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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag

09
Jul

SOLID WEEKEND OF FIGHTS

Hey Doug,
I hope you and your family had a great 4th of July weekend. Now that it's over, I'm really looking forward to all of the fights that are taking place this weekend. Obviously, most of the attention will be on JuanMa Lopez and Nonito Donaire, but I think that Friday's fights will be just as exciting, if not more so.

First off, we have Hank Lundy vs. John Molina. From what I've seen of Molina, he's a banger with plenty of room for technical improvements. As for Lundy, I remember watching his fight with Darnell Jiles and with his hand speed and willingness to let his hands go, this could end up being the best fight of the weekend. I'll take Lundy by UD in a barnburner.

Next we have Mike Jones vs. Irving Garcia. Jones impressed me in his fight against Henry Bruseles, as he looks to have all of the tools to become a major player in the welterweight division. If Garcia brings it like he did against Luis Carlos Abregu (that fight was my personal pick for FOTY 2009), Jones will certainly be tested, and the fans will be in for one hell of a fight. I'll say Jones handles the pressure of Garcia and wins by UD. Also, let's not overlook Antwone Smith vs. Lanardo Tyner. Smith has been on an impressive run lately, and I expect it to continue against Tyner, although Tyner has proved he can go rounds with quality fighters like Lamont Peterson and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. If both Jones and Smith emerge victorious on Friday night, I wouldn't mind seeing them fight each other next.



As for JuanMa and Nonito, I think that both of them win by late TKO. I just don't feel that their opponents have the necessary experience, or have been in with tough enough fighters, in order to deal with fighters as special as Lopez and Donaire (granted I don't know that much about either of them).

I would love to know who you are picking in all of these fights. Hope to make the mailbag. Regards. — Brian Lee, Lincoln, IL

Thanks for writing in, Brian. I had a good Fourth of July weekend, but like you, I’m looking forward to the fights that are coming up this weekend (and next). I agree that tonight’s fights might outshine Saturday’s Showtime doubleheader because the matchups are more competitive (on paper).

I like Lundy a lot. He’s mature, confident and athletically gifted. I consider him to be one of the better 135-pound prospects in the game, and in some ways he’s more tested than Molina is. I consider tonight’s fight to be Molina’s proving ground but I believe he will come through, probably by catching the Philly fighter with his power in the middle or late rounds of their Friday Night Fights main event. I think Lundy will trouble Molina early in the fight but the Southern Californian is a big, tall, rangy dude with real KO power in both hands and the guts to back it up. At some point in the fight, probably late, he’ll hurt Lundy to the body or head. Then we’ll see what Lundy is made of and we’ll see if Molina is a finisher. I like Molina by late stoppage.

Mike Jones should have been featured on ShoBox and HBO’s B.A.D. two years ago. Shame on the subscription cable networks for sleeping on Jones just because he wasn’t signed to a major promoter. With his skill, intelligence and size (he’s got the bone structure of a big junior middleweight) I think he’ll do better than outpoint Garcia tonight, I think Jones will stop the gutsy Puerto Rican college grad. If Jones looks impressive against Garcia I’d like to see him back on Showtime and in with much better competition, perhaps an experienced fringe contender such as Jesus Soto Karass or Delvin Rodriguez. If Jones and Smith (who I think will handle Tyner) were to fight this fall or winter I think it would be a fun fight but their showdown could be even better if both have a chance to further develop their skills and get more TV exposure.

I think Lopez will stop Concepcion late. He’ll have to respect the young Filipino vet’s speed and power early in the fight but he should be able to contain the challenger with his jab and tight guard until he’s able to soften the Pacquiao prot├®g├® up with body shots and crisp counter punches. I think JuanMa stops Concepcion late in a good fight. I expect Donaire to blast Marquez out by the middle rounds of the bout (unless he’s drained himself to make 115 pounts — if that’s the case, he’ll outpoint “Tyson”).

LOPEZ & GAMBOA

I've been reading interviews with Juanma Lopez online this week. Some of his quotes make me think that he has a future as a promoter or perhaps a manager after he's done in the ring. Has he always been this way, or has Top Rank coached him on how to do interviews?

Also, I watched a year old replay of a Yuriorkis Gamboa fight recently on Shobox. Does Gamboa's style kind of remind you of Jack Dempsey a little bit? He starts off stalking his opponent, and then explodes with a four or five punch combination where everything looks like a haymaker, and then goes back into stalking mode. I think if he worked a little bit more of the bob-and-weave into his repertoire he'd be a dead ringer. — gopal rao

Jack Dempsey isn’t the first fighter who comes to mind when I watch Gamboa fight. Maybe if he stalked his opponents out of crouch and ended more fights with a left hook to the noggin. To me, Gamboa’s posture is too straight up and his style is too amateurish to remind me of an old-time pro like Dempsey, but I’ll say this for the Olympic champ, he’s got the Manassa Mauler’s take-no-prisoners attitude.

I think Lopez has received some coaching on how to address the media from the good folks at Top Rank and his Puerto Rico promoter PR Best Boxing Promotions. JuanMa used to give the typical “I’ll-fight-anybody-they-put-in-the-ring-with-me” quotes whenever he was interviewed, but now he’s more specific about who he’ll fight next. Lopez is a smart guy and he’s got some pretty lofty goals (such as being Puerto Rico’s first four-division titleholder). I think he realized at some point that if he’s going to be developed into the star that his promoters envision, he’s going to have to allow them to build him up to big fan-friendly fights with the likes of Gamboa and Chris John. That’s why he’s talking about how important it is for him to fight a veteran with a name like Rafael Marquez instead of unifying the belts at 126 pounds.

As long as Lopez eventually fights his fellow titleholders and the dangerous featherweights, such as Celestino Caballero, I don’t mind the budding Puerto Rican star sounding like a promoter. To be honest, I’m looking forward tomorrow night’s scrap with Concepcion, his already scheduled showdown with Marquez, and Gamboa’s partial unification bout with Elio Rojas on Sept. 11. These will be entertaining fights that should lead to the clash between Lopez and Gamboa that all the hardcore fans want. Bob Arum’s plan is for the two to keep winning until their showdown is something that casual fans want to see as well.

BOYCOTT BOB!

Good Morning Dougie,
What's w/ Bob Arum? I say to all Pacquiao's fans, wake up and revolt against this selfish senior citizen. Please don’t buy any Top Rank PPV shows w/ mediocre match-ups. I am still fuming after reading that Arum is thinking of matching Pacquiao against either Cotto or Maragarito if the Mayweather/ Pacquiao fight doesn't materialize. That's a BS. Why? Who cares about Pacquiao vs Cotto, and against Margarito? He is too tall for the PacMan but Arum doesn't care, as we all know he'll get the big chunk of the revenue.

What about Timothy Bradley and Andre Berto, huh? These are the opponents we wanna see with Pacquiao. The funny thing about Arum is he is full of s__t. I read last month when he said that Timothy Bradley will not attract viewers because he is still unknown. Hey Uncle Bob, who is Clottey? See, I can't even remember his first name.

Then you have Nonito Donaire who's been chasing Vic Darchinyan for about 2 years unsuccessfully because Arum has so many excuses blaming Shaw and etc. I just feel sorry for Donaire who is running out of time to reach his potential. Perhaps it’s time to jump ship and join Golden Boy. Sorry about the rant, Dougie, but Pacquiao fans are just blind to this unfair business conduct and I think it's time to voice out our opinions. Haah! Now I feel better. — Jay J. (Pacquiao's #1 fan in Canada)

Glad you’re feeling better, Jay. The best way to voice your displeasure of how Arum is directing Pacquiao’s immediate future is not to buy any pay-per-view show with the Pac-Monster in against Top Rank retreads. Pacquiao-Clottey did a respectable 700,000 pay-per-view buys, but that was a considerably lower number than the Filipino icon drew vs. De La Hoya, Hatton and Cotto. If a rematch with Cotto or a fight with Margarito “only” does 500,000 buys, Arum will get the message and work harder to make the fights fans want to see Pacquiao in.

However, don’t think that just because YOU want to see Pacquiao vs. Bradley or Berto that there isn’t twice as many fans who want to see Cotto clash with the PacMan one more time. You can’t deny that Cotto has more fans than Bradley and Berto combined. I’d rather see Bradley fight Pacquiao (at 140 pounds) than Pac and Cotto do it again at a 151-pound catch weight, but I admit that I might be part of the hardcore fan minority with that desire. Potentially speaking, Margarito might have more PPV-buying fans than Cotto, but why worry about him when he doesn’t even have a boxing license in the U.S.?

Let’s see if the power brokers of the sport can get Mayweather-Pacquiao done before we get too worked up over what Arum plans to do with Pacquiao next.

In fairness to Arum (and believe me, I have no problem criticizing the hall of famer when it’s due), for at least a year after Donaire jumped ship from Gary Shaw to Top Rank, the Shaw-riff repeatedly stated on record that he wouldn’t allow Darchinyan to fight the Filipino Flash because he didn’t want to “reward” the “disloyal” fighter with the rematch payday. I’ve blasted Arum’s handling of Donaire (and the Peterson brothers) in the mailbag, but I’m happy to give credit where it’s due. At least Donaire is back on Showtime and there is serious talk of him moving to 118 pounds where the Montiel-Morel winner hopefully awaits. If Arum can make that happen maybe you won’t have to boycott all of his shows.

TONEY GETTING KTFO

Dougie,
I don't think I've ever watched MMA, UFC, Strikeforce, honestly, I don't even know what the difference is, I'm an old school boxing purist.

Anyway, I have buddies like you describe, they watch both, they all tell me that Toney is going to get KTFO, maybe not from a boxing sense, but get f'd up on the ground. Basically, every fighter who went over there has gotten KTFO, I'm hearing Toney will be no different. I WILL NOT be buying this, although, I will anticipate the results. I'm sure there will be some YouTube highlights of Toney getting f'd up. That is all I need. The reality is Toney has not looked good since the first Peter fight and that was what, 5 years ago? Now he wants to switch to UFC, MMA, whatever it is, for what? Because his skills have eroded, he blew all of his boxing chances, his time is extremely limited to make any money before he is completely shot (he is there as far as I'm concerned as an elite boxer). Ali did it, Joe Louis did it, now Toney is doing it. This is the curtain on his career. — JB

If he loses in embarrassing fashion it probably will be, at least in terms of what the public is willing to buy or even pay attention to concerning Toney in any sort of combat. That’s why the old man is actually training hard and learning the fundamentals of the MMA ground game. Toney’s people have studied Randy Couture closely and they believe there are many opportunities for Toney to catch the MMA legend’s chin with clean shots. If Toney does hit Couture flush, my guess is that he’ll take out the UFC favorite. I haven’t studied Couture enough to know if Toney’s team is on to something or if they’re just hoping to get lucky, but they tell me that the MMA vet has been rocked in four of his last five fights, which makes me think Lights Out might have a shot next month. We’ll see.

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