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Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag

02
Aug

Nate Campbell pleads his case to referee David Mendoza (back to camera) shortly after a bad cut over his left eye ended his title bout with Timothy Bradley (background), who celebrated a controversial TKO victory on Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Campbell couldn't catch a break from Mendoza or from the fans, many of whom have attacked his actions and accused the veteran of quitting. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

PARTIALLY BLIND?

Doug,
Great article on the Tim Bradley-Nate Campbell fight last night, although I came up with a different conclusion.

I saw an older fighter who was losing badly trying to save face and get out of that ring without a loss. For a fighter who was “partially blind” he sure moved around that ring pretty well after the fight. Even with the crowd of people in the ring, he zigged and zagged through crowds to complain to anyone who would listen. He not once bumped into anyone! Yet, he was able to find and hold eye contact with Jim Gray, the ref, Bradley, the commissioner, and even Don King. Every time I had vision troubles, I would be blinking, tearing up, couldn’t focus my eyes, and certainly couldn’t walk right. Yet here he was moving better than he did in the fight.

Sorry, I saw a fighter who saw a way to quit without taking a loss. I hope there isn't a rematch let alone a reversal in the decision.

Thanks for the fight coverage! — Ed

Thanks for the email, Ed. For the record, there wasn’t any “conclusion” to my post-fight story on Bradley-Campbell. All I did was report both sides of the controversy on the outcome.

To be honest, I don’t have a strong opinion — either way — on the outcome Saturday’s fight.

I missed the headbutt that Campbell said caused the awful cut (and in my opinion it looked like the kind of cut that is produced by a clash of heads). I saw Showtime replays of Campbell’s reaction to one of the headbutts on the monitors inside the arena and he seemed to be favoring his left eye immediately after it occurred, however the replay didn’t last long enough for anyone on press row to see if blood followed.

The referee, David Mendoza, said he didn’t see any blood from the eye immediately after that butt, but he did after a few Bradley punches landed in the vicinity.

I agree that Campbell was losing badly, but I’m not as sure as you are that the veteran simply wanted out. That kind of behavior doesn’t match what I’ve seem from the normally gutsy warrior in the past.

I’m also not convinced that his ability to move around the ring after the fight without bumping into people or tripping over his feet is any indication that he wasn’t “partially blind” or that he could have continued fighting without being severely compromised. Maneuvering about a ring full non-combatants and defending yourself against a world-class fighter are two very different things.

This line from your email cracked me up: “Every time I had vision troubles, I would be blinking, tearing up, couldn’t focus my eyes, and certainly couldn’t walk right. Yet here he was moving better than he did in the fight.”

Well, yeah. Most of us — partially blind or not — move around a boxing ring better when someone isn’t trying to beat us into submission.

Just because Campbell was able to make eye contact with Jim Gray during his post-fight interviews doesn’t mean he could see clearly out of his left eye. And it certainly doesn’t mean that he could have avoided right hands from Bradley (he was having a tough enough time doing that before he sustained that awful cut).

BRADLEY'S THE MAN

Hey Doug,
Here's the thing, I agree 100% with Nate Campbell that he should not have a TKO loss on his record, but I also think it was going to happen anyway, he didn’t look good in the 3rd at all and I KNOW Bradley isn’t going to slow down, and I hate to say this but I think Campbell tried on purpose to get out with a no contest instead of a real TKO loss.

I was at Bradley-Holt in Montreal last April and I saw Bradley get up from a 1st round knockdown and stay right on holt for 12 rds so I think he just would have outworked Campbell to an eventual stoppage. Do we need a rematch? Personally I'm not too sure we do, but I won’t complain if there is one.

I think Bradley is gonna be around for a long time. Honestly, I wouldn’t count him out against anybody at 140, that includes Pacquiao and I think he beats Hatton convincingly especially at this point in Hatton's career. He looks really strong, it surprises me that he doesn’t seem to have 1-punch KO power. I think he just works more on speed, angles and volume.

After his fight against Holt, I hung out for a while and waited till he made his exit. I was in the stands but close enough to get his attention and shake his hand. I said “Hey Tim, good fight, you won all the way” and he said thank you, but the way he said it really seemed genuine. I think he's a “real” nice guy, its not an act.

Were you at this fight tonight? What did u think? — Steve, Montreal

I was indeed in The Show arena inside the Agua Caliente Casino (a great place to watch a fight, by the way) Saturday night. My main reaction to the fight is that regardless of the eventual official outcome of the bout Bradley looked impressive and dominated a very tough and dangerous veteran for three rounds.

I was surprised by Bradley’s relentless attack in the third round, but I loved what I saw. Bradley’s a fighter I’ve been high for many years but if I had one critique of Palm Springs native it’s that he’s not always fun to watch. The version of Bradley that jumped all over Campbell is made for TV. And if his promoters, Thompson Boxing Promotions and Gary Shaw, keep showcasing him in the Coachella Valley (the area surrounding the fighter’s native Palm Springs) I think he can eventually be built into a Southern California attraction.

I think that should be an important goal of Team Bradley because I agree with you that the 140-pound standout will be around for a long time. I also agree that he’s a threat to any top 140 pounder in the world, including the champ.

It shouldn’t surprise you that Bradley doesn’t have one-punch KO power. Physical strength is not the same thing as punching power. I think it’s good that Bradley doesn’t have awesome power. It forces him to work on being a more well-rounder fighter.

Bradley is indeed a “real” nice guy. That genuine quality could one day contribute to crossover success if he can keep winning and looking impressive.

Although I think Bradley was beating Campbell handily for three rounds, I have a problem saying that the veteran would have been knocked out had the fight not ended when it did. The truth is, we have no idea what would have happened. Had a cut ended Bradley-Holt after two rounds, how many fans would have said “Well, Bradley was gonna get KTFO anywayÔǪ”? A LOT of folks would have said that. But look what happened. Look what JM Marquez did against Manny Pacquiao in their first fight. Championship boxing is a 12-round contest, and we see fighters who are down or being badly beaten turn things around all the time.

SHOWTIME!

What's going on Dougie?
I just finished watching Showtime’s broadcast and had a few quick thoughts:

1. I've always liked Nate Campbell and consider him a warrior, but he seemed to me like he wanted out of the fight. I think if the cut was after the 4th round he would have fought on, but was happy to take a no contest that night.

2. It was nice to see Devon Alexander get his win. He seems to have solid fundamental skills and always comes to fight. Junior Witter also seemed like he just wanted out of the fight, which I can understand. He had no chance of a KO and couldn't get any rhythm against the young (now) Champ.

3. Jim Gray is an absolute beast with his questions, he never gives anyone a free pass. I'm glad he's doing what he's doing, but he may have missed his calling as a homicide interrogator.

4. I've been stoked for this Super Six tournament, but now that I've seen the promo and it's REALLY REAL. This is going to be the coolest best thing I've ever seen for this sport. Top guys in their prime with fantastic records all agreeing to fight to find out king of the mountain. Do you think the winner will be P4P champ or just an all around bad-ass?

Thanks for listening and keep up the good work, writing and ringside. — Hector from Orlando

Thanks Hector.

1. I think Campbell was definitely discouraged and frustrated with the way the fight going, but coming into this bout he knew that he was fighting on Bradley’s home turf with a ref and all three judges from Southern California, and I’m sure he realized there was a risk that the bout could end in a TKO loss if he made a big deal out of the cut he sustained. On the monitors inside the arena I could see Campbell telling John David Jackson that he couldn’t see after the third, but he didn’t appear to want the ringside doctor to come in and end matters.

2. I thought Witter-Alexander was a dreadful fight to watch, and much of that was due to Witter’s style, but I also thought the Brit was doing OK. I thought he landed more solid power shots than Alexander did, although it appeared that the younger man was coming on over the second half of the bout. I agree that Alexander has solid fundamentals and comes to fight. I’d like to see him in with a world-class 140 pounder who doesn’t have a bizarre switch-hitting style. Bradley. The Urango-Bailey winner. Marcos Maidana. Ricardo Torres. Lamont Peterson. I’d say Amir Khan, but his rangy keep-away boxing style would not make for the best fit with Alexander.

3. I agree.

4. I think the winner of the Super Six will be an all-around badass, the recognized 168-pound champ and on the pound-for-pound list.

THIS IS WHY WE LOVE BOXING?

Dougie,
“This is why we love boxing” was the quote from Gus Johnson at the end of the telecast. I've been defending boxing for as long as I can remember especially now as MMA is getting more popular but this whole telecast is exactly why boxing has lost its mainstream appeal. First off Junior Witter quits for no apparent reason. I mean I know its tough to be in the ring but its like we are asking too much now for fighters to go out and fight through adversity. Show Billy Collins' last fight to these fighters and you will see what true heart and cajones look like.

I let this slide in anticipation for the Campbell-Bradley fight. For as long as it lasted it looked like Bradley's youth would outlast Campbell but no matter what the supposed outcome would've been it can't be denied that this should've been a no contest. Fighters like Nate have too much pride and have been through too much to take an unjustified TKO loss. The referee and the commission's explanation was complete BS and I believe some of this stuff needs to be changed if boxing wants to stop becoming a niche sport and back into the spotlight like it deserves to be. I believe that it can and will because these fighters deserve the recognition they could be receiving.

Dougie, please let me know how some of these things can be fixed to vault boxing back to the top? I need hope that boxing can change. Boxing too me lately is like the drunk uncle in your family, you wish they would change, but no matter what they do something to bring a smile to your face and show you why you still love them. Take care Doug and keep doing your thing. — Jay from Chi-town

I guess Saturday night our drunk uncle barfed at the dinner table and then got up an peed himself before he passed out, eh?

One thing that could be easily “fixed” in the sport — that Saturday's fight illustrated the need for — is instant replay. We should have to rely on a referee's memory. He's doing too much during a physical fight to recall ever detail of an event that occurs in a split second.

Another thing that could be “fixed” that Saturday night’s setup in Rancho Mirage reminded me of is being more careful about hometown officials.

Is it kosher having Southern California officials (the referee and all three judges) preside over a title bout in Southern California that involves a titleholder who is a native Southern Californian? I’m not saying that David Mendoza is a Tim Bradley homer. I’m not saying that Marty Denkin, James Jen-Kin, and Max DeLuca have local biases — I honestly think that all three are very good judges. However, I am saying that it looks bad, and I can’t blame Nate Campbell or his team for feeling like they got shafted.

Other than improving the image of the sport (which includes marketing it to younger audiences better, the way MMA does) and making it more available to fans, I don’t think there’s much I’d change about boxing. As long as quality fighters fight each other (as the four 140 pounders did Saturday night), promoters develop young prospects (as Golden Boy Promotions is doing with Fight Night Club) and put on cards featuring local talent in the fighters’ home areas (as GBP, Gary Shaw and Thompson Boxing did this weekend) I think the sport will be alright. I really do. Hearing the fans at Club Nokia and The Show cheering so loudly during the cards and listening to them buzz afterward, you’d think that boxing was the only sport in existence.

Headbutts and fighters’ quitting on their stool is just part of the sport. We have to accept it. These guys are human beings. Some are willing to take more pain and punishment than others. Witter didn’t stop for no reason. He stopped because his arm was killing him. Other fighters would have continued, that’s why we idolize those particular boxers. For every Witter-Alexander there’s a Vazquez-Marquez matchup, and sometimes we get a combination (Maidana-Ortiz).

CAMPBELL QUIT

I will try to keep it short. The bottom line is Campbell quit, like Rahman did against Toney. Then he wants to put up a huge fight after the fight is over. He was heard as clear as day saying, “I can’t see” “Stop it, stop it”. When he was saying this he is trying to stop it and get a no decision, like Camacho Jr. tried to do back in the day. It backfired on him, and I don’t feel sympathy. When you quit, you get what you get. When you go out there and keep fighting, maybe you can turn it around or find a way to win, ala Miguel Cotto. In all honestly, Miguel probably didn’t win that fight, but the courage he showed, people gave him the benefit of the doubt. Nate knew it was not going to be his night, and he felt this was his best way out, by backing out of the fight.

Yes, he did get headbutted, yes the cut was caused by the butt, but the ref ruled it was from a punch. Look, his corner could have stopped the bleeding, he could have stretched Bradley out, but Nate did not want to go back out against the younger, stronger, quicker champion. — JB

If you’re right about Campbell and his intentions we have to give Bradley a lot of credit for convincing him that he didn’t have a chance to turn things around. As it is, I think most fans agree with your opinion and Campbell’s image and reputation has taken a severe hit.

DEVON ALEXANDER

What did you think of Devon Alexander's win over Junior Witter on Saturday? Where does he go next?

Secondly, have you any insight into the rumored Kali Meehan-David Haye sparring sessions that supposedly saw Meehan knock Haye out more than once?

Thirdly, you've mentioned before that you used to be a comic-book geek, haven't you? Did you ever read Swamp Thing during the mid to late 80's? I just picked up a handful of issues at a sidewalk sale in Haight-Ashbury, and I am greatly entertained by the meta-physical/psychedelic themes of this “horror comic”. — gopal rao

I bet you those Swamp Thing issues that you’re talking about were written by Alan Moore (of Watchmen fame). Go take a look. I absolutely read the Swamp Thing series during Moore’s tenure. Heck, I collected them. Those Swamp Things not only helped make me a hardcore comic fanatic they got my dad to stop calling them “silly books” or “funny books” when he happened to read one and was blow away by the writing.

