Monday, January 30, 2023  |

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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

22
Sep

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WAR IN TIJUANA!

What up Dougie!

What can I say man, I hope you were able to catch the action packed fights tonight, Javier Mendoza vs Ramon Garcia was a perfect example of what effective body work does to a mobile fighter. Garcia was fighting on his heart’s strength. I was surprised his team didn’t stop the fight. Their fighter was getting way too much punishment, and he clearly didn’t have the power to hurt his opponent. I will be looking forward to Mendoza’s next fight.



Now onto Orlando Salido vs Terdsak Kokietgym. I’d say it is a strong FOTY candidate. Salido came out trying to finish his opponent off from the start of the fight until he was hit and dropped not only once but three times throughout the fight. It was an all out war for most of the fight but Salido took over the fight with his non-stop attack and bag of dirty tricks. At the end, Salido was just too strong for the Thai fighter an finished him with the same combination he finished JuanMa Lopez with but this time it was the inverse (hook, uppercut, straight).

I doubt Mikey Garcia defends the full version of the WBO 130-pound title so I would really like to see Salido vs Yuriorkis Gamboa battle it out for it in a rematch that I think is a 50/50 scrap.

Keep the train going man you do an excellent job at it…. (Btw nice piece on Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s place among the greats, that’s all there is to say to that!!!) – Agustin, Mexico City

Thanks for the kind words, Agustin.

I know that Salido made things difficult for Gamboa when they first fought at 126 pounds four years ago, but I think the Cuban is more explosive at 130 pounds than “Siri,” who won’t enjoy his usual post-weigh-in weight advantages on fight night.

Even though Gamby is coming off a stoppage loss, I think the activity against Terence Crawford was good for him and I think he’d be very fast and sharp against the rugged Mexican veteran in a rematch.

However, if he got greedy and tried to take Salido out, I would not be shocked if Gamboa got clipped himself.

Salido is a card-carrying badass who has tested even so-called elite boxers for the past 10 years. Only the prime featherweight version of Juan Manuel Marquez (back in 2004) and Mikey Garcia – two expert technicians/counter-punchers – have completely handled him. (And despite having a seemingly insurmountable lead on the scorecards against Salido last January, Garcia played it smart and safe by opting not to continue after getting his beak busted at the end of Round 8; he and his corner knew that the veteran was going to keep comin’ hard until the final bell.)

That’s why hardcore fans should respect Salido, who has been one of the more reliable action fighters of the past four or five years. Since 2011, he’s had two Fight of the Year candidates with Lopez, a fascinating and fast-paced distance clash of styles with Vasyl Lomachenko, plus must-see TV (or YouTube) extended multiple knock-down shootouts with Weng Haya and Kokietgym.

I agree that Salido-Kokietgym is a Fight of the Year candidate. I knew it would be an action matchup, however long it lasted, but I wasn’t sure how much Kokietgym had left in his tank. Clearly, the Thai veteran had enough to give Salido hell. The fight exceeded expectations because Kokietgym, who used to be a basic slugger backed up by an incredible will and impeccable conditioning, has picked up some ring savvy over the years. He ain’t so basic anymore. The southpaw’s footwork and ring generalship has improved a lot since I witnessed him go toe to toe with JM Marquez before getting KTFO in 2006 (and then get outclassed by Steven Luevano two years later) from ringside; plus he defends much better on the inside than he used to. I was impressed with his block-and-counter ability.

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Salido is what he is: an ultra-rugged pressure-fighting volume/combination-punching body killer. You put an Old School-style Mexican mauler like that in with guy like Kokietgym (“Terdsak” must by Thai for “hard mother f___er”) and you’re gonna get a good scrap.

However, I would still rank the recent IBF/WBO 105-pound unification title between Francisco Rodriguez Jr. and Katsunari Takayama as my Fight of the Year front-runner because it was competitive from start to finish. Salido-Kokietgym and the Matthysse-Molina battle featured power punching and knockdowns, but both fights were only competitive through the first half and then the odds favorites took over.

Mendoza vs. Hirales Garcia was also a good fight for the first half. Then the 23-year-old southpaw took over. I was impressed with Mendoza. He’s a good looking kid, and I’m not talking about his well-manicured goatee and Tony Weeks-inspired fade hairstyle, I’m talking about that relentless, concentrated body attack that you noted. I love it! And I like his ability to defend well behind a high guard as he walks his opponents down. Mendoza’s got a future and I think he’ll join the best division in boxing – the flyweights – in another year or so.

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I have no idea why Garcia’s corner kept him in for the 12-round duration of the IBF 108-pound bout. (You’ll have to ask them.) My guess is that they figured that Mendoza would tire out and that Garcia – a former beltholder and veteran of eight 12-round bouts – would take over late in the fight.

THE CRUISERWEIGHTS

Hi Doug,

I watched a bit of Thabiso Mchunu’s fight against Garrett Wilson and was wondering why the cruisers aren’t on more? Both guys were in great shape and really came to fight. Beats watching Wladimir Klitschko jab some blown-up light heavy to death anyway. I was particularly impressed with Mchunu. For a big stocky guy he moves so well around the ring. The commentary team kept mentioning his slightly unorthodox southpaw approach with his strong hand being his right – can you think of any boxers who have done this? I can only vaguely remember some rumour about Sonny Liston boxing the wrong way round.

I would love to see Mchunu against any of the top cruiserweights. How do you see him vs the title holders going? (Personally I think he’d have the better of Marco Huck and “that Polish one,” but I think Yoan Pablo Hernandez might be asking too much.)

I’ve found myself missing the Super 6. Not only did it systematically rank all the super middles at the time, but also forced the best to fight the best. It’s a shame nothing like that has been done recently. How about a welter Super 12? Maybe split them in to three groups of four; A sides Floyd, Manny, Brook and Khan in a mini tournament to unify the belts, b sides Bradley, Thurman, Porter, and Alexander in another competition to establish a number one contender for the unified belts, and 4 wildcards, Marquez, Maidana, Guerrero and Garcia fighting to be the next challenger for the titles.

Sounds neat huh? It’d produce a s__t ton of great fights, with big gates, spark interest in the sport, and make all those fighters a large sum of cash. Also if Floyd got through that still with the belt in his hands, we may even have the honour of actually declaring him a great! Obviously, network and promotional politics mean that this sadly remains a pipe dream.

Anyway that’s the first time I’ve written in, sorry if it’s a bit long and rambling! – Joe, The Netherlands

No worries Joe. We all ramble a bit (especially me). But going forward just know that the more concise a mailbag email is the better chance you have of earning a free RING magazine T-shirt.

Anyway, your welterweight Super 12 is beyond a pipe dream. It’s a crack pipe dream. It’s fun to wonder how it would play out, though. I’d put some money on Keith Thurman (who would be the underdog against future hall of famers such as Floyd and Manny) to surprise some folks and come out on top the way a largely unproven (prior to the tournament) Andre Ward did with the Super Six.

I think Mchunu has the skill, technique and athleticism to beat “the Polish guy” (AKA Krzysztof Wlodarczyk), but I think Wloddy’s gonna lose his WBC title to Grigory Drozd in Russia this weekend.

I view Huck-Mchunu as an even fight, and I’d slightly favor Huck to prevail because of the WBO beltholder’s greater experience, non-stop aggression and the fact that the fight would likely take place in Germany. I think Mchunu can be outworked and I’m still not sure if he can finish a hard 12-round fight strong.

I think RING/IBF champ Hernandez would outmaneuver Mchunu to a close points victory.

Regardless, I’d like to see Mchunu and more cruiserweights on TV. I think they’re perfect for the networks and basic cable in the U.S. because they’re big, athletic, gutsy and they don’t ask for as much money as heavyweights or the lighter “glamour” divisions (welterweight, middleweight).

I didn’t see anything “unorthodox” about Mchunu’s southpaw style. I think his technique is textbook; he just doesn’t rely on his left hand like a lot of lazy lefties do, he’s a complete fighter. His right hand is as strong as his left and he’s not afraid to use it (in combination or with single shots).

 

SUPERIOR PRODUCT, NON-SUPERHERO COMICS

Hello Doug,

It’s been a long time since I last wrote you (the first time dates back to your Maxboxing days. I believe). The Boxing gods made up for that horrible “Mayhem” last week by giving us Orlando Salido vs. Terdsak Kokietgym. I don’t understand, if the name of the fighter is a brand, I wonder why people keep patronizing a Mayweather fight when they already know the quality of the product. Salido vs. Kokietgym is bang-for-the-buck kind of purchase.

