Dougie’s FAT Friday Mailbag
Hey Doug… hope you’re doing well.
I have to tell you, for some reason I can’t seem to get too excited about Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez’s fourth fight. As a diehard boxing fan for about 15 years now, I can tell you that their third fight is easily the best fight I have ever seen live. I rank it higher than Corrales-Castillo. I was in complete awe at the level of skill that accompanied their third battle.
We all appreciated the Gatti-Ward trilogy for its drama and action, but we all knew that it didn’t represent boxing at its highest skill level. But Marquez and Vasquez had all the drama AND the skill level. I think seeing two P4P guys go at it like that (three times no less) may be a once in a generation type thing. I recall Al Bernstein making a great comment near the end of that fight…. something along the lines of “do the scores really matter?” It is almost an unfathomable sentiment in boxing in general, except it seemed completely accurate to me that night. The skill, drama, and heart were of such an unbelievable combination that it really didn’t seem to matter who “won” the decision. The fans won, and that was all that mattered. The awe was palpable for me in my living room that night.
And having said all that….. I think that’s why I can’t get excited about Saturday. I think these guys have damaged themselves as a result of their wars, and it’s very likely that they aren’t anywhere near P4P skill level guys anymore, and something just doesn’t seem “right” about them getting together to do it again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to watch and at the end of the day I’m glad it’s happening due to the hope I have that they can exceed my expectations.
I guess I just feel like they’ve already given more than their share, and it’s almost unfair for us to expect them to do it again. I fear for their health. And I fear that they will be reduced to providing drama on the level of Gatti-Ward instead of where they were in their first three fights. And God love them for doing it if they can…. but just doesn’t seem quite right all the same. Thanks. — Corban, Toronto
I think most hardcore fans have mixed feelings about Vazquez-Marquez IV, in part because — as you so eloquently stated — there’s no way they can improve on the pugilistic perfection of their rubber match (which I covered from ringside and felt honored to witness and help record for prosperity), and because of the physical toll their trilogy took on their bodies.
Neither fighter looked like himself during their one interim fight last year, especially Vazquez, who went life an death with an undersized hand-picked journeyman.
So we have to wonder if they’re going to have anything left for this fourth bout. You bring up a good point that they may not be able to fight at the high technical level they fought their first three bouts at.
Here’s what I think: Given Vazquez and Marquez’s history they will give us whatever they have left and their fourth fight will deliver action and excitement. I believe the technique will be there but the intensity will be dropped a notch and the pace will be comparatively slower than the tempo of the trilogy.
Here’s why I’m OK with the fourth bout:
1)Both men want to continue fighting, for at least one more high-profile bout. If they’re going to fight again they should be matched together because, A) they are at the same level of their careers, and B) they will make more money fighting each other than anyone else in the featherweight division. I would be against either man fighting Yuriorkis Gamboa, Celestino Caballero, Juan Manuel Lopez, Elio Rojas, or even God forbid, Daniel Ponce DeLeon, because I think the elite 126 pounders would humiliate and dominate the proud veterans.
2)I believe Vazquez and Marquez deserve an opportunity to be appreciated and honored by the hardcore fans of Southern California one last time, and I’m glad it’s happening at Staples Center where at least 10,000 (but hopefully more) will gather to pay tribute to two true warriors of the sport.
3)I know that the corners and the officials will be watching this fourth bout very closely. If there comes a point in the bout where either fighter is unable to defend himself or fight competitively I believe it will be stopped before any serious damage can be done.
We’ll see what happens. I’m kind of like you, I loved the trilogy but I’m not overly excited about No. 4. I’m not against it, but I’m not anticipating it they way I anticipated fights Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
The fight I’m truly excited to see on Saturday is the Yohhny Perez-Abenr Mares bantamweight title bout. That one might steal the show.
