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Dougie’s FAT Friday mailbag

18
Dec

ESPINO ANSWERS THE CALL

That was a really good story on Miguel Espino and his trainer John Bray, Doug. I didn’t realize what Miguel is doing for his mother and it truly is an incredible story as his trainer, Bray, suggested. My mother passed away this July after a 2+ year fight with cancer and your story nearly had me crying at my desk.

I understand how Miguel feels. The things you have to do for an ill or dying parent are things you don’t think twice about, you just do them and try your best to take the same care of them that they took with you. Every day that Miguel spends with his mother is an accomplishment to him, I’m sure, so I get that he doesn’t want to read about it in boxing columns. It’s a hard thing to see/hear others talking about. It can make you feel very helpless and disconnected.

My mother and father were both born in Youngstown and nearly all of my extended family still lives there. In fact I was there this fall to see my mother’s youngest sister who is now, sadly, waging her own war against cancer. I can’t say I know either fighter or what they stand for, but I may find myself rooting for Miguel this weekend, I can’t help but root for the good guy sometimesÔǪ..

Thank you again for all the great work you do for the boxing fans Doug. — Seth, Houston

Thanks for the heartfelt email, Seth. Both Espino and Pavlik are good guys. Bray tells me that Pavlik, his father Mike, and his trainer Jack Lowe have been nothing but gentlemen since he and Espino arrived to Youngstown earlier this week. Espino even trained at Lowe’s gym. Both Bray and Espino were surprised by the amount of goodwill they’ve received from the people of Youngstown since arriving. The fans there will root for their hometown champ on Saturday, but they will also cheer for Espino, especially with the way he fights.

Us media guys aren’t supposed to root for anyone but if Espino somehow pulls off the upset or is merely competitive, I won’t be able to help but be happy for him because he’s a class act, his trainer is one of my favorite people in boxing, and I know he’ll be able to help his family out more with his increased profile.

PAY-PER-PAVLIK?

Dougie, I was reading the upcoming fights on The Ring and I saw under the Pavlik/Espino fight that it's on “Top Rank PPV.” Well I just couldn't believe it so I went to Top Rank's website. After a short video montage of Pavlik's knockouts came the words that had me rolling with laughter “Order the most anticipated fight of the year on Top Rank PPV now!” I really wanted to leave Top Rank some feedback but there was not a tab or link to do so. Lucky you, you get to hear me complain.

Let me say, I'm a fan of Kelly Pavlik. He took a big risk in fighting Hopkins above his weight limit and I don't think the loss hurt him career-wise. He was still, after all, the Middleweight champ. I don't think you could fault him too much for fighting a low risk fight against Rubio after that. (This fight was on PPV as well and gave us the Cotto/Jennings “mega fight”). Then came the staph infection. I don't doubt at all that it was serious and that it caused him to postpone and cancel fights this year. I believe he fully intended to fight those fights and I don't believe all the crap that came out about him. I am assuming that it is Top Rank's decision to put a fight on PPV and not Pavlik's. Making this assumption I think Top Rank is being extremely short-sighted. They should be trying re-build Pavlik's fanbase to where it was and then cash in later on. Maybe, Top Rank sees Pavlik as damaged goods and is trying to make money off him while it can. I would like to know the logic behind this decision. Thanks Doug. — Jim, Madison, WI

Top Rank isn't going to make significant money from Saturday's PPV. In fact, they’ll probably be lucky to break even. This show is primarily about getting one of the former stars of the Top Rank stable back on his feet.

The “logic” behind the decision to put Pavlik on a small PPV was pretty basic. There were no HBO or Showtime dates for Pavlik and the young champ needed to fight by the end of the year or risk losing one (or both) of his alphabet titles due to inactivity. So there you have it. Pavlik had two HBOs dates (Oct. 3 and Dec. 5 vs. Paul Williams) but his hand troubles prevented those fights from happening. Neither HBO or Showtime had a date (or money in their budgets) for major fights beyond Dec. 12.

It would be great if Pavlik could fight on basic cable like Versus or ESPN, but those networks can't pay near what the middleweight champ expects to make (at least half a mil.) let alone what his challenger Miguel Espino is making (a career-high $100,000 payday) by being on pay-per-view.

So, I understand your frustration as a fan — there are way too many non-major pay-per-view “events” in the sport, and many of them are Top Rank shows — but I also understand the necessity of Top Rank to keep its fighters active (and paid what they want they demand) without having to rely entirely on the two subscription cable networks.

Let’s reserve judgment of Bob Arum, Pavlik & Co. until next year. If Pavlik’s next fight is another independent pay-per-view show (which would be his third in a row) I will welcome criticism of Arum (who gets a free pass from many of my peers who just LOVE to give Golden Boy Promotions s__t). If Arum decides to make Pavlik the figure head of a new ethnic themed pay-per-view series (like ‘Latin Fury’ or ‘Pinoy Power,’ say something like ‘White Lighting’ where he grabs Cleveland Corder out of retirement and matches him and Pavlik with Jesse Brinkley and Joey Gilbert) I’ll scream bloody murder along with everyone else. However, my guess is that we’ll see Pavlik in with a bona fide contender (someone like Felix Sturm) on HBO or Showtime next year if he takes care of biz vs. Espino tomorrow.

MANNY & MONEY DO DALLAS!

