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Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag

14
Dec

I THINK I LIKE MALIGNAGGI

Doug, Hope all is well…
Something happened over the weekend (and no I didn’t get lucky!)…

I think I like Paulie Malignaggi…!? Man, if you put him in against Ricky Hatton now, I think Paulie would win! (And this is coming from a Brit, and you know how bias and patriotic we are!)

He showed glimpses of a fighter Saturday night as well, albeit not the best idea to stand and trade with the Baby Bull, but he showed some balls! It’s refreshing to see an out and out boxer like him and I really enjoyed the fight for what it was… So where does he go next? I don’t care, I’m just looking forward to watching him 'box' (Note: not fight) again… That, and the bloke talks about a million miles per hour which is entertaining.

Also, you ever met Paulie? If so, he alright?

OK Doug, take it easy. Always a pleasure reading your work – never a chore! — Thomas, London

I have met Malignaggi on more than a few occasions. He’s a good guy. I like him. You’d like him. Even fans who don’t enjoy watching him fight would probably enjoy meeting him because he’s so animated and opinionated. He’s like that when the cameras are off and when he’s not being interviewed, by the way.

I thought Malignaggi boxed as effectively as I’ve ever seen him vs. Diaz on Saturday. (His trainer Sharif Younan obviously did an excellent job bringing him back to his old style and I thought he was brilliant between rounds during both Diaz fights.)

Malignaggi’s form and his confidence are back and he should be able to pit his style and experience against the talent, youth and enthusiasm of the sport’s current 140-pound standouts — Tim Bradley, Amir Khan, Devon Alexander, Marcos Maidana, and Victor Ortiz.

What’s next for him? Who knows? He’s got a lot of options. He’s not going to get JM Marquez or the winner of Hatton-Marquez like he wants. Those vets don’t want to risk their reps against rejuvenated Malignaggi just like I’m sure he would rather not risk his against the fab five I just mentioned.

However, I’m sure HBO would welcome Malignaggi back if he took on Juan Urango for his old IBF belt. That’s an interesting matchup, one I think he can win utilizing a more mobile version of the gameplan he imposed on Diaz. But if he gets tagged as often as he did versus Daiz, Urango will take him out. But that’s why that fight’s worth making.

THOUGHTS ON A BUSY WEEKEND

Hello Dougie,
Some quick notes that I am sure a lot of people have on their minds.

1. Timothy Bradley is the truth. Is he the best in the deepest division? Not sure, but he gives everybody hell and beats most. Dudes on a helluva ran. Big Props. What’s your pick if Edwin Valero fights Tim?

2. Kevin “Safety Pin” or “S*** Pin” or “King S***” Johnson is a disgrace to USA and to the sport of boxing and I hope HBO, Showtime and even ESPN take notice and never give him facetime. This guy put up the most pathetic effort (even worse than Rock and Ray Austins' against Wlad) ever. Plus he seems to have the wrong attitude. The whole acting tough after the bell rings and then being a b**** when it matters doesn’t impress me. Plus He made Ellerbe proud with his antics at the weigh in. There should be a clause where these kind of non-efforts merit paycheck deductions. I much rather prefer a chubby Mexican who gives it his all and then cries like a girl than one who acts all hood, then stinks it out.

3. Oleg Maskaev should just go away- I saw his KO on youtube, the man freezes when he gets hit and he'll end up bad if he continues, he has
no chin and is very very slow.

4. I saw you were right behind Danny Green on the Showtime broadcast. Did you thank him for destroying Roy Jones and saving the world from B-hop Vs RJJ 2?

5. Thoughts on Lou DiBella peacing out on Taylor?

Take Care! — Asim S.

1. Desert Storm is indeed the truth. Anyone who beats Kendall Holt and Lamont Peterson in the same year has to be viewed as for real. He’s paying the cost to be the boss of the 140-pound division. I think champ Manny Pacquiao is the best junior welterweight in the game but since we all know he’ll never fight at 140 pounds again, that distinction should belong to Bradley right now. He’s more than earned his No. 1 rating by THE RING. How would he do against “my son”? Probably better than anyone we’ve seen. I’ll pick Valero over any 135 pounder in the world, including JM Marquez and Ali Funeka, but the top dog at 140? I’m not sure. That’s a toss-up fight, IMO. I know Valero can catch and hurt Bradley, to the head and body, but I also know that Desert Storm can beat him to the punch, muscle him in close, and frustrate him with lateral movement. It would be a hell of a fight. Where can I get tickets?

2. Man, the less said about Klitschko-Johnson — and KJ in particular — the better. I agree with you 100 percent. Fighters shouldn’t act “hood” unless they’re gonna go gangster once the bell rings, or as James Toney is fond of saying “put the smashdown” on their opponents.

3. Maskaev has been a non-factor in the heavyweight division since Samuel Peter stopped him last March as far I’m concerned. In fact, I didn’t pay much attention to him after he stopped Rahman again. I think getting starched by Nagy Aguilera in one round will probably convince him to get on with his life.

4. I didn’t get a chance to talk to Green about the Jones fight until after the Bradley-Peterson show but before he was interviewed on air, he turned to me and said “My first fight in America was on the undercard of Kostya Tszyu-Ben Tackie at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. I remember watching Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward after the fight with you and your friends at the bar in the sportsbook.” I had to pause for a second, but he was right. That’s the first time I met him. I had forgotten. What a memory! The Green Machine is a VERY cool dude. But he won’t take any s__t from belligerent fans. After the fights some drunken guy told us that Bradley-Peterson was a “pillow fight” along with some other stupid observations (like neither fighter was really trying and had boring styles). Green tried to explain that after 20 years in the sport he has respect for anyone who steps in the ring, even if they have a negative or boring style. The guy told Green that Bradley and Peterson couldn’t punch. Green got close to him, looked him dead in the eye, and said “One punch from either of those fighters would have left you a quivering mess on the canvas”. Drunky had more crap to say (he’d never pay to see another Bradley fight, Peterson’s overrated, yadda, yadda, yadda) and Green just waved him off and called him a “f__kwit”. I loved how he handled himself and I’m definitely going to use that word the next time I get a really ignorant email for the mailbag. I don’t know if Green can get the Bernard Hopkins fight he wants, but I hope his next fight is in the States. Consider me a fan.

5. DiBella did the right thing in my opinion. If DiBella’s worried about Taylor’s health and wants him to retire he shouldn’t be promoting him.

BADASS BRADLEY

Hey Doug, following Tim Bradley's excellent victory last night I must say I am in agreement with you that he's top dog in the division.

He's come a long, long way in a relatively short space of time. I first saw him against Junior Witter on British television and he was considered to be a guy who had built a pretty record against Californian club fighters but was in over his head against a guy who had been fighting at a much higher level for several years. Even after he had utterly bested Witter the British media put it down to an off night for Witter because he looked so awful, leaving the consensus that Bradley was a solid but unspectacular fighter and one that Witter would beat if he hadn't taken lightly.

How wrong they were! Bradley may not have looked spectacular, but he certainly was solid and his efficiency was such that he made Witter look awful. Since then his level of competition has just got better and better. There are few fighters around that can be lauded for taking on a succession of dangerous challengers in the way Bradley has, last night being further proof of this. He has improved as steadily as his competition, and his relatively small record is now a glittering one.

I would imagine he now has the full respect of the hardcore boxing community, but I fear for him now as the marquee fights out there for him may not be easy to come by as his talent far outweighs his current marketability and the risk/reward factor of fighting him would be off-putting to most, but unlike the Paul Williams camp you are unlikely to hear him whine about it. Along with Hopkins and Mosley he's easily my favorite American fighter right now, and I look forward to his next fight which will, no doubt, be against another top-level opponent who represents what will look like an even-money fight until Bradley beats him.

Credit too goes to Peterson, he acquitted himself well in what was a massive jump in competition. This loss will be hurting him but I think he'll come again and become a very good fighter. Keep up the good work Doug, these are exciting times! — Ewan

Indeed. You’re not the only British fan of Bradley’s that I’ve heard from. It seems he won some fans when he beat Witter in the UK. Someone told me that there’s a Tim Bradley website that was put up by a couple British fans.

Gary Shaw says he’s willing to take his 140-pound stud to the UK to take on Amir Khan. I imagine if that fight were to happen — and it is a possibility for late next year, although when I spoke to Freddie Roach about it he saw it as a U.S. fight — Bradley’s popularity/respect would really grow among British fans.

You’re right about top-level fighters avoiding Bradley because of he’s low-profile and high risk, but he’s gradually making a name for himself and apart from Pacquiao and Hatton there really aren’t any superstars in the 140-pound division. Khan’s a big name and attraction in the UK but he’s young and confident enough to take on a badass like Bradley. We all know that Devon Alexander wanted to fight Bradley before he beat Witter for the title that Bradley vacated to fight Nate Campbell. Marcos Maidana will fight anybody. And I think once Victor Ortiz gets another win under his belt he’ll also be ready and willing to face anyone in the division. I think chances are good that somebody with a name will step up and fight Bradley next year.

BRADLEY-PETERSON

That's the fifth or sixth fight-of-the-year candidate since Dunne-Cordoba. How sharp did Bradley look to you? I saw him neutralize Peterson's jab in the first two rounds, and then pretty much break him apart from there on out. Which rounds did you have Peterson winning?

Secondly, since it looks to me like Devon Alexander is getting shut out of all the recent talk of tournaments and unifications at 140 lbs, what do you think about him against Lamont Peterson or Tim Bradley? — gopal rao

I think Alexander “The Great” has the style and mentality to give any 140-pound contender hell, and that includes Peterson and Bradley. I think he’s even-money vs. Peterson and I would only make Bradley a slight favorite over the St. Louis native. One thing I’ve noticed about Alexander is that whenever I see him between fights he's at fighting weight. It doesn’t matter if he’s got a fight scheduled (and he usually doesn’t), that young man stays in the gym and he stays ready. That’s something he has in common with Bradley and Peterson, which is why he’d make for a good fight versus either.

I don’t think Alexander will be shut out for long, by the way. There’s been talk of him fighting Maidana next year and if that fight doesn’t happen I’m sure another HBO or Showtime-worthy fight will materialize. He’s too good to ignore.

This has indeed been a year of many excellent extended battles. I thought Bradley-Peterson was right up there with Agbeko-Perez and Berto-Collazo. It wasn’t as hardcore and dramatic as Cordoba-Dunne or Marquez-Diaz, but it was a damn good fight, and yes, I believe it was a lot closer than the judges (and most observers) saw it.

I scored rounds 5, 6, 7, 11 and 12 for Peterson. I know Bradley boxed well in those rounds, but I thought Peterson’s body work did more damage than Bradley’s accurate head shots. I also thought more than a few of Bradley’s head shots hit Peterson’s gloves in those middle rounds.

If Peterson hadn’t been dropped in the third I would have scored that round for him. Danny Green, who sat in front of me for the first half of the fight, scored the fourth round for Peterson based on the D.C. native’s body work. After the fifth round, he turned around and shouted “This is a fight!”

Yes it was.

BOXING'S BIG WEEKEND

Another nice weekend for us fight freaks.

Vic Darchinyan got the type of violent KO he needed after the beatdown he received against Agbeko. I really hope we get Darchinyan-Donaire II and I'm glad to see Vic has told Gary Shaw to ‘get over it’ and make the damm fight.

Doug, how good is Timmy Bradley right now? While he doesn't excel in any one area, 'Desert Storm' seems to do everything well and he improves with every fight we see him in. Considering how good his competition has been of late, it makes the feat only that much more impressive. With the exception of Manny Pacquiao, there isn't a fighter at 140lbs who you could favor to beat him.

Which brings me to the next obvious question, where does Bradley go from here? A fight against Amir Khan would sure be interesting but other than that I don't see him having a whole lot of exciting options. He'd school Devon Alexander or Juan Urango if he went for more hardware. I don't think he could get Hatton or Marquez into the ring. If he did, I think he would win lopsided decisions over both of them. So who does that leave? Paulie Walnuts? I don't think Bradley is the type of guy who could be successful moving up in weight because again, I don't think he has that one natural ability (devastating power or elite speed) he can rely on. It'll be interesting.

It was another stellar night for Gus Johnson, who in between screaming 'HE'S HURT BADLY!!!” after anyone landed anything resembling a punch, managed to squeeze in once again how vastly talented Andre Dirrell is.

I thought Victor Ortiz looked very hesitant tonight and I think the jury is still out as to whether he's recovered mentally from what Maidana did to him.

At 135lbs Juan Diaz was in fact a 'Baby Bull'. A bruising, but skilled volume puncher, who with the lone exception of super tough Nate Campbell, more often than not would beat and batter his opponents into quitting. At 140lbs he gets shoved around the ring by Paulie Malignaggi. Lets all allow that to sink in for a moment. Can he just not make lightweight anymore? Because he has become very ordinary at junior welter. I mean all kidding aside, but Paulie Walnuts isn't really an elite level world class contender and he dominated Diaz. What's going to happen when he faces someone who's actually strong and punches hard? I think Kendall Holt or even Juan Urango knocks him out cold, much less Amir Khan or Timmy Bradley. You knew with his type of style eventually he would burn out, I just didn't expect it to be this quick.

I won't waste your time or mine reflecting on Vitali's most recent title defense. I'll only say at least 'Hey, Hey, Hey It’s Fat Arreola' brought some passion to his public execution as opposed to Johnson. — Tom

I think Johnson is the only fighter you should be criticizing and/or doubting.

Diaz can make 135 pounds and I think he’s still got a lot of life in the lightweight division if he wants to continue fighting. I don’t think he’s burnt out, although I think he might need a break because of his tough schedule of recent years.

Malignaggi might not be elite, but he’s a bona fide 140-pound contender. Maybe not top five, but arguably. His performances over Diaz and his body of work prove that.

I thought Ortiz was just a tad more careful than usual in the early rounds against Tono. He’s usually an economical power-punching stalker who doesn’t take too many chances until he’s hurt his opponent. The Maidana fight was an aberration. He was pulled into a shootout, which really isn’t what he likes to do in the ring. I thought he looked good and handled the few hard shots Diaz landed. I like that he came back with his big left after Diaz nailed him with that right cross in the third round.

I see you’re in the Gus Johnson fan club along with Bill Dettloff and Eric Raskin.

Bradley has some attractive options in 2010. He’s got good people around and I think they’ll get it done. They’ll get him a big fight. I believe Alexander and Urango are tougher fights for Bradley than you think. There’s only one way to find out.

I must apologize to Darch Vader the next time I see him. I got so wrapped up in the Bradley-Peterson fight that I forgot to mention his second-round KO of Tomas Rojas in my post-fight column. To be honest, I thought Vic was loading up too much with his left and not jabbing enough before he caught Rojas, but I guess when you can crack like that you can get away with that sort of thing. Junior bantie is definitely Darchinyan’s division. I’m looking forward to the Donaire rematch at 115 pounds, if it can be made (and both Shaw and Arum said it can happen Saturday night).

Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]

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