Dougie’s Friday mailbag
CRUNCH ACTION: 168-175
Looks like we’re getting some really serious crunch-action heating up in the 168-175 divisions with The Viking Warrior going medieval all over Allan Green’s sorry ass, the upcoming Lucian Bute-Carl Froch fight and the Andre Ward-Chad Dawson fight just down at the end of the street.
Let’s start with Kessler. Holy s__t! Green almost literally lost his frigging head! Where was that big battle-ax of a left hook in Kessler’s previous fights? Imagine if that shot landed on Joe Calzaghe’s chin? Now that The Viking Warrior just armed himself with Thor’s Hammer and that he’s hopefully over his losses to Calzaghe and Ward it will interesting to see how far he goes regardless of which division he chooses to stay at. Of course he’ll have to tighten his defense a bit and strengthen his midsection. Aside from that he should be able to kick some serious ass. Kessler vs. Tavoris Cloud/ Jean Pascal anyone?
Bute-Froch: I know I’m with the clear minority here but I’m predicting Bute to be the first fighter to take Froch down and keep him there. Yes I know that Froch has fought superior opposition and is fighting in his own backyard. But I also strongly know that Bute is still the better fighter. And Froch is probably still licking his wounds he sustained from Ward. Take my word for it. Bute will out-box Froch and then scorch the Brit’s midsection with his trademark body-roasting shots. Battered Deep-Fried Froch anyone? Just watch and see.
And after that? Personally I’ll like to see Bute even the score with one-time amateur nemesis Gennady Golovkin. Hey, he punches just as hard as Golovkin and he’s clearly more skilled than the crude Kazakhstan fighter who by the way, needed 10 rounds to beat up a much smaller, used-up Kassim Ouma. Your thoughts here?
Ward-Dawson: Some fans are already bracing themselves and plugging their noses in case we get a putrid, coma-inducing stinker. And who can blame them, especially with the stench of the Dawson-Hopkins “fights” still lingering. Nevertheless, while we’re not going to get Hagler-Hearns level action here I don’t think this bout is something to barf on. Unlike Hopkins, Ward is at the height of his prime and will fight at the kind of pace that Hopkins couldn’t. Anyways I’m predicting Ward to out-box, out-brawl and out-butt the passive Dawson en route to a real commanding UD whether the fight’s at 168 or 175 pounds. It doesn’t matter.
And speaking of Ward, any chance of him bringing his skill, toughness and granite-hard forehead up to the 175-pound division? As you said, the 175 pound champion and titlists don’t want to face each other for some lame-ass reason and we need someone to shake up the whole thing and Ward should be that guy. Especially since he’s probably the best fighter over 160 and under 175 and he’ll fight anyone. Come to think of it Bute will be a real welcome addition.
Well that’s the hot-buzz for this week. Have a good one! – Todd The Terminator
I will, Todd. I’m looking forward to Bute-Froch and I don’t think it will disappoint.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Bute suddenly turned Froch’s lights out with one of those wicked left uppercuts to the chin or the body. The Cobra is a card-carrying tough guy but he’s not invulnerable. He’s been buzzed, rocked and dropped by lesser punchers than your boy.
However, Froch’s heart and determination are really special. I wouldn’t be surprised if he survived Bute’s best in the first half of the fight and wore the Romanian southpaw down to a late stoppage. Bute’s no Jake LaMotta in the chin department, especially when he’s running out of gas late in a fight.
I think Froch is going to pull it out down the stretch and win a decision that might be disputed in some corners of the boxing world, but we’ll see what happens soon enough.
Whatever happens on Saturday, I’d like to see the winner take on Kessler next. If it’s Froch we’ll get a replay of their excellent first fight only with more intensity because I think Kessler has more confidence now than he did immediately after losing to Ward. If it’s Bute fans will be treated to a clash of two of the most dangerous left hands in the division.
If the Viking Warrior wants to stay at light heavyweight sign me up for Cloud-Kessler. I’d buy tickets to watch that fight.
I’d buy tickets for Bute-Golovkin, too, and I’d put my money on “Superman,” who would be a HUGE underdog. Golovkin blasted Bute in the amateurs, he can do it in the pro ranks with the smaller gloves (and don’t think that Lucian isn’t aware of that fact). Golovkin is more mature and craftier than he was when they first fight. And he’s still got the “one-hitter quitter.”
Yeah, Ouma lasted 10 rounds (though the plug should have been pulled in the eighth or ninth), but you and I could gang up on Kassim with aluminum bats and he’d just laugh at us. Ouma is crazy tough. (He must have been high when he suffered that first-round TKO all those years ago.)
I’m not excited about Ward-Dawson but I’ll watch with interest and hope for the best in terms of sustained action. I slightly favor Ward, especially now that it’s clear that Bad Chad will come down in weight.
HOMETOWN DECISION RANT
Been having a read through the predictions for this weekend’s fight between Froch and Bute, and I’ve just got to get something off my chest. I’m so damn fed up of hearing about ‘home town decisions’!! It appears that the majority of the panel questioned about the outcome of this fight think that if Froch wins it will be because “he has that enormous crowd support that will make noise every time he does something well. That could help swing enough close rounds in his favor to earn the nod.” (Lee Groves) and “the judges will be influenced by the crowd’s support of Froch” (Douglas Fischer!). Maybe I’m getting unnecessarily uptight about this, but I’ve had enough of hearing about fights that are won or lost because someone is or isn’t fighting at ‘home’.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that home advantage is a big factor. It must lift the home town fighter considerably to have that support and it must be scary as s__t for the away fighter entering the lion’s den (and for Bute, perhaps even more so). So I understand that psychologically it plays a big part. But my point is, why the flip should this affect the judges’ decisions on who wins rounds?! These guys are professionals (supposedly) who are paid to judge fairly on who wins a round, regardless of the noise the crowd makes or who is fighting in their own backyard. It shouldn’t matter if the crowd is loud or cheering, it shouldn’t matter who holds a belt, it damn sure shouldn’t matter who got the advantage of fighting at ‘home’!!
Honestly Doug, it’s bloody grates on me! No wonder we don’t see a lot of the fights we want to when this sort of s__t goes down and everybody harps on about it like “It’s ok we saw that BS decision, he was fighting in his own town/state/country/continent! How many times do we hear about dodgy decisions and judges being influenced by this, especially in certain locations? It’s just wrong and really damages the sport.
Rant over! I’m really looking forward to Froch Vs Bute, should be a great match up but unfortunately I see Froch getting outboxed again, although much closer than the Ward fight.
Last time I wrote in I was a little down about our British fighters, but I’m hyped again with Kell Brook, Scott Quigg, Billy-Jo Saunders and David Price nearing greatness. Talking of Price, I think this guy is going to be world-class very soon. His jab, his power, his stature and also his class outside of the ring make him a fantastic prospect. How do you think he would do against some of the US heavyweights like Seth Mitchell and Chris Arreola? How’s about Price fights Mitchell in 12-18 months time for an eliminator to fight Wladimir? A battle of the UK Vs US heavyweight prospects? I’m sorry, but your boy would not stand a chance….
Interested to hear your thoughts on all of the above, my Monday and Friday morning cups of tea reading your mailbag are much enjoyed! – CJ, UK
I meant no disrespect to Froch with my prediction in Lem Satterfield’s “expert” poll. Froch has more than earned my admiration with his tough schedule over the past three or four years. I think he will upset Bute tomorrow and I sincerely hope that he does not need the “help” of the judges to do so.
However, the judges are often influenced by the reaction a crowd has to certain action that takes place in the ring. I know they’re professionals but they are human beings first, and people feed on each other’s energy and enthusiasm. It’s happened to me when scoring fights from press row.
And I’ve seen too many hometown decisions not to mention hometown or home-country advantage when I analyze a fight. How much home cooking have we seen in just the past 12 months? Devon Alexander over Lucas Matthysse, Paul Williams over Erislandy Lara, Felix Sturm over Matthew Macklin (as well as the draw with Martin Murray), Cloud over Gabriel Campillo, Brandon Rios over Richard Abril, and those awful scorecards (which favored JuanMa Lopez) at the time of the stoppage in the Orlando Salido rematch.
Hey, the last time Froch fought in Nottingham, I thought he was lucky to get the decision over Andre Dirrell. I didn’t call it a “robbery” because I did not think Dirrell dominated that fight, but I do believe the American did enough to outpoint Froch.
We’ll see if Bute can do it tomorrow night.
I’d slightly favor Arreola over Price if they fought next month, but in 12-18 months I would probably pick the British champ to beat both Arreola and Mitchell.
Thanks for reading the mailbags, CJ, and feel free to rant whenever the mood hits you (Todd does it all the time).
THE WORLDWIDE MAILBAG
I haven’t connected with you since the Cotto-Mayweather fight. Nothing grand or too long winded. Just several questions:
1. Concerning your mailbag, I noticed that along with all those e-mails you receive from this part of the globe you also have been getting all these other letters from Britain, Denmark, Australia, Japan and even Egypt. Whew. Do you actually read all of them for the most part? How do you squeeze in the time? Or do you simply pick a bunch here and there at random and then do your breaking-down process from there which is actually my guess. Anyways, just curious.
2. As much as I, like most fans, am turned off with this drug thing concerning Andre Berto, I’m still happy to see that the show will still carry on. Anyways, I’m predicting the Matthysse-Humberto Soto fight to be the show stealer. Actually, why don’t they just make that fight the main event? As for Chris Arreola’s to-be-announced opponent any chances of that guy actually being a top ten contender? Someone like Alexander Povetkin who really needs to accelerate right now. Arreola-Seth Mitchell would be good, too.
3. You repeatedly have mentioned Sergio Martinez-Floyd Mayweather and Martinez really wants that fight or a bout with Manny Pacquiao instead. But we all know neither fight will happen. So why won’t Martinez challenge himself against someone like Andre Ward or the Carl Froch-Lucien Bute winner? It’s not like Martinez has anyone currently in the 154 pound or 160 pound divisions who can seriously challenge him. Why won’t he himself just fight a non-title bout here and there against a top notch 168-pounder?
4. The biggie. Who wins this Mexico-Puerto Rico mythical bout between Pipino Cuevas and Felix Trinidad?
Well, that does it for me, Doug. Thanks. – Phil Maynard
Thanks for writing, Phil. I’ll answer your questions in order:
1. I’m humbled by the amount of boxing fan emails I receive on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis, and I’m inspired by many different regions of the world the questions, statements, rants and complaints come from. It’s a constant reminder of how special boxing is to people around the world and how tight-knit the international community of fight fans truly is. Many years ago I read and replied to every email I received but that became impossible after a couple years. I try to read most of the emails but I probably only get around to 60 percent of them. The ones I answer are the ones that are selected for the mailbag column, which is done here and there during the day (and night) over the course of the week (and I don’t respond to them directly, I do so once the emails are in the document that I post). In case you were wondering, I have more than 100,000 emails in my Yahoo! Inbox (dating back to 2004); a little over 40,000 are unread and at least HALF of those are emails from boxing fans. I’m sure I’ll get around to reading them all one dayÔÇª
2. Matthysse-Soto may very well steal the show. It isn’t the main event because Ortiz is more popular than both in the U.S. (and the network televising the card, Showtime, has more interest in him). He also lives in Southern California, as does his new opponent, Josesito Lopez, which makes their fight more suitable to headline a card at Staples Center in L.A. There’s close to no chance that Arreola will be in with a top 10 or even top 20 contender. This is just a stay busy fight until he can land a shot at Povetkin or one of the K-brothers later this year or early next year. If Arreola were fighting Povetkin or a Klitschko that fight would definitely merit top billing.
3. Why won’t the middleweight champ fight a top 168 pounder in a non-title bout? That’s a question for Martinez, his manager Sampson Lewkowicz and his promoter Lou DiBella. My guess is that they’d rather stage a “super fight” with Mayweather or Cotto where Martinez will have the decided size and strength advantages. However, I disagree that he lacks challenges at 160 pounds. I think Felix Sturm, Daniel Geale and Golovkin can give the RING champ a fight.
4. Wow. That’s the best Mexico vs. Puerto Rico mythical matchup I’ve ever been given. It’s a toss-up fight. Both warriors possessed the power to end the fight with a single punch. I’m gonna go with Tito via up-from-the canvas mid-rounds KO. I think his height and reach would have enabled him to get to Cuevas more than Cuevas would reach him.
FROM STOCKHOLM WITH LOVE
Thanks for letting us fans have a forum for questions and discussions, there aren┬┤t that many. I have a few questions and sine I am the only boxing fan in Sweden (almost) I hope for you response:
1. Am I the only one who think Ortiz vs. Amir Khan would be a great bout between two young fighters?
2. How come Ortiz isn┬┤t at the Jr. Welterweight top 10? I can┬┤t say he is my favorite fighter but if both Marcos Maidana and Mike Alvarado are on the list shouldn’t Ortiz be as well?
3. What are your opinions on Takashi Uchiyama and Toshiaki Nishioka? I have not seen them fight but they have both beaten some great fighters and they are both ranked as number one. Do you think we will ever see them in the US and doing big fights against Broner, Gamboa, Rigondeaux and Donaire? And if not, for how long will they be ranked as number 1 in the Ring Ratings?
4. Will Lamont Peterson keep his ranking now that he tested positive for synthetic testosterone? What are your guidelines?
5. When do you think Brandon Rios will be among the junior welterweight top 10 and why is he fighting Mauricio Herrera instead of Alvarado (who won against Herrera) or at least Maidana?
Best. – Stefan von Ajkay, Stockholm, Sweden
Thanks for writing, Stefan. I’ll answer your questions in order:
1. You’re not alone in your opinion of a potential Ortiz-Khan matchup. I’ve considered that fight a potential scorcher awhile now. Khan’s speed, rangy combo punching and mobility would trouble Ortiz, but the southpaw’s size, power and athleticism would make him a threat in every round.
2. Ortiz isn’t in our 140-pound rankings because he’s rated at welterweight (No. 3). He moved up to the 147-pound division when he challenged Andre Berto last April, remember?
3. I’ve seen both Uchiyama (our No. 1-rated jr. lightweight) and Nishioka (our No. 1-rated jr. featherweight) fight and I can confidently report to you that both dudes are talented, skilled badasses. They deserve their top rankings in THE RING’s ratings and they will remain at No. 1 until they lose, look like crap in a fight, decide to campaign at a different weight, or the guys rated under them accomplish enough to bump them from their perch. I don’t know about Uchiyama, but Nishioka has fought outside of Japan before (vs. two respected Mexican veterans Jhonny Gonzalez and Rafael Marquez), so I wouldn’t be shocked to see him fight a top dog in the U.S. (or Mexico) in the near future. I hope Nishioka serves as a role model for young Japanese standouts and we see more venture of the island in search of challenges.
4. We don’t have any set guidelines for dealing with ranked fighters who fail drug tests. This is something that will be discussed among the Ratings Panel. We probably won’t make any decision on Peterson’s ranking until after his hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission next month.
5. How soon Rios breaks into our 140-pound rankings depends on his performance against Herrera. He’s not fighting Alvarado or Maidana next because his handlers don’t want to throw him in too deep in his first bout against a bona-fide junior welterweight. Plus, they probably want to build up his eventual showdown with Alvarado a little more before going for it. (Maidana is an unlikely future opponent now that both are trained by Roberto Garcia.)
COMIC BOOKS & BOXING
I know you like comic books so I’m wondering if you’re as excited about the upcoming series of Watchmen prequel books as I am. I’m old enough to have bought the original issues as a teenager when they came out in 1986 and 1987, and I’m very excited about this controversial move by DC. I was also a huge fan of the Watchmen movie which brings me to my next question. Is it just me or was the Avengers movie extremely overrated and not all that? I mean, it was OK, but shouldn’t Thor have been a little bigger and more muscular, and what was up with that awful cape he was wearing? The whole thing struck me as dumb.
And just so this fits into the category of a boxing letter to the editor, what is the best boxing related story you ever read in a comic book? Something from Daredevil, maybe? Thanks. – Jeff from KO Digest
Nah, I was never much into the “Battling” Jack Murdock boxing stories that were sometimes weaved into Daredevil’s flashbacks about his father (even when Frank Miller was writing and drawing the series). My favorite boxing-related comic book story is in Marvel Two-In-One Annual No. 7 staring the ever-lovin’ Thing (and most of Marvel’s strongest heroes, such as Hulk, Thor, Colossus, Sasquatch, Wonder Man, Doc Sampson and Namor).
The corny story goes like this: An ultra-powerful being from outer space who calls himself The Champion journeys to earth to challenge its mightiest heroes. This elder of the universe, who says he is the living spirit of competition (and happens to be bulked up and ripped like a cosmic pro wrestler) wants to test the planet’s mettle with a series of boxing matches. If earth’s heroes aren’t up to snuff he says he’ll annihilate our world.
The story features an alien fight promoter who gathers up all the bruisers like Thing and Hulk (via teleportation), and there are even training scenes as before the get in the ring with The Champion, who supposedly has crushed the best fighters of a 1000 worlds within a round. Anyway, The Champion beats everyone (except for Thor and Hulk, who were disqualified for not fighting under boxing rules) until only Thing is left. Ben Grimm takes an awful beating for three rounds but refuses to quit even though he’s a crawling, bloody mess. This moves The Champion, who basically declares Grimm the winner and leaves earth in peace.
I am such a hopeless nerd for going through this whole synopsis. This obviously wasn’t the “best” boxing story ever written for comics but it’s my favorite. (What can I say, I’m a Bronze Age kid and I like comics that are fun.)
Speaking of fun, I FINALLY saw The Avengers and enjoyed myself for most of the flick. I agree with you that it’s overrated. It definitely wasn’t the best comic book movie I’ve seen (I’d rate it behind the first two Superman movies, The Dark Knight, the first two X-Men movies, Hellboy I and II, and maybe even Sin City), but it was worth the price of admission.
I wasn’t into the beginning set up but my interest peaked when the key characters were finally united on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier (and not getting along). I enjoyed most of the dialogue and I thought all of the main actors were well cast (except for maybe Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow). I thought Mark Ruffalo was good as David Banner, and I liked the version of the Hulk that was based on his facial features and mannerisms. (I loved the scene where pummels Loki like a rag doll.) I didn’t even notice Thor’s cape.
The final battle with the aliens in New York City was breathtaking but a little over the top for my taste. Too much CGI makes me feel like I’m watching someone play a video game or an animated feature (which much of this film was). Had I watched the 3-D version it probably would have given me a headache. But I’m getting old. I’m sure that extended battle scene with all the gratuitous explosions and violence was as exciting to today’s over-stimulated kids and teenagers as the city showdown between Superman and General Zod’s cronies in Superman II was for me back in 1980.
(By the way, Jack O’Halloran, who played the 7-foot mute thug in Zod’s crew, is a former California state heavyweight champ who fought in the 1960s and ’70s, and faced George Foreman and Ken Norton among other contenders of that era.)
Email Dougie at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer