Dougie’s Monday mailbag
CANELO KICKS ARSE!
Count me among those who were impressed with “Canelo.” I used to live in Mexico, so I've been watching him since the days of his wins over Pinzon and Rosales, and I am most impressed by the way he has seemed to address his flaws.
The things I always used to notice about him was that he would 1) fall in love with one big punch rather than building an offensive strategy over the course of a fight; 2) come into fights in less than great condition and fade down the stretch; 3) get hit by a lot of punches. None of those were a problem last night. I was especially impressed with the patience he showed offensively, knowing that he had a guy who was going to be there for a while. He also did subtle more punch-slipping than I've ever seen from him.
So, what's the ceiling for him? Do you see him as a pound for pound player in the near future? Who's a good next bout for him? — Patrick
I don’t know if he’s got pound-for-pound potential but I’m positive that he hasn’t hit his ceiling yet. How far can he go? A lot farther than most fans or members of the media believe.
The young man wants to continue to improve and he’s obviously willing to put in the hard work to achieve his goals. Alvarez wasn’t happy with his performance against Hatton, so he made some changes — mainly leaving the comfy confines of his home gym for the high-altitude and quality sparring he found in Big Bear, Calif. — and as he said in his post-fight interview on HBO “it paid off.”
If he looked that strong and sharp after one month in Big Bear (May 5 through June 8), imagine how well he’ll perform after two months.
Who would make a good “next opponent’ for him? How about his WBC mandatory Vanes Martirosyan?
Alvarez isn’t going to get the credit he deserves by dominating Rhodes because most fans (and boxing media) hadn’t seen the British veteran fight. And the way Alvarez controlled him most are going to assume that Rhodes dogged it (which is nonsense).
In Martirosyan, Alvarez would be facing a fellow unbeaten, young contender that American fans and media are familiar with. They know the Armenian-American is talented, skilled and very proud. Martirosyan is also trained by Freddie Roach, which brings an automatic degree of respect from boxing writers and the commentators of American cable networks.
If Alvarez can do to Martirosyan what he did to Rhodes (and I'm not saying that he can just yet) I think the “Canelo” bandwagon will fill up quickly.
ALVARERZ IS MORE THAN HYPE
Wow, am I ever EATING my words!!! — Ed from UK
Hey, at least you have the honor to admit you were wrong about the freckle-faced titleholder. That makes you a better man than at least 75 percent of the fans who post messages at the bottom of boxing articles and videos.
I think Alvarez made folks who picked him to win eat their words. He far exceeded my expectations. I thought he would have to gut out a close decision, perhaps even rely on some home cooking with the scorecards, but beltholder displayed head- and upper-body movement and a degree of footwork I’d never seen from him.
However, I can tell you from first-hand observations that Alvarez was working on his technique, lateral movement, defense and overall finesse during those sparring sessions with bigger and stronger Gennady Golovkin in Big Bear.
I wasn’t sure if he would be able put that practice into play against an experienced switch hitter, but obviously he could.
The next time Alvarez takes on a supposedly more-experienced or better-talented opponent, which should be his next fight, I don’t think you or I will have a hard time picking him to win.
ALVAREZ VS. ANGULO OR KIRKLKAND
You were so right. Alvarez was special against Rhodes. MUCH improved head movement, balance and combinations. The 3-punch combo with two to the body finished off with an upper-cut was particularly nice. And dare I say, he had the faster hands Saturday night!
I'd like to see him in against someone who will stay a little closer / throw more punches and force him to react more than he thinks. My wish itinerary is Angulo, Kirkland, Cotto and Martinez. If you must, he can fight Ashida and Williams. But to be honest, the way he breaks down fighters, I could see him fight anybody (and obviously his many fans agree) . — JW
I think Angulo is still too mature, physically strong and relentless for Alvarez, that’s an all-Mexican showdown that should be put off until late next year, but if “Canelo” were to fight the come-backing Kirkland in September, I’d favor the red head.
If Cotto and Alvarez were to fight this year, I’d go with the fading Puerto Rican star over the rising Mexican star in a very close (and very good) distance fight. However, I might go with Alvarez if you ask me who wins that mega-match after Cotto’s December showdown with Antonio Margarito. There’s no telling how much that rematch will take out of whatever’s left of Cotto.
Alvarez vs. Martinez? Forget about it. Canelo’s handlers shouldn’t even think about Martinez until after the middleweight champ’s 40th birthday.
Alvarez vs. Williams could be interesting. Let’s see what P-Will looks like during his July 9 fight with Erislandy Lara. I think the Cuban is live in that matchup.
I don’t think we’re ever going to see Alvarez fight Ashida. The kid promotes the Japanese fringe contender.
ALVAREZ IS GOOD, BUT THAT’S ALL
Saturday was the first time I saw a bit of what everyone is raving about in Alvarez, he didn’t blow me away but he looked good, fast hands, solid punches, but I'm not so sure he has the one-punch KO power that Roy Jones was talking about in the pre-fight analysis.
I think Rhodes was really trying to win and was somewhat competitive in spots but he was never really in the fight, seemed more in survival mode.
If they were to fight now, I would heavily favor Alvarez over Chavez Jr. Chavez was hit way too much by Zbik and Alvarez seems to hit much harder, though I don’t know how that fight can be made at jr. middle, Chavez came in like 180 for the Zbik fight and that’s with Freddie Roach training him so I don’t know how much more disciplined he can be.
If Cotto plans on fighting him I think it should be following the Margarito rematch. I don’t think Cotto has much more left, the sooner it happens the more interesting/competitive that fight is. If it happens within a year I'd call it a 50/50 fight, you?
(P.S., I don’t know why everyone is tip-toeing around this but Alvarez HAS to be the result of his mom stepping out, he's whiter than me, he has like seven siblings that look nothing like him, red hair, freckles and wears green trunks and gloves, can he be any more Irish?) — Steve the Greek, Montreal
You’re a mess, Steve. LOL. Alvarez’s grandma is reportedly fair skinned with red hair, but even if your “steppin’ out” theory is true, why wouldn’t people tip-toe around it? I don’t think that’s something the kid would readily divulge during one of those HBO-produced pre-fight features. “Oh, you want to know about my fair skin and freckles? Well, as you can probably guess my mom was WAY into red-headed white guys. I grew up with posters of Ralph Malph from Happy Days all over the house.”
I think Cotto vs. Alvarez pre-Margarito rematch is a 60-40/65-35 fight favoring the veteran; post-Margarito it’s 60-40 favoring the young man.
Chavez-Alvarez cannot happen at 154 pounds. Junior would have to cut off both legs from the knee down to make the junior middleweight limit. Alvarez will eventually grow into the middleweight division. He’s got dense muscles and he already walks around at 165 pounds, but he’s not a middleweight yet. Maybe in a year or two. Question is, will Chavez be able to make 160 pounds in a year or two? I doubt it, but I hope he can, because Chavez-Alvarez could fill a stadium with fight fans.
I think Alvarez is a better athlete, a superior technician and a more versatile boxer, but Chavez is a very big, resilient stalker who commits to the body like no other fighter in the game right now. It would be a fight.
I also fail to see the power puncher that Jones keeps talking about every time Alvarez fights on HBO. Canelo’s got heavy hands. That’s all. He’s not a KO puncher. He’s an aggressive boxer who puts quality punches together very well.
READER COMMENTS: GOOD FOR A LAUGH
So was Ryan Rhodes just not as good as advertised (a lot of insiders' were certainly warning this could represent a dangerous mis-step for Canelo) or was Alvarez just that good? For now, I'm going to give Alvarez all the credit he deserves because he went out and did what so many hard core fans have been clamoring for — dominate a respected, legit (at least by The Ring rating's standards) contender.
Whenever I need a good laugh I troll the 'Comments' section under any of the Ring's editorial blogs. Your article “Alvarez proves he's no ‘kid’ by dominating Rhodes” inspired several fantastic responses:
– One fan "never heard of" Alvarez
– Another promptly discussed the merits of a Pacquiao-Alvarez fight in Mexico, somehow deducing the proper purse bid should be “65 million $$$$,” lol
-Most messengers aptly pointed out that Alvarez would "get killed" against the likes of Pacquiao, Martinez or Maywether — ummmm, yeah, of course he would.
-Several other less fluent fans just uttered "Canelo Sucks!!!"
-Yet another called for the “real fight” everyone is clamoring for….Khan-Alvarez! Money!!!!!!
Great Stuff. Any chance you could publish a 'Bizzaro' Mailbag in the future? — Tom G.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get enough mindless email to fill a ‘Bizzaro World’ mailbag, Tom. The great thing about adding the Facebook comment section to the bottom of our articles is that the Bizzaro Fans prefer the immediate satisfaction of posting their odd-ball opinions, observations, and rants there to taking the time to pen an email to Yours Truly. I can’t say that I miss them.
Regarding Rhodes, I’d say that he wasn’t quite as good as advertised. He had a style that figured to trouble Alvarez on paper, but the young buck turned out to be smarter and more talented than advertised.
Now that I think about it, Rhodes’ best performances came against tough, but very basic pressure fighters (Jamie Moore and Luca Messi). Obviously, Alvarez is more than a pressure fighter.
LIGHTS OUT, LITZAU
Kudos to Adrien Broner for closing the show at the end of the first round. What's next for both him and "American Boy"? I like Litzau a lot but damn if his stationary noggin isn't a veritable honing device for incoming punches. He's young but is it too late for him to learn how to bob and weave a bit, learn how to let his hands go other than when he's squared up?
How about Canelo? Who's next for him? Is he too green yet for a Cintron or is that too big a risk if he ever hopes to get a big-money showdown with Chavez Jr.?
How was Guadalajara? I understand that you were covering the card live, in person. I understand Guadalajara has a reputation as the most "romantic" city of Mexico, would love to visit, am learning Spanish in my car (know just enough to get myself lost and hopefully found, LOL).
Just returned from my eighth straight IBHOF Induction Weekend, boxing's "Ultimate Love-In" (quoting Russell Peltz) for there are "no blown referee calls, no bad decisions and no alphabet soup organization shenanagins". Just a bunch of fight guys from all over the world getting their annual fix, geeking out over beers for four days about the sport we love. Unusually high number of Mexican-Americans attending this year owing to Chavez Sr.'s induction. Hope you'll make it one of these days. Peace. — Dirk, Raleigh, N.C.
I’ll make it out there for a hall-of-fame induction weekend soon, that’s a promise to myself. It sounds like a little slice of heaven for lifelong boxing fans, which I consider myself.
I was not in Guadalajara, Mexico for the Alvarez-Rhodes fight. I watched the HBO broadcast at my buddy Dave Schwartz’s place in Santa Monica, Calif., with RingTV.com co-editor Michael Rosenthal and my dad. (Happy Father’s Day, by the way, to all the dads out there reading this column.)
What’s next for Canelo? A higher-profile fight than Saturday’s headliner in September, probably Sept. 17. I don’t know who he might fight, but I think he’s ready for Cintron.
Broner redeemed himself after stinking it out against Daniel Ponce de Leon in March. I think the Cincinnati native is ready to take on fringe contender, such as fellow unbeaten Golden Boy fighter Eloy Perez or Puerto Rico’s undefeated bomber Luis Cruz. If he can defeat one of those two (and I’d favor both Perez and Cruz to beat him), he should go for fringe contender like Vicente Escobedo or a former beltholder such as Rocky Martinez (that would be a fun fight), and then a major title.
What’s next for Litzau? I think he should retire. He had a nice run last year, but he’s taken a lot of punishment in his career and I think he’s flirting with suffering permanent neurological consequences if he continues to fight. I known he’s young for a fighter who probably should be considering retirement, but I believe it’s too late for him to learn the finer points of boxing (mainly defensive maneuvers). Going into Saturday’s fight he was viewed as a high-profile “opponent,” but going forward he will be regarded as a stepping stone, even if he’s matched up with relative “babies” such as Ronny Rios or Javier Fortuna. And should he lose to a featherweight/junior lightweight prospect he’ll become a bona-fide journeyman. That’s a tough way to earn your bacon, especially in his weigh classes. I’m hoping that he’s got options outside of boxing to make a living.