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Dougie’s FAT Friday mailbag

10
Apr

TO THE LEFT

You ever notice how left handed fighters stick with their trainers? Winky Wright with Dan Birmingham, Paul Williams with George Peterson, Manny Pacquiao with Freddie Roach, Marvin Hagler with the Petronellis, Pernell Whitaker with Lou Duva. Is it just me?

Doug, I wanna get your take on this weekend’s fight between the lefties, I’m pretty sure your picking Williams based on his punch output, youth, height, reach, and recent knockouts.

Call me crazy, I think the Wink is gonna walk Williams down. Williams throws a lot of punches but they aren’t that hard, Wright has a great defense and has been in against much harder punchers, he has good hand speed and accuracy, solid jab, he’ll walk Williams down and win a decision unless the judges score for Williams just based on more punches thrown.

Have a good one. — Steve, Montreal

I never thought about all those southpaws sticking with the same trainer, but you have a point. Interesting. By the way, it was George Benton who did most of the training with Sweet Pea. Duva just worked the corner with Benton. And you can add Chris Byrd and his father Joe to that list.

You are correct that I am picking Williams to out-work and out-point Wright in what I hope is a brisk and interesting contest. I understand why anyone would go with Wright. The Winkster has never really been decisively beat. He doesn’t do a whole lot but what he does do — jab, block and counter — he does very well. He’s also one of the toughest fighters of the past decade.

You don’t think P-Will’s punches are that hard? Really? How do you know? Have you sparred with him before? His punches look pretty hard from where I’ve sat at his fights.

I agree that Wright has been in with harder punchers, but few fighters are as busy as Williams is. P-Will’s hand speed is pretty good too. And although Wright is great at catching punches on his gloves and forearms that doesn’t mean he’s a defensive genius. Look at the scar tissue around his eyes and nose. Punches get through. He’s got underrated toughess, so he can take them, but they do get through.

CHRIS ARREOLA

Mr. Fischer,
Thank you for your article on Chris Arreola. I'm with you on this one, I am tired of broadcasters making an issue of his weight. Just let me watch the fight without too much criticism of the fighter's belly. Every time Chris has fought, I have been entertained. I don't watch boxing to see six packs, I watch to be entertained. You know that Chris will press the issue at several points in the fight, gotta love that.

Although I think he can work on some of the finer points of the Sweet Science, I do not see him as a flawed fighter, just a fighter.

I think broadcasters and journalists give him a hard time because there is so much hope for him, he's America's hope. If there were five or six other American contenders ahead of him, I do not think his weight would be an issue. I think people give him a hard time because they think he can be a champion, maybe even THE champion, and bring excitement back to the heavies. While I agree with your point of enjoying his performances, I (and I suspect along with fans, broadcasters and journalists) do not want to see his potential wasted.

Thank you for your time. — JT

I’m glad you liked the column, JT. It was fun to write, just like watching Arreola fight. I don’t know if I buy that broadcasters and journalists criticize Arreola because they have “so much hope” for him. I think some see a little potential in him, but most just want something to say about him so they can sound like “experts”. They’re not familiar with any other aspect of his style or talent. They can’t see that he’s got pretty quick hands for a big man. They don’t notice that quick counter left hook in close or from mid-range that sets up almost all of his knockouts. They don’t believe that he can move his head or stick and move if he needs or wants to (and I’m telling you and everyone else that he can). So they talk about his weight.

That’s fine. I’m just letting everyone know that I’m tired of talking about it. It’s a boring subject and it really shouldn’t be made into the central storyline about Arreola because he’s not a boring fighter or a boring personality.

You say critics give him a hard time because if he won a world title he’d bring excitement back the heavyweight division, but I think he’s doing that right now without a belt. Arreola doesn’t need a belt to get fans excited. (Besides, as chunky as he’s been lately, what belt would fit around his waist?)

ARREOLA'S ENABLER

Doug-
Can't you see that you are ENABLING Arreola by writing such an article? He's the best American heavyweight we have, and you're saying, “So what if he doesn't do his roadwork?”

You are REINFORCING his laziness. You're giving him a PASS. If he got in solid shape, he'd be the best in the world apart from the Klitschkos…and if he was in absolute tip-top condition, he might even be able to get to Wladimir.

But that's not going to happen as long as media people like you let him off the hook… Respect. — CB

Oh come on! First of all, I’m the only boxing writer who is saying that he doesn’t care what Arreola weighs. So it’s not like the media is clamoring for Chris to weigh in at 280 pounds today. Second, if Arreola is the kind of guy who reads one column and decides that gives him a “pass” to slack off more than he already has in recent fights then he’s clearly NOT the best American heavyweight out there and he was never destined to be a champion anyway.

