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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag

30
Mar

GOOD WEEKEND OF FIGHTS

Zup Doug,
I think what Bob Arum sees is that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is not going to get any better so it’s best to cash out now while the iron is still hot. Chavez has been going life-and-death with unknowns recently, its just a matter of time before some unknown cat starches him. So Arum probably figures it’s time for him to step up and get paid. Better to get beat in a mega-fight than to get beat by an unknown. The same goes for John Duddy, it’s time they cashed out with him before he gets too busted up.

You're right, Ronald Hearns is out of the running and he was not a big payday anyway, just a big name. However, his fight with Harry Joe Yorgey was the best scrap of the weekend to me, four knockdowns in one fight. As Thomas Gerbasi said in his article on MaxBoxing, it seems Lou DiBella can't catch a break in Oklahoma! I'm not sure if Hearns is a Kronk fighter, but he holds his left hand low just like other Kronk fighters, and he got clocked with overhand rights – similar to Jonathan Banks and others. Not many cats get away with that style. Something else Hearns and Banks have in common, neither fighter knows how to hold when they are buzzed.

Both Fernando Montiel and Hunberto Soto looked sharp. Soto physically looks like a small Antonio Margarito a bit, but he has much better technique. Montiel looks like he would beat Vic Darchinyan to me, I love his short inside counters.

Andre Dirrell started good but slapped his way to another rather boring fight. I would love to see the two Andres (Dirrell and Ward) fight each other, or one of them step up and take on Allan Green. Dirrell seems faster but Ward seems to have a bit more of a solid foundation under him. I don't like Dirrell's running-with-his-hands-down defense, a faster boxer is going to catch him with his head up in the air.

I thought the Chambers-Peter fight was a typical Chambers chess match, with Eddie totally out-boxing the slow-footed Nigerian. But like you I wished Eddie would step it up with his punch output, he was starting to make me think he had that dreaded disease, Dominick Guinn Syndrome. Peace. — Steve

D.G.S. is a terrible disease for a talented young heavyweight to catch. I hope Chambers doesn’t have it. He got the job done against Peter so he’s in position for higher-profile fight where he can show us all that he can do more than jab, block and step to either side. He does that very well, but like my post-fight column stated, fans want more than that. Chambers knows this, which is why I’m hopeful that his next outing will be more impressive.

I think Dirrell does more than slap, at least in the early rounds. It looks like he can crack from where I’m sitting. He just stops turning his punches over after a round or two if he can’t whack his opponent out. I think Findley did nothing for him in terms of his pro development. Dirrell should be beyond fighting glorified club fighters at this stage of his career. He needs to be in with fighters who are going to force him to box a disciplined and technically sound fight and not just rely on his talent. I agree that a faster boxer is going to catch him with his head up, but how many fighters out there can exceed or even match Dirrell’s speed? Maybe Dre Ward, who I would favor if they were to fight.

I agree that both Montiel and Soto looked sharp Saturday. Both titleholders deserve to fight better opponents in higher-profile bouts. I’d love to see Montiel face either Darchinyan or Nonito Donaire, and I think those are toss-up bouts. If Soto can’t land a fight with one of the young 130-pound guns, Robert Guerrero or Jorge Linares, I think he would be a nice addition to the 135-pound mix and would make for a fun matchup with the winners of Valero-Pitalua or Katsidis-Chavez.

Ronald Hearns is a nice guy. He’s an intelligent dude with a lot of heart, but as far as boxing goes, he doesn’t have a fraction of his father’s talent. He’s a mediocre college basketball player wearing boxing gloves who happens to have a famous last name. In other words, he was perfect for Chavez Jr. No, Chavez Jr. wouldn’t have made a huge payday, but both sons of legends would have made nice purses had they fought before Hearns lost his goose egg. Trust me, those two would have sold a lot of tickets in certain markets. Maybe DiBella should have milked it a little more like Arum has done with Junior. Then again, if a kid can fight just a little bit, Yorgey should have been a relatively safe opponent. I don’t think Yorgey is that much better than Matt Vanda. Heck, maybe Vanda is better. I don’t know. But I do know this: It’s going to be tough for Hearns, at age 30, to rebound from this loss. If he wasn’t headed for a fun fight with Chavez Jr., I don’t know what the plan was for him, unless it was to eventually cash out vs. Kelly Pavlik (which would be a big fight in the Midwest even though most would realize that it’s a gross mismatch).

Anyway, I’m ready for Chavez-Duddy. I actually think they would make for a good scrap.

DARCHINYAN VS. MONTIEL

How likely do you think this fight is for sometime later this year? It seems like the logical next step for both guys. And who would you favor? — Porcerelli

Montiel has the speed, power, style, and technique to not only frustrate Darchinyan but also reach and hurt Armenian badass, but I slightly favor “the Raging Bull” because of his guts. He’s more of a fighter than the talented Los Mochis native, and he’s got underrated skills and timing. His unorthodox style might throw Montiel off.

CHAMBERS-PETER 'FNF'

Hi Doug! Love your mailbags!

Here's several things I thought about whilst watching Peter-Chambers, and the undercard.

1. Estrada and both the Molinas were in entertaining fights that seemed a tad too short (even though the tomato can John Molina was up against caught him flush with a few shots before imploding). Boxing fans should be treated to undercards consisting of evenly matched boxers, not prospects who may one day be relevant. Or at least throw in someone like Emanuel Augustus for entertainment value.

2. Sam Peter feels like James Toney sometimes – huge potential, horrible work ethic, weight problems. I think Peter had (notice the past tense) the raw talent to be a longer-lasting world champ, but essentially ate his way out of it. Friday night, he looked fat. And flat.

3. Eddie Chambers MUST have put money on winning it by decision, because his unexplainable approach to a tired Peter was beyond me. Chambers is to heavyweights what Shane Mosley is to Lightweights and Welterweights in terms of “otherworldly speed”. Why he didn't let his fists go more often (Friday night OR against Povetkin) baffles me.

4. ESPN tailored the commentary and the general presentation for newer fans, I thought. I liked that. Whilst their approach to things didn't teach me (a fairly hardcore fan) anything new, my dad (a newcomer to boxing) seemed to get a lot out of it, and he resolved to watch more fights. This is EXACTLY what boxing needs.

Thanks. — George

I enjoy watching young prospects develop even when they are just starting out. However, if they are going to be on television they should be in relatively tough. Estrada and Javier Molina both had well over 100 amateur bouts and both were Olympians. They should be able to handle better opponents than they fought Friday night. John Molina didn’t have many amateur bouts, but he was 15 bouts into his pro career going into Friday’s bout. He fought a solid guy last November when he was on ShoBox. He could have fought someone else Josh Allotey’s level. They didn’t need to put him in with a pudgy little sucker with a .500 record, although that fool did bring it in the first round. LOL.

Sam Peter “feels like” James Toney? I guess. Take away all of Toney’s talent and ring intelligence and just leave the sloth and you have two fat-ass birds of a featherÔǪ

If Chambers just doubled up more with that excellent jab of his and dropped more right hands behind it, snuck a left hook or a body shot in at least once a round, he could actually be fun to watch. He’s got a ton of talent and personality. All he needs is a little bit of thug in him and he can become someone U.S. fans will root for.

I covered the fight from the Nokia Theatre, which is a VERY nice venue, so I haven’t seen the ESPN2 broadcast, but I think Joe and Teddy always do an excellent job.

ENJOYABLE LATIN FURY

Dougie,
I enjoyed the Bobfather's card Saturday night. I know JCC Jr. is (DEFINITELY) no world-beater, but that was a real fun phonebooth scrap. Props to both dudes (though Junior should've been penalized for using his elbows so much). Also, the over/under on the Soto fight was 10 rounds!!! Against a 36-year-old T-Rex Davis!! Hmmm…..really?? The oddsmakers were clueless on that one. I cashed in pretty handily and thus have no regrets about buying the card.

The commentary was solid, too. Bernstein and Marotta are always insightful, and I thought Ms. Shea was also pretty good, though somewhat absent during much of the broadcast. That said, she was no D-Fisch! Where were you my man?? You are generally part of the broadcast team for many, if not most, of Arum's independent pay-per-view cards but I haven't seen you with the mic for a bit (I did catch the Brinkley-Gilbert fight). I thought you were really coming into your own on the Iron Boy-Cazares card…

And Dougie, I know I'm always bitchin' to you about bringing back the SoCal Notebook, so I obviously gotta say thanks for the slew of SCN-esque articles you've been putting out lately. It should be noted that you have a unique way of illustrating intense sparring sessions like no other, as perfectly exemplified by your recent piece on the Pac-Linares dual at the Wildcard. Thanks for that work Doug and keep it up.

Finally, I had a dream last night about Pacquaio-Valero. Have you ever had one of those? In the dramatized words of Jim Lampley, “OH MY GOSH!” Thanks. — Joe from Philly (now in Vegas)

I’ve been dreaming of a Pacquiao-Valero showdown for five years. It’s getting closer to it coming to fruition. The ‘V-nom’ just has to deliver this Saturday and then decapitate Amir Khan and/or David Diaz and it’s on.

Thanks for the kind words about the SCN-style gym stories and my commentating work. I’ll have more good stuff on Pacquiao’s sparring sessions later this week and in the weeks to come, and I’m happy to announce that I’ll be working the ‘Lightweight Lightening’ pay-per-view broadcast this Saturday with Barry Tomkins and Bernard Hopkins. I’m looking forward to calling the action with them. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

I thought Bernstein and Marotta were excellent as usual, and Shea kicked ass during the post-fight interview with Junior. She’s got a future in broadcasting. Aside from the commercial with mayor of Tijuana, I thought the show flowed well (which is typical of Rick Seara productions/independent Top Rank shows) and moved quickly from bout to bout (which is something the recent Khan-Barrera and Jones-Sheika PPV shows did NOT do). The fights weren’t great, but they were decent. The only question I would have asked on air is what the hell did Davis do to deserve a THIRD shot a world title?

THE LOSS OF MARGARITO

Hi. I'm a big Cotto fan, but as a boxing fan, I think that Margarito should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Plus, I think losing a fighter of Margarito's quality (toughness over talent) could be a huge loss for boxing. Just one question: How is it possible for a fighter to not know what is put in his hand wraps? Clearing up this issue could prove Margarito's integrity, or lack thereof. — JJ Dimalala, Philippines

I can’t clear up anything regarding Margarito’s integrity. Either you think he knew that his gloves were being loaded or you don’t. Most fans and boxing people don’t. I’m in the minority, but I freely admit that I like Margarito as a person and I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. There are boxing people who I respect (such as James Wimberly, the producer of Rich Marotta’s radio show and a former fighter, and Cotto) who say there’s no way Margarito wouldn’t have known and there are boxing folks I respect who say that it is possible for a fighter not to know (Emanuel Steward and Shane Mosley).

I think every fighter is different. Some people are sharp and aware of everything that’s going on around them and others tend to zone out.

All I can tell you is what I know about Margarito as someone who has watched him train for 10 years, and I think he falls into the latter category. He’s one of those guys who kind of goes into a trance when he trains. He puts his nose to the grindstone and goes as hard and for as long as Capetillo orders. He’s not the kind of fighter to complain or question anything his trainer does or asks of him. Now that could mean that if Capetillo wanted to do something dirty he would just go along with it, or not. It could mean that he was usually in the zone when it came time to getting wrapped up and prepared to fight.

The bottom line is that his trainer was loading up his wraps before the Mosley bout and he’s going to have suffer the consequences of those actions. We may never see Margarito in the ring in the U.S. again. Is it a loss for the sport? Yeah, it is a little bit. A record crowd turned out for the Mosley fight and those weren’t Sugar Shane fans filling Staples Center to its rafters. But the sport will move on. I bet there will be another Mexican ticket seller to take his place by the middle of next year.

LOADED CHIN, TOO?

Doug,
I am so sick of hearing about how Antonio Margarito's previous fights are coming under scrutiny. Remember, until Mosley blasted him out he had never been knocked down. For Cotto's jock huggers like Brian Kenny and Max Kellerman and the like to suggest that it was loaded gloves that did Cotto in is ridiculous. Remember, Cotto hit Margarito with all he had for the entire fight and Margarito took it all and still kept coming. Cotto was exhausted. What Margarito had a loaded chin too? Come on, now! Then there is Kermit Cintron and his act. He too hit Margarito with everything and Margarito just smiled at him and kept coming. There has to be something said for being psychologically tough too. There were more to those fights than questionable wraps!

Again, can questions be asked about the past? Sure, but lets not have selective memory and say that Margarito only won his fights due to some funny business with is hand wraps, which was never proven. He is a guy that is as hard as nails, with a chin as hard as cement. How did Joshua Clottey break his hands when he tangled with Margarito? He broke them on Margarito's grill and kept coming.

DO NOT mistake this message as condoning the actions of the Javier Capetillo hand wrapping scandal. I think his license was correctly revoked and if California wanted to ban his ass for life so be it. Margarito is another story. Here are my thoughts on how he should resurrect what is left of his career:

He needs to publicly denounce Capetillo for one–this he will not do. By all accounts he is a very loyal guy. Second, he can not fight for the year–if he does, he is finished for sure fighting in the US. Three, if he is not granted the ability to fight in the US after a year then he needs to move up in weight to middleweight and go on a world tour and fight Europeans and make a living that way, ie, Felix Sturm, rematches with Sergio Martinez and Daniel Santos. These are all fights that would do well overseas or in Mexico. Say good buy to the welters, though. Look at Margarito before the Mosley fight at the weigh-in he looked drawn and like a spent bullet. He looked weak. Moving up and fighting as a road warrior may be his only chance to regain any shred of a career and livelihood. — Javier in Chicago

I agree that some members of the media are going overboard with their condemnation of Margarito, but it should be expected and there are a few reasons for this. First and foremost what was done to his wraps was a reprehensible act. Mosley could have been maimed or killed if those inserts weren’t discovered by Naazim Richardson, so most boxing writers are going to be very emotional when they write about Margarito and his career. No. 2 until the Cotto fight Margarito was never really well received by the majority of the boxing media. The thought was that he was an average tough Mexican with good conditioning and that’s what most members of the fight press wrote and said about him. If anything he was a pain in the ass because of mouthy West Coast internet writers like Steve Kim and I. When many in the boxing media wanted to anoint Floyd Mayweather as the second coming of Sugar Ray Leonard, writers like Kim and I pointed out that “Money” turned down career-high bucks and even gave up cash to avoid the Mexican. This pissed a lot of East Coast and mainstream guys off. (I don’t know why, but it did.) However, despite setbacks like the Paul Williams loss, Margarito would not go away and he proved a lot of people wrong with the Cotto victory (including me). Let’s face it, most folks in this business hate to be wrong. So when Cappy got caught, it was like all the negative stuff they said about Margarito for years were suddenly proved right and their predictions for the Cotto fight no longer counted. And with the egos in this business, you had to know that they were going to say and write it over and over again that every recent Margarito victory is now in question if not null and void.

I tell you something else — and I’m probably the only boxing writer with the balls to admit this — the fact that MaxBoxing's “K9” was a big Margarito supporter only made things worse for the Mexican mauler when the s__t hit the fan. I’ve known Steve for years, I consider him a friend, and I have the utmost respect for him and his writing, but the Korean Hammer is not the friendliest person out there. He’s a brutally honest guy who calls things as he sees them and he’s got an attitude that rubs A LOT of fellow boxing media the wrong the way. Nobody will admit to this, but I think when Margarito took a fall, a lot boxing writers viewed it as a chance to get some digs in at Kim and thus they gave Margarito a few extra kicks on his way down, if you know what I mean.

Heck, I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. I’m sure plenty of fans have given Kim a ton of s__t since this whole wrap-gate began. (My guess is that it didn’t help that Steve wrote an article titled “Cheat-o Trinidad?” following Felix Trinidad’s hand-wrap scandal right after the Bernard Hopkins fight.)

Anyway, I have no problem with any fan or boxing writer questioning every Margarito victory prior to the Mosley fight as long as they put an asterisk by every win of Mosley’s prior to his rematch with Oscar De La Hoya. It’s only fair.

Personally, I find it hard to believe that a dimwit like Capetillo was able to consistently pull the wool over the eyes of supposedly experienced commission inspectors of California, Nevada and New Jersey for the past 10 fights.

But by no means am I disagreeing with anyone who thinks Capetillo and Margarito had tampered with the wraps before the Mosley fight.

The way Cotto’s face was busted up by the end of their fight makes me wonder if Margarito had the “special” gauze (the ones that Cappy mixed) in his wraps for that fight. I’d never seen Cotto chopped up like that before, but then again, I’d never seen him eat so many uppercuts before.

I don’t believe Margarito’s wraps were loaded for the Cintron fights. I don’t blame Cintron for thinking that they were. That’s only natural for a guy who’s used to knocking fools out and hasn’t lost to any other fighter. However, Margarito never really hit him with clean power shots in the first fight. Cintron mentally imploded in that one. There were more solid exchanges in the rematch but Cintron landed the hardest punches and his face didn’t cut or bust up at all. Cintron later said he’d never been hit like that before, which some folks see as evidence that the TJT had loaded mitts but when you go life-and-death with David Estrada and get stressed to your limits against Jesse Feliciano my guess is that Margarito is going to seem like King Kong.

Regarding Margarito’s future, I agree that he should just stay out of the ring for a year (he needs the rest) and then try to get reinstated in California. I don’ t think the CSAC is going to give him a break, but if they do, I think he can make for some good fights at welterweight or junior middleweight (Berto, Clottey, Angulo, and Kirkland would all be fun bouts). If he can’t get his license back, I think he’ll slowly drift out of our consciousness fighting the likes of a fat and faded Jose Luis Castillo and a shot Carlos Baldomir in Mexico. I don’t see him fighting anyone of not in Europe. They don’t need him unless they think he’s shot and even if he’s not faded I don’t think he can handle the size and style of those European-based middleweights. Even Felix Sturm, who stank it out (but still should have won vs. De La Hoya) would give Margarito problems with this stick-and-move, and switch-hitting tactics. Arthur Abraham would beat him up a lot worse than Mosley did. Daniel Santos will always be a difficult fight for Margz, and Sergio Martinez is a lot better than when they fought nine years ago.

Dougie can be reached at [email protected]

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