Dougie’s Monday mailbag
LUCIAN BOOTAY AND THE HUMAN FORKLIFT
Mike Perez seemed to be in another place tonight, understandably so. The head butt didn't help matters, and I LOVE the plan Carlos Takam came in with. For a guy with a late start, Takam fought like a seasoned veteran and probably deserved the nod. Hopefully, he realizes he belongs at the second tier (for now) and fights like it from now on.
Lucian Bute fought as if Jean Pascal was radioactive or something. He seemed to not want to get too close to the guy. And Pascal played every bit the part of “mutant freak” with his style. The guy looks like he's swinging L-shaped forklift ends from his shoulders, no wonder he tears rotator cuffs all the time. Pascal isn't an easy guy to fight, but I couldn't help but think that Bute had opportunities to step around him and get off if he wasn't gun shy. What does either guy do from here? – JB
If Bute wants to continue fighting (and I seriously question his desire), he needs to drop back down to super middleweight. The light heavyweight division is no place for anybody with confidence issues. Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev would decapitate him. B-Hop would humiliate him.
Hell, I have no doubt that Roy Jones would slap Bute around. A muscle-bound goof with stamina issues put him in check for 11 rounds just by doing a moderately decent Roy Jones imitation.
Bute probably needs a rebuilding period but I think the southpaw has been in the game too long to start over. He should roll the dice by either inviting WBC 168-pound beltholder Sakio Bika to Montreal or by traveling to Germany to challenge the winner of Robert Stieglitz-Arthur Abraham III for the WBO title.
If Bute can get his mind right, I wouldn’t count him out in either fight.
As for Pascal, I’m probably gonna sound like a “hater” but I don’t think he should target the titleholders at 175 pounds. I just don’t think he’s a complete-enough fighter to deal with his Haitian homeboy, the Krusher or even the 49-year-old “Alien.”
However, I do view him as a solid light heavyweight contender – one who just knocked off the most popular boxer in Montreal, where his fan base has probably grown. If were advising him, I’d either have him invite Chad Dawson back to Montreal for a rematch or travel to the UK for a rematch with Carl Froch. I’d also pursue a bout with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Yeah, I know Junior says he can make 168 but who the f__k is he kidding. And I know Andre Ward is hounding Chavez for a PPV bout, but who the f__k is HE kidding? We all know Ward-Chavez would be a rout. However, Pascal-Chavez would be a fight. Pascal would have the athletic advantages but Chavez would be the more consistent fighter (if he elected to press the Montrealer). I think it would be a huge event in Quebec.
Regarding the Perez-Takam fight, I gotta be honest – I didn’t pay much attention to the early rounds of that fight. I thought Perez had the edge in the first four or five rounds due to landing those clean left hands, but I thought he looked sluggish or unmotivated from the opening bell.
Everyone I watched the fight with (longtime boxing observers) figured it was the psychological effect of the career-ending and life-threatening injuries that Magomed Abdusalamov suffered in his last bout. I couldn’t disagree with them.
I started paying closer attention to the fight in the sixth round because that’s when Takam stepped up his aggression and made me take notice. I thought Takam swept rounds six through 10.
I’d like to see Perez or Takam take on the winner of this Saturday’s Bryant Jennings-Artur Szpilka fight.
(By the way, very good title for this email; Capt. Tom was right to give you that Dougie award.)
STEVENSON, KOVALEV THE BEST AT 175
If people didn't know already, the Pascal V Bute fight just reinforced the view that Stevenson and Kovalev are by far the best in the LHW division right now. Maybe the styles just didn't mesh but I wasn't that impressed with either guy. For Bute this was his big opportunity to regain some credibility but his performance was everything his doubters have criticised him for – slow, negative, throwing single punches and lacking in confidence. Pascal wasn't that much better and just seemed to be doing the minimum required to win the fight. I'm sure Canada will be hyped about the prospect of Stevenson V Pascal but the rest of the world wants to see Stevenson V Kovalev. In an ideal world we could just say that we know who the two top dogs in the division are so let’s get it on but we all know boxing politics aren't that simple!
I thought Perez was lucky to get a draw on the undercard. Many people will jump on the band wagon to say he was either mentally or physically scarred from the grueling and tragic events in his previous fight but perhaps he just underestimated Takan? Either way, that wasn't the real Perez in there.
One last question to finish: with the Klitschko era coming to the end do you think there is anyone out there to take their place and can rule the division? Deontay Wilder? Tyson Fury? Maybe this kid Anthony Joshua has the most potential (Larry Holmes really rates him) but it's too early to say and honestly I don't see an outstanding HW out there right now. What do you think? – Mark
If Holmes rates Joshua, I’ll be sure to keep an extra close eye on the 2012 Olympic gold medalist. I like what I’ve seen so far. The young man certainly has the LOOK of a future world-beater. He’s not just the most sculpted boxer I’ve ever seen, he might very well be the most formidable looking human being I’ve ever seen. Seriously, this dude makes the prime versions of Ken Norton and Evander Holyfield look like anemic midgets.
But it’s way too early in his career to know if he has what it takes to one day “rule the division.” Sadly, the same questions I have about Joshua (whether he can take a punch or go the distance in a tough fight) also apply to Wilder, who has 30 fights!
I think Wilder can cold cock any man he hits square, but I gotta seem him duke it out and prevail against a talented boxer-puncher like Bermane Stiverne or an experienced slugger like Chris Arreola before I call him the Heir Apparent.
Wilder vs. Fury would provide fans with a fun promotion and entertaining fight – along with answers to the questions we have about both giants. If the Wilder-Fury winner faced the Stiverne-Arreola winner or Kubrat Pulev we’d get a real No. 1 contender… and a possible future heavyweight king.
But don’t get your hopes up yet. Although it looks like Vitali is trading in his boxing gloves for politics, I think Wladimir could continue to reign into his early 40s.
Perez probably did get lucky against Takam. But after going through what he has in his life, and especially since the Abdusalamov fight, I think the Cuban deserved a break. However, I’m not sure that wasn’t the real Perez we saw on Saturday. I’d seen him fight a few times prior to his war with Magomed, and I was never that impressed with what I saw. Anyway, I’m not writing him off. It’s possible that he did underestimate Takam, who might turn out to be a quality big man. I’m looking forward to watching both men develop this year.
There’s no doubt that Stevenson-Kovalev is the 175-pound showdown to be made. I don’t think many fans outside of Montreal care to see Stevenson torture Pascal, who proved that he’s a better light heavyweight than Bute on Saturday and not much else.
I know that styles make or break fights and it’s not like there have been any past Fights of the Year that involved southpaw technicians vs. herky jerky boxer-punchers, but I still feel like Bute and Pascal could have given more than they did in the ring on Saturday.
Bute did just enough to avoid catching more than one solid shot at a time, and he was able to get away with that “strategy” because Pascal did just enough to avoid punching himself out (and evidently, throwing more than two punches at a time gasses the dude out).
BEST SOUTH AFRICAN HEAVYWEIGHT
The Pascal-Bute fight went almost exactly as I thought. Bute was just too tentative and that allowed Pascal to rack up the rounds with his trademark bursts. But what the hell was that last round about? Pascal just suddenly stood still in front of him and Bute finally let rip. I thought Pascal took a fat chance. If we had the same type of referee like the one in Froch-Groves we could have seen another BS stoppage. Luckily we didn't. Do you believe what he said about wanting to sell a rematch? Good luck with that. Or was it a combination of wanting to create some drama for the crowd and starting to gas out?
He didn't seem interested afterwards in calling out Adonis Stevenson. Do you think that fight will happen and if so, how do you see it playing out? I think Stevenson will have his hands full as Pascal can at least match him for speed and it is very hard to get into any sort of rhythm against him. Still, I think Stevenson will stop him late in a very close affair.
I'm not ready to write off Lucian Bute just yet. The rust finally seemed to come off in the last round as the ghost of Carl Froch seemed to leave him, albeit far too late in the fight. If he has a tune up or two to get the gears running again, perhaps go back down to 168, he might still have another belt in him. What do you think?
What a disappointment Mike Perez was. After the Magomed Abdusalamov fight, I rated him as a hot prospect. The way he put his combinations together reminded me of a young Michael Dokes. Last night he just stank. He seemed to be fighting in slow motion for the first half of the fight. If Carlos Takam let his hands go a round or so earlier he would have won. Did the war against Abdusalamov take something out of Perez, was Takam better than we thought or just the wrong style?
On the subject of heavyweight prospects, what do you think of Amir Mansour? I only saw his last fight, but there are things that I like. He is a bit rough around the edges, but he is tough and can whack. At 42 a building up process is out of the question, but I would love to throw him in there against Deontay Wilder or even Dereck Chisora and see what happens.
Settle an argument that I have between some of my friends for me. Best South African heavyweight: Corrie Sanders or Gerrie Coetzee? History has proven Wladimir Klitschko a far better fighter than Dynamite Dokes, so Sanders' signature win eclipses that of Coetzee. If one looks at their entire body of work though, then Coetzee comes out on top imo. He has wins over Leon Spinks and Knoetze as well on world level, a draw against Pinklon Thomas and we all know he really beat Renaldo Snipes. Sanders really doesn't have any other A level wins than the earth shattering dismantling of Klitschko on his record, therefore I have to go for Coetzee.
Mythical matchup between the two? Neither had granite chins and both could be out of shape at times (I'm convinced Sanders would have beaten Hasim Rahman had he been in better shape and gone on to upset the unfocussed Lennox Lewis that The Rock took advantage of). Both of them could hit also. It is really a question of who gets to whom first. Corrie definitely had the faster hands and Coetzee wasn't a very elusive target with his straight up, backwards and forward moving European style. Therfore I go with Sanders in an action packed mid round stoppage.
Keep up the good work! Regards. – Droeks Malan, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Droeks.
Sanders was a better talent, a better athlete and a bigger, faster, rangier boxer than Coetzee but I think the man with the “Bionic hand” had better stamina, slightly better technique and fundamentals, plus more ring savvy.
Both South Africans were basic 1-2 fighters who were deceptively quick and often used decent jabs to set up their power hands (with Sanders it was the left; with Coetzee it was the right). They were at their best when they blitzed their opposition but I think Coetzee was better at sucking it up and competing in tough extended fights than Sanders was. And although Sanders went 1-1 vs. the Klitschko brothers, I think Coetzee faced the better overall opposition. South Africa may have been a segregated country when Coetzee fought, but he had no problem facing the most talented African-American boxers of the late 1970s and early 1980s (John Tate, Snipes, Pinkie Thomas and Michael Dokes were all unbeaten when he faced them – and win, lose or draw, he competed with them all).
I think Coetzee is the most accomplished South African heavyweight and in a mythical matchup with Sanders I think he would wear the taller southpaw down to a late stoppage in a brutal, bloody battle of attrition.
I agree that Mansour is too old to be considered a prospect or brought along slowly like one, but I think he’s a tough customer who can make for good TV fights against third-tier heavyweights or serve as an opponent for fringe contenders and contenders. He’s very raw and he doesn’t have the best stamina but he’s physically strong and strong willed. I think Wilder would clip him early and Chisora would stop him by the middle rounds.
Regarding the Perez-Takam fight I think it was a combination of things that contributed to “the Rebel’s” letdown performance. I think the Abdusalamov fight took something out of him mentally and physically and I think Takam turned out to be better than anyone expected – including Perez.
I won’t count Bute out from winning another major title at 168 pounds provided he stays FAR away from Ward and Froch.
I don’t think Stevenson-Pascal would be that competitive, but we never know for sure until they step into the ring. That’s why they fight the fights. I think the fight will happen eventually, maybe late this year.
Regarding Pascal-Bute, the fight sort of went the way I thought it would. I thought it would go the distance and I thought Pascal would win but I also thought both men would bring more gusto to the bout. I thought it was going to be a close and entertaining contest. I was wrong about that.
It was entertaining in the final round. Pascal was pummeled in the 12th because he punched himself out in the final seconds of the 11th. He was just being silly when he said he let Bute beat on him to make the fight closer in order to help sell a rematch. He was also being silly when he covered up in the corner and waited for Bute to come over and pound on him.
Pascal’s a silly guy. I guess that’s part of his charm.
COTTO FOUGHT EVERYONE
Damn Cretin to Doug E.:
Thanks for including my E-Mail in the Friday mailbag. You boosted my morale so much I'm going to try make it twice in a row. Got two topics here.
Topic number one is the so-called Battle of Montreal. Not a fight that will make old-timers forget Roberto Duran Vs Sugar Ray Leonard. Still a nice win for Pascal but if he's really headed for another all Montreal Brawl against Stevenson he's going to get wiped out in a few rounds. Even when Pascal was at his best he's had those offensive lapses and has been seriously buzzed by guys like Adrian D., Carl Froch and even Chad Dawson. So what will a guy like Superman do to him? What's even scarier is what Krusher Kovalev would do to him. Or to Bute for that matter. If only Bute had a chin, more stamina, and more gusto to go with his big left hand and his big-league boxing skills. If you were the manager to either Bute or Pascal what would your future plans be for both of them?
Topic number two is regarding Miguel Cotto. Is he really overrated and will he make it to the Hall? He definitely has my vote. Maybe I'm being too charitable here or I'm just dumb cretin who doesn't know jack-s__t. But here's my argument for MC. He's fought EVERYONE. We all know that. He's pounded out some really solid wins over other world champs and titlists like Jab Judah, Shane Mosley, Paulie Maliginaggi, Recardo Torres, Randall Bailey etc. And most of those wins were total beatdowns which proved what a monster MC was. It took a cement-fisted giant named Margarito to break him down and neither Cotto or Marg was the same afterwards. But Cotto being Cotto still moved on to challenge the best version of Manny Pacquiao there ever was. It was a brutal loss for MC but at least in several rounds he gave Pac a tougher fight than Ricky Hatton, Joshua Clottey and Tim Bradley combined. Just like Cotto would later gave Floyd more competition than nearly all of Floyd's other opponents put together.
So I'm not going to rip Cotto for losing the big one. Bona-fide Hall of Famers like Thomas Hearns, Wilfredo Gomez, Edwin Rosario, and Oscar De La Hoya didn't win all their big ones either. Happens when you take on all the baddest dudes around you. Take Rosario. Even though I was just some grade school punk at the time I actually remember Rosario as a guy who would pound you out or get hammered himself but still get in a big shot or two. Kind of like a Puerto Rican Tommy Hearns. That ol' epic '80s battle between Rosario and nemesis Jose Ramerez comes to mind.
And we all know that Mayweather's bound for the hall but would he have won all the big ones if he fought all the dudes that Cotto did? I'm no Mayweather hater but I still wonder about that one myself. And oh yeah, Arturo Gatti got the call for the Hall so as far as I'm concerned Cotto's in regardless of what happens against Sergio Martinez, another world-class guy MC is all so willing to take on.
Thanks Dude. See ya at The Dougies! – Captain Ron
No need to sell me on Miguel Cotto. He’ll get my vote. He’s one of the most accomplished and popular boxers of the 2000s and early 2010s. He’s made an impact on the sport.
You made excellent points about the Puerto Rican star’s merits (even though you gave us the “cretin” spellings of some of his opponents’ names).
I think Bute can enjoy some success if he drops back down to 168 and faces the right opponents, but if I were his manager I would try to talk him into retirement and see if I could get him a sweet gig as a spokesman for Molson Export or LaBatt Blue.
If I were Pascal’s manager I’d make him a “People’s Champ” belt out of dried Play-Doh and Rainbow Loom bracelets and make sure that he stayed away from the real light heavyweight titleholders. I’d suggest that he pursue rematches with Dawson and Froch, but the fight I’d really push for would be a showdown with JC Junior.
I’ll say it again: I think Pascal-Chavez would be a ticket-selling event as well as a competitive and entertaining prize fight. If the fight somehow comes to fruition in 2014 I want full credit for being the first to suggest it (or at least a Dougie award).
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer