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Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag

21
Jun

WARD VS. GREEN

hey doug,
regarding andre ward's performance against allan green, well, i finally get to say that i was right (it happens like 3 times a year). ward showed his class, completely took away green's power by smothering him and he looks more than ever as the favorite to win the super six.

on the other side, it would have been nice if in the last part of the fight he would have went for the kill. green had completely given up and was there for the taking, plus i'm pretty sure that he has more power than people give him credit for. the few times that ward fought from the outside he was basically toying with him. as masterful as he was, it was a little painful to watch by the end. ward really has everything to become a star, but he's gonna have to do that little extra to get there.

looking forward to ward vs bute in the beginning of 2012. have a good week.



(p.s. as you've probably notice, english isn't my first language so thanks for the sometimes needed correction in my orthography) — simon, montr├®al

Your written English is better than many so-called writers on a dozen or so boxing websites, Simon. Cleaning it up is no problem. I just appreciate that you have something to say and you usually do so without ranting too much or going on about it too long.

Something tells me if Ward and Bute ever meet it will be at light heavyweight. I think most of the top super middleweights will jump to 175 pounds in the next two years and that’s good news for the winner of the Chad Dawson-Jean Pascal showdown, which just happens to be for the vacant RING light heavyweight title.

Regarding Ward’s killer instinct — or lack of it — I agree that he’ll need to “close the show” more often if he wishes to attract a casual fan audience. However, I believe Ward was trying to take Green out in the late rounds of the bout. It’s hard to stop a guy who isn’t fighting back. Also, I believe that Ward’s physical strength has just begun to peak. He used to rely more on his speed and hand-eye coordination, but in recent bouts he’s found that he can outmuscle his opponents in close. I think the Edison Miranda fight was the breakthrough in this awareness. As the Super Six tournament continues I think we’ll see Ward rough up his opponents even more than he did vs. Kessler and Green and I think we’ll see him score some late-round stoppages.

Good call if you predicted that Ward would shut Green out. I didn’t see that happening. I picked Ward by decision but I thought Green would be competitive, at least over the first half of the bout.

WARD'S BEATING OF GREEN

Hey Doug, how you doing?
Anyway, I was very impressed with Ward's domination of Green. I figured that Green would lose, but I thought he'd take some rounds… I guess Ward was determined to show him “No, you never belonged in this tournament” despite what Green was saying in the build-up.

Could Ward be in a class of his own? And one question regarding the action on the ropes… I've never seen a referee allow a fighter to pin a fighter up against the ropes for an extended period of time. I guess it's legal, but has this been done before? I can't recall at the moment, so.

Going by this fight, how do you like Ward's chances against Andre Dirrell? I personally think it might play out as a chess match, with Ward pulling out a close decision. Peace out, Dougie. — Vasili Volkoff

I see Ward-Dirrell just like you do. It’s kind of hard to pick against Ward after his last two performances.

He may very well be in a class of his own. If Ward can get through the Super Six without a loss he will have proved that he belongs in everyone’s pound-for-pound top 10.

If Ward does develop into an elite fighter, I think his victory over Green won’t look so bad for the Oklahoma native.

By the way, just because Andre Ward dominates you in the Super Six it doesn’t mean you don’t belong in the tournament. Just ask Mikkel Kessler.

IT'S NOT EASY LIKING GREEN

Hey Doug,
I've never been high on Green. He can beat absolutely everybody, just not on the night he happens to be fighting them. I suggest as his new name Allan “Has an Excuse” Green. — Stephen, Montreal

If Green boxed or fought as well as he talked he would be a pound-for-pound player.

STYLE COMPARISON

Hey Dougie,
Sugar Ray Leonard, no. Roy Jones Jr., no. Bernard Hopkins, yes, that is who Andre Ward most resembled Saturday night dominating Allan Green in grinding fashion.

Ward was very difficult to catch clean, used the jab well, the right-hand-fall-in-and-clinch was working overtime, roughed up and controlled Green on the inside but could've done more serious damage by turning over the cuffing shots sometimes.

