Dougie’s Monday mailbag
THE SAVAGE SCIENCE
I lifted that title from your international broadcast. The John Molina-Lucas Matthysse fight was thrilling for six or seven rounds but for the last few rounds it was a massacre.
If you watch it back, John Molina landed nothing of note for those last few rounds and took a lot of unnecessary damage. His corner should have saved him rather than send him out on his shield. Yes Molina showed himself capable of hurting Matthysse, but for me that wasn't a good enough reason to allow him to continue for so long in what had become an extremely one sided fight. I love a slugfest as much as anybody but was really hoping for Molina to be saved for another day as these Gatti-like gladiators, thrilling as they are, need to be looked after.
Next weekend, how do you think Amir Khan-Luis Collazo will go? I think it's an extremely dangerous fight for Khan who seems to have regressed under Virgil Hunter. This seems to be Collazo’s last big chance, and on a huge PPV stage and with solid momentum behind him. You wonder with the inactivity, disappointment of missing out on Floyd Mayweather and rumoured domestic issues, will Khan really have had the preparation he needs for a strong fully fledged welter like Collazo? I don't think so and I think this has Collazo by KO written all over it. – JS
I don’t know if Collazo will score the KO but I favor him to win the most competitive bout on “The Moment” pay-per-view card. When Khan-Collazo was announced, I wasn’t sure who had the advantage, which is the mark of a good matchup on paper. Khan usually performs well against boxers, including southpaws (such as Zab Judah and Paul McCloskey); however, Collazo has been active and seems to be sitting down on his punches more (as evidenced by his blowout of Victor Ortiz).
Khan’s got advantages in youth, speed, and maybe even power, but like you noted, I think his mental ups and downs from the Mayweather negotiations and his inactivity (he hasn’t fought since going life and death with Julio Diaz last April) will throw him off in this fight with Collazo, who is more focused than ever.
I agree in part with your opinion of the Molina fight. I think the fight should have ended after Round 10, but I don’t blame Molina’s trainer Joe Goossen for sending him out to do battle up until that round.
Molina was up 58-55 after six rounds on my card and he proved that he could hurt Matthysse (not just with the knockdowns scored in Rounds 2 and 5, but by clearly buzzing “The Machine” in Rounds 1 and 6). Matthysse came on strong and took over the bout the way we’d expect an elite fighter to do but Molina was fighting back and he was still dangerous.
And most importantly, he was alert and game between rounds. This wasn’t like the Mike Perez-Muhammad Abdusalemov fight where the guy taking the most punches seemed lost and hesitant before to rejoin the battle before the start of each round.
During the international broadcast, I almost stated that the fight should be stopped during the break between Rounds 10 and 11, but then Goossen got into it with the ringside physician and I wanted the audio of their spat to be heard. I realized that Goossen, being the vet that he is, was buying extra time for his fighter (in California, the clock between rounds is stopped when the doctor examines the boxer). So even though I was pretty sure Molina was done – he had clearly lost Rounds 7-10 – I wanted to see if he could recover enough for one last stand.
I admit that I was having some flashbacks to Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo I (and if you recall, Goossen bought the late Chico some extra seconds after each knockdown in Round 10 by taking his time with washing off the mouthpiece that Corrales had spat out), but Matthysse wasn’t having any of that. He closed the show, and what a show it was.
I agree that officials need to pay special attention to do-or-die warriors like Molina, but I think Covina, Calif. native is OK despite the punishment he took on Saturday. Check out how sharp and articulate he is during these post-fight interviews courtesy of RingTV’s Daniel Morales and Dominic Verdin (which includes Goossen's take on the fight).
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THE THURMANATOR AND FIGUEROA
Love the mailbag. I only started reading it about a year ago, but I have literally spent hours tracking down and reading every mailbag ever written. Anyway, down to business. I have to say I was somewhat surprised at the outcomes of this weekend's fights – well, not the outcomes, but the fights themselves. I'm sure the Matthysse-Molina fight is gonna be discussed to no end, so here's a few quick questions on just two of the others.
First, I don't think anyone expected Keith Thurman to lose against Julio Diaz, but the rib injury thing sucked. I was really hoping to see my favourite up-and-comer get a half-decent challenge. Thurman said something about fighting Shawn Porter afterwards, who's clearly a hot fighter right now. Do you think a fight with Porter would be realistic after the mandatory defense against Kell Brook, either in monetary or boxing terms? Do you really think anyone can stand against the Thurminator at welterweight? Cause I sure don't. How long do you think it will be before we see guys like Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, etc. take him on?
Second, can you give us your honest opinion on Omar Figueroa Jr.? Is he really just all hype? He really hasn't faced any top guy yet, but it seems like every time he has to face an even slightly decent opponent, he struggles to win. I mean Nihito Arakawa got smacked around in his next fight and Jerry Belmontes was never really supposed to stand a chance. Am I overreacting to a couple of bad fights, or is he just a lot more hype than fighter? And just to be clear, this is in no way meant to take anything away from Arakawa, who I thought was simply inhuman that night against Figueroa.
Finally, I know it's a while away, but how do you think the Porter vs Brook matchup will turn out? I haven't seen Brook fight yet, but I'm planning to watch a few Youtube videos of him in the next week or so. Porter looks crazy good right now, but I don't really know anything about Brook so I can't count him out. Yeah. Anyway, hope I make it in this week. – Abs, Cape Town, South Africa
As regular readers of the mailbag know, I’ve been high on Brook for some time. As good as Porter has looked his last two fights, I think Brook will give the current IBF titleholder his hardest fight since the draw with Diaz.
Brook is almost as tricky as Devon Alexander and Paul Malignaggi but unlike those two veterans, he’s a natural 147 pounder with athletic talent that matches Porter’s ring prowess. Porter is physically stronger, but Brook is faster and more fluid. Both guys can crack, which should add to the matchup. I slightly favor Porter by decision, especially if the bout takes place in the U.S.
Figueroa is basically a prospect who has a major title belt. He’s still learning. His mettle was tested by Arakawa and I think he passed that test with flying colors, battling a fellow warrior for 12 rounds with injured hands. Against Belmontes, Figueroa was tested in a different manner. He was tested in a tactical and technical sense, and he didn’t do so well. I thought he lost the fight. I scored it 116-113 or 7-4-1 in rounds for Belmontes. The only clear rounds I scored for Figueroa were Rounds 5 and 6, when he soundly outworked the superior boxer. I also scored Rounds 8 and 12 for the defending WBC beltholder. I had Round 9 even. I thought Rounds 10 and 11 were close (simply because Belmontes wasn’t letting his hands go enough), so I can see Figueroa winning the fight (seven rounds to five) if Rounds 9, 10 and 11 went his way. But David Mendoza’s 118-110 tally for Figueroa is a disgrace. That’s total bulls__t.
As for Figueroa and his future, he may get better. I’m sure there was much to learn from during the 24 rounds he’s gone with Arakawa and Belmontes. However, right now, I view him as tough but limited slugger. I think fellow lightweight beltholders Miguel Vazquez, Terence Crawford and Richard Abril would toy with him en route to one-sided decision victories (provided Mendoza isn’t judging those fights). I also think Jorge Linares, the guy who just dominated Arakawa, would also outclass Figueroa.
I agree the ending to the Thurman-Diaz fight was a bit of buzzkill but I know Diaz wouldn’t stay on his stool unless he was really hurt and I have no desire to see a proud veteran like Julio get decapitated by a vicious punching young gun like Thurman. Plus, it’s not like fans didn’t get their fill of action on Saturday. Matthysse-Molina has satiated my blood lust for the rest of the week (it will be back in time for Stiverne-Arreola II).
If Porter beats Brook and Thurman wins another fight against a credible opponent, say in July or August, I think a Porter-Thurman showdown is very realistic and viable for November or December of this year and I think the winner is a prime candidate for Mayweather’s first opponent of 2015.
I think Porter has the tools to beat Thurman but I’ll never count out my bi-racial brotha.
As for Thurman facing the junior middleweight likes of Canelo and Lara, I doubt we’ll see those matchups any time soon. Thurman weighed 145.5 pounds for the Diaz fight. I don’t see a guy struggling to make welterweight, so why go up to the 154-pound division when more matchups and money exist at 147 pounds?
That was not the case with Klitschko or with Jones when they faced their underdog opponents 10 years ago. Klitschko was just two fights removed from being KTFO against the late Corrie Sanders when he faced a highly motivated (by the death of his original trainer Bill Slayton) Brewster. Psychologically, Wladdy was still fighting demons of doubt in his head (plus, he was getting used to a brand new trainer, the late, great Emanuel Steward).
I’m not one to make excuses for Jones, but he clearly depleted himself by bulking up to the rock solid 193-200 pounds he built himself up to challenge and beat John Ruiz and then losing that weight to make the light heavyweight division limit of 175 pound for his showdown with Tarver.
Mayweather hasn’t suffered a recent KO loss and he hasn’t dropped a ridiculous amount of muscle mass going into May 3. Take it from the one guy in the boxing media who had “Brewster Fever” and who maintained that the almighty RJJ was “human,” Maidana has NO shot against Mayweather on Saturday.
Watch this video interview with Floyd Mayweather Sr. by my pal “the G-Man” Ron Gerrard. It’s the most honest analysis this matchup that I’ve seen.
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MATTHYSSE THE MATADOR
I was on my feet for the last four rounds of Matthysse-Molina. All I can say is wow! Does any other fight so far rival this one for fight of the year? Matthyse had so hard a time against the Wild Bull of Covina 'cause you gotta be in and out against him or you're liable to get caught and go down (as The Machine did) from those looping, clubbing "swoops," which are so liable to catch you (ref. unseen) in the back of the noggin. Molina probably wouldn't lay a glove on a guy like Thurman who picks his shots and is in and out in a flash. You agree?
Speaking of whom, Mayweather goes nowhere near Thurman, trust me. Too fast, aggressive and powerful. But how do you see that one playing out if it were to happen tomorrow?
Where do you see Matthysse going from here?
All roads lead to Canastota in early June for IBHOF Induction Weekend 2014, 25th anniversary of IBHOF. Spoke to Michael Rosenthal there last summer and he felt confident you'd be there this year. C'mon, you gotta make it this year what with your big boss, Oscar, being inducted!
Calzaghe vs. Toney at super middleweight
Monzon vs. Hearns at middleweight
Jerry Quarry vs. Tommy Morrison
Thurminator vs. Sturminator at 154 (just had a good sounding ring to it)
Dougie vs. Max Kellerman in a series of boxing history trivia lightning rounds
Triple T vs. Jim Bagg in a mock, fanciful rant too see who can pen the most annoying Dougie bitch, whiner mailbag entry
Peace. – Dirk, Raleigh, N.C.
Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts, Dirk.
Matthysse-Molina is definitely the frontrunner for Fight-of-the-Year so far in my book. I was dizzy and light headed just trying to keep up with the action on the international call by the seventh round of the slugfest.
Where does Matthysse go from here? Probably to a WBC title-elimination bout against Viktor Postal or Selcuk Aydin (which could be for the vacant green belt if Danny Garcia moves up to welterweight). I can see Matthysse moving up to welterweight, too. He rehydrated from 140 pounds to 157 pounds on Saturday. A rematch with Garcia could happen at 140 or 147, and a showdown with countryman Maidana would be welcomed by most of the boxing world.
I agree that Thurman would have an easier time with Molina than Matthysse did due to his size, style and athletic attributes (though not necessarily an “easy” time).
If Mayweather fought Thurman tomorrow I think he would outclass the 25-year-old standout by boxing an extra-careful fight, but I would give the Thurmanator more of a shot of upsetting the pound-for-pound king than I give Maidana of doing so this Saturday.
I’m still debating making the trip to New York for Cotto-Martinez and IBHOF induction weekend.
Calzaghe vs. Toney at super middleweight – Calzaghe by close decision
Monzon vs. Hearns at middleweight – Monzon by late TKO
Jerry Quarry vs. Tommy Morrison – Quarry by early KO
Thurminator vs. Sturminator at 154 – Thurman takes out a weight-drained Sturm by the seventh or eighth round
Dougie vs. Max Kellerman – I have no idea. I know that Kellerman knows enough for me not to assume that I would beat him.
Triple T vs. Jim Bagg – The Baggerooni. Triple T may annoy people but he doesn’t do much whining…
WTF IS GOING ON WITH THE KLITSCHKOS?
OMG!!! Dougie, I am in dire need of your perspective on WTF is going on with the Klitschkos.
I have always tried to respect the both of them. These behemoths of the boxing world have enough guts, discipline and never seem to do anything wrong. They don’t go around assaulting people in strip clubs. They are as correct as you can be in handling the media. Hell, when somebody spits in their face they just look them in the eye and wait for the fight in the ring. And still Wladimir somehow lost my goodwill last Saturday. How did he do it?
From the start I knew Alex Leapai would be no match for the champion who seemed to carry him for a few rounds. And Leapai was a mandatory challenger for the WBO. Can’t complain here. But neither Leapai or his corner seemed to have a plan. As soon as the first solid jab hit Alex in the face it was all gone for sure. Don’t you think his corner was more overwhelmed with the occasion than the fighter?
Concerning the show around it: a tasteless stunt to get Vitali elected in the upcoming elections in the Ukraine! Don’t you think the heavyweight title should be free of politics in this time where our sport is more globalized them ever before?
And I got really sick of a bunch of f__k ups trying to sell themselves on the public. Shannon Briggs and Manuel Charr were constantly messing with the show. I sure hope these two suckers are not the next sacrificial lambs on the Klitschko schedule?
Speaking of a schedule. I think that if Klitschko really wants to be talked about along the lines of Larry Holmes, Joe Louis or any historical record holders in boxing’s history this should be his next three fights:
1) Kubrat Pulev who will give him trouble with his movement and jab. Pulev won’t be charging in. That could make Wladdy very uncomfortable. Is it enough to win?
2) Tyson Fury, one of the few people who is crazy enough to fight harder after a Klitschko jab hits him. And if Fury hits the champ? Goodnight! (My advice to Fury would be to go for the body first)
3) Deontay Wilder, the overprotected challenger could be too fast and surely hits too hard for the champ. But can he take Klitschko’s punches?
Well Doug, I’d really like to know your perspective. Regards. – Bart Plaatje, Groningen, Holland.
Hey Bart. Thanks for sharing. I’m happy to give you my perspective on the Klitschkos.
I have the utmost respect for both men because of their ring excellence, their longevity, their philanthropy, their higher educational backgrounds, their business acumen and the fact that both are true gentlemen. I think both are hall of fame worthy. Vitali’s dedication to the betterment of his country through politics makes him a hero in my eyes.
I’m not a fan of Wladimir’s style, but it certainly works for him, doesn’t it?
Leapai could have had the ghosts of Jack Blackburn, Ray Arcel and Eddie Futch working his corner on Saturday and he still woulda got KTFO by Wladdy.
The politics around the show didn’t bother me at all. Politics and boxing have always gone hand-in-hand, especially when the heavyweight championship is involved. The heavyweight championship lineage is intertwined with world history and the significant events and politics of every major era, from the reigns of Jack Johnson to Jack Dempsey to Joe Louis to Muhammad Ali.
I agree that Briggs and Charr were annoying. If Klitschko fights either man, he deserves the backlash he will receive. However, I don’t think he will. Pulev is his next mandatory challenger and I think the undefeated Bulgarian is a worthy challenger.
I think Pulev’s style will give Klitschko some problems and make for a technically competitive fight but I don’t think he can physically threaten the champ. I favor Klitschko by decision in a very tactical (and boring) fight.
I like Fury a lot. I think he’s good for boxing and great for the heavyweight division, but I believe that he’d make Klitschko look like a 245-pound Thomas Hearns.
Wilder is the one guy I’d give the proverbial “puncher’s chance” of upsetting Klitschko, but we all know that’s another way of saying the Great African-American Hope has to get lucky. And here’s a two things you have to keep in mind regarding this future matchup:
1) Wilder’s never been past four rounds and Klitschko, who’s fought 10 rounds or more 11 times, is very good at keeping opponents at bay and tying them up when they get too close. Wladdy can take the Bronze Bomber into the later rounds and drown him there.
2) They’ve sparred, so Klitschko – who, like his big bro, is a freakin' sponge when it comes to learning from gym experiences – has a good idea of Wilder’s style, strengths and weaknesses. And don’t think for one second that he wasn’t taking lots of notes on his potential future foe when they were sparring in 2012. Look at this photo of Wladdy celebrating Wilder’s 27th birthday during his camp for Mariusz Wach. He’s having fun in the pic, but the look in his eyes and the way he’s holding that cake knife is like he’s saying “When the time is right, I’m gonna devour this guy in the ring the way we’re about to eat this cake.”
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer