Saturday, April 01, 2023  |


Dougie’s Monday mailbag

Fighters Network


Not sure if you got the chance to check out Tomasz Adamek-Michael Grant, but it wasn't a bad fight. I thought Grant won four of those rounds clearly, and though I didn't expect him to finish Adamek in the 12th, that mid-round sequence was better heavyweight drama than I've seen in years.

I wanted to ask your perspective on what a closer than expected decision against a 38-year-old Michael Grant means for Adamek's perception as a legitimate heavyweight threat. Do you think Adamek has a realistic shot at either K-bro or do you think that his handlers are trying to cash him out in a big hyped up event in Newark or Germany? — Christopher T.

I don’t think Adamek is ready for either Klitschko and I don’t believe for a second that his handlers have a “cash out” plan or mentality concerning the Polish star. Adamek does very good business in Newark even without the licensing fees of HBO or Showtime. Kathy Duva and company are not going to match Adamek up with the giant Ukrainian brothers until they feel he has a reasonable shot of attaining his goal.

All that means is that they will keep him busy (Duva is already aiming for Nov. 6), probably against another giant, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Adamek has been developed in Newark to the point that he can draw at least 10,000 to the Prudential Center regardless of who he’s fighting.

And as you pointed out, the former cruiserweight champ makes for good fights. The Arreola fight was fun and Saturday’s bout had more than a few dramatic moments whenever Adamek lunged face-first into Grant’s right hand. I scored it 117-111 for Adamek, but I can easily see a 116-112 scorecard.


Dougie, first time writer, long time reader.

Maybe after Saturday night it looks like the Klitschkos might be a step too far at this stage for Adamek. But if Haye-Wladimir is the money-spinning fight of the division then Haye-Adamek would be arguably the most entertaining and a genuine 50-50 fight. I would back my British counterpart and his game-changing right-hand.

Unfortunately, it looks increasingly likely that Haye is gonna take the infuriating option of Fraudley Harrison who has somehow talked his way back into people's thoughts. It makes sense business-wise especially here in the UK where Harrison still does great ratings, but with all Haye's talk in the last couple of years about the Klitschkos and his love of his 'legacy' coupled with the fact that Harrison is the LEAST DESERVING CONTENDER EVER; it makes this fight very hard to swallow. Put up of shut up Haye!

Speaking of gold medallists, with the seeming influx of Cuban boxers into the professional game – can we expect more in the future? If so, is it realistic to think in the next 5-6 years the Cubans will start to dominate the professional ranks as they have the amateurs? Maybe in THE RING magazines of 2016 half the p4p list will be from the island.

Keep up the writing and talking and stuff. — Ben, UK

Whether or not fans see a gradually increasing influx of Cuban talent to the States and elsewhere depends upon how well the current crop of defectors (Gamboa, Lara, Rigondeaux, etc.) fare with their pro careers. If they do really well and make millions of dollars I’m sure their success will entice other top Cuban amateurs to bolt from the island. So far, I’d say the current crop is doing well.

They certainly don’t lack talent or skill and they seem to be dedicated to the sport. You mention the pound for pound list of 2016, but it’s entirely possible for two or three of the current guys to break into the P4P list by the end of 2011. If Gamboa keeps winning and eventually beats JuanMa Lopez in their anticipated showdown, he’ll make everybody’s top 10. Lara’s got some elite fighters in his division (P-Will, Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto); all he needs is an opportunity against one of them. Rigondeaux is ready for the titleholders of his division right now; if he gets the top bantamweights when they rise in weight, he might prove to be the best of the Cuban pros. That guy is almost too good.

I agree that Haye vs. Adamek is the fight to make in the heavyweight division — it’s got “Fight of the Year” written all over it — but your guy seems to be bit of a head case when it comes to fight negotiations. Kathy Duva and Team Adamek know that the Klitschko brothers would defend against him in a minute, which is why they are practicing fighting giants. I don’t think they are too eager to quibble with Haye and his reps over where the fight would take place (I think it belongs in Madison Square Garden), purse split, TV rights, etc. My guess is that “the Hayemaker” gives people bigger headaches during negotiations than he does with his fists in the ring.

Maybe after Haye finishes his business with Harrison in the UK and after he makes his U.S. debut (hopefully against a credible opponent) he can begin to create a buzz with American fans and media, who hopefully beat the drums for a showdown with Adamek.


I remember back when Evander Holyfield was making his march to the heavyweight crown and a bout with Mike Tyson was being discussed, Holyfield's chances of being competitive with Iron Mike grew less and less realistic with each fight he took in the land of the giants. I guess if you’re a Tomasz Adamek fan, you can always cling to that misconception in relation to his own chances against the heavyweight divisions two-headed monster.