I respect Ward's competitiveness inside the ring and his demeanour outside. He seems to have the drive to have a complete game so I'd expect to see a more offensive-friendly style over time.

I actually think the 'Dres' are going to make for a helluva fight. Last time out who didn't like Dirrell's combinations in range, effective lateral movement and display of pop.

Green still has zero rounds to his credit in a tie-breaker scenario so even an unlikely stoppage of Kessler might not be enough, but hopefully he can train more effectively and rebound to keep it interesting.

Nice job as always. Peace. — Adam, Whitby, Canada

Thanks Adam. Please write in more often. I like your observations and opinions and the way you composed them in this email. (Something tells me the school systems in Canada are pretty darn good.)

One of the best things about the Super Six tournament is that a fighter who loses has the opportunity to come right back against a world-class opponent and get his career back on track. It’s dramatic high-stakes stuff and makes for good TV as Dirrell and Kessler showed us in rebounding from their Group Stage 1 losses.

Green’s got nothing to lose and everything to gain, including a title, against Kessler, so hopefully he goes for broke on fight night. We’ll see.

I don’t know if the Dres will make for a “helluva fight” but I think they will produce the intense chess match (with a chance of knockdowns) that I thought would occur in the Ward-Green match.

Good call on Ward’s style. I agree 100 percent that the Bay Area boxer resembles a young Bernard Hopkins in the ring. You know who else thinks Ward fights like B-Hop? Hopkins and Naazim Richardson.

Time will tell if Ward is able to accomplish as much as Hopkins has, but he’s got the physical tools and the mindset to emulate the Executioner. I think he’s well on his way.

THE DIRTIEST BOXER IN THE GAME

Hi Doug,
How are you doing?

So what did you think of the fight in Oakland? Green sure was useless but Ward is as dirty a boxer as any I've seen in the last few years. He often leads with the head or follows up with his head. He grabs, clinches all the time. He also pushes his opponent on the ropes all the time, etc. Honestly, he can play this game in Oakland with an inept ref but if he tries that kind of tactic elsewhere, he's going to get penalized or even disqualified if he doesn't adjust.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying he isn't good, that would be denial… No, Ward is an excellent boxer but let's face it: he's the dirtiest elite boxer in the world (a good replacement for an aging Hopkins) and his fights are real borefests (Cory Spinks, anyone?).

He's going to need mad promotion to eventually be able to sell pay-per-views because right now, I can't imagine any casual boxing fan who'd want to pay to watch that!

Anyways, how do you think Dirrell will fare against him? And what about the others? I suppose Abraham wouldn’t let Ward control him on the inside like he did against Green but then, I suppose Ward would chose to move instead of clinchingÔǪ

What do you think?

Thanks for the good work. — Arthur Billette, Quebec City, Canada

I think Dirrell will fare well against Ward, better than Kessler or Green did, which I guess isn’t saying much (or maybe it is), but I think Oakland’s hero will hold up a little better and execute his game plan more effectively down the stretch.

I have no idea how Ward will fare versus Abraham. I guess if you go by the Dirrell fight, Ward’s got Abe’s number, but I thought the Armenian was coming on late before he fouled Dirrell.

Speaking of Abraham, he deserves a little consideration if you’re going to give out the title of “the dirtiest elite fighter in the world,” don’t you think? He doesn’t grab or headbutt as well as Ward does but the King throws a mean elbow.

I don’t consider Raul Caiz Sr. to be an “inept” referee. I think he’s very good, he just has a high tolerance for the rough stuff. To be honest, I prefer that to a referee who jumps between the fighters to separate them as soon as they get close to each other (see Joe Cortez’s officiating in the Mayweather-Hatton fight for the most annoying example of what I’m talking about).

If you think Ward’s ability to get way with too much rough stuff stems from his home court advantage don’t fret. Ward-Dirrell will not take place in Oakland. Who knows? That might have a major impact on that matchup. I think Abraham was thrown off a little not having an extra friendly referee around in his fight with Dirrell.

