Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag
WARD WAS IMPRESSIVE
What's up dude? Was it just me or did Andre Ward-Edison Miranda look an awful lot like Bernard Hopkins-Antwun Echols I? Ward took a supposedly stronger, supposedly bigger puncher and bullied him around the ring while beating him up on the inside. I guess it's off to Ricardo Mayorgaville for Miranda. Still, playing the roll of a C-class fighter with an A-class name has gotten Rickie a few good paydays. There are plenty of young studs at this weight that will be willing to use Edison as a stepping stone now I bet. If he beats one of them he'll get another payday out of it. Holla back!
(p.s. Molina-Archuletta is not what Shobox is all about. I hope this doesn't become a habit.) — Fleetwood St. Louis, MO
If Miranda becomes the 168-pound version of Ricardo Mayorga he will be very blessed. Remember, Mayorga actually beat an elite fighter (Vernon Forrest) and won two major world titles (the WBA and WBC) at welterweight. Miranda can’t say that. However, you are correct that there are a lot of young up-and-coming super middleweights (like Andre Dirrell) and comebacking vets (like Jermain Taylor and Jeff Lacy) who may want to use him for a stepping stone, so I think we’ll see him on TV again before the end of the year. Who knows, perhaps when both Mayorga and Miranda run out of name opponents to kick their asses they’ll fight each other at a 163-pound catchweight. Don’t laugh, I’d tune in to watch itÔÇª
Now that you mention it, Ward-Miranda was indeed a poor man’s version of Hopkins-Echols I — make that a homeless man’s version of Hopkins-Echols I. Hopkins was a much more complete fighter in ’99 than Ward is now, and Echols brought the ruckus a lot more effectively than Miranda did Saturday night. However, I agree that the basics of the fight were the same. That first match with Echols convinced me that Hopkins was a pound-for-pound level boxer. Ward’s performance merely convinced me that he’s got a real shot at winning a world title at 168 pounds.
Had Ward fought another non-threat (like “Sugar Poo” Buchanan) Saturday and then went directly to a title shot against a hardnosed bastard like Carl Froch late this year, I think he would have fell short (i.e. get KTFO). However, with the 12 rounds he went with Miranda under his belt, I think he’s got the necessary seasoning and confidence to beat a limited-but-relentless badass like Froch.
I’m high on John Molina Jr., but his opponent on Saturday was a joke. Archuleta was prospect 10 years ago.
CHAGAEV VS. VALUEV II
I'm a massive fan and love your work. I was just wondering what you think is going to happen when Ruslan Chagaev and Nikolay Valuev fight again at the end of the month? I think Chagaev will outbox Valuev and maybe stop him late on or win a close points decision again. Thanks. — Sam
Thanks Sam. I care nothing for this rematch, nor for the sorry state of the WBA’s heavyweight title and rankings — the mandatory challenger for the winner of Chagaev-Valuev II is Kali Meehan, ’nuff said — but I agree that Chagaev will outbox the Russian giant again. I don’t envision the Uzbek southpaw stopping Valuev and I don’t foresee a terribly entertaining fight.
BOXING AND THE OLYMPICS
Dougie first and foremost I'd like to thank you for replying to my email in your last mailbag. As a young guy of only 16 my generation is almost fixated on the Olympics and the success that it brings. I don't doubt that it is a huge global competition that has an illustrious history but people expect, not just in boxing but in many sports, that these Olympians are going to keep competing at a higher and higher level. This isn't always possible and for every Roy Jones and Oscar de la Hoya we have a Ricardo Williams or an Audley Harrison. I wonder what do you see as being the greatest attributes for a successful Olympic champion and what makes them so good in the amateurs and not so in the professional ranks. I'd also like to ask you how good do you think Devon Alexander could be, and also Abner Mares.
I'd also like to comment on a recent post on David Haye's choice of T-shirt as much as I don't agree with his choice of clothing it has given us an exciting storyline for the heavyweight division that it hasn't had in a long time. You don't have to agree with it but yes were all talking about his clothing and the upcoming fight. Perhaps the heavyweight division needed this type of drastic action as it was a drastically bad division. Thanks. — Josh, London
I agree that Haye’s T-shirt choice has everyone talking, but with his intelligence, vibrant personality and track record in the ring, I don’t believe he needed to resort to such a violent and vulgar display of disrespect. I think he’s articulate and brash enough to have talked a good enough game to have everyone buzzing about his title shot without making himself look like a mentally challenged frat boy from some U.S. community college.
It’s interesting to hear how important Olympic boxing is to UK fight fans, because the Games haven’t meant dookie to U.S. fight fans since the ’92 or ’96 Games. I think you guys should count your blessings that young promising boxers from the UK can still use the Olympics as a springboard to stardom because that option really doesn’t exist here in the States.
The “the greatest attributes for a successful Olympic champion” are natural ability and dedication to the sport. If an Olympic champ doesn’t make it in the professional ranks he either lost his dedication, or he didn’t develop a sound technical foundation to back his natural ability, or he simply wasn’t durable enough to deal with the physical nature, power and extended distance of pro fighters and pro bouts.
I think Alexander and Mares have the talent, skills and guts to win world titles in their divisions, but I believe that Devon needs more seasoning before taking on a bona fide contender (which he has yet to do) or titleholder and I think that Mares needs to be more active.
VICTOR RAMIREZ VS. ALI ISMAILOV
Hope you are fine, I enjoyed very much your pre-fight comments on Pacquiao-Hatton.
Finally the fight for the WBO Cruiserweight belt took place yesterday night at the Luna park in Buenos Aires and I attended. The bout was very even with good exchanges on both sides, even though the technique was not great by either one of them. I thought after his great KO of Alexander Alekseev in January, Ramirez could be ready for bigger things, but last night he proved he still has to improve and probably make the next 2 or 3 defenses at home and against this kind of opposition. He has a great heart though.
Also, WBO #5 & WBA # 10 Featherweight Jonathan Barros scored a 4t-round KO of Carlos Rodriguez in a very good fashion, not taking any punches and connecting his own, he looks like a good prospect.
I was glad to see Devin Vargas’ corner throw the towel against Kevin Johnson, corners should do that more often.
Now a couple of questions: how do you see the Victor Ortiz-Marcos Maidana fight in June? Miguel Diaz will probably work with Maidana and that should help him to improve.
Also, I think Sergio Martinez is one of our 2 best fighters. Do you know who he will face next? How do you see his chances in the Jr Middle division?
Finally, is there a confirmation on the number of pay per view sales for Pac-Hatton?
I always enjoy your work, keep it up! — Nicolas, Argentina
Thanks Nick. There are no official numbers for Pacquiao-Hatton — promoter Bob Arum wants it that way — but I’ve heard that the pay-per-view show did over 800,000 buys in the U.S., which is very good, especially considering that neither fighter is American.
I think Martinez is right behind unbeaten flyweight titleholder Omar Narvaez as Argentina’s best active boxer. I have no idea what’s next for him, and sadly, neither does he. He’s been the WBC’s “interim” 154-pound title holder since last October, and he was the mandatory challenger for WBC beltholder Vernon Forrest going back to April of 2007, but for some reason he can’t get a shot at “the Viper”. Shame on the WBC for jerking around such talented, skilled and dedicated athlete.
I think Ortiz-Maidana is going to be freaking WAR! I can’t wait to cover this fight (and lucky for me, it takes place here in L.A., so I don’t even have to travel to be ringside). Maidana is by far the strongest, hardest hitting and most experienced fighter Ortiz has faced in his career, but I think the young man is going to rise to the occasion and win by spectacular KO after surviving some rocky moments. Miguel Diaz is known as a veteran cutman here in the U.S., but he’s an excellent trainer in his own right. If he’s working with Maidana in camp I know he’ll have the puncher ready to rumble, but he better make sure Marcos is leery of that left cross from Ortiz. It’s a killer!
I agree that Vargas’ corner made the right call by tossing in the towel. Devin was not able to defend himself any longer and once a fighter reaches that point the fight is no longer a contest and should be halted. He’s young enough (by heavyweight standards) to bounce back from this loss. There was no need for him to absorb any more punishment.
I’ll keep my eye out for Barros. How do you think he’d fare against Yuriorkis Gamboa or JuanMa Lopez sometime in 2010?
I watched the Ramirez-Ismailov fight on the internet Saturday night. I thought the fight could have gone either way. A draw would have been fair. Ramirez is strong but he needs to drop the “Tyson” nickname. He doesn’t possess the kind of explosive speed and power that merits comparisons to Iron Mike. He definitely needs more seasoning before taking on the top talent in the 200-pound division (Adamek and Jones). I would favor WBO “interim” titleholder Ola Afolabi to beat him if they fought this year.
MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHT FROM MOSCOW
I'm alive and well now (recovered normally from that flu); hope you're doing great as well.
Now, that this crazy PacMan fever has somewhat lowered, I'll fuel the drama (lol!) a bit if you don't mind. First of all, Pacquiao is no way an invulnerable monster with God-mode on. He indeed is a great fighter (I guess he can make TOP-50 of all-timers now but not without a struggle) but he has his flaws, though they are well hidden during the Roach era. I remember him struggling mightily against clubfighter Serik Yeshmagambetov in 2003. He got even dropped there. Secondly, there's one fighter who can give him a hell at 147lb. His name is Paul Williams and I think he can still make the weight. If so Pacman would be beaten badly there. What do you think? Also, give us please thoughts on virtual Pacman-Tszyu, Pryor-Tszyu and Cervantes-Tszyu bouts.
I have watched both the FNF and the Showtime this weekend. Dirrell-Ward – what is your pick (it can be a nightmare stylewise, I know)? I wasn't totally impressed with Andre's performance though he looked great. Also, IMO Kevin Johnson would have been sleeping quietly on the canvas if he had faced a TOP-10 (maybe TOP-20) heavyweight on Friday night. He looked pretty ordinary against that pudgy guy Vargas. I'm not sold on him. Finally, I'm skeptical about both John Molina and Jorge Teron. The latter is just a lightweight version of that guy Hector Sanchez who had an early Christmas against Chop-Chop Corley. Molina is entertaining in a bad way going into war against glorified journeymen or blown-up 126lbers.
Ranking prospects… Who is more talented and have a brighter future ahead: Jacobs, Angulo or McEwan? (I'll go with Jacobs). The same question about Erislandy Lara, Matt Korobov, Shawn Estrada and George Groves (my pick is Korobov). Also, please, take a look at Gennady Golovkin. He is a future titleholder, hands down.
Finally, I heard both cruiserweight champs – Vic Ramirez and Jacob Fragomeny – were awarded with hometown decisions this weekend. That brings us to Guillermo Jones against Tomasz Adamek. IMO, the Panamanian fighter is way underrated. I'll go with him on points. Also, making a tiny tournament among David Haye, Vasily Jirov and JC Gomez at CW, whom will you pick to win (prime versions)? I'll go with Vasily on points.
Take care! — Alex from Moscow
Wow. You had a lot on your mind, Alex. I guess you had a lot of time to ponder everything boxing related while you were sick in bed. Yo, do me a favor and break these thoughts up into shorter emails next time.
Anyway, I’m glad you’re feeling better. I’m doing better than sensational. Thanks for asking.
Regarding Manny, I think Pacquiao can make my top 50 all-time pound-for-pound list without trouble. I also think “the Punisher” would abuse the little Filipino badass, but I don’t believe Pacquiao should fight any real fighter above 140 pounds and I think Williams would beat up on the top fighters in the welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight divisions.
Those are interesting mythical matchups — if they take place at 140 pounds and are scheduled for the 15-round championship distance — I think the prime Kostya Tszyu would catch and KO Pacquiao by the middle rounds, Aaron Pryor would overwhelm Tszyu to a late stoppage and Antonio Cervantes would outbox Tszyu over the distance.
Ward didn’t blow me away with his performance Saturday night, but I realize that he was under a lot of pressure — fighting at home for the first time — and was in with the toughest hombre of his pro career. I think he got the job done in a solid fashion. Based on what he did vs. Miranda, I think he’s got the maturity and technical foundation to get the better of the more athletically gifted Dirrell in an uneventful chess match — no, make that a checkers match — of a “fight”.
Maybe I’m easily impressed, or perhaps my standards for heavyweight prospects have been lowered by the dearth of talent in the U.S. fight scene, but I liked what I saw from Johnson Friday night. Something tells me he has the style, attitude and chin to give all but the very best heavyweights trouble.
Molina can be a real force at 130 pounds, but he needs more time with ace trainer Joe Goossen before he takes on top-15 contenders. I need to see more of Teron — against a fellow young gun — before I write him off like a lot of fans are doing. I think he has potential.
If Alfredo Angulo blasts out Kermit Cintron like I think he will, he will have a much brighter future than McEwan or Jacobs if only because of the Mexican fanbase he will command.
I agree that Matt Korobov is the hottest of the class of 2008 prospects.
I’ll go with Adamek over Jones on points in an entertaining 12-round scrap.
I think the cruiserweight version of Juan Carlos Gomez knocks out Haye and outpoints Jirov by clear cut UD.
Dougie can be reached at [email protected]