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Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag

12
Oct

SATURDAY NIGHT ALRIGHT

Doug,
Where to begin? I didn't get to see Izzy Vazquez's comeback fight but from what I can gather it was a pretty shaky performance. Do you attribute this mostly to his long lay off/ surgery or are we seeing the first signs of the residual damage the wars with Marquez have incurred upon him? Or is the answer somewhere in between?

The upset trend continues with Jorge Linares. It really is amazing JMM didn't knock Mayweather cold with the rate prohibitive favorites are falling. I guess this proves once again ANYBODY can get caught. I know Linares has been plagued by inactivity, but are their some kind of outside distractions/bad habits that finally caught up to him or is this more in the vain of Khan-Prescott, where he just 'got caught'?

I think Juan Manuel Lopez's tight rope act in the later stages of his fight will only serve to help him in the future now that he survived. It's also added a little bit of intrigue for me in regards to a potential Yuriorkis Gamboa showdown. All along I have viewed Lopez as the more seasoned pro and while I still do, I think Gamboa's explosive power and speed, coupled with him being the naturally bigger man might level the playing field. Arum probably s__t his pants during round 12, LMAO. Do you think he still tries to go ahead with a unification bout against Celestino Caballero? At this point I don't really care, its a really good fight but I think Lopez-Gamboa potentially is the best match up of two young studs since Trinidad-De La Hoya. Hopefully it'll turn out better than that one did in the end.



(P.S- If you want to see Floyd get knocked out, talk your boss into signing him, he'll be twitching on the canvas in no time! (lol)… seriously though, can Golden Boy have anymore bad luck?) — Tom G.

The Curse of the Golden Boy is alive and well, Tom. Here’s a short list of fighters who signed with GBP and then lost their very first fight with the promotional giant: Marco Antonio Barrera (to Manny Pacquiao), Kassim Ouma (to Roman Karmazin), and now Linares (to Juan Carlos Salgado). I believe Marco Antonio Rubio lost his second fight with GBP (to Kofi Jantuah), and I have no idea why De La Hoya & Co. were so high on the Mexican junior middleweight to begin with. I also have no idea why they signed Vivian Harris, who got taken out with a headbutt in his first bout under the Golden Boy banner.

Anyway, losses are part of the sport. It isn’t the end of the world or a fighter’s career (and I shouldn’t have to point out to anyone that the opponents those newly signed Golden Boy fighters lost to weren’t chumps). Barrera bounced back to win a string of fights, including his classic rubber match with Erik Morales. Ouma came back and won a bunch of fights, including decisions over Rubio and then-undefeated Sechew Powell. I think Linares has the talent and desire to comeback all the way from his first loss. We’ll see what happens.

I don’t think there were any outside distractions that bothered Linares going into the Salgado fight but I do believe his growing body and the long periods of inactivity have made it very difficult for him to make 130 pounds. I’ve been around Linares many time between fights and he looks like a full-grown junior welterweight to me. Linares will never admit that he struggled to make 130 pounds vs. Salgado or that he has struggled to make weight in the past, and neither will the good folks at Teiken (the Japanese promotional company that developed him from a 17-year-old phenom to a two-division titleholder), but I’ve been told by those in the know (including the WBA’s Gilberto Mendoza Jr.) that the young man probably should have stepped up to lightweight late last year.

That said, I think Salgado deserves all the credit for going for it and landing that left hook around Jorge’s guard and directly to the temple. Linares never recovered from that shot.

I agree with you, Tom. I haven’t seen Lopez-Mtagwa yet but I agree with you that the those tough late rounds, especially the near disastrous 12th, is a character-building experience that will serve the budding Puerto Rican star later in his career.

I look at gut checks like that as the true proving ground for a young prospect/contender/titleholder. My “son” Edwin Valero got it in his first title bout against the very dangerous (and underrated) Vicente Mosquera. That dogfight he had with “the Pana-maniac” let me know that Valero had heart and grit to go with his power and athletic ability.

All the great ones had gut checks prior to establishing their legends. Muhammad Ali had his close calls with Doug Jones and Henry Cooper. Joe Frazier had his scraps with Oscar Bonavena.

Closer to Lopez’s home (and level) is Miguel Cotto, who had his scares against DeMarcus Corley and Ricardo Torres before joining the sport’s elite.

Speaking of “scares”, I think Arum & Co. are probably more spooked by Saturday’s fight than Lopez and his team, which means we can forget about a unification bout with Caballero. If Arum is going risk one of his stars it’s going to be against someone in his tribe, such as Steven Luevano and Gamboa. If Lopez fights a non-Top Rank fighter on the proposed co-feature with Gamboa in January I think the opponent will be featherweight belt holder Elio Rojas, not Caballero.

As for the proposed Lopez-Gamboa fight in June, I think that bout is looking more like an even-money fight after Saturday. However, Lopez made a good point when he said that he would have wasted Whyber Garcia as easily as Gamboa did. How would Gamboa have done with Mtagwa?

I think Vazquez’s struggle with Priolo was due in part to his inactivity, but I believe the main reason the Colombian was able to be so competitive with a fighter who was considered elite last year is all the grueling battles of attrition the Mexican warrior has put his body through over the years.

Lopez told the media (in so many words) that he’s “not superman” after almost getting whacked by Mtagwa. Well, the same can be said about Vazquez. I don’t care how durable, dedicated to the sport and strong willed a fighter is, he can’t go through wars like Vazquez has with Marquez, Oscar Larios (their second fight is a forgotten classic), and Jhonny Gonzalez without suffering ill effects.

VAZQUEZ IS NOT P4P

Dougie,
Vazquez’s performance tonight is the exact reason why I e-mailed you after the Floyd fight that he should not have been kept in the P4P at the expense of fighters like P-Will and others when Floyd bumped everyone down a notch. — JB

You were preaching to the choir then and you’re preaching to the choir now, JB. If it were up to me both Vazquez and Rafa Marquez would have been dropped from THE RING’s Pound-for-Pound top 10 in late March for being inactive for more than a year.

And I wouldn’t have Celestino Caballero in the top 10, either. The gangly Panamanian is arguably the best 122-pound fighter in the world but he’s not elite. When your best victories are against Daniel Ponce DeLeon, Steve Molitor and Somsak Sithchatchawal you’re not top-10 pound for pound.

Certainly, after Saturday’s fight it’s clear that Vazquez is no longer in elite form. Maybe he’ll regain it with a few more fights, but I doubt it. For now, I agree 100 percent that he shouldn’t be on the list.

If a pound for pound list is ever compiled for heart and soul, ‘El Magnifico’ is definitely top three if not numero uno.

LOPEZ-MTAGWA

I didn't see it, but I'm reading that the Lopez-Mtagwa fight was pretty close. Since Lopez and Gamboa are supposed to be co-featured on another card later in the year, what do you think the chances are of Gamboa taking on Mtagwa?

It would make for a good buildup for the eventual Gamboa-Lopez fight, although its possible that Gamboa's people don't want to risk that fight against a dangerous opponent like Mtagwa. — gopal rao

Gamboa’s people would put him in with Paul Williams in a heartbeat. Gamboa is supremely confident and his co-promoter Ahmet ├ûner is a little crazy. I bet you they would be willing to take on Mtagwa. If they want to make Lopez look bad, or get under the budding Puerto Rican star’s skin, I think the best way to do that would be to fight Mtagwa on Jan. 23 and beat the Philly-based Tanzanian in decisive fashion.

Regardless of who Gamboa fights in January, I’m already excited about the his proposed June showdown with Lopez.

VAZQUEZ-MARQUEZ IV

Dear Doug,
I know Mike Rosenthal is doing most of the Vasquez coverage just now, but I enjoy conversing with you. So, supposing that there is a Vazquez-Marquez IV I've got an idea

Rafael Marquez vs Israel Vasquez
5 May 2010
Estadio Azteca
Mexico City

That's right, Cinco De Mayo and Mexico City. I guarantee you could sell that place out for it, and although it's a long long way from the traditional fight centres I think since a quadrilogy is a rare occurrence, something outside the norm in terms of venue is perfectly fitting.

My only other thought is, please can HBO buy the rights to it? Not only would I love to see a 24/7, but the idea of Jim Lampley inventing adjectives to describe what would doubtless be a classic, fills me with mirth and merriment. Plus, I really dislike the Showtime announcing crew. — Patrick Swain

I like the announcing crew on Showtime, and if Vazquez-Marquez IV happens the fight belongs on the network. Vazquez-Marquez I, II and III would not have happened if not for Showtime’s support.

I like the idea of Vazquez-Marquez IV taking place in Mexico City (where both fighters are from) and in a stadium — I would love to cover such an event, especially on Mexican Independence Day — but even if that giant outdoor arena is packed the fighters won’t make as much money as they would if they were to fight at the MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

And let’s be honest, the main reason this fight might take place is because it’s the biggest money fight out there for both veterans. It’s not because there’s a great demand for the fight. There is demand for it, don’t get me wrong. Fans know they’ll get a another great fight, but I think most hardcore heads (like you and I) recognize that Izzy and Rafa have already given us more than we could have ever asked for in terms of highly skilled-action, excitement and drama.

WHY WON'T THE SONS STEP UP?

Dougie,
I just wanted your opinion on something that has bugged me for quite sometime. Why are the sons of legends — JC Chavez Jr., Hector Camacho Jr., and Ronald Hearns — not stepping up to real competition? I am tired of watching them fight on these obscure PPV cards against less than stellar competition. I just feel there is no way they can ever live up to their famous fathers if they don't start taking on some fighter's that can push them into greatness. — Rob Neeley, Sacramento, Ca

I think it’s obvious with all three of the sons you mentioned that even if they did step up the level of their competition they’ll never begin to live up to the accomplishments of their fathers.

And the truth is, all three of them have tried stepping up the level of their competition. Hearns did with Harry Joe Yorgey earlier this year and got KTFO.

Camacho did years ago with James Leija, who took his heart. Then he got ran out of the ring by Omar Weiss. A couple years ago he was stopped by Andrey Tsurkan and then found a way to lose to club fighter Don Futrell. If he beats the shopworn Yory Boy Campas later this month I’m sure he’ll try to land a bout with Chavez Jr., who is by far the most successful of “the sons”, but he’s also been managed and promoted more shrewdly.

Who knows? You might see him on Showtime or HBO by the time his 50-0-1. Make that 60-0-1.

Chavez is unbeaten but he’s struggled when the level of his comp was slightly raised.

He had some trouble putting away both Ray Sanchez III and Jose Celaya, and squeaked by Matt Vanda in their first fight. I think that should tell us all we need to know about the level he’s on.

He’s still young (23), though. He beat Vanda handily in their rematch and he just blew out Jason LeHoullier (although I don’t believe for a second that he actually weighed in at 154 pounds for that fight — he looked like a light heavyweight in the ring). He’ll probably do the same to Troy Rowland in November. If he beats John Duddy, then maaaaaaybe there’s some hope that he can actually evolve into a contender. We’ll see.

BOXING & THE X-MEN

Hey Dougie,
I really enjoyed your articles ever since the House of Boxing days. I even e-mailed you at Maxboxing regarding your P4P and wondered why MAB was still placed high on the list after being TKO’d by Pac.

Then you moved to Ring and hinted that you were also a comic book, X-Men and Moore/Swamp Thing fan and really surprised me how far back you went back with the X-men.

Yeah, Byrne, Austin, Claremont and Cockrum ruled the series. Loved the way Byrne drew his women, remember the White Queen and her cleavage? As a teenaged boy, holy cow!

These guys doesn't get enough credit for shaping the characters, especially Byrne with Wolverine. I'll never forget how he drew Logan ogling at a Hustler magazine while Peter (Colossus) is aghast. If you remember that panel, you are indeed the guy.

Comics and boxing was the life back then.

Hearns, Pinklon Thomas, Mugabe, Bramble, Tony Balthazar, Curry were the fighters I followed then.

Comics back then, you followed a series or an artist because you liked a certain look or style the artist did. You brought back memories when you mentioned Paul Smith. How about guys like Michael Golden? Mike Zeck's Punisher? Giffen and McGuirre's JLA? Kyle Baker's Shadow? Simonson's Thor? Moore's Miracleman and Gaiman's Sandman? I was just happy Sal Buscema wasn't drawing X-men.

Today I find comics to be not comics anymore, way too slick/sleek, too expensive and all the artists have the same style and look. Back then the artists only had 4 colors, and a pencil and no computer programs like Illustrator and Photoshop at their disposal.

Just geeking out some old memories. — Edd

That’s OK, Edd. I’m an old geek. I agree that the look of most of the comic art these days is over-produced, too clean and realistic. I like the cartoonish stylized art of guys like Cockrum, Byrne, Smith, Golden, Zeck and Simonson (I didn’t collect his run on Thor but I loved it and I’ll probably get ’em all in trade paperback form now).

Of course, I remember Wolverine reading the Hustler in the soda shop. It was when the team was trying to recruit Kitty Pryde and just before the White Queen attacked them with some suited up Hell-fire club minions. Cockrum designed Wolverine’s unmasked head and gave him his urban cowboy look when he wasn’t in costume, but the Byrne took a liking to the character and brought out his personality and leadership potential.

I was more into comics than I was boxing in the mid-to-late 1980s. Zeck’s Punisher, Giffen’s Legion of Super-Heroes, and everything Alan Moore wrote took precedence over all the boxing magazines. I was such a comic nerd I kind of liked Buscema’s art on the New Mutants (but I was blown away when Bill Sienkiewicz arrived).

I think 1988 to 1991 was my transition from comic geek to boxing fanatic. The come-backing Leonard and Mike Tyson got me to start spending my limited cash on THE RING and Boxing Illustrated instead of the some of the comic I collected (titles I really didn’t care for anymore like Firestorm, Booster Gold, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, Atari Force). Terry Norris, James Toney, Roy Jones and Riddick Bowe turned me into a boxing junkie and I had to have ALL of the boxing mags that were available in southern Missouri and Ohio (anybody remember Boxing Scene published by Tiger Press?). Those fighters made me forget about the comic shop during the early 1990s.

When I checked out the comic scene in the mid-1990s too much had changed (the art and the characters) for me get back into it. So I missed that decade and most of this one. I don’t regret it. It’s a lot easier to find old comics than fights I missed on TV.

Dougie can be reached at [email protected]