Dougie’s Friday mailbag
I’ve been hoping to connect to you for the first time. Now’s a good a time as any. Concerning the stacked PPV card this Saturday, I have to admit that as much as I admire Juan Manuel Marquez, I’m not really too excited about his bout with Sergei Fedchinko. In his last few fights Marquez has been giving us drama but that’s largely because he’s been up against aggressors like Juan Diaz, Micheal Katsidis and Manny Pacquiao. He probably won’t have as much of a leading partner this upcoming “dance night’. So I’m picking Marquez to win a possibly uneventful bout. Hopefully I’m wrong on the “uneventful” part.
The Brandon Rios-Ricahrd Abril and Mike Alvarado-Mauricio Herrera fights will clearly be giving us more fireworks. If anything, Rios and Abril are already unleashing fireworks. Alvarado should win his fight but it certainly won’t be a walkover as wily and tenacious as Herrera is. But I still got to go with Alvarado to win a heated clash. And Rios? He could probably KTS out of Abril but I’m not 100% certain. Abril did give Amir Khan’s conquerer Prescott a tough go at it and Prescott is obviously a serious puncher himself. Either way I’m looking forward to watching this latest Latin Explosion.
I’m also looking forward to checking out “Pacquiao: The Next Generation.” I’m of course, referring to Filipino prospect Mercito Gesta, an aggressive hard-hitting southpaw. Yes. Certainly does sound so familiar. But who’s complaining. Gesta’s HBO debut might even steal some thunder here. Altogether should be a really entertaining card for the most part. Adios Buddy – Phil Maynard, Toronto, Canada
I’m also looking forward to watching tomorrow’s show, which isn’t a “Latin Fury” or “Latin Explosion”. It’s a Top Rank-produced, HBO-distributed pay-per-view show. (Not that the name of the program really matters. It’s the action in the ring that counts.)
I don’t think Marquez-Fedchenko will deliver fireworks, but I’m expecting a competitive fight. It might be one for the purists because the Ukrainian is a solid technician with a sharp jab and good footwork. Fedchenko is definitely not a pressure fighter like Diaz or Katsidis (who I’m looking forward to watching on Friday Night Fights tonight) and he’s no dynamo like the PacMan, but he’s not without an offense. He’s an accurate puncher and counter puncher, so he might be able to give Marquez a taste of his own medicine. Ultimately, I think JMM will beat the 31-year-old pro by outworking him on the inside.
I like Rios by late stoppage or decision and Alvarado by impressive points victory in entertaining bouts. Alvarado-Herrera will probably be the fight of the night. Rios-Abril is a pressure fighter-boxer matchup, but it will be very intense and emotionally charged because of their dislike for each other.
Gesta has the easiest assignment of the televised fighters, which means he will likely shine. I’ve seen him fight live a few times and I was impressed with his natural talent and athleticism. However, like the young Pacquiao, he needs work on his technique and fundamentals.
SPLATTERDAY NIGHT FIGHTS
Riled up for this weekend? If it wasn’t for this pay-per-view s__t I sure would be racing for the remote this Saturday, especially with the tension strong enough to chop through with a cement-cutter. I clearly see a possible and really nasty beat-down coming. And I’m certainly not talking about the Juan Manuel Marquez-Sergei Fedchenko main event, which might be a one-sided smackdown considering it’s an elite champion against a guy most of us barely heard of. But what about the Brandon Rios-Richard Abril fire-feud? I think Abril’s brash actions has pretty much earned him the upcoming “Splatter Victim of The Year” status. S__t, Rios is the kind of guy who will tear you apart in the ring if you were his closest buddy. But if he really doesn’t like you he’ll go all out to make your face look like an explosion inside a pizza factory. Hey, Rios was already pissed off over Gamboa punking out on him and then this other guy got in his face. Talk about having a pair of elephant-sized balls!
Was it staged to an extent to pump up more fan-interest and get more asses on those seats? Or to jack up PPV sales for that matter. I doubt it. Nothing phony about this newest hate-connection. Even so, the WWE couldn’t have scripted it better. Not that it matters to these two mortal enemies. While Abril is certainly not going to lay down quietly and may even give Rios a serious run for his money I still think Rios is going to eventually and violently smoke that brazen bastard like a cheap Cuban cigar. Can anyone say “Splat!” in Spanish?
And as for the clearly overshadowed bout between Alvarado and Herrara, I’m picking the bigger, harder-hitting Alvarado to pound out either a clear-cut UD win or a late-round TKO. Sometimes size does matter, especially if it’s backed by superior strength and clobber-power.
Next? There’s already that big ongoing question on who wins between Marquez and Rios if they indeed square off (providing they get past their “gimmie” opponents). While that potential fight’s certainly nothing to snub your nose at, I’d rather see Rios move straight up to the junior welter division and tackle the big-hitters like Marcos Maidana, Alvarado, and even (dare I say it) Lucas Matthysse. Any of those fights will bring some really serious punch-and-crunch action. And let’s not forget that often suggested match-up between Marquez and fellow Mexican thumping-bean Eric Morales. Anyways, more on those possible future wars later.
So that’s my scorching-hot topic of the week, Doug. Enjoy the carnage. – Todd The Terminator
I will, Todd. Although I think tomorrow night’s fights will produce less blood than you’re expecting.
Yes, Abril has pissed off a true beast with his pre-fight words and actions but that doesn’t mean the rangy Cuban is going to fight fire with fire once the bell rings. Don’t expect Abril’s face to look like John Murray’s did after eight or nine rounds with Rios. Abril won’t walk toward Rios or try to stand his ground with the human meat grinder. He wants Rios to be swinging mad so he can make the slugger miss and pay as he stick and moves. I think Abril will limit contact enough to keep from being overwhelmed for at least the first half of the bout. He might absorb some punishment in the late rounds if Rios can press him to the ropes.
Anyway, I like Rios by decision, maybe by late TKO (if he can hurt Abril to the body). Bam Bam spars a lot with Venezuelan junior middleweight prospect Alfonso Blanco, who is well over 6-feet, so I think he knows how to fight a tall and rangy boxer.
Don’t completely dismiss Fedchenko just because he isn’t well known. From what I’ve seen (just Youtube clips), the Ukrainian is a very solid, competent boxer. And hey, you never know when Marquez is going to get old.
I agree that Alvarado’s size and power will be the difference against Herrera, but I expect both guys to box more than most fans expect. We’ll get good exchanges but not an all-our war. Herrera’s a crafty cat. His jab might trouble Alvarado.
Although one of my dream matches is Rios-Matthysse (you know they’ve sparred once or twice in Oxnard – I’m pissed that I missed it), I can’t dismiss Marquez vs. Bam Bam because that’s a much bigger fight. Rios deserves a shot at a legend and Marquez deserves to get paid as much money as possible.
I doubt we’ll see Rios-Maidana (now that Chino will be trained by Brandon’s coach, Robert Garcia), but I wouldn’t mind watching Maidana-Alvarado.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Good Day Dougie!
It’s tempting to carry on about this weekend’s stacked card like every other e-mailer is no doubt doing, but I’ll wait until maybe your Monday Mailbag to discuss those fights. After all, you never know if the aging Marquez will hit the wall and lose to his unheralded opponent or if Brandon Rios gets unexpectedly derailed by Richard Abril. So, no brash predictions from me.
Instead I want to first bring up Ray Leonard’s historical win over Marvin Hagler which was recently discussed on RingTV.com. For starters, I was surprised when Leonard compared his fight with Wilfred Benitez to Ali’s third fight with Frazier. Not that Benitez was a walkover but I don’t recall him giving Leonard hell like Hearns or Duran did. I actually did remember Leonard mentioning how Duran himself told Leonard that he could beat Hagler after Duran gave the then-middleweight champ a tough scrap. I still have that old Ring issue that first mentioned this discussion.
Like most people, I gave Ray very little chance of winning, but I was very ecstatic when he pulled it off. Yes, it could have gone either way and fans are still arguing to this day over who won but just the fact that Ray boxed Hagler right to the final bell after a three year lay-off was a huge win in itself.
Overall, the whole thing just has me fondly looking back to those days when the best fighters didn’t hide behind promoters or steroid accusations, nor did they need full-scale brawls and melees to promote public interest. Nor did they need the lure of a 100 million dollar pay cheque to fight the best. They just fought the best and didn’t need the promoters to pick their opponents for them.
Speaking of the long-gone ’80s, heavyweight Gerry Cooney was mentioned in a recent article on Brandon Rios. Like Rios, Cooney was real serious puncher who tore his way to the near top. Despite Cooney’s “Great White Hype’ label his left-hook was a real hammer. How do you think he would have done against the Klitchkos if he was around today? And while we’re discussing past fighters versus today’s fighters who do you think wins between Sergio Martinez and the very same Roberto Duran who fought Marvin Hagler and Iran Barkley? – Dave Wares
Wow. Maravilla vs. Hands of Stone. That’s one hell of a mythical matchup, Dave. I assume you’re asking what would happen if they fought at 160 pounds (that was the weight class that Duran challenged Hagler and Barkley). And although it kind of pains me to write this, I think I gotta go with Martinez on points. I favor the Argentine because of his speed and footwork. Duran did well against Hagler and Barkley because those two were not speedsters and they walked right to the Panamanian badass. Duran could work some serious magic with anyone who tried to stand in the pocket with him or dared to push him back. However, Martinez would stick and move. I don’t think he would have dominated Duran, even though he’s naturally bigger, but he’d do enough to win a decision.
Cooney would certainly have a puncher’s chance against Baby Bro, but I would favor both Klitschkos to beat even the prime version of Cooney (that fought Larry Holmes) on points or by late stoppage.
The 25th anniversary of Hagler-Leonard also made me think about the 1980s. As far as I was concerned, Leonard was the sport of boxing in that decade. When he first retired in ’82, I stopped following the sport. (Sure, I took notice when Hector Camacho fought on network TV or when Hagler battled Duran and Hearns, but I wasn’t eating and sleeping the Sweet Science for most of the ’80s). When Leonard announced that he would return to challenge Hagler, I started buying boxing magazines again (and in doing so, I became aware a new generation of talent, such as Mike Tyson, Michael Nunn and Pernell Whitaker). I was a fan again when Leonard upset Hagler in ’87 and I had developed into a hardcore follower by the time he had his rematch with Hearns in ’89.
The wonderful thing about the best fighters of the ’80s is that they usually made for great fights (Leonard-Duran I, Leonard-Hearns I, Pryor-Arguello I, Ramirez-Rosario, Hagler-Hearns, Hagler-Leonard, Duran-Barkley). It was a given that the best would face the best. I don’t remember talking to my friends about fights not happening. I don’t remember discussing how much money the fighters made prior to their fights. We only talked about the fighters, and sometimes their trainers. We didn’t care who promoted them. We didn’t know who managed or advised them.
The only time I heard about steroids in sports was when Saturday Night Live‘s fake news anchors poked fun at East Germany’s Olympic women’s swim team. PEDs didn’t exist in boxing. It was a simpler – and better – time for the sport.
Email Doug Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer