Dougie’s Monday Mailbag
A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING
From shocking scorecards, to a surprising knockout, to a pretty entertaining street fight, I’d say Saturday was a good night of boxing. As far as the Ali Funeka-Joan Guzman scoring, I thought that the 116-112 card was even a bit generous but at least it had the right guy winning. There is no way a rational person could argue that Guzman won any more than four rounds (and again, I think even four would be a stretch).
We knew that Librado Andrade could take a billion shots to the head, but Lucian Bute reminded us that sometimes all it takes is one well-placed body shot. Bute sent out another reminder to those who didn’t know or may have forgotten; there are more than just six quality super-middleweights in the world. With a number of good opponents out there and that strong Canadian fan base, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of Bute in the future.
For a fight that ended up so wide on the scorecards (and rightfully so), John Molina-Martin Honorio was still an entertaining brawl. Surely, there will be those boxing “fans” that are quick to write-off a guy as a “hype-job” and say Molina was “exposed,” but losing one fight isn’t a referendum on a career. Molina is still fairly young and he’s inexperienced, so there’s no need to rush to a judgment on him yet. Thanks. — Jesse, New Jersey
You are absolutely right about there being no reason to write-off or rush to judge Molina. Honorio is a prime example that one loss — or even a couple — is not the end of a young fighter’s career or an indictment on his ability and potential. Just two years ago Honorio was KTFO in less than a minute by Roberto Guerrero. Now he’s a player in the 130-pound division.
In Honorio, Molina faced the most battle-tested opponent of his career in his first 10-rounder and he fell short. There’s no shame in that unless he fails to learn from his mistakes and the experience. I think Molina and his handlers (trainer Joe Goossen and promoter Dan Goossen) learned about his limitations at this stage of his development and all three will plot his 2010 accordingly. Because of his late start in boxing and his very limited amateur background (only 22 bouts, 17 of which ended by KO) I think he needs to get quality rounds in with experienced opponents but not fighters quite as dangerous as Honorio. After two or three 10 rounders, maybe he’ll be ready for his next step up by the end of next year.
You’re absolutely right about rock-chinned fighters — just because they can take it to the noggin doesn’t mean they can withstand a well-placed body shot. Man, that sweeping left to Andrade’s body was a brutal beauty! The poor guy was paralyzed. It’s gotta suck (especially for a Mexican fighter) to be counted out on your knees after single shot to the body.
I’d say that Bute’s “the man” in Canada after Saturday’s impressive victory but I think light heavyweight beltholder Jean Pascal and his fans would have something to say about that. That’s why I suggested that they fight in my post-fight column. I’ve never covered a fight in Canada but that showdown would definitely get me up there.
I don’t understand those two 114-114 scorecards at all. I thought Funeka won by 116-112 or 117-111. My guess is that the judges gave Guzman more credit than he deserved for his aggression and power punching during the first half of the bout. However, Guzman didn’t sweep the first six rounds (I thought rounds three and four belonged to Funeka) and he was outboxed, outhustled and outmuscled over the next six rounds. I was impressed with the guts Guzman showed down the stretch but balls alone don’t win fights.
How great was the Andrade stoppage! That is Lucian's favorite punch by the way, with good reason. I was happy to see that ending as Andrade is one tough SOB and 12 rounds with him might have ended the same way as last time. Now Bute emerges clearly as 1 or 2 in the division. I think his fights are more exciting now because we know he is vulnerable. It will be interesting to see him in with the likes of Abraham, Dawson, Ward or Froch. Unfortunately, I predict his next fight will be against a softee. — Stephen, Montreal
I don’t mind if Bute’s next opponent is a “softee.” He just fought a “hardee” so he’s earned the right to take a break but I hope he takes on the best available opponent in his second fight of 2010. That opponent won’t be Abraham, Ward or Froch because of the Super Six tournament, but Chad Dawson certainly fits the bill. So does the Pascal-Diaconu winner, Allan Green, and I guess the Stieglitz-Miranda winner (ugh).
BUTE AND THE SUPER SIX GAP
Dear Mr. Fischer:
May I assume that your drum is already banging to the tune of moving Bute to the front of the Super Six 'reserve' line? I'm not pulling for Taylor (or anyone else) to withdraw, but if that does happen, how much more exciting would Bute/Ward be than, say, Green/Ward? Bute would be a very live dog; even if he were to step in for the 3rd fight of the 1st round, he could still reach the semis, depending on how things break, no?
Can't wait for the Ring analysis on Williams/Martinez. Keep it up. Best. — Matthew, NYC
My early analysis is that Martinez has a difficult style for Williams.
If Taylor withdraws from the Super Six tournament I (and just about every other boxing writer and fan) believe that Bute should be his replacement. After his performance Saturday I think Bute would be one of the favorites of the tournament.
I’ll be happy to bang the drums for his inclusion if somebody falls out of the Super Six lineup but I don’t really believe that Bute’s backers or the boxing brass at Showtime are high on that idea.
ANDRADE'S FIRST KO LOSS
I am one of those people who thought Showtime's broadcast team went out of their way to manufacture the postfight controversy of the first Bute-Andrade fight. I thought their own instant replays proved that, while referee Marlon Wright certainly did a sloppy job and his pro-Bute refereeing set the stage for the accusation, Andrade was definitely further out of his corner then the TV audience could see during the fight and that Bute definitely beat the count. Most TV viewers who didn't stick around for the replays and just saw the count itself had to take the broadcast team's word for it because the camera was focused entirely on Bute.
I was happy to see the rematch happen, because no fight with Librado Andrade is doing to be too disappointing.
The knockout blows me away. I never expected an early stoppage, unless Andrade got really lucky and caught Bute cold with something.
Do you think this is a sign of Andrade's career of constant head-shots finally taking its toll? Or is it just a case of no one liking that uppercut to the solar plexus? — Chris, Blountville, TN
I think it’s a combination of both. A fighter can take only so many shots to the dome before the accumulation of punishment begins to effect his nervous system and his ability to take a punch. Hardnosed Antonio Margartio took a lot of shots flush upside his head for many years before he made it to the top of the division following his stoppages of Kermit Cintron and Miguel Cotto (fights against heavy hitters who teed off on his big head before they were overwhelmed), but he seemed to hit his limit by the end of 2008. During his camp for Shane Mosley he was getting his ass kicked on a daily basis by a novice junior welterweight and a young journeymen. These kids (Said El-Harrak and Henry Mitchell) weren’t just outboxing Margarito. They were slapping the s__t out of him. I’d seen Margarito go toe-to-toe with strong middleweights in the gym for years and he usually got the better of the bigger men. But, suddenly, he was no longer able to stand his ground and take the punishment he once did.
I don’t think Andrade is at the point where Margarito got to by the end of 2008 but I think it’s safe to say that the same short left cross that produced the first knockdown against Bute would not have dropped him a year or two ago. Andrade got up clear headed from that shot (as he did after his other head-shot knockdown vs. Yusaf Mack) but a good body shot is a different experience from a punch to the head. A good body shot — and that’s what Bute delivered — paralyzes a fighter regardless of his conditioning, experience, toughness or will. So, I’m not going to write that Andrade’s chin has been used up, because Bute’s left to the body probably could have taken any 168 pounder out, but I do believe that the Mexican contender is on his way to burning out because he takes too many damn punches.
FORGET ABOUT BUTE-PASCAL
I doubt that Interbox and GYM (the two Montreal boxing promoters) will want to organise a fight between Bute and Pascal. I do not think in the short term that both promoters are willing to take the risk of cannibalizing the parallel success (Bute and Pascal) that is observed in Montreal. As long as both Bute and Pascal are capable of attracting decent local crowds, the best for both promoters is to organise fights with big names outside Canada. Best. — Eric Gravel, Montreal
That course might be what’s best for the promoters but it’s not what’s best for the fans or the legacies of both fighters.
And by the way, I’m not saying that Bute and Pascal have to fight each other first thing in 2010. Both titleholders can defend their belts against whoever in the first quarter or first half of next year, but provided that Pascal beats Diaconu again (and I think he will) who’s out there for him aside Chad Dawson?
If Dawson-Pascal can be made, I’m all for it. I won’t even think about Pascal-Bute. But if that fight can’t be made for whatever reason, what’s Pascal going do? Continue fighting whack-ass WBC mandatories like that old Italian guy he had to fight? Roy Jones will be busy with B-Hop next year if he takes care of Danny Green this week. If the winner of Hopkins-Jones wants to fight Dawson you know he’ll oblige because of the money and name recognition involved. There are other young guys in the division, beltholder Tavoris Cloud, and contenders Yusaf Mack and Chris Henry, but those are dangerous fights with little reward for victory. If Pascal is going to take on a dangerous fighter not named Dawson I think it might as well be Bute because the fight would be such an event in Montreal.
All I know is that I’d rather see Bute fight Pascal that Allan Green, Robert Stieglitz or Edison Miranda.
BUTE AND SHOWTIME'S TOURNAMENT
You mentioned that Lucian Bute was not invited be in the Super Six tournament.
From what I read before the tournament began, Bute was invited to be in the Super Six, but declined. Based on hindsight, I think he made the right decision. He gets to keep his status while having to do much less work, and because he is a ticket seller he can make some loot in the process.
That Funeka robbery left me speechless. Peace. — Steve
Yeah, I felt really bad for Funeka who impressed me with the manner in which he took the fight to Guzman in the second half of the bout.
Showtime’s boxing czar Ken Hershman has said numerous times on record (including at the kick-off press conference in NYC) that Bute was “not invited to participate” in the Super Six. He will elaborate why. Now just because Hershman says that doesn’t mean that he didn’t try to reach out to Bute’s people and get rebuffed (which would explain the slight attitude he has when asked about the subject).
Regardless, not being in the Super Six obviously hasn’t hurt Bute’s career. However, his non-inclusion will limit his worldwide standing and popularity. Yes, he will continue to pack arenas in Quebec and make good paydays on his own, but he will not reach the heights of the eventual winner of the Super Six. The “six” are taking risks by committing to hard fights for the next year and half but like the old saying goes, nothing ventured nothing gained. Whoever comes out on top of the tournament will likely be universally recognized as the division champ and will definitely be respected by fight fans in the U.S. and in Europe (and by hardcore fans everywhere).
THE CURIOUS CASE OF ALI FUNEKA
By now I'm sure you're aware of the Funeka/Guzman robbery, so I'm not going to get worked up over it.
My question is simply what are your thoughts on Funeka and his future? In his last 3 fights, he's taken two of the 'slickest' 135 pounders (Raheem & Guzman) and turned them on their heads. Even in his defeat to Campbell, I thought he earned a draw on the cards. What do you see in store for the uncrowned champion? Guzman and Campbell seemed to do their best work on the inside, which makes me wonder how he'll do against the likes of Diaz, Katsidis and maybe Bradley. — BazookaJab
I think Funeka would do well against any of those fighters you mentioned. Unfortunately, he’s such a difficult and dangerous lightweight I seriously doubt anyone would voluntarily face him.
Sadly, I think his options are limited at lightweight. He could have his promoter (Gary Shaw) lobby the IBF to force an immediate rematch with Guzman for the vacant belt based on the controversy of the first match, or he could try to secure a fight with a fellow WBA-rated contender (like Anthony Peterson, Jorge Barrios or Urbano Antillon) in a title-elimination bout and hope to get a crack at one of that organizations three titleholders. WBC beltholder Edwin Valero isn’t an option unless Funeka’s willing to travel to South America (which probably isn’t a good idea, “my son” is dangerous enough on neutral ground). The WBO’s “interim” beltholder Michael Katsidis is holding out for a name opponent.
Maybe Funeka should try his luck at junior welterweight. The fact that he’s 6-foot-1 and weighed 152 pounds on fight night against Guzman tells me he can carry the weight well.
I just read about Hopinks vs Haye. This is a seriously bad idea. Sure, Hopkins has better skills and obviously much more experience, but I can't see this fight as anything other than a brutal KO of a legend that won't do anything for Haye or the sport. I could just about imagine Hopkins avoiding heavy blows and outpointing Valuev or Ruiz, but not Haye who has more speed than Hopkins and much more power. Hopkins performance against Pavlik was great, but Haye is so much stronger and faster than Pavlik, and will likely be in great shape. At Hopkins' age the shot at glory just isn't worth the risk. What's your take? — David, Glasgow
My first take is that any talk of Hopkins at heavyweight is a waist of time until the “old man” takes care of biz against Enrique Ornelas on Wednesday and then fights Roy Jones later this year. My second take is that Hopkins relishes a challenge and loves being the underdog.