Dougie’s MASSIVE Monday Mailbag
ANOTHER WEEKEND OVER
I noticed recently you're getting some thoroughly intelligent e-mails from Floyd Mayweather fans. What a thoughtful and articulate bunch they are…. Seriously, on behalf of all sane boxing fans, thank you for bearing the brunt of these idiots critiscism, they are 50 percent of the reason people want to see Floyd humbled. Anyway, back to something more interesting:
(1) Were you horrified to see Marco Antonio Barrera making a comeback? He can still beat up guys like Adailton DeJesus and I get the feeling that the ultimate goal here is to tune-up towards a fourth Morales fight, which I haven't got a problem with because it's big business for them and at this point looks like it might be competitive. Any further ambitions are a worry to me, he was marvelous in his pomp but that was a long time ago.
(2) Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-John Duddy (The Undisputed Cash-Cow Commodity Championship Of The World): Nice to see a winner out of two guys who've owned a unique little niche in boxing over the last few years, big attractions making big money and taking big critiscism for not deserving it. This may be over now, as Duddy appears finished and Chavez is the mandatory for the awesome Sergio Martinez, who represents an astronomical step-up in class. How have you viewed these guys? I think Chavez is actually a decent fighter, quickly amassing 40+ fights without losing indicates some talent as his opponents are all professionals who know how to fight. If he'd been as bad as some have said then he surely would have been caught out once or twice. If he's making lots of money fighting at this level, even if it is more to do with who his father is. What astute businessman is going to throw the guy to the lions when there's more to be made? Certainly not Bob Arum. There's nowhere now for Chavez but up and he will begin to lose I suspect, perhaps badly, but I have to say I wish him and Duddy well, boxers deserve a bit of luck.
Big respect Doug, keep it up. — Ewan, Scotland
Thanks for writing in, Ewan.
I have two things to say about the Mayweather fans who email me: No. 1, they are 90 percent of the reason I want to see Floyd humbled, and No. 2, most of them are so stupid they probably didn’t catch the sarcasm in the first two sentences of your email.
Now I’ll answer your questions in order:
1. I wasn’t horrified to see Barrera back in the ring but I was disappointed. I don’t think he has anything to prove in terms of his legacy and I know he doesn’t need the money, so his comeback seems pointless to me. I don’t even think he’s come back (he’ll tell you he never left) for a fourth fight with Erik Morales. Bob Arum, his latest promoter, says it’s all about getting him a fourth belt in a fourth weight class and making Mexican history (whoop-di-do!). Well that’s great. We all know Arum doesn’t want deal with other promoters, which rules out the winner of Marquez-Diaz II (the holder of the linear 135-pound crown) or Michael Katsidis, who would make for a fan-friendly fight. It means the Big Bob-man will put Barrera in with his two lightweight titleholders, Humberto Soto or Miguel Acosta. And as much as I believe Soto has lost going from 130 to 135, I think the Los Mochis native would beat this version of Barrera. From what I saw of Barrera vs. De Jesus, Acosta would make the future hall of famer look 50 years old. Barrera’s still got skills, guts and great ring generalship but he no longer possesses the speed and reflexes to deal with world-class boxers and he doesn’t have the power at lightweight to get respect. But we’ll see what happens. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong. I hope so, because he’s one of my all-time favorite fighters. I wish him luck.
2. Chavez is proving to be more than just a decent fighter. The young man knows how to fight. He’s got good instincts, a decent beard, damaging punches, and formidable size for a junior middleweight or even a middleweight. If Freddie Roach and Alex Ariza can keep him learning, mentally focused and in good condition, I think he can threaten more than a few real 154- and 160-pound contenders. Junior may even be able to grab a belt or two (though not against Sergio Martinez, who would murder the kid). In other words, Chavez’s future is much brighter than Duddy’s. I think the super-tough Irishman absorbed a career-shortening (if not career-ending) beating on Saturday. Arum will put Duddy in with Yuri Foreman in NYC, which will make for a decent regional attraction and give him one more payday, but that will likely be it for him. If Foreman’s knee can be rehabilitated, I think he’ll outbox Duddy. It will be hard not to root for Duddy in all of his future fights (however many more there may be). He’s a charming guy who gives his heart in the ring. And I agree with you, all boxers deserve a bit of luck. Duddy’s gonna need the luck of the Irish, plus a little more, if he's going to continue his career in earnest.
SAW YOUR CHAVEZ-DUDDY PREDICTION
Just read your Chavez-Duddy prediction in the Friday mailbag. Once again, we agree to disagree, but this time, it's just a gut feeling. I just see Duddy winning by decision or late KO. I guess it all has to do with heart. I've seen both fight, and I guess I've been more impressed with Duddy than Chavez. Even when he struggles, he shows heart and doesn't stop fighting. Chavez kind of gets frustrated and tired. Like I said, it's intangible, but I see Duddy winning.
I'd rather have Chavez win, so that Arum pits him against Miguel Cotto (hopefully). I want to see my fellow Puerto Rican knock him out with a body shot!
Take care and keep on rocking it with your work! — Jos├® Javier
Well, you were right about Duddy’s mettle. The Irishman has the heart of a lion, although I thought he was too tough for his own good vs. Chavez. I thought the fight could have been stopped for Duddy’s own good any time during or after the ninth round.
I predicted that Chavez would win a decision, but I thought it would be a more competitive fight. It wasn’t competitive at all because of the excellent condition that Junior was in. Hats off to Roach and Ariza for getting the kid in the kind of shape to throw LOTS of HARD punches for 12 rounds. (And I guess we have to give Chavez credit for being willing to work hard for this fight, although one could argue that he should be been doing that all along.)
Chavez only had about three and half solid weeks of training for Duddy. I’m looking forward to seeing what his form and stamina will be like after a full eight-week camp. It will also be interesting see how much Chavez learns from Roach and how much he’s willing to alter his current style to appease the master trainer.
FIGHT NIGHT CLUB
I don’t think it would be unfair to say that Thursday’s Fight Night Club card was far better than the overwhelming majority of crappy PPV undercards we are forced to suffer through time and time again.
I shared the same thought that you touched on during the Kavanagh-Sanchez fight: that did not look like two guys who came into the ring with two professional fights combined. There are plenty of fighters out there with dozens of fights behind them that still look much more amateurish than Kavanagh and Sanchez. The best part though, obviously, is that they gave us an entertaining fight.
Jessie Vargas got a small taste of some things he will surely see at some point in his future. Ernie Zavala is one of those grinders who is going to make you work and won’t fall over by just blowing on him. I think it was a good experience for Vargas, serving as a reminder to keep focused and keep working because some guys will keep coming after you.
All I can say about Gomez-Orrantia is to dig up the old clich├® that it’s better to stop a fight too early than too late. Taking everything into consideration, I didn’t have a problem with it. Not only was Orrantia a late replacement, he doesn’t exactly possess a sparkling ring record.
And by the way, another good job on the broadcast. — Jesse, New Jersey
Thanks Jesse. I think the prospects we got a look at on the June 24 FNC (Vargas, Russell, Gomez, and Kavanagh) are more talented and promising than some of the of the so-called up-and-comers (Sal Sanchez) fans have had to sit through on recent pay-per-view shows and I thought the Vargas-Zavala and Kavanagh-Sanchez bout were more entertaining than some of the fights that promoters have forced-fed us before major PPV events (Chavez-Rowland; Duddy-Medina).
I talked to some of the boxing writers who covered last Thursday’s show about Jamie Kavanagh and they were Luke warm on the Irish lad. They didn’t think he jabbed enough, or was consistent enough in his offense or defensively adept, but I was impressed with the former amateur star. He showed the ability to do a lot of different things against 6-foot-tall, rangy, mobile, awkward fighter with guts. I thought Kavanagh won every round but Sanchez was game, and I agree that he’s a lot better than his 0-1 record indicated. The only thing that separated Kavanagh from Sanchez was his polish and technique. If Sanchez had more of an amateur background and someone teaching him proper technique he’d be real handful for any 140-pound prospect.
Every time I see Vargas fight (and Thursday’s bout was the fifth fight of I’ve seen of his) he gets a little better, so my guess is that he’ll learn from any mistake he may have made against Zavala, who showed uncommon grit getting up from that big right hand in the first round and fighting hard with that horrible laceration and swelling around his right eye. The fact that Vargas and his team (Roger Mayweather and Leonard Ellerbe) are willing to take on a seasoned tough guy like Zavala in only his 11th pro bout speaks to their confidence. When the young man said he feels ready to take on top-10 contenders (and by the way, he is very well spoken and comfortable in front of the camera, isn’t he?), I believe him. In fact, I think he’s ready for former title challengers like Herman Ngoudjo or the Demetrius Hopkins-Mike Arnaoutis winner.