I know you’re giving Chris Algieri a chance of an upset against Manny Pacquiao and I understand why. I idolized the man, but he’s spreading himself too thin. Pro hoops is no joke.

Though I’m not as hardcore as you are in comics, I have been addicted recently reading Superman Red Son (Kal-el is a commie) and Superman Birth Right. Do you also read non superhero graphic novels? I’m currently reading this bad ass comic, 100 Bullets, which I believe was originally published in the 2000s.

Thanks and God bless. – Adrian, Philippines

Thanks for sharing, Adrian. I indeed read a lot of non-superhero comics and graphic novels (my favorite ongoing comic right now is Peanuts from the Kaboom! company, because it’s one of my all-time favorite cartoon creations and I read it with my 6-year-old, usually before she goes to bed) and I’m familiar with 100 Bullets. I happened across 100 Bullets during the tail-end of the series in 2007 when I started actively collecting comics again following a 20-year hiatus. I even bought a few. The writer/co-creator of 100 Bullets, Brian Azzarello, is one of my favorites. His Wonder Woman is my favorite active ongoing superhero comic at the present time.

I’m aware of Superman Red Son and Birthright but I haven’t gotten around to reading the collected works of both limited series. I will eventually, though.

Regarding your other idol, Manny Pacquiao, it’s not just that he’s spreading himself thin (he always did that), it’s that he’s not as passionate about boxing (and training) as he was during his best years. The thrill is gone for Manny, which is why he’s no longer a thrilling boxer. I believe he’s been mailing it in since 2011. The fact that he beat Tim Bradley, a so-called elite boxer in his prime, while mailing it in lets us know how super-talented Pacquiao truly is (see what I did there?).

No doubt about it, in terms of sheer action and drama, Salido-Kokietgym far outshined the entire “Mayhem” pay-per-view card. And you can’t beat the price (whatever you pay for basic cable).

Kudos to the beIN Sports network for airing Salido-Kokietgym, Hernandez-Garcia, Juan Estrada-Giovani Segura, and for picking up Akira Yaegashi-Roman Gonzalez on a tape-delay basis.

 

PRETTY BOY IS PRETTY GOOD

Hey Dougie, long time reader, first time writer, love the mailbag. Keep it up. I have no desire to get into a debate about how Floyd Mayweather ranks among the all-time greats with you. I trust your research is totally on point. My question is simply this: Is his omission from your rankings based on his resume as a fighter or his boxing skills/technique/heart, etc. versus the other fighters on the list. The former argument may concede “yes the man is great, but he didn’t prove it enough” and the latter argument is “he simply wasn’t as good as the other fighters on the list”. – Christopher

It’s the former. He simply hasn’t done enough to merit a top 20 ranking among “modern greats,” the best the fighters who emerged post-World War II. I’ve said for many years that Mayweather has the right combination of talent, skill, technique and (underrated) toughness to have competed in any era. That’s what is so tragic about his career, in my opinion. Like Roy Jones Jr. before him, he squandered his many of his prime years by playing it safe.

Thanks for finally writing in to the mailbag. Don’t be stranger going forward.

 

MARCOS MAIDANA

What’s up Douglas,

Enough on Mayweather already. He’s taken up more mailbag-space then he really deserves. What about the guy in the other corner? Marcos Maidana. Look, I know that the rematch was just a foregone conclusion but the fact is that no one expected El Chino to push Mayweather hard enough to force a rematch in the first place. But the Argentine badass did just that.

One of the reasons experts seemingly regarded Maidana as pathetic no-hoper was the fact that he had to fight hard just to beat Josesito Lopez and Adrian Broner. And yet both those guys were favoured to beat Maidana. So did Mr. Chino really underachieve when he pounded the f__k out of both of them? Not really.

What I thought was really interesting is that Maidana’s trainer Mr. Garcia ranked Maidana the hardest puncher he’s ever trained. Pretty impressive considering that Garcia has also trained Kelly Pavlik, Nonito Donaire and Brandon Rios.

Now I know Maidana is not quite an elite guy, which is why Floyd picked him in the first place. But his crippling power shots still make him a serious handful for almost everyone else out there. And I’m also wondering who’s next for Chino. He’ll probably be punching out someone else trying to rebound like Robert Guerrero but I’d sooner watch him against Ruslan Provodnikov.

I thought Provo should have gotten the nod over Chris Algieri but he still kind of disappointed me by failing to finish of Algieri. It’s one thing to lose close fights to guys like Mauricio Herrera and Tim Bradley but Algieri isn’t in the class of those two boxers. Which is why, by the way, why I regard Pacquiao-Algieri as a hideous mismatch that won’t go so well for Mr. Algieri.

Going back to Provo, I still rank him up there with Maidana as the hardest punchers in the 140-147 ranks and I would definitely love to see Chino and Provo butt heads sometime next year. Yeah, I know they fight in different worlds. Can’t blame us action-starved fight fans to demand a battle like that one. Your pick?

Another thing. I more than once stated that both Maidana and Tim Bradley are on the same level. Not everyone agrees. While a couple of my fight-buddies are with me on this one there was also a couple of other characters who wondered what was I smoking when I dared placed Bradley in the same clump with Maidana.

Now of course Bradley is the superior boxer. But if Provo came so close to taking him out, Maidana certainly has a strong chance of doing the same. Your thoughts? -Dave

I disagree to an extent. I think Maidana is a world-class welterweight. He proved that by stopping a strong gatekeeper like Lopez, by beating up and outpointing a talented multi-division beltholder like Broner and by giving Mayweather a tough time in two bouts. In fact, I think Maidana is probably a better welterweight than Provo. However, even though Provo gave Bradley hell at 147 pounds, I don’t think Maidana is on Bradley’s level. Provo gave Bradley fits because he was overlooked by the odds favorite and because he is a real pressure fighter. Maidana is a slugger, who often marches forward and lets his hands go in swarming spots, but he’s not pressing for 3 minutes of every round like the Siberian Rocky. I think Bradley would out-speed and outmaneuver Maidana as Khan did, but he would avoid getting caught late. The fight could look like Bradley’s 12-round decision over Maidana’s countryman Luis Carlos Abregu in 2010. Bradley would not have an easy time with Maidana, but the book is out on how to neutralize him: you stick first and move, and you hold his rough ass every time he gets close. If Devon Alexander can do it, Timmy can.

Having said all that, I would LOVE to see Maidana vs. Provodnikov. I view it as an even fight but I’d slightly favor Provo. I think Maidana’s aggressiveness would ultimately work against him against the more accurate-power-punching Russian.

I agree that Ruslan deserved a narrow points nod over Algieri, but I disagree that Pacquiao-Algieri is a gross mismatch. I think Manny’s got his work cut out for him with the tall, rangy, busy and athletic stick-and-move specialist.

KIRKLAND AND THE GATEKEEPERS

Hey Dougie,
Really enjoyed your gatekeepers column – for the most part. I guess it wouldn’t be a very good boxing “list” column if I (or other fans) didn’t passionately disagree with at least some of it.

What are you thinking putting James Kirkland on there? Gatekeepers lose and lose often to fighters better than them. James has only one loss and that was clearly not to a better fighter, but somebody who happened to show up to fight an out-of-shape Kirkland who wasn’t with his trainer or any of his usual team. He’s KO’d a prime Joel Julio, Bryan Vera and Alfredo Angulo. Save for one nice punch by Angulo, who was a top ten guy with heavy hands, he had no problems vs any of them. Actually, I don’t think he lost a round in any of those fights.

Then there is the Carlos Molina fight. First off, Molina is a top guy. Nobody of the fighters he’s fought, including Mike Alvarado, JCC Jr (twice), Erislandy Lara, Cory Spinks (faded) and Kermit Cintron, have looked “good” against him or clearly won the majority of the rounds.

Kirkland knocked him down and was arguably on the way to KO’ing him. He also had all momentum. Molina was exhausted and was up on one scorecard at the time of the stoppage. If Kirkland won the 11th and 12th, he would’ve won a split decision. Kirkland had shoulder problems in this fight and overall has never been exposed, dominated or made to look like a chump. Given the fighters he’s beaten, he certainly has a better resume than many titleholders, including Ishe Smith (who should’ve been on your gatekeeper list), Demetrius Andrade, Zaurbek Baysangurov and K9 Bundrage.

Speaking of Bundrage, what do you think about Molina vs him in Mexico?

I want to see Kirkland vs Canelo instead of Canelo-Cotto, but as you know as a boxing fan, I won’t get the fights I want to see. Who do you think wins, the Kirkland who fought Angulo or today’s version of Canelo? I don’t think we’ve seen Canelo fight a guy who comes forward like James but I have a feeling James’ style would bring out the best in Canelo.

Thanks! – Matt Ritchie

I’d favor Canelo to beat Kirkland, but that’s a fight I definitely want to see because there’s no way it would not deliver action and drama. However, I want to see Cotto-Canelo even more (and there are more fans who want to see this linear middleweight title matchup than Canelo-Kirkland).

I don’t want to see Molina-Bundrage at all. That’s got stinkfest smeared all over it. I feel kind of bad that Mexico has to host it, but then again, Mexico has had at least four Fight of the Year candidates so far in 2014, so I guess it’s the Boxing Gods way of evening things out.

Regarding Kirkland being on my gatekeeper list, I think your definition of a gatekeeper is a little off. It’s not merely about how many losses one has, it’s about having the ability to weed out fighters who are not world class or are no longer world class, but not being able to ascend to top-10 contender status.

Most of the fighters on my gatekeeper list fail to break into the legitimate top 10 of their respective divisions because they either lose a major fight that keeps them out or because they are campaigning in the wrong division (see Steve Cunningham and some of the sub-featherweights), but Kirkland keeps himself out by being inactive and failing to take the right fights.

He’s been a legit junior middleweight contender at least twice before, but then he either gets into law trouble, which leads to jail time, or he just screws himself out of opportunities by turning down fights (like the Canelo opportunity in 2012) or squabbling with his team (trainers, managers, promoter, etc.), which leads to more inactivity.

Kirkland has always been a dynamic talent and a well-conditioned athlete inside of the ring, but he’s always had his share of flaws (poor foot placement and defense, shaky chin) too. He struggled with gatekeepers like Billy Lyell and Ossie Duran in 2007, which was a red flag. However, as you noted, he had some good wins after that, such as his stoppages of Vera and Julio in late 2008 and early 2009.

Kirkland was in line to face then-WBO titleholder Sergei Dzinziruk after the Julio win, but he got into that gun trouble in Texas and wound up in jail and out of the ring for two years. It’s very likely that Dzinziruk would have exposed Kirkland’s limitation bigtime, but I wouldn’t have counted out the relentless Texan.

A couple notes about Vera and Julio, though. Vera was a prospect at the time that Kirkland fought him. His claim to fame was being starched by Jaidon Codrington on The Contender and upsetting Andy Lee on Friday Night Fights. Vera was forced to weigh-in at the second lightest of his career (157) against Kirkland and he still had his moments in that fight. Julio was a former over-hyped prospect who had become a gatekeeper by the time Kirkland faced him, which was right after Angulo had stopped him in a grueling fight.

Kirkland’s thrilling and brutal stoppage of Angulo put him back into the rankings but the Molina fight reminded us of the volume-punching pressure fighter’s limitations (mental and technical). I know he was up on one of the official scorecards but he shouldn’t have been. Molina befuddled him. Yes, Kirkland scored a knockdown at the end of the 10th round, prompting one of Molina’s cornermen to be stupid and enter the ring too soon. But the fact is that Kirkland won that fight on a technicality. Nobody knows if he would have been able to capitalize on the knockdown and take over the fight in the final three rounds. And Kirkland, Ann Wolfe and Golden Boy Promotions sure as hell were not eager to give Molina a rematch to prove who was the better man. I know that Molina and his team wanted that fight.

Anyway, I’m not trying to bash Kirkland. He’s one of my favorite fighters and he’s trained by one of my favorite boxing personalities. I wish him nothing but success and I’m sure that he and Rosado will give us a good show on Nov. 8. But for the time being, Kirkland is not a real contender. Unlike Rosado, he’s never even fought for a major title (despite turning pro in 2001). Right now, he’s a badass who was too much for a young untested prospect like Glen Tapia. We’ll see if he’s too much for a ring savvy young vet like Rosado.

 

GATEKEEPERS

Loved the article about gatekeepers. They definitely have an underrated place in the boxing world and sometimes they give you an all-time classic when you least expect it. So how about a list of the biggest/best gatekeeper upsets of all time and maybe some all time classics involving gatekeepers in which they didn’t necessarily win.

Also, would you consider Gatti-Ward I a gatekeeper upset or do you feel they were both gatekeepers at that point. – DBone

They were both gatekeepers in my opinion. Gatti was a world-class junior lightweight, but above 130 pounds he wasn’t good enough to beat top contenders (with the exception of the body shot KO of Leo Dorin at 140 pounds) and he was absolutely manhandled by elite talents (De La Hoya and Mayweather). (And no, I did not consider unbeaten Europeans Gianluca BRanco and Thomas Damgaard to be “top contenders.”) Gatti was a star attraction, so he was often overrated by boxing writers (especially those on the East Coast) and boxing publications (including THE RING).

Ward was excellent gatekeeper. He got outclassed by an ultra-talented prospect like Zab Judah but he stopped unbeaten but unproven cats like Louis Veader, Shea Neary and Alfonso Sanchez, beat faded guys like Steve Quinonez, lost to real contenders like Vince Phillips (an IBF beltholder when they fought) and Antonio Diaz, and gave us Fight of the Year slugfests against fellow grizzled gatekeepers (Gatti and Emanuel Augustus). His fights with Neary and Diaz were also very entertaining. Check ’em out if you haven’t seen them.

Anyway, I know I’m going to get a bunch of angry emails from New Jersey boxing fans for “dissing” Gatti, but I’ve got nothing but respect for him and Ward. “Gatekeeper” isn’t a dirty word in my vocab.

I’ll give your gatekeeper upset list some thought, D. It’s a good idea for a feature. Thanks for the nice words about the divisional gatekeeper list. I think it’s something I’ll update at least once a year going forward.

 

DONAIRE VS. WALTERS

Hi Doug,

Are you going to make it to the Stub Hub Center on Oct. 18th? I am making the trip up from San Diego and hope to shake your hand! I’m really looking forward to the GGG and Nontio Donaire fights and I heard they are selling standing room only seats so it should be rockin’.

I see in Friday’s mailbag you suggest Nonito’s management pull him out of the Nicholas Walters fight.

I don’t know anything about Walters other than watching him on youtube handle Vic Darchinyan (who Donaire certainly struggled with recently) so can you please elaborate on why you don’t give Donaire much of chance?

All the best. – Andy, Chula Vista, CA (not the “Oh get a grip and stop acting like a little bitch, Andy”, you went off on a few weeks ago. I think that guy is a Brit. LOL)

I know you’re not “Andy the Bitch.” LOL. Thanks for sharing your questions about the Donaire-Walters fight.

Allow me to clarify: I am NOT counting Donaire out of this featherweight matchup, but I do favor Walters to win it. (Why? He’s a natural featherweight and I think he’s the hungrier of the two fighters. Oh, and he can f___in’ punch.)

I do NOT want Donaire to pull out of this fight. I’m looking forward to this matchup. If it didn’t happen I wouldn’t be as excited about covering the Oct. 18 show that is headlined by the Gennady Golovkin-Marco Antonio Rubio fight. (And, of course, I’ll be there. I fly all the way to New York City to be ringside for GGG. Why wouldn’t I be there live when he fights in my backyard? Holla at me if you see me at StubHub.)

In the Friday mailbag, I was answering a hypothetical question. Somebody asked me how I would proceed to move Donaire if I was were his manager.

From a managerial perspective, the Walters fight is a high-risk-low-reward situation. Even hardcore fight fans like yourself haven’t seen much of Walters. He’s still unknown, which means even if Donaire steamrolls the Jamaican, he won’t get the credit he’d deserve for the victory from the general public.

What I stated in my mailbag response was that I would pull Donaire out of the Walters fight and the main featherweight fight that I would make for him (if he could no longer get down to 122 pounds) would be a showdown with Abner Mares, who is well known (having won titles in three divisions and having fought many times on Showtime) and would bring Mexican fans to any event that takes place in Las Vegas, California or Texas. That matchup, which should have happened at 118 or 122 pounds, would sell a lot of tickets and do very good TV ratings. And it’s a winnable fight for Donaire in my opinion.

So is the Walters fight, but I’m going with the undefeated young puncher.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer

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