Dougie’s Monday mailbag
THOUGHTS ON THE FIGHTS
Whattup Doug –
Haven't written in for awhile but still reading everything. I feel like this is the first Saturday in a long ass time with boxing on and I wanted to talk to someone about it since my friends don't give 2 s__ts and a f__k unless there is a major fight. I'll try to keep it short.
1) I'm a 30 minute drive from Gilroy, Calif., but Robert Guerrero really does nothing for me for some reason. Even though Judah got the decision I don't feel like he won that fight after getting knocked down and beaten up the last 3 rounds, but each round is scored individually though so I have no problem with the decision. Lucas Matthysse didn't do much early and even though Zab Judah didn't either he was boxing well enough to win most of those rounds. Regarding Matthysee, I was disappointed a guy with 25 KO's in 27 fights chose to fight like that in his big opportunity.
2) Not much to say about Allan Green-Glen Johnson except I'm glad Johnson will get another payday. I don't really want to see him against Abraham, Froch, or Ward though because I think he'll take a ton of hard shots for 12 rounds against all three.
3) JuanMa Lopez-Rafael Marquez went the way most people thought it would but it was a fun fight. Anyone who thinks Marquez made up the shoulder injury to get out of the fight needs to have their head examined. He's never looked for a way out of any of the wars he's been in and deserves the benefit of the doubt. I hope they don't rematch because I don't really see it going any differently than Marquez taking a lot of punishment again.
4) Over the past few years the Marquez brothers have easily become my favorite fighters and I don't think either one can be in a bad fight at this point. They both throw combinations with power and accuracy but what makes them my favorite is the way they respond when they're hurt – sitting in the pocket and throwing even more punches. Who are your Top Five combination punchers in boxing today and since you started watching? I feel like almost nobody throws more than 2 punch combos anymore and wish some guys would let their hands go (don't want to be a Mayweather nuthugger but he would be on my list when he was at lightweight and below). What do you think?
Dave. — San Jose
Thanks for trying to keep it short, Dave. You didn’t succeed but it’s OK. It was an exceptionally busy weekend. I’ll respond to your comments in order:
1) I thought Guerrero fought very well for seven rounds against Escobedo. That version of The Ghost would give any 135 pounder fits, but that’s the problem with Guerrero — fans are never sure what version will show up on fight night. Sometimes he looks like a borderline elite fighter, other times he looks ordinary. Sometimes, like Saturday, he starts strong and then fades. As well as Guerrero boxed, I thought Escobedo fought his ass off in the final rounds. The Ghost may have been lucky the bout was scheduled for 12 rounds. I don’t have a problem with the scorecards for the Judah-Matthysse fight. I scored six rounds for each fighter, so I had Matthysse up by one point (114-113) because of the knockdown, but I also think the tough up-and-comer waited too long to make his move on Judah. Although I believe Matthysse showed attributes (chin, stamina, accurate body punching, underrated ring generalship) that will make him a handful for any 140 pounder, I agree that he needed to make more of a statement Saturday.
2) I was impressed with Johnson and I’m glad he’s part of the Super Six semifinals. I won’t count him out against Froch or Abraham. I believe Ward would give the old man the business, but not a beating. I have no problem with Johnson fighting those guys. I think he adds much-needed excitement to the tournament.
3) I agree that there’s no way Marquez made up that injury. It’s not his style and not in his history. However, the fact that he used it as an excuse to pull himself out of the fight tells me that he’s reached that point in his career (that most fighters — even great ones — reach if they’re not crazy) where he’s no longer willing to go out on his shield. I’m not lamenting this fact. I’m glad the injury occurred because I thought he took WAY too many hard head shots in the final two rounds of the bout. I hope Marquez calls it quits, but he decides to fight on I’d like to see how he fairs against two excellent Japanese fighters — Hozumi Hasegawa at 126 pounds and Toshiaki Nishioka at 122 pounds.
4) My Top Five active combo punchers are: JM Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Abner Mares and Tomasz Adamek. Top Five combo punchers since I started watching boxing: Sugar Ray Leonard, Donald Curry, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, and James Toney (I’m talking about the prime versions of each fighter, obviously).
I have a few things, and I will try to keep it short.
1. I must admit, I really enjoyed Roy Jones Jr. behind the microphone again, they should give him his old job back.
2. Antonio Tarver really does a great job as a commentator.
3. Okay, Green got laid the f__k out. Glen Johnson is still the f__king man at 41, he is going hard and strong. I definitely favor him over Froch/Abraham, they fight the same, but Glen will KO them because they will want to fight him, wrong move! You might favor him over Ward, but I don’t think so.
4. Judah still wore down at the end, but maybe he would do better against the smaller guys, but they might be on him more, more hungry, but they may also get caught. Judah was trying to be smart and box, he did pretty well, but was not the old explosive guy we thought we might see. I agreed with RJJ though, it wasn’t in his best interest to give that guy his only chance to win, which he almost got over the last three rounds.
5. Lopez is the man, Marquez is still the man. I thought he would be stopped early, like first three rounds, but he proved resilient. I didn’t think he would hold up to the younger more dynamic man. But Marquez’ experience was the difference. That guy is so experienced in war, he can fight out of instinct in that kind of situation, he just drops low when you come in and he throws deadly. He is like a precision machine in close. He is a hell of a fighter, but Lopez was winning anyway though.
Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts on the weekend, JB. I’ll respond to your comments in order:
1) I also enjoyed Roy’s commentary during the Guerrero-Escobedo and Judah-Matthysse fights on Saturday. I used to like his B.A.D commentary back in the late 1990s. I’d love to see him back in his old broadcast position on a permanent basis because I think his observations are even better now and he’s much more comfortable on the mic and in front of camera than he used to be.
2) I agree. Roy’s ring nemesis can give him a run for his money as a broadcaster, too.
3) I don’t favor Johnson over Ward. Before Ward entered the Super Six tournament his promoter Dan Goossen viewed Johnson as his star fighter’s first “name” victim. He and Team Ward were confident enough to be willing to fight Johnson at 175 or a 171-pound catchweight. I think Ward’s speed, footwork and holding tactics would give Johnson fits. However, I think the Road Warrios is even-money with Arthur and Froch. He can outwork Abe because the Armenian assassin is an economy puncher who works from a peek-a-boo defense. He can catch and repeatedly hurt Froch because the smart-mouth sheriff of Nottingham likes to scrap (I kind of see Johnson-Froch as a 168-pound version of Glen’s bouts with Clinton Woods). However, I can also envision Arthur giving Johnson trouble with his underrated lateral movement. I can see Froch’s rangy awkwardness giving the old man some problems. And then there’s X-factor of location. If those bouts were to take place in Europe, forget about it, I’d favor Arthur and Froch.
4) Personally, I think Judah is at his best when he goes for the KO. Whether he’s going for broke or boxing against the top junior welterweights I think he can be a legit threat or at least competitive. However, I just don’t see him as a top five 140 pounder. Maybe lower top 10, which is OK. Victor Ortiz isn’t even in THE RING’s top 10, but I’d love to see him fight Judah or Matthysse or any of the Fab Four (Bradley, Alexander, Khan, and his old buddy Maidana). Wouldn’t you?
5) So far so good for JuanMa. He has yet to prove that he’s an elite fighter, but he’s well on his way to establishing himself as one of the sport’s most exciting fighters. His machismo gave Marquez the opening to clip him a few times in rounds four and five, which made the fight extremely entertaining. I gotta tip my hat to both men. Hopefully, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Celestino Caballero are on Lopez’s hit list for 2011. If he can beat those two, he’ll be in everyone’s pound-for-pound top 10 (maybe top five) lists.
