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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

24
Sep

WILLIAMS-MARTINEZ II

Hey Dougie,
It's great that we all finally will get the chance to see possibly the most eagerly awaited rematch in boxing at the moment with Sergio Martinez expected to put his middleweight titles on the line against Paul Williams on November 20th.

What I was wondering is, how much different is this fight going to be than the one last December? The reason I ask this is because both fighters actually have the chance to go through the entire training camps preparing for each other, rather than when Williams was preparing for Kelly Pavlik. I think it's such a tough one to call, I give Martinez the edge in technique and craft, however Williams has the edge in stamina, athletic ability, and hell be on top of Martinez the whole fight throwing 80 to 100 punches a round. I’m gonna go for Williams, partially because I love his style, by knockout in the championship rounds. What you think D?

Much Respect. — Eoin Casey, Dublin



I’m not sure I have a favorite in this fan-friendly matchup. I agree that Williams knows what to expect from Martinez this time and will try his best to be more prepared for the newly minted middleweight champ, but a possibility to consider is that ‘the Punisher’ may be one of those fighters who are always troubled by southpaws (which I know sounds strange given that he’s a lefty himself).

I think I’m feeling Martinez in this rematch. I scored the first fight a draw but if I had to pick a winner I would have gone with the gutsy Argentine because I thought he landed the harder, more damaging punches.

I don’t think Williams has the edge in athletic ability and I believe Martinez will be physically stronger for this fight than he was for the first bout, which was his first one above 154 pounds (against a world-class opponent). I think Martinez put on some lean, functional muscle during his camp for the Kelly fight and by the time the Williams fight comes around he will have had six months to further acclimate to the heavier weight (even at a 157-pound catch weight). So, my guess is that Martinez might be punching harder in this rematch than he was in December. We’ll see. I’m expecting another good tussle because you can never count out the fighting heart of Williams.

UNFAIR TO MOSLEY?

Hey Doug,
Long time reader, first time writer. I just wanted to say that I am somewhat baffled by the lack of agreement on the outcome of the Mosley-Mora fight. I didn't score it round by round, but to me (and the HBO broadcasters apparently) it looked like Mosley was winning comfortably. The CompuBox numbers kinda support that. Mosley outlanded Mora by 70 to 80 shots and was the aggressor for the entire fight…

And I know, CompuBox numbers and work rate don't necessarily always determine the winner, but if one were to claim that Mora won on the basis that the fewer shots that he landed were more effective, then I don't know how that same person could also claim that Devon Alexander won his fight against Andreas Kotelnik. That fight to me was a far greater example of effective punching triumphing over work rate, but people were somehow OK with Alexander getting the nod… And now the same people won't give Sugar props for winning in the same way (more convincingly to me), and are calling for him to hang it up? Seems unfair. Your thoughts?

(P.S. – And when I say “people” I am not talking about you specifically, it seems like this sentiment is somewhat common among journalists and forum posters) — Nick, Austin, TX

For the record, I thought Kotelnik beat Alexander by a score of 116-112, and I seem to recall getting a lot of angry emails from fans who thought the Ukrainian veteran was robbed.

I didn't see the fight that Lederman saw that night in St. Louis and I didn't see the fight the HBO crew saw this past Saturday in Los Angeles.

What fight did I see? I think I saw the same thing that Naazim Richardson and Jack Mosley saw. I saw a listless, frustrated fighter go through the motions for nine rounds against a constantly moving but sharper-punching opponent.

Because if “it looked like Mosley was winning comfortably” as you and others claim then why was there so much concern in Mosley’s corner? If a fighter is “outlanding” his opponent “by 70 to 80 shots” and is “the aggressor for the entire fight” shouldn’t that fighter’s corner be happy — or at the very least content — with his work?

Why was Richardson constantly pleading with his fighter to follow their basic strategy and then going over alternative plans if his guy was winning comfortably? Why would Richardson have to remind Mosley that he was in shape and try to convince him that he wasn’t gassed out if everything was going his fighter’s way? Why did Mosley’s father get out of his seat, run halfway around the ring, position himself behind his son’s corner and shout instructions over Richardson’s shoulder? What were Richardson and Jack Mosley yelling about if everything was going well for Shane?

Maybe I’m wrong — and I seriously doubt either man will admit it now that the fight is over — but I don’t believe that Richardson and Mosley’s father thought Shane was as effective as HBO’s broadcast team and the majority of the ringside media did.

Having said that, I have no problem with anyone who thinks Mosley won the fight. In fact, I’m fine with people who think Mosley won nine or 10 rounds. If there’s someone out there who thinks Mosley won all 12 rounds easily and believes that Mora should be banned from boxing for life for the manner in which he fought, I’m happy for you.

Folks, sometimes we get fights like this in boxing. De La Hoya-Mosley II, Forrest-Mayorga II, and many of Paulie Ayala’s fights (most notably the first Bones Adams fight and the rematch with Johnny Tapia) come to mind.

As for the calls for Mosley's retirement, I think it has more to do with his age and his many years in the sport than it does with his performance on Saturday. The way he looked as he fought Mora is part of the reason there are calls for Mosley to hand up the gloves but if he was Alexander’s age I think most would jut chalk it up to him having a bad night.

STEPPING STONE?

You know you are my man, I read you think that Cotto and Shane would be stepping stones for Alvarez and Chavez? Are you f___ing kidding me? Now, I must say, I did not see Chavez’s last fight or watch the Alvarez fight (got in late watched the DVR of all fights but Alvarez, but did watch the KO).

I’ve not paid attention to more and more fights as the kid count mounts and been tired as hell and not paid close attention to fights. But groggily I saw Shane beating Mora, but you had it 117-111 for Mora, wow. Anyway, do you think Alvarez and Chavez are that much the goods or that Cotto and Mosley are just that shot?