I haven’t heard about any Meehan-Haye sparring sessions, but I wouldn’t be shocked if that were true. Haye has more talent, athletic ability and skill than Meehan, but the Kiwi is a natural heavyweight.

Interim cruiserweight titleholder Ola Afolabi is one of the best gym fighter’s I’ve ever seen but I’ve heard that local heavyweight journeyman Javier Mora has knocked him out twice in sparring.

Where does Alexander go next? Hopefully, he’s gets to defend his title in St. Louis in front of a big crowd (perhaps Don King can do a double header with Cory Spinks defending his 154-pound belt). I also hope whoever he fights doesn’t have a style anywhere near as weird as Junior Witter’s.

NO CONTEST? NO WAY!

hey dougie,
i gotta say, i disagree with everyone saying that the bradley-campbell fight should of been called a no-contest. more and more, fighters seem to be looking for a way out of fights early on and try to escape with a no-constest when they feel that maybe “tonight isn't my night.” nate was quitting before he gave his cutman a chance to work on the cut! miguel cotto went several rounds with a terrible cut and could of quit immediately and won a decision. also, i think its funny how the same thing happened to juan diaz when he fought campbell, and he just proceeded to take his whoopin' like a man. i had always thought that if a fighter quits, regardless of the reason, the opposing fighter was to be awarded a TKO. i mean, how convenient would it be for a fighter winning on the scorecards but feeling the momentum going the other way, quit in the corner complaining about being butted, then being awarded a technical decision? hopefully, the TKO stands and discourages others from this practice. tim bradley has nothing to be apologetic about and i think he handled himself with a lot of class while Campbell and Don King were acting like whiny immature little girls.

well, talk to you later. — MICLO, el paso, tx

Damn, tell me how you REALLY feel. LOL.

Good point about the Baby Bull. He got cut bad against both Campbell and Marquez and he stayed in there and took his beating.

LOOKING FOR AWAY OUT

Dougie,
This is Bulls__t!!! Campbell was looking for a way out. He knew he was going to get it later in the fight. Campbell had a small cut that wasn't really pouring into his eye….yet. He definitely isn't Cotto. I'm more upset at myself for believing in Campbell, not to win but to perform at a high level. Bradley would have continued fighting regardless if he thought he was losing or winning the fight. Plain & Simple – Campbell quit on himself and on the fans who wanted to see a good fight. I don't care for a rematch. Campbell didn't show anything that would warrant that.

Junior “Quitter” Witter is a front runner. He can still beat most but not the top tier guys. He's demoted to gatekeeper status, which isn't bad for someone as old as him. He can still make some good money. Devon looked more matured in this fight.

I can't wait for Alexander Vs Bradley!!!! Dougie beat the drums for that one. Peace. — Frankie from the Bronx

OK, I’ll start beating now. I wouldn’t mind seeing Alexander cut his teeth a little bit more before taking on Bradley but looking at the WBC’s 140-pound “contenders” and knowing how tough this economy has been on our sport I figure an immediate match with Desert Storm might be the only way Devon gets back on TV.

I don’t agree with your strong feelings on Campbell’s actions but you are definitely among the majority if the emails I’ve received since Saturday night are any indication.

Witter probably is a gatekeeper now, but not one I want to see. I think the guy is an accomplished veteran, a terrific interview, and an intelligent and thoughtful individual (I can envision him doing well as a commentator), but I’m not sure where he goes from here. He has a freaky (and not in the good way) style and he’s still dangerous, so it’s going to be hard for him to make a living as a gatekeeper (at least in the U.S.) Who will be willing to fight him? He fought (and lost to) two excellent American prospects in Bradley and Alexander, but the only reason those fights took place was because the WBC title was up for grabs.

THE MENDOZA LINE

Wow, what a bizarre and disappointing night. Alexander-Witter was plain ugly, the next time I see Witter on a premium cable channel broadcast will be too soon. Decent win for Alexander against an awkward and experienced opponent.

Bradley-Campbell? I groaned a little when I noticed Mendoza was the 3rd man in the ring, I remembered not being impressed with his work before. He looked flat out clueless when confronted by Campbell and only marginally more competent with Jim Gray.

That being said I was shocked at how quickly Campbell decided to pack it in. I'm speculating here, but he MUST have thought Mendoza had ruled the cut came from a butt and thought it would be a no contest right? Tough break for him and Bradley, who I thought was on his way to a solid decision victory instead of a tainted one. He'll probably never get Manny, but I think Bradley has a bright future. Provided Juan Diaz 'survives' Paulie-Walnuts, I would love to see Bradley matched with 'The Baby Bull'. — Tom G.

Bradley-Diaz would be one hell of a fight (perhaps I should write “one HECK of a fight” given Timothy’s strong Christian background). That matchup would draw 15,000 at the Toyota Center in Houston and at least 10,000 at the Citizens Bank arena in Ontario, Calif., or Staples in L.A. Fans would be guaranteed an action fight.

I wouldn’t assume that Campbell thought Mendoza ruled that the cut came from a butt. Nate’s no dummy and he’s just a TAD paranoid. He knew he was entering the lion’s den when he agreed to fight Bradley in Southern California and I think he understood that any sort of questionable call would not go his way.

ST. LOO HOMER

what's up dougie. i'm that fool who's joked around about pulling your ponytail if i catch you at a fight. thank you for not taking me seriously. i may be a classic “armchair eddie futch,” but i love the game and love the fact that there's writers like you and kim who can cover it and joke around a bit. anyway, on to my thoughts.

maybe i'm a bit of a homer, but color me impressed with devon alexander. i know you haven't exactly been a believer when it comes to alexander, but you've got to admit he looked pretty good tonight. witter (the quitter) came out awkward as hell. he was grabbing, switching up, throwing from goofy angles; he did everything to throw alexander off his game. but devon stayed cool and held his own. after three maddeningly frustrating rounds, he stayed calm and took control. big props for making witter quit. i would like to see devon target the winner of urango/bailey. i think he could box the pants off of both fighters, but i want to see him in there with someone who can punch.

man i feel bad for the galaxy warrior. that fight was looking like it could've turned into something real interesting. i hope nate doesn't become an afterthought at 140. i'd like to see him get another shot at bradley.

anyway, peace dougie. keep doing what you do. — alex in ft. collins

Your sympathy for Campbell and you desire to see him get a rematch puts in the minority, Alex, but that’s OK by me.

Personally, I don’t care to see a rematch. Bradley looked impressive enough in those three for me to want to see him continue to advance his career against better known, younger fighters in the kind of matchups that will make for bigger events.

However, I would like to see Campbell return to test some of the junior welterweight division’s up-and-comers. Unlike Witter, Campbell’s a gatekeeper I would watch.

As for Alexander, I’ve always considered him a to be a top prospect, but you are correct in that I’ve never been wowed by anything he’s done. I hate to say it but I wasn’t that impressed with his performance vs. Witter.

It was not a fun fight to watch or an easy fight to score but I disagreed with the judges who had Alexander winning all eight rounds or seven of the eight completed stanzas. I thought either guy could have been up by a point after eight rounds.

I thought Alexander was the more consistent of the two southpaws, but I actually thought Witter landed more clean power shots (which wasn’t very much). Apart from his big left in the fifth round (which was the best shot of the fight), Alexander didn’t land much. Of course, Witter’s herky jerky style had a lot to do with that and I’m sure the St. Louis native will look better fighting more orthodox boxers.

If Alexander can get the winner of Urango-Bailey that partial unification bout would probably answer most of the questions I have about the kid.

ARREOLA VS. HAYE

Doug,
Long time fan of the mail bag here.

I usually like reading your columns but I feel that your American bias is creeping in here. You cannot be 100% certain that Arreola would beat Haye. If you ask many a boxing analysis, you will find that you would be in the minority.

David would blast the overrated and under conditioned (don’t care what you say, he will never ever be in perfect condition for a fight) Arreola in 3 rounds. Haye is too quick and too power for Arreola to take. Haye would not have a problem catching him.

Am up for a debate but you seem to dismiss Haye’s chances quite easily which I find laughable. Could you please state your reasons for an Arreola win?

No doubt you would put this on your Mailbox but a personal reply wouldn’t go a miss. Regards. — Peter Ginley, Liverpool

I could be wrong about my pick and if they ever fight and your boy beats The Nightmare I will be more than happy to give Haye all the respect he deserves.

However, for me, this potential matchup comes down to one perception: Arreola is a natural heavyweight who is used to taking big punches from other natural heavyweights, and Haye is not.

There's no doubt that Haye is far more talented and dynamic. He's the harder puncher in a pound-for-pound sense but his power hasn't been proven at heavyweight (sorry Monte Barrett and Tomasz Bonnin don't cut it with me).

If they fight, whether the Southern Californian is in 100% shape or not, I think the natural big man will be able to take the natural cruiserweight's best shots but Haye won't be able to take Arreola's best shots.

Thanks for writing. And for the record my bias isn't “American” it's Southern Californian.

Dougie can be reached at [email protected] You can also follow him on Twitter — http://twitter.com/dougiefischer

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