Dedication to their craft is what sets champions apart from other fighters. There are a lot of tough and talented boxers out there but it’s the fighters with the will to focus on their goals and constantly improve their craft that climb their way to the top. Whether or not Arreola possesses that kind of discipline remains to be seen, but it’s not going to matter what anyone writes about him. He either wants it bad enough or he doesn’t.

He has to tell himself to get up and do roadwork, not his trainer, not his manager, not his promoter, not fans like you and certainly not me or any other boxing writer.

The point of my column was that I’m tired of saying he should do this or writing that he shouldn’t do that. I’m just throwing my hands up and accepting that, for now, he is what he is and that’s an exciting heavyweight who’s fun to watch and talk to.

HEAVYWEIGHT GATTI

The Arreola article was on point . I for one would love Chris to come in in shape and be the guy to bring the Heavyweight title back to the US and ESPN, but if all we get is a “Heavyweight Arturo Gatti” we should all be some delighted MF'ers. Regardless of whether he's victorious or not I’ll be watching because I love boxing, but I especially love a good fight. — Jesse, Ft. Worth, Texas

Damn straight, Jesse. Consider me one delighted MF whenever Arreola fights.

GREAT BROWN HOPE

Hey Dougie,
First of all I wanted to congratulate you on last week's broadcast, it's great to see your career continue to grow. Also, thank you for writing about what people actually care about, Chris Arreola and not his weight. Whether or not Chris ever wins a world title I don't know but I would rather see a fat, funny, charismatic Chris than a leaner, boring Chris. Honestly as a 24-year-old Mexican American I find that Arreola is our great brown hope. He has the opportunity to make history and most importantly be recognized among the Mexican fan community as the Mero Mero during this drought of Mexican champions. If these so called boxing experts would spend 15 minutes of their time with Arreola after one of his wins I believe they would better understand him, and his personality. Well, lookin' forward to Saturday and remember, it ain't over till the fat man wins. Later. — Jerry from Wasco

And even if the fat man doesn’t win it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s over. If Arreola goes down and stays down I’m sure it will be in spectacular fashion. He’s definitely the type of hombre to go out on his shield. But at 28, he would still have time and youth to bounce back. And who knows? Maybe a loss will make him work harder and come back even hungrier.

However, for the record, I think Arreola will beat McCline. I think he’ll look pudgy as f__k, but he’ll get the job done.

WEEKEND FIGHTS

Sup Dougie,
Glad to finally meet you in the ATX at Lightweight Lightning! The event was a blast and I gotta start going to more boxing events. Your “son” looked phenomenal by the way. The Michael Katsidis and Vicente Escobedo fights were both exciting. I felt bad for Julio Diaz, who suffered yet another bad break in his career. He always seems to suffer setbacks at the worst possible times, and this one may have cost him his career as a meaningful fighter. If possible, he should try to rematch Rolando Reyes to avenge the loss. Diaz is a much better fighter than what we saw, and I believe he wasn't up for the fight after he was preparing for a bigger fight against Casamayor (the fact that he was sparring southpaws in camp didn't help).

Who do you favor between Wright and Williams? Wright has been gone almost two years but he's solid as hell while Williams has never fought a legit middleweight other than his one round blowout over journeyman Andy Kolle. Take care and keep up the good work! — Will

There’s nothing quite like watching live world-class boxing, eh? That was a great atmosphere. I hope Golden Boy Promotions, and other promoters, take more shows to Texas.

I also felt bad for Diaz. He was definitely down about not facing Casamayor and mentally distracted going into to that fight, but that’s no excuse. I give Reyes full credit for his victory and I’m happy for him. I don’t think there’s enough money or interest in a rematch for that fight to happen. I think Diaz should go up to the 140-pound division and see if he can take on a hot young prospect like Devon Alexander or challenge a fellow former lightweight vet like Nate Campbell in what I think would be a very interesting fight.

I know Williams is unproven at middleweight and Wright looked very good at 160 pounds a few years ago, but I’m sticking with my pick of P-Will. I think it’s his time to shine.

CONGRATULATIONS

Mr. Broadcaster, how goes it?
This past weekend was awesome for boxing fans. First the PPV card that was worth every cent spent. Then Bradley vs. Holt, and lastly Edgar Sosa vs. Pornsawan Porpramook.

What a Saturday night. Next to Edwin Valero I think the biggest winner was YOU! What an incredible experience for you, too be able to call the action and interview the one man you've long supported and believed in, and to be part of his first major US television appearance. It was almost like you got to introduce Valero not just via internet but via television. Plus you never choked. You kept a good composure and you have arrived at a professional level in broadcasting. Congratulations.

Is Edwin aware and appreciative of your strong support?
How hard is it doing live television?

Ok, I may be in the minority but I don't want to see JM Marquez take on Valero. C'mon, the dude just fought Pacquiao, Cassamayor, and Diaz (the best Diaz) now people want to see him take on this beast. I feel Marquez deserves an easy outing while he waits for Hatton/Pacquiao winner or Mayweather. Those fights give him a well deserved payday. I feel bad for even suggesting this but a fight with come-backing Erik Morales @ 135lbs. in Mexico City or Tijuana would be a huge event in Mexico and would give Marquez a much less risky payday than the former fighters I mentioned.

As far as Valero's next opponent, I’d like to see him vs. Amir Khan, Michael Katsidis, or Joan Guzman or better yet settle the feud between Valero and Jorge Barrios in a grudge match.

Cant wait to see Valero fight again. Hopefully we won’t wait too long.

Wright vs. Williams: a bunch of buddies and I were going to see that fight live at the Nokia, till they moved it to Vegas. Guess I'll settle for “couch-side seats” (as, Gabe Montoya calls it) LOL. Peace out. — Jorge, San Diego

I’ll be sitting couch-side for Wright-Williams, too. I’m not making the trip to Vegas for this one. I’m a little burned out from my trips to Reno, Houston, San Jose and most recently Austin this year.

Thanks for the congratulations. I guess it was a big deal to do that show. I was so focused on being healthy for the show (I was getting over a cold the week of the card) and not f__ing up that the memories of the evening are only now settling in. It was a special night. Valero being in the main event versus a tough hombre that more than a few “experts” predicted would beat him obviously made it personal for me, but I also had heart strings attached to two guys who lost that night: Carlos Hernandez and Julio Diaz. I covered most of Famoso’s career and all of Diaz’s career. Working along side Barry Tompkins and Bernard Hopkins was an absolute thrill. I hope we can do again.

Valero and I are not that close, as in friends, but he knows I’ve believed in his ability since he was an 8-0 prospect and he told me how much appreciated that support in training camp a couple of weeks before the fight. It was a little surreal interviewing him in the ring after the fight, but definitely one of the top five moments of my career in boxing journalism.

Doing live TV can be stressful during the on-camera stand ups and especially in the ring after a fight because of all the commotion and chaos, but it’s also exhilarating when there’s a good fight taking place right in front of you (like Hernandez-Escobedo), shocking results (like Reyes KOing Diaz) and sudden endings (like Valero blasting Pitalua). Even when there’s a lack of action in the ring, it’s fun to do the call from ringside when your co-commentators are veteran broadcasters or former champions.

I understand where you’re coming from regarding a Marquez-Valero showdown. JMM has paid enough dues, now he’s due some pay. I hope he gets the winner of Hatton-Pacquiao. That’s what I’m going to push for and I hope fans back me on that. I don’t care to see Marquez-Morales. That fight won’t do a thing for JMM’s legacy and it won’t be good for El Terrible’s pride or health.

As for Valero I think he should go straight for Joan Guzman. He’s not going to get Marquez, Hatton or Pacquiao in the ring anytime soon, and if he fights and KOs anyone else in the lightweight division all the critics will say “So what?” (and that includes bigmouth Barrios), so Guzman, who is an undefeated former two-division titleholder with a good chin and excellent defense, is a perfect challenger for the new WBC beltholder. Guzman is desperate for a significant fight and he’s recently begun working with Valero’s promoter, Top Rank, which will probably set up an eventual showdown. If Valero does what nobody else has and beats — or stops — Guzman, he might finally get a little credit for one of his victories.

By the way, Valero is scheduled to headline a July 25 “Latin Fury” PPV show that Guzman might be on if he takes care of biz vs. Michael Lozada (one of Valero’s first-round KO victims) on a May 16 Azteca America show.

VALERO IS GARBAGE

Dougie,
I can't believe people are buying the hype on Edwin Valero. I am glad I got see him live because it convinced me of just how much garbage he really is. Yes he has power. Yes he makes for exciting fights. But he is garbage. He has his chin up in the air and throws punches from his hips. And considering the stories we've heard from his training camps, these problems will more than likely not be fixed. When he comes across an actual boxer, unlike the 25 chumps he has faced, he will be exposed bad. — Raymond

I’m glad you feel that way, Raymond. I think your opinion is way off but you’re certainly entitled to it. The truth is, I don’t want everyone jumping on the Valero bandwagon. The more skeptics he has the more entertaining his fights are for me.

I see all the technical flaws that you see, but I also know from watching him in the gym (where he looks great) and knowing what an exceptional and well-conditioned athlete that he is that 99% of the fighters he faces — regardless of their experience, skill and toughness — are getting KTFO.

Yeah, his chin is in the air and his hands are down, but there’s this thing called hand-eye coordination — there’s even foot-eye coordination — and Valero has both. He’s also got fast hands, quick reflexes, and of course, bone-breaking power that can end a fight at any moment. These attributes, along with his dedication to training and warrior spirit, are going to make up for his technical deficiencies more often than not.

But please don’t take my word for this, and never mind that veteran trainers like Ken Adams and Joe Hernandez — who have been in boxing longer than your momma and daddy have been alive — say that Valero is the truth. Never mind that trainers who have put their fighters in the ring with Valero like Roberto Garcia, Rudy Hernandez and Henry Ramirez say that Valero will beat everyone at 135 pounds.

You just keep on believing that Valero is “garbage” despite the fact that he’s won world titles in two weight classes against fighters who were ranked in THE RING’s top 5 of those divisions (Vicente Mosquera and Antonio Pitalua). And be sure to go on record with your thoughts and opinions on every message board that will have you.

I read them all, and although I’m not the kind of guy to rub it in when I’m right and others are wrong, I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t enjoy witnessing know-it-alls like you eat their words when it comes to my “son”.

WANT THE TRUTH? VALERO WILL GIVE IT TO YOU

What’s up Doug,
That boy is a fu$$ing beast!! I remember you writing about him 6 years ago on Maxboxing, ever since I’ve been dying to see him fight live (and finally I do, ironically enough with you as a commentator). He may need to tuck the chin a little bit, but I don’t think he felt it was necessary to do so. It was an easy fight for him and he knew it. The thing I loved the most was the distance he put in between himself and Pitalua. Pitalua had the reach on him, but Valero positioned himself perfectly, JUST out of Pitulua’s reach and he can move in and out so quickly there wasn’t much Pitulua could do about it. Valero has the speed, power, heart and determination (you can see it in his eyes while he’s fighting) to carry him a long way. If he keeps those four attributes at peak level, he won’t need to improve his technique that much. And if he does improve that technique, wellÔǪ.It’s like my boy LL said in the song Can I Bust “crossover, slam dunk, game over” Peace out. — Mark, Orlando FL

Thanks for the email, Mark, and thank you for this observation:

“The thing I loved the most was the distance he put in between himself and Pitalua. Pitalua had the reach on him, but Valero positioned himself perfectly, JUST out of Pitulua’s reach and he can move in and out so quickly there wasn’t much Pitulua could do about it.”

You reminded me that all hardcore fight fans aren’t uneducated negative-minded blowhards. You saw beyond the obvious — crazy power and poor technique — and caught the subtle genius of a very special talent.

Bravo!

RING MAGAZINE LIGHTWEIGHT RANKINGS

I just wanted to email you and really question the validity of the ring magazine rankings. I find it extremely disturbing that a card full of young bucks, who in my opinion are really unproven before the Lightweight Lightning card, are able to completely upend the lightweight rankings. Even more disturbing to me is the “coincidence” that this complete reshuffling of the division came right after a Golden Boy “extravaganza” that would determine lightweight supremacy. I mean, come on… Most of the guys who have led the rankings of the division didn't even fight. No Marquez (new but his spot is completely legit), Casamayor, David Diaz, Juan Diaz. Who did they really beat? I'm sorry, but I really lost a lot of respect for you for writing this article and for the magazine for turning the historically unbiased, respected Ring “magazine” into the puppet of Richard Schaefer and Golden Girl De La Hoya.

It's disgusting… it really is. Consider this the last time I read the magazine or visit the website. Maxboxing's off the list too. Never thought I'd see the day ya sold out, brother. — Larry

Lighten up, Larry. You’re seeing things that aren’t there. (You and Raymond aren’t buddies, are you?)

The three new additions to THE RING’s lightweight rankings — Edwin Valero, Rolando Reyes and Amir Khan — are not Golden Boy Promotions fighters.

Valero is promoted by Top Rank. Reyes is promoted by TKO Promotions. Khan is promoted by Frank Warren’s Sports Network.

Why do you have to spit at GBP? Wasn’t the ‘Lightweight Lightning’ PPV card worth the money? Wasn’t it better than any other PPV show this year? So far this year they’ve co-promoted a sold-out record-breaking show at Staples Center in L.A. (Margarito-Mosley), put on fan-friendly shows in Houston (where 15,000 gathered to watch the fight of the year so far), San Jose and Austin. So why are you so damn angry and disgusted?

By the way, I’m no longer affiliated with MaxBoxing.com so feel free to continue to visit that fine website and spout your sound and accurate opinions to their staff. (Lucky them.)

Email Dougie at [email protected]

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