Speaking of shot, Harris makes RJJ look like Jake f___ing Lamotta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Laughing my ass off. — JB

I wasn’t saying that I, personally, think Mosley and Cotto would be stepping stones in those matchups. I believe that's the role the promoters of the two veterans would see for them if those bouts were to be made (Cotto vs. Chavez Jr., which Top Rank was trying to make for December of this year, and Mosley vs. Alvarez, which I’m sure Golden Boy has in mind for the not-so-distant future). If those fights were made this year I’d pick Cotto over Chavez and I’d make Mosley a slight favorite over Canelo. (I’m not going to get overexcited about Alvarez’s performance against the shopworn Baldomir. If Mosley fought “Boulder-head” he would looked like the 29-year-old version of Sugar Shane.)

However, I won’t be mad at Bob Arum or Richard Schaefer if they view Cotto and Mosley as eventual stepping stones for the younger fighters in their promotional companies. A good promoter is always looking at the future and what promoter doesn’t want a young Mexican superstar on his roster?

Regarding my scorecard for the Mosley-Mora bout, hey, it's not like I didn't want to score any of those close early rounds for the “old man.” Shane’s the first major boxer I ever wrote about. He’ll always be a sentimental favorite of mine. However, despite his willingness to fight (I'd call it “aggression,” but Mosley had about the same intensity he has when he spars with his son in those opening rounds), he did absolutely NO damage to Mora over the first half of the bout.

I looked at it like this — and by the way, I wasn’t groggy; I had a few cups of coffee in me and I was seated right by the ring (same table as the official time keepers and HBO’s crew) — if Mosley, the stronger man and the harder puncher, was truly being effective in those early rounds that many observers (including the official judges) scored for him, Mora would have been beat f___ up. In my opinion, if Mosley was really doing all the work people are giving him credit for, Mora would have been a battered mess by the sixth round. He would have been knocked out or his corner would have thrown in the towel to spare him any more punishment by the eighth round if Mosley was really doing his thing.

But he wasn’t. He didn’t hurt Mora at all.

Mora didn't do any damage either, but he NEVER does damage! He can't punch. What I thought he did for the first nine rounds of the bout was absolutely contain a veteran fighter who had more experience and power than he did; and he did the best way he knew how — with feints and footwork.

I wish you could get a copy of the international broadcast, because Dave Bontempo noted on air during the fight that when a fighter has to rely purely on ring generalship to compete in a fight he seldom gets credit. I agreed with him and stated that without a hard consistent jab (like we see from the sport's best pure boxers of the past 10 years Floyd Mayweather Jr., Winky Wright and Ivan Calderon) it's difficult to rack up points while shutting down their opponent's offense.

See B-hop's fights with Jermain Taylor for a high-profile example of this theory.

Even with a consistent jab, a defensive fighter with almost no power is seldom going to be appreciated by all three official judges in a bout where he technically outboxes his opponent. See Taylor's title defense against Cory Spinks for a good example of this. Jim Lamply stated on air immediately after that fight that the one judge who scored it 117-111 for Spinks should have been banned from the sport, but I thought that judge’s scorecard was the closest thing to what really occurred in the ring that night. I had it 116-112 for Spinks.

Oh well. Like I stated earlier in the bag, fights like Mosley-Mora are part of boxing. If the fight in question wasn’t compelling in some way we should all move on to discussing bouts that we know will deliver excitement, like this one:

WILLIAMS-MARTINEZ II

Dear Doug,
Glad it's signed. I'll go with Sergio Martinez to get his revenge by close decision. If it's as good as #1, we've got the 2010 FOTY. And no, I could care less about the “catch-weight” issue, though I will say that those who've complained about Pacquiao's having fought at catch-weights should be infinitely more upset about this. They claim that “title” fights should be fought not at catch-weights. Well, Sergio Martinez is THE middleweight champion of the world. Paul Williams isn't, say, fighting Pirog or Sturm–unlike Pacquiao, who fought beltholder Cotto and is now fighting MargaCheato for a vacant belt. (Why Marg's got that shot is beyond me; more WBC stupidity.)

Most writers have vociferously praised Williams as the avoided guy who just wants to fight anybody in that weight range. I (in the interest of intellectual honesty) hope that they're just as vociferous in their criticism of him as they have been of Pacquiao. Again, I could care less, as I'm generally a freedom of contract guy. Martinez agreed to it, and he'd have every right to do it on his own, so I see no reason why he can't contract to weigh in at 157.

(P.S. I'll go with Maidana in a rematch with Ortiz. You don't grow heart. Chino has it. Ortiz proved to me that he doesn't.) Take care. — Patrick

I think Ortiz does have heart. He got it beat out of him last June because his mind wasn’t right, but I believe he’s matured since that setback and he will have his head screwed on straight for a Maidana rematch. Being the more technically sound boxer and the better athlete, I think Ortiz will have his revenge.

I’m also leaning towards Martinez to gain some “get-back” in November. I don’t think 157-pound catchweight will detract from his performance. Who knows? The lighter weight might make him lighter on his feet will which will help him outmaneuver Williams and set up his power shots.

Does Pacquiao really get that much criticism? I’m not that aware of any serious anti-Pacquiao sentiment that may be out there. I guess I need to make time for message boards so I can keep up on this kind of s___. But seriously, are fans that bored? Are they really getting up in arms about a guy who fought at 130 pounds in early 2008 asking Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito to shed a few extra pounds before their fights?

Whatever. If Cotto, Margarito and Martinez are OK with the catch-weight bouts, so am I.

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