Dougie’s Friday mailbag
PACQUIAO CRITICISM IS UNFAIR
Everyone who is upset at Manny Pacquiao fighting Shane Mosley next needs to take a look at the history of boxing greats and the patterns of who they fight. Forget the fact that, aside from Jailweather, there is no opponent who would satisfy the public (stop with Juan Manuel Marquez… he's BARELY a lightweight). Let's just take a walk down memory lane:
Sugar Ray Leonard’s two fights after the first Thomas Hearns fight and before he fought Marvin Hagler: Kevin Howard and Bruce Finch.
Pernell Whitaker's two fights after he defended against Jorge Paez: Harold Brazier (10 losses) and Jerry Smith (12-13 record).
Muhammad Ali: two of his next three opponents after George Foreman were Chuck Wepner (9 losses) and Joe Bugner (6 losses).
I won't mention the repeated futility that Roy Jones and Jailweather fought after big wins as the goal of this email is not to make people feel ashamed of themselves.
Here are Pacquiao's last 10 fights: Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey (both top five welterweights who often fight at 154), Miguel Cotto (champ at 147), Ricky Hatton (champ at 140), Oscar De La Hoya (HOF), David Diaz (beltholder at 135), JMM (HOF), Marco Antonio Barrera (HOF), Jorge Solis (undefeated at the time), and Erik Morales (HOF).
His record over those 10 fights: 10-0 (6 KOs). There is no one in boxing who even comes close to that level of success against that level of opposition in his last 10 fights.
The point is, he deserves a fight that is (as most fans perceive) a tune-up.
Personally, I think Mosley is all wrong for Manny. Styles make fights, and Sergio Mora and Floyd Mayweather are poison for a guy like Mosley. I think Manny will win, but he'll absorb more punishment than he has in any of his last 10 fights. Mosley destroys people who come at him. He's not who he once was, but he's still fast enough and strong enough to return fire against Manny (especially to the body), and he has one of the best chins in recent boxing history. It'll be really fun and furious until Mosley runs out of gas.
The point is, the guy is still a top 10 (possibly top 5) welterweight who is a future HOF'er. That's more than can be said about Ali, Leonard, and Sweat Pea at the same relative point in their careers. Salud. — Danny
Danny you make some good points but there’s no need to give me or anyone else a list of Pacquiao’s last 10 opponents. Everybody knows he’s fought top-quality competition. That’s why he was voted the Fighter of the Decade by the Boxing Writers Association of America. That’s why he’s at the top of everyone’s pound-for-pound list. Nobody, save for Floyd Mayweather, disputes this.
Fans and media are upset about Pacquiao’s choice to fight Mosley because most disagree with your belief that the 39-year-old veteran will be competitive. Pacquiao’s last two fights were one-sided. Some observers felt the Pac-monster won every round against Clottey and Margarito. Mosley laid rotten eggs in his last two bouts. The last two fights of both fighters were also the main events of pay-per-view shows. Fans simply don’t want to have to shell out at least $50 to witness another non-competitive bout involving Pacquiao or Mosley.
You believe that Mosley is still a top 10 (possibly top 5) welterweight. Mosley is THE RING’s No. 5-rated 147-pound contender. I think that’s ranking is debatable given his last two performances. I know there’s no shame in being out-boxed by a master boxer such as Mayweather but Mosley was unable to pull the trigger after clearly hurting his opponent in the second round and the fact is that he was not at all competitive for the rest of the fight. And you can tell me that styles make fights all you want, but Floyd wasn’t running around the ring and trying to avoid Mosley as Mora did (effectively, I might add). Mayweather stood his ground and stuck Mosley with a good, stiff jab and an occasional hard straight right and that was enough stifle and bewilder the guy you believe will give Pacquiao a good fight.
And by the way, I’m not saying you’re “wrong.” More than a few boxing insiders that I know and respect believe Mosley still possesses the attributes to give Pacquiao hell. This dude Dwyer of GamblersAdvisory.com views Pacquiao-Mosley as an even fight, and he’s not one to make rash or outlandish predictions. In fact, homeboy is usually right.
My point is that you can’t fault fans and members of the media for being upset at Pacquiao-Mosley being made.
It doesn’t matter if you or anyone else thinks Mosley is still a top contender or has the style to give Pacquiao problems. Clottey was, as you stated, a top five 147-pound contender. I was among the few boxing scribes who thought the Ghanaian could be competitive with the Filipino dynamo. Margarito was NOT, as you state, a top contender at welterweight or junior middleweight (how could he have been? His two bouts going into the Pacquiao fight was a KO loss to Mosley and a lackluster decision over a journeyman, and more than a year transpired between those fights), but I thought he would be more competitive than he was.
You and I both know what happened in those bouts and that’s what fans remember. So they don’t want to hear that Mosley’s a contender or that he might be able to do this or that to Pacquiao, especially after the Southern Californian’s last two fights.
This line of yours cracked me up: “It'll be really fun and furious until Mosley runs out of gas.”
Dude, Mosley’s literally been sucking wind by the fourth round recently.
Nobody with any decency wants to see a decorated veteran such as Shane run out of gas and get the s__t beat out of him by a guy who doesn’t want to seriously hurt his foe. And nobody, whether they are decent or not, wants to see Pacquiao involved in a THIRD consecutive one-sided fight. Right or wrong, most fans are not willing to give Pacquiao a pass with Mosley based on his recent track record and I have to assume money is a big reason for this.
If people are asked to pay to watch a guy do anything they are going to expect to be entertained and they are going to want to see something special, not the equivalent of a 12-round heavy bag workout.
You’re absolutely right that the great fighters of the past that you mentioned fought “easy” bouts (and I put the word easy in quotes because guys like Harold Brazier and Joe Bugner were tough top-10 contenders who could box — don’t judge a fighter on the number of losses he has, bro), but for the most part those fights weren’t billed as major events and fans weren’t charged to watch them on TV.
The Ali fights you mentioned were before my time, but I can tell you that Bruce Finch, who held the NABF welterweight title, was a contender. He wasn’t a killer and he wasn’t in Leonard’s league but he didn’t suck and nobody was making that fight out to be some kind of mega-event the way Bob Arum (with HBO’s help) will attempt to do with Pacquiao-Mosley. You forgot to mention that Leonard had been off (briefly retired) for two years prior to the Kevin Howard fight (due to his retina problems).
I vividly remember Whitaker’s fight with Brazier. It was Sweet Pea’s first junior welterweight bout after vacating his lightweight titles. Brazier had won more than a dozen bouts going into the fight, which was televised on HBO. The bout, which took place in Philadelphia, was the co-feature to Meldrick Taylor’s welterweight title defense against Glenwood Brown (which was a good 12-round fight). Whitaker out-boxed and outclassed Brazier over 10 typically uneventful rounds. I recall Larry Merchant saying something like “Whitaker took a tough fight and made it easy” before the bout had finished.
But although Whitaker-Brazier was not competitive (few of the future hall of famer’s fights were), fans didn’t complain because A) Brazier, a solid fighter who many believed beat Roger Mayweather in a 140-pound title bout, was viewed as a competent opponent for Whitaker’s first junior welterweight fight, B) the bout was not the main event of the televised-card, and C) they got an entertaining scrap with the headliner (Taylor had to get up from two early round knockdowns to out-hustle his tough challenger).
The problem with Pacquiao-Mosley is that the older fighter is not viewed (by most observers) as a competent opponent for the P4P king, the fight is the main event of a pay-per-view show, and it’s not only expected to be non-competitive but brutally one-sided. It’s hard to get excited about or support a fight in which a past fan favorite may get the crap beat out of him. Likewise, it’s hard to give the fighter who dished out the beating “a pass” because of his past accomplishments.
RANKING DIFFERENCES WITH ROSENTHAL
Why such a difference from you and Michael Rosenthal in regards to the PFP rankings? Who determines The Ring magazine PFP rankings?
Why wasn't the ref warning Michael Katsidas about his right hand? It sure looked like he was following through with his elbow and could have come close to cutting Marquez..
Happy New Year. — Jude Gonsalvez, Pickering, Ontario
THE RING’s rankings (including it’s Pound-For-Pound Ratings) are compiled by the magazine’s editorial board (which I believe consists of Editor-in-Chief Nigel Collins, Managing Editor Joe Santoliquito, contributing editors Eric Raskin and Don Stewart and senior writer William Dettloff), with the participation of THE RING Ratings Panel (for a full list of the boxing writers and sites that provide input scroll down once you click this link).
