Friday, March 24, 2023  |


Dougie’s Monday mailbag



Hey Doug,
Well, I was certainly not disappointed with this weekend's fights, although the abrupt ending of the Mike Jones-Irving Garcia fight wasn't ideal. Jones started out a little slow against Garcia, but I think he would give anyone but the very top welterweights a hell of a fight (as long as he remembers to use his jab). It just seems like he is one of those fighters that has an extra gear when he needs it. Even without the low blow, I think Garcia was going to be out of there in, at most, a couple of rounds. Also, kudos to Lanardo Tyner. He looked more like Miguel Cotto with all of that body work, and his ability to maintain his offense into the late rounds was a pleasant surprise. Here's hoping he'll earn another fight on ShoBox for a decent payday. Call it a hunch, but I say that Antwone Smith doesn't rebound from this loss very well. He looked totally defeated at the end of the fight, even if he wasn't 100% going in.

Nice call on the John Molina KO. That knockdown in the 8th round was great, but Hank Lundy trying to tell the ref that he was tripped was even better. Even though he got himself a nice win, I'm not sold on Molina. He had a lot of trouble with Lundy early on, and I don't think he has the skill set to deal with a good boxer who is well-conditioned and can stick to a game plan for 12 rounds. In that regard, he reminds me of a smaller version of Kelly Pavlik, albeit not as talented. Aside from that, let's get Molina a couple more fights and then get him matched up with Michael Katsidis. That has FOTY written all over it.

Obviously I was impressed with both JuanMa Lopez and Nonito Donaire. Donaire was taking some shots early on, but I attribute that to his change in stance for the first 4 rounds. Once he went back to his orthodox stance, the ending was just a matter of time. I can't wait to see him in with Rafael Marquez, and I think the Filipino Flash comes out on top in that battle.

I'll say it. Lopez-Concepcion round 1 = round of the year! Lopez is the real deal, and I was shocked that he got rid of Concepcion so easily, but I'm still picking Yuriorkis Gamboa if they fought tomorrow.

Have a good one Doug. Hope to make the mailbag (two in a row). Regards. — Brian Lee, Lincoln, IL

I view Lopez-Gamboa as an even-money matchup. Either guy can hit the deck at any given moment in that bout (which is why it’s such an attractive fight). Gamboa has the edge in speed, reflexes and overall athleticism but Lopez has better fundamentals, technique and defense (even if that amounts to just keeping his hands up). I think they possess equal power (but I’m not willing to test that theory out personally).

Donaire’s southpaw stance limited his effectiveness in the early rounds of the bout but his mentality going into the fight also gave Hernan Marquez an opportunity to look decent against a much better talent and bigger man. Donaire entered Saturday’s fight looking to go rounds and experiment a little. The only reason he did that is because he knew Marquez had next to no chance of beating him. Top Rank has fed Donaire so many jockeys since he joined their stable he’s become a little lax in his attitude. Did you see the difference in his facial expressions when Showtime showed his walk-in to the Vic Darchinyan fight? He had the eye of the tiger when he fought Darch Vader. I hope his soft diet of “Pinoy Power” fodder hasn’t caused him to lose it, because he’ll need it to beat the likes of Fernando Montiel, Yonnhy Perez and Abner Mares.

By the way, it’s Lopez who will fight Rafael Marquez next, not Donaire. However, if the Filipino Flash gets his intensity back I would probably favor him to beat Rafa as well.

Molina-Lundy was a fun fight, wasn’t it? Kind of like a poor man’s Corrales-Freitas. Based on all the doo-doo he was talking before the bout, I figured that Lundy would be overconfident and give Molina the opportunity to check his chin. However, I also knew that Molina has A LOT of trouble with quick boxers and lateral movement, so it didn’t surprise me that the fight-turning punch came late in the bout. If the fight had been scheduled for eight or 10 rounds I don’t think I would have picked Molina (who was a 3-to-1 underdog, by the way) to win.

Molina’s a work in progress. It’s up to Joe Goossen to help the young man develop his jab, body attack, combination- and counter-punching, and ability to cut off the ring as best he can. These are the tools — along with his God-given punching power (and obvious guts) — that will enable him to beat better-talented boxers in the future. However, if Goossen Tutor is smart they’ll follow the example of how Gary Shaw is moving Alfredo Angulo and keep Molina away from slick boxers. I’m fine with that as long as we see Molina eventually take on fellow 135-pound bangers Brandon Rios, Urbano Antillon, Ji-Hoon Kim, and the warrior of the division, Michael Katsidis.

I think Lundy still has a bright future in this tough sport. I like the guy’s attitude, but I agree with Teddy Atlas, he should drop the “Hammerin’ Hank” nickname. His bread-n-butter is boxing, not banging.

I also think Antwone Smith still has a bright future. All he needs to do is fight taller, and use his jab more. It’s OK to do the James Toney imitation in spots but when he’s the taller man, he should work that left stick and throw more straight rights from the outside. He let Lanardo Tyner get in close too much, and in his semi-weakened state, he paid the price in the later rounds. But I must give kudos to Tyner. I didn’t think he had a shot and he showed me that he’s very well rounded, poised boxer-fighter. I loved his body work and counter punching against Smith. It was a pleasure watching him ply his craft. I also hope he gets another Showtime-televised fight against the kind of opponent who will move him up the 147-pound ladder.

Maybe Mike Jones is that opponent. His start to the Garcia fight bugged me. I couldn’t figure out why he was being out-jabbed by a smaller guy (or why he wasn’t getting more extension on his punches), but he listened to his corner between the third and fourth rounds (a good sign) and once he stepped up his aggression he took over the fight. It’s too bad the bout ended on a bad call, because it robbed Jones of a legit KO. I wouldn’t mind seeing Jones try to become the first man to stop Tyner in a pro bout. The veteran’s got the moves and the chin to give Jones some competitive rounds, which will only serve to further the develop the very bright-looking prospect from Philly.


What a show! If Bernabe Concepcion could take a punch, Saturday night's fight would have been a strong contender for fight of the year.

Do you think that after tonight, Arum's master plan is still to match JuanMa Lopez against Yuriorkis Gamboa? It seems like JuanMa would almost certainly have to get off the canvas to win that scrap, given his recent showings against Mtagwa and Zombie Pacquiao. I feel like Juanma would be better equipped against Celestino Caballero but that's high risk, low reward.

Too bad Concepcion can't take a punch, or he could be in that mix. He showed a lot of toughness and power in the 5+ minutes his chin allowed. — Tibbs, Columbus, OH

“Zombie Pacquiao.” LOL. That’s a good one. I described Concepcion as “Stoner Pacquiao” to the friends I watched the fight with because if that wasn’t a Marijuana grin that he walked into the ring with then I’ve never smoked doobie in my life.

In defense of my man Bern-zombie, just because Lopez put him down three times doesn’t mean he lacks a chin. Lopez can crack. That’s not a built-up record the Puerto Rican boxer-puncher has. In my opinion, it wasn’t Concepcion’s chin that let him down vs. Lopez, it was his lack of focus and technique. I think Concepcion is a better pure athlete (faster, stronger, more explosive) than Lopez, but the southpaw titleholder’s tight technique allowed him to land first and his high guard limited the number of flush shots he caught from the game challenger.

Anyway, to answer your main question, yes, I do think an eventual matchup between Lopez and Gamboa is Bob Arum’s master plan. However, I won’t be surprised if the Top Rank boss holds off on that showdown until 2012. Personally, I’d like to see the two 126-pound badasses get it on in Madison Square Garden on the eve of next year’s Puerto Rican Day parade, but if Arum can build their eventual matchup into a pay-per-view bonanza more power to the old codger.

I agree that Lopez would have to get off the canvas (at least once) against Gamboa, but I think the Cuban would also have to pick himself up off the ground a few times. Gamboa, who has been down four times against fighters who don’t hit close to as hard as Lopez does, is not Salvador Sanchez in the chin department. All this means is that Lopez-Gamboa will likely feature a bunch of knockdowns. Fans love those kinds of shootouts. Let’s hope both featherweights can keep winning and continue to build interest in a showdown.

Regarding Caballero, I don’t think Top Rank wants anything to do with the Paul Williams of the featherweight divisions.


Well JuanMa showed a lot Saturday night, his power, precise punching and overall skill. Unfortunately he also showed again a somewhat suspect defense and chin. I thought Conception came way too close to landing a couple haymakers before he connected with the left that dropped Lopez. This was even more disturbing given Conception's technique of seemingly lowering his head and blindly winging punches.

I think Marquez is a very live underdog in their showdown and if he's able to cope with JuanMa's power, things could get really interesting. Still for all of Lopez's chinks, he's a fantastic young fighter, who is a joy to watch. I'll admit I would much rather see Lopez-Gamboa now (No, F-U Bob Arum), but if it means we'll see the likes of Lopez, Gamboa, John, Marquez, Rojas and Cabellero mixing it up, well any variation of those names means fight fans win.

I'm guessing Arum had to change his Depends when Lopez went down. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had there been about 60 seconds left and a more seasoned fighter in front of him.

So nice of Mr. Arum to release Nonito Donaire from the basement he's been holding him kidnapped in, long enough to get a little exposure. I'm trying to think of someone who has capitalized less from what should have been a career making turn than Donaire has and I'm drawing a blank. Hopefully, the fight with Fernando “Bob Cousy Shorts” Montiel gets made and I'll get to see Donaire in the ring with him next and not on my milk carton.