I was extremely disappointed to learn that Gomez’s original opponent Geoffrey Gaya fell out the day before the fight card. The Kenyan probably would have lasted the four-round distance and given us a better look at East L.A.’s teenage badass. Oh well. Gomez took care of business. I didn’t have a problem with the stoppage, either. I’m looking forward to watching Gomez fight on July 31 (and hoping he gets more comfortable with his post-fight interviews).
‘WTH’ IS GOING ON!?
According to the ratings on boxrec.com, the number of scheduled boxing matches throughout the end of September that feature two top-5 rated boxers in their divisions fighting each other is (drumroll please)……………………..ZERO. NONE. ZILCH.
How do the big wigs in this sport expect it to survive if, from May 2nd-October 1st (and counting), we have literally no top contenders fighting each other? There are a few fights who barely qualify under The Ring rankings, but they're not exactly getting us fans hard (Dawson vs. Pascal).
Egos need to be put aside, and fights need to be made. Every single division needs to do what the super middleweights are doing on Showtime or we will have zero sport once Pacquiao and Mayweather hang 'em up.
I hate that I'm saying that…I'm a die hard boxing fan, but I'm just plain BORED with the sport. If it weren't for the Super 6 tourney boxing would be in complete hibernation.
It appears that Arthur Mercante Jr. is the only guy in this sport who understands that if the fans aren't pleased, they'll go elsewhere. Can we just make him the David Stern of boxing and get this show on the road? And can the belt holders be stripped if they don't defend against top-5 ranked opponents at least 3 times yearly?
Sorry to vent, but this love of mine is the most poorly-run business I've ever seen. I've had enough and I'm not going to take it anymore. — Danny
Hey, vent away. Boxing’s power brokers need to hear from the fans.
If beltholders were stripped for not fighting top-five-rated contenders at least three times a year nobody would hold a so-called major title, but maybe that would be a good thing.
I think making Arthur Mercante Jr. boxing’s David Stern would greatly upset Thomas Hauser, Dr. Margaret Goodman, at least a dozen other boxing insiders, half the members of the BWAA, and about 500,000 fans. Evidently, allowing Yuri Foreman to fight with a bum knee for a round and half makes him the Anti-Christ. For the record, I don’t have a problem with the way he handled Foreman-Cotto and I think a lot of people over-reacted.
I agree that promoters need to put their egos aside and that major fights between elite boxers need to be made, but I don’t think the summer is void of interesting fights.
I definitely have a chubby in anticipation of Dawson-Pascal. That’s going to be a quality fight between two extremely talented light heavyweights and we can all call the winner “champ.”
There are a few contenders, some fringe contenders and plenty of prospects in action in July and August.
I think the bantamweight title bout between Fernando Montiel vs. Eric Morel (July 17) is a showdown between two bona fide contenders. Devon Alexander vs. Andreas Kotelnik (Aug. 7) is a top-five contender vs. a top-10 contender. Tavoris Cloud vs. Glen Johnson, HBO’s co-feature to Alexander-Kotelnik, is an excellent 175-pound matchup between two contenders.
Tim Bradley vs. Carlos Abregu (July 17) matches a No. 1 contender with a tough fringe contender of a higher weight class. Angulo vs. Alcine, the co-feature to HBO’s Bradley-Abregu show, also matches a contender with a fringe contender. Hopkins-Arnaoutis (July 2) is between two fringe contenders, as is Vicente Escobedo vs. Ray Beltran (July 9).
John Molina vs. Hank Lundy and Ricky Lopez vs. Derrick Wilson (both on July 9) are matches between prospects. Fernando Guerrero vs. Ishe Smith (July 10), Mike Jones vs. Irving Garcia and Antwone Smith vs. Lanardo Tyner (both on the same July 9 card), and Carlos Velasquez vs. Alejandro Perez (July 16) are matches that pit a hot prospect with a solid, seasoned pro.
None of the fights I’ve mentioned are huge events, but some of them will feature great action and all of them will help flush out the future movers and shakers of the sport in the post-Mayweather/Pacquiao era.
Maybe I’m biased but the young talent I saw in action on last Thursday’s FNC show gives me hope for the future. And you can call me a silly optimist but I think the fights we’ll see in July and August will help set up future high-profile showdowns between Bradley and Alexander and the winners of Dawson-Pascal and Cloud-Johnson.