alexey. I love getting emails from other countries. They are constant reminder to me that boxing is as international a sport as soccer, and that a few very diehard fans outside of the U.S. actually give a rat’s ass about what I write.

Darchinyan’s performance Saturday wasn’t as dominant as the fighter or most boxing writers thought it would be, but I won’t hold that against him. I simply chalk that up to Arce’s intense pride and incredible toughness. There’s a reason that before Saturday’s fight Arce hadn’t been stopped in nine and half years (and that KO loss was to future hall of famer Michael Carbajal). Arce’s got a chin and he can withstand amounts of pain to his face and body that would crush most of us.

As for what’s next for Darchinyan, I hope he either takes on Fernando Montiel (at 115 pounds for all the junior bantie marbles and THE RING championship, or at 118), or a rematch with Nonito Donaire (at 115). I think those are the two most significant bouts for Darchinyan and the sport.

I’m not going to bother wondering how Vic would do against Israel Vazquez or Rafael Marquez. Darchinyan needs to establish himself at bantamweight before I take him seriously as a threat to two elite junior featherweights.

I view fights with 118-pound titleholders Hasegawa, Agbeko and Penalosa as even-money bouts. I also agree with you that Hasegawa is probably the best bantamweight in the world right now. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Japanese southpaw beat Darchinyan.

As for Darchinyan vs. the 115-pound all timers I’ll take Galaxy, Watanabe and Tapia by close or competitive decision. ‘Darch Vader’ may have been able to out-point Roman by dropping him once or twice in an action-packed distance scrap. If Darchinyan could fight Galaxy outside of Thailand and Watanabe outside of Japan, he might have a shot out-pointing them.

WARD OFF!

Zup Doug,
I am so tired of seeing Andre Ward fight these mismatches. When is he going to STEP UP? They should not even put him on TV when he is not fighting comp.

Buchanan was not even using his hands. Put Ward in with Andre Dirrell or Alan Green. Showtime should not even accept these fights – they need to get Ward off TV until he is in competitive – not use up an entire Friday with his boring sparring matches. 120-108 – give me a break! He's ranked No. 3 in all these organizations and he's fighting bums. But on the other had I can see why his team is moving him slow. Ward has a lot of holes, leaky defense and little pop.

The Yusaf Mack-Chris Henry fight was much more competitive and entertaining. Peace. – Steve

Mack-Henry was a pretty good light heavyweight scrap. The fight of the night, however, was Azteca America’s main event of Jesus Soto-Karass-Carson Jones. Now that was a fight. The third round of that welterweight barnburner is an early candidate for round of the year. For the record, I had Soto-Karass winning by a MUCH narrower points margin than the official scorecards. In terms of rounds, I had Jones up 5-4-1.

Anyway, the subject of your email is Andrew Ward, so let’s talk about him. He’s a young fighter I’m high on. I think his defense and his power is better than you view it, and I put most of the blame for the boring nature of Friday’s fight on Henry Buchanan for going into survival mode after getting buzzed in the first round.

But I also understand your frustration. You’re tired of watching Ward take up valuable TV slots with a one-sided “fights”. You want to see him take on someone that you – and other hardcore fight fans – believe has a shot to beat him.

I think his trainer, management and promoter are also ready to roll the dice with the 24-year-old boxer. Dan Goossen says he tried to make a bout with Jermain Taylor before settling on Friday’s ShoBox date. He also says he’s talked to Showtime boxing boss Ken Hershman about match with Glen Johnson. If either of those fights can be made this year, I think Ward will silence most of his critics (even if he winds up losing those fights, provided he’s competitive with the former champs).

I couldn’t help but notice that you complained about Ward’s No. 3 ranking in certain sanctioning bodies (the WBC and WBO). Say what you will about THE RING’s ratings (and you have recently criticized our championship policy when you went on a protracted Nate Campbell rant) but you won’t see a guy whose three best wins have come against Ruben Williams, Jerson Ravelo and “Sugar Poo” ranked in the top three of our super middleweight top 10.

I’m not saying THE RING’s ratings are perfect – for instance, I disagree with Allan Green being in our 168-pound top 10 after only out-pointing “Hollywood” Williams and beating up on an old man (Carl Daniels) who shouldn’t be fighting anymore in the last 12 months – but generally speaking they are more reasonable than those of the alphabet boys.

Oh, and by the way, I would pick Ward over Green and Dirrell.

Photo of Alfred Angulo-Andrey Tsurkan by Naoki Fukuda

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