Dougie’s Friday mailbag
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CANELO CHECKMATES THE PPV KING
I want to start by thanking you for what you do for the boxing community. I know it has to be a lot of work you put in answering all these emails. Thank you.
I was wondering on your opinion about Canelo Alvarez requesting the Mexican holiday dates for 2015 and what will Floyd Mayweather Jr. do to about it. I think Canelo has put Floyd in a tough position but I expect the Money Man to have a trick up his sleeve. I can see him offering Miguel Cotto a rematch to deny Canelo’s big mega fight. I think Freddie Roach will be all for it but I don’t think Cotto himself thinks he can beat either fighter. I think it’s all about money at this point and I’m not sure who’s pockets are bigger at this point between Floyd and Canelo/Oscar. Maybe Floyd will let Canelo take that title from Cotto and then have one last hurrah with Canelo for all junior middleweight and middleweight titles. That would be something, huh. Anyways, I’d love to get your input. Hope my email makes it out to you. Thanks man.
(P.S. – What’s up with hiring Alex Ariza for two years? Floyd’s Showtime contract is over next year lol. F…..g Floyd. ) – Hugo Adame
If Mayweather’s embarrassing admission to the Nevada State Athletic Commission that parts of Showtime’s “All Access” show are fabricated has taught boxing fans anything, it’s not to believe a single thing you see or hear about Floyd. I would take anything Ariza – or anything Mayweather says about Ariza – with a grain of salt.
There are bigger stories in boxing, such as Alvarez’s return to HBO. My opinion on Canelo’s declaration to take over the Cinco De Mayo and Mexican Independence Day weekend pay-per-view dates is that it makes sense. Those are Mexican holidays and Alvarez is the most popular active Mexican boxer (he trumps even Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.), plus he’s got a potential dance partner in Cotto that all but guarantees pay-per-view success in 2015.
I’m sure Mayweather would love to toss a wrench into the Cotto-Canelo plans by enticing the Puerto Rican star with a lucrative rematch, but I don’t think that will be possible because I don’t believe that Cotto is the free agent a lot of folks think he is. I think when he returned to Top Rank last year, Bob Arum worked out a multi-fight deal with HBO that included the Sergio Martinez fight, plus at least one more in the event that Cotto prevailed and won the middleweight title. HBO got a ratings boots televising Cotto’s comeback victory over Delvin Rodriguez last year, but the Cotto-Martinez PPV didn’t bring in much dough for the network. If HBO is going to really profit from its relationship with Cotto (and Arum), the future hall of famer from Caguas is going to have to fight the red head from Guadalajara. I think HBO is going to do everything in its power to make Cotto-Canelo next year, and they must believe that there’s a really good chance of getting it done. Ken Hershman wouldn’t have been giddy and practically dancing the Cabbage Patch at Tuesday’s press conference announcing Canelo’s return to HBO if he wasn’t sure that it would lead to some mega-fights.
As far as Mayweather facing the winner of Cotto-Canelo, I think it’s possible but only after he completes his deal with Showtime.
Thanks for your kind and encouraging words about the mailbag column, Hugo.
Big fan Doug,
Long time reader first time writer. Love your insight, keep up the good work. So Mayweather has stated that “All Access” is all staged. I wouldn’t be surprised if the show is as staged as any other reality show, but it just seems like this is just another slap in the mouth to fans who pay so much for so little. For guys like me who struggle to pay the seventy dollars or more to watch hand-picked fighters and poor undercards is there any reason for a fan of the Sweet Science to even try to care anymore? Or do you think Floyd was lying to cover his ass in court?
It’s bad enough the two biggest draws, Manny and Money, refuse to fight each other and sell us fights we know they’ll win and have no drama to them, then they charge nearly $100 with garbage undercards, but now even the free docu-series is a farce too! I guess I’m just looking for some words of encouragement to keep me caring about a sport I love.
Here’s some mythical match ups for you. I’d love to hear your opinion.
Harry Greb vs. Gennady Golovkin at middleweight
Bernard Hopkins vs. Archie Moore at light heavyweight
Hank Armstrong vs. Floyd Mayweather at jr. light or welterweight
Superman vs. the Mighty Thor (my guess is heavyweight?)
Thanks. – Sean
Thanks for the nice words, Sean. And thanks for finally sharing your thoughts with the mailbag community.
I don’t know if I can offer any “encouragement” in regards to watching dreck like Showtime’s “All Access” or HBO’s “24/7” or the typical Mayweather fight.
If you’re a regular mailbag reader or if you follow me on Twitter you know that I’m not a fan of Mayweather’s brand of the Sweet Science. The first Maidana fight aside, the dude is just plain boring. Maidana made for an entertaining first bout because Mayweather was too lazy to stay off the ropes and hold the ruffian on the inside.
As for All Access (and 24/7), I think those pay-per-view infomercial series are the most trite programs on television – which is saying something ’cause there’s a lot of doo doo on the tube these days. They are over-produced and over-scripted and I have no doubt some of what happens is staged or orchestrated.
Was the pot that members of The Money Team harem smoked on camera fake? Maybe. But the marijuana that two Mayweather Promotions boxers, Chris Pearson and Luis Arias, were busted for after a Feb. 28 Mayweather Promotions show was certainly real. Both Pearson and Arias trained at the Mayweather Boxing Club, which is not a good gym. It’s good for Floyd Mayweather Jr. But it’s bad for anyone else who trains there. I think the “Dog Pound” culture of the gym that has been depicted in episodes of 24/7 and All Access is very real (as is the drug culture as indicated by J’Leon Love and Mickey Bey testing positive for banned substances in Las Vegas last year).
In short, I think both All Access and Mayweather have been telling lies. But who cares? Even without all this controversy, Mayweather’s fights still suck. Don’t waste your hard-earned money on any “Money” PPV events unless you really like the main event matchup and the undercard features at least one significant bout that is guaranteed to deliver action or high-quality boxing.
Your mythical matchups:
Harry Greb vs. Gennady Golovkin at middleweight – Greb outworks GGG to a decision in a terrific action fight that features a lot of dirty stuff from The Pittsburgh Windmill. I think Golovkin would have hit Greb hard enough to earn grizzled old bastard’s respect (after the fight, of course).
Bernard Hopkins vs. Archie Moore at light heavyweight – Moore outpoints Hopkins if you’re talking about Moore at his best at 175 vs. Hopkins at his peak at 175 pounds, but I think the late-40s version of B-Hop outpoints the late-40s version of the Old Mongoose.
Hank Armstrong vs. Floyd Mayweather at jr. light or welterweight – Armstrong outworks (and works over) Mayweather at any weight. I think the best Floyd could do against Homicide Hank would be to go the distance, but he would have taken a nasty beating in doing so.
Superman vs. the Mighty Thor (my guess is heavyweight?) – Goldilocks couldn’t beat Supes if he had The Avengers and his old man backing him up.
CLOUD VS. BETERBIEV
Hey Doug,Who you got? Cloud or Beterbiev? – Stephen, Montreal
I got Beterbiev. I don’t care if the 2009 world amateur champ only has five pro bouts. He’s naturally bigger (having competed at 201 pounds during his final years in the amateur ranks), he’s technically sharper and fighting on adopted home turf.
Cloud is damaged goods. Gabriel Campillo exposed him. Bernard Hopkins took his confidence. Adonis Stevenson took his soul. He should be ready to serve as Beterbiev’s stepping stone.
GROVES AND THE GIFT OF JAB
I hope you are keeping well. Have been keeping up with your mailbags for a number of years nowÔÇª.. never disappointed.
I noticed in your Monday mailbag that the George Groves fight didn’t make the cut or maybe you didn’t get any emails about it. Anyway, I don’t know if you managed to catch the fight, but it was a decent scrap and was entertaining to watch. One thing that did catch my eye was how good George Groves jab was. Rabrasse simply couldn’t get anything going as anytime he came forward, Groves would stick him with a ram rod jab and sometimes doubling it up for greater effect.
It got me thinking who are the top 10 boxers with the best jabs at the moment? And if you have time who are the top 10 boxers with the best jabs of all time?
Hopefully, this is a question which gets your boxing brain ticking. Keep up the good work. – Callum, London , England
Thanks Callum. And thanks for bringing up Groves and for posing an interesting question.
You are the first person to bring up Groves-Rabrasse, which I have not seen (yet). I had little doubt that Groves would take care of business. It’s usually very hard for a boxer – even one as confident and talented as Groves – to come back from back-to-back stoppage losses, but the first TKO to Carl Froch was a premature stoppage and second one was waved off as soon as he went down from that big right-hand bomb from The Cobra. So he didn’t take an extended beating in either fight.
It was probably good for him to go 12 rounds. I think he remains a major player in the 168-pound division and I can’t wait to see him take on WBC beltholder Anthony Dirrell sometime next year.
I agree that his jab is excellent. It’s fast, accurate, difficult to time, and it can be used as power punch. Groves’ can “shot-gun” his jab in much the same way that Andre Ward does. I think Ward has the better left stick, of course, which leads me to that top 10 list of the best jab among active boxers.
I’ll go with Ward in the No. 1 spot. He does more with his jab than anyone else in the game right now. Mayweather is No. 2. His jab is technically perfect (you gotta be sure to look at Floyd’s foot placement and leg action when he gets off with his jab – that’s how it should be done). Hopkins is No. 3. He’s got the most educated jab in the game. No. 4 is Wladimir Klitschko. Wladdy’s jab is probably the hardest in the sport (literally and pound for pound). Nobody can dominate a fight with just his jab the way the heavyweight champ can. No. 5 is Guillermo Rigondeaux. The Cuban southpaw’s boxing style is not my cup of tea, but his jab is definitely the sneakiest out there right now. It’s not a weapon, but it sets up his killer hand (the left) and his counter punches beautifully. The next five: Anselmo Moreno (experienced stick), Gennady Golovkin (power stick), Kell Brook (fluid stick), Groves (versatile stick), and Terence Crawford (switch-hit stick).
I can’t give you an all-time top 10 list of the best jabs. There have been too many great fighters with great jabs. Obviously the greatest boxers ever, such as Sugar Ray Robinson and Willie Pep, had awesome jabs, as did some of history’s great punchers, such as Joe Louis, Sonny Liston and Ruben Olivares.
Here are the 10 best jabbers in my lifetime (1970s to the present — and yes, this list is pretty much off the top of my head): Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Mike Tyson, Pernell Whitaker, Mike McCallum, Donald Curry, Terry Norris and Lennox Lewis.
Hey Dougie, gunna keep it short. I wondered whether you’d class Carl “The Cat” Thompson as a gatekeeper, even though he won a major cruiserweight title, beat Chris Eubank twice, KO’d David Haye, and pulled off my favourite KO against Rothmann! A true show of heart and determination. Keep up the good work. – Greg, Nottingham
Thompson was a gatekeeper at different points of his underrated career. Early on, in the late 1980s/early ’90s, he was a tough, game but unprotected pug who was gritty enough to shock unbeaten prospects like Nicky Piper but vulnerable enough to get beat by solid-but-unspectacular guys like Crawford Ashley.
However, he always bounced back from his setbacks and continued to advance/improve. By the mid-’90s when he held the European cruiserweight championship and the WBO title, he was a bona-fide contender. He beat former beltholder Massimiliano Duran, current WBO beltholder Ralph Rocchigiani and former super middleweight star Eubank (twice) during this period.
However, somewhere between his losses to Johnny Nelson and Ezzra Sellers (which was one of the better shootouts of the ’90s), The Cat went back to being a gatekeeper, but he was an experienced and reliable one as evidenced by his back-to-back stoppage upsets of Sebastian Rothmann and a still-developing David Haye in 2004.
I should point out to American fans that are unfamiliar with Thompson that The Cat was also a reliable action fighter. He was involved in many thrilling ring battles, including the first bout with Eubank (which even made HBO’s Larry Merchant take notice), the Sellers shootout and the Rothmann scrap.
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Like most gatekeepers and underrated fighters who get the most out their talent, Thompson’s indomitable will enabled him to exceed his limitations.
CAN KRUSHER BE THE NEW GATTI?
Hey Doug. Quick question. Kathy Duva says Sergey Kovalev is the next Arturo Gatti and can save Atlantic City. Is that realistic? I don’t think so since Kovalev doesn’t speak English. Thanks! – Robert from Ashton, MD
I don’t think anybody’s going to come close to equaling Gatti’s success as an Atlantic City attraction. He was a franchise. Starting with his rematch with Micky Ward, Gatti fought nine consecutive fights at Boardwalk Hall and his popularity increased with every event, whether he won or lost.
Kovalev’s showdown with Hopkins will be his third consecutive fight in Atlantic City. If he wins – which is a big “if” – there’s no doubt that his profile will be elevated and his subsequent fights will attract more attention. The potential will be there for a smart and experienced promoter like Duva to build the exciting Russian puncher’s fan base.
By the way, Kovalev can speak a little English and he’s getting better at it, but I don’t think language is much of a factor. Gennady Golovkin probably speaks less English than Krusher does and he just sold out StubHub Center in Carson, California. Action fighters don’t need to speak English to build a fan base in the U.S. Look how popular Roberto Duran was. So, while he’ll never be the star that Gatti was, I think Kovalev can put butts in the seats in AC (which certainly needs the action).
But it all starts with the Hopkins fight. He’s gotta beat the Immortal B-Hop. And as you know, Hopkins has derailed a lot of hard-punching freight trains in his time.
THE 2009 VERSION OF PACQUIAO
Great coverage as always. One quick question: I know it’s a tired subject but consider it a mythical matchup. I say, that 2009 Manny Pacquiao knocks out the version of Floyd we saw against Maidana. Agree?
Best. – Ulrik
In fact, I think the 2009-2010 version of Pacquiao that beheaded Ricky Hatton, chopped up Cotto, punked Joshua Clottey and battered Antonio Margarito beats the 2009-2010 version of Mayweather that outclassed JM Marquez and Shane Mosley.
I also think the 2008 lightweight version of the Pac-Monster that nearly killed poor David Diaz had a very good chance of beating down the lightweight version of Mayweather that fought from 2002-’03.
AVOIDING THE RISK OF GREATNESS
I’m one of the leftovers of the fast dwindling population of the frustrated but still keen to watch a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Beyond the Bob Arum issue, this is what I think: Mayweather does not want a piece of Pacquiao because he cannot afford a loss to Pacquiao. He could have lost to Maidana or to Cotto but he would probably still retain that mythical pound for pound title. But a loss to the biggest threat to his claim of supreme greatness in his era would certainly relegate him to number two and elevate Pacquiao, his rival, to new heights. The loss would be so devastating at least to his mind, that he’d rather not take the chance at undisputed greatness and maintain his comfortable and lucrative tact of taking on any notable fighter not named Manny Pacquiao and holding on to his pound for pound belt. I can see no other rational explanation for his weird responses to the Pacquiao challenge. – Alvin
You might be right, Alvin. It certainly seems like Pacquiao has been renting a space in Mayweather’s head for one reason or another during the past five years.
It’s too bad. Mayweather had the God-given talent, the hard-earned skill and technique, and the career foundation to achieve greatness; all he needed was a worthy rival – like Pep had Saddler or Robinson had LaMotta or Ali had Frazier or Leonard had Hearns or Sanchez had Gomez or Whitaker had Chavez. For modern fighters who fight less than 50 bouts during their career – like Leonard and Whitaker – I think it’s imperative that they seize the opportunity that Mayweather had with Pacquiao in order to prove their greatness.
And the sad thing that Mayweather doesn’t realize is that a loss to a fellow elite fighter doesn’t detract from one’s legacy. Pep was 1-3 against Saddler. LaMotta was 1-5 against Robinson. Frazier was 1-2 vs. Ali. Nobody says these three aren’t all-time great fighters. Nobody says Hearns, Gomez or Chavez (who should’ve lost to Pea) aren’t great fighters.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer