Friday, December 09, 2022  |

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Dougie’s FAT Friday Mailbag

09
Oct

SUPERUNKNOWN

Hey Doug,
I'm not sold on Arthur Abraham even though I've found him quite impressive. I still think Edison Miranda won the first fight. Abraham did convincingly win the rematch, though. I think Abraham's level of competition is questionable and I am unsure of his status at middleweight: he only had the Miranda fight (his recent history at super middle anyway).

That said, I don't quite know who to pick but my gut says Mikkel Kessler. He's got the composure to out last Carl Froch and a murderous jab and timing to out box Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell (who I admit are unknown quantities) and the power to KO Jermain Taylor. What happens in an Abraham-Kessler fight? I don't know.

All in all, the only guy that would downright shock me if he won is Dirrell… too bad Librado Andrade and Lucian Bute aren't in the mix. — Stephen, Montreal



I don’t think it’s awful that Bute and Adrade aren’t part of the Super Six. If they were, and it was a Great Eight tournament, the entire 168-pound division (at least in North America) would be locked up until mid 2011. That wouldn’t be fair to super middleweight contenders who aren't in the tournament and looking for a title shot (but would rather not venture to Germany to face Robert Stieglitz). The winner of the Bute-Andrade rematch presents a marketable title holder for guys like Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Jesse Brinkley and even Miranda (if he gets a few wins under his belt) to target next year.

I would be surprised, but not shocked, if Dirrell won the Super Six. I think he has the most natural talent of the bunch.

Kessler is the favorite of most boxing writers and for good reason — he’s big, skilled, athletic and experienced against excellent opposition. I definitely envision the Dane winning it all. However, I like Abraham because I think his style is more versatile than Kessler’s.

Points taken about King Arthur. Outside of Miranda his opposition is not great. I think Taylor is the best fighter he’s ever faced. However, even if he had lost the first fight with Miranda I still would hav been impressed with his performance. That guy’s got some guts to fight seven rounds with a broken jaw against a banger like Miranda. That fight showed me that Abraham has the intangibles to go with his obvious talent and skill.

WTF!?

2 things Dougie Fresh …

1) How does Troy Rowland (a local club fighter I've followed in Grand Rapids, MI for 10 yrs) go from fighting in a small concert venue stage three months ago to getting a shot with JCC Jr on PPV? Jesus Christ man, is Chavez Jr. EVER going to fight anyone with a pulse? The kid has had 40 fights, it's time to s___ or get off the pot.

2) Do you give my boy Andre Dirrell a chance to win? Or do you think his lack of pro experience will do him in?

PS – how are the daughters doing? — Mike Sam – GR, Mich.

The daughters are doing great, Mike. Josephine is 5 years old and in kindergarten. Jeanne-Imani is 18 months old, walking and talking up a storm.

I thought Rowland was a decent prospect before he was knocked out by Fernando Zuniga (a tough veteran cookie) in 2005, but that loss must have got to the GR native because he disappeared until this year. He hasn’t fought anyone that would suggest that he’s back or has anything for Junior. However, if he employs constant movement he can trouble Chavez, who is rather slow of foot.

I chuckled when I read the words “getting a shot” at Chavez. Hey, it’s not like the kid has a world title or is even widely respected prospect. He’s just a solid guy with a famous father and last name. He — and Top Rank and Fernando Beltran — are going to milk it for as long as they can. If Chavez beats Rowland, his next bout might be against John Duddy, which would constitute a step-up fight by Junior’s standards. If he beats Duddy, who knows? Maybe Arum and company will cut the kid lose and put him in with a real 154-pound or middleweight prospect/contender like Alfredo Angulo or Sergio Mora, but I doubt it.

I don’t favor Dirrell to win the Super Six but I think he’ll do well. In fact, I think he’ll outpoint Carlo Froch in an intense boxing match (well, he better make it a boxing match). I think Dirrell has the fastest hands, feet, and the best reflexes of the bunch. His lack of quality pro experience is a question mark, but we have to remember that he had an extensive amateur career, which helps him in the “seasoning” department.

SUPA 6, COUNTDOWN TO COTTO-PACMAN

What’s up Dougie? Hey man I have been a loyal reader since seeing you on HBO a couple of years ago, and I love your work. I also completely agree with you on Gayweather (if he beats at least 2 legitimate welterweights or junior middleweights, I will bow down to him), but I won’t get into that because Roger Mayweather might choke me out, LOL.

PacMan-Cotto: Do you think that Pac’s footwork is that excellent to circumvent Cotto’s pressure? While I think that while there is a thin margin of error when it comes to rolling to Cotto’s left (especially since he has such an excellent left hand), you have to see there is a great opportunity to land a quick right hook on the inside when Cotto throws his left to the body (like what Chop Chop did a couple of years ago, except Pac is a lefty and faster than Corley, which enhances the chances) and to land a right straight when Cotto tries for a combination after the lead left hook. Don’t forget about those uppercuts on the inside to Cotto as well (like Torres in ’06). On the other hand, Cotto has an underrated jab, and could be dangerous to Pac if Cotto could use to lead a 1-2 combo in the middle of the ring (Pac’s kryptonite: right straights). The MAIN reason why Torres or Corley could not put Cotto away is that they were not excellent combination punchers and add that with Cotto’s ability to move around the ring while hurtÔǪ it allowed Cotto to come back in those fights.

Quick Super Six thoughts: Taylor WILL beat Abraham with speed and powerÔǪ as long as the fight doesn’t last past the 9th. Ward-Kessler will BE FUN!!… Kessler better be slick against Ward’s forward movement or it could be a long night for the Dane (he doesn’t throw punches accurately while fighting backwards, i.e. his fight against Slappy Happy Calzaghe in ’07).

PS — I’M A X-MEN FAN TOOÔǪ at least I was before paying bills kicked in, LOLÔǪ What was your favorite storyline and artists??

Mines are: Days of Future Past and Age of Apocalypse (I have a thing for the future storylines)ÔǪ. My favorite artists were Marc Silvestri during his late 80’s run (and I loved his work in the Darkness and Witchblade titles for Top Cow) and Joe Maduriera in the mid-90s (when I got in to comics during elementary). Hope to hear your response soon! — Kyle (from NYC BABY!)

Hey Kyle, always great to hear from a fellow New Yorker and comic book fan.

I’m a bit older than you, so I remember the Days of Future Past arc (when it first came out), and of course John Byrne is one of my favorite X-Men artists, but the Age of Apocalypse came out during the 1990s when I was a full-time boxing fan. I liked Silvestri’s art but the story arcs of the late 1980s (such as the Mutant Massacre and Inferno) turned me off at a time when boxing was really heating up (with Ray Leonard’s comeback and Mike Tyson’s emergence). Anyway, I collected Uncanny X-Men from 1977 to 1987 and didn’t start regularly buying the books again until 2007 (that’s right, I took a 20-year hiatus from my favorite mutants), starting with the Essential collections to refresh my memory and catch up on stories I missed.

I’m old school, so my favorite arcs are still the first ones of the “all new, all different” UXM when the late great Dave Cockrum and Byrne were penciling Chris Claremont’s stories — The M’Kraan Crystal arc begun by Cockrum and finished by Byrne is an all-time classic IMO. The Proteus and Dark Phoenix sagas are great. I absolutely loved The Brood arc, which began with Cockrum and was finished by the very underrated Paul Smith. The more recent arcs I liked was Claremont’s comeback to the series a few years back entitled “The New Age”, which included the “Deepest Cut” arc that introduced X-23, with the great Alan Davis doing the art as only he can. I also enjoyed Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly’s team-up with the New X-Men at the start of the decade, and Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s first two or three arcs with the Astonishing X-Men a few years go.

OK. Enough comic talk. Back to boxing.

If Taylor beats Abraham (or “whups” him as the Little Rock native would say), I’ll be sure to give you props for calling it. Seems like everyone has written the man off.

I think Kessler will relish any forward movement from Ward. I don’t think he’s going to back up because he’s got an heavy jab and he’s the bigger, stronger man. I believe Ward’s lateral movement mixed with quick and unpredictable in-and-out attacks is what will trouble the Viking Warrior, but we’ll see what happens next month.

I do think Pacquiao’s footwork can be effective enough to throw Cotto off. Think about it: How often has Cotto had to deal with fast and constant lateral movement? Not often. He handled it well with Gianluca Branco (who is nowhere near as fast as Manny), but not so well with Oktay Urkal (who isn’t in Pac’s class, either). Of course, I think Pacquiao’s uppercuts will be a dangerous weapon. I think Cotto’s most important punch will be the jab. He has to use it disrupt Manny’s rhythm and back him up.

I don’t think the main reason that Corley (who is a southpaw, by the way) and Torres were unable to put Cotto away was their lack of combination punching. I chalk that up to Cotto’s heart, survival skills and will to win.

I don’t want to get into Mayweather (Floyd Jr., Senior or Roger). You may have noticed that there were no Mayweather emails in Monday’s mailbag. That’s not because people aren’t emailing me about the guy, it’s because I’ve written all I care to write about him and there’s nothing else to be said. Most fans who email me agree with my thoughts, and that’s fine. Some disagree. That’s fine, too. But there’s nothing more for me to write about him until his next fight is made. Until then, I’m going to enjoy answering questions about the Super Six, Dawson-Johnson II, Pavlik-Williams, and other bouts and fighters.

WHAT'S UP WITH CAMP COTTO?

Dougie,
Have you heard anything about Miguel Cotto regarding his preparation for his upcoming bout with the PacMonster? His camp has been extremely quiet and their choice of sparring partners has me a bit worried (Frankie Figueroa, Kenny Abril and Fred Tukes??). On the other hand, Pacquiao is using Shawn Porter, Urbano Antillon and Jose Luis Castillo. Castillo is a bit washed up, but the other two will definitely bring the heat. Your thoughts. — Kelvin, NJ

I’ve heard that Cotto’s weight is on target and that he’s looking very sharp. I haven’t heard anything specific about his sparring sessions.

I’m not that concerned that the likes of Edwin Valero or Zab Judah aren’t among his sparring partners. Some fighters want (or need) world-class guys to help them prepare for world-class opponents, and other fighters don’t.

Cotto is a very serious guy by nature. He’s 100-percent focused once training starts. All he needs are competent sparring partners for him to sharpen up his reflexes and more importantly, work on specific strategies.

Pacquiao is different. He trains his ass off, but he gets distracted and he plays around too much in sparring if his partners aren’t at or near his level. Pacquiao would play and have fun with professional sparring partners like Tukes (a great guy, by the way), that’s why Freddie Roach brings in balls-to-the-walls types like Antillon. You can’t play with Urbano because he spars just like he fights. That intensity forces Manny to focus and get serious.

Cotto doesn’t need that. He can work just fine with Tukes and Figueroa, who I’m sure is giving the Caguas Crusher good work.

HOPKINS ENJOYS PENSACOLA PANCAKES

Hey Doug, how are you? I'll try to keep this short, but I've got a lot to say on the matter!

I was appalled to see this Hopkins-Jones even being considered, in my mind this is just going to be Bernard humiliating Roy in much the same way Calzaghe did (i.e. he's going to 'out Jones' poor old Roy). I can understand that Hopkins wants a win over the only man he actually considers to have beaten him, and I can understand that both men stand to make a lot of money. I also get that people will pay to see this rematch, but it just feels that it proves nothing.

Bernard is peerless to me. I watched Calzaghe-Hopkins firmly in the Calzaghe corner, and was elated when the decision went Calzaghe's way, typical patriotism. In the morning I felt let down, realising the only reason I was so delighted that Joe had won was in fact because I thought Hopkins had given him a bit of a spanking, regardless of the punch stats (in America I see a lot of judges scoring for aggression, here in Britain it's more about effective punches and ringcraft, I think Hopkins would have taken a W had it been fought over here). I also felt he edged both Taylor fights, and was utterly thrilled by his performance against Pavlik.

Jones is a different story, however great he may have been. He may have knocked Calzaghe down but the rest of that fight was somewhere between Dempsey devouring Willard and Marciano finishing Louis, it was horrible to watch as it wasn't competitive and you knew it wasn't to do with how great Calazghe was, but how far Roy had gone. He can still outpoint the likes of Lacy(bet a lot of people wish they hadn't bought into that hype!) and Hanshaw, but it's irrelevant when compared to fighting a guy who is still at the very top of his game, not to mention a guy who will most likely enjoy taking him to pieces with great glee!

I'm used to eating my words when making bold predictions in boxing, but at the minute I'm hoping Danny Green manages to derail the whole thing so that we don't have to watch what will most likely be an ugly spectacle. How do you see it unfolding? — Ewan

I’m not expecting Hopkins-Jones II to be as entertaining and dramatic of a “past-its-expiration-date” rematch as Leonard-Hearns II was, but I don’t think it will be an ugly spectacle.

The first Jones-Hopkins bout was generally uneventful because the stalking Philly tough guy couldn’t cut the ring off on Jones. However, unlike the version that Jones fought in 1993, Hopkins is now a complete technician. And Jones has slowed down (both hands and feet) enough to where Hopkins can actually zero in on his chin.

However, that doesn’t mean that Hopkins is going to wipe his ass with Jones. I don’t see that happening at all. Jones’ speed and footwork will still give Hopkins trouble. Calzaghe was able to overwhelm Jones because he came close to matching his hand speed and he doubled his punch output. Hopkins isn’t as fast as Calzaghe or Jones and he doesn’t let his hands go the way the Welsh Wizard does. The question I have is how long can Jones stick and move before his 40-year legs force him to go to the ropes? And what happens then?

WHO’S THAT BOXING ARTIST?

Doug what's up I was trying to find out what's the name of the up and coming artist you mentioned in your Monday mailbag. I went back to look it up but the mailbag was gone. I know one is Streeter but I missed the other guy you mentioned.

Also I'm looking forward to seeing how Mookie Pendarvis will do against undefeated Mauricio Herrera on Friday. I'll be there and at the Nokia see you then thanks. — Sam

I know Mookie's training hard (I saw him at the Azteca Boxing Club on Monday), and I also know that he’s on a bit of win streak, but I have to wonder if he has picked up the “opponent” mentality. He's never really had a quality trainer to help him utilize the considerable talent he’s gifted with and he says he’s already scheduled to fight that undefeated prospect from Uganda, Sharif Bogere, in Las Vegas next month.

I know Pendarivs has the talent to beat Herrera, but does he have the heart and will? I'd love to go to the Thompson Boxing Promotions show and find out, but the timing doesn't workout for me with child care at home. I'll see ya at Nokia Theater, though, which should be fun.

Oh yeah, the other artist I mentioned is Richard Sloan. He's excellent.

NATIONAL PRIDE

Hey Dougie,
Your article on the vast potential for boxing tourneys to fuel fan interest really illustrates that the “Super Six” should just be the tip of the iceberg. More tourneys would serve to sort out who is the top dog in each division or test the next wave of talent against other prospects.

Whether its the networks, the promoters or even The RING that steps up and puts the next one together the fans and the fighters will all benefit.

Another possible avenue for the tournament structure is the national pride angle. Hardcore fans love fighters for their individual sacrifice, but its extra special when its one of your own countrymen whopping ass in there.

A tournament involving multiple weight classes and countries would be a little more complicated but would generate considerable fan interest and a little extra incentive for the fighters to be involved.

Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the US probably have the deepest talent pools south of 147 pounds and could each field a helluva lineup. You could add Venezuela and the Philippines if you want 6.

Who would you like to see in there if it was one fighter per country for Bantam, Feather, LW and Welter (give or take a few lbs)?

No matter what transpires in the months ahead and next year I really feel like this is an exciting time for boxing. Keep banging that drum! Peace. — Ad Rock, Whitby, Ontario, Canada

I believe this is an exciting time, Ad Rock. We’re going into the next decade without Mike Tyson or Oscar De La Hoya, so a new star will have to emerge. It will be fun to see who rises to the top in the next few years.

Anyway, when you talk about sub-lightweight divisions it does no good to limit your nations to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the U.S., Venezuela and the Philippines. Some of the best bantamweights and featherweights in the world are from Japan, Indonesia, South Africa and Ghana.

My international bantamweight Super Six would include Hozumi Hasegawa from Japan, Anselmo Moreno from Panama, Joseph Agbeko from Ghana, Abner Mares from Mexico/the U.S., Nehomar Cermeno from Venezuela, and Yohnny Perez from Colombia.

My 126-pound Super Six would include Chris John from Indonesia, Steven Luevano from the U.S., Yuriorkis Gamboa from Cuba, either JuanMa Lopez or Mario Santiago from Puerto Rico, Daniel Ponce DeLeon from Mexico and Celestino Caballero from Panama.

My lightweight Super Six would include Edwin Valero from Venezuela, Juan Diaz from the U.S., Joel Casamayor from Cuba, Antonio DeMarco from Mexico, Michael Katsidis from Australia, and Ali Funeka from South Africa.

My 147-pound Super Six would include Shane Mosley from the U.S., Miguel Cotto from Puerto Rico, Joshua Clottey from Ghana, Isaac Hlatshwayo from South Africa, Vyacheslav Senchenko from Ukraine, and Jesus Soto Karass from Mexico.

I think the welterweight tournament would generate the most interest because of Mosley and Cotto’s participation, followed by the featherweight tournament (if JuanMa is in it). I think the lightweight tournament would provide the most action while the bantamweights would showcase the most class and skill.

Dougie can be reached at [email protected]