What is your take on Mayweather-Pacquiao fight happening in Dallas? I think that could be an awesome venue for the average Joe!! A lot of seats would be available for the general public, and the high rollers would get the seats on the field. I think the atmosphere could be surreal! I really hope the fight comes off, and I am eagerly anticipating the fight in March! But one last thing, only one press conference for the fight. They should some how put the press conference on pay per view. You would have Money getting in the face of the Pacman, the Mayweather family going after the Roach, and maybe even Money going after Arum. That would be a hell of a lead up to the fight!!!! LOL. If I couldn't get tickets to the fight, I would want a ticket to the press conference! Sorry so long. — Michael from Tampa

I think if the fight landed in a 90,000-seat venue in Arlington, Texas of all places, that would be a major story apart from the matchup and magnitude of the event. I believe being in Cowboy stadium would attract even more mainstream attention to the fight and to boxing, and I think being able to sell that many tickets to hardcore and casual fans would only promote the sport. However, I also think it could be a logistical nightmare, but maybe that ‘s just part of the experience of such a big event.

My guess is that it’s going to wind up in Vegas if it takes place in March. And by the way, if the fight is going to happen in March, shouldn’t it have been officially announced by now? We’re down to 90 days to promote and build-up this fight if it’s announced on Friday. Is that enough time for the so-called biggest fight ever?

To be honest, it might be better for all involved if the fight were pushed back to June or even July. It might make more sense to put in a giant outdoor area or stadium in the summer months.

FLOYD GETTING COLD FEET?

Doug,
So, how cold are Floyd's feet getting? Are the following points the major obstacles to the fight:

1) Olympic-style drug testing (just trying to make Pac look bad)
2) Weight greater than 147 lbs
3) Enter ring second
4) 10 oz gloves (to block punches and / or limit Pac's damage)

I do not know, but, how often are fights at 147 w/ 10 oz gloves? It is all in the negotiation; I am sure (just like everything). He doesn't want to fight unless he has a legit advantage over his opponent. He hasn't been conditioned or weathered against opponents who can actually give him a challenge (unlike Pac). This will come into play if they fight. It will show his true character.

Sounds like he is looking for a reason to not fight. — Chris

If either Mayweather or Pacquiao pulls out of this fight for bogus-ass reasons like the four you presented, he deservers the endless ridicule that the fans, press and industry will ruthlessly heap on him.

From what I’ve heard Team Pacquiao is fine with the Olympic-style drug testing. The will (and should) take place at 147 pounds. I don’t see why Floyd would want to come in any heavier (he’s never weighed more than 150 pounds for a fight). I don’t think size of the gloves should hold up the fight, although I’d rather see them use 8 oz. because it’s under the junior middleweight limit (and I’m a sadistic bastard).

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Whats up Dougie,
I had a few questions and comments. What’s gonna happen after the Mayweather vs. Pacman fight besides a bout with Mosley IF he beats Berto? Who is there left to fight for either one of them if they win?

I think Cotto needs a more experienced trainer even though I think he still would have lost to Pacman but it would have been more closer I think. They say he might fight again around June. If he does, who? I would like to see him against Kermit Cintron. That’s somebody tough but not overwhelming.

I’m excited to see my “cousin” Edwin Valero fight again. He should get by his tune up fight then be ready for Antonio Demarco in February plus they’re going to show it on Showtime. I got my friends curious about him and they want to see him fight cuz I tell them that Freddie Roach was scared to put the Pacman against him stating that he was to much of a risk for little reward, but either way keep up the good work. — JR, South Central, LA

“My son” will take care of biz in Venezuela and I think he’ll do the same to DeMarco (a solid kid that I have a lot of respect for) whenever they meet in the ring. I hope that fight is indeed televised on Showtime. Valero’s LONG overdo to appear on non-PPV U.S. airwaves.

Cotto does indeed need a more-experienced trainer in his corner, but you know what? He doesn’t WANT one, so what can we do? I think a showdown with Cintron would be a damn good fight and I believe it can be overwhelming given the grueling fights Cotto has been through lately.

What’s going to happen after Mayweather-Pacquiao (if it happens)? Well beyond an immediate rematch (if the first fight is close or controversial) and the Mosley-Berto winner, there are a number of 140-pound standout who might advance and emerge as worthy welterweight challenges by 2011, namely Timothy Braldey, Amir Khan and Victor Ortiz.

SHOWTIME SCORECARD WAS WAY OFF

I saw you on Showtime Saturday night.

Dude, you were waaaay off on your scoring though man. I think you didn't want to pull a (whatever the guy’s name is that messed up the Williams-Martinez fight) so you overcompensated trying to give the other guy the benefit of the doubt. But that was a Bradley shutout. — JB

Shutout? I can understand 116-111 (like Steve Kim's card) or even 117-110, but those 118-110, 119-108 and 120-107 tallies were dried-up dog doo doo in my not-so humble opinion.

I saw a close fight. What can I say? I actually score body punches in a professional boxing match.

What cracks me up are emails from fans who say that Bradley-Peterson was a “fight of the year candidate” and then in their next breath (or email sentence) they say that Bradley won 11 out of 12 rounds and basically “controlled” Peterson. Or they write something like that guy in Monday's mailbag wrote about Bradley: “I saw him neutralize Peterson's jab in the first two rounds, and then pretty much break him apart from there on out.”

Huh? Peterson wasn't getting anything done after the second round? Really!?

That doesn't sound like a fight of the year candidate to me! LOL. And I keep reading boxing writers state that “the official scorecards did not indicate the competitive nature of the fight.” Yeah, well, mine did!

It's no biggie. Sometimes you see a different fight from everyone else. I recalling seeing a close contest in the Erik Morales-Paul Ayala fight. I had something like 115-113 for ‘El Terrible;’ everyone else had Morales winning at least nine rounds, if not 10 or 11. I still think Gerry Penalosa was robbed against Daniel Ponce-DeLeon (I had a eight rounds to four for the Filipino) but most of the ringside media thought DeLeon legitimately outworked (some even said “outboxed” — ha!) Penalosa.

Oh well.

Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]

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