Dougie’s FAT Friday mail bag
Hi Doug. Brilliant Mailbag. Enjoy reading every week. About Manny Pacquiao’s weight for this fight against Antonio Margarito. Will the catchweight of 150 lbs effect Pacquiao in ANY way possible or will he just whirlwind through Antonio like he has done so at welterweight and his most recent weights? (He cannot keep going till he's a light-heavy can he?! Just a joke.)
Personally, I hope 'Pac-Man' blasts him out of the ring and breaks something of his in the process (nose, cheekbone, detached retina, etc.). Looking forward to it though cause I think Margarito can go more than 5/6 rounds and I hope they are exciting rounds that we're gonna view! Hope to hear from you! (First time writing in.) Thanks. — Malcolm, Dublin, Ireland
Thank you for finally emailing me, Malcolm.
I don’t think the 150-pound contracted weight limit will effect Pacquiao in any way. Freddie Roach and Alex Ariza will have him come in at the best weight possible, which might be the same as he weighed for Joshua Clottey (a little over 145 pounds). Just because the weight limit is 150 doesn’t mean Pacquiao has to come in that heavy. His bread and butter is his speed and reflexes. Roach & Company know this and won’t do anything to compromise Pacquiao’s athleticism.
However, the catchweight could indirectly effect Pacquiao by allowing Margarito to come in at a more comfortable weight than he’s used to. I don’t think it's any secret that Margarito was beginning struggle to make 147 pounds in his last three or four welterweight bouts. By chasing after another alphabet title, Team Pacquiao (and promoter Top Rank) have given Margarito an extra three pounds to play with, which means he won’t have to weaken himself to make weight as he usually does and he’ll probably be stronger on fight night as a result.
That doesn’t mean Pacquiao won’t still kick his ass. Even if Margarito feels the strongest of his career on Nov. 13 it won’t do him any good if he can’t handle Pacquiao’s speed and movement.
But Margarito is doing what he can in camp to be ready for greater hand and foot speed by sparring with quick lefties Cleotis Pendarvis and Ricardo Williams. His trainer Roberto Garcia is familiar with Pacquaio’s moves and he’s trying to instill counter-moves in Margarito during their mitt work.
We might get the good fight you want to see, Malcolm. And if Roach’s prediction comes to fruition (as it usually does where Pacquiao’s concerned) you’ll also get your wish and witness Margarito take some gruesome punishment.
I take it you’re of the opinion that Margarito not only knew what former trainer Javier Capetillo was putting in his gloves prior to the Mosley fight but has cheated in previous fights. Hoping a fighter gets a broken nose, and even a cheekbone, is one thing, but a detached retina? Damn, that’s some serious rancor for the man. Why not wish for a cracked orbital bone while your at it? How about a punctured lung or a crushed larynx? LOL.
A BEATDOWN FOR BRIGGS
Just saw the link of Shannon Briggs and Vitali Klitschko training on fightnews.com. Yeah, your boy is right, Briggs has a 2% chance of winning. A fluke lucky KO punch! Klitschko has shown a good chin. Briggs has not and has shown no stamina. He also shows in this video that he has no balance and looks bad! Maybe he didn’t want to show anything. If that was his goal he damn sure accomplished it!
He showed that a green Jameel McCline had too much for him to handle, now an old Briggs is going up against the champ? I say it goes five rounds. If Vitali really wants to fight, he could Kirk Johnson him, but we know the Klitschkos just beat you down now a days, so he could be in for a beating! — JB
What do you mean could be in for an extended beating? Briggs will get systematically punished over eight, nine, or 10 rounds. He’s going to get what they call back in southern Missouri, a “slow bleed.”
I don’t have much interest in watching this heavyweight fight. I’m more interested in the Lucian Bute-Jesse Brinkley fight. Although Brinkley has about as much of a chance of beating Bute as Briggs does of beating Klitschko, I know he’s going to give it his all and no matter what happens I know The Contender alum won’t claim that he suffered an asthma attack.
Good memory bringing up the McCline fight. Had Briggs really committed to jumping on Big Time early he could have overwhelmed (maybe even punked) the just-emerging contender. But despite his size, power and considerable athletic ability, Briggs isn’t even a good front runner. He’s always holding back a little bit, which is why he goes life and death with guys who are afraid to mix it up with him (at least early on in the bouts), such as Frans Botha and McCline.
I remember that Kirk Johnson fight, too. Man, Vitali jumped his fat ass! I was actually excited about the giant Ukrainian and the heavyweight division for a few months after that, but Vitali’s first title run was ultimately a big disappointment. Lennox Lewis was smart and retired after surviving their slugfest and Mike Tyson, who the big man wanted to fight going back to 1998, was upset by Danny Williams, who did a very good imitation of a heavy bag when he fought Klitschko.
I think not getting a chance to beat up on Tyson caused Vitali to lose interest in boxing at the time. He used to show up to Iron Mike’s post-fight press conferences — after the Botha and Orlin Norris fights — even before he could speak English to respectfully lobby for a fight. In retrospect, he was too civilized at those events. None of the U.S. boxing writers on the scene, aside from me, knew who he was at the time and Mike was, well, you know, crazy. Vitali should have learned as many English curse words and “Ghetto-isms,” as Don King would say, as he could and let Tyson have it verbally at one of those post-fight pressers. Who knows? Maybe Team Tyson would have underestimated him and given him a shot.
PACMAN & TONY THE TIGER
I won't rehash my thoughts on whether or not Margarito should be boxing or his credentials as far as deserving a fight against the best fighter in the world. The fight’s happening and I would be a total hypocrite to try to say I'm not going to follow it. Until recently, this was mostly because I've viewed the fight as a one-sided slaughter and quite frankly was enjoying the prospect of watching Margarito get shredded to pieces. After reading your much delayed article on Marg’s training camp I had to give pause. I can't wait to see the size difference between these two when they step in the ring together.
Margarito was always a giant welterweight, at 150 lbs or whatever the catchweight is, I have to believe he will absolutely dwarf Manny. So for s__ts and giggles let's assume (and I know this is a huge assumption) for fun that when the bell rings Manny finds himself face to face with the monster who walked to Miguel Cotto. Despite what he's done to Hatton and Cotto (at 140 lbs), I still have serious doubts about his pop above 140 lbs. He was dazzling against the ghost of De la Hoya and Clottey, but I wouldn't exactly deem him explosive. I have to admit to having serious doubts that Pacquiao could hold off that fighter for 12 rds should he somehow show up.
No matter what I or any other Margarito hater thinks about how long he was loading his gloves, its undeniable that he wasn't loading his chin — which was really his biggest asset during his prime run.
Like you said, maybe Pacquiao still comes out and utterly outclasses the Mexican like he has so many other world class opponents. But I'm beginning to get a weird vibe off this fight. I think Margarito might be entering this fight with redemption in his mind and history has shown us that under the right conditions a uniquely motivated fighter can do amazing things in the ring. I'm wondering when/if all of Pacquiao's outside interests might begin to affect him in the ring. Or when his constantly taking on bigger opponents might catch up to him. When Pacquiao first entered 147 lbs I remember telling my casual fight friends he wouldn't stand a chance against Margarito (who had just ko'd Cotto). When this fight was made I was mostly angry that Pacquiao was indulging in what I viewed to be a grotesque mismatch. Now I'm not so sure and find myself actually thinking Margarito can win this fight. Wouldn't that be something? — Tom G.
It would be the end of the world to a lot of people, Tom. LOL. As you can probably guess, I’m not one of those people.
That’s not to say that I’m rooting for Margarito or against Pacquiao. I like Pacquiao. I think he’s the best fighter on the planet and I favor him to beat Margarito. But I also like Margarito and I don’t believe that he’s the villain many think him to be.
For what it’s worth, I expect Margarito to give Pacquiao a tough fight. I’m not sure if he’s as sharp as he was for the Cotto fight but he’s just as motivated as he was for the biggest victory of his career. While he doesn’t seem quite as fearless and relentless as he was two years ago I think he makes up for that with the wrinkles that Robert Garcia is adding to his game.
On Saturday, I saw him step forward with his jab and occasionally foot feint before advancing. He kept his hands up, elbows in and he tucked his chin well. In the sparring I watched, Margarito did a decent job of blocking punches (and no, I'm not talking about with his face), he even practiced slipping shots.
Garcia’s got Margarito doing things designed to take away Pacquiao’s jab and to make the shorter man reach in with his left. It looks like Garcia has done his homework on Pacquiao’s various attack maneuvers and he’s trying his best to have Margarito ready to counter them. I’d say at least 75 percent of the punches he threw during the eight-round mitt session I watched were body shots.
I don’t think it’s any secret that Garcia wants his fighter to hurt Pacquiao to the body before he has Margarito attempt to back the smaller man to the ropes.
Will Garcia’s strategies work? I’ll give Margarito a slight shot, which is something I wouldn’t do before seeing him train. In my opinion, it all depends on how fast both men start. It takes a few rounds for Margarito to get into his rhythm. Once he does, usually around the fourth round, he gets faster and stronger as the fight wears on.
If Pacquiao really jumps on Margarito at the start of the fight, before the much slower man has acclimated to his speed, I think there’s a small window where he could force a stoppage. See, I respectfully disagree with you about Pacquiao’s power at the higher weight classes. I think he is “explosive” over 140 pounds. What he did to Cotto proved that to me. I also think the body attack he put on Clottey would have stopped most world-class welterweights within six or seven rounds.
I think he can repeatedly catch and hurt Margarito in the first three rounds to such a degree that the referee or the Garcia stops the fight. Of course, to do that Pacquiao’s going to have to not only stand his ground but try to force Margarito back, and in doing so open himself up to the bigger man’s return fire. Can Pacquiao take what Margz dishes out?
It’s a fascinating question and hopefully we’ll find out. However, Pacquiao can beat Margarito the old fashioned way, too — by boxing. I’m not privy to Pacquiao’s camp but my guess is that Roach’s strategy for Margarito is NOT for Manny to “hold him off” for 12 rounds but to out-maneuver the bigger, taller man for however long the fight lasts.
Lastly, I love the “Doug-lock”/New Mutants reference. Don't think I didn't notice that.
MOOKIE & TOP FIVE BODY
I'm sure this is one of a thousand emails you'll get giving you props for this week’s Gym Notes column. That piece on Margarito’s sparring session is PRECISELY the type of perfectly-articulated gym reporting that separates you from basically every other modern scribe around. Just beautiful stuff, brother. Brings me back to the days of waking up at 6 a.m. to see if that new SoCal Notebook had been posted yet on MaxBoxing.
I was ringside for Cleotis Pendarvis' KO of Hector Sanchez. An INCREDIBLE fight in which Mookie showed ridiculous heart (he went down a couple times and was basically out on his feet in the 1st before slowly working his way back into the fight and eventually destroying Sanchez with an enormous counter uppercut). The joy Mookie showed when he jumped into the arms of his cornermen after the fight gave me goose bumps that I'll never forget. I hope he gets some decent paydays down the road; he seems like a great kid and is an exciting fighter with a uniquely entertaining style.
Real quick: top 5 single body shots you can recall during your time on the beat. Of course everyone says RJJ's shot against Virgil Hill, which was indeed splendid, but how about some others? Immediately coming to mind for me are Cotto's shot that put down Quintana for a last time (which, amazingly, Quintana got up from, only to quit about 20 seconds later), or Margarito's KO of Cintron in their second fight (pit of the stomach!). More recently, I think of Rigondeaux's KO of Landeros on ESPN2. What say you Dougie?
Keep doin' what you do Doug. — Joe from Philly (now in Vegas)
Thanks for all the kind words, Joe.
Roy’s tomahawk chop to Virgil’s rib cage certainly comes to mind when I think of awesome body shot knockouts.
The late Arturo Gatti's body shot KO of Leo Dorin is a favorite of mine. It stands out to me because he stopped a card-carrying tough guy with it and because he sparred himself another ring war, which he certainly didn’t need at that point in his career.
Ditto for the body shot KO Gatti's friendly rival Micky Ward scored against Steve Quinonez. Irish Micky earned quite a few KOs with that evil left to the body shot of his. His best body shot may have been the one that took out Alfonso “Pancho” Sanchez in the seventh round of a fight he was soundly losing.
Ricky Hatton's body shot stoppage of faded Jose Luis Castillo was pretty good.
You know who’s a hell of a body puncher? Fernando Montiel. His left hook to the liver is a killer. Check out his body shot stoppage of Martin Castillo when you have some time.
You know who’s an underrated body puncher? Pernell Whitaker. Sweet Pea
tore Jake Rodriguez up with body shots to earn a sixth-round TKO. He
he hurt both De La Hoya and Trinidad with body shots.
Anyway, if you didn’t know, Pendarvis was a very good amateur boxer. Had he turned pro under the guidance of a world-class trainer and influential manager he could have been a real prospect instead of the gutsy spoiler and high-level sparring partner he is today. It’s not too late for him to turn it around. He’s only 24.
TIME FOR A FEW RANTS
Just some random observations and a Top 5 for you:
1) I don't really care all that much if Margarito looks sharp/good in training, unless he's suddenly picked up an infinite amount of speed and more importantly boxing ability then I don't see the fight being close. I think we should be over the “can X cut the ring off against Manny” phase – the guy's proved he will simply annihilate you if you come straight in at him, regardless of what part of the ring he happens to be in. The likes of Cotto/Hatton and now Margarito all did/will do the same thing, namely give him a static head to pummel which to be honest Margarito possesses in an abundance. The only way anyone competes with him is boxing him in the purest possible way. Get in a war with him and his speed/angles will tell unless you're a counterpunching genius – last time I checked Margarito doesn't fit into that category.
2) Katsidis v Marquez is gonna be serious, serious fun to watch. And you know what? I fancy Katsidis to have the old warrior's number. Not entirely convinced Marquez has huge amounts left, was pretty much made to look amazing by Diaz who'd tried to reinvent himself as a boxing genius… only when Diaz went after him did he have some success. Just for some reason I fancy Katsidis to outwork the old chap and eventually get to him with those heavy hands he has. One thing that still concerns me is that Marquez is pretty easy to hit @ 135 as his reflexes appear diminished due to the higher weight he's carrying (than his days @ FW/SFW when he looked much sharper on the counter), more so now he's getting on a bit. Katsidis by sneaky late stoppage for me personally, but I won't be betting any of my precious beer tokens on it.
3) Bit of fuss over here about Dereck Chisora taking on Wladimir Klitschko. I don't see a problem with it personally. He's got about as much chance as any of the other contenders and shock horror he'll come in looking like a proper sportsman. Not only that but he'll be there to fight and doesn't really get on just slinging punches like some wild club brawler. Good luck to him though, he's still a bit too green IMO to beat Wlad but I can see him doing ok (and heck, may even give Wlad a test) which'll open up fights to the other fringe guys like Arreola, etc. He's certainly head and shoulders above anything we have here be it domestically or at European level.
4) Fancy Maidana over Khan if a) Maidana aims to throw 100+ punches per round b) he doesn't eat every single jab Khan throws. Still got this feeling that if you let Khan dance to his tune he'll look like Sugar Ray Leonard, forcing him onto the back foot = he'll get nailed eventually and I still don't think his chin will hold out. Be nice to see Maidana having a proper go and where it takes him.
5) Top 5 “oh my god he's pulled that win from nowhere” fights? Not talking robbery's, last gasp/trailing by miles sorta fights.
Thanks. — Geoff, London
Thanks for ranting, Geoff. I’ll respond to your rants in order:
1) You make very good points about Margarito’s very slim chance to compete against Pacquiao even if he’s looking strong and sharp in camp, which I believe he is. At the end of the day Margarito has trouble with speed, southpaws and movers. Meanwhile, Pacquiao loves it when his opponents walk to him. So I can’t blame anyone for thinking Margarito is straight-up doomed on Nov. 13. Hell, I thought the very same thing when the fight was first announced. However, seeing Margarito take hard flush shots from Austin Trout and back the junior middleweight standout (who probably weighed around the 170-175 range) in sparring reminded me of how damn tough the Mexican is. And knowing Pacquiao’s penchant for exchanging punches, even when Roach wants him to box, makes me think Nov. 13 will not be a walk in the park for Manny. Because there’s a factor that you left out in your assessment of the fight: the fact that Pacquiao is not indestructible. He gets hit and he gets busted up like any other prize fighter. He traded punches with Miguel Cotto for only four rounds — dropped the Puerto Rican twice and got the better of every exchange — but still looked like he had been in a 12-round war after the fight. His face was significantly marked up from the few punches Clottey dared to throw at him. Unlike De La Hoya and Clottey, Margarito is going to throw punches in bunches. And I’ll be shocked if he backs down from a fire fight as Cotto did after the fourth round. The fight may not be “close,” but that doesn’t mean it won’t be punishing for Pacquiao.
2) I can’t freakin’ wait for Marquez-Katsidis! I also give Katsidis a shot at winning for the same reasons you “fancy” the ultra badass from Down Under. Marquez has the biggest heart in the sport and for my money, he’s also the best combination puncher in the game, but he does get hit a lot these days and his face does not hold up well. Nov. 27 is a tremendous opportunity for Katsidis.
3) I don’t blame Klitschko for offering Chisora the fight. Alexander Povetikin and Tomasz Adamek both say they aren’t ready to fight the champ, and David Haye doesn’t want to back his mouth up. So who else is out there who is worthy? Also, I can’t blame Chisora for taking the opportunity of a lifetime. I wish him well. I think he’s got talent. He kind of reminds me of 1996 U.S. Olympian Lawrence Clay-Bey only he’s lighter on his feet and he’s got more fire.
4) Those are two really big ifs for Maidana to beat Khan. I like Khan by decision.
5) The first two “Oh-my-God,-he's-pulled-that-win-from-nowhere” fights that come to my mind are Jake LaMotta’s 15th-round KO of Laurent Dauthuille and Mike Weaver’s 15th-round KO of John Tate. Anther one from way before my time is Rocky Graziano’s 10th-round TKO of Charley Fusari. A couple that I witnessed on TV are Jeff Harding’s 12th-round TKO of Denis Andres and Pernell Whitaker’s brutal 11th-round stoppage of Diosbelys Hurtado.
So there's a decent Top Five. I'm sure I've left out dozens of examples, such as the Micky Ward body shot KO of Alfonso Sanchez I mentioned earlier in this mail bag.
Many fans will probably bring up Julio Cesar Chavez’s 12th-round TKO of Meldrick Taylor but he wasn’t trailing on all three scorecards like the winners in the other examples. I believe he was ahead on one of the scorecards. Same deal with Ebo Elder’s dramatic 12th-round stoppage of Courtney Burton.