Dougie’s Friday mailbag
KICKING OFF THE SEASON
Can’t wait for Saturday, it's going to be a long nightÔÇª. my wife will be cross-border shopping and my son will hopefully be tucked in bed asleep, could be a rough morning if he wakes up early.
AnywaysÔÇª you've aptly made the potential case for Rafael Marquez given his success vs. lefties but I'm going with the safe pick, JuanMa Lopez in the mid-to-late rounds after both men tasting the canvas. JuanMa isn’t far removed from 122 pounds, but he is the much bigger/stronger man and that should give him the down-hill leverage in the toe to toe exchanges (ala Rios vs. Peterson).
Speaking of Brandon Rios, I’m glad he’s going to be on the big stage next weekend and would much prefer him over Robert Guerrero to fight the winner of Juan Manuel Marquez/Michael Katsidis but I’m wondering if he can cut down effectively in time. Are you hearing any names for his opponent?
Would you agree that neither Glen Johnson or Allan Green should be fighting at 168?… Johnson on pure heart in a mild upset.
Lucas Matthyse is going take out Re-Super Judah late and start the ball rolling for what might be a big two months for Argentinean boxers.
Enjoy the weekend! Peace. — Adam, Whitby, Canada
Thanks Adam, I will enjoy this Saturday. I’m not traveling to cover either fight from ringside, which means I get to watch Showtime’s and HBO’s broadcasts in the company of friends, which is always a treat. The only drawback is that I’ll have to do a post-fight column on one of the shows as soon as it’s over and I’d much rather just sit back and talk about the bouts with everyone else. Oh well, I’m no multi-tasker but usually do a decent job of bothÔÇª
I’m still on the fence with the Judah-Matthysse fight. I’ve heard that Matthysse is a total beast in the gym (everything from backing up Shane Mosley to knocking down Sergio Martinez in sparring), but his body of work in the actual prize ring isn’t impressive enough for me to strongly favor him over a veteran as talented and powerful as Judah. The best guy on Matthysse’s resume is a faded Vivian Harris, who was competitive before the bout was prematurely stopped.
The fight might come down to how well Matthysse takes a punch. If he can withstand Judah’s power in the early rounds he probably will fulfill your prediction (provided he knows how to cut the ring off). We’ll see. I’m expecting a good fight.
I do agree that both Johnson and Green should be fighting at 175 pounds. My gut tells me Johnson is going to compromise some strength and stamina making 168 pounds, which will open the door for Green outbox him over the second half of the bout and score a close decision.
Rios is fighting Omri Lowther, who might take the slugger the distance. I would also rather see Rios vs. the Marquez-Katsidis winner (or loser) than Guerrero, but don’t count Vicente Escobedo out against ‘the Ghost’ tomorrow night. He’s had a good camp and he sounds very focused. I think he’s going to spring the upset against his fellow Californian.
I’m also going with the safe pick in Saturday’s featherweight showdown in Vegas: Lopez by late stoppage. However, I’m not picking the Puerto Rican because I think he’s bigger or stronger than the battle-tested Mexican vet. Marquez looked considerably bigger than Lopez at their media day workouts in L.A. on Monday, and while the Puerto Rican is probably a bit stronger than the former champ I think their power is equal. I’m picking Lopez because he’s the younger man and he appears to have a good head on his shoulders. He knows how to follow a game plan, how to cope with adversity and how to survive when he’s badly hurt.
I won’t be shocked if both men hit the canvas in this one. That’s why I can’t wait for the opening bell.
I read your writeup on Lopez-Marquez this morning. I really feel like this should be a closer fight than people are making it out to be.
Marquez seems to have all the right tools — punching power, accuracy, boxing technique — to take advantage of Lopez's shortcomings, although vice versa is also probably the case.
I think that Rafa has a slight edge in footwork over JuanMa, although it remains to be seen whether or not his legs stay under him for long, grueling battle.