I don’t think there’s that big of a difference between my personal pound-for-pound top 10 and Rosenthal’s P4P list. We have the same two top dogs rated Nos. 1 and 2 (Pacquiao and Mayweather). He rates Sergio Martinez No. 3. I have the middleweight champ at No. 4. Juan Manuel Marquez is my No. 3. Rosenthal rates the lightweight champ No. 9. Rosenthal’s rates Juan Manuel Lopez No. 5. I rate undefeated the two-division beltholder from Puerto Rico No. 10. Rosenthal rates Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko Nos. 7 and 8, respectively. I rate the heavyweight brothers Nos. 5 and 6 respectively. Rosenthal rates Fernando Montiel No. 10. I rate the talented dual bantamweight titleholder from Mexico No. 7.
So we have seven of the same fighters in our P4P top 10 lists. I think the difference in where we rank those seven fighters is due to two factors: Rosenthal tends to penalize a fighter for losing more than I do (hence the difference in where we rank Marquez) and I generally give extra credit for longevity (hence the difference in where we rank Lopez, Montiel, and the Klitschkos).
Regarding losses, I will take into consideration the quality of the opposition a fighter losses to as well as other factors. In Marquez’s case, he lost to an elite fighter (Mayweather) in an unnatural weight class (welterweight), so I pretty much dismissed it once he got back to his winning ways at lightweight this year. Regarding longevity, I think Lopez is a stud but he still has major dues to pay before he breaks into my top five. Montiel and the Klitschkos are simply underrated (particularly by Americans), in my humble opinion. The three-division titleholder from Los Mochis and the two rulers of the heavyweight division are complete boxer-punchers who have competed on the world-class level for the past 10 years.
The two guys in Rosenthal’s rankings that I don’t rate (Andre Ward, his No. 4, and Tim Bradley, his No. 6) and the two fighters on my list that don’t make his (Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, my No. 8, and Tomasz Adamek, my No. 9) illustrates a common arguing point in rating elite fighters in a pound-for-pound sense: talent vs. accomplishment.
Talent, which Ward and Bradley have in abundance, is something Rosenthal obviously factors into his elite ratings. And one can’t really fault Rosenthal (or anyone) for rating the two young, undefeated titleholders in their P4P top 10. Ward and Bradley are athletically gifted, skilled, versatile and smart.
The only thing that keeps them out of my top 10 is thier relative lack of experience/accomplishments. If Bradley beats Devon Alexander next month, he’ll break into my top 10. No doubt about that. If Ward is victorious in his next two fights and wins Showtime’s Super Six tournament he’ll be in like Flynn.
However, for now, accomplished veterans such as Wonjongkam and Adamek deserve the P4P ranking.
Take THE RING’s flyweight champ (Wonjongkam), for instance. The Thai legend has lost ONE fight in his last 70 bouts. He made 17 alphabet title defenses before he won THE RING belt by upsetting undefeated Koki Kameda in Japan in March. He’s defeated a dozen bona fide top-10 contenders.
It says here that if Wonjonkam were a middleweight from Brooklyn, or even a Mexican welterweight who fought often in the States, he would be compared to the greatest fighters who ever lived. And yes, I’m aware that he looked bad in last fight and barely beat a prospect. Maybe 81 pro fights is beginning to wear on the 33-year-old vet, but he still has his victory over Kameda, a very talented boxer who has since won an alphabet belt at bantamweight, to give him leverage (in my eyes, anyway).
And what’s not to like about Adamek? The dude’s got one loss in 44 pro bouts, a decision to talented, then-undefeated Chad Dawson, who he dropped during the fight. He lost a light heavyweight belt in that early 2007 bout but he’s won 12 in a row, an impressive span that includes winning THE RING cruiserweight title and victories that have earned him a top-five ranking at heavyweight.
What I admire about Adamek is that he’s faced RING-rated contenders in the sport’s three heaviest weight classes: light heavy (Paul Briggs, Thomas Ulrich and Dawson), cruiserweight (O’Neil Bell, Johnathon Banks and Steve Cunningham) and heavyweight (Chris Arreola).
HOW TO REALLY CHANGE BOXING
I felt compelled to write you about Kirk's email to you and your response in the Dec. 27th Monday Mailbag.
His list of wishes to help boxing seems to echo lots of boxing fans' wishes: damn the sanctioning bodies, have fewer “champions,” protect the fighters, wish for the promoters to get along, and other comments along those lines. These are good things to wish for, but they are unlikely to happen. Here is my list of things I would like to see in boxing that would make it a better, more popular sport. Maybe they are just as unlikely to happen, but here they are nonetheless:
Action: Encourage promoters to engage in “fight of the night” and “knockout of the night” bonuses similar to what they offer in the UFC.
Result: This would give up-and-coming prospects great incentive to increase their paychecks and make great fights. This would be great for creating better undercards. This would encourage someone to finish a fight, or hang in the fight rather than just survive.
Action: Do not require a fighter to go to a neutral corner after he knocks his opponent down. Do not give fighters who have been knocked down a full count.
Result: Better fights, more suspense. I am sure you have seen Jack Dempsey's fight with Jess Willard. Nothing is more intense than having Dempsey hovering just a few feet away, pacing and champing at the bit for a chance to smash Willard as soon as he is back on his feet. I love watching these old fights for this reason. This would create more knockouts. I think it would also result in better protection for fighters and would remove some of the stigma of having a loss on one's record. The counts and breaks in a fight after a knockdown allow a fighter to shake the blow off and resume taking punishment for longer. I contend the quicker knockout would result in less brain damage than sustained punishment for a full fight.
Action: Pay fighters for winning a Ring Championship Belt. This may be farfetched, but I am trying to think outside of the box. Add a charge onto the subscription fee just for this purpose. Get De La Hoya and other promoters to give subscribers a discount on Golden Boy PPVs featuring Ring Championship fights as a reward.
Result: This will make the Ring Championship Belt mean something. I think boxing fans would not mind the extra charge if it meant legit champions and better fights. How many times do you hear a fighter say in the press, “I can't wait to challenge for the Ring Championship!”? Do I hear never. Maybe it would change if they win the championship and BOOM, a check gets sent to them in the mail. We might see a lot of “champions” defect from the sanctioning bodies and challenge for a Ring Championship. Pay a champion for a defense as well.
Again, I might be crazy and my list could go on, but I will cut if off here. May all of your wildest boxing dreams come true in 2011. — Dave
Thanks Dave. Most of them have come true because this is a dream job.
While I admire your effort to “think outside the box,” the only suggestion of yours that I can agree with is the “fight of the night” or “KO of the night” bonus.
I don’t care much for your idea of getting rid of the rule to send a fighter to a neutral corner after he scores a knockdown. I don’t want to see fighters — especially punchers — stand over dropped opponents like the Grim freakin’ Reaper, ready to dish out close-quarters punishment with maximum leverage the moment the poor fallen bastard’s butt is off the canvas.
Dempsey’s third-round KO of Willard is an all-time classic highlight and a major part of boxing history (hell, it rang in the Roaring Twenties for the sport), but it was also inhumanly brutal. The Mannasa Mauler literally broke Willard’s face!
Willard’s cheekbone was reportedly shattered. He sustained a broken nose. It has been written that his jaw was dislocated and/or broken in as many as 13 places. He lost anywhere from four to eight teeth during the beat down.
Dude, I’m all for violence. I don’t mind a little blood. But I don’t want to see fallen fighters get their faces rearranged — and their careers significantly shortened — just to add more sustained action to a bout.
I don’t know where to begin about your idea for fighters to get some kind of a stipend when they win THE RING title. All I can tell you is that A LOT of hardcore fans and boxing industry people dislike Golden Boy Promotions and THE RING magazine (by association, I guess). If the magazine were to do what you suggested that dislike would turn into blind, raging hatred.
I think RING subscribers to would have a big problem with the magazine passing the cost of paying fighters to wear its titles onto them and I KNOW other promoters would view the action as GBP’s attempt to monopolize the world titles.
