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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

01
Mar

ALEXANDER-URANGO

This Saturday I'm going to see Devon Alexander-Juan Urango with my dad. Neither of us have ever seen a fight in person before, so it's pretty cool that our first one will be an HBO-televised unification bout (how does Urango have a belt again?) Anyway, all that I've seen of Alexander was when he found a way to take rounds against Junior Witter's frustrating and awkward style. In Urango's fight with Andre Berto it looked like he shouldn't have jumped to 147, and Hatton outclassed him in a bell to bell shutout. Urango is definitely slower, but since both guys come forward I think there will be exchanges in the center of the ring where Alexander gets caught a few times. Should be plenty of action, and I can't wait to see it. If Alexander wins, who would you want him to fight next? Do you think he's of the same caliber as the rest of the elite bangers at 140? — Jeremy

My hunch is that Alexander is of the same caliber as the best of the junior welterweight division’s bangers, boxers, slicksters, pressure fighters, et al.

I spent a little bit of time around Alexander, his trainer Kevin Cunningham and members of his management the weekend of the Andre Ward-Mikkel Kessler fight in Oakland last November and I was impressed with the young man and his core team. Alexander reminds me a little of Ward in that he’s mature beyond his years. He takes the sport very seriously, which means he’s never out of the gym, he doesn’t have any bad habits, and he listens to the people around him. Combine those traits with his natural talent, amateur background and unyielding self belief and you gotta tough man to beat.

I think Alexander will outbox Urango on Saturday. If he does, the fight I’d like to see is a further unification with Timothy Bradley. None of the other 140-pound standouts seem to want to tangle with Bradley, and it doesn’t look like Bob Arum was serious about pitting Edwin Valero against “the Desert Storm,” so a showdown with Alexander looks like the most significant fight that can be made with THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight.

The fight would be a tremendous opportunity for Alexander, and hopefully a decent high-profile payday for Bradley.

However, I shouldn’t overlook Urango (and I’m sure Alexander isn’t). The Colombian is a very strong, seasoned veteran. The heavy handed southpaw hasn’t been a factor in the division for the last five years for nothing.

GREAT ARTICLE

What Up Dougie,
Great write by you and Mike Rosenthal about Pacquiao-Clottey. You really summed it up well. I have a few points I wish to make so I will try and keep it short.

1. I think Pacquaio will win by decision for two reasons. One I think at this point Roach has him able to maintain a gameplan. People often don't mention how smart Pacquaio is as a fighter now. He knows what Clottey is and I think he knows how to beat him. It is my belief that if he doesn't feel he can hurt him he will just keep turning Clottey while jumping in and out with hard flurries for twelve rounds. I still think Clottey’s toughness and jab will make it more competitive than the Cotto or De La Hoya fights but I don't see how Pacquaio doesn't win a comfortable decision like 8 rds to 4 or even 9-3. For Clottey to win I think he needs to hurt Pacquiao and then follow up. And he’s just not that type of fighter. But have no fear I'm gonna watch to find out.

2. Nice to see Vic Ortiz coming back around. He took a lot of crap for the Maidana fight and I find it undeserved for one misstep (Duran quit once too and he’s one of the greatest). What bothers me the most is most of the keyboard geniuses who wrote him off would have to wear a diaper if they ever got punched once by these guys. So I try not to be too much of an expert. So to all the negative fans, give these guys a chance, they are human too, no one’s perfect. Well except for undefeated Floyd hahahaha but more on that later.

3. Great fight on FNF this week. I had little knowledge of Escalante and never heard of his opponent. But what a fun war.

4. Enough with the promoter jabber. Who really gives a f___? There are real fights to talk about.

5. The Andre Ward bandwagon is getting pretty full after a GREAT win. I wonder what will happen if Arthur Abraham takes him out later (which I think he would. That didn't look like Kessler and Abraham is a whole different type of monster).

6. I wonder if Floyd is planning on running sprints to train for Mosley, cause Shane’s gonna be up his a$$ all night. In all seriousness though they both present a complete different challenge for the other. I think Shane will hurt Floyd, I think Floyd will try and fight back to make for a fun fight (not by Floyds choice), I am unsure of my final prediction but my early thoughts are Floyd with a defense, his track shoes, and the fact that love or hate him he does know how to win will eke out a razor thin decision.

7. I say screw Pacquaio-Mayweather and everyone should root for Mosley cause Mosley-Pacquaio would be thrilling.

Thanks man and keep up the great work at The Ring. — Aaron, PA

Thanks Aaron, and thanks for at least trying to keep it short (LOL). I’ll respond to your points in order:

1. I also see Pacquiao beating Clottey, probably by a 116-112 decision (8 rounds to 4) but I don’t think the pound-for-pound king is going to do so “comfortably.” In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if he had his toughest outing since the Marquez rematch. I think Pacquiao can outbox and outhustle Clottey, but I don’t think it’s going to be as easy for him to “turn” the Ghanaian as you do. Also, I’m not 100% sure Pacquiao can hurt Clottey as he’s hurt his recent opponents. I believe Clottey can hurt Pacquiao, however I’m fairly certain that he won’t follow up if he does (it’s that mentality that made him a relatively “safe” opponent for the Pac-monster).

2. I thought Ortiz got in nine rounds of work with Hector Alatorre before closing the show in the 10th. The fight was basically a televised sparring session but it was good that he got in a stay-sharp bout between his HBO appearances, garnered a little basic cable/internet exposure, and put on a show for his local fans. I thought Ortiz carried Alatorre in order to practice his footwork and some defensive moves. We’ll see if he can put that practice into play when he faces a still-dangerous Nate Campbell in May.

3. Little knowledge of Antonio Escalante? Never heard of Micky Roman? My brother, you have been MISSING out. Those two Mexicans ALWAYS deliver. Don’t think for one second that the war they waged on FNF was the first barnburner for either man.

4. You’d be surprised how many so-called fight fans are completely infatuated with promoters and the industry’s ongoing machinations.

5. I wouldn’t count Ward out against anybody, and I’m glad that fans are jumping on his bandwagon. Having said that, I still believe that Abraham is going to win the Super Six.

6. I don’t think Mayweather can win a just decision against Mosley with only a tight defense and lots of movement. Maybe he can grab a controversial nod that way, but I think he’s got to land quality punches while finding a way to stifle Mosley’s offense to really earn a decision victory.

7. If Mayweather legitimately beats Mosley (and Pacquiao takes care of biz vs. Clottey), that would make a Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown even bigger than it appeared at the start of the year, so I certainly wouldn’t complain about that fight happening. The entire sports world would stop to watch that mega-fight. Pacquiao-Mosley, however, would probably be better for the sport in the long run because it would be a big event that would actually live up to its hype. Casual fans who tune into Pacquiao-Mosley would become hardcore fans because of the non-stop action and drama it would deliver.

STYLES MAKE FIGHTS

What's good Doug,
Boxing's first big fight of the year is coming up in less then 2 weeks now. Solid article by yourself and Rosenthal, you guys captured the main reasons why Pacquiao will win, but missed 1: style.

Pacquiao's style is all wrong for Clottey. Exceptional stamina, fast combinations, side stepping, and a solid punch output are shell-defense fighters' weakness (P-Will showed this last year). Also, JC is too predictable, he throws the same punch over and over, stays in his shell while his opponent is punching until they stop, which then allows him to step into range and get off his combination. Roach has undoubtedly come up with an excellent game plan. Manny will be able to counter Clottey, and when he does, it'll either allow him to stop Joshua or it'll send the Ghanaian into his shell for the rest of the fight (whoever wrote the power description gets props from me).

Fights like Escalante-Roman remind us why boxing is the best sport in the world. Antonio could really reek havoc at 122 and 126 if his chin can hold up. Poonsawat-Escalante will be another FOTY candidate.

For someone so strong and physically imposing, Juan Urango can't break a clinch to save his life. From what I've seen, Devon has the talent, skills, and stamina to beat Urango handily; hopefully, he doesn't go the Hatton/Berto route and is able to handle Urango in exciting fashion.

Do you see Wilton Hilario being able to get past Martin Honorio?

Keep doing what you do Doug. — Hector

Thanks, I will.

I don’t think Hilario has the seasoning to beat Honorio who has morphed from a swarming pressure fighter to an aggressive boxer (and has put the work in for this fight), but I’m going to enjoy watching the FNF main event. I think it’s a good matchup on paper.

I think Alexander will handle Urango, but in exciting fashion? That’s asking a wee bit too much.

