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Dougie’s FAT Friday Mailbag

09
Apr

THE TRUTH SEEKER

Mr. Fischer,
Looking forward to the Andre Berto-Carlos Quintana fight. I view Quintana as a lie detector test. He found out the truth about three fighters: (1) Joel Julio – not the prospect he was made out to be, (2) Miguel Cotto – was no joke at welterweight, and (3) Paul Williams – could be beat.

Without seeing him in his last fight, it is difficult for me to make a prediction. I'm not really a loyal fan of either fighter, but I am leaning toward Quintana because he has taken the harder fights and actually defeated a champion to become a champion (the title he won from P-Will was legit, by way of Margarito, unlike Berto's paper title).

On another note, I respectfully request that THE RING assign you to write articles about boxers, perhaps a Southern Cali. Notebook every other week. Thank you. — Jaime, South City

A boxing writer who writes about boxers? What a fascinating concept. I like it!

And now’s the time to get back to the SCN-style stories. There’s so much action in the gyms I can’t even catch some of these guys before they take off from the area for their fights. I’m bummed that I missed Sergio Martinez during his camp in Ventura, Calif. (At least RingTV’s intrepid West Coast videographer Daniel Morales visited the Argentine southpaw and produced a nice video feature for us:

However, I can still visit Chris Arreola in Riverside, Edison Miranda in Van Nuys; Shane Mosley, Alfredo Angulo, Urbano Antillon and Eloy “The Gingerbread Man” Perez in Big Bear, Antonio Margarito and Brandon Rios in Oxnard; Amir Khan and Israel Vazquez in Hollywood; and Abner Mares and Timothy Bradley in Coachella. And I’ll do my best to write something on each of the fighters I’ve mentioned. You want to read about them, they deserve the coverage, and it is my job, right?

That’s a great take on Quintana (you should be a boxing writer), and I agree with it. We got a look at the Berto’s warrior heart in his 12-round barnburner with Luis Collazo (who I thought narrowly won the fight) last January, and now Quintana will let us know if that battle evolved the Haitian-American boxer-puncher into a bona fide contender.

My hunch is that Berto did mature in the Collazo fight. I think he’ll be extra focused and motivated by his desire to help and inspire people in Haiti this Saturday and he’ll edge Quintana out in a closely contested 12-round bout.

BERTO-QUINTANA

First off Doug I want to congratulate you on your broadcast coverage of the Hopkins-Jones fight and I thoroughly enjoyed the article afterwards detailing the whole experience. Job well done.

I have 2 points to make:

Firstly, Andre Berto takes on Carlos Quintana Saturday night in Florida. Berto is one of my favourite fighters at the moment, and it is hard not to like him being such a nice guy and all. However, due to the postponement of him fighting and all the distraction and emotion of all his Haiti-related stress, especially being a young fighter, I don’t know if that is ideal preparation for a fighter as tough as Quintana, who lets not forget beat Paul “the Punisher” Williams not too long ago. Do you think this is as obvious an outcome as some people may think?

Secondly, Paul Williams has tried, and tried to get a big fight at welterweight but it just isn't happening. Williams is my favorite fighter and I don’t want to see him waiting around too long for a shot that isn’t gonna come. I think maybe if he don’t get a fight with Mosley/Mayweather/Pacquiao signed by the end of 2010, he should get himself up to the deeply talented 168 division (for someone his size it shouldn’t pose a problem). What do you think?

Please let me know what you think and keep up the good work. Eoin Casey. — Dublin, Ireland.

Thanks for the kind words, Eoin.

Haven’t you heard? The “weight” is over. Williams is fighting Kermit Cintron at 154 pounds on May 8. Cintron is the guy P-Will was supposed to fight in January of 2008 but he wound up with Quintana who shocked the boxing world and temporarily spoiled his welterweight run.

I don’t know if Quintana can do the same thing with Berto that he did with the 147-pound version of Williams (who I believe drains himself to make welterweight). Berto has speed and lateral movement that the gangly southpaw warrior lacks. I think Berto that stick and moves and picks his spots to bum rush Quintana can keep the Puerto Rican counter-puncher off balance. But we’ll see. If Berto is as distracted as you think he might be following recent events, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Quintana upset another undefeated up-and-comer.

I think Cintron is a good opponent for Williams and junior middleweight is a healthy weight for him. (I don’t think he should fight above 160 pounds.) I’m looking forward to that fight. If Williams wins (and I think he will) I’d love to see him take on the Pavlik-Martinez winner for the middleweight championship.

GREAT STUFF

Hi Doug,
This is Matt Aguilar, former boxing writer for the El Paso (Texas) Times (and now long-distance columnist). Just want to say I very much enjoyed your diary of events leading up to your call of the Hopkins-Jones 2 pay-per-view broadcast.

As someone who is also strictly a print reporter, I think all scribes tend to watch fighters/writers/trainers on TV and think, “How hard could it be?” ………until the day comes that you're asked to do it. I've done minimal television (interviews, cable shows, etc), but nothing like a quality PPV broadcast. I can completely relate to your feelings of anxiousness and even the debating with yourself as to whether you're really sick or just nervous.

And the pee thing? Hilarious and true. Before the start of every big fight that I'm covering, I suddenly have to go take a piss. I think it's more psychological than actual. I'm sure that that feeling is heightened knowing you're on live television.

Anyway, I'm expecting to be at Mayweather-Mosley. I'd like to congratulate you on a fine article in person. Take care. — Matt

Thanks Matt. My favorite beer is Guinness, by the way. LOL. Seriously, it will be good to see you in Las Vegas.

I’m glad you enjoyed the first-person account leading to last Saturday’s pay-per-view gig. It was a good experience that I’ll cherish despite all the crap that was going on in my head.

I’m learning that the human body is never 100% for any endeavor or event (athletic, professional, academic, etc.). I’m always hoping to feel great and have zero distractions going into a broadcast and it’s never that way for me (there’s always something bugging or distracting me). But I guess that’s what being a professional is all about — showing up and getting through it no matter what and being confident enough to have a good time (or at least be in the moment) while you do it.

Thanks again for the kind words.

YOUR DREAM GIG

Dougie –
When I saw the headline for your article “Inside a dream gig” my initial reaction was, whatever. Doug's going to talk about what's it's like being one of the cool dude's on the inside. I actually didn't even open it. I'm glad I changed my mind and did.

I think this article, diary entry really, sums up why I and lots of others enjoy your stuff. You're one of us. This wasn't “I'm Doug Fischer, ain't it cool? Don't you wish you were me?” This was “I'm Doug Fischer and I can't believe how frickin cool my job is right now – you guys would love this!”

The detail and perspective you put into the article was honest and refreshing. Yeah, I'm jealous of you being able to hang with SRL (one of my all time favs too) but your article is probably as close as most of us will come to experiencing an event like that.

In short, well done and thanks. I hope this is just the first of many dream gigs for you. Cheers. — Scott

Thanks Scott. I’m glad you gave the article a chance. And I hope you’re right about getting more gigs like Saturday’s show in future. As neurotic as I was last week it was a good experience.

However, no matter how many “dream gigs” I may get, do you really think I’d waste readers time with an article that basically says: “I'm Doug Fischer, ain't it cool? Don't you wish you were me?”

LOL! That’s just not me. Even if I’m around the legends, big wigs or pro’s pros, I’m still not “cool”. You’ll notice in my feature that there really isn’t that much back and forth between me and Leonard. I was just happy to be there and watch him interact with the people he knew, like Joe Tessitore, Frank Belmont and some of the fighters. The few times he spoke directly to me, I was in heaven while conversing with him, but at no time was I thinking “Man, I’m one of the cool dudes on the inside.”

Honestly, it’s hard act cool when you’re wearing a mismatched pair of dress shoes, you’re constantly blowing your nose, and you look more disoriented than the fighters who got KO’d when you do the in-the-ring interviews after the fights.

LIVING THE DREAM

Hey there Doug,
Just read your article on the experience working with Joe Tessitore and Ray Leonard on the Jones/Hopkins fight this past weekend and I just wanted to offer my congratulations. Looks like your hard work in this crazy boxing business is finally paying off and even though I didn't purchase the Jones/Hopkins PPV (no real boxing fan on a budget did, I think), I can imagine you rocked it.

Actually I know you did since I caught the Sillakh/Judah fight on youtube. Keep doing your thing, man. Peace. — Bim

Thank you, Bim.

How about that Sillakh, by the way? He’s got the rangy frame of Bob Foster and the guts and workrate of Matthew Saad Muhammad. He doesn’t possess a one-hitter quitter punch like Foster, but he can crack with both hand and he boxes tall with sharp technique.

And you gotta love his body attack. I don’t know if his manager (Ivaylo Gotzav) or promoter (Square Ring, Inc.) should put him in with a bona fide contender just yet, but I think he’s on a fast track to contender status. And I tell ya what, I would probably favor him over current beltholder Beibut Shumenov. Sillakh vs. Nathan Cleverly over in the UK could be a huge 175-pound showdown some day.

COMMENTATING WITH THE SUGAR MAN

Hey Cuz,
I just read your excellent column on being a commentator for Hopkins/Jones II. I have to admit that I had zero interest in this fight but I was pleased to hear that you were assigned the commentating duties for this fight. I was particularly excited when I found out you would be working with none other than Sugar Ray Leonard! Like you Leonard was one of my heros growing up so I was vicariously living through your experience with the revealing behind the scenes report leading up to the fight.

Leonard did not disappoint in the way that you describe him interacting with the fighters during the pre-fight meetings. He was equal parts sage master and concerned father figure. While the fight and result of Hopkins/Jones II was underwhelming your experience with Leonard, Joe Tessitore and the capable staff that supported the presentation was anything but! Keep up the great work! Oh yeah BTW I agree with Chuck Williams “The camera likes you”. — Tim

Thanks cousin.

I’ve heard good things about Leonard for many years but he was better than advertised. “Equal parts sage master and concerned father figure” is a good way to describe him during the fighter meetings but Leonard also had his commentator hat on and he asked questions that were just as significant and revealing as the ones that I and Dave Bontempo (a former newsman) asked.

He was very sharp and professional for a guy who’s been out of practice with the broadcast thing for a while. I was very serious when I wrote that I hope Leonard continues to do the occasional pay-per-view (or even basic cable) broadcast.

THE DISCOVERY

Hey Doug,
Just a quick one from a relatively new follower, how and when did you actually discover “your son”?

Keep up the good work! — Shane, Ireland

Thanks Shane.

Valero was already discovered (by trainer/manager/adviser) Joe Hernandez when I “discovered” him. Hernandez learned about the V-nom when he traveled with then-amateur star Francisco Bojado to Venezuela for a late-1990s tournament where the two ultra-talents fought in the finals. Valero beat Bojado and as Hernandez once told me “You didn’t beat that version of Bojado unless you were really special.”

So, when Oscar De La Hoya, the son of Hernandez’s good buddy Joel Sr., started up his own promotional company “Handsome Joe” decided to deliver the Venezuelan KO artist to the budding Golden Boy Promotions. Hernandez and De La Hoya Sr. (who would be his U.S. manager) brought Valero over the summer of 2003. Hernandez told me to come by his gym and check out “the most talented fighter out of Venezuela in the last 30 years.”

Valero was a skinny featherweight with an 8-0 record (all first-round KOs) when I first met him. Before I ever saw him spar or fight, I was already impressed by his machine-like workrate in Hernandez’s tiny gym in Vernon, Calif. Not long after seeing him in the gym for the first time I heard that he was handling the likes of Juan Lazcano (No. 1 lightweight contender at the time) and Mike Anchondo (a far more experienced pro with exceptional athletic ability) in sparring sessions. Then I saw him go to war with Urbano Antillon and the Santa Cruz brothers (Jose and Roberto) at the L.A. Boxing Club in late ’03 and I was sold on the young man. I still am. Despite his personal problems and visa/license issues, I think he can be the world’s best 140 pounder and a very popular action fighter.

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