There’s no need to pay fighters who win THE RING titles. (Those who hold THE RING belts already save money because the magazine does not charge sanctioning fees like the alphabet organizations). However, although most fighters love money as much as they do recognition, what makes THE RING belts special is the fact that one has to beat the best possible opposition to earn it. Giving them a few extra bucks won’t change that.
Again, I’m not trying to piss on your ideas. I’m glad there are fans who give enough of a damn to think up ways to improve the sport. However, I think boxing matches are entertaining as they ever were provided the matchmaking is good. Regardless of the level of the fighters, if they are evenly matched in terms of their ability and their styles mesh (i.e., they both aren’t counter punchers or stick-and-move specialists), fans are usually going to get an entertaining bout.
And I think THE RING titles are respected by both fighters and the fans. Is there anyone who thinks Wladimir Kitsch isn’t the heavyweight champ? Do you know of anyone who thinks Felix Sturm is the real middleweight champ and Sergio Martinez is a fraud? Does anyone think Giovani Segura has to beat Luis Alberto Lazarte or Gilberto Keb Bass before he can call himself the junior flyweight champ?
No, I don’t think so. All we need are more RING champs, and I think we’re going to get at least three more in 2011.
You want to know my wish list to help energize the sport?
It’s real simple:
1) More promoters who put on regular club shows in key regions/markets in the country (such as GBP, Roy Englebrecht and Thompson Boxing do in Southern California, Lou DiBella has done with his Broadway Boxing series in NYC, and 8 Count Productions does in the Chicago area).
2) More active elite fighters. When I first began covering the sport in the mid-to-late 1990s it was not uncommon for major attractions such as Oscar De La Hoya and undefeated hotshot titleholders such as Shane Mosley to fight as often as five times a year. The elite fighters’ activity kept them sharp, generated lots of revenue for the industry, and kept the world-class version of the sport in the public eye.
3) Less pay-per-view shows; more quality fights on basic cable. Do I really need to explain/elaborate on this? I didn’t think so.
MAILBAG BITS & PIECES
Nice mailbag Doug, but we both know that Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana were both the house fighter on paper only. Khan is clearly the money cat, and the favorite, by 100 miles.
Other than that, I pretty much agreed with everything you said. The Salita comment by Kirk was hilarious.
Happy holidays and I hope you and your family have a great new year – many of them in fact.
And this is a great line from Dettloff:
“Berto reportedly isn’t mad at anyone for having been passed over for the shot at Pacquiao. How gracious of him. He wanted Pacquiao like he wanted typhoid.”
(P.S. Although I did not see the fight, boxrec says that Roman “Made in Hell” Karmazin KO’d Dionisio Miranda, not Edison Miranda as you stated in your KO of the Year article. I was surprised when I saw that Karmazin had fought Edison, so I looked it up to see what I missed.)
Peace. — Steve (in Brazil, away from those East Coast snow storms)
Oops. I changed Edison to Dionisio. Good catch, Steve. Edison isn’t the only one-dimensional puncher from Colombia whose last name is Miranda.
I don’t know if Berto is relieved that he missed out on the Pacquiao sweepstakes but I believe that the young buck dodged a bullet.
Regarding Khan and Maidana, while it’s true that Amir’s the guy who is an attraction and a household name in the UK, where fans have more spending power than those in Maidana’s native Argentina, (and GBP probably should back the young titleholder more because of this fact) here in the U.S. the two junior welterweights are about equal in terms of popularity. I think GBP realizes this and would have backed Maidana 100 percent if he had knocked Khan out (which they knew was entirely possible). Since signing Maidana (after the Victor Ortiz fight), I think GBP has done well with the slugger by getting him an HBO B.A.D. headliner (vs. Victor Cayo), putting on his interim belt defense against Chop Chop Corley in Argentina, and by promoting the showdown with Khan, an HBO Championship Boxing main event.
Maidana is young (27), formidable and entertaining. He’s somebody I know HBO would welcome back on their air as soon as possible. So I don’t think the folks at GBP view him as an “opponent” for the other stars of their company. I think you’ll see GBP push as hard to get significant fights for Maidana as they do Khan in 2011.
Thanks for the holiday wishes, buddy. You’re certainly in the right place to enjoy the season, but I want to extend a big Happy New Year wish to all boxers, fans and people in the industry wherever they may be. I hope your 2011 is healthy, happy and prosperous.