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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

29
Sep

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ANOTHER ONE FOR THE HALL OF SHAME

Dougie,

I know you have a Hall of Shame for judges (C.J. Ross an example) and I’d like to put forward Fernando Laguna with his shocking 119-109 scorecard in the Smith vs. Abraham fight. What were your thoughts on the fight?

Long time reader and hope I get in! – Stan, England

You’re in like Flynn, Stan.

My thoughts on Abraham-Smith is that it was a decent 168-pound fight, one that had its share of ebb and flow and more than a few close rounds. Unless you were a big fan of either fighter, it was mildly entertaining at best because neither super middleweight really committed to his offense. Both guys fought and boxed in spots and both appeared rather limited to me.

Which leads me to my main thought while watching the bout: Abraham is a ridiculously overrated super middleweight (as if we didn’t already know that based on his Super Six experiences). Abraham is rated No. 2 by THE RING and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, which have him behind champ Andre Ward and No. 1 Carl Froch, and he’s rated No. 3 by ESPN.com (which doesn’t have champions, so rates Ward No. 1 and Froch No. 2), but he really shouldn’t be considered an “elite” super middleweight. I think George Groves and James Degale – who both stopped Smith when they were prospects – are far better than the Germany based veteran.

(And by the way, this isn’t me crapping on a fighter after the fact – I made a stink to THE RING’s Ratings Panel about Abraham, and some other overrated old farts stinking up the mag’s rankings, BEFORE his fight with Smith.)

No offense to Smith, but he was unranked by RING, TBRB and ESPN.com coming into Saturday’s title shot for a reason. He’s not a top-10 guy. I like his spirit – it takes a real man and competitor to bounce back from KO losses as well as he did – but he’s a very basic fighter. So is Abraham. I agree that Smith gave ole Abe a run for his money (or Euros).

Laguna obviously scored the fight the way an Abraham fan would, over-crediting everything the defending beltholder did while all but ignoring the challenger’s efforts. It was a disgraceful scorecard, one that places him in the Judging Hall of Shame along with recent inductees Ross, Lisa Giampa and Robert Hoyle.

Smith is a limited fighter but he boxed the fight of his life on Saturday and he deserved to win more than one round. Shame on Fernando Laguna.

ARTUR BETERBIEV

Hey Doug,
Artur Beterbiev steamrolled Tavoris Cloud. His promoter said that they won’t fight Adonis Stevenson (same promoter) or Jean Pascal (same trainer) but they will take anyone else. He mentioned that he knows Andre Ward is looking for an opponent and they would take that fight… I would love to see that. Ok… I might be a bit over excited.

Did you see the fight and what do you think? They way he pummeled Cloud to the ground for the first knock down tells me he might have what it takes to beat Ward (and Hopkins)… – Stephen, Montreal

I saw the fight and I was impressed with Beterviev but I was far from awed by his performance. I thought Beterbiev looked as good as he’s been advertised but I kept in mind that it was Cloud that he was pummeling and as I told you in Friday’s mailbag, the former IBF titleholder is “damaged goods.”

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Cloud was always a basic fighter but his will power and willingness to scrap made him dangerous. Once his confidence was cracked, he lost the one thing that made him a threat to a boxer as smart, strong and technically sound as Beterbiev.

Here’s what I said about Cloud in Friday’s bag: “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.”

Well, he got stepped on, and it was no surprise. I think Beterbiev proved that he’s a top-level prospect, a real blue chipper and arguably a lower top-10 or top-15 contender, but I wouldn’t toss him in with the likes of Ward or B-Hop just yet.

He deserves a chance to develop into a solid 10-round pro before being turned loose against the elite fighters of the 168- and 175-pound divisions.

Personally, I’d like to see him matched against the winner of the Oct. 25 Eleider Alvarez-Ryno Liebenberg fight. I know Alvarez, who is THE RING’s No. 9-rated light heavyweight, is also promoted by Yvon Michel but he’s not a “star” like Stevenson and Pascal. If Alvarez beats Liebenberg a showdown with Beterbiev would sell very well in Montreal, where both have been developed as pros.

I know who you would favor in that matchup and I wouldn’t disagree with you.

SMITH GOT JOBBED

Hi Dougie,

I have got to write after watching the Abraham v Smith fight. What shocking scoring. F__k me the judges must have been Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Matt Murdoch. One of these judges scored it 119 – 109!!!! This drags boxing down to the sewers yet again and the fact that you got to KO somebody in Germany to get a result, it’s just not right.

Surely judges should have to justify their scoring. Punters pay good money to travel and pay for tickets and then get this s__t thrown at them.

I had scored the fight a draw, which does not win you the title but at least in history people will not look at it and think it was a one-sided fight, which it definitely was not. Why can’t boxing look at hiring retired fighters to become judges? They been there, see it done it, hell some of them will have been screwed by judges during their career and know what the feeling is like and maybe help the sport.

Unlucky Paul Smith be proud of what you did and hopefully you get chance of revenge.

As always Dougie, your mailbag is a pleasure to read. Love your honestly. Keep up the good work. Cheers – Scott from Nottingham

Thanks Scott.

Actually, I think Wonder, Charles and Murdoch would’ve done a better job judging Abraham-Smith than the selected officials. Especially Murdoch, who could have used his Daredevil radar to “see” all the lefts to the body that Smith landed throughout the fight, and being the son of an overlooked and exploited pug, “Battlin'” Jack Murdock, I think he would have given Smith more credit than your average promoter-ass-kissing judge.

Battling-Jack-Murdock

Good question about retired fighters as professional judges. I can’t think of any active high-profile judges who used to box professionally or as an amateur, but I do recall former fighters judging major prize fights back in the 1970s and 1980s.

One of my favorite Southern California boxing people, Lou Filippo, who passed away in 2009, was a former boxer who had a long career as a referee and a judge. Filippo’s most famous scorecard was the 115-113 tally he had for Marvin Hagler in the Marvelous One’s split-decision loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987.

Filippo, a former lightweight who fought hall of famer Carlos Ortiz during his pro career that lasted from 1947-’57, was an action fighter during his fighting days. And it was no surprise that he favored the aggression of the defending middleweight champ. Filippo’s scorecard was more in line with the general public’s perception of the fight (and certainly better than the awful 118-110 score for Leonard from J.J. Guerra). Maybe that’s something the Powers That Be in boxing fear.

Anyway, I agree that the official scorecards of the Abraham-Smith fight favored the house fighter too much, especially Laguna’s 119-109 tally.

There’s no way to explain that scorecard. It’s as if Laguna gave Abraham credit for blocking more punches than he actually blocked, while not giving Smith credit for blocking the punches that he blocked and totally ignoring the British challenger’s body shots.

Having said that, I scored it 115-113 for Abraham, or seven rounds to five. I scored Rounds 1, 4, 5, 10 and 11 for Smith. It could have easily been a draw or even 115-113 for Smith. I thought there were more than a few toss-up rounds, including Rounds 2, 7 and 9.

OPINIONS ON UPCOMING FIGHTS

Hi Dougie, What is your opinion on the Wlad Klitschko-Kubrat Pulev fight? My gut tells me that Pulev has a decent chance. He has the height to reach Klitschko’s jaw. He has knocked out over 50% of the people he has fought and he is unbeaten. We will see. On Kovalev/Hopkins I disagree with you on the outcome. I think Kovalev will knock Hopkins out within 6 rounds. Although still very good, I think Hopkins is done beating 1st-tier fighters. Same goes for Miguel Cotto and the PacMan. Just my opinion. Finally, what’s up with Deontay Wilder??????? Is he the next heavyweight champ? Will we ever see him fight anyone but a canned vegetable? What do you think? Love your column – keep up the good work. – Mike

Thanks Mike. I’ll try.

What’s up with Wilder is that he’s got a mandatory shot at WBC titleholder Bermane Stiverne. If Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Wilder, can’t make a deal with Don King, Stiverne’s promoter, by this Wednesday the WBC will hold purse bids for the fight. So expect to hear some word on when Stiverne-Wilder will happen this week.

That fight will answer all of your questions about Wilder’s promise and potential. My opinion on Wilder is that his power and athleticism are both very real – and that makes him a threat to anyone he fights – but his amateur and pro experience is limited and questionable, as is his top-10 contender status.

I think Stiverne should be the favorite in his first title defense.

You might be right about Cotto and Pacquiao, but both veterans have the right trainer in their camps and corners.

We’ll see what happens on Nov. 8. Hopkins has never lost to a fighter with Kovalev’s style but at nearly 50 we never know when he’ll slow down just enough to allow a puncher like the Russian beltholder to clip him. When the fight was first announced I slightly favored B-Hop. Now I’m slightly favoring Kovalev.

I agree that Pulev is a live “dog” against Klitschko. The undefeated Bulgarian contender is a worthy title challenger and he should pose some problems to the champ given his strong amateur background, height, reach and “herky jerky” rhythm/style.

However, Pulev also has some flaws/limitations that Wladdy can take advantage of. He is a bit of a slow starter, he doesn’t possess one-punch KO power, he paws a lot with his jab and stands straight up, which puts him in line with Klitschko’s pile-driver jab and straight right.

I favor the defending champ.

 

GREENBURG AND ALL ACCESS

Hello Doug,Is it just me or do others recognize the massive switch in production style that occurred when HBO’s 24/7 guy (I believe Ross Greenburg) moved to Showtime? During the Super 6, the Showtime “documentary” footage was much more gritty and arguably more plausible. Now, both 24/7 and All-Access are about as realistic as a Bruckheimer production. It reminds me of the Chappelle Show skit where everything looks cooler in slow motion… Just not real. But really cool. Myth-match- Bob Foster vs David Haye.Haye is bigger but I would take Foster 6 days a week and maybe twice on Sunday. Take care. – Alan

Foster would clip David before he could land one of his Haye-makers. It’s as simple as that.

I don’t know about others but I’ve certainly noticed how Showtime’s “unscripted” docu-style shows have become as over-produced as HBO’s trite 24/7 series. You’re absolutely right that this is the handy work of the executive producer of All Access – along with Floyd Mayweather Jr. – one Ross “The Boss” Greenburg, the former president of HBO Sports who was hired by Showtime shortly after the network acquired the services of Mayweather.

Showtime’s Fight Camp 360┬░: Inside The Super Six World Boxing Classic and Pacquiao vs. Mosley were more like real documentaries that included the perspectives of all of the individuals who were part of making those Showtime-televised boxing events happen – not just the stars of the shows. The Super Six episodes of Fight Camp were especially good as they featured the all of the ups and downs and stumbling blocks that were part of that unique round-robin style tournament that involved many players (fighters, promoters and managers – the only thing that would have made it better is if the producers were able to get Al Haymon on camera).

 

MAIDANA-THURMAN, BRITISH BOXING

What-up Doug!

I’ve watched a few of Keith Thurman’s fights on YouTube in the past week and it got me thinking how a fight between him and El Chino would go down, looks to be like it has the potential to be a barnstormer and both guy’s attitudes would certainly make it entertaining. Anyways that brings 2 questions:

1. The likelihood of this happening in the foreseeable future?

2. If it does, what d’you think the outcome would be?

Not sure how much coverage British boxing gets in the States but it’s certainly looking interesting for the current and near future for us and I’d love to hear your thoughts on a few bits:

– Where should Amir Khan go from here? I mean holding out for a Mayweather fight doesn’t seem that wise, physically, he should be approaching his peak and his inactivity is just worrying, he’s been improving under Virgil Hunter and a few keeping busy fights would do him good and build up some hype that’s been lost about him

– What do you make of Anthony Joshua? Looks to have the potential but then so did Audley Harrison.

– If you were Carl Froch what would be your next move? DeGale seems to be the name most likely so far but surely he’s earned his dream Vegas fight now. I know boxing doesn’t tend to give you anything but if anyone’s deserving of their big finale on their own terms its Froch given the career he’s had.

Keep up the good work with the mailbag. It’s always an entertaining and interesting read that I’ve enjoyed for a few years now!

(P.S. Sorry if this has been long winded, first time writing and got a bit carried away…)

Cheers and all the best. – Kieran, England

Thanks for the kind words, Kieran (and thanks for trying to keep it short – you’ll nail it next time).

I’ll start from the top with your two questions about one of my favorite young fighters, The Thurmanator, and one of my favorite veterans, Maidana.

1) I think this fight is very likely. Thurman needs a big name on his resume to get his dream fight with Mayweather and El Chino is the perfect opponent for him to earn that goal. If he’s able to beat Maidana more impressively than Mayweather did he can build a case that he’s ready to challenge the welterweight champ.

2) If Thurman got a crack at Maidana I think he would make the most of it. (By the way, he was supposed to fight Maidana shortly after the Argentine slugger began training with Robert Garcia. The young trainer wisely pulled his fighter out of that matchup and admitted to me that Chino needed more time with Maidana before taking on a dangerous boxer-puncher like Thurman. Instead, Maidana faced Jesus Soto Karass on the Canleo-Josesito Lopez undercard.) Anyway, I think it would be a hell of a fight and Maidana would have his moments early, but I think Thurman would gradually neutralize the wild warrior while wearing him down. Thurman by late TKO or hard-earned decision.

My thoughts on your “Brit bits” (I hope that doesn’t sound too weird):

I agree that holding out for the Mayweather sweepstakes is a bad move for Khan, who needs to stay busy. I think he should go for the big British showdown with Kell Brook if it can be made by the Spring of 2015, if not, he should take on a respected U.S. vet, such as Devon Alexander. He needs another solid name on his resume to make fans and media believe he has any shot of beating Mayweather. Showtime can’t sell Mayweather-Khan if nobody give the Brit a shot. If Khan beat Brook, he’d be a major titleholder and a bigger star in the UK. If he beat Alexander he’d gain a little more props on this side of the Pond.

If looks were everything, Joshua would already be the undisputed champ, but as the career of Larry Holmes and the late career success of George Foreman reminds us, boxing isn’t a body building contest, especially at heavyweight. I’ll say that Joshua is the most promising heavyweight prospect out there right now and leave it at that. We’ll see how he progresses as his competition is stepped up.

I’d love to see Froch vs. Degale but I agree that The Cobra has earned the right to go out of boxing on his own terms. If he can’t work it out with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., I’d like to see him find another mega-fight before riding off into the sunset – perhaps a rematch with Andre Ward or a rubbermatch with Mikkel Kessler sometime in 2015.

 

MOST AVOIDED

Hello Dougie,

Who do think are the most avoided boxers at the moment apart from GGG, Rigondeaux and Thurman?

Regards. – John, North of England, UK

I don’t think anyone’s itching to get into the ring with Ward (well except for Artur Beterbiev), although his current promotional problems make that a moot argument. After giving Froch hell in back-to-back fights, I imagine it won’t be that easy to get high-profile fight for George Groves.

I don’t think there’s a long line of top contenders eager to face Vasyl Lomachenko, Devon Alexander, Lucas Matthysse, Mauricio Herrera, Viktor Postal or Khabib Allakhverdiev.

 

JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHT

Dougie, Only 20 losses in the whole top 10 of this division!! Why is this division not being the respect it deserves?? That is all. – Kev, Edinburgh

I have no idea, Kev.

You’d think modern classics like Marco Antonio Barrera-Kennedy McKinney, Erik Morales-Barrera I and Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez I, II and III (not to mention overseas wars, such as Mahyar Monshipour-Somsak Sithchatchawal) would have placed the 122-pound division firmly – and permanently – on the radars of all fans, as well as the network executives of the networks that air boxing.

However, the players are in place for a new high-profile junior featherweight round robin with the pound-for-pound rated champ (Guillermo Rigondeaux), the Irish star (Carl Frampton), the Haymon/Golden Boy/Showtime darling (Leo Santa Cruz), the hardnosed Manchester standout (Scott Quigg) and the Argentine badass (Jesus Cuellar). Veterans like Kiko Martinez and up-and-comers, such as Chris Avalos and Kid Galahad, add spice to the mix. Now all we need is for these guys to fight each other. Once they do they will undoubtedly command the sport’s spotlight.

 

MAY-HATIN’

I just read your mailbag an you said that 2008 Manny would beat Floyd I understand you hate Floyd I hate you but I would never say your not a boxing expert but for you to say that 2008 was better than Floyd when he was running the lightweight division is just pure hatred for Floyd Manny wouldn’t stand a chance against Floyd he was faster threw way better combinations an yes believe it or not he would go for the knockout come on man I implore you to go look at pass tapes of Floyd in his hey day Manny doesn’t have the speed or thinking capacity to deal with the monster that Floyd was at lightweight don’t get me wrong Manny is a beast but dude really go back an look at the tapes an if you can see that then you my friend are what I like to call a Pactard or just a straight up Floyd hater so which one is. – Tristdad

Both. Call me a “Double Winner,” Homie.

And then watch my main man Manny’s 135-pound debut (and his only fight at lightweight) against 1996 U.S. Olympian and WBC titleholder David Diaz.

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Then watch your boy Floyd’s 135-pound debut against journeyman Emanuel Augustus (AKA Burton – OK, maybe we can consider “The Drunken Master” to be a gatekeeper).

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And then watch Mayweather’s controversial WBC-title victory over Jose Luis Castillo.

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And then tell me how he threw “way better combinations” than Pacquiao. Mayweather “went for the knockout” vs. Burton and got a bloody nose and lip (and the “toughest” fight of his career, according to him) for his trouble. If he went for the KO against a beast like the lightweight version of the PacMan, he’d be carried out of that ring on a stretcher.

By the way, I also think the lightweight version of Pacquiao would beat the brakes off the 140-pound version of Mayweather that fought Chop Chop Corley.

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

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