Thursday, June 08, 2023  |



Dougie’s FAT Friday Mailbag

Fighters Network

Read on for fans’ opinions on my recent article on Miguel Cotto, Kelly Pavlik’s limitations, Duddy-Vanda, Wright-Williams, and more in this week’s FFMB.


Hey Dougie,
Very interesting article today on Cotto and his Puerto Rican fan base (or lack of). I actually do like his serious personality… to me it comes across as mature… like he handles himself in a mature way in and out of the ring. I have bigtime respect for his unwillingness to comment on Margarito's situation… it would be so easy for him to say anything… just the slightest hint (e.g. “his punches felt harder than anything I've ever felt”) could make fans see the beating he took as something other than fair play… But he won't go down that road. Good for him!!

I'm Mexican (Chicano)… but unlike most Mexican “fans” I know, I do have a lot of respect for the talent that comes out of Puerto Rico. I liked Cotto since day one and Tito was my favorite for years, so you can imagine I get a lot of s__t for my unbiased opinions. I tell them I just love the sport… it's not a race thing to me… just makes them hate me more…LOL!!! – Chico Fan (R Garcia)

I’m with you, brotha. I’m a fan of the sport and of talented badasses from any nation on earth. Cotto has been one of my favorites for a long time. It takes a very special fighter to get me to travel to the East Coast during the winter, but I’ve done it twice for Cotto (his fights against Carlos Quintana and Shane Mosley) because I think that highly of him. I’ve flown out (on my own dime, not company money) to cover Cotto vs. Kelson Pinto (in Puerto Rico), Quintana (Atlantic City), Zab Judah and Mosley (NYC) and I’ve never been disappointed. Obviously, I’m not excited enough about the Jennings fight to fly out to New York, but I’ll be watching with interest. I hope he exhibits the same form and focus he always does.


Hi Doguie:
I'm a big boxing fan from Puerto Rico and I really like all your columns and have been reading them for many years. I consider myself a Cotto fan, but before Cotto I'm a boxing fan. I was reading your column about Miguel Cotto's heavy drinking and the tattoos. It is no secret that the Cotto sightings are very common in bars and pubs but I think that's his problem, not anybody else’s. I'm not being a blind fan and trying to cover for him because if he does something wrong that's his issue. I think the only reason the reporters, Herminio Nieves and Jose A. Sanchez Fourier, are writing all these things about Cotto is because Cotto has been very quiet, perhaps un-accessible to the press. Here in Puerto Rico the press often creates problems and rumors where there is none.

Cotto is a very quiet guy, he's neither Tito Trinidad nor JuanMa Lopez, guys who are more accessible and speak freely. I've never seen Cotto personally but what I hear is that he's timid. But that's not the issue here. I think these guys are creating a double standard because of Cotto's un-accessibility and taking it out on him very hard.

On the drinking issue, that's Cotto's problem. I think he's a intelligent person and knows when and how to do it. Ricky Hatton is a confessed beer lover, and I don't see anybody from the Puerto Rican press condemning him because of his drinking.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying anything bad about you for publishing that column, which I read. The only thing I'm saying is the press here should be more professional and treat everybody equally.

Thanks for reading, Dougie. Blessings to you and your family. – Gabriel Vicens, Puerto Rico

Thanks for your thoughts, Gabriel. I received many emails from Puerto Rican fans who share your many of opinions on Cotto and his relationship to the Puerto Rican media (some were less polite than yours).

If there truly is a double standard in the way Cotto is treated/covered by the Puerto Rican press compared to other boxers on the island, I think that supports the premise of my article, which is: while Cotto is respected and supported, he isn’t beloved, like Trinidad or Wilfredo Gomez (neither of whom are angels – Tito has had his extramarital affairs and Bazooka battled drug addiction).

The point of the article was not to drag Cotto’s name through the mud or to put him down in any way. It was to examine where his legacy stands going into the Jennings fight, taking the Margarito loss and hand-wrap controversy into consideration, but looking at it from a Puerto Rican perspective. And I also wanted to explore why Cotto – who I think is an awesome fighter – has never been embraced the way Trinidad was.

I’m not Puerto Rican and I don’t play one on TV (or online). So I had to get some “expert” opinions from people who know Cotto, the sport and Puerto Rican culture. I thought Fourier and Nieves were perfect sources because they are Puerto Rican natives and residents as well as experienced members of the media with solid credentials. Both writers have covered Cotto from his first pro fight to the present. Fourier covered some of Cotto’s amateur bouts (heck, he even judged Cotto’s final amateur bout in Puerto Rico before the Caguas crusher took off for the 2000 Olympics).

Nobody should be mad at Fourier or Nieves. They didn’t write the story. They just answered my questions, and I thought they were very honest and informative, even though the subject might be uncomfortable for some fans.


You did it again man, that was a great article, no B.S.! You had so much background information in there. That's how you do an article. All right, now if you go and put out some B.S. I'm going to have to call you on that, too… (just f___ing with you) – JB

I’m glad you liked the article, JB. No B.S.


Mr. Fisher, Your article “Cotto's at crossroads” is completely wrong. The only statement that is correct on your article is the title. Indeed Cotto is at a crossroads. However, we do not withdraw our support, admiration and love from our athletes just because they lost one contest. I suggest you read some of Chegui Torres's work about the Puerto Rican boxing fan. I am from Caguas, Puerto Rico (where Cotto lives and trains). By the way, Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean not a block in the Bronx. Puerto Ricans, whether in New York or Sidney, regardless of where they might have been borne or raised, have roots in the Island. The Island where Cotto is still beloved. We as humans don't love everyone the same way. We love Tito as Tito and Miguel, well is Miguel. Many of our champions have lost fights and their belts, still they have not lost us.

Cotto is still our “Gallo”, make no mistake. And you guys could have made a better job of making this coming fight a little more exciting. For instance, no one mentioned that Jennings fought “Mehrdud Takaloo” a guy who fought Daniel Santos (for 12 rounds). These little details sometime make the fan expect a little more given the fact that there are factors in common. All this comparisons of yours about Cotto and Tito are meaningless.

As mentioned, I am from Caguas. I have heard about Cotton's drinking since before he became champion. I have not seen him. I can tell you that I see him running quite often. While, I know you guys take this so called “poetic license” when you write, how you came to say that we are fans of Margarito is beyond this world. We do admire any athlete who leads a decent life and competes bravely, but fairly. Margarito, as well as Cazares and the fellows from that gym, are all prone to using their heads. We do not like dirty fighters. – Luis, Caguas, Puerto Rico

I’m sorry the Cotto article rubbed you the wrong way, Luis. Like I stated earlier, that wasn’t the point of it. I’ve been hearing about Cotto’s personality turning off at least some segments of Puerto Rico’s fights fans for years, and I’ve heard stories about his drinking and carousing since before the Quintana fight. If the rumors were true, his lifestyle certainly didn’t affect his ring performances, but I wondered how it affected his popularity on the island.

You can tell me that Cotto is “beloved”, but now you’re the one who’s taking poetic license.

I’ve covered Cotto’s biggest fights and I covered Felix Trinidad’s biggest fights, and trust me, you’d have to have your head WAY up your ass not to notice the difference. The 20,000+ that gathered at Madison Square Garden to watch Cotto fight Judah were there to have a good time, see a good fight and to root for their guy on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade. But what the 18,000+ that assembled for Trinidad’s fight with William Joppy exhibited can only be described as idol worship. There’s loyal support and respect, and then there’s love. There’s a difference.

You might think it’s meaningless to compare Cotto and Trinidad, but you’re not a boxing writer! Hey, covering and comparing fighters and fights is pretty much what we do.

As for Margarito’s popularity in Puerto Rico, I don’t know where it stands in the aftermath of his hand-wrapping scandal, but I was there in 2004 when he fought Daniel Santos the second time and I can tell you that he was embraced by both the media and the fans – more so than Santos was – before and after the fight.

You’re right about Hugo Cazares not being liked that much in Puerto Rico. You also have about point about Jennings having a decision victory over Mehrdud Takaloo, who was a feared 154-pound contender in the UK eight or nine years ago. Of course, Jennings also has a loss to someone named “Young Mutley”.


Dougie! I have yet to figure out what days your mailbag comes out – every morning it like a game of Russian Roulette!

I have a question about Pavlik. I read 5-6 articles and interviews of Pavlik and his camp, and it seems there are 3 things they are saying:

1) Hopkins had an awesome night.

2) Pavlik was sick/had a bad elbow.

3) Their camp was too relaxed.

And then they go on and on about how they won't repeat the same mistakes. Maybe I am expecting too much of Kelly, but I actually won money on his Hopkins fight (wagered a whopping $5 on B-Hop) – don't they realize he is a one-dimensional fighter? Are they closing their eyes to Pavlik's giant weaknesses, and hoping to face the Mirandas of this world? Yes, Pavlik's speech is already pretty slurred, and it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, so with careful matchmaking and marketing, they can still cash out nicely. And obviously there are not a lot of B-Hops running around in the division.

But I feel like this was a real opportunity to add another dimension to Kelly's game – moving around the ring, better defense, etc – and they are blatantly refusing to do it.

It's just that there are not many times when you have a very good athlete having a chance to become truly great, and I hate to see wasted opportunities. – Boris (NYC)

I hear what you’re saying, but just because Team Pavlik has a few excuses as to why the middleweight champ was so ineffective vs. Hopkins doesn’t mean that they haven’t been working on the flaws he exhibited vs. the 43-year-old marvel.

They’re proud working class Midwesterners, Boris. They’re gracious in defeat, but don’t expect them to give everyone a rundown of Pavlik’s flaws or to admit that maybe they need some help training the young man. That ain’t gonna happen. Maybe that pride and stubbornness will hamper his development and ultimately keep him from being a “truly great” fighter, but even with the best trainers in the world, I’m not sure that lofty status was ever attainable. It’s not like he beat a “great” middleweight champ in Jermain Taylor (who I thought lost to Hopkins, Winky Wright and Cory Spinks). Pavlik’s a big, strong, technically sound linear fighter – meaning he’s formidable moving forward in a straight line. Pavlik has problems with lateral movement and with anyone with the impeccable technique and timing of Hopkins, who was also faster than him and had the strength to tie him up on the inside.

The good news for Pavlik is that despite Hopkins’ age, very few fighters will be able to do what he did last year. The bad news for Pavlik is that there are young middleweights and super middleweights who have the speed, talent and style to give him problems. But that’s not a bad thing for fans. Pavlik vs. Allan Green, The Dres (Ward and Dirrell) and even Contender alums like Jesse Brinkley and Sergio Mora should be interesting matches BECAUSE of Pavlik’s limitations. In the meantime, fights against aggressive boxers like Marco Antonio Rubio and John Duddy will also be fun to watch because of the blood and action they’ll undoubtedly produce.

Regarding the mailbag inconsistency, I apologize. I’m getting’ old, man. When I things conflict with my usual Sunday schedule as was the case a few weeks ago when I celebrated my sister’s birthday by attending a jazz concert or when I travel out of town (as I did this past weekend to do TV commentary on the Gilbert-Brinkley fight in Reno) I no longer have the energy to stay up all night to ensure the mailbag comes out on Monday. I’m doing my best to keep the Friday mailbag consistent.


Can I get a quick take on the Duddy-Vanda fight? I don't exactly favor Vanda to win, but the dude is +575!!! Both times I've seen Vanda in-person I've appreciated his effort. And seriously, what is Duddy? I was at MSG when he fought Walid Smichet; Smichet sliced Duddy up and won 8 rounds (the majority decision was comical). Is Pat Burns gonna make that big of a difference? Would it even be an upset if Vanda wins? I see this as a nice little payday… would really like your knowledge… thanks.

Keep doin' what you do Dougie. – Joe from Philly (now in Vegas)

The Duddy-Vanda fight is a tough call. Both guys went life and death with Yory Boy Campas. Both struggled with Anthony Bonsante, but Duddy had enough power to hurt and eventually stop “the Bullet” in a darn good scrap as I recall. Vanda got out-pointed by “The World’s Greatest Dad”.

If you want me to make a pick, I gotta go with Duddy. He’s physically stronger and he’s got good power in that hook of his. Plus, the fight takes place in New York City, his adopted home where he sells a lot of tickets. He’s got home court advantage. However, with those odds you might as well drop a few bones on Vanda. That’s good value.


I love this fight. I just can't see why Paul Williams would take it. If he wins, I'd be very impressed despite the long layoff by Winky Wright. Winky doesn't lose to just anyone; it took a crafty B-hop to give him his first ‘L’ in a long time, and that was at a higher weight. How do you see this fight playing out? Does the Williams camp know something we don't? As far as I can recall, Winky has never looked “old” in any of his fights. If Quintana can outbox Williams, then Winky should have an easier time. I'll take Wright by close but UD! – KC, NJ

That’s a good point about Quintana (a crafty southpaw) out-boxing Wright, but the Puerto Rican boxer is more mobile than Wright is and Williams just might have had a bad night. That fight also took place at welterweight, which P-Will may have outgrown. The Wright fight is at middleweight, which is one reason it’s so fascinating. I thought Wright looked very solid at 160 pounds, where he had two of his more entertaining fights (vs. Sam Soliman and Jermain Taylor).

Soliman got a lot of respect from the judges in a majority decision loss, while Taylor fought Wright to a draw. Both Soliman and Taylor earned points with the judges by being more aggressive or active than Wright, who boxed and fought in spurts. Perhaps that’s why the Williams camp is so confident about this fight. Williams is nothing if not aggressive and active in the ring.

But the true reason Williams took this fight is because he’s a real fighter.