I agree that Ward will need “mad promotion” to develop into a pay-per-view star, but I think the Super Six tournament is the first step of that process. If he wins it he likely will be recognized as THE undisputed super middleweight champ and one of the best boxers in the world, pound-for-pound. From there I think eventual showdowns with Lucian Bute, Kelly Pavlik, and Chad Dawson or Jean Pascal at light heavyweight will create events that promoters might be able to sell to the public.

WARD HAS MADE ME BORED

Mr. Fischer,
Now I see why Green wasn't considered for the Super Six tournament in the first place. At least Jermain Taylor showed up for his fights. Sakio Bika or Bute would have been a much better choice than Green and his overly plucked eyebrows.

As for Ward? I know he had to devise a winning strategy, but did Ward just spend six months in the John Ruiz school of holding? I would have forgiven the guy with a KO, but as of now I have to root against him. Is anyone paying for Showtime just to witness wins by “strategic victory”? If so, Showtime needs to schedule more Paulie Malignaggi fights…

BTW, in DC we have no Fox Sports and both Comcast Sports Net and Mid Atlantic Sports net both refuse to air boxing cards. Any idea who I can complain to about this? I really wanted to catch Rodel Mayol tonight but couldn't see it.

As always, thanks for the great columns. — Enrique Fernandez, DC

Tough break with the lack of Fox Sports Net. That sucks for boxing fans in the D.C. area. I think you should contact (not complain to) Top Rank (the promoter of the Rodel Mayol-Omar Nino fight) and see if you can’t convince them to do webcasts of the ‘Top Rank Live’ shows on their official website (www.toprank.com) or through some kind of deal with Gofightlive.com. Golden Boy Promotions does a live stream of their Fight Night Club shows, which also air on Fox Sports Net, on RingTV.com and on Ustream.com. If FSN allows GBP to do live streams of their fights I don’t see why they wouldn’t allow Top Rank to do the same.

You made me laugh with your “John Ruiz school of holding” and Malignaggi cracks, Enrique, but the honest answer to your question is, yes, some people do tune in to boxing matches to watch strategic victories. Not many, but some. As I stated in my post-fight column, Ward will probably struggle more attracting a large audience than he does with his Super Six participants.

However, as I also stated in my post-fight column, before we brand Ward as a “boring boxer” let’s wait and see how he performs against the aggressive and rugged likes of Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham.

I agree that Taylor would have made for a better fight with Ward than Green did. Nobody can deny that Taylor has mad heart. He would have given more than Green did and with his blend of brute strength and speed the Arkansas native probably would have had some success, however, I also think Ward would have knocked him out in the final round as Froch and Abraham did. Taylor doesn’t deserve another stoppage loss like that. I’m glad he stepped out of the tournament.

Bika would have fought with more balls than Green but he probably would have made for an even uglier contest.

Bute’s inclusion would have made the Super Six perfect, but he’ll be around for the winner of the tournament.

MORE STYLE COMPARISONS

Last night on the Showtime broadcast, Antonio Tarver compared Andre Ward to young Roy Jones Jr., except that Andre appears to have better fundamental technique. I myself would compare him more to Bernard Hopkins. I think the strongest aspect of his game is his ring generalship, moreso than his speed or power. What do you think?

Also, since it was revealed that Green is a fellow comic book geek, did you have the opportunity to ask him any questions about his collection? I noticed on Fight Camp 360 that he seems to have taken a liking to Jack Kirby-era comics. — gopal rao

I interviewed Green before the fight but I didn’t get into his comic book collection. I probably would have brought it up had I known he was into Bronze Age comics (as I am) and Kirby’s work (although the hammer of Thor tattoo along Green’s left pectoral and arm should have been a giveaway). I’ve been reading “Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus” — which chronicles all of the legendary late comics creator’s early 1970s tales from the New Gods, Forever People, Mr. Miracle and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen — and I’m LOVING it. I’m currently on Volume Two.

Anyway, I agree that Ward’s ring generalship (his timing, his ability to gauge and create or close distance, and his ability to analyze and then shut down his opponent’s strengths) is his best asset, not his athleticism or his technique, although those tools definitely enhance his ring generalship. Ward is B-Hop 2.0 in my opinion, not Roy Jones III.

WARD WAS MAGNIFICENT

Dougie,
Andre Ward's performance last night was spectacular. While the fight was boring, Ward shouldn't be blamed for that; he simply steals his opponents' hearts and their ability to unload in the first round with his speedy reflexes, odd angles and counters, and confidence worn on his face like an aged matador.

The thought behind Ward's decisions is what I love. Ward knew he broke Green early on Saturday as a boxer, and he certainly wanted to take everything from him as a brawler when he forced him to the ropes.

With that, I saw glimmers of Leonard-Duran I last night. Sugar Ray shocked fans by showing he could scrap, that he wasn't just a nice guy with a smile who relied on his athleticism and pure boxing ability. It was a stupid decision on Sugar Ray's part, and a part of the genius of Duran's pre-fight bullying, but I think there's something to be gleaned by my observation — Ward showed that like Leonard he is a fighter in the sense that he means to get into the ring and hurt his opponent; he's not interested in collecting points or collecting a check; he is a man that wants to show that his skills mean something and that it's up to his opponent to prove that their skills can surpass his, and Ward's not gonna spend any time waiting to react because Ward's gonna put his skills on the table first. If you've read Sam Sheridan's book “A Fighter's Heart” and “A Fighter's Mind,” which cover Ward extensively, you'll see Ward and his trainer compare themselves to samurais — why wait to see your opponents skills when they're wielding a sword inches from your face.

And please, before I get razzed out, Allan Green is in no way a Roberto Duran, and Andre Ward has not yet established himself against the caliber of opponents that Leonard had. And let's not forget the fact that Leonard's decision in that first fight represented the loss of control in his emotions — something I don't think Ward is capable of doing. All I'm saying is that Ward fits into a particular narrative of a fight past where fans got to see a little more about what a fighter's all about — that he's vicious in the face of a bully, and it's well-rounded talent that informs his attack.

I'm seeing some great things in Ward's future. He's my favorite to win the Super Six, and he'd been my favorite even when boxing's genius press saw the Europeans as the greatest army ever amassed. I'm telling you, I would not be surprised if Ward becomes the fighter of this decade. I think he's that good, that focused, and has the right amount of “stuff” to get it done.

Regards. — Patrick DeCarlo, Miami, FL

We will see, Patrick. The Super Six is Ward’s proving ground. So far he looks like the goods after bouts with Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green. I’m as impressed as anyone, but I’m not going to go overboard. I’m sure some of my fellow press-row “geniuses” will place Ward in their pound-for-pound top 10. Not me. Not yet. I think Ward is the best 168 pounder in the world (sorry Lucian Bute fans), but he still has to prove that he’s elite.

I think he will (even if he doesn’t go undefeated in the Super Six). And when he does I’ll be happy to compare his focus and fighting mentality with the great Ray Leonard (yes, I think Sugar Ray is an all-time great and I do see the similarities with Ward).

However, there’s a lot of fighting/boxing to be done yet in the tournament.

SUPER SIX SCENARIO

Dougie,
As much as I loved watching Ward win last night, I was left with one depressing thought. The scorecards at the end of the third round (imho) are likely to read:

Ward 6/7 Points
Abraham 5/6 Points
Kessler 4/5 Points
Froch 2 Points
Dirrell 2 Points
Green 0 Points

At which point Froch qualifies instead of Dirrell because he won the head to head? Say it ain't so! — Kartik

Don’t get so far ahead of yourself, K-man. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Dirrell upsets Ward and Froch beats Abraham. Hell, I won’t crap my pants in shock if Green takes out Kessler.

And by the way, although I thought Dirrell beat Froch, a lot of fans and even some members of the U.S. media felt it was a fair decision.

WARD, GREEN, AND SHAW'S CONTRADICTIONS

Hey Dougie,
you know how the points system goes– so here it is,

1. Ward is the truth. PERIOD. Cagey guy – reminds me of BHop with a
range of headbutts ranging from subtle to billy goats, forearms, elbows. If ONLY he had some POWER- Green wouldn’t have made it past 6. Ward should be the clear frontrunner to win this tournament. Yeah that chin maybe suspect but to get there you gotta go through hell, punches, clinches, elbows and headbutts. Plus kid has gotten very strong physically, he basically manhandled Allan Green, grabbed him and was like lets go to the ropes boy- u need to be taught some manners.

2. Green is garbage. I knew that Ward would dismantle him and embarrass him. Ward did what he had to do. Allan Green has not done anything against any decent opponent. His mouth and his punch against D class opposition got him into the tourney. I think Kessler should dispatch him inside of 6. Showtime might as well save some money, give Mikkel a walkover and get this bum out of the tournament, he doesn’t belong in here. Andrade/Bika wouldve at least tried.

3. While in my vent mode, Gary Shaw is an absolutely disgusting dude. WTF with proposing a 4 man junior welterweight tourney, while continuously avoiding Devon Alexander and then saying Golden Boy is protecting Amir Khan? This morbidly obese jumpsuit wearing tub of lard Barney Rubble lookalike fat pig needs to take a look in the mirror if he can find one wide enough. What about protecting his “boy” Alfredo Angulo? Why isn’t he fighting Sergei Dzinziruk, his mandatory? I like Bradley but WTF has he done to be in the Pacman-Floyd sweepstakes? He’s calling out dudes at 147 and 154 while being on top of a loaded weight class at 140?

Keep up the good work and you have earned your spot. No need to respond to dumbasses who are glorified fanboys posing as writers brother. — Asim

Wow. Tell us how you really feel about Shaw, Asim. Take it easy, brother. The Shaw-riff is alright by me. So what if he contradicts himself a little bit. All the other promoters do it. Why can’t he? Shaw is more willing to roll the dice with his fighters than most promoters. I’m not mad at him for looking out for Angulo (who still has less than 20 pro fights) or for letting a potential Bradley-Alexander fight marinate a little bit. Alexander has only recently emerged as a top 140 pounder and Bradley has only been on the radar for about a year or so longer than the St. Louis native. Both guys need more fights on HBO. I’m not mad at Golden Boy Promotions for looking out for Khan, either. The guy sells tickets in his country. There’s nothing wrong with him splitting his time between the UK and the U.S. and fighting less-than worldbeaters on his home turf. However, at some point these promoters have to start working with each other. GBP can’t keep Khan in house (fighting Michael Katsidis or the Marquez-Diaz rematch winner) forever. Same thing with Top Rank and Pacquiao (although I’m sure Arum would gladly tell me “I can and I will and you can go f__k yourself if you don’t like it”). Some in-house matchups aren’t that bad. I want to see Anthony Peterson-Brandon Rios and the eventual pairing of JuanMa Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa that the Bobfather promised us “schmucks.” I’d love to see Khan vs. Victor Ortiz, which Richard Schaefer has talked about on record. But eventually the best match ups between fighters with different promoters must be made, or fans will lose interest in the sport.

Green is garbage, huh? If that’s true then how is Ward the truth? Is S.O.G. the truth based on ONE victory over Mikkel Kessler? Didn’t Joe Calzaghe show the world that the Dane was befuddled by infighting and didn’t make adjustments very well BEFORE Ward took him school? If you dismiss Green as “garbage” than what other top-10 fighter has Ward defeated apart from Kessler? Edison Miranda? Who’s the best cat ‘Pantera” ever beat? HmmmmÔǪ could it be, oh I don’t knowÔǪ Allan Green! LOL.

I’m just bustin’ your balls a little bit. I think Ward is the truth, but give him credit for beating a talented boxer. Anyone with two arms can beat up on “garbage.” By the way, just as his physical strength has recently become a major factor in his fights, I think his punching power will gradually emerge in the next few years.

A SHORT NOTE TO ANDRE WARD

Dear Andre,
Please keep stacking fools for the next 5 years. I’m 30 and cannot tell my newborn son that the best boxer of my memorable life could be Floyd Jr.

A few more years of thisÔǪ.and I won’t have to. — Tony Knopp, LA

Not a Manny Pacquiao fan, Tony? Regardless, I think Ward might come through for you (and the sport).

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