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Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag

12
Jul

KING KONG TAKES NO BULL

Just finished watching the Darchinyan-Agbeko fight. While it wasn't quite the barnburner I expected, it was still an entertaining scrap… It was the 1st time I saw Agbeko and like most South African fighters, I thought he showed good toughness and grit. I thought he controlled the fight and pretty much imposed his will on Vic from the start. The biggest flaw I saw was his balance, which led to that awful knockdown in the 7th.

As for Vic? He employed poor strategy, I expected him to vary his attack (like in the Arce fight) and he had no answer whatsoever for Agbeko's straight right. I don't know how two judges only had it 114-113, but at least all three of them got it right, which is all that matters in the end.

Where do both guys go from here? I think Vic should drop back down, his punches didn't appear to have the same snap and despite all the praise he's been receiving for his newfound versatility, his success seems hinged on his ability to intimidate and hurt the other man, something he failed to tonight. — Tom



I agree with you, Tom, I think Darchinyan needs to go back to 115 pounds, where he has the potential to dominate, but where there are still many worthy challenges for him. Darchinyan not only lacks KO power at 118 pounds, his reflexes don’t appear as sharp as they did at 112 and 115 pounds.

Agbeko earned the right get back on U.S. television with spirited victory (and by the way, I agreed with the 116-111 tally — I guess the other two judges gave Darchinyan extra credit for the loud sound his punches make on impact). Agbeko — who is Ghanaian, not South African (although your observation holds for Ghanaian fighters, too) — has a stern IBF mandatory challenge ahead of him against Colombian’s undefeated Yonnhy Perez, who is coming off a dramatic 12th-round KO of former title challenger Silence Mabuza (now, he is South African). I think Agbeko-Perez is must-see TV and I hope it finds a home on Showtime, which has always shown love to the very talented sub-featherweight divisions.

Agbeko will need to work on his balance and holding his form into the late rounds before facing Perez, who I consider a very live dog in that matchup.

VIC SHOULD OUT OF P4P

Hi Dougie,
I was amazed watching helpless Vic looked yesterday night. By the way, he is in your (The Ring) best 10 pound-for-pound list?! And Klitschkos are not? Just ridiculous! Be well. — Lev

Darchinyan was in THE RING’s pound-for-pound top 10 going into Saturday’s fight, and he had every right to be. Darchinyan has faced at least eight RING-rated top-10 contenders in three divisions since winning the IBF flyweight belt from then-30-0 Irene Pacheco. Yeah, he’s lost twice, but he’s lost to STUDS. No offense to the Klitschko brothers, who I respect as athletes and individuals, but Darchinyan’s not fighting fat, lazy retards who keep their punches on layaway. He’s fighting badasses, and he usually wins. Hey, if you continually challenge yourself, you’re not going to win them all.

I give Darchinyan credit for facing a dangerous fighter like Agbeko and giving the Ghanaian the opportunity to make a name for himself. Darchinyan will probably be bounced from THE RING’s pound-for-pound ratings, but guys like Chad Dawson and Paul Williams are ahead of the Klitschkos on that pound-for-pound waiting list.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY FIGHTS

What's up dude? I guess it's official now. Whenever Matt Godfrey is in the house, Shaun George will go to sleep whether he's in the ring with him or not. Can somebody please set up a fight between Chris Henry and Librado Andrade asap? Back to Matt Godfrey. The version of him that I've seen in his last couple of fights would get the boots beat off of him by Adamek. He needs to fight with a little more fire. I guess a King Kong beats a Raging Bull after all, huh? Looking forward to seeing both guys again. Vic at 115 lbs preferably. (p.s. R.I.P. Arturo Thunder Gatti, nuff said.) Holla back! — Fleetwood, St. Louis, Mo.

Short but sweet, Fleet. Why can’t everyone else write ’em like you do?

Anyway, I agree that Godfrey would be a HUGE underdog against Adamek, or top-five contenders like Steve Cunningham and Guillermo Jones. Still, I’d like to see him test himself against some lower top-10 cruisers like Ola Afolabi and Troy Ross. I’d favor Godfrey over Ross.

Henry-Andrade would be one hell of a fight. So would either guy vs. Tavoris Cloud.

Agbeko has some very interesting challenges among his IBF top-10 contenders — his mandatory, Yonnhy Perez, tough vets like Silence Mabuza and Z Gorres, and young guns like Abner Mares.

Darchinyan has unfinished biz with Nonito Donaire, which now can take place at 115 pounds, former two-time titleholder Alex Munoz, and Puerto Rican vet Jose “Clarita” Lopez.

VIC VAPOR RUBBED!

Dougie,
I think Vic now needs Donaire more than anything. It will be interesting to see how readily Mr. Shaw (aka promoter for life) is to make this match now. Loud mouths that spew the kind of stuff Vic always does, end up eating those words, and they seem to have many syllables that now look like silly bull… Stop eating those extra calorie words Vic, go back down in weight, then try and eat a Donaire… I hear they're delicious!… but, something tells me it will come down to that darn chin again! — Mayor McCheese

We’ll see, Double M. Darchinyan’s whiskers held out against Agbeko and he was nailed by a lot of clean right hands. However, as Showtime’s astute Al Bernstein pointed out, I think it’s the left hook that catches Darchinyan blind and does the most damage. That’s one Donaire’s best punches and he has the speed and accuracy to land it right on the point of Vic’s chin as the Armenian assassin lunges in, and of course, the power to turn the lights out. But I wonder if Darchinyan’s beard isn’t stronger above 112 pounds?

Anyway, I don’t mind Darchinyan’s high-calorie pre-fight words because he takes on tough fighters and he at least tries to back his big mouth up in the ring.

VALHALLA AWAITS

Doug,
Gatti…gone? And so violently, during his honeymoon. This is awful. RIP Arturo, you'll be making highlight reels in boxing Valhalla with Graziano, LaMotta, Marciano and all the rest of your Italian forebears now….

Louie. — Yuma, AZ

It’s hard to believe, Louie. First Alexis Arguello, now Gatti. This has been a tragic summer for dedicated boxing fans.

However, like Arguello (or even Michael Jackson with his music and videos), Gatti’s left us with many memories. The ninth round of his classic first fight with Micky Ward probably tops the lists of most fans who discovered boxing in the late 1990s or the early part of this decade. That was the most dramatic round of his career, and the most indicative of his incredible fighting spirit, but he had so many other highlight-reel moments like the fifth round vs. Gabe Ruelas, or the 10th round vs. Ivan Robinson in their first fight, or the sixth round of his first title defense vs. Wilson Rodriguez.

Think about all those slugfests: Micky Ward (I and III), Wilson, Ruelas, Robinson (I and II), Angel Manfredy, and Carlos Baldomir. Even some of his forgotten bouts like his non-title affair with Calvin Grove were pretty damn good scraps. Win or lose, fans got their time and money worth with Gatti.

And then there were those rare fights when he didn’t have to spill buckets of blood to get the “W” like his one-sided stoppages of James Leija, Leo Dorin, Terron Millet and Joey Gamache. All of those fighters were former title holders. Gatti defeated seven current, former or future world titleholders. Not bad for a boxer that was often described as a “glorified club fighter”.

RIP GATTI AND CORRALES

I understand there has been a delay in both their passing, but these two brought me to love the sport of boxing. I remember watching Tyson-Douglas as a kid and the fight made me love the underdog aspect of boxing. Gattti vs. Gamache made me love the brute force of a puncher more so then any heavyweight fight. Sprinkle in Chico vs. Money (Corrales was beat and didn't want to quit), Chico vs. Casamayer I (Chico with a broken check bone didn't want to quit), and Chico vs. Castillo I (Goossen after second 10th round knockdown told Chico to knock him the f*** out).

Then you have Gatti vs. anybody you put in front of him. Close your eye and tell me how many fingers I have up? Removes glove from good eye and tells him the count. Then goes out and knocks the guy out. Hell, I actually thought that Gatti had a chance against Money due to my heart, not head, being with Gatti.

My question, especially after the Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero fights, is who can carry these two guys jockstraps? Boxing is a brutal sport with a finite expectancy, but one thing the Money huggers don't understand that men put butts in seats not kids. Kids might have more talent, but these two men always got up and asked for more when it was not expected of them.

RIP AG and DC. — John – Atlanta, GA

I don’t see any up-and-comers who can carry Gatti or Corrales’ jockstraps. Those guys were special in this era and that’s why they made hardcore fight fans out of A LOT of casual boxing observers. They were real-life action heroes who were down to earth outside of the ring and very appreciative of adulation they received from fans. The only fighters who were at or near their prime in the past 10 years that I would group with Gatti and Corrales is Erik Morales, Micky Ward and Israel Vazquez. That fab five are the purest warriors that I’ve covered.

I just hope Morales, Ward and Vazquez live a nice long lives.

THUNDER

I just learned of Arturo Gatti's death and it just plain f__king sucks. I'm from Montr├®al and I actually got into boxing because of him. I just spent the last ten minutes looking at the e-mail without writing anything, just thinking about his career, the ups and downs, as well as in his personal life, and I feel like I could write so much right now but anyway… — Simon, Montr├®al

Don’t worry about putting a long eulogy on Gatti’s life and times in an email, Simon. Gatti wasn’t a long-winded dude. He was a man of action, not words. I think the best compliment that you or anyone else could give him is that he made you a boxing fan. Nothing more really needs to be said.

ARTURO GATTI

Hey Doug,
Just something quick
I was sitting here about to write about the planned super middleweight tournament when I take a look at the TV and see Breaking News on ESPNEWS. “Boxer Arturo Gatti dead at age 37.” Obviously there aren’t many details right now, other than the manner in which he was found but just reading those words actually gave me goose bumps. I could talk all night and day about how much I loved and respected him as a fighter, about all the great entertainment he gave us. For those that knocked him, I would always answer, “No, he may not be a great fighter, BUT HE MAKES GREAT FIGHTS.” Jesse – New Jersey

That's a fitting epitaph for his boxing career, Jesse.

THE 168-POUND TOURNAMENT

Mr. Fischer,
As Sticky Fingaz once said “bubububu but wait it gets worse” (or better, in this case): the tournament of 168 pounders is upon us! I've almost drooled on my keyboard any time this tourney's been brought up. These six well respected contenders/alpha-belt-holders will hopefully add some clarity and attention to a very exciting division, which has really blown up since the Kessler-Calzhage fight.

I'm also thrilled that on top of this great tourney, the division's giving us another Librado “Mexicanium Jaw” Andrade-Lucian “maybe I got knocked out but I'm a badass and we'll know who's best this time” Bute fight. Both guys have demonstrated great character and a willingness to take each other on. This is a fan's fight and I can't wait to see the explosions. Props to Bute for facing a guy many thought knocked him out, and props to Andrade for being such a great sport. In an ideal world, both men would win.

Switching gears, Fight Night Round 4 is out and I've got to say the game is about a million times better than round 3. While I can't watch boxing on tv every night, I can at least put together top matches on the xbox. Cotto-Mosley's been a lot of fun, but a dozen Ali-Tyson fights later have made me want to watch a few months worth of highlight videos! The game's frustratingly hard at times, but significantly more realistic than previous incantations.

As I've frequently lamented, those who aren't watching boxing are missing out on what has quickly become a gilded age. So we had a few top fights scrapped because of injuries. At least we don't have to watch the champs fight palookas anymore. We've been watching top tier guys take on the best challengers and it's made for great TV viewing. It's a great time to be a boxing fan. — EFR in DC

I agree, EFR. The super middleweight tournament is another piece to boxing’s comeback in recent years (probably beginning in late 2007) and it will keep the 168-pound division hot and in the public eye until the start of the next decade. It’s a pity that Bute and Andrade aren’t a part of it, but in a way I’m glad they are outside of the tournament. That way the entire division doesn’t get locked up. The winner of Bute-Andrade II can be an option for worthy 168-pound contenders (like Sakio Bika and Allan Green) who aren’t in the tournament.

Thanks for your comments on Fight Night 4. I’ve never played Fight Night 1, in fact I don’t think I’ve played ANY video game that came after Galaga, but since EA Sports is a sponsor of Fight Night Club and helps underwrite the cost of presenting the new series live on RingTV.com for FREE I’m happy to give the video game company and FN4 a plug any time I can.

MIXED THOUGHTS ON 168-POUND TOURNEY

Dougie,
How's it going? I was just wondering what you think about the apparently upcoming Super Middleweight tournament? I have mixed feelings on it. I think it's a great idea, but that if they're going to do it, they should have been more committed to doing it right. While it should give us some great fights, I believe in particular that they should have made sure to get Lucian Bute in the field. As it is, I'm afraid the tournament might ensure that we don't get a Ring champion anytime soon since it virtually ensures that Kessler (or whomever knocks him off) won't fight the #2 guy.

Of course I'm guessing we will also see a Bute-Andrade rematch (another great fight), and if Andrade manages to win, perhaps a tournament matchup between Froch and Kessler could do the trick. I'm guessing we won't truly know how good the tournament is for the division until it's well underway.

Well those are my mixed thoughts. What are yours? Dan. — Columbia, MO

I think it’s very possible that a RING champ from Showtime’s 168-pound tournament could be crowned by the end of — or even during — the tourney.

Like you said, Andrade could catch Bute before the end of the 12th round in their rematch (which will happen this year), which would take him out of THE RING’s No. 2 position, and Froch could take his place (especially if he beats Andre Dirrell in the opening bout of the tournament).

Hey, you never know, THE RING’s No. 1 contender Mikkel Kessler could get upset by No. 9 contender Andre Ward, resulting in the Viking Warrior dropping out of the top spot and the 2004 Olympic champ climbing a few places. Then Ward could outbox No. 8 Jermain Taylor in his next fight (something I believe he’s capable of doing). Maybe the Oakland native advances all the way into the top three by spring of next year. And what if Dirrell beats No. 3 Carl Froch and THE RING’s No. 1 middleweight contender Arthur Abraham? He’s not rated now, but how high could he be ranked if he pulled off those upsets? It’s not like he doesn’t have the talent to shock these veterans. You never know, dude, the planned July/August showdown between Ward and Dirrell could be for THE RING title. Stranger things have happened.

It’s the potential upsets and surprises that can (and will) happen that has me so excited about this series.

ABRAHAM!? ARE YOU GUYS CRAZY?

What are you guys over there at The Ring thinking? You guys are picking Arthur Abraham to not only win the tournament but, actually do it without blemishing his record in some way? I cannot disagree more. Andre Dirrell is without question, the most talented fighter in the division. He has to be the favorite going in. Not to mention, Abraham is going to be the only fighter moving up from 160 without never having fought at 168 before. There is no telling what Abraham might look like 8 pounds north of his natural division (Kelly Pavlik as an example).

One more complaint, why is Jermain Taylor being given this opportunity? I don't think he should be in the tournament simply because I don't think he is one of the top 10 best 168 pounders in the world. Decisioning fellow American Olympic bum Jeff Lacy just doesn't cut it in my book. Andre Ward would fit much better into the picture than Taylor. — Tommy

Ward is in the tournament, and Taylor is there presumably on the strength of his showing against Carl Froch. Most observers had him comfortably ahead on points entering that fateful and dramatic 12th round of their fight of the year candidate. Although he’s 1-2 in super middleweight bouts, I think Taylor’s form is better than it was at 160 pounds. But to answer your question, I think Taylor’s in the tournament because of his name recognition.

Most American fans are unaware of guys like Kessler and Abraham.

By the way, Abraham has fought above 160 pounds and he looked sensational blasting Edison Miranda out in four rounds. He’s already strong as an ox but I think he’ll be even stronger at 168. He’s a careful boxer-puncher with good technique, balance, power in both hands, and the ability to block and counter with frightening accuracy. He’s also got a good chin and lots of guts. If our pick of Abraham winning the tournament surprises you, that’s fine. Like I said, I know he’s unknown to a lot of fans. All I can tell you and the other skeptics is “wait and see”.

By the way, I agree that Dirrell is the most talented super middleweight out there. However, he’s still relatively inexperienced in comparison to veteran titleholders like Kessler and Abraham, and the quality of his opposition has not been top notch. Dirrell has the raw athletic talent (and sense of self preservation) to school a plodding guy like Froch, but I’m not certain he’ll be able to stick it to a smart vet like Abraham who has tighter technique and a better chin.

HAIL SHOWTIME!

Hi Dougie,
first of all I`d like to thank mom and dad and god… I mean I┬┤d like to thank you and the ring magazine for making my day more interesting (I┬┤m watching out for news at least 3 times a day).

What are your thoughts on this Showtime super middleweight tournament? Don't you think this is something they should do in every weight class? I mean this is the realisation of your ringmagazinebeltdream-isn’t it?!… by the way- will the winner get this belt?

Everyone involved has the right to join this competition and I’m not crying about not seeing Lucian Bute in it.

If the winner of the tournament will fight him at the end and it’ll still be an entertaining fight. Ok Andrade is really missing right now but in the meantime I┬┤ll concentrate on the Abraham vs. Taylor and Froch vs. Kessler and all the other fights that will happen (the last one I think will be the most competitive of the first round).

Man, tears of joy are coming into my eyes right now just thinking about those matchups.

I was surprised on your thoughts on the outcome. I’m a huge fan of Arthur Abraham because of his entertaining style and power but I guess he will be in a lot of trouble against the best super middleweights especially when he continues to do nothing the first 2 or 3 rounds. A guy like Kessler who is able to throw hard and fast combinations could take advantage of it.
He’ll also be in some trouble against Taylor who’s a pretty good and fast starter- anyway he’ll knock Taylor out cold in the later rounds.
My take is that Kessler will be the winner in an entertaining final against Abraham but I don’t write any of the other guys off- excluding Taylor!

Peace out. — Jonas, Freiburg, Germany

This 168-pound tournament that Showtime has organized is good for the sport. I know this because of all the emails of interest I’ve received from around the world (particularly Europe).

I definitely think it’s something that other networks and promoters should try to emulate in other divisions. Such an effort would undoubtedly spark new interest in the sport worldwide.

I don’t know if the winner of the tournament will earn THE RING belt but I think there’s a good chance that he will.

Abraham’s style and mentality is a b__ch for any 168 pounder in the world. He’s ballsy but patient. He’s powerful but technically sound.

Don’t think that Abraham is doing “nothing” in the first two or three rounds of his fights just because he’s not letting his hands go. He’s taking his opponent’s measure. He may lose those rounds, but he eventually wins the fight because he figures out how to neutralize their strengths and how to go about his attack in an effective manner. I like that Abraham takes his time to whup an ass properly and thoroughly.

Kessler will definitely give him problems but Abraham can make mid-fight adjustments just like Calzaghe did and give the Dane hell on the inside.

Dougie can be reached at [email protected]

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