Escalante vs. 122-pound beltholders Kratingdaeng, Toshiaki Nishioka and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. would all be excellent ring battles. I don’t think the El Paso attraction has the class to seriously challenge 126-pound titleholders JuanMa Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa but because of his heart and his style I’d still like to watch him try.

Pacquiao’s style is all wrong for Clottey? Maybe. We’ve seen Clottey outworked (by Margarito) and outboxed (to a degree by Cotto), and Pacquiao certainly has the ability to do both against the Ghanaian, but that doesn’t mean Clottey is right for the little dynamo. For starters he’s bigger and more durable than anyone Pacquiao has fought. And if he can get his jab off consistently (which he usually does) I think he can make things difficult for Pacquiao. While it’s true that Clottey is predictable, he’s not as one-dimensional as you’re making him sound. I think he’s going to make for a competitive fight.

PACQUIAO-CLOTTEY

Man, you guys are like two politicians, or two attorneys slugging it out in a courtroom! You both make a great case, and if I had read either argument alone, I would probably agree with whoever I had read. But when both of your arguments are presented side by side, I can't make up my mind. I think I'm going to pull a Solomon and split the difference: it will be a good fight with a few surprises along the way, and a “jury” of three good judges and true will decide the uncertain outcome. Nice job you guys. — John Miller

Thanks!

FIGHTS

As we say in the D, What up doe Doug,
I'm excited about the upcoming fights and needed to holla at my boy about it. I will keep it brief because you seem to have an attention span like mine meaning long winded comments tend to burn us out. For the current flavor of the year fights I have no feel for Paquiao and Clottey. I keep seeing in my head Clottey going head up with a then relevant Margarito and doing damage. If for some reason he decides to throw hands with Manny I think he has just a good chance at hurting Pac as Pac does at hurting him. I like Manny's mentality but I guess I'm in the minority because I don't see special, historical, all time great. I see very good and many very good fighters have been beaten by merely solid fighters who matched up to there style. Close fight.

I think Sugar runs Money out the ring. You know I've been rollin with you for a while and I've always said this. Hold me to this but I'm telling you right now Shane Mosley at 38 is the best welterweight. He's the legit champ and he's going to put a hurt on Floyd and I believe would stop Paquiao. Neither Floyd nor Paq could get Shane off of them and neither can take his shots over 12 rounds. Neither guy is big and long with excellent boxing skills like Vernon Forrest or Winky Wright. Little guys have no shot with the Sugarman.

Quick moves. Eddie Chambers does nothing with Dr. K. but get hurt. Arreola dumps Adamack. Andre Ward wins Super Six. I like his heart. Sergio Martinez embarrases Kelly Pavlik. Lastly, is John Ruiz really fighting for a title again? — Big 313

I think Pacquiao-Clottey is a competitive fight. I’m not so sure how close it will be, but we’ll see. While I’m not sold that Pacquiao is a bona fide all-time great, I think he’s a little better than “very good.” His titles at 112 and 122 pounds along with his track record at 126-130 pounds are first-ballot hall of fame credentials, IMO. Never mind what he’s done over the past 18 months.

I think Mayweather’s defensive style, superior technique and ring generalship will make for a competitive match with Mosley. He’ll have some trouble with Mosley’s speed and jab in the early rounds, but he’ll also make Sugar Shane miss while landing his jab. I can see Mayweather countering Mosley’s telegraphed right hands with his hook (as Cotto did early in their fight) but as the fight wears on the Sugar Man’s pressure and physical strength/durability will begin to tell on Mayweather, who will try to steal as many rounds as he can before attempting to run out the clock. I think the late rounds will be very interesting. I can see Mayweather attempting to do what Cotto did in the final rounds against Shane and I can see Mosley putting a beating on Mayweather along the ropes. We’ll find out what actually happens in two months. I can’t wait!

Quick counters, Chambers troubles Klitschko with his fast footwork and hurts the champ with his body shots but the bigger athlete’s superior power takes over in the second half of the fight. Ward looks good and wins more fans finishing second to Abraham. Adamek wobbles (or even drops Arreola) before the bigger man catches the gutsy Pole with deceptively quick counter hooks. Pavlik reminds fans how good he can be by intelligently overpowering the ultra-talented/tough Argentine lefty. The Quietman is indeed fighting for a title. Don’t be shocked if he wins it.

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