Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag
Read on for fans' feedback on Cotto-Jennings, Pavlik-Rubio, their thoughts on Saturday's lightweight showdown between champ Juan Manuel Marquez and former unified titleholder Juan Diaz, and much more in this week’s MMMB. Enjoy!
I enjoyed the ‘What’s next?’ articles for Kelly Pavlik and Miguel Cotto. However, what do you think they will actually do and what did you really take away from their performances? Here are my thoughts:
I thought Cotto fought like himself. Whether his preparation or game planning have improved, that’s left to be determined. I like the idea of a Joshua Clottey fight. I think he poses the toughest test other than Shane Mosley right now. I also think Clottey would fight him and really gage where he is at right now. I would also root for a Mosley fight, but I doubt Mosley will fight again until the end of the year and I think Cotto should fight again in July or August.
As for Pavlik he did what he was supposed to do, but I want to see how he does against a boxer. I think Vernon Forrest is a good fight for him. He needs to address how to deal with smart boxers and Forrest is certainly that. I think he can beat Forrest though and he won't have the size/strength disadvantage that he had versus Hopkins (I don't buy the couple stories I heard this past week that he was sick or whatever I think B-Hops just thumped him).
Those are my thoughts as for where each fighter is right now. I think they are both close to where they were before. I just think Cotto was far ahead of Pavlik in overall skills. Keep on writin'. –
Cotto has always been ahead of Pavlik in terms of overall skills. The Puerto Rican is a versatile boxer-puncher, while the Ohioan is a heavy handed forward-marching grinder.
I like your ideas for their next opponents. In Clottey, Cotto will be in with an experienced titleholder who is in his prime and possesses the athleticism (equal physical strength and quicker hands) to really test him. In Forrest, Pavlik will face a confident veteran and four-time titleholder with superior skill, technique and ring generalship. Sergio Mora described Viper as a “little Bernard Hopkins”. We all know what Big Bernard did with Pavlik, it will interesting to see how he fares with Lil’ B.
As for what I think Pavlik and Cotto will actually do next, I think it’s obvious that John Duddy is being groomed for a shot at the middleweight champ. That’s most likely Pavlik’s next move. I’m not sure about Cotto. It makes sense for him to fight on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade in July, and I think Mosley (who might surprise you in his willingness to get back in the ring ASAP), Andre Berto and Kermit Cintron all make excellent B-sides for what has become Cotto’s annual Garden party.
Obviously, Mosley makes for the biggest event (something HBO, Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions could build into a pay-per-view attraction), but the “old man” also poses the greatest threat. Cotto-Berto is a terrific main event that I hope could be presented on HBO World Championship Boxing (not PPV). Cotto-Cintron is a Puerto Rican civil war in the tradition of Camacho-Rosario or Gomez-LaPorte that is intriguing because of the punching power both men wield.
COTTO & PAVLIK
Yo, those fights SUCKED! I'm glad I didn't pay for that s__t. They might as well have put Cotto in with a lamb. – pique212
Those who did come out the pocket for Bob Arum’s dual-city pay-per-view show didn’t get much competition for their $45.95, did they?
I think we had a pretty good fight weekend, starting with Friday Night Fights. Obviously, Yuriorkis Gamboa is always a must-see, and I also look forward to seeing more of Eris Lara.
On Saturday night, John Duddy seemed very calm in his approach and controlled the ring very well (up until the 10th round anyway).
As far as Cotto-Jennings, I personally saw what I wanted to see from Cotto. I realize that the caliber of opponent must be taken into consideration, but as the fight progressed I thought to myself, “Miguel Cotto still looks like Miguel Cotto,” at least in this first fight back. The question, of course, is what will wee see from him when he takes that step back up. But, he looked sharp, did his usual methodical work, cut off the ring and grinded Jennings down. Of the two names being mentioned as his next potential opponent, between Cintron and Clottey, which fight would you rather see?
