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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

24
Nov
Photo by Chris Farina-Top Rank

Photo by Chris Farina-Top Rank

TAKEN FOR A RIDE ALL THE WAY TO MACAU

Hey Dougie,
I’m sitting at the Macau airport trying to work out if I have been taken for a ride by Top Rank for the 2nd time in 2 years. I’ve attended both of Manny Pacquiao’s fights in Macau and I can honestly say…… something is missing. A worthy opponent!

Would you mind telling uncle Bob when you see him that this fiasco that he’s putting on has got to stop. I think Chris Algieri seems like a very decent bloke. He should not have been in the ring with Pacquiao however and 2 minutes into the fight it was clear he was going to try and survive rather than fight.

I’m not sure if I’ll be making the trip again if uncle Bob does not get his $hit together and find someone in the same class as Pacquiao for his next fight. They have floated the idea of Pacquiao going down to 140 pounds and I think it’s the only real option for him if he wants his last few fights to mean anything. Peace Dougie. – Craig, a mailbag and boxing fan in Singapore



Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Craig.

You know that old saying, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”? Well, I think it applies to you in regard to your second trip to a Pacquiao show in Macau. LOL. There should be an extra part to that old saying for fight fans: “Fool me a third time and shame on me for being a hopeless boxing addict.”

I agree that a move down to 140 pounds is a good option for Pacquiao – I’m not a fool, so I’m not going to entertain all this drummed up talk about a Mayweather showdown – but only if his return to junior welterweight means he’s going to face elite opposition. If Pacquiao drops down to fight Vargas, I will totally ignore that “event.”

If Pacquiao challenges RING 140-pound champ Danny Garcia, I will pay close attention and gladly travel to the event to cover it. The PacMan will also have my attention if he faces Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson, or Terence Crawford at junior welterweight.

By the way, I could pass your message about ending the Manny/Macau fiasco on to Uncle Bob the next time I see him, but since I already know what he’ll say I might as well share it with you now:

“Duly noted, now go f__k yourself.”

 

JESSIE VARGAS

Before all the Pacquaio vs Algieri comments. A Question bout Vargas. I know he was with Mayweather but now who does he go after?? Garcia or Peterson? – Wayne

Neither. Jessie’s gonna cross his fingers and hold out for an undeserved shot at Pacquiao.

 

LONG NIGHT FOR ALGIERI

Hi Doug,Guess my change of heart was correct. This is exactly what I envisioned happening after thinking a little bit more about the fight. It’s simply very difficult to prepare for the kind of tools and technique that Manny presents in the ring. You need more than power and speed to stop this man. You need a lot more than a good jab and good footwork. Manny has by far the best footwork in boxing today and one of the best ring smarts ever. The way he is able to corner and use his ring generalship to close your exits, and “keep you in your cage” is stuff of legends.

Today I once again say, for what is worth, that Manny is still the best fighter alive by far. He has the complete set of tools to put him apart from everybody. He still has power, and his speed is still there and most of all he looked hungry to perform in impressive manner. I don’t see anybody between 140-154 pounds that can beat him. Only Keith Thurman, Erislandy Lara, Floyd and probably Shawn Porter may be competitive but all of them will lose.

Again Doug, Manny is still the best and is by far the best and true all time great in the sport today. And that includes Bernard Hopkins who has lost way too many of his high profile fights to put him in front of the Filipino. And to all that say that Algieri is a bum and that he should have never been in the ring with Pacman in the first place? Well, at least Pacquiao showed that discrepancy in the ring by outpointing his rival by 17 points. Cheers Doug, have a great week. – Juan Valverde, Tijuana

Thanks Juan, I will. I’m looking forward to a nice Thanksgiving week with family, food and fun.

I’m not going to argue with you about the merits of Pacquiao’s greatness or whether he deserves to be above Hopkins on some ATG list because either opinion is valid, but I disagree that B-Hop has lost “way too many of his high profile fights” or that his win-loss record in major bouts should be the reason Pac rates over him. Hopkins was unbeaten for almost 12 years after his loss to Roy Jones Jr. (which wasn’t viewed as a major fight at the time because the Philly native was a nobody). He won two super fights during that stretch – stoppages of current hall of famers Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya. His losses to Jermain Taylor were controversial. If you count ’em against him, fine, but then you gotta count Manny’s controversial loss to Tim Bradley against him. Yeah, Hopkins lost to Joe Calzaghe, Chad Dawson and Sergey Kovalev, but Calzaghe is a hall of famer and the fight was very close. The Dawson and Kovalev losses occurred when he was over 45. They should count against him about as much as Ray Robinson’s losses to Stan Harrington and Joey Archer in the final year of his all-time great career. Pacquiao, who is still 35, came up short in “high-profile” bouts with Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez. Granted, those two are future-first ballot hall of famers, but Manny was in his prime when he lost to El Terrible, who was more than a bit past his.

Honestly, I think Manny is very close to Nard in terms of his ATG placement. He does have a better track record in high-profile fights but he’s also the bigger star, so he’s had a lot more PPV-level/mega-events than Nard, who I still consider a little higher on my list due to his consistency, middleweight accomplishments and longevity. But hey, that’s just one man’s opinion.

One thing we agree on, and did so before Saturday’s fight, is that Algieri was not in Pacquiao’s class. I told you in Friday’s mailbag that you would be glad you changed your pick. Of course, we were hardly alone in that opinion. In Lem Satterfield’s “Experts Picks” poll 30 out of 30 writers, broadcasters, trainers and fans picked Pacquiao to win by knockout or decision. But let’s go ahead and pat ourselves on the back anyway, LOL! And let’s give Pacquiao his props for absolutely dominating a good boxer – one with the height, reach and style to supposedly trouble him – and a world-class junior welterweight. I would go with Algieri to beat more than a few top-rated 140 pounders, including Vargas, Adrien Broner and Mike Alvarado. I think Algieri vs. Lamont Peterson would be a very good fight.

Pacquiao didn’t knock Algieri out (or bust his face up like I thought he would) but he won by one of the widest margins ever in a 12-round title bout. Chris maybe won one round (the fifth), maybe. I stopped scoring fight after the two knockdowns in Round 6. What was the point?

Still, immediately after the fight I didn’t see a lot of praise for Pacquiao. I saw a lot of insults tossed the way of Algieri (who didn’t deserve to be s__t on) and Tim Lane (who did). And I saw the usual Money Team Huggers and Mayweather cheerleaders make their tired-ass insecure claims that Floyd would beat Manny easy. I’m not going to bother with the Mayweather-Pacquiao debate, but I don’t get how Manny can beat Bradley, the consensus No. 3 pound-for-pound rated boxer at the time, and a tough stick-and-move specialist (supposedly a difficult style for him) and not be praised more by American fans and the U.S. boxing media.

Think about it (I’m sure you have): Bradley and Algieri were athletic, undefeated beltholders (with a combined record of 51-0) who were battle-tested and in their primes when Pacquiao faced them. And at 35, after more than 60 pro bouts and almost 20 years in the game, he handled them. For the record: I’m impressed.

I know Pacquiao’s no longer a dynamo in the ring, and it still seems like he’s going through the motions at times during his fights, but one thing that has become evident to me after his last three bouts is that he’s every bit the ring general that Mayweather and other elite boxers, such as Andre Ward and Wlad Klitschko, are. The only difference is that Pacquiao doesn’t control a fight by holding on the inside; he does it with his footwork and angles.

I questioned whether Pacquiao was still an elite fighter after the Brandon Rios win, and I picked Bradley to beat him in April. He answered that question with his rematch win. He put a stamp on it on Saturday. I don’t know if he’s the best active fighter in the sport (as you maintain), but he’s certainly one of them, definitely top five. And I don’t know if he can beat the boxers you mentioned but I wouldn’t count him out.

 

POETRY IN MOTION

Hey Doug,

Vasyl Lomachenko is an artist, poetry in motion. Hand speed, foot speed, combinations are world class. He’s like a more finesse, more graceful and more patient version of Manny Pacquiao in terms of those traits. I think it’s time for him to fight the elites. I’d love to see him against Guillermo Rigondeaux. My only worry is that he’s been fighting “come forward fighters” which is the total opposite of Guillermo. What’s your take on this fight? My money is on Vasyl.

I’ve been learning a lot by reading your mailbag. Thank you & keep it up. – Anghel Sagrado, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Thanks for the kind words, Anghel. I’ll keep it up as long as you guys keep reading it.

I wouldn’t put any money on this opinion, but I would also pick Lomachenko to beat his fellow two-time Olympian and amateur legend Rigondeaux. I think his footwork, angles, in-and-out movement, crazy fast reflexes and higher workrate would be the key to overcoming the Cuban’s uncanny timing and counterpunching ability. (By the way, I wouldn’t classify Gary Russell Jr. as a “come-forward fighter”.)

It’s strange to hear fans clamor for a guy with only four pro bouts to “fight the elites,” but in Loma’s case it’s a reasonable expectation thanks to his amateur background and obvious elite-level talent/skill. While I wouldn’t hold my breath for the showdown with Rigo (due to the Cuban’s sour relationship with Top Rank and his unwillingness to go up in weight), I think Loma’s management has targeted the other top featherweights – including promotional stablemate and undefeated WBA titleholder Nicholas Walters and experienced WBC beltholder Jhonny Gonzalez.

 

PACQUIAO SHOULD RETIRE

Hi Doug,

I’ve been a Pacquiao fan for a long time, and after this fight I would like him to retire. He was flat footed and didn’t cut the ring off as well as I thought he could. When he hurt Algieri it didn’t look he could finish him off. I used to think that Manny looked this way because he didn’t train hard enough for the fight, but now I just think he’s old and he doesn’t have that in him. His loss against Marquez has made him more cautious. I love the man, but it’s time to move on before he gets hurt too much. Only the Mayweather fight makes sense and I don’t see it happening, no matter what rumour surfaces.

After watching the undercard, I’m convinced that Lomachencko has the goods to become a boxing star. He has amazing movement, speed and reflexes. He’s unafraid to challenge himself against big names, and he has an exciting style. I would love to see Loma vs. Rigondeaux. I hope Top Rank makes that happen because it would be a treat to watch two great boxing minds duel it out.

Jesse Vargas was also in a good scrap. I don’t know enough about him to want to see him in with Manny as was mentioned in the broadcast. I would love to see him in with guys like Alvarado, Rios, and Provo, to see how he stands up.

What do you think of these two matchups and how do you see them playing out in the ring? What’s your outlook on Vargas’ career?

Finally, keep up the good work with the mailbags. As has been mentioned in previous emails, you’re always good for intelligent and funny responses without being condescending to the fan base of the sport. Thanks. – Jey Kalimuthu, Brampton, ON

Thanks for the kind words, Jey, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on Pacquiao, Lomachenko and Vargas.

I’ve followed Vargas’ career since he was a 6-0 or 7-0 prospect. I’d say he’s already exceeded a lot of expectations despite changing his style (from pressure fighter to volume-punching boxer), dropping from welter to junior welter, changing promoters and trainers (three or four times). I think he’s received a few gift decisions, but he legitimately beat Antonio DeMarco, who is no chump. I think he can make for some good 140-pounds scraps against the contenders you mentioned. If he gets the call to face Pacquiao next year he will have hit the jackpot.

My guess is that you’ll give the young gun a shot at beating this sad, cautious, faded flat-footed version of Pacquiao. LOL. Don’t put too much money on Vargas if that fight happens ’cause Pacquiao will shut him out over 12 just as he did Algieri. (And by the way, why was Pac’s inability to put Algieri away so distressing to you? Algieri is tough as nails, plus he wasn’t engaging with Pacquiao. Outside of maybe Keith Thurman, I can’t think of any top 140 or 147 pounder who would have dropped the Long Islander that many times. Do you think Mayweather would have beat Algieri as decisively as Pacquiao did?)

No, Manny is no longer the hyper-speed explosive Pac-Monster (and he was never good at cutting off the ring), so he probably won’t be scoring any more knockouts, but he knows how to keep boxers off balance, out of step and on the defensive. He can also put a hurt on a fool for 12 rounds. Algieri minimized his damage by being on the constant move. A guy like Jessie Vargas is too proud to do that, so he would get busted up a lot worse than he was after 12 rounds with DeMarco. And trust me, Vargas or any of these other young contenders/beltholders won’t think Pacquiao is “old” after fighting the future hall of famer.

I agree that this post-Marquez KO version of Pacquiao is often flat-footed and definitely more cautious than he used to be, but that might not be a bad thing. A less impetuous Manny is a less hit Manny. He’s less vulnerable to sneaky counter punchers these days, which might be bad news for a certain undefeated American star should they ever share the ring one day.

We might actually see that matchup before we see Lomachenko-Rigondeaux. Top Rank is looking to make Loma the undisputed featherweight champ, not the undisputed king of the former amateur stars.

THE STACKED CLEVERLY-BELLEW REMATCH CARD

I hope I’m not too late to make the Monday mailbag but if I am maybe you’ll be kind enough to put my email in the Friday edition! Anyway, I just wanted to share some random thoughts on the big night of boxing in Liverpool.

The main event was hugely disappointing, especially after all the big talk and pre-fight hype from both fighters. Nathan Cleverly, in particular, put in a very strange performance barely throwing his right hand all night and then in the last few rounds seemingly happy to do nothing but cover up on the ropes in survival mode. At his best a few years ago he had fast hand speed (for his weight) with combination punching and a high work rate. In this fight he showed none of these attributes and he seriously needs to ask himself why, at only 27, he looks like a shot fighter. Is it a psychological or a physical problem and can it be rectified? You wonder where he goes from here because after this he’s not likely to get a title shot at cruiserweight anytime soon and he’s not likely to do anything if he moves back to light heavyweight with Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson ruling the roost.

I can’t say I was overly impressed with Tony Bellew either but he did what he had to do to win and at least he came to fight which is more then you can say for Cleverly. It looks like he will get a shot at Marco Huck next but I don’t see him winning that one especially if it’s in Germany.

James DeGale looks to have evolved from a slick, if rather boring to watch, counter puncher into a more explosive (but still slick) box-puncher. He’s starting to look like a genuine threat to anyone in the division and the likes of Joe Calzaghe have even favoured him to win in a fight with Carl Froch. What do you think?

Scott Quigg showed his class once again and now it’s time for him to face one of the elite fighters in the division. In his post-fight interview the names of Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz were once again mentioned and I give him a chance of winning against both. He even called out Rigondeaux so he sounds like he’s ready to face anyone.

Callum Smith and Antony Joshua look like two of the best British prospects I’ve seen in years. The question is how fast to move them on? They’re both very inexperienced on paper but far too good for their current level of opposition. When you’ve got prospects who look as good as these guys is it worth giving them tougher fights earlier than you would with most other young fighters? There’s already talk of putting Joshua in with David Price or Kevin Johnson after only 10 fights. Smith has talked about facing George Groves in the not-too-distant future. As talented as these guys are I hope they aren’t getting ahead of themselves. Cheers – Mark.

I agree that Smith and Joshua are two of the better British prospects to come around in many years, and when an up-and-comer has the blend of talent, technique, intelligence and dedication to the sport that these two obviously have I think it’s OK to move them faster and bolder than other promising second- and third-year pros.

Having said that, George Groves is way out of Smith’s league at the moment. It’s OK for him to talk about the two-time title challenger but he and his management shouldn’t target a legit top-10 contender until they take on a couple top-15 or top-20 level super middles.

I think Joshua is ready for Price or Johnson, although the Price bout could be risky due to the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist’s punching power. Price is a calculated risk due to his shaky chin and stamina, but Joshua’s chin and stamina have yet to be proven. I think Johnson is the right move for Joshua. The American veteran has the chin and style to take the 2012 Olympic champ rounds (if not the distance) but he doesn’t have the power to threaten the colossus.

I also give Quigg a shot at beating both Frampton and Santa Cruz. I think the Frampton fight will be hard to make due to British politics (and egos), so Santa Cruz is Quigg’s best bet for a big fight. Santa Cruz says he’s willing to travel to the UK to fight Quigg, but we all know that he ain’t going anywhere unless Al Haymon tells him to, and General Haymon definitely does not want his soldiers to travel overseas. So Quigg will have to be willing to travel to the U.S. to make that fight happen (and I think he will make the trip if a deal can be struck).

I think DeGale has evolved into a top-five super middleweight. I’ll never count Froch out of any fight, but I do believe the 2008 Olympic gold medalist has the ability to outpoint The Cobra.

I wasn’t impressed with Bellew and Cleverly either (who was?) and I barely paid attention to their sloppy affair.

I think Cleverly’s problems are both mental and physical. He’s probably still having a few nightmares about the beatdown that Krusher handed him last year (imagine seeing Kovlev dressed up like Freddy Krueger) and he’s just not as fast, strong or spry at 200 pounds as he was at 175. I’m sure he also hurt his right hand during the early going with Bellew.

As for Bellew, well, he ain’t no Bomber at 200 pounds (he might have to change his nickname to Fat Tony), but he’s still got his fighting spirit and attitude, so he should make for a fun promotion against any one of the cruiserweight titleholders. I’d favor them all to beat him, especially Huck – doesn’t matter where that one takes place.

 

PACMAN, LOMA & ATGS

What’s up Doug,
Firstly I wrote to you a few weeks back about Luke Campbell and GGG. Thanks for including me in the mailbag, except you didn’t answer my questions about GGG, not busting your balls just thought I’d let you know.

Seen the highlights of Pac-Algieri (I sure as f**k wasn’t paying for that) and have to say that the Pacman did look better at the lighter weight albeit against an opponent he was expected to beat. Where does he go from here? I’d like to see him drop to 140 and fight Garcia, which Roach had previously mentioned. I favour Pacquiao in that one.

Didn’t catch Loma’s fight but heard he beat a once beaten Thai fighter with practically one hand for half the fight while putting him down also. I think it’s scary how quickly he’s developed his pro style. Just look at the difference in his fights with Salido and Russell as regards to how to pace himself, when to throw. And also I love how he throws them body shots. How far do you see him going?

I know you get pissed about people who claim or claimed Floyd and RJJ where the greatest and rightly so. You have valid reasons. However, the best fighters of the past 20 years could be classed as great. I just wanna know where you’d rank them in their primes in ATG standings like top 10-20, etc?

Roy Jones at 168

B-Hop at 160 or 175 I can’t pick which weight he’s better at he’s that good ha

Pac at 140

Floyd at 130 or 140 again can’t call it.

Oscar at 147

Underrated pick: Holyfield at HW

All the best Doug. – David, Dublin

I think Holyfield belongs among the top 15 or lower top 10 of the greatest heavyweights ever (he just makes my top 10, behind Joe Frazier).

De La Hoya doesn’t rate as a great welterweight. He was a very good 147 pounder, one of the best of the late 1990s, but he was neck-and-neck with an aging undersized Pernell Whitaker, Ike Quartey, and Tito Trinidad. He wasn’t “the man” at 147 during his era. He certainly doesn’t rate among the best welters of the 1980s, ’70s, ’60s and on back.

I think Mayweather rates at junior lightweight. I’d rank him among the 10 best 130 pounders ever. He didn’t separate himself as the champ at 130 pounds during the early 2000s (as he should have by facing the Joel Casamayor-Acelino Freitas winner) but he faced enough standouts (such as Genaro Hernandez, Chico Corrales and Jesus Chavez) and was dominant enough at the weight for me to compare him to the best junior lightweights the previous eras.

I don’t think Floyd rates at all at 140 pounds. Same with Pac. They only had a couple fights at junior welterweight.

Hopkins rates at middleweight, definitely top 10, but not at light heavyweight.

I think Jones is the greatest super middleweight ever, but we’re talking about a division that was created in the ’80s.

How far do I see Loma going? I think he has the ability be the undisputed featherweight champ and a top five-rated pound for pound player.

I’d also favor Pacquiao to beat Garcia, but that’s a fight I’d like to see. It would be a good style matchup (two fast and versatile boxer-punchers), it would be for THE RING junior welterweight championship (which the Filipino star briefly held after smashing Ricky Hatton) and I think it would be a successful pay-per-view event. Pacquiao will bring in Filipino/Fil-Am fans in Texas and the West Coast, Garcia will tap into the East Coast/Puerto Rican markets, while Angel Garcia and Freddie Roach talk enough s__t at the press conferences, on media conference calls and during 24/7 episodes to whip social media into a frenzy and keep a good buzz on the fight during the buildup.

What was your Golovkin question? Hard to believe I’d skip anything GGG related.

 

 

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

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