Are you covering this one live? I'm flying to Vegas for the fight. Would love to stop by and say hello on Friday night if you're in town. — gopal rao
Maybe next time, Gopal. I’m staying home for this one.
I think Lopez has better footwork than Marquez, but I agree that the former champ has the power, accuracy and technique to pierce the Puerto Rican’s guard and do significant damage. Marquez’s height and reach advantages are another plus for him.
Who knows? Maybe Lopez should only be a 2-to-1 or even a 8-to-5 favorite. I think the current odds in favor of the younger man reflect the uncertainty of Marquez’s 35-year-old legs. He has yet to face a world-class featherweight and we couldn’t gauge much from his blowout of the shopworn Izzy Vazquez in their fourth fight. Put simply, we just don’t know what Marquez has left. Tomorrow’s fight will answer that question.
MARQUEZ BY KO OR TKO
How was your October? Rafael Marquez is gonna chin check Lopez. Marquez is too experienced and too tough for Lopez.
Yes Marquez is coming of 4 grueling fights, but that was against Vazquez who left everything in the ring. Marquez still has something left in him. Lopez’s style isn't as taxing as Vazquez’s was so Marquez will be able to think more and use his boxing skills in this fight then was the case in his last 4 fights.
It will be a close fight but Marquez will find a way to come out on top vs. the young stud. If Marquez wins he's my pick for Fighter of the year.
Peace out. — Jorge, San Diego
You almost have me convinced, Jorge. Almost. If I didn’t think Lopez was as special as I do, I’d also be on the Rafa-bandwagon. Hell, I’m sure I’ll cheer for him if (or when) he gets Lopez in trouble.
But I’m sticking with Lopez as my pick. No, he’s not the pressure fighting badass that Vazquez was (who is?), but he’s got better speed, power and technique than the Mexican warrior.
If I’m wrong and Marquez wins, God bless him. He will have clinched a first-ballot hall of fame entry in my eyes.
Dear Mr. Fischer,
A quick count yields 18 televised fight cards in the 8 weeks between November 5 and the end of 2010. That’s got to be a record somewhere, right? Too bad the rest of 2010 wasn’t like this, huh? Onto (the November) fights!
I disagreed with Raskin’s rant about a certain Latina reporter (who I think has more than enough credentials to cover boxing, especially if you consider that guys like Ahmad Rashad, Joe Tessitore and Bob Costas do decent color commentary on sports they had no pedigree in) but agree with Raskin’s assessment of Zab Judah. Judah will either impress and get put into the mix with the 140 hotbox of contenders or he’ll get sent to ESPN2/Telefutura gatekeeper status. Both scenarios are okay with me.
Juanma Vs. Marquez has me psyched that my dvr has two tuners. I dig that Juanma’s willing to fight a guy who can knock him out. To be the best requires a resume of name fighters. Juanma’s either going to earn the “gallo” title (the Puerto Rican “Peoples’ Champion”) or go down trying. Now, will someone PLEASE get the winner in the ring with Yuriorkis Gamboa or Celestino Caballero?
Props to Showtime for giving “plucked eyebrows” a chance for redemption against the Road Warrior. Glen Johnson’s not at the top of his game, but it’s hard not to root for a guy who keeps putting up a decent scrap and who brings his all every time he fights. A dominant win over Johnson may convince a few fans that Green’s as good as he claims to be.
On Martinez/Williams, what’s the quote from “Raging Bull” re: LaMotta vs. Robinson? Something like “No one wants to fight either man so they just keep fighting each other”. As a fan, I must give my thanks to both of these men for going at it again. May the better fighter win, and hopefully without a BS 118-110 scorecard. Pretty awesome to see DC based heavyweight Tony Thompson’s on the undercard BTW.
I’m praising the lord that Maravilla wrested the Middleweight title from Pavlik. I really wanted Pavlik to have an inspiring reign but felt like he kinda blew it. I understand that infections and illness had a lot to do with it, but dude also lost a lot of luster when we discovered that Jermain Taylor was on the decline, when Pavlik won over palooka contenders but then lost to Hopkins and Maravilla. If he’s smart he’ll move up to 168 to fight guys like Andrade, Bute and the Super Sixers. Pavlik could still wow us, but IMHO 160 is no longer a ghost town. In contrast, Maravilla or the Spider Man will likely defend the title against solid challengers.
The end of the Super Six’s round robin stage is finally almost here. Froch-Abraham’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. I gotta say that Froch has a certain je ne sais quoi about him. If his record can match his charisma, he’s got a lot of potential. I’m also crazy excited to see Andre Ward test his mettle against Sakio Bika. Bika’s been on a holding pattern since he won that impressive fight over Jaidon Codrington. If he’s got the goods I think he’ll make for a great beltholder. If not, Ward’s going to prove he’s the one with the goods. Either way, this is a win-win for fans.
Only one comment re: Pacman/Cheato. I want to watch the fight, but would rather it ended up on someone else’s cable bill.
Finally, I gotta give some love to Juan Manuel Marquez and to Katsidis. Marquez keeps showing us what a champion is supposed to do: Fight the best and beat them. Both he and Katsidis seem to be good guys who love what they do. It’s almost a shame that both men can’t win this one.
Sorry for the Tolstoy impersonation on this letter, but with so many fights it’s hard not to get a bit verbose! Sincerely. — Enrique Fern├índez Roberts, Washington, DC
Yes, please chill on the War and Peace-length emails, folks. I know November is an exciting month for hardcore fans but you can save questions and comments on Martinez-Williams and Marquez-Katsidis for after the Pacquiao-Margarito fight. Let’s focus on the big fights that are right in front of us.
Anyway, you can always hope for a draw in the Marquez-Katsidis fight.
A litmus test to how successful the Pacquiao-Margarito PPV will be is whether or not you can find a buddy who's ordering it. My guess is that you will.
I believe Ward will outclass Bika as Bute and Calzaghe did. I don’t think “the Scorpion” handles boxers very well.
Froch does have some charisma, doesn’t he? He’s by far my favorite interview on the Fight Camp 360 series (especially when he’s giving it Kalle Sauerland — “Are you still talking?”)
I think the legacy of Pavlik’s middleweight reign will hurt more from the perception of poor choices than the revisionist speculation that Taylor was beginning to fade by the time they fought (which I disagree with). I think Team Pavlik and Top Rank went for money when they should have pursued wider audiences. The rematch with Taylor should not have been a pay-per-view show, neither fighter was big enough to merit a PPV, but both guys had certain monetary demands. The decision to fight Hopkins, also on PPV, had to do with money. B-Hop was the opponent who could make Pavlik the most money at the time but the vet was all wrong in terms of style and size (10 pounds north of where the Ghost was most effective). That fight knocked Pavlik’s career off course and the decision to stage his comeback fights on Top Rank PPV shows instead on basic cable further compromised his profile/marketability. He fought on four PPV shows during his title reign and all of them were under 200,000 buys. Not good for someone who had the potential to be a crossover star. But his team didn’t want to take short money to get more exposure. So the fights that most folks saw after his title win was the blowout of some unknown hapless Brit (Gary Lockett) and loss to Martinez, both of which were on HBO. It’s too bad the way things worked out but hopefully he gets back on track (at 160 or 168) in 2011. I’d love to see him fight the winner of Martinez-Williams or someone like Andrade.
Maybe it’s because he’s an Ohio native but I’ll probably always root for Pavlik.
I’m also glad Showtime is giving Allan Green (leave the man’s eyebrows alone) another chance. I’ve got a soft spot for him, probably because he’s a comic book collector.
I think it’s safe to say that the winner or the loser of Lopez-Marquez will face either Gamboa or Caballero next year.
I have no idea if the number of televised fight cards in November and December breaks a record (and there’s no way in hell I’m going to research it), I just plan to enjoy the rest of 2010 and I could care less if a certain Latina reporter were to commentate on every one of the shows.