One last question, who would you say are the five best fighters you have seen in your lifetime? Mine (in no order) are Leonard, Whitaker, Jones, Maywether and Hagler… (I would have included Duran, but I missed his early career). — Tom G.

The top five fighters I've watched live — as a fan and boxing writer — are (in order): Mark Johnson (1993-1999 – I bought tickets to his fights with Roberto Alvarez, Eduardo Ramirez and Josue Camacho; I covered his first title bouts vs. Francisco Tejedor, Raul Juarez and Alejandro Montiel, and to put it simply, “Too Sharp” could do it all, he was every bit as talented, skilled and defensively adept as Pernell Whitaker and Floyd Mayweather but with more power and a high-volume combination-punching style; what a treat he was!), Marco Antonio Barrera (1995-2002 – I watched him along with “Too Sharp” as a fan at the Great Western Forum back when he was the second-coming of Chavez, a technically sharp left-hooking bull that rolled to 43-0 before losing twice to Junior Jones, and I covered the come-backing young vet many wrote off in the late 1990s who evolved into the complete fighter that undressed Naseem Hamed), Floyd Mayweather Jr. (1997-2001 – I thought the junior lightweight version of “Money” was a ring artist of rare ability; a complete boxer who I believe could have competed with the best 130-pound fighters of all time), Juan Manuel Marquez (1998-2008 – it’s been an honor covering this warrior-technician and witnessing his awesome balance, timing, countering ability and combination punching; the right uppercut-overhand right he took Terdsak Jandaeng out with was the sweetest two-punch combo I’ve ever witnessed ) and Ricardo Lopez (1999-2001 – I covered the last three fights of “Finito’s” hall-of-fame career but even the old version that fought once a year was the epitome of technical perfection).

Runners up: James Toney (2003), Bernard Hopkins (2000-2005), Manny Pacquiao (2008-present), Roy Jones Jr. (2000-2004), and Johnny Tapia (1997-2002).

Honorable mention: Lennox Lewis (1999-2001), Shane Mosley (1994-2001), Fernando Vargas (1998-2000), Jose Luis Castillo (2000-2005), and Steve Johnston (1997-2001).

For the hell of it, five favorite fighters I’ve seen live: Erik Morales (1998-2005), Israel Vazquez (2002 -2008), Felix Trinidad (1999-2001), Diego Corrales (1998-2005), and Edwin Valero (2003-2007).

Wasn’t that benevolent of Mr. Arum to allow Donaire to fight on non-pay-per-view television again? If the Big Bob Man makes Montiel-Donaire, I’ll forgive him for wasting two years of the Filipino stud’s career on Pinoy Powers. That showdown will give Donaire the opportunity to prove he’s worthy of THE RING's No. 4 P4P ranking and Montiel the chance to show the world that he belongs in the P4P top 10 (or top five).

I also consider Marquez a live dog against Lopez. If the 35-year-old vet wins that fight he’s punched his ticket to Canastota beyond the shadow of a doubt.

And I’m also looking forward to the potential round robin that can take place at 126 pounds over the next two years. Let’s hope Celestino Caballero isn’t left out in the cold.


Hey Dougie,
I like some of what I saw with Mike Jones. He's got excellent height, reflexes, speed, and the potential for very good power. I think he needs a lot of seasoning though. He doesn't get very good leverage on his shots yet (probably because his frame is so wide he's a little off on his timing turning his shoulders), his defense is pretty well none-existent, and his jab is short, limp, and pawing. I think he needs to get paired with a Teddy Atlas or Manny Stewart sort of disciplined, highly-orthodox trainer. Someone who will make him throw his jab with authority, keeps his stance a little less square, and put his hands in a better defensive posture. With this little bit of seasoning he could be a serious factor at welter for the next 5 or 10 years. He's got incredible physical gifts and seems more coordinated and lighter on his feet than most super tall fighters like Paul Williams or Chico Corrales.

(p.s., gotta love seeing a 34 year old fighter out gut a serious young prospect. Good for Tyner.) — Todd

I want to see more of Tyner. He’s a good gate-keeper, one who might earn fringe contender status if he beats another up-and-comer.

I don’t know if Jones needs a famous trainer to realize his potential. If the corner he has now was no good I think his promoter, the very astute Russell Peltz, would have intervened by now. Jones simply needs to work on sharpening up his technique — extending and snapping his jab and turning over his power punches more — and fight with a little more urgency. It’s nice that he’s relaxed when in action but a young fighter with his physical tools shouldn’t be “laid back” in the ring, especially when he’s the main event of a nationally televised show. He should press the issue and gradually (not recklessly) impose himself on his opponent. With his blend of size, power and skill, he can probably overwhelm most world-class welterweight veterans right now, but he’s got to fight ’em with a sense of purpose.