For me this is akin to whistling past the graveyard, though. I wasn't giving Adamek much of a chance before the Grant fight and what little plausibility I had found in him as a legit threat went right out the window on Saturday night. Unlike Holyfield, Adamek wasn't a 'dominant' cruiserweight champion who cleaned out his division, he was a very good-not-great-champion with a very good cruiserweight punch. The fact that he landed so regularly and couldn't dent the chin of Grant (who I last saw on ESPN2 a few years ago struggling against a former 168 lber) is particularly telling to me. Grant might be a figurative giant, but he literally fights as if he's small in stature. Adamek was able to easily close distance and rattle off combinations before Grant could do anything about it. But I mean c'mon, really? Wlad and Vitali use their size as well as anyone I have ever seen. I'm not envisioning a scenario where the Pole will be able to enjoy even a modicum of similar success against the brothers. All along I have been calling for a Adamek-Haye bout, my reasoning being it was the best fight that can be made in the division from a competitive standpoint, now I'm not so sure if this is an even money fight any longer. I know Adamek is a huge draw up here in Jersey, but at this point would you “cash out” against the Wlad or Vitali, roll the dice against Haye or just keeping treading water? — Tom G.

Here we go again with the “cash out” question. What’s up with boxing fans and terms like “cash out” and “exposed”? Anytime a fighter struggles a segment of fans want his handlers to throw up their hands and either toss him to the wolves or abandon him. You guys can be a negative lot.

There’s no reason for Adamek to give up on his dream of fighting a Klitschko or to immediately take on one of the giants for the big payday. Hey, even if Adamek knocked Grant out in one round I’m sure you would agree that wouldn’t mean he’s ready for Wladdy or Vitali. He would still need to get in many quality rounds with a big man in order to get used to the height and reach differential and to help his corner come up with an appropriate strategy.

If I was in charge of Adamek’s career I wouldn’t “cash out” against the Klitschkos this year (or the first part of 2011) and I wouldn’t roll the dice against Haye (unless the Brit was willing to come to the States and fight at the Prudential Center or MSG). I would do just want Duva plans to do — I’d keep Adamek busy and I’d do it with as many appropriate giants as I could find. The Klitschkos have already offered Adamek a shot. They made a serious offer last year. If Adamek and company were just out for a big payday they would have taken the Klitschkos’ offer, but Adamek wants to give it his best shot when he goes for all the marbles. It’s probably a pipe dream but I respect Adamek’s intentions. And I definitely think he’s smart and experienced enough to improve on his performance against Grant.

I’d put him in with 6-foot-8 Lance Whitaker for his November date. That matchup won’t get HBO or Showtime’s interest, but it’ll do well at the Prudential Center. Whitaker is just as faded as Grant is, but he’s been more aggressive in recent fights and you have to figure that he might actually try to take Adamek out after he watches a tape of Saturday’s fight. That’s good!

After Whitaker I’d take Adamek on the road and put him in with 6-foot-7¾ Polish heavyweight standout Mariusz Wach (22-0) in Poland or Chicago. Then I’d have Adamek go for 6-foot-7¾ Alexander Ustinov somewhere in Europe (I’d push for Poland but would be willing to go to Germany). Ustinov is the European Boxing Association champ. He’s undefeated (21-0) but has only beaten retreads. If Adamek can beat those three, who knows? Maybe there’s a rematch with Grant if the former HBO darling to can win a couple fights against decent opposition. Honestly, the earliest I’d push for a Kltischko clash would be late 2011. Ya never know. Vitali might begin to show his age by then and Wladdy might get clipped a few times by Sam Peter (or David Haye or Alex Povetkin, if those fights can be made during the first part of 2011). Maybe Adamek can get better at fighting big guys while the Brothers K wear down a little bit.

Like I stated earlier, Adamek probably has no shot regardless of what happens but there’s no need for him to rush directly to the Klitschkos. He can make good money and entertaining events over the next 12-18 months as he continues to pursue his dream.


Is it me or does Andre Ward look like the rapper Drake? — Robert

I think they have similar skin tone and eye brows, but that’s about it.

I don’t know. Maybe I haven’t seen enough of Drake. I had never heard of him before this email. Here are YouTube videos of Drake talking about his Bar Mitzvah and Dre discussing his life and boxing career. You guys be the judge. If Ward does look like the Canadian rapper/actor that can only be a good thing given the number of views Drake gets for his YT videos.


Finally you guys over there have done something right and that’s include Wladimir Klitschko in the top 10 P4P rankings. I was very pleased to see that. I am one of the few Americans that admire Wladimir’s fighting ability. He is a true champ both in and out of the ring. His style to me looks almost unbeatable he has one of the best jabs I’ve seen and uses his height the way a big guy is supposed to. I mean he has completely dominated every one in his division. People talk smack cuz how boring his fights can be at times but to completely dictate a fight the way he does is very impressive. I want to be the first one to say that when Vitali retires in the near future lil bro will be on a mission to collect the remaining 2 alphabet titles and call his career a wrap.

How do you think lil bro would have fared against heavyweights from the past like Lennox Lewis, Holyfield, Bowe, Tyson or even Ali and Foreman.

(P.S. Wlad will one day be WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF, IBO, and Ring Magazine champion just wait and see) Peace! — Roland

Wladdy’s THE RING champ; that’s all that matters. Nobody is going to think he’s any better than he is now if he wins a few more alphabet titles.

I don’t have a direct say-so in the magazine’s rankings but if I did, Wladimir would have been in the top 10 last year. I think he began to show pound-for-pound form with the Tony Thompson fight and I thought he’d accomplished enough to merit inclusion in the top 10 after he dominated Ruslan Chagaev.

This current version of Klitschko would have been a dangerous outing for all of the former champs you mentioned, even Ali. I think prime Lewis would have connected with Wlad’s shaky chin before he connected with his questionable whiskers and score a mid-rounds KO. The prime Holyfield would have given him a very tough fight but Klitschko’s long jab and new-found ability to hold on the inside would have neutralized the great overachiever enough for Wladdy to win a decision. I think the prime Bowe out hustles Wladdy with his infighting ability and scores a close decision in a very good matchup of big men. The fight would mostly be an intense chess match dictated by their excellent jabs, but I think both would have their wobbly moments, which would add drama to the bout. I think the vintage Iron Mike’s fast hands and feet, bob-and-weave-style, and ability to quickly close off the distance would result in an early rounds KO loss for Wladdy. Tyson’s short stature would work in his favor and his body-head combinations would quickly overwhelm Klitschko, IMO. I think prime Ali wins a boring decision or stops Klitschko late. Prime Foreman could beat Wladdy with his telephone pole jab and superior chin, but his shaky stamina could bite him in the ass if Klitschko boxes a cautious fight. This is a tough matchup to figure out. Foreman was more effective against smaller guys (Frazier) and generally had trouble with big/tall fighters with good jabs (Ron Lyle, Ali). He never faced anyone as tall and powerful as Wladdy, whose got a punishing jab. However, Foreman was good at catching shots with his gloves and cutting the ring off on mobile opponents. He could be sloppy when he went to the body, but he did so with conviction. I don’t see Wladimir standing his ground with Foreman the way Lyle did or taking the kind of punishment along the ropes as Ali did. I’m going to go with Foreman by mid-rounds KO in a pretty wild affair.


I thought it would be interesting to hear some “Top 5” lists from you since we obviously respect your opinions or we wouldn't be writing to you / reading the mailbag. What would your Top 5 fights that need to be made right now be? Who are your Top 5 pound-for-pound fighters all time? What are the Top 5 things you would do to improve boxing? Those are a few I would be interested in, but feel free to create your own. Keep up the good work. — Matt in Michigan

Top 5 fights that need to be made right now: Mayweather-Pacquiao (duh), Haye-Adamek, Cotto-Angulo, Bradley-Alexander, and Montiel-Donaire. (I think we’ll get the last two of that list next year.)

Top 5 pound-for-pound fighters all time: Ray Robinson (duh), Willie Pep, Henry Armstrong, Sam Langford, and Harry Greb.

Top 5 things I would do to improve boxing: get promoters to work together, have boxers (especially the elite fighters) fight more often, get boxing back on network television in the U.S., stage more major fights in largely untapped U.S. markets (such as Chicago, Detroit, every major city in Texas, etc.) with homegrown talent on the cards, and change the often negative and unrealistic attitudes fans have about boxers’ performances (especially where losing is concerned).

I’d try to come up with some additional Top 5 lists for ya, but it’s 2:15 a.m. and I’m too tired. LOL. OK, here’s one, Top 5 gym fighters I’ve witnessed spar (on a regular or semi-regular basis): James Toney, Shane Mosley, Edwin Valero, Manny Pacquiao, and Bernard Hopkins.

That’s all I’ve got right now. If anyone has any ideas for a good Top 5 list, let me know. I’ll be more than happy to provide my opinions in the mailbag.

Doug Fischer can be contacted at [email protected]