FRIDAY & SATURDAY NIGHT BOXING
Dougie, I had a great time watching Showtimes cards this weekend. I really liked how they showcased the up and coming talent from a single weight division, the 168 lbers on Friday night. While you're watching one fight you're thinking about how Aaron Pryor Jr., Edwin Rodriguez, or Marcus Johnson would match up with each other in their climb up the ranks. It seems to me either Johnson or Rodriguez would have put up stiffer competition for Glen Johnson than did Allen Green, that's just opinion though.
I don't know about you, but as the Green/Johnson fight wore on it just seemed Johnson was getting to Green. You could see Green complaining and the look in his eyes told everyone that something bad was going to happen to him. I really wished the referee would have allowed Green to continue though after the knockdown. He didn't look that badly hurt and he was complaining to the ref as he got up. That's on Green though, he's got to beat the count. Maybe the complaining allowed him to look like he wanted to continue when he really didn't. All credit goes to Glen Johnson, you hear so much about cutting weight and dry fighters, (Green's excuse after the Ward fight as an example) and this forty some year old guy's given a month to drop a weight division and he does it with no problem and puts on a great show doing something the very talented Andre Ward couldn't do. Great fight! And Lopez/Marquez an even better fight. — Jim, Monona, WI
Lopez-Marquez was as good as advertised. I think Johnson-Green turned out a little better than advertised because most of us weren’t sure what to expect from Johnson due to his age and the weight issue, but the Road Warrior we’re used to seeing showed up and took care of business.
I don’t think it was an easy fight for Glen, either. Although it was evident that Johnson chipped away at Green’s already shaky confidence round after round, it looked to me as though the 41-year-old vet began to tucker out after the third round. Some of the body shots Green landed in the third may have had something to do with Johnson slowing down but I think the former champ was also feeling negative effects from the weight loss. Green’s holding tactics also stemmed his momentum a bit, but to his credit, Johnson fought through it all and got the TKO.
That was soooooo damn Allan Green to try and start up a debate with referee Robert Byrd while he was sprawled out on the canvas. Yes, he was hit behind the ear with that first right hand that rocked him, but that’s gonna happen when a fighter constantly ducks down and turns away from every incoming punch.
I don’t know if Pryor Jr., Rodriguez or Johnson would have fared any better than Green did against Johnson but they may have made for better fights. I’d like to see how they fare against each other (especially E-Rod and Johnson). Pryor’s future is limited due to his age (32) but maybe he can cash out with a big Midwest area fight with Tommy Hearns’ son, Ronald (who is also 6-foot-4 and a former college basket ball player). Hopefully, Rodriguez and Johnson are matched up with Matt Korobov, Fernando Guerrero, Daniel Jacobs, and Shawn Estrada in the not-too-distant future.
GOD BLESS JOHNSON AND MARQUEZ
What a start to the month that all fight fans deserve. The absolute professionalism of Glen Johnson has to be admired. I thought he was starting to fade in the fight and Green was coming on. Then BANG! BANG! night over. He deserves all the praise and adulation he receives.
The Marquez-Lopez fight went to most people's script. I was out of my seat and cheering hard when Marquez rocked JuanMa. However, JuanMa showed great conditioning to survive. JuanMa was just too good. I felt that the referee was close to stopping the fight in the 6th, 7th and 8th but Marquez was still fighting back and catching Lopez. Marquez is amazingly tough. I love watching the Marquez boys.
Lets make the most of this golden period of fights scheduled as we learned the hard way this year that they are rare. Peace Dougie! — Choppa B, Sydney, Australia
I also thought Johnson was beginning to fade. I love the way he just works through adversity. I’m glad the majority of hardcore fans and the boxing media seem to really appreciate the old marvel.
I was also jumping out of my seat and yelling out “Whoa!” in the fourth and fifth rounds when Marquez was twisting JuanMa’s head around with those short hooks and snapping his dome back with the few straight rights he threw. He gave it his best shot and gave us some thrills. Rafa’s got nothing to be ashamed of.
Hopefully the marquee fights get better as the month rolls on. I won’t be surprised if they do.
Great fight. I think two or three years ago Rafa knocks JuanMa out. What do you think. — Jesse
I think you might be right about that.
DEBUTANT MANUEL LOPEZ
The impression I get of JM Lopez as a bratty child is the reason I jumped off his band wagon during the Penalosa fight (a fight in which he was very lucky his opponent was smaller and older). He's ratified that for me a number of times, most recently with his reaction to losing a point during Saturday night's fight. I don't think any phrase could describe it better than “temper tantrum.” I would have liked to have seen him lose more points, because he seems physically incapable of defending himself in close without resorting to holding his opponent's head down with one hand, and banging away with the other. I'm quite confident that Gamboa (who's “arrogant” not “entitled” like Lopez) will splatter him inside of 6 rounds. — Todd
I wouldn’t put too much money on Gamby. That’s an even fight, brotha. The Cuban is a quicker, more explosive athlete but Lopez has tighter technique and could take the flashier fighter out with counter punches.
I agree that Lopez does a lot of holding and hitting and that’s something referees need to be on the lookout during his fights from now on.
Lopez, who has fought in his native Puerto Rico 17 times, probably does feel a degree of entitlement during his fights but the bigger he gets the more often his bouts will land in Vegas, NYC or Atlantic City where the refs are (hopefully) going to be more vigilant in penalizing him for flagrant fouls.
WORRIED ABOUT MANNY
I've gotta tell you, I'm a little worried about the upcoming Manny/Margarito fight. I just have a bad feeling about this one. I know that some boxing writers are referring to Antonio as a spent bullet but in my experience as a boxing fan of 40 years I have seen some so called “spent bullets” summon up one last big effort (can you say Smokin' Joe in the Thrilla In Manila?)
Margarito looks pretty motivated and in great condition for this one. I have seen him at his destructive best (I know some will question if his gloves were loaded early on) but I remember one fight where his opponent's ear was literally hanging off his head at the end. My wife commented the other night when we were watching Manny on Jimmy Kimmel that “He is so little!” Yeah, he is and seeing him and Margarito standing face to face is a little unsettling. To fight a guy with that much height and reach you pretty much have to take it to him. You can't stand back and wait hoping to fence with him. Even if Manny wins I worry about the wear and tear he will be absorbing (which is just what Floyd is hoping for). I also know that some are saying the reports that Manny has had some sub-par training camps are just preflight BS and hype to build up the fight. What do you think? Are my worries justified here?
It really will be a shame if Manny/ Mayweather never happens. There have been some sure fire classics that never happened because the principals waited too long. (I give you Boom Boom Mancini/ Aaron Pryor as a prime example). Whatever the case I will pony up my $60 and be in front of the HD big screen on the 13th. Thanks, I always appreciate your views. — David, Nashville
Hey, maybe we’ll finally get Margarito-Mayweather (a fight I wanted to see in 2006) if you worries are confirmed. LOL.
Are your worries justified? Yeah, a little bit. Not because Pacquiao is supposedly having a bad camp. I don’t think he’s having one of his best camps but I doubt it’s the worst ever (as Freddie Roach has claimed). I guarantee you the Pac-monster is in shape to move and throw 100 punches a round for 12 rounds. That all that matters as long as he’s focused and follows the game plan. However, if I was a diehard Pac-fan I would be a little bit worried because it seems as though the Filipino hero is taking his victory for granted and that’s a mistake against a fighter like Margarito.
The Mexican is motivated and well-prepared. He’s a significantly bigger man and he’s a tough, proud S.O.B. And I don’t think he’s shot. This is a hardnosed veteran that even an awesome talent like Pacquiao needs to be focused for. If Pacquiao underestimates Margarito, he’s going to have a hard night.
TOP FIVE SPEED DISPARITY BOUTS
What is your top five for hand and/or foot-speed disparity between fighters contesting a bout of similar magnitude to Margarito-Pacquaio? Cheers. — Mike
Roy Jones Jr. versus John Ruiz immediately comes to mind. So does Mayweather vs. Baldomir, Taylor vs. Chavez, De La Hoya vs. Chavez I, and Toney vs. Holyfield.