With Pavlik-Rubio, I feel that Pavlik did what he could against a fighter who didn’t offer him much and wasn’t willing to engage. In a way, I think that a win in this fashion (though it wasn’t spectacular) may be better for Pavlik confidence-wise than a first- or second-round knockout, in that he was able to box, mix up his punches a bit and do some good work over extended rounds; not that there’s anything wrong with an early KO. I would definitely like to see Pavlik-Duddy, and though I would favor Pavlik I think it is definitely an interesting fight. Hopefully, we’ll get to see Pavlik-Abraham at some point. Thanks. – Jesse, New Jersey
Pavlik-Abraham is the most significant 160-pound fight that can be made. The winner of that middleweight showdown would earn a top-10 pound-for-pound ranking. Unfortunately, I don’t think Arum or Pavlik’s braintrust are going to pursue that bout; not when ‘the Ghost’ – coming off a one-sided loss – can sell out the Chevrolet Center against a Mexican middleweight. They can make decent-to-good money and draw huge crowds on the East Coast and Midwest fighting the likes of Duddy (who I give almost no shot to beat Pavlik), Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin and Ronald Hearns.
I agree that it was good for Pavlik to get some rounds under his belt long enough for him to think about his punch placement and switch up his offense a little bit. I liked the sneaky body shots he got in against Rubio.
I also agree that Cotto looked like his old self in systematically breaking down Jennings. As to who I’d rather see him fight next – Clottey or Cintron – to be honest I really don’t have a preference. Both opponents present Cotto with different strengths and weaknesses that pretty much even out. Cintron is taller and rangier with more power than Clottey, but the IBF titleholder has a tighter defense, quicker hands, a better chin and he might be a tad stronger.
Gamboa and Lara looked sharp for their combined minute and a half of action. Lara is still a pup at 4-0, but I’d like to see Gamboa in with a grizzled vet like Orlando Salido or Rogers Mtagawa, a fellow young gun with athletic gifts like Puerto Rico’s often over-looked Mario Santiago, or a dangerous spoiler like Cornelius Lock.
What are your thoughts on Juan Manuel Marquez's lightweight title defense against Juan Diaz? Marquez is the finest technician in the game right now, while Diaz is perhaps one of the best pressure fighters in the world. Common sense tells me Marquez outboxes Diaz in a fast-paced tactical fight, but I feel Diaz's sharp combination punching and pressure is all too wrong for Marquez. Keep up the good work at thering-online.com. Peace. – Jairus Florez, Albuquerque, NM
You and I have the same “feeling”, Jairus. Marquez is one of my favorite fighters and I can’t even express how happy I am now that he’s finally reached the pinnacle of the sport and getting the recognition for his skills and heart that he should have received 10 years ago had he been able to lure the likes of Barrera, Hamed and Morales into the ring at that time. So I’m worried for JMM. I hate to be biased for the “old man” (although I’ll admit that I am) and I mean no disrespect to Diaz. The former titleholder is like the perfect role model for up-and-coming fighters, but he’s young enough to rebound from a loss to a future hall of famer like Marquez. I fear if Marquez loses, he might never regain the momentum he’s earned in the past 24 months. Like you, I can see Marquez measuring Diaz from the outside all night and punishing him with uppercuts if the younger man is able to get past the jab and straight right, but I can also see the Baby Bull’s quickness, footwork, pressure and punch volume dragging the 35-year-old veteran into Houston hell.
It’s hard for me to make an official pick. I guess that’s why it’s such a good matchup and the reason I’m flying out to Houston to cover this championship bout from ringside. I can’t wait.
TWO QUESTIONS ABOUT FEB. 28
Dear Mr. Fischer:
2 questions re: HBO's Feb. 28th card:
1) Do you know what the over/under is on JMM/Diaz? From the chatter, it sounds like JMM is a significant favorite due to experience, effective punching, and momentum. I see Diaz being busier than JMM and less vulnerable than both Manny Pacquiao (who left himself open to JMM when going on the attack) and Joel Casamayor (who now fights in spurts and was too slow for JMM at the end of their fight). In short, I think Diaz is capable of setting the tone while avoiding JMM's awesome counter punching. If one is looking for an upset, this one may be ripe.
2) Do you know if the fights with Danny Jacobs and/or Danny Garcia will be televised? The Golden Child was my pick for 2008 Prospect of the Year. HBO has been good to him in putting him on cards, but he's ready for better competition and more airtime. I haven't had the opportunity to see Garcia yet. Thoughts? Best. – Matthew (NYC)
I have no clue what the odds are on Marquez-Diaz – the gambling side of the sport is like another world to me. I know a lot of folks who bet on boxing, but I’ve never done it myself and I seldom pay attention to the odds (probably because I often disagree with them). I see Marquez-Diaz as an even fight for the same reasons you believe Diaz can pull the “upset”. However, although the 25-year-old former unified titleholder is probably less vulnerable than Pacquiao and busier/more consistent than Casamayor, he’s not as explosive as the Pac-Monster and he’s not as crafty as the Cuban master. Diaz is more than a handful but Marquez also knows what to expect with him and we can best believe that the Mexico City technician will be ready to defend his title. Marquez is the consummate professional.
The Jacobs and Garcia fights will not be televised on HBO but I believe that you will be able to see the young guns in action on Yahoo! Sports’ “Y! Fight Night” on the boxing page. It’s a live, free internet broadcast of the undercard that is archived on the boxing page for a few weeks. (You can see the non-televised portion of the Cotto-Jennings undercard right now.) If for some reason the non-televised undercard of the Marquez-Diaz event is not broadcast on Y! Sports, I’ll see what I can do about getting the matches involving Danny Garcia and Daniel Jacobs for RingTV.com. How’s that sound? Am I a good guy or what?
I think Jacobs is a marvelous talent but I couldn’t tab him as my prospect of the year for 2008 because his opposition was so weak (Alfredo Angulo was my pick, if you’re curious). But at least Jacobs was kept busy. Towards the middle of this year, I’d like to see him take on a fellow undefeated prospect like Craig McEwan or Fernando Guerrero in a ShoBox or ESPN2 main event or co-feature, and if he’s successful and continues to look sharp, I’d love to see him in with an experienced fringe contender by the year’s end – someone like the winner of the up-coming Roman Karmazin-Miguel Espino match.
I'm going to the Marquez-Diaz fight. Being from San Antonio, TX my heart is with the Baby Bull but I just think Marquez is superior. I can see a late TKO. I hope I'm wrong. How do you see that one going? The Marquez brothers are some of my favorites, I was at R. Marquez-Vasquez II in Hidalgo, TX and it’s hard not to like their skill so I see a school lesson coming for the Baby Bull. Since Marquez continues to chase Pacquiao, he's out to make a statement. He'll prove that the number 2 PFP fighter in the world deserves to fight the number 1 PFP fighter in the world. Your thoughts. Best regards. – Roger
I’m as appreciative of Marquez as you are, Roger, but I’m not as confident that he’ll take Diaz to school. The Baby Bull is a college grad in real life and in the ring.
If I have to make a pick, I’m going with Marquez. I think he’s legitimately the second best fighter in the world next to Manny Pacquiao, who’s never beat the Mexican master on my scorecard (I had both their fights a draw). If Marquez does beat Diaz, I hope he gets that third shot at Pacquiao; or at Ricky Hatton if the Brit pulls off the upset in May.
DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE IN RENO
“ÔÇª 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.”
Hi Doug. I didn't know you were here in Reno last weekend for the Brinkley-Gilbert fight! Man, I wish I knew and could have met you in person and talked to you about some fights! I didn't even know that the fight was televised. I totally dismissed the fight (I'm not a Contender fan at all) and didn't care about it one bit. Anyway, if you get a chance to come to this town again, some drinks will be on me (well, I don't drink but I don't care.) Take care. – Naoki, Reno, NV.
I’m more than happy to get a cup of coffee with the fight fans I meet at live cards who aren’t drinkers, Naoki. I don’t drink as much after the fights the way I used to, anyway. I didn’t drink at all after the Jesse Brinkley-Joey Gilbert card (and I’ll explain why).
But first I guess I should apologize for not mentioning that I would be in Reno in a mailbag before I left. I never want to sound like I'm bragging about having some kind of big-time broadcasting career (cuz I don’t!). LOL. The show was actually pretty good; decent undercard bouts (and at least 5,000 fans were there from the start of the card, which is cool) and a one-sided but very bloody and dramatic main event. Brinkley put it on Gilbert, but Joey showed some stones by staying in there with his nose as badly busted as it was.
Bro, I got COVERED in Gilbert's blood (as did co-commentators Steve Munisteri and Sergio Mora). We were all trying to hide under pieces of paper whenever Brinkley got Gilbert along the ropes right above us. The production staff of the show would come by our area with napkins and wipe blood off our foreheads and monitors during the late rounds. It was crazy. Usually after a fight card I hang out and have a drink or two, but this time I went straight to my hotel room (at the Eldorado) and took a shower! There was so much of Gilbert’s nose gunk in my hair it looked like that classic scene from Psycho with all the blood was going down the drain.
Anyway, the fight card was not on live TV. It was taped for Fox Sports Net on select Comcast systems – and I think it will be on in your area soon. I'll try to find out from the promoters. But the next time Let's Get it On Promotions or TKO Boxing Promotions does a card in Reno, you should go. You'll have a good time.
COTTO CAPTURES TITLES, NOT HEARTS
Props to you man. That was an absolute joy to read. Hell of an article, man! Doug, I think that so many people are drawn to you and your work is because you're one of us; you're a REAL hardcore fight fan AND you're one hell of a writer! You are not one of these snooty writers who think they know everything and often talk out their asses and or bash boxing saying: “boxing is dead; their aren't any big names out there.” etc. Keep up the good work. – Louis in Chi-Town
I’m glad you liked the pre-fight article on Cotto. It rubbed some Puerto Rican fans the wrong way, but if they do a web search for my name and Cotto’s they’ll get years of columns and articles that prove how much I respect the three-time titleholder. Who knows? Maybe if he keeps at it and keeps winning or giving it his all, he’ll eventually win the hearts of the majority of Puerto Rican fans they way Tito and Bazooka did.
Thanks for the kind words. I’ll never make silly statements like “Boxing is dead” because I’ve been around too long and I’ve seen too much. I know better. The small Top Rank pay-per-view cards that I did last year and the other broadcast gigs I’ve had really opened my eyes to boxing’s popularity in various markets. I feel lucky to have had the experience.
The first TV commentating gig I had was in January of 2007. It was a Comcast tape-delayed card at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan that was being broadcast live on MaxBoxing. Rubin Williams-Antwun Echols was the main event of the TV and internet broadcast, but the ticket seller was female boxer May Jo Sanders. There were around 10,000 fans in that arena who had driven from all over Michigan but also Ohio and Indiana to watch a few fights that didn’t garner more than a ripple of coverage on the internet. The entire card was under the radar in terms of pre-fight stories written by “major” publications and web sites or in terms of message board buzz, and yet 10,000 made the trek to The Palace on a bitterly cold evening and paid to watch a has-been vs. a never-will-be battle it out to a 12-round draw and the daughter of Detroit football legend stop a journeywoman after two rounds.
After that show I witnessed 6,000 fans in Albuquerque make the noise of 12,000 for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Ray Sanchez III in December of ’07; I saw 18,000 pack a bull fighting coliseum in Aguascalientes, Mexico to cheer on Jorge Arce against a guy (Devid Lookmahanak) who probably is unknown in his native Thailand in May of ’08; I sweated my ass off while calling the action to Ivan Calderon-Hugo Cazares II surrounded by 8,000 Puerto Rican fans last August; and the weekend before last I got splattered with Joey Gilbert’s blood in Reno while 7,500 fans cheered on the more experienced crowd favorite Jesse Brinkley.
Chavez Jr. and Sanchez are considered “never-will-bes” (and rightfully so). Arce is thought to be a “has-been”. Calderon for all his skill and courage can’t buy his way on HBO or Showtime. And any “serious” boxing writer worth his salt believes that all of the alums of The Contender TV series are glorified club fighters (no matter what they do). And yet, the fans – the folks who matter; the ones who actually buy tickets – don’t give a rat’s ass. They pay their money and most of the time they are treated to good shows. All of the fights I mentioned were entertaining or compelling in some way, and the fans who attended those cards left happy. That’s how I know that boxing isn’t close to being “dead”.
Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]