Dougie’s Monday Mailbag
hey doug, I have just a couple of questions:
– what is your assessment of david lemieux (his last name means “the best”) and who would you like to see him with next? i know that if GYM gets to presents the fight between carl froch and arthur abraham in montr├®al, they would do it only if one of their fighters gets on the telecast and it would be him.
– is it just me or does the fight between andre ward and allan green just a big mismatch.
– who's the next “great” mexican fighter? with barrera and morales both needing to be retired, the marquez brothers at the end of their careers, and margacheato getting busted, who’s gonna carry the torch?
have a good week. — simon, montr├®al
I’ll definitely have a good week, Simon. I plan to hit at least three gyms, visit the e3 Expo at the L.A. Convention Center courtesy of Showtime, which is airing an MMA show (Lawler vs. Sobral) from Nokia Theater on Wednesday that I plan to attend, and then I’ll take off to Oakland on Thursday to cover the Ward-Green fight.
Before I get into Saturday’s matchup, I’ll answer your questions in order:
Lemieux looks like the goods to me. I want to see him on U.S. television as often as possible and I hope he makes that Showtime broadcast you mentioned. (In fact, I think Froch-Abraham might merit a trip to Montreal, so maybe I’ll get to see your hometown hero do his thing live.) Who would I like to see him in with? Someone with decent skills, a good chin and the temperament to hit David back. Craig McEwan comes to mind. If Lemieux’s people want a guy with more experience, perhaps Marco Antonio Rubio fit’s the role. If he can get a few more wins under his belt maybe Giovanni Lorenzo or Peter Manfredo Jr. But Lemieux shouldn’t be rushed up the ladder. He’s only 21. Manfredo’s been busy and looking sharp lately; he’s a threat to Lemieux right now.
I’m expecting a competitive boxing match between Ward and Green, which is why I plan to be ringside at Oracle Arena. Green is a smart guy with good technique and a lot of athleticism. He’s bigger than Ward, almost as fast, and he probably hits harder. He’s dangerous. The only problem I have with Green is the quality of his recent opposition. He hasn’t been in tough since his loss to Edison Miranda. He’s fought six times since dropping that decision to Miranda in early 2007 and he’s fought two journeymen (Darrell Woods and Sherwin Davis), two faded vets (Ruben Williams and the TOTALLY shot Carl Daniels), one prospect (Carlos DeLeon, who he looked great against) and one fringe contender (Tarvis Simms, who made him look bad).
Ward, who has a style that appears to adapt to anything that comes his way, is a huge step up for Green. However, I thought Mikkel Kessler was a huge step up for Ward (and the Dane was on paper) and we all witnessed what happened when the two stepped in the ring.
Here’s my Mexican savior short list: Abner Mares, Alfredo Angulo, and Saul Alvarez.
I think Mares is ready to be “the man” (or maybe I should say “el hombre”) right now. He may not have got the decision against Yohhny Perez but he proved his mettle in that 12-round battle, in my opinion. I think he’s ready to be a major titleholder NOW, and if he can beat two or three of the top fighters at 118 pounds, such as the Fernando Montiel-Eric Morel winner, or an elite 115 pounder like Vic Darchinyan or Nonito Donaire, I think he can definitely develop into star among Mexican fans.
If Angulo can get a fight with Miguel Cotto and beat the Puerto Rican star he’ll get the instant monster fanbase that Margarito garnered after his 2008 victory over Cotto. (Prior to the Cotto win, the best Margarito ever drew was the 7,500 for the Paul Williams fight; after Cotto he broke the Staples Center’s attendance record, almost 21,000, for the Shane Mosley fight.) And “Perro” has two potential dance partners at 154 pounds that will drive Mexican fans crazy — your boy “Margarcheato” and James Kirkland. If he can win those bouts — and it’s not beyond the realm of possibility, folks — my man Angulo can evolve into a bona fide Mexican attraction.
“Canelo” is already a TV star in Mexico, but it won’t be easy making him an attraction in the States. The welterweight and junior middleweight divisions are home to a lot of dangerous prospects and veteran spoilers who would love to take advantage of the 19 year old’s limitations. However, if he’s moved gradually but with purpose, I think he can eventually improve his defense and loosen up a bit in the ring. The wobbly moment he had in the first round vs. Jose Cotto was a big red flag, but the balls the kid showed over the course of that fight also let us know that he’s a real fighter. Bottom line: Alvarez makes for good fights. He just needs to be featured on U.S. TV (preferably basic cable, like Telefutura) on a regular basis and he’ll build a strong Mexican fanbase here.
I read a lot of your stories and mailbags to get your opinions and views of what's going on in the boxing world. I really like what you do and respect what you have to say. I hope to one day get to your level in boxing coverage.
I recently started covering and writing about boxing for a magazine called VINCIT Magazine. We are based out of the Bay Area in California. So my first cover story was on Andre Ward. I was able to write something that he really enjoyed which is great! One thing he mentioned to us in just chit chat conversation after the interview was that he gets more fan mail from Europe than he does here in the USA. I noticed as far as the boxers in the US, their main fan base is where they grew up, whereas for European fighters, their fan base is whatever country they represent. Do you think it's because we have more American boxing stars than other countries?
Ward's expected to generate 10,000 fans at Saturday’s fight with Allan Green but that just doesn't sound good to me. He is an Olympic Gold Medalist for the United States! Ward even mentioned that Amir Khan, who is a silver medalist, can generate 20,000-30,000 fans in a stadium! Every time we watch a fight in Europe, it's always a packed house! I was at the Ward/Kessler fight and saw fans that came from Denmark to Oakland to watch the fight. But if Ward was to fly to Denmark to fight Kessler, I'm almost sure besides his family and close friends, fans would not fly out there to watch their hometown hero. How are European fighters being promoted so well that their fans are willing to shell out money and fly half way across the globe to watch their fighter? This boggles my mind. We have what should be our American hero in boxing, and I see more haters than fans! After speaking with Ward, I’m an even bigger fan. The way he represents himself in such a positive way is what we need in the sport. We have enough boasters. We need a good guy… and he's definitely up there.
Also, off topic. I really respect what you do and say. I want to know with so many fights that go on in a year, how you're able to maintain and balance your life with work? I am currently training for a fight (Muy Thai), also getting ready to do my next story on Robert Guerrero, work, and also try to keep my girlfriend happy even with a busy schedule. I know you have to be busy and want to know what you do to balance such a busy life. I absolutely love everything I do. I just need to fit in my girlfriend with all of this… Lol. And if you have any tips for me as I'm still new to being a writer/journalist, I would love to hear it! Thanks! — Andrew Moy
Regarding writing/journalism, just keep doing it, Drew. It’s like push ups: The more you do ’em the easier it is. Read as much quality boxing journalism and literature as you can, observe what you can in the gym and at the fights and listen to knowledgeable boxing people whenever you can. It seems like you’re off to a good start.
Balancing work and a personal life is difficult for a boxing writer because the sport never sleeps. There’s no off-season and the major events occur on the weekend, which conflicts with the usual “date nights” and family events (holiday get-togethers, weddings, etc.). I was talking to a fellow boxing writer, Gabe Montoya, at a gym recently. He was there working out and I told him I wished that I had time to do so. It’s been years since I trained regularly at a boxing gym. He thought I’d slacked off because of my age (I’m 40). He told me “age doesn’t matter, I’m 37.” I told him it wasn’t my age that conflicted with training, it was being married with two kids.
I gotta make time for my family, which makes it tough enough to churn out features on a day to day basis and to keep up with a growing broadcast schedule, never mind working out at a gym two or three days a week. It takes me FOREVER to write a simple story because I have to constantly bounce back and forth from the desk in my home office to the kitchen or my daughters’ room to cook dinner and look after the children, etc. What that means for me, is that I do most of my writing when the family is asleep. And no, I don’t get much sleep, but it’s worth it to be able to support my family doing what I love.
You’re email is only the second in this mailbag and it’s 12:52 a.m. PT as I complete this sentence.
All I can tell you is what you seem to already understand, that balance is important. If covering the sport full time is something you really want to do my only advice to you is to carefully plan and schedule time with your girlfriend around boxing events. Hopefully, she’s a boxing fan.
Regarding boxing attractions, I think the reason American fighters have less fans than European fighters isn’t because the U.S has more boxing stars, but rather because there are more pro sports stars in America than in European countries. American sports fans have regional NFL, NBA and MLB teams to follow in their cities; they’re not looking for the next boxing star.
Also, top European amateurs receive a lot of TV exposure (as U.S. amateurs did in decades past). Once they turn pro, they fight often fight on free TV, so they begin building a fan base early in their careers. American amateur stars like Ward either fight on cable or off-TV as they develop from prospects to contenders. So a lot of casual fans don’t even know they exist until they’re ready to fight a veteran or for a title.
The good thing about Ward is that he just turned 26. There’s time for him to build the 10,000 he’s expected to attract on Saturday to 20,000 in the near future. All he has to do is keep winning. And thanks to the Super Six tournament Ward will only be fighting top-quality opposition for the next year, so if he continues his winning ways boxing fans everywhere, not just in Oakland, will know S.O.G. is the real deal.
I am a paying subscriber to Showtime and I am wondering why if I am on the West Coast is the fight going to be on tape delay for me. I don’t have satellite. I have cable and the fights that happen on the west coast are always on a tape delay.
Now that you are big time can you put the word in with Ken Hershman at Showtime and tell him to fix this problem. For crying out loud I pay for Showtime and will be looking for a illegal stream of the green vs ward fight so I can see it live.
While I am making demands do some more Gym Notes articles will you?
Your demanding fan. — Christopher E Campos
More Gym Notes is something I can deliver. If you don’t get one this week, I guarantee one for the week ending on June 26. Getting Showtime to go live on the West Coast with their boxing programming is another matter.
Are you sure your cable system doesn’t carry other Showtime channels? I have 12 on mine. No kidding. I rarely, if ever, watch any of them apart from Showtime (SHO) and Showtime-West (SHO-W). SHO carries the East Coast programming schedule, which means I can see live boxing on it here in California. A boxing card that starts at 9:45 p.m. PT (on SHO-W) will come on at 6:45 p.m. PT on SHO. If you only have one Showtime, you might want to call your cable provider and ask them how much extra it is to get the additional Showtime channels. It might not be that much. Maybe you can just get the East Coast Showtime and not have to get all the others, such as SHO2, SHOCSE (Showcase, which I guess is critically acclaimed movies), SHOEXT (Extreme, which I think is all action-oriented programming, including boxing and MMA), SHOBYD (Beyond, which is Sci-Fi/fantasy stuff), SHOWM (Women, which is self explanatory; my guess is that boxing is not on the schedule), and SHONXT (Next, which one would think means new and original programming, but on Sunday afternoon the movie Breakin’ was on. Yeah that’s right, the 1984 break-dancing flick that starred Adolpho “Shabba-Doo” Quinones as ‘Ozone,’ Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers as ‘Turbo’ and young Ice-T as himself.)
I digress. I’m sorry. Anyway, I think giving your cable provider a call may yield results quicker than if I were to approach Mr. Hershman, who looks like the kind of suit who carries around a can of mace in case he has to deal with a boxing freak like Yours Truly.
THANK GOD FOR FOUR ROUNDERS
I guess we should all be thanking McWilliams Arroyo and Takashi Okada for at least giving us a pulse for four rounds on Saturday night. Obviously, we knew going in that Ivan Calderon isn’t exactly Mr. Excitement, but I have to say “thank you” to Arroyo and Okada for making that card somewhat watchable… for a few minutes.
On another note, if you had to guess, who do you think Miguel Cotto will actually face next? People will continue to throw out a bunch of names, but if you had to pick one fight that you see being made, who would it be? Hopefully, the Pacquiao-Mayweather saga will come to an end and that fight will happen, because I’d much, much rather see Cotto-Margarito than Pacquiao-Margarito. If Cotto decides against a fight with Margarito, I wouldn’t be upset with the decision because he was the one on the crappy end of that deal, so it’s his decision and his alone. I’ve always liked Margartio, but now I’ll just never be convinced that the Mosley fight was Tony’s first foray into tampering with hand wraps.
Thanks. — Jesse, New Jersey
If I had to guess who Cotto takes on next, I’d say Shane Mosley because the Puerto Rican wants his next fight to be a pay-per-view event and the aging vet has enough of a name to make that happen. Plus, Mosley’s underwhelming performance vs. Mayweather makes him look like a safe opponent to Arum & Co. If Mosley gets a win under his belt later this year or in early 2011, I can see Cotto-Mosley II taking place at Madison Square Garden in June, the night before the Puerto Rican Day parade.
Until Margarito gets his boxing license reinstated in the U.S. there’s really no point in pontificating on his prospective matchups with Pacquiao or Cotto, is there?
Arroyo-Okada was four-round barnburner, wasn’t it? I knew the Japanese prospect was going to bring the ruckus. Rudy Hernandez had him sparring with 108-pound titleholders Giovanni Segura and Rodel Mayol at the Azteca and Wild Card boxing clubs here in Southern California for the past few months. That hard gym work paid off for Okada.
I think Nonito Donaire deserves to be in THE RING’s P4P contrary to what you said. I also want him to fight Montiel. But just like other boxers like Eric Morel. They keep ducking him. If you read the articles the management of both Morel and Fernando Montiel don’t want any part of Donaire. I wish people would just man up and fight him. It’s sad for Donaire's talent go to waste. — Raymond
I don’t think any of those little guys — Donaire, Darchinyan, Montiel, Morel — are afraid to fight each other. I don’t believe their management want to avoid marquee challenges, either. Why would they? That’s the only way they are going to get paid a better-than decent pay day. I think Top Rank is keeping Donaire out of high-profile fights. There is absolutely no reason for the Darchinyan rematch to have not already happened. Bob Arum is just being a control freak with the kid, who is immensely talented but doesn’t deserve to be ranked ahead of fighters like Chad Dawson, Paul Williams or Montiel on anyone's pound-for-pound list. Apart from his KO of Darchinyan, who has he beat? A prospect in Raul Martinez and a bunch of “jockeys” as fight scribe Steve Kim correctly refers to Donaire’s recent fodder.
In your Friday Mailbag, you wrote that Luis Valero is aiming to start his professional career. I was surprised because I remembered that Baby Bro Valero had a fixed date for his pro debut a couple of years ago when he was training with Edwin. I made a fast search and found some news from ESPN that All-Star Boxing & Teiken Promotions signed him in 2008 and he was supposed to fight on the 12th of Sept. 2008. Obviously, it never happened. Why did he suffer this two year delay? — Jorma, Finland
My guess is that the good folks at All-Star Boxing and Teiken Promotions felt that the then-17-year-old Luis Valero needed more amateur seasoning before turning pro.
ARUM THE REALTOR
Long time reader, first time writer. Have you ever experienced or heard of a realtor who is always trying to push their own listings on to their prospective home buying clients so they can earn double the commission? Meet The Bobfather Arum. How come every time I hear him talk about his stable's possible opponents they are always, and I mean always other Top Rank fighters? You don’t see Lou Dibella, Gary Shaw, or Dan Goossen doing this ish! Cmon man, quit trying to monopolize both sides of the transaction and just put your guys in the best possible fights you can.
Speaking of one of his, I love the Cotto/Steward tandem, hopefully they give Miguel another fight where he'll be the favorite before they feed him to Martinez or P-will…he's deserved it.
Lastly, the Jr middle division has become very interesting lately with Cotto and Collazo's arrival, the rebirth of Cintron, Kirkland's pending release, and the two aformentioned 154/160 kings. How would you rank this division if doing a top 5 based on talent, star power and depth? I got it 1) Welters 2) Bantams 3) Jr Welters 4) Super middles and 5) Feathers or Jr middles.
Thanks and keep keepin it real. I know you will! — Dustin in Nashville
Based on talent and star power, I’d rank the welterweights first (Pacquiao, Mayweather, Mosley, and Berto), the junior welters second (Khan, Bradley, Alexander, Maidana, and Ortiz), the banties third (Darchinyan, Donaire, Montiel, Perez, Mares, Agbeko, and Morel), the super middleweights fourth (Bute, Kessler, Abraham, Froch, Ward, and Andrade), and the junior middleweights fifth (Cotto, Williams, Martinez, Angulo, Kirkland, Collazo, and Cintron).
Cotto and Steward appear to be a good match. Don’t worry, Cotto will have plenty of time to continue improving under Manny’s guidance because I don’t think he’ll ever get in the ring P-Will or the reigning middleweight champ.
You’ve heard K9 Kim’s recent nickname for Arum’s company haven’t you? He calls it Top Incest. ‘Nuff said.
Maybe it’s because I grew up just north of Arkansas, but I don’t mind it so much as long as the matchups are badass — like the scheduled lightweight showdown between Brandon Rios and Urbano Antillon that was scrapped when “Bam Bam” suffered a cut in training. However, when I hear that Fernando Montiel is going to fight Eric Morel I’m disappointed. It’s not that Montiel-Morel (an all-Top Rank matchup) is a not a good fight. Both banties are accomplished vets and complete fighters, but there are better, more significant matchups that can be made with Montiel, such as fights with Abner Mares or Vic Darchinyan, but that would mean Arum would have to work with Golden Boy or Gary Shaw and the grand old man of the sport doesn’t like dealing with others.
I know that Arum knows this business better than anyone else and everything he does ultimately benefits his fighters and his company, but what about the fans and the sport?