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Dougie’s FAT Friday Mailbag

19
Feb

PAVLIK-MARTINEZ

Can you tell me why Sergio Martinez won't take 9-10 rounds against Kelley Pavlik when they fight in April? Though Pavlik cuts off the ring well, he is slower of hand and foot and will be eating counters and lead left crosses all night. Even though Martinez is a classic outside fighter, when he lands, he BANGS. I think his combination of power, footwork, timing, and accuracy will force Pavlik to employ a plan 'B', which I'm not sure I've ever seen from him before. Pavlik will succeed in pressuring Martinez and bang him up pretty good when they hit the ropes, but I just don't see him outlanding Martinez. His only shot in this fight is basically to deliver the 2010 KO of the year, which Martinez isn't going to just walk into. I know The Ghost is more than just a mindless puncher, but am I not giving Pavlik enough credit in the versatility department? — Jeremy

I don’t know if you’re not giving him enough credit in the versatility department because let’s face it, Pavlik isn’t versatile, but he’s very good at what he does. I don’t think you’re giving him enough credit for his physical strength and his ability to block and counter-punch as he walks his opponents down. Pavlik’s a very good body puncher, too. That’s how Antonio Margarito got to Martinez way back in the day (and, yes, I was ringside for that fight, which was on the Barrera-Morales I undercard — I’ve been a full-time boxing writer for 10 years, baby!).

I don’t blame you for sleeping on Pavlik. Since winning the middleweight title he’s only had one non-PPV fight, his sparring session with Gary Lockett in June of 2008. However, just because Bernard Hopkins spanked him at 170 pounds doesn’t make Pavlik a journeyman.



I think Martinez presents all kinds of style problems for Pavlik, but I believe it’s a competitive fight. Pavlik may not be as fast or busy as Paul Williams, but he is stronger and harder punching than P-Will; and I think the middleweight champ keeps his hands up more than the southpaw swarmer.

BEAT THE DRUMS

Dougie waddup? It’s Deric from Boston. I just found out that Edwin Valero vacated his lightweight belt to move to 140 pounds. Beat the drums for Valero vs Bradley if not Valero vs Peterson. — Deric

I will beat the HELL out of those drums (just like Valero will beat the hell out of Timmy and Lamont when he gets them in the ring).

BRITISH FIGHTERS

I was impressed with your knowledge of British fighters in the last mailbag. I know it's your job and all, but some writers act as if the British scene doesn't exist! Another couple to think about though — did you manage to catch Kevin Mitchell's KO of Ignacio Mendoza this past Saturday? Very, very funny, it's on Youtube now. Mitchell's boxing has really improved recently and he is less likely to brawl under the guidance of Jimmy Tibbs. Rumours of him fighting Michael Katsidis next. What do you reckon for that?

Also watch out for George Groves. James DeGale might have the gold medal and the Frank Warren ┬ú┬ú┬ú, but Groves can really fight and being part of the Hayemaker stable hopefully he will get on a few cards when Haye comes to the States. He beat DeGale a couple of times as an amateur and called him out recently, which DeGale seemed willing to accommodate down the line. They were part of the same amateur set up so there is a real rivalry between the two. His style is more professionally geared than DeGale's at this stage, but it is early days. The SMW scene has some very good prospects over here now, with DeGale, Groves and Tony Jeffries (LHW bronze medallist at the Olympics). Hopefully be a return to the days of Watson, Eubank, Benn and Collins. Cheers. — Liam

That would be nice. I used to watch that fearsome UK super middleweight foursome on Showtime during the mid-to-late 1990s. Those guys (Benn and Eubank in particular) are part of the reason I couldn’t remain a Roy Jones Jr. fan going into the late 1990s and early 2000s. He didn’t even consider fighting them, which really pissed me off.

Anyway, I’m glad the scene is heating up in Britain once more. I haven’t seen Groves but he’s still young (21) and hasn’t had a step-up fight yet, but I’ll be following him in the news. He’s in the right division. Who knows? He might mature into a light heavyweight and be in the mix with Cleverly and my man Ismayl Sillakh in 2011 or 2012. I hope so.

I didn’t see Mitchell’s recent knockout but I watched his 12-round decision over Breidis Prescott and I was impressed with his technique, poise and control. He deserves to be THE RING’s No. 10-rated contender. However, Mitchell’s not going to get that shot at Katsidis, who wants to fight a bigger name (which is why he’s off that March 27 HBO date), but his time will come soon.

NOW I KNOW HOW MALIGNAGGI FELT

Hey Dougie,
I read Monday's mailbag where you were bemoaning the lack of responses regarding the Latin Fury/Pinoy Power PPV, so I figured I'd send you my overview. I am one of those 'hardcore heads' who purchased this card and 'simply had nothing to say', at least at first, but after reading the mailbag, maybe I can belatedly make the page and share my thoughts with yourself and the readers. I usually don't buy shows like these for the obvious reasons (price, quality), but I was still riding high after the awesome Edwin Valero appearance on Showtime the week before, and couldn't fathom another cold winter weekend devoid of 'big-time' boxing on TV, so I bit (I usually don't like to miss a pound-for-pounder in action, either).

Let me preface this by stating that I am a true boxing nut. My friends have referred to me as a 'boxing apologist'. No matter what happens, nothing seemingly deters me from trumpeting the merits of our great game. However, as I write this, I am backing off that stance (only slightly). I score most TV fights on my little notepad at home, and have for years. I have considered going into official judging, and many have said my scorecards are top-notch. Many times I have agreed with the judges when most others were outraged. Why am I telling you all this? Well, as Saturday's card began, I told my wife to expect decisions in favor of Concepcion and Morel if those bouts went to the cards (as they eventually did). She asked me why, and I said “I've found that, over the years, particularly on smaller Top Rank shows, the scorecards always read for the guy you would figure Top Rank would want to win — the prospect, or the guy being showcased”. My scores for these bouts read 95-94 Santiago and 116-112 Penalosa. Now, I'm not saying my scores were 100% correct, or that maybe Concepcion and Morel didn't win these fights. What I am saying is that when someone with an open mind and fairly extensive knowledge can forecast apparently dubious outcomes with alarming frequency (I told her the same before Martirosyan-Ouma, which I had for Ouma), it's sadly enough to discourage even the most ardent of followers. I understand this isn't exclusive to Top Rank shows, and I'm not accusing Arum, the judges, boxing itself, or any one person or entity in particular for this; it just is what it is, and sometimes it really hurts. And I'm just a fan. I can't imagine how my fellow prognosticator, Paulie Malignaggi, must have felt. I guess it would just be nice to be happily proven wrong every once in a while.

But enough griping, the show must go on, and I want to thank yourself, Nigel Collins, Joe Santoliquito, William Dettloff, Eric Raskin, Michael Rosenthal, and everyone at The Bible Of Boxing for keeping me a boxing fan for all these years. I still look forward to every issue with great anticipation, and enjoy keeping up with the website each day. Oh, and I own every single vintage Ring affliction T-shirt the seemingly now-defunct Online Ring Shop had to offer, and wear them to work every day on a rotating basis. Boxing Nick, they call me. Thanks for all the great work, my friend, and long live the Sweet Science! — Nicholas Newsome, Murray, KY

Thanks for the email, Boxing Nick.

For the record, I scored the Martirosyan-Ouma bout a draw. I scored Concepcion-Santiago for the Filipino by one point (I had it even in rounds, the knockdown was the difference) and my scorecard for Morel-Penalosa mirrored yours. That’s the scorecard that pissed me off, in part because it seems like Penalosa just can’t catch a break in Vegas but also because I KNOW there would have been more fan outrage on the decision had that pay-per-view been a Golden Boy promotion and it was a Top Rank fighter who got screwed.

TOP RANK/GBP, EL TERRIBLE

Hey Dougie,
I'm a big fan of your work and always like to read what you have to say. I noticed that lately you've been addressing the double standard that exists from the media and fans when it comes Top Rank and GBP. I think part of the reason is that while they're both full of s__t, it is GBP the ones that keep talking about how they want to change the sport and make it better while Arum goes on record stating that he doesn't give a damn what the fans and media want. I remember during the post fight interview after the third fight between Morales and Barrera, Oscar told Larry Merchant that the fighters are the bosses and they decide what they want to do. But after the Pac-Mayweather fight fell apart I read that Arum asked if JMM was interested in a fight with Pac and Schaefer said that only if there is a 50-50 split, at 140lbs and with random blood test. I know for sure that Marquez would have taken the fight no matter the terms. So is the fighter really being the boss as Oscar claims? Just a thought.

What do you think Erik Morales will accomplish on his return to the ring. I have mixed feelings about his return. He's been my favorite fighter and I would hate to see him lose to average fighters. But part of me wants to see him again. He gave so many great memories. — Ricardo

If you want to see Morales again, pop in a tape or a DVD of one of his many great ring battles. He won’t accomplish anything but getting his ass kicked with his ill-advised comeback.

Let me get this straight, are you saying that there would be less of a double standard with fans and the media if De La Hoya and Schaeffer stopped talking about elevating the sport and resorted to telling everybody to go f___ themselves? LOL. No wonder Arum refers to fight fans as “schmucks.” I love you guys, but you get what you deserve.

And may I ask why so many fans take Oscar so literally at his word? I respect him as a fighter, but as a fan and a member of the media I never paid much attention to what he said. I mean, come on, people, can’t you tell that he just says whatever he thinks you want to hear? Are you guys that dense? Were you disappointed when he would run out of gas in the late rounds of all of his major bouts? “Gee whiz, I don’t get it. He said he was in the best shape of his life before this fight.” LOL.

BOB ARUM

Hi Doug,
I was reading your mailbag and noticed that you thought lots of media outlets go soft on the “Bobfather,” Bob Arum. So I did a little surfing and I did see some guys are actually tough on Top Rank… Dan Rafael at ESPN is one and I would say Ron Borges is another. I also found this dude on Fansided (it's brutal, although it does poop on GBP, too):

http://thecruelestsport.com/2010/02/15/the-untouchables-how-the-
biggest-promoters-get-away-with-what-they-get-away-with/

I don't know if you mean major media outlets or what, but I do think Arum gets his share of kicks to the dome. Otherwise why would he give Rafael the finger? LOL. Keep up the good work. — Randy

You know what? I don't mind if fans crap on GBP. If Oscar & Co. are screwing up, they deserve to be raked across the coals. But if Arum does the same damn thing, he needs to dragged into the torture chamber, too.

Rafael, to his credit, does call Arum on his crap. So does Steve Kim over at MaxBoxing.com, and I’m sure Borges sticks it to Arum-ageddon when the old man deserves it. I give those writers credit for that. They compliment promoters when it's due and they rip ’em when it's due, and it doesn't mater who it is. But too many other boxing writers AND FANS bitch and moan about everything that GBP does — be it real, perceived or complete bulls__t — and then gladly bend over and spread their ass cheeks for Arum.

Ever since I started working for THE RING, foolish fans (or schmucks, as the Big Bobman would call them) have been accusing me (and everyone else who writes for the magazine and its website) of having Golden Boy bias. Well, now I'm accusing them of having a Top Rank bias and until they start treating all promoters the same, I want them to know that they can all kiss my half-breed ass. And if you’re not a biased fan I’m asking you to call these writers who constantly rip Golden Boy but give Arum a pass on their bulls__t. Just shoot them an email after they get on their soapbox and ask them “Why do you rip Golden for THIS, but you didn’t say a word when Arum did THAT?” And stay on them.

MAIDANA, MOSLEY, CLOTTEY

Hey Big D,
There's a fair bit of confusion on this side of the pond regarding Khan and more so his mandatory with Maidana. What's the WBA ruling on this one? Does Khan have to fight him or not, will he be stripped if he takes on Malignaggi, a guy that couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag armed with a pickaxe and chainsaw…? My view is that he should take on Maidana, it'd tell us a helluva' lot more about if his chin has got better due to fighting at a higher weight/if the work Ariza has done in re-shaping his body has boosted his ability to not do the foxtrot every time he gets hit. Feel a bit sorry for the Maidana, takes out Golden Boy's big hope and then has to wait around for his deserved shot at Khan.

I'm going to politely disagree with your take on Mayweather Jr v Mosley. Going on form he lost to Cotto (although he did rally down the stretch), stunk in the Mayorga fight and then dismantled Margarito. The latter being a mightily impressive performance. Thing is, I'm just of the view that the Margarito fight is a bit of a smokescreen. It's a bit like Hatton when he switched trainers (like Sugar had) and fought Malignaggi – you couldn't get a fighter being any more custom made for a certain style and he looked pretty darn good in dismantling him (and then we all know what happened in his next fight), the same in my opinion goes for the 'smokescreen' that Mosley v Margarito has created. Can just see Mosley getting frustrated with Floyd’s style and leave himself open to be countered for large parts of the fight. 4 round margin UD to Floyd, just my two cents worth.

Am I going insane or am I just the only person on the planet who gives Clottey absolutely no chance against Manny?!? Yeah he's tough, but he doesn't do anything particularly well. Yeah he's got that peek-a-boo guard that Cotto had difficulty in getting past, but this is Manny we're talking about i.e. a guy who throws punches from such weird angles, with superman-esque speed, who could probably find a way to knock out a grizzly bear who's just had his lunch nicked. Clottey just doesn't throw enough punches, nor does he have the best of jabs either… he punches too wide with his countersÔǪ could go on and on. Fancy Manny to stop him in 4, and this is coming from someone who still thinks of him as the anti-Christ for knocking out our lad Ricky.

Anyway bud, hope all is well. Trying to get over to your little part of the world at some point, more so for a big fight weekend so will shout you a beer if I see you. Thanks. — Geoff, London

Do that Geoff. I’m a Guinness man, by the way. Come out for the Mosley-Mayweather fight so I can say “I told you so” to your face. LOL.

I’m going to keep saying this in every mailbag until after the fight, YOU GUYS ARE SLEEPIN’ ON SUGAR SHANE!

What you said about Mosley’s fight with Margarito being a so-called “smokescreen” is literally what EVERYBODY who’s picking Mayweather says. I’ll post an all Mosley-Mayweather mailbag sometime next week so you can see. The fact that Shane kicked the s__t out of Margarito seems to be the main reason fans are predicting a Mayweather victory. That’s funny to me. Well, let me just say that you are all focusing too much on the Margarito fight. Just because he’s good at fighting aggressive Mexicans doesn’t mean he CAN’T fight boxers. Yeah, he got schooled by Forrest and Wright, but last time I checked, Mayweather wasn’t 6-feet tall with the wingspan of a middleweight.

Yeah, Mosley looked bad vs. Mayorga, an awkward puncher who was 170 pounds on fight night (until the final round, when I thought he killed the poor chain-smoking bastard). That was at junior middleweight (where both Mayweather and Mosley are less-than special). Fighting at welterweight, I thought Mosley looked damn good against top 147 pounders Luis Collazo and Miguel Cotto.

Some have said that Cotto’s hit-and run tactics in the late rounds vs. Mosley prove that Mayweather can outbox the Sugarman. I would like to remind those “geniuses” that Cotto lost the majority of those late rounds when he was doing his Usain Bolt impression.

I think Clottey is a more difficult opponent for Pacquiao than Cotto was. He’s more durable, he’s stronger, and he’s quicker than the Puerto Rican star, who had his moments in the early rounds vs. the Pac-monster. I think Clottey has a darn good jab and I don’t think he punches wide with his counters. I think Clottey’s technique is pretty tight. He’s very economical and accurate with his punches. That’s his problem in my estimation: He’s TOO damn economical. I think he can be outworked and outmaneuvered, which what I see Pacquiao doing to earn a 12-round decision but I don’t envision an easy fight.

I could be wrong. Freddie Roach sees the same fight that you do, and so far, he’s Nostra-fricken-damus when it comes to Pacquiao.

Maidana is scheduled to fight Victor Cayo on March 27 and Khan vs. Malignaggi is close to be being finalized. Since I haven’t heard about Khan being stripped of his WBA title, I have to assume that Gilberto Mendoza Jr. and Sr. are cool with Maidana not fighting Khan right away. Don’t feel sorry for Maidana. He’s headlining an HBO B.A.D., which means he’s getting more exposure in the U.S. and he’s making good money.

I’m not all that excited to watch Khan-Malignaggi, but I don’t think it’s an easy fight for Khan. Malignaggi CAN fight his way out of a wet paper bag (he just can’t punch through it). Seriously, the mouthy New Yorker is on top of his game right now and he’s got the a style and experience to trouble a young gun like Khan.

FOUR THINGS

Hi Dougie,
Long time fan, first time writer here. Appreciate what you guys are doing over there – always good to read some detailed and passionate boxing news and views. There's not a great deal of that over here in the UK press.

First off: Jones-Hopkins. I'm not too wild about this being a PPV event but I am actually excited about the matchup. Boxing has always been full of surprises and great stories. I think we're going to get a bit of both with this one. I think both men are going to be bringing a lot of passion and will to this, far more than we've seen them bring to their recent fights. I think it'll be great to see them go at it as both of them have so many tricks up their sleeves. It's wealth of experience vs. wealth of experience which we don't get as often as ageing boxing fox vs. young up-and-comer. I like Jones to win the fight by stoppage. Brave statement I know but we should never underestimate RJ, especially coming off the back of the embarrassing loss to Green.

I agree with you about Sugar Shane. I'm one of few that wanted to see this fight more than Mayweather-Pacquiao. I think Floyd had more of a chance dealing with the Pacman than he does with Shane. This is potentially fight of the year (which is saying something when we consider some of the amazing bouts lined up in 2010) and I like Mosley to be the first fighter to take Floyd out. I think that would be another great story and the end to what has been an inspiring and tough career for Shane. We'll see.

Did you manage to see any of Kevin Mitchell's recent fights? He looked good against Mendoza and against Prescott. He's now lined up to face Katsidis (hopefully!) in the summer. This is going to be a very interesting and watchable fight. I don't think I can pick a winner. What do you think?

Lastly, I'm currently in academia (literature, to be precise) and have a lifelong history and involvement in the sport. What are the first steps someone might take if they were interested in writing about boxing and reporting on it for either a living or as a freelance side-project? Keep up the good work. — Carl

If you’re going to write about boxing I think the first thing you must do is get your butt to a good, busy gym, put the gloves on, hit the bags, do a few rounds of sparring and get to know some fighters and trainers. Then try your hand at covering the sport from press row for a while. With that foundation, I’m sure you’ll be on your way.

If the fight was happening I would have considered Mitchell to be a live underdog but I would have picked Katsidis based on the Aussie’s experience and relentless nature. But the fight is not on (for now).

If there’s a knockout in the Mosley-Mayweather fight, Sugar Shane is going to score it. I like the veteran by close decision, but I can see him putting hands on Mayweather in spots (just not enough to take Floyd out). If the fight turns out to be an entertaining scrap that means Mosley will have imposed his will on Floyd. If it’s a stinker, well, you know what that means.

I would be shocked if Jones knocked Hopkins out and pleasantly surprised if the old men put on a fan-pleasing fight on April 3 but I don’t put it past the first-ballot hall of famers.

BOB’S THE BEST

Dougie,
Great mailbag as always. Regarding your one reply to how Bob Arum escapes harsh criticism from the media and fans despite his poor cards/undercards sometimes. I had the following thoughts and wanted to share them with you.

1. He is the best promoter in the business. And like anyone that is the best at what they do (Jordan, Brett Favre, punk ass Lance Armstrong “I live in Austin and hate the guy”), Arum has a huge ego and whether we like it or not, we live in their world and they make that very clear to us.

2. People used to give Don King hell when he had those horrible undercards because he had Mike Tyson. Well these days, Arum has the new “Money Man” in Pacquiao so he’s going to exploit the hell out of the fans and serve us s__t undercards and let’s face it, as boxing fans, we are going to accept it.

3. The third, and most disturbing observation, is the parallel that runs between Bob Arum and the Sex Pistols and Alice Cooper. Those glam rock concerts back in the 70’s, these two acts would scream insults at the fans, tell them what losers they are, urinate on them and even throw cups of vomit and feces out in the crowd and the fans LOVED IT. They (figuratively) ate it up!!! Well, Bob Arum tells us boxing fans to go “F*ck ourselves”, calls us “Stupid Schmucks” and tells us that he’s going to give us the middle finger when there are fights that should be made but he won’t make himÔǪ He treats us like sh*t, tells us that we are sh*t and we kinda like it!

He’s really good at what he does and he has earned the right to treat us this wayÔǪ Let’s face it, we hardcore boxing fans do have a little something wrong with us when we find such joy in the physical punishment and pain that our heroes put themselves through. Why should we be bothered when the Management/Promotional outfits treat us like Sh*t? I’ve come to accept it and just look beyond the insults and garbage and accept our sport for what it isÔǪ Regards. — Mark Cunningham, Austin, Texas

Um, Mark speak for yourself. I ain’t lettin’ nobody toss a cup of doo-doo in my face. And while I agree that Arum is a great promoter (who else in the U.S. has been in business for 40 years and is still going strong?) I don’t think that gives him the right to treat other human beings like crap and I don’t believe that he should escape criticism. I guess it’s OK for fans to turn the other cheek, but boxing writers should be ashamed of themselves for letting Arum off the hook for his awful PPV undercards (March 13 included), his part in Antonio Margarito’s pending re-licensing, and horrible scorecards that benefit his fighters on cards that he promotes.

I also dispute whether Arum truly is the best promoter out there. I’m not putting him at the top of the list, internationally speaking. He’s one of the best, no doubt. He’s arguably the best in the U.S. but I don’t think he’s necessarily the best promoter for all the fighters currently under the Top Rank banner. I don’t think he’s done great job with Nonito Donaire. Say what you want about Gary Shaw but fans were aware of the Filipino Flash when he promoted him. I don’t think Arum’s done much with the Peterson brothers, either. I used to get emails on those two all the time. I used to see them on TV all the time (when they were still with Brian Young’s Prize Fight Promotions). Not so much anymore. What’s up with that? I don’t think Arum’s done that good of a job with Pavlik since The Ghost won the middleweight title. That’s just my two cents. Arum’s very good, but he screws just like any other promoter. And fans and members of the media who like to criticize promoters shouldn’t give him a pass.

2. One of my favorite publicists has a saying: “Don King was the reason Bob Arum was able to get away with so much s__t in the 1980s and 1990s.” He’s right. The sports media was much like the racist store owner who closely watches all of the black shoppers while white college girls rob him blind just for the fun of it.

3. Anyway, since it seems that fight fans are gluttons for verbal abuse I’ll close this mailbag by saying that you can all go f__ yourselves! (Hey, I just want you schmucks to like me, you sorry ass mother f___ers!)

Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]

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