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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag

24
May

LAST HURRAH

Mares/Perez. Whoa. Marquez/Vasquez 5? No.

I watched the Showtime pre-fight replay of the first 3 fights. I kept thinking “gee… Vasquez's eyes look terrible, they must have filmed this right after the fight.” When he entered the ring for the fourth fight with his eyes looking just as swollen, I actually hoped they'd open up on the first jab and they'd stop the fight. I'm thankful he didn't take any more punishment.

I must also admit that I'd rather Marquez retire as well. He obviously has more left, but aside from side-show matchmaking (Vic Darchinyan on stilts?) what matchup is out there that's not a risk to his health? This win had “last hurrah” written on it to me. — jrt

Indeed. But we will see Rafael Marquez fight again. Hopefully, he won’t be fighting Darchinyan. In my opinion, Marquez is too proud and accomplished to lower himself to such folly.

Marquez showed Saturday that he has something left, but I'm not sure how much. The fourth fight with Vazquez wasn’t much of an indication because Vazquez had nothing left. However, I think he’s got enough in the tank to challenge some of the young featherweight standouts out there, such as Elio Rojas, who holds a 126-pound title.

The question for his handlers is who can they fight for the kind of payday ($800,000) they got for the last two bouts with Vazquez? He can’t get that kind of money fighting Caballero, Lopez or Gamboa — all of whom would be heavily favored to beat the 35-year-old vet (although, if the “old man” were able to time the dynamic Cuban with the right punch I wouldn’t be shocked if he took him outÔǪ and, yeah, I know that’s a big “if” but it’s not inconceivable, IMO).

Perhaps this next thought makes me a total sadist, but I would be interested in seeing how Marquez would fare against THE RING’s No. 1-rated featherweight, unbeaten beltholder Chris John.

John doesn’t have the kind of style that would heap immediate punishment on Marquez’s or push him back on his aged legs, and although the Indonesian is five years younger, he’s got a lot of mileage. He’s a cat who could turn the corner any time. I think it’s an intriguing fight, and more importantly, it’s one that could be sold to HBO, which has showcased John. Both guys have a name, both are respected, and there’s a “Revenge of the brother” storyline that could be used by the promoters and the network.

As for Vazquez. He’s done, and God bless him. He’s everything I love about boxing both in and out of the ring, and he epitomizes the word “warrior.” Mexican fans and the sport of boxing can be proud of him.

Regarding Perez-Mares, it went down almost exactly as I thought it would, but I thought the young challenger would get the official decision. Both fighters did themselves proud. It was an excellent style matchup as well as a compelling and entertaining fight. It was further proof that the 118-pound division might be the best weight class in the sport.

THE GOOD AND BAD OF BOXING

to start off, before vasquez marquez 4 i said i hope both never fight anybody else, because they’re both faded and no young fighter is good enough to deserve to have their names on their resumes. i still feel that way with vasquez but marquez sure didn't look faded to me. he looked great against vasquez, so I’d say he’d have looked only good against a fresher fighter and who knows if he would’ve gotten tired. i want to see him fight winnable fight like against elio rojas so he can win the 126 lb real wbc belt. no more silver s__t.

to the fight of the night: i scored it 7-4-1 for abner mares against card carrier yonnhy perez. did abner earn his official dougie fischer badass card by handing it to perez in the 12th? i think he should. going into the 12th i had it 6-4-1 for mares but could’ve seen 6-5. mares simply put a beating on yonnhy perez and proved he had more will than older, tougher more hardened pro in the 12th round. after the fight i was thinking, “wow, it sucks yohnny perez will lose his belt for fighting so good, but mares deserves it.” then after a draw i was saying “wow, poor abner mares.” i think he clearly won but i dont think it’s a robbery at 6-6. if one gave it to perez that would’ve been wrong.

now on to what’s wrong with boxing. paulie malignaggi earned 450,000 and amir khan over a million for their fight last week (correct me if i’m wrong) what did mares and perez earn? fight was not even in the same universe as khan-malignaggi in terms of excitement and skill level was equal or higher. they probably earned about 50,000 each. the fact that amir khan earned more than vasquez and marquez is an utter shame. if i were amir or any executive / industry person who didn’t support somehow getting izzy and rafa more money I’d be ashamed for myself. — matt in canada

Perez and Mares made more than $50,000 but both were under $100,000.

It might not seem fair for the tremendous effort both gave the fans on Saturday, but the reality is that neither fighter is as well known as Khan or Malignaggi. The better known a fighter is the better ratings they do, which gives them leverage with their promoters and the networks in terms of how much they are paid.

Perez is a card-carrying badass, but his profile has been rather low until recently. Prior to Saturday’s co-feature, he had fought on one or two ShoBox broadcasts and once on Showtime Championship Boxing (vs. Agbeko). Mares had a few Telefutura dates, one HBO Boxing After Dark show, a couple appearances on PPV under cards, and most recently, two Fight Night Club headliners (shown on Versus and Fox Sports Net). Apart from their limited TV exposure, Perez and Mares are in a low-profile division (although it’s a very deep and talented weight class).

Khan and Malignaggi are in a hot division (junior welterweight) with a lot of potential high-profile matchups, so HBO (which cuts the biggest check in the business) was interested in their fight with an eye towards future 140-pound showdowns. Khan is a household name in the UK. He had the interest of British television (ITV) for the Malignaggi fight, which enhanced his pay check. Malignaggi has fought in many headline bouts that were televised on HBO and Showtime over the years, including bouts with well-known fighters such as Ricky Hatton and Juan Diaz. You may not like his boxing style or his big mouth, but Paulie has paid his dues.

Perez and Mares are paying their dues now, and after the excellent show they put on for the fans on Saturday, I think they have positioned themselves to make considerably more money in their next few fights, especially if they have a rematch or take on one of the other elite bantamweights (or junior banties) that are known in the U.S., such as Fernando Montiel, Nonito Donaire, Joseph Agbeko, Vic Darchinyan, Eric Morel, and Hugo Cazares.

Back to the fight of Saturday night, Perez-Mares: the young man definitely earned my badass card with his strong finish. Mares swept the last four rounds on my card to win the fight eight rounds to four. Most of the ringside media in my area of press row had it for Mares by a 8-4 or 7-5 margin, but I didn’t have a problem with the draw verdict. At least two rounds that I scored for Mares could have gone to Perez, and boxing writers I respect — including Robert Morales of the L.A. Daily News and Greg Beacham of the AP — scored the fight a draw.

I think Rojas vs. Marquez is a good featherweight matchup but I wonder how much interest it has among U.S. fans.

IT WASN'T PATHETIC

Hey Doug,
Gotta disagree strongly with your colleague Michael Rosenthal's description of Marquez-Vasquez IV. Pathetic how? Sure it didn't last long, but the better man won and Vasquez had a few moments in the second round. All in all I thought it was entertaining enough.

It seems like it’s easy for people to forget that Marquez really was just the better boxer the entire time. Vasquez did a great job to keep all the fights close, and through strength of will and some luck actually win two of them. If you had told me after the first two though that these guys would keep fighting forever, I would have said it will get to the point where Marquez starts dominating him. You just can't take that kind of punishment forever.

At the end of the day I look at it not like a 2-2 series, but as one long match that Marquez ended last night.

Also, did you catch Friday Night Fights? Talk about some action…

I'm becoming a big fan of Ruslan Provodnikov, but I'm afraid I'll be in for a let down if he gets himself to a championship level fight. He just seems too stiff and easy to hit to ever be great. What do you think? — Sean

I did catch FNF, and I think Provodnikov is fun to watch but he’s very methodical, stiff in his upper body and somewhat flat footed. He’s strong and game but he’s got average speed and he’s a bit one dimensional, which doesn’t bode well for a junior welterweight prospect because the top fighters of the division all have good-to-very good speed and footwork. Even Victor Ortiz, a fighter that many fans and media still consider suspect, would easily step around Provodnikov and jab and pot-shot the hell out of him. And unlike Augustus, Vic and the other young guns at 140 pounds have power.

But hey, the dude’s young, and he’s entertaining. I don’t want to crap on him. There’s a chance that he might improve his technique enough to advance to contender status. We’ll see.

I agree that Marquez was/is the superior boxer (and athlete) to Vazquez. That’s why I picked him to win all four bouts. But Vazquez’s indomitable will made me a liar twice — in the two best fights of the series (the rematch and rubber match). Sadly, Vazquez’s body is no longer in any condition to carry out his awesome warrior spirit.

Rosenthal wasn’t putting down the fighters when he described the fourth match as “pathetic.” He was saying that Saturday’s fight was pathetic in comparison to the first three. Why use the word “pathetic”? Because bout IV was not competitive and it was sad to witness how far Vazquez has faded since that instant-classic trilogy.

Vazquez had a few “moments” in the second round? No, Vazquez had a few “seconds” in the second round.

SAY NO TO 5 IF YOU WANT THEM ALIVE

We got pretty much what I predicted and I don’t know how anyone without a VESTED interest could have predicted anything more. I saw pictures of Vazquez BEFORE the fight and his eyes were all f___ed up. One eye was floating, the scar tissue was pushed out on his head and his eyes were sunken back behind all of it, he could barely see around the scar tissue BEFORE the fight. Yes, those around him would like to see him get a nice payday to ride off into the sunset, and I am happy it ended early and he didn’t get punished. But he was and is COMPLETELY shot and everybody around him and knowledgeable boxing observers and writers know and KNEW it. The industry bulls___ted the public on this one. Everybody told it like it was with Jones/Hopkins, the industry bulls___ted the fans! — JB

I think the three fights that Vazquez and Marquez put on from March of 2007 to March of 2008 were so special that many of the members of the media (and you can toss me into this lot), against their better judgment, felt in way that they had earned the right to do whatever the hell they wanted, including a fourth fight, so long as their corners and the officials involved made sure they didn’t get seriously hurt. I know it sounds unprofessional, unethical, unscrupulous, and downright illogical but the manner in which they fought during their trilogy made many of us want to give them the dignity to decide what they wanted to do next with their careers.

The tone of your email suggests that the media somehow hid the fact that Vazquez was likely a spent bullet and that’s simply not true. I’d say 80 percent of every major pre-fight story on the fight focused on the health concerns surrounding Vazquez and brought up the question if the fourth fight should be have been made. Vazquez’s manager Frank Espinoza was quite literally hounded by English and Spanish-language media that posed this question in the weeks leading into the fight. Vazquez looked shot in his fight with Angel Priolo last October and everyone who covered that fight said so.

However, that was said about Vazquez going into the Marquez rematch and it was said about Marquez going into their rubber match and in both instances the fighters proved the media wrong.

I agree that everyone “told it like it was” when they panned Hopkins-Jones II, and perhaps the media should have done the same thing with Vazquez-Marquez IV, but there are some major differences with the two fights:

1) The Vazquez-Marquez rivalry didn’t begin with a boring fight that took place 17 years ago. It was forged during an all-time great three-fight series that occurred recently.

2) Vazquez and Marquez are not in their 40s.

3) Neither Vazquez nor Marquez was coming off a first-round knockout loss going into Saturday’s bout.

4) Vazquez-Marquez IV was not a pay-per-view fight.

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