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Dougie’s FAT Friday Mailbag

04
Jun

MAKING HAYE WITH WLADIMIR

Dougie,
How interesting is it that Wladdy Klitschko now has to hand-pick a dance partner for June 20? Calling out Chris Arreola seems like a weak move, knowing his tendency not to train hard. I'd actually like to see Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson give it a go, though I don't think he'd win. That fight would surely entertain, as would a bout with Odlanier Solis. THAT guy may just have a shot at an upset. He already trains in Germany and I'm sure has seen much of the Klitschkos to asses his chances of beating either one of them. What do you think? — Joseph B.

Out of the three heavyweight up-and-comers you mentioned I’d give Arreola the best chance of upsetting Klitschko based on his style, toughness and punching power, but Chris would have to be in the best shape of his life to have a shot. When he’s not in shape he allows his opponents’ to get off first and he backs up to the ropes without offering any sort of defense (as he did vs. Travis Walker). That’s not going to get it done vs. Wladdy. However, when Arreola is in tip-top shape (as he was for Bolo Wills, Malcolm Tann, and to a lesser extent, Chazz Witherspoon) he applies smart pressure, works the body, gets off with combinations and counter punches well. That CAN get it done vs. Wladdy, who I believe has the perfect style to foil boxers like Johnson and Solis.

As far as Arreola filling in for Haye, that’s crazy. There’s no way he’s in tip-top shape and with his marketability in the States, he shouldn’t be running off to Germany like a journeyman late sub. Klitschko-Arreola is a heavyweight match that should be built up and hopefully go down at STAPLES Center in L.A. in front of a sellout crowd.



WEIGHTY ISSUES

I've never loved Shane Mosley like a lot of people (he WAS a great 135 lber, I place him right behind Whitaker and Chavez for fighters I've seen at that weight in my 34 yrs) but I've always respected his
willingness to fight the best competition out there, as well as his professionalism that he brings to his fights. I think he was horribly hampered early in his career by having his father as his trainer, who
never seemed to have a 'plan b' when things went wrong. Imagine if he had worked with Naazim Richardson his entire career?

Regardless of all of this I think he is making a huge mistake in attempting to drop down to 143-144 to fight Pacman, fighters his age should be moving UP in weight not DOWN. A quick look at very recent history shows us the evidence. Was Roy Jones Jr. ever the same after he dropped back down to
175? Remember how dead he looked in the FIRST Tarver fight? Or Tarver himself after he dropped weight from filming Rocky at 220 lbs? This 'proposed deal' would greatly favor Pacman. — Tom G.

I agree. Mosley has to MAKE 147 pounds, and it ain’t easy. Hell, he had to sweat it out to make welterweight back in 2000. But I give him credit for his willingness to try to get down below a weight he hasn’t weighed in 10 years (sub-146 pounds).

I think Jack Mosley did a tremendous job developing Shane into a world-class lightweight. Think about it. Mosley didn’t sign with a big promoter like Top Rank or Main Events when he turned pro back in 1993. He didn’t have a Bruce Trampler or Carl Moretti guiding his career with careful but purposeful matchmaking the way Olympians like Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas, Floyd Mayweather, and Vernon Forrest had. Mosley was developed in the tough gyms of Southern California and the club-fight circuit of the day. The Mosley ship was run on awesome talent and desire and Jack was a great captain when Shane was the bigger, stronger, better athlete. Once he stepped up from 135 pounds on the world-class level that was no longer enough.

If he had a master strategist like Richardson around to train him once he made the move to welterweight? I think he might have dominated De La Hoya (in their first fight), got by Forrest, avoided Winky Wright altogether, and KO’d Miguel Cotto; maybe he would be undefeated today.

THE RING HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE

Hi Dougie,
Long time reader here, first time writing in. I just had to ask why the potential Klitschko/Chagaev fight is being suggested for the Ring Heavyweight Championship? Chagaev has done very little lately to suggest that he is worthy of a shot at the vacant title, and it is arguable whether Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko should be #1 anyway. I think Vitali has done more in beating Peter and JC Gomes than Wlad has in beating Rahman, Thompson and Ibragimov. Why not wait to see if Chagaev beats Wlad, and then a Chagaev-Vitali fight could be for the vacant belt?

Anyway, I always enjoy reading your mailbags, keep up the good work! — Charlie, Ireland

Chagaev hasn’t done much lately, but he’s unbeaten and he’s got wins over John Ruiz and Nikolai Valuev, which is more than can be said for most of today’s heavyweight contenders. (I know, it’s sad, isn’t it?)

It’s debatable as to which Klitschko brother is better. Vitali has been scary dominant in his last two bouts, and he looks stronger, more confident, and little more effective with his style than his younger brother; but Wladdy stayed in the game when Big Bro took a 3-year break. Little Bro’s won 10 bouts in a row, including then-unbeaten contenders Samuel Peter, Calvin Brock and Sultan Ibragimov, and once-beaten Tony Thompson. Right now I think his consistency puts him slightly ahead of his brother.

Anyway, we know No. 1 and No. 2 aren’t ever going to fight, so don’t think of Chagaev as No. 3, think of the Uzbek southpaw as “No. 2” to the two-headed Klitschko monster. It doesn’t really matter who he fights first — if he can get the fight — because we know if he wins; he’ll have to face the brother in a “Family revenge” match.

If you don’t think the winner of a W-Klitschko-Chagaev bout deserves to be “the real” champ, so be it. I won’t argue with you, but I don’t see why not. They would unify three “major” world titles and what other two heavyweight contenders are more deserving to fight the vacant Ring belt than those two?

THE HEAVY HEAVYWEIGHTS

What up Doug??
I’ve been reading your mailbags for a few months now and this is my first write-in. I must first say that you are probably the most right on and well versed boxing writer out there, droppin knowledge on fools at least twice a week and always correct!

After the Valuev-Chagaev debacle this past weekend reminding me of how long they have been “trying” to get at one another and now hearing that Haye is backing out of his date with W. Klitty due to injury, I was wondering–Is is just me or do the heavyweights injure themselves WAY more often than the smaller guys? Could it be a result of the gargantuan size of the beasts these days (no one seems to be fighting at 205 lbs)? Maybe it is a recent thing or has it always been this way?

What is too bad about the Haye-Klitty situation is that this was a HW fight I could actually look forward to and hope to see some action–I thought Haye had a puncher's chance and we might have been in for a ride (or an upset?). Anyway, who would you want to see fill in? I really don’t know WHO would be interesting and make a competitive fight–I guess there is talk of Valuev, unfortunately I don’t think he has a puncher's chance (where’s the punch?) and that fight would probably be yet another one-sided POS. That said, Valuev getting KTFO would probably go down as one of the largest masses of human flesh to fall flat on a mat outside of sumo wrestling. That in itself could be exciting…

Keep up the excellent work! — Jacob, Richmond, VA

I definitely think the added muscle mass the 235-to-260-pound modern heavyweights carry around (or build up) in camp contributes to the injuries they often suffer between fights.

I was also bummed to hear that Haye had to pull out of this month’s showdown with Klitschko. It was the only high-profile heavyweight bout that could possibly offer non-stop intensity and an explosive ending. Hopefully, they can reschedule the match. If not, I wouldn’t mind seeing Klitschko-Chagaev, even though I’m sure it would be a careful boxing match. At least Chagaev is a worthy opponent. Despite the spectacle it would present, I have no desire to see Valuev fight Klitschko, would torture the giant with his jab and athleticism.

PACQUIAO-MOSLEY

What up Doug,
I had to hit you on this one. I was already excited to see PO BOY Floyd take a fight against someone he could lose to but now I hear the Pacman is getting in with Sugar Shane. Are you serious? When was the last time you saw 2 guys both armed with serious game, both known for coming to fight be eager to get at each other! On a night with Shane and Pac in the ring won't be no hoes inside the ropes. I know you always say any man that steps in the ring has a ton a courage and I agree. That said, you have nibblers who try to slip and potshot, you have bulls who eat leather for one shot and then there are guys with slippin skills but who really want to beat yo ass. That's Shane and Pac. That's good for boxing. It's a bad match for Manny though. He can't out quick or out box Shane. He won't hit harder than Shane. I'm not sure if he can hurt him. If he can, we have a war. If he can't we still may have a war until Shane catches him. Neither guy will run. It will be a fight. Am I wrong? — Big 313

You are absolutely right.

FREDDIE ROACH

Should we call him Manny “Money” Pacquiao? The exchange printed on your page earlier between Shane Mosley and Roach was awful. “You're not Oscar.” That is correct, because Shane beat Oscar six and nine years ago. He's better than Oscar.

I understand that Roach is setting up a fight with Mayweather and truthfully wants no part of Shane, but the treatment of this great champion is atrocious. Roach could simply say they are waiting for Floyd, and thanks but no thanks, but it is garbage for him to say he'd crush Shane, but only if you'll completely weight-drain yourself. Putting opponents at disadvantages, arguing over money, these are the things that made Roy Jones and Floyd fall out of favor with the public, but Pacquaio continues to do it.

Shane concedes the money, the weight (144, which is ridiculous), and still no fight. What does that say? The truth is Shane would beat the living hell out of Pacquiao, and Freddie and Manny know it. The weight concession is proof of that. Freddie wants the payday and the security knowing that even if Floyd wins, he won't kayo Pacquiao, leaving him safe for future paydays. — Jerry B.

I have no doubt that Mosley is perhaps the most dangerous potential foe out there for Pacquiao and that Roach would rather not see his star fighter get beat up, but why do you think Roach speaks for Pacquiao? Roach speaks for Roach, and Pacquiao has gone over his coach’s head more than once during their tenure together.

For example, Roach didn’t want Pacquiao to fight Juan Manuel Marquez the first time they met back in 2004. He knew that was a difficult style for his fighter. But Pacquiao being Pacquiao didn’t give a s__t.

If you want to call Roach, “Money Freddie” for pooh-poohing Mosley, go right ahead, but Pacquiao has never disrespected any accomplished fighter, and that includes Mosley. And he’s not one to duck anybody.

You wrote: “Putting opponents at disadvantages, arguing over money, these are the things that made Roy Jones and Floyd fall out of favor with the public, but Pacquaio continues to do it.”

Really? “Pacquaio CONTINUES to do it”? Are you sure about that? Can you please tell me the other occasions when Manny Pacquiao insisted on “putting an opponent at a disadvantage” and “argued over money”. Because I can give you a top 10 list of such behavior with Floyd and Roy.

Anyway, I read the back-and-forth between Roach and Mosley in Michael Rosenthal’s blog. You’re making it out to be a lot nastier than it was. Roach and Mosley know each other, and Roach is respectful to everyone who enters his gym.

Here are a few other graphs from Rosenthal’s blog that I think you glossed over or forgot to read:

Roach also said that nothing is impossible, meaning Pacquiao could end up in the ring with Mosley yet depending on how things unfold.

First, Roach has always acknowledged that he doesn’t have final say on whom Pacquiao fights. The Filipino icon could change his mind at any time.

Second, Marquez could win, which probably would preclude a fight against Mayweather and open up many possibilities.

And, third, Roach said the 142-pound limit he mentioned on Thursday isn’t set in stone. He said 143 or 144 – the latter of which Mosley ultimately said he’d agree to – could be discussed if Pacquiao should decide to pursue Mosley.

“I want to negotiate as best I can for my fighter,” Roach said. “I think 142 is best. I’m not saying 143 or 144 is impossible, though. Everything is negotiable.”

BRITISH FIGHTERS

Hey Doug,
loving your work; you're frighteningly prolific. Now please give it to me straight (I know you will): what do you truly think of British fighters, particularly in terms of technical and physical ability, ring smarts and toughness? Destined to always be a grade below the best in the U.S? And what is the general perception amongst fans and media in the U.S.? Would you say they are afforded more respect these days in light of Calzaghe's exploits in particular? Or did Hatton getting KTFO twice set them back a bit in terms of kudos?

(p.s. something unrelated I have been thinking about recently: will it ever be possible for a fighter of this era to wrest the GOAT mantle from Ray Robinson, given their relative lack of activity? I'm thinking not, and that if it could be done, then it would take something truly unbelievable; like Pacquiao beating Mosley, Mayweather, Cotto (i.e. cleaning out the welters) and then jumping up to wherever Paul Williams is at and beating him too! If he could overcome that 7 meter-odd wingspan disparity then surely he'd have a legit claim at best ever. Or maybe even doing all that wouldn't be enough. Of course I know this will not and cannot happen so my guess is RR is probably safe for the moment, and probably forever.)

Please let me know your thoughts! Regards. — Mike

Thanks for the kind words, Mike. Nobody’s ever described me as “frighteningly prolific” before. Wow. That’s an ego boost, brotha. Thanks!

I think the best British fighters — Joe Calzaghe when he was at 168 pounds and David Haye when he was at cruiserweight — are on par with the best U.S. fighters in those divisions, if not better. Calzaghe had as much “technical and physical ability, ring smarts and toughness” as any top-10 pound-for-pound fighter of the past 15 years. Haye was as dangerous as they come at cruiserweight. The only guy to beat him was British, Carl Thompson, and “The Cat” was as tough as they come at cruiserweight or any other weight.

I think the top British talents are on par with the best talent in the world. Whether they pan out depends on the kind of desire and dedication they have and how they are developed. Naseem Hamed had incredible natural ability; omega-level talent. He simply lost his desire for the sport after his first loss. Audley Harrison is dismissed as a bad joke, but I think he had the talent and technique to be something special. It didn’t work out for a variety of reasons (late start at pro, focusing more on the business side of sport than his craft, lack of durability, etc.) but the fact is that Harrison was born in England, just like Lennox Lewis, who was developed properly and did have the requisite desire and dedication to his craft. Amir Khan is one of the most naturally gifted boxers I’ve ever watched train. I don’t know if he’ll live up to his potential, but like Lewis, he’s hooked up with a top trainer and is making the necessary sacrifices to get the most out of his God-given ability.

I think hardcore U.S. fight fans respect British fighters because of guys like Lewis and Calzaghe (and Nigel Benn and the other top UK fighters that populated the middleweight and super middleweight divisions in the 1990s).

The more casual fans still view everyone in Europe as “inferior”, probably because they once heard Mike Tyson once say “How dare they challenge me with their primitive skills” back in the day before he overwhelmed Frank Bruno for the first time. Whaddyagonnado?

RR as the GOAT is safe for all time. I don’t think fighters of this era should be compared to Golden Age and pre-World War II fighters. When I compare today’s best with the “greats”, I don’t go farther than the 1970s, because there’s more film footage to study of those fighters and they weren’t fighting between 100 and 200 prize fights like the old-timers.

Dougie can be reached at [email protected]

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