I'm coming down to LA to watch the Vazquez-Marquez fight. Who are your picks in the main event, and the co-feature between Abner Mares and Yohhny Perez? — gopal rao
I’m going with Marquez in the main event. I know he lost the last two bouts and he’s 35, but I think he’s got more left than Vazquez. He’s better preserved because he hadn’t been in many ring battles before the trilogy, unlike Vazquez who never met a punch or slugfest he didn’t like. (Let’s not forget, Rafa won most of his bantamweight bouts by knockout). I think he’s going to box and fight behind his jab and keep the fight at a distance. Vazquez will have to work like hell to get inside (which he will in spots) and his tender facial tissue will pay a heavy price. By the middle-to-late rounds Vazquez won’t be able to see what’s in front of him and his corner, the red, or the ringside doctor will do the ring thing and halt the bout.
I like Mares by decision in the co-feature. I know Perez is a technically sound volume-punching beast but he fights at one speed and he’s got flat feet. I think Mares will utilize his speed and footwork to outbox and outmaneuver the tough Colombian belt holder. It won’t be easy but I think Mares is a special talent, and at the end of the day, he can fight like hell if need be.
Please don’t go out and bet any money based on my picks. LOL. I picked Marquez to beat Vazquez all three times during their trilogy and you saw what happened. Vazquez’s fighting spirit is supernatural. And Perez, the more experienced and proven fighter, has a way of pulling more talented fighters into his inside fighting game. So, we’ll see what happens. Enjoy the fights!
TWO “NO-B.S.” FIGHTERS
What up Doug?
Tell Kirk there are two “real fighters” “no BS!” kinda guys to root for — Abner Mares and Yonnhy Perez. That's the fight I'm excited about most this weekend. Vasquez/Marquez always delivers but Mares/Perez is two potential stars and I can't call it! I'm leaning toward Mares based on hard clean punching, but Perez is a volume punching machine and he's got a great chin. I think it's a real toss up maybe I'll just go with who our boy JP picks! LOL. I havn’t talked to Dave Swartz about it. I wonder who he's got? Who you got?
(P.S. We'll be in LA on Monday at Wildcard with Eloy Perez. Try making it by sometime next week.) Take care. — Sam Garcia
If Eloy is in the house that Freddie built, I’ll be there, Sam. Next week is the perfect time to put out a long-overdue Southern California Notebook.
I don’t know who JP and Dave are picking but I like Marquez and Mares.
Marquez has better legs and skin than his rival, and I think Mares’ chin is just as good as Perez’s. Plus, like you, I think the younger bantamweight standout has the faster, cleaner punches. If Mares can get to Perez’s body, I think he can hurt the Colombian badass.
We’ll find out tomorrow. I hope to see you there.
HOPEFULLY A BETTER L.A. SHOW THIS TIME
Victor Ortiz devoured Nate Campbell the way I devour a boiling hot Campbell soup. Slow and cautiously, to minimize the risk of getting my mouth burned. Hopefully he sinks his teeth into his next opponent.
On to these weekend fights, dude! I cant wait. I've got my tixs for this one. Hopefully my trip up to LA will be more worth my while than my last one. Dammit Kermit “the Sideshow” Cintron. Well we didn't see a fight but we saw one helluva sideshow.
Maybe next time Kermit fights they should have a cage around the ring ala MMA. Although I admit, not a fan of the cage look. But at least we'll be assured that Kermit stays inside that ring.
Wow, I'm loving the Vazquez/Marquez Trilogy commentary special. Showtime should strongly consider releasing the 3-fight series on BlueRay/DVD. Maybe after it’s complete. Who knows? There may be five bouts total, because I have a gut feeling Marquez will win this one on cuts in a short but vicious war. The fifth one will be to settle the score.
Do you think this fight will stay evenly competitive or one will finally take control of the action?
Also we haven't seen a clear KO from these two, can this fight be the one? Both fighters have been sent to the canvas in separate bouts. So it’s not out of the realm that BOTH fighters can go down in this one. Wow. Imagine that!
The only thing that bums me out about this fight is that these guys are not getting paid what they deserve.
Sorry for the long email. Next time I'll keep it short and sweet. Your pal. — Jorge, San Diego, Calif.
Vazquez and Marquez are getting around $800,000 for Saturday’s bout, which isn’t bad. It’s more than they would have made fighting any of the featherweight titleholders. However, I think they deserve to split $5 million.
A clean KO is very possible, but, like you, I envision a technical stoppage.
I think Marquez will finally take firm control of the fight in this bout, but Vazquez will still force his moments and make it interesting.
I thought Showtime did a great job with their documentary, which was shot about two years ago. Of course, I’m biased because I’m in it, but stillÔÇª
I’d love to see Showtime and HBO get together with the major promoters and come out with DVDs of all the best fights of each year. Old fights on VHS tapes that I used to pick up in bins by the checkout counter in Wal-Marts in Ohio during my college years are what helped make me the diehard fan that I am today. The networks (NBC, CBS and ESPN) and the promoters (Top Rank and Don King) used to put videos out all the time during the mid-to-late 1980s. I don’t know why they stopped.
Ah, Victor Ortiz and Kermit Cintron. Two names that have made the rounds on message boards and boxing forums in recent weeks.
Fans and my boxing writer peers are so hard these two. I give them props for their willingness to fight tough guys.
What's up Doug?
What's the deal with not moving Amir Khan up to 2nd at Jr. Welterweight? His performance on Saturday was certainly more impressive than Devon Alexander's victory over Juan Urango. Anyway, let's hope we get this 4-man tournament to determine the champion of the division. Tim Bradley is the man to beat and rightly so – the extensive amateur background against top competition is scary and it's showing in his pro fights. If that tournament plays out I have Khan and Bradley meeting in the finals where it's a 50-50 fight with a slight edge to Bradley because of his chin (remember that Holt shot – damn!).
Vazquez vs Marquez 4 – when will it end (not that I'm complaining)? I have Marquez winning this one. He is the more accomplished boxer and I like the way he stays at his fight weight between fights. Did you see Vazquez when the fight was being announced? The guy looked welterweight huge!
Mares vs Perez will be wild but I have my doubts about Mares. He throws too many wide shots which provide openings for counters. I'm picking Perez – he is a good counter-puncher and has the better defence. I hope Mares proves me wrong because he's a nice guy. I know you expect big things from Abner but this fight might be a step to far at this stage in his career. I understand Mares is 2-1 up on Perez back from back in the amateur days but I think Perez is better suited to the pro game.
Let's get things straight, can you help me understand the P4P rankings. Wasn't it meant to be created to match skill-set against skill-set? Are we putting too much emphasis on the fights that the boxers have won when there are obvious flaws in their game i.e. defence e.g. Donaire, Caballero. What's the point of The Ring being called “The Bible of Boxing” when Donaire's rated 5 and he clearly hasn't achieved anything compared to Dawson or Martinez or even Bradley. Oh, I'm sorry I forgot he jumped into a weight class 3 pounds higher. The heavier fighters should be getting more credit for moving weight classes since there is a bigger gap in weight between them. Why can't the Ring just admit they've made a mistake and go 1. Mayweather or Pacquiao 3. Dawson (after the Pascal beating) or Marquez 5. Martinez or Williams 6. Mosley 7. Bradley 8. Wonjongkam and then a toss up of Chris John and Wladamir Klitschko apart from Caballero and Donaire.
Keep up the good work. They need to create a mailbagger award for you and Montoya. I think I speak for all baggers when I say you are the king of bagging.
(P.S. Once Bad Chad get's up to number 1 P4P don't ignore me. I know you'll be getting a lot of Dawson nuthuggers in the future just like SOME of the Mayweather ones now who have no knowledge of the game.) — Akhil (aka Chad Dawson's biggest fan), UK
As soon as Mayweather retires or gets beat many of his most obnoxious huggers will immediately jump on the Dawson Bandwagon (if Bad Chad is still undefeated). Be sure to school them, Akhil.
Thanks for the kind words about the Original Bag. I enjoy reading Montoya’s mailbag.
Dude, don’t get me started on The Ring’s pound-for-pound list. At least Dawson and Williams are in there now. You should know by now that I’m not directly involved in the magazine’s ratings, P4P or divisional.
For the record, although I think the kid has mad talent and potential, I don’t think Donaire should be in the P4P top 10 (or top 15 for that matter). But that’s just my opinion. And that’s all the pound-for-pound thing is, some nutty boxing freaks’ opinions of the best fighters. You left Fernando Montiel out of your top 10 example. I would have included him.
I think Mares will answer any question you and other fans have about his ability and mettle tomorrow night. If he beats Perez, he’s the real deal.
I think fight No. 4 is Vazquez’s last stand, but I know the best pure warrior of the sport will do down swinging.
It’s a matter of opinion whether Khan’s performance vs. Malignaggi was more impressive than Alexander's victory over Urango. Malignaggi is a better boxer than Urango but the Colombian southpaw is a dangerous puncher. I think a slight majority of boxing writers would consider Alexander’s wins over Junior Witter and Urango to be a little more impressive than Khan’s dominant victories over Andreas Kotelnik and Malingaggi.
The only way to know for sure where they should rank against each other is for them to fight, and hopefully that happens in the next 18 months.
PAULIE, RICKY AND KIRK
Hey Doug. Big fan.
What's up with Paulie Malignaggi's repeated backhanded swipes at Ricky Hatton? When he was quoted as saying “I've fought two elite fighters, Miguel Cotto and Amir Khan” I took that as much as a slight towards Hatton as a compliment towards Cotto and Khan. He's also made several comments in the past about wanting the Hatton fight back, that he never should have lost it, etc…
Let's face it, he was as non-competitive against Hatton as he was against Cotto and Khan. I know he felt that McGirt never should have thrown in the towel, but he had lost every round, was being beaten around the ring, and refused to throw the right hand at all after being implored to do so for several rounds. Buddy had every right to end it.
Everybody has been giving Malignaggi a lot of credit for being classy in defeat, but I don't see it when the guy still refuses to give credit to a future HOF boxer who beat him up fair and square.
(PS – Please give Kirk in Phoenix a job. He just surpassed you as my favorite boxing writer.) Thanks. — Tom E., Jersey City, NJ
Kirk is hands down MY favorite boxing writer.
Malignaggi wasn’t at his best for the Hatton fight. His head wasn’t right and he doesn’t believe he received the proper instruction/preparation from then-trainer Buddy McGirt, so the Hatton loss doesn’t count in his mind. It’s not fair to Hatton or to McGirt, but that’s how the man feels. It is what it is.
DONAIRE AT P4P NO. 4?
I've been looking at The Ring's p4p list and can't help the thought that Donaire doesn't really belong. To be honest, he has only beaten two or three top fighters or fighters of note for that matter. His win over Vic, 3 years ago, was very impressive, but it was three years ago. Besides Raul Martinez, who, while undefeated at the time, hadn't defeated a single name fighter, Donaire hasn't really fought any of the top guys in his weight class. What's up with that? Is Top Rank protecting him? I know he's scored a ton of KO's recently over decent competition, but does that warrant him being ranked over a guy like Sergio Martinez or Chad Dawson? Heck, even HotPants Montiel has better victories and he isn't even in the top 10! I know Donaire's got the talent, but what about his wins has gotten him to that #4 spot in the rankings? Thanks. — Mike, Philly
Apart from the Darchinyan KO, Donaire has done NOTHING to merit his current ranking by THE RING.
Martinez was a prospect. Not a contender. Moruti Mthalane (the only guy he fought in 2008) and Rafael Concepcion were tough dudes but they were fringe contenders at best. Manuel Vargas is a decent fighter — at STRAWWEIGHT!
That’s not a pound-for-pound resume.
Is Top Rank protecting Donaire? No. They’re f__ing HIDING him!
The only place the poor guy exists is in THE RING’s rankings (and yet, Bob Arum-ageddon thinks the magazine is biased against his fighters).
Anyway, here’s my most recent pound-for-pound top 10, which I emailed to Kevin Iole for the Yahoo! Sports poll a few weeks ago (note that I have Senor HotPants on the list):
1. Manny Pacquiao
2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
3. Juan Manuel Marquez
4. Chad Dawson
5. Wladimir Klitschko
6. Vitali Klitschko
7. Paul Williams
8. Sergio Martinez
9. Fernando Montiel
10. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam