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Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag

Fighters Network
23
Mar

I received more emails on Bernard Dunne's dramatic KO of WBA 122-pound titleholder Ricardo Cordoba than I did for Klitschko-Gomez or Jones-Sheika, and rightfully so. The Irishman and Panamanian demonstrated what the sport is about far better than the higher-profile (here in the U.S.) “fights” did. Read on for fans questions and comments on Dunne-Cordoba and much more in this week's MMMB. Enjoy!

HOW DID RJJ LOOK?

Obviously even I didn't order that crap. How did Roy Jones look? Did he look better than in the past, or was it just that Omar Sheika is so far gone. From what I saw online, Jones was sharp and digging hard shots to Sheika and fought with passion and aggression I haven't seen in years. I think his dad put some work in for Roy in training camp that has him sharp and has his mind in a better state?

But, once again, I didn't really see it so you tell me. — JB



I thought Jones boxed Sheika with the style and violent precision that we used to see form him 10 years ago when he was drilling tough guys like Reggie Johnson and making it look easy. Of course, he didn't have Johnson or Virgil Hill in front of him. He had Sheika, who hasn't been active and obviously hasn't been anywhere near fighting weight until recent weeks. Sheika looked fat and flat, but he was able to take every single flush power shot that Jones landed (and homeboy landed A LOT). And although he was faster than most (if not all, save for Chad Dawson) light heavyweight contenders out there, he's clearly not as fast or reflexive as he was at the start of this decade.

If Jones wants to continue boxing, he appears to have the tools and conditioning to keep him safe and in the win column provided he fights the Sheikas of the world — and I would favor him over fringe contender or lower top-10 likes of Yusaf Mack and Chris Henry — but if he tries to take on Dawson, Bernard Hopkins or Glen Johnson, I won't give him much of a shot. However, if he keeps fighting lower-level opposition, I will happily ignore Jones. That awful pay-per-view card was a tremendous waste of my time.

If he goes for Dawson, Johnson or B-Hop, I might worry about him a little bit but I'll give him credit for taking the challenge (if they care to fight him) and I might give enough of a damn to actually write a pre-fight story on the future hall of famer.

STATE OF BOXING

Dougie,
Watching the Roy Jones and Vitali Klitschko fights last night I found myself once again disappointed and bored with boxing failing to deliver for the umpteenth time in the past year (not that I was expecting anything impressive from the Jones fight). I also found myself asking the same question I always ask after watching another lackluster night of fighting. What happens now? The heavyweight division is nonexistent and Roy Jones yet again showed that he's not what he used to be.

The Klitschkos are the only force in heavyweight boxing and rightfully hold all the relevant titles (I know there's a fourth belt out there somewhere but after the last bout for it I am sure I'm not alone in questioning the validity of the belt and its 'champion'), but surely isn't it time for someone to step up from the lower divisions and give one of these guys a decent fight? I'm not expecting a miracle or a fight of the year contender, but having exhausted the limited supply of heavyweight competition, I personally can't see any more options. The division needs rejuvenating in a massive way, and someone like Adamek could follow the likes of David Haye in stepping up, not necessarily permanently, to give these guys a fight. I'm not expecting too much from Haye, but I am expecting him to produce an entertaining fight, which is what the sport is supposed to be about. Where do you stand as far as future opposition for the champions from the cruiserweight division, and do you think this could be a viable option for a division with an otherwise grim future?

In regards to Jones, last night he showed glimpses that he still had something left in the tank. But by no means enough to warrant the title shot he was asking for after the fight. He talked about being willing to step up to heavyweight again, which worries me. We're not going to see a rerun of Ruiz, but at the same time I still find the prospect of him fighting Valuev in particular intriguing. If he can repeat his showing from last night it could make for a fun fight. Its not exactly smart for either party or for boxing, but I know Jones wouldn't turn it down if it was offered to him, and to be honest I cant see his title shot coming from anywhere else. Do you think he'll be given any form of title shot?

I know this isn't an even remotely intelligent view to have on these issues, call me a dreamer, but with the state of the heavyweight division and the lack of any real superstar power in the sport I find myself dreaming a lot. The sport needs class, entertainment and credibility, and at the moment the heavyweight division is seriously lacking. I have found myself more willing to pay to watch a UFC PPV than boxing on HBO, as I can guarantee entertainment and depth throughout the card and I won't be disappointed, I am losing faith in boxing rapidly. With superfights rare and failing to deliver, I'm not sure how much longer before I finally give up on the sport. Being from the UK I follow the British fighters avidly, and have continued to watch in part to the success of these fighters. But with Hatton-Manny, Haye-Vlad and Froch-Taylor all upcoming, I don't have high hopes. Do you believe any of the Brit's will prevail? Thanks. — Ross, UK

I'm not picking any of the Brits to win those fights, but I wouldn't count them out, and I'm fairly certain that all three will make for entertaining fights and give good accounts of themselves even in a loss.

I could comment on your “dream”┬Ø fights like Valuev-Jones (which I believe would be void of any action — like Jones playing “keep-away”┬Ø with a glacier), but I don't think I'm going to convince you that boxing is worth watching. I think you're already on your way to becoming a full-time UFC fan for a few reasons:

1. You are overly concerned with old fighters and the heavyweight division.
(Dude, why are you so caught up with Jones? He's 40. He had his heyday. It's over. It's been over. He's just stroking his own ego with these doo-doo pay-per-view shows, which is fine. I'm not mad at him, but I certainly don't tie the health of the entire sport to his ring success. Same deal with heavyweight division. Klitschko is 37 and doing damn well against top-10 contenders of this era, which I admit aren't going to remind anyone of Ron Lyles or Jimmy Young. But my point is that both Jones and Klitschko are no more than two years from being retired for good. And I think guys like Haye and Chris Arreola, while not as good as the Klitschkos and perhaps not even destined to win world titles, can inject the kind of action and drama that will rekindle interest in what was once the sport's glamour division. Who knows? Maybe Chad Dawson can do the same thing with the lightweight division, which he will take over by the end of this year.)

2.You're obviously a glass-half-full kind of fan.
(No offense, but if you have been “bored with boxing failing to deliver for the umpteenth time in the past year” and “more willing to pay to watch a UFC PPV than boxing on HBO” than you either live under a rock or you just like to gripe about the sport. So far in 2009, I'm seeing boxing from a FAR different perspective than you are. I've been thrilled with terrific action fights like Berto-Collazo and Marquez-Diaz, I've been shocked by dramatic upset performances like Mosley-Margarito and Dunne-Cordoba — which was also an awesome fight — and believe I've seen glimpses of a bright future with young guns like Victor Ortiz and James Kirkland. I can't wait to see Valero-Pitalua, Hatton-Pacquiao and Cotto-Clottey. And to be honest I can't believe you wouldn't mention these fights! How much of a fight fan were you to begin with? As a British fan, weren't you thrilled with Carl Froch's title-winning effort against Jean Pascal in December? Don't you have any faith in Hatton beating Pacquiao, or of Amir Khan developing into a real star? I guess this point leads me to:
3. Your passion in the sport is directly tied to the success of fighters from your country.
(That's OK. I think world-class boxers will always emerge from the UK and most of them will have loyal fans to follow them through the ups and downs that accompany most careers worth watching. The same thing can be said about any country in the world. Read the next few emails if you don't believe me.)

So I'm sorry to see you leave this sport, but I hope you enjoy future UFC pay-per-view shows as much as I have enjoyed watching boxing events this year.

BERNARD DUNNE

hi Dougie,
I'm not for a minute trying to claim Bernard Dunne as the best super bantamweight but he has to get props now. I don't know if you saw his fight vs. Ricardo Cordoba {get it on youtube} but it was unbelievable. As a 20 year old who has already spent 3 and a half years of his life in prison, Bernard has been my inspiration for the last 12 months when I have been free. I was in the O2 Saturday night and I cried when Bernard was presented with the belt. I cried even more when I saw my 4 year old TRYIN to shadowbox this morning. I just want you to tell Bernard how much we all love him and how much of an inspiration he is to us. Thank you so much, Bernard. — Tommy

I think Dunne knows how much he means to his fans, Tommy, but thank you for emailing me with your thoughts on the fight, which I have watched (all five parts of it) on YouTube.com. It was a compelling and dramatic 12-round battle of skill and will, another great fight in what is shaping up to be a great year of boxing.

I haven't seen Dunne in person since he was training at the Wild Card gym five or six years ago when he was still with Sugar Ray Leonard's now-defunct promotional outfit. But if I ever get the chance to meet him, I'll tell him about you and thank him myself for the amazing fight he put forth on March 21st.

EASTERN EUROPE ON A RUN!

Hey, Doogie!
I hope you are doing well. I was pleased to read your latest report on the FNF card from Laredo, Texas. It makes me think of what a wonderful weekend it was for Eastern European fighters. Vitaly Klitschko – knockout! Roman Karmazin – knockout! Denis Lebedev – knockout! Ruslan Provodnikov – huge decision. Wow, that was impressive. What are your thoughts on that?

My twenty cents are here. Vitaly isn't the #1 heavyweight in the world (his bro is) but he would have beaten Wladimir thanks to his durability and awkwardness. His fight with Juan Carlos Gomez was really bad in terms of excitement. Talk about stylistic nightmare. Gomez did slightly better than Sam Peter but the bout itself was very dirty with knee-kicks, head-butts and other stuff. Not to take anything from Vitaly though.

I'm worried Karmazin was floored by a shot fighter (Antwun Echols). Really bad I think. He is a good guy anyway and deserves his last big payday against Kelly Pavlik or Arthur Abraham I think. I really liked Provodnikov against Esteban Almaraz. We are very high on him in Russia. By the way he is PRO-VO-DNI-KOV not Pro-dni-kov. And he isn't Russian, he is Khanty or Mansi it seems. He is a fun to watch and he can be improved into a TV personality I think. Offensively he is ok. Defense needs to be improved. I also watched Lebedev stopping Eliseo Castillo at ringside on Sunday. Castillo said afterwards he was even better than Banks and by far. Keep a look at him.

Best wishes for you and your Family! — Alex, Moscow

Thanks for your 20 cents, Alex. Nice to know RingTV.com has readers in Russia.

I think Klitschko turned in a typical Klitschko performance. Effective but not exciting. I agree if they ever fought, Vitali would whup on little brother because of his better chin and seemingly stronger fortitude. I know they'll never fight each other, but maybe we can get the two to play a game of one-on-one basketball with the three heavyweight titles up for grabs just for the hell of it. Maybe we'll get lucky and Wladdy will accidentally elbow Vitali, who I think has a bit of temper, and a bare-knuckle fight will break out on the court. My money's on Wlad to win the basketball game, Vitali to win any skirmish that might occur.

I think Karmazin is at the end of a solid career. I also hope he can get a final payday, if not against Pavlik or Abraham (which he really doesn't deserve) than against a fringe guy who would make for a good fight like Jesse Brinkley or John Duddy.

I believe PRO-VO-DNI-KOV is the “truth”┬Ø in terms of being a prospect worth watching. Freddie Roach told me a few weeks ago that he was kicking everyone's ass from lightweight to junior middleweight at the Wild Card gym. I can't wait to watch him spar with Manny Pacquiao in a week or so.

I can't comment on Lebedev. I've never seen him fight, and I don't know what to make of his fifth-round stoppage of Castillo, who hasn't fought since he was knocked out by Banks back in 2006. I have no idea what kind of shape — physically or mentally — the Cuban was in this past weekend. However, I'll keep a look out for his name. Thanks for alerting me. The cruiserweight division is quickly turning into one of the best in the sport.

IRISH PRIDE

Hi Doug,
Glad to see you did the write up on the Dunne fight in Dublin at the weekend. I am Irish but living in the UK and fortunately have been able to follow Dunne's fights via the live broadcasts on RTE, which can be accessed for free from anywhere in the world. Great fight and a surprising, but ultimately satisfying outcome.

Just wondering why in the build up to this fight you guys never really mentioned it, nor the fact that it would be broadcast worldwide at no cost, while the Jones PPV was $30? It's unusual that any TV company would broadcast online like this and hopefully it is the way forward.

Also, what an atmosphere – they have been starved of a big name in boxing since the Steve Collins days so it's fantastic to see Irish boxing is looking far more promising now with names like Bernard Dunne, Andy Lee, Andrew Murray (new European champion), John Duddy, Olympic medallist Darren Sutherland & Martin Rogan (won prizefighter and since then has beaten Audley Harrison and KO'd Skelton) all making waves on this side of the world.

Really looking forward to the Froch-Taylor fight. I have been following Froch for years and although his macho talk may not suit everybody, he means what he says and so far he has always backed it up in the ring. The fight with Pascal in December was amazing, even if it did show up a lot of Carl's flaws in leaving his chin out. Should be fireworks next month and it's about time he has got some recognition and a big name fight.

For anybody who missed the Dunne fight, it can be assessed at the below link, would be great if you could share it with your readers – worth it to experience the very different atmosphere of a fight in Ireland (not to mention the hysterical commentary a times).

http://www.rte.ie/sport/audiovideo.html

Thanks. — Paul

Thank you, Paul. I'm more than happy to share RTE's link with your fellow mail baggers. That was indeed one hell of a fight. I'll say a prayer for Cordoba, who I hope is out of the hospital and doing well. If anyone has any information on the Panamanian veteran, please let me know.

As for the lack of coverage of Cordoba-Dunne on RingTV.com, I have no answer for you. We simply dropped the ball and got WAY too caught up in the hype of a heavyweight title fight that we should have known would be an ugly matchup of styles and a terrible pay-per-view card headlined by a 40-year-old future hall of famer who happens to be an egomaniac.

In the future, I'll try to keep my finger on the pulse of major international fights that look to be good matchups, although to be honest, if someone would have emailed about my thoughts on Cordoba-Dunne (and nobody did, by the way) I would have told them that the Irishman didn't have much of a shot.

But that's why I love boxing so much. You can never count out the heart of a true fighter. Dunne was KTFO in one round by Kiko Martinez in 2007. He hadn't looked great before or after that devastating loss, but look at him now. He's the toast of Irish boxing. My hat's off to him. He showed giant balls getting out of the fifth round and I don't know how he took all those body shots from Cordoba late in the fight (particularly the 10th round), but the way he finished the fight let everyone know that he's a deserving titleholder.

I'm expecting a damn good 168-pound title bout with Froch-Taylor. I think the former middleweight champ will take the bout with his superior athleticism and experience but I don't think he'll have his way with Froch who will push him as hard as Pavlik did in their rematch.

THE JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION

I hope you saw the Dunne-Cordoba super bantamweight fight on Saturday night. It was a fantastic back-and-forth action fight that's definitely a fight of the year candidate for 2009. I'm excited about some of the big possibilities in that division now. I think we need to beat the drum to get fights like Juanma Lopez vs Celestino Caballero, Vazquez-Marquez IV, and perhaps Dunne-Darchinyan (I've heard that Vic is entertaining thoughts of moving up) made.

What is your opinion of these matchups? — gopal rao

I think those potential 122-pound matchups are terrific fights. When the top contenders of the lighter-weight classes are matched together fans are seldom disappointed. I doubt we'll see Lopez-Caballero. Top Rank is looking to make that kid the new star in Puerto Rico and Caballero is just too damn difficult and dangerous, although if you ask me, I think JuanMa can beat the beanpole unified titleholder. Who knows? If Lopez can beat Gerry Penalosa in impressive fashion maybe Top Rank will make the fight. I hope so.

I know Vazquez-Marquez IV would be a great fight but I don't mind not seeing it. I'm afraid of how much those two warriors will take out of each other in a fourth match. The question is how else are they going to make real money? Maybe Vazquez could step up to 126 pounds and face the winner of the proposed John-Juarez rematch. I'm sure HBO or Showtime would be interested in that fight. Perhaps Marquez could get a shot at Dunne.

Dunne-Darchinyan? I like it! I like it a lot. Why not? If Darchinyan beat Agbeko (no easy task) and can't get a fight with either Vazquez or Marquez I would imagine that Dunne is the safest 122 pounder with a name. (Then again, Vic isn't known for playing it safe.)

GOMEZ & LINARES

If the Black Panthers of the '70's fought like Juan Carlos Gomez did against Vitali Klitschko, water fountains would still be segregated. I know Gomez was the truth at cruiserweight for awhile but he fought like a guy who didn't have a clue.

A guy who DOES have a clue is my good friend Jorge Linares. I was glad to read your excellent article on the gym war between him and the Pacman. It was like I was almost there at ringside. — Joseph

Thanks, Joseph. I felt privileged to allowed to sit in and observe Pacquiao work his craft with such a talented up-and-comer and honored to be able to share it in the form of a column with my fellow fight fans.

That's a good line about Gomez. He talked the talk but he didn't walk the walk. Few can against Big Brother. I give Klitschko credit for knocking out a top-10 contender with a difficult style.

PACQUIAO-LINARES SPARRING COLUMN

Dougie, that was one of the most enjoyable boxing reads I've had in a very long time – perfect way to start a Friday. Brilliantly written, it sounds like a helluva thing to see – gym wars at the Wild Card. Cheers. — Ponch

I'm glad you liked it, Ponch. It was one of the most enjoyable sparring sessions I've watched in a very long time. I'm looking forward to watching more of the PacMan in with the likes of Urbano Antillon and the young Siberian tiger that just fought on ESPN2 and still has fans raving.

PRO PRODNIKOV

Dougie,
All I have to say is that Ruslan Prodnikov is on the list of guys who will be fun to watch. He's like a Darchinyan / Tszyu hybrid. — J in FLA

That's a hell of a combination. I think he looks more like Tszyu (in terms of his style and his looks). I met him at the Wild Card gym a week before his outing on Friday Night Fights and I can tell you that he is a very nice and humble young man.

PRODNIKOV REMIND YOU OF ANYONE?

Dear Mr. Fischer:
Starting at 140, highly focused, good speed and power, relentless stalking but with good movement, and incredible left hook to the body: Ruslan Provodnikov remind you at all of a young Miguel Cotto? — Matthew, White Plains, NY

Yeah, now that you mention it, he does.

POTENTIAL FIGHT OF THE YEAR

Hey Doug-
Love your mailbag and all your stuff, Ringtv.com has become my first stop over coffee every morning. Nice work!

This is my first time writing and I'll keep it quick. Here's my suggestion for a guaranteed fight of the year type fight between to B-level fighters who need a big win: Edison Miranda (who got a win
this weekend) vs. Sakio Bika.

Wow! While neither is likely to ever win a belt, this would be a bombs-away, make you think of Mathew Saad Muhammed type of fight between two big, strong, defense challenged guys who like to fight rough and throw those crazy looping shots. LOTS of crazy looping shots.

I think Bika takes it between the 6th and the 10th in a heart stopper. Both guys need a signature win! Somebody make this fight! — Chris, NYC

I agree with you, Chris, this would be a hell of a fight, and I think the winner would have an easy time getting a title shot at either the winner of Froch-Taylor or Lucien Bute. Either slugger would provide a real test for the Dres (Ward and Dirrell) who are still relatively untested.

I also agree that Bika would prevail. Although Pantera is the harder puncher, I think Bika's physically stronger, possesses a better chin, and has improved technique thanks to help of recent trainer Pepe Correa.

YOUR RINGTV ARTICLES

Dougie,
I have always thought about writing to you to just let you know that I truly respect the work you do. Your articles always help supply me with a much needed break during the work day. Also I hope the “Ringtv” knows how fortunate they are to have you. I followed you from Maxboxing to the “Ringtv”, and now the “Ringtv” is my new source of boxing info. Anyways, I just want you to keep up the good work and keep it real like you always do. What finally made me write to you was that while reading your mailbag I totally loved and agreed with your statements: “If Mayweather adds to the excitement, he├óÔé¼Ôäós more than welcome back. If not, screw him and screw his nut-hugger fans and any star-f__ker network executive who tries to push him onto real fans.” Well I'll cut this now but thanks for all the articles. Regards. — Edgar M.

Thanks for writing in with your appreciation, Edgar. I want you to know that I do what I do for fans like you.

Dougie can be reached at [email protected]

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