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Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag

31
May

KLITSCHKO’S VALUE

Hi Doug, hope all is well on your side of the pond.

So I shelled out to watch Vitali Klitschko once again. It cost me all of 5 dollars and I got a high quality stream for my money through the website of my local television station. The fight was nothing special but entertaining enough with Albert Sosnowski being more game than I would have thought, though the gulf in class grew apparent as the action wore on. Both men behaved with class and gave a good accounting of themselves: I don't think I saw more than one or two clinches through the entire fight, which ended in a knockout win for the Ukranian in round 10. For 10% of the price of watching Mosley/Mayweather that's more than acceptable to me for a night's entertainment.

There are several things to like about Vitali: he conducts himself like a gentleman, doesn't talk tiresome trash, is technically sound and still carries good power though it may not be quite the same as before his shoulder injury. Futhermore I think his defense and tactical nous are underrated. I saw him make subtle adjustments yesterday when necessary that his opponent couldn't deal with (in round 4 he stopped coming forward to draw his hard to hit opponent in and get off a few shots and then in the next round he was back on the offense when he saw the Pole was hurt and had slowed down a bit). I think the biggest advantage Vitali holds over opponents these days (well apart from his size) is that he just has a lot more experience and ring savvy. It would be interesting to see him in with David Haye who would probably follow the same strategy as Sosnowski, but who would hopefully would be a little quicker and a lot more powerful. I think he could have some success, but I still feel he would eventually end up on his back. Anyway, what's your take on the 2000 version of Vitali vs. today's version? And how do you see a fight vs. Haye playing out?



(P.S., the commentary mentioned that the Klitschkos have signed a television deal with German TV worth around 20 million dollars for their next handful of fights and with more than 40,000 fans through the gate last night, boxing seems to be doing very well in Europe right now.) Best regards. — Benjamin Lun├©e, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Klitschkos and the sport seem to be thriving in Europe. One of these days — and hopefully soon — I’d like to cover a fight in Germany or the UK. Wladimir or Vitali vs. David Haye would be worth the trip.

I think Vitali takes Haye to school and then takes him out by the middle rounds. Wladdy stops him late, but I think Haye would make it very interesting.

Both Klitschkos are middle-lower-top 10 pound-for-pound players, in my opinion, and both are among the most experienced active fighters in the sport. Wladdy’s the better athlete with the cleaner technique, but Vitlai’s the more confident ring general and the more durable of the two. If you could combine their best attributes into one 6-foot-6¾, 245-pound boxer you’d have yourself an all-time great heavyweight (maybe the best of all time?).

I didn’t watch Klitschko-Sosnowski live, but I’ve got it on DVD and will watch it sometime this week. I’m glad you enjoyed the webcast. This has nothing to do with your email, but I did watch the Integrated Sports PPV broadcast from Puerto Rico on Saturday and I thought the co-featured bouts (Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.’s 10th-round stoppage of Zsolt Bedak and Rocky Martinez’s fourth-round KO of Gonzalo Munguia) delivered top-notch action and entertainment.

Vazquez Jr. can fight. He might be the best active son of a former champ. Martinez has his share of flaws but his heart is so big he overcomes them — and his opposition. It’s a big mistake to try to slug with this boricua bomber.

GIVING THE BROTHERS K THEIR DUE

Doug,
I've been as guilty as anyone about killing Wlad and Vitali. Everyone knows the criticisms: Wlad got knocked out cold twice and seems to be in danger of fainting when a punch comes anywhere near his chin, Vitali is lumbering and benefits solely from the barren level of world class contenders, etc, etc. I think its time they both get their due. You can only fight who you can fight and the Klitchkos aren't just winning, they’re dominating. When was the last time you can remember either of them losing a single round? Everyone thought Eddie Chambers and Chris Arreola would provide at least some kind of challenge, but they were both beaten so badly you wouldn't have guessed they were even legit contenders.

Wlad fights too safely for my taste — given the destructive arsenal at his disposal (have you seen this guy throw a left hook when he isn't afraid to expose his chin to do it?), but can anyone really argue with the results? His jab crashes against opponents faces like a straight right hand and when anyone gets ballsy enough to try to get thru it, they have his cross waiting for them. Vitali is deceptively agile and skilled. Like a lot of people I wondered what would happen to his workrate after a few rounds of pressure from Arreola, he just doesn't stop punching, he doesn't get tired and he almost never takes anything in return.

How silly is it that the best hope the division has of challenging these guys is David Haye and Tomas Adamek? I love Adamek, but they are better off fighting each other and making a nice nut before they get marched to their the death against either brother. People can laugh all they want, but both brothers should be on everyone's pound for pound list.

Come on, seriously, do you mean to tell me either brother isn't better than Miguel Cotto or Nonito Donaire? Joe Louis, one of the most respected heavyweight champions ever, got knocked out cold by Max Schemelling… Larry Holmes, who I consider second behind only Ali, beat Ken Norton in a terrific fight for the title, then never faced a great heavyweight again (if Norton was ever great to begin with, he gave boxers like Ali and Holmes nightmares, but crumbled against punchers) and Mike Tyson for all of his hype and considerable skill at his peak never beat anybody approaching very good. Go ahead Tyson-nuthuggers, name me the very good fighter he beat, I'll wait, you can get back to me anytime. The two best fighters he ever met — Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis — totally kicked his ass. My point is, I think if the Klitchkos were American champions they would be regarded as closer to George Foreman than George Chuvalo. It’s time these guys got their due. — Tom G.

I have no problem giving the Brothers K their props. They’ve earned respect with their overall bodies of work and their recent performances (Wladdy’s late stoppages of Tony Thompson, Ruslan Chagaev and Eddie Chambers; Vitali’s domination of Sam Peter, Juan Carlos Gomez and Chris Arreola). I ranked Little Bro No. 5 and Big Bro No. 6 on the last P4P top 10 list I submitted to Kevin Iole’s Yahoo! poll (May 10th). I don’t have Cotto or Donaire in my top 10.

By the way, I don’t think Wladimir is as skittish as he was about a year following his crash-and-burnout vs. Lamon Brewster. He’s not going to remind anyone of Jack Dempsey, but he’s not as worried about getting clipped as he was when he fought DaVarryl Williamson and Sam Peter. And I think Vitali is a lot less “lumbering” than he was (or was perceived) when he made his U.S. debut vs. Lennox Lewis.

One more thing about Klitschkos criticism. I think a double standard exists among some American boxing writers and fans when it comes to assessing the entertainment value of their styles. I hear some folks shoot the giant brothers down for fighting “safety first” or for being “boring” and then the same dudes laud Floyd Mayweather’s “ring generalship” and “defensive prowess” when he boxes in the exact same manner (but doesn’t get the knockout the Klitschkos usually score late in their bouts). In other words, it’s the Sweet Science when Floyd does it, but it’s boring and disgraceful when Vitali and Wlad do it. What’s up with that?

I agree that if the Klitschkos were American (and fought here as much as they fight in Germany) they would be embraced by U.S. public.

I’m not sure how close they are to George Foreman, but they’re comfortably ahead of Chuvalo (LOL). Their problem is that unlike Big George, they don’t have a Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, Ken Norton, or Ron Lyle to test themselves against. (Come to think of it, they don’t have the caliber of heavyweights Foreman fought in his 40s — Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer and Tommy Morrison — to test themselves.)

ERIC LUCAS-LIBRADO ANDRADE

Hey Doug,
It was written that Lucas wouldn't get past Andrade but it was a good fight. Lucas looked better than I thought and deserves a lot of respect for taking a fight like that and trying to win it. Andrade was a total class act. What he said about Lucas at the end actually drew a tear from these eyes. — Stephen, Montreal

Andrade is an average boxer, a good fighter, and a great human being. He’s humble and sincere when he speaks and I think the fans in Quebec realize that and respect him for it.

Lucas was very sharp for an “old man” during the first half of the bout. Too bad he was fighting a dude with granite in his jaw. I wondered what those same shots would have done to Andrade victim and current beltholder Robert Stieglitz. Oh well. The loss was probably for the best. Lucas needs to retire. He’s got nothing to be ashamed about. He fought everybody and he never gave less than 100 percent. His facial skin gave out against Andrade, not his heart.

BOXING VS. UFC PRODUCTION VALUE

Doug,
I am a boxing fan & while I don't hate mixed martial arts it has been a while since I have seen an PPV show. My friends ordered UFC 114 & I was comparing it to the Mayweather v. Mosley PPV and noticed some things. #1 is that the fights themselves aren't necessarily more exciting in the UFC as there were plenty of lulls in the action. #2 UFC does a MUCH better job getting from fight to fight, much less talk & hype in between fights, they even showed an exciting preliminary fight in lieu of basically a commercial hyping the main event. #3 in the main event one of the fighters had to spend his entire camp focusing on making weight rather then getting sharp & he lost just like in boxing. I honestly think that there is clearly a home for both & if boxing just tightens up a few holes in their game (too many PPV shows, NO significant fights on regular TV, bad production) they could still be more mainstream.

Last question, would any promoter give their fight away to an online distributor espn3, hulu, youtube, etc., just to get more eyeballs on their fighters? It wouldn't be difficult & they would get a return on their investment in the long run. — Tyrone

I agree, Ty. Right now the answer is no, although Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions occasionally offer the non-televised portion of their pay-per-view undercards to Yahoo! Sports. I wish the promoters and Yahoo! publicized these broadcasts a little more. I’ve also noticed that Top Rank has begun streaming undercard bouts on their official website (toprank.com), and of course, Golden Boy streams its Fight Night Club broadcasts here on RingTV.com and Ustream.com. These are lower-level fights, but it’s a start. Maybe one day the major promotional companies will experiment with broadcasting a live major card on the internet.

Regarding your observations of UFC and boxing pay-per-view shows, I agree with all three statements. (I don’t really have anything to add to them. Actually, I’m always a little surprised when I get a “Boxing vs. UFC” email. I honestly thought fans of both sports were over the so-called rivalry.)

I agree that both sports can co-exist with much of the same fanbase. Whenever boxing and the UFC have a PPV on the same Saturday, the place where I usually watch boxing (if I’m not covering it from press row) always gets both shows and most of the folks who are there go back and forth between the two broadcasts.

ROACH'S OBSERVATION ON MAYWEATHER'S LEGS

Wassup Dougie,
I had to write in on a couple of things. First off, I may be the only man on the planet that agrees with Freddie Roach on his assessment of Floyd Mayweather. I, too, believe he has lost a lot of his legs and he just doesn’t have the movement he once had. He fought that Mosley fight very flatfooted and there just doesn’t seem to be any spring in his legs anymore. On the most recent 24/7 shows, when May was hitting the mitts he just wasn’t as fast as he used to be. I remember watching him train for the Hatton fight and he used to mesmerize me with his hand and head movement and I just don’t see it anymore. I believe he is one or two fights away from looking VERY old. Do you agree with any of these observations?

I remember before the Pac vs. De La Hoya fight Roach said De La Hoya couldn’t pull the trigger anymore and Pac would knock him out. He was right. Before the Pac vs Hatton fight Roach said he saw something in Hatton and Pac would KO him in 3rds. Right again. Now before we get Pac vs May (if we get it) Roach says May has lost his legs and Pac will knock him out. I believe he is right again.

By the way, have you heard of some kid name Greg Rowe that writes for boxingtalk.com? Dude is a real piece of work. He ripped you a new a-hole for picking Mosley to win vs May. He went on and on about you not knowing s__t about boxing. He has some f___in’ nerve. The ironic part was that he was ripping you in one of his mailbags. Does he not know who started this whole mailbag s__t online? By my calculations you were the first. You’re a pioneer to this s__t and he is just a follower.

I also sent him an email about how I felt about Mayweather similar to the one above and needless to say he blasted me too. He really pissed me off because in his most recent mailbag there he s__t all over Roach for making those comments. How the f__k are you going to disrespect Roach like that? His track record speaks for itself. Well, I basically told him to keep swinging from May’s nutsack bcuz Manny is coming to knock him off.

Lastly, I know this is premature, but I have booked rooms in Dallas and Vegas for the two mentioned dates of the fight. There is no way I’m missing this one. I assume ticket prices will be a little more affordable if it happens in Dallas, but if it does happen in Vegas, how much do you think the ticket prices will range from?

Thanks for listening Doug. Peace out. — Mark Orlando , FL

You’ve already booked rooms in Dallas and Las Vegas? What dates? Is there any hard evidence that the two sides are truly negotiating to make this fight? You are definitely a hardcore fan, Mark. If the fight is made and it lands in Vegas you can expect the ticket prices to be ridiculously high (and very few being offered directly to the public); as much as $500 for the cheapest seats would not surprise me.

The fact that you bothered to argue with Mr. Rowe is more proof that you are a serious boxing nut (and I say that respectfully, because the backbone of sport is made of hardcore fans). You already know he wants to replace Leonard Ellerbe as mayor of Mayweatherland, and thus views Roach and Pacquiao (and people like you) as the “enemy.” So why be offended when he blasts you? It’s the same deal with Mayweather fans who email me demanding that I consider him a top-10 or top-20 all-time great. They know they’re not going to get the answer they want to hear from me, so I wonder why they even bother contacting me.

Anyway, I have heard of Rowe. I didn’t know he existed prior to May 1, but evidently my prediction of a Shane Mosley victory greatly offended him, and he makes a point to diss me as much as he can in his post-May 1 mailbags on BoxingTalk. And thanks to emails like yours, I’m aware of his anti-Dougie rants. (Thanks guys. It’s a real pleasure to wake up to quotes from a stranger’s tirades about how stupid I am. LOL.) Do I really need to know what everyone thinks of me and my opinions? I don’t think so. If cared I’d go on message boards.

Speaking of which, what’s the difference between Rowe’s rants on BoxingTalk and some guy posting on a message board? From what I’ve gathered, the guy doesn’t write real stories about the sport or its participants. He just does mailbags and occasionally posts his opinions on upcoming fights. Oh, and he disses me a lot, which is fine.

Here’s a dose of reality. I may not know anything about boxing, as he asserts, but I know how to make a living in the sport. Can he say the same?

Is being the boxing genius he thinks he is paying his bills? I doubt it. Because if picking Mayweather to beat Mosley makes one a boxing genius they are a dime a dozen since about 95 percent of everyone who had an opinion on the fight thought Floyd would win.

I didn’t. I was wrong, so I’m not a boxing genius. That’s OK. I’m getting paid (well, which I figure a “Money” Mayweather fan like Rowe would appreciate) twice a month. Why? Because my job is not to correctly pick the winners of upcoming matches. RingTV.com is not a gambling site. Nobody on this staff makes a guarantee that the majority of their fight predictions will come true. Our job is to write pre- and post-fight features and to cover the sport, which means, actually making calls (and interviewing boxing participants and insiders in person) and writing real stories that have a structure and present more than our personal opinions. Does Rowe ever do that?

If you email Rowe again let him know that if I pick every major fight wrong from now until the end of the year I’ll still have my job. And remind him that nobody gave me my gig or my place in the sport. I CREATED it with Gary Randall (who co-founded HouseofBoxing.com with me) more than 13 years ago.

This past February marked the 10th year I’ve covered boxing full time. In that time I’ve outlasted the pissed-off/offended/crazy fans of Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, and Roy Jones Jr. I plan to do this for at least another 10 years, which means I’ll outlast the most obnoxious fans of Mayweather, which includes Rowe.

OK, the lecture is over.

Regarding Roach’s observations of Mayweather, I agree that Floyd is more flat footed these days but I don’t think that necessarily means that his legs aren’t 100 percent. If his legs were beginning to slip, he wouldn’t have the leverage to crack with his punches and he nailed Mosley with some very hard one-two combinations during their fight. I think a lot of defensive-minded boxers and ring generals settle down in terms of their footwork and movement late in their careers. Muhammad Ali did. Pernell Whittaker did. James Toney did. Bernard Hopkins did. They did well with their more stationary style, too (at least for awhile — Ali and Toney hung around too long and absorbed a few beatings near the end). Right now the more stationary Mayweather is getting the job done. Hopefully we’ll find out if he can get it done flat footed against a frenetic super talent like Pacquiao.

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