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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

15
Dec

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KHAN-ALEXANDER AFTERMATH

Hi Dougie,

Great win for Amir Khan last night vs a top opponent. Hand speed was ridiculous against Devon Alexander and the main difference between the two. Short and sweet though, Khan v Mayweather next or Khan v Brook? I think if Khan deserves it, Brook is just as worthy. A fight between the two should be the ticket to who actually does do so. Thanks for your time. – Malcolm, Dublin, Ireland



If Khan were to fight Brook, the winner of that huge UK showdown would definitely be the consensus choice for the third best welterweight in the world behind the two superstars who seem destined not to fight each other.

Some of my esteemed peers in the British press believe that Khan would make more money challenging Brook than he would with a Mayweather fight. Brook-Khan could be that big in Britain. If that’s true, I have to imagine that Brook is Khan’s Plan B if Mayweather decides to snub him for the second May date in a row.

But Khan’s not all about money. His legacy is very important to him and a victory over Mayweather would make history, especially on his (and your) side of the Pond. So Mayweather is who Khan (and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya) will be beating the drums for.

I agree that Khan’s lopsided decision over Alexander was a tremendous victory for him. I viewed it as an even matchup going in and Khan absolutely dominated. I think it was the best performance of his career. His hand speed was indeed ridiculous, but I don’t think it was the main difference between the two. I think Khan’s strategy and his discipline in sticking to Virgil Hunter’s game plan was the main difference.

 

THOUGHTS ON A BIG WEEKEND

Hey Dougie,

Hope you enjoyed a great night in Vegas! I ended up watching the Showtime card on Sky Sports, but I’ve got the HBO card recorded on BoxNation that I’ll watch another day.

1. What a scrap between Abner Mares and Jose Ramirez. That was the most entertaining five rounds of boxing I’ve seen in a long time. Mares looked sharp, and the heart Ramirez showed was true Mexican warrior style!

2. I was impressed with Keith Thurman. He didn’t deserve the booing at the end. I suppose it comes with the territory when you’re knocking guys out left, right and centre. I think fighting Marcos Maidana next would set him up nicely for a title shot.

3. I take back a lot of things I’ve said about Khan. He’s finally displayed the discipline to not stand toe to toe like he’s done in previous fights. We know he’s got balls of steel, he doesn’t need to prove it anymore. Hopefully he’ll get a massive fight for 2015!

4. Well done to Andy Lee. Didn’t see that upset coming. Another good domestic fight is on the cards now against B.J. Saunders.

5. If you had to pay for Mayweather-Pacquaio or Cotto-Canelo with your own cash, which would you choose? If it happens it’s a dilemma a lot of hardcore fans are going to face! I remember you saying once you don’t go to Mayweather fights anymore so I suppose you’ll be at Cotto-Canelo, IF it’s happens. Mythical Matchups Hatton vs Algieri: 140Hamed vs Lomachenko Sorry for the extra long email! Happy holidays. – Greg, Nottingham

Happy Holidays to you too, Greg. I’ll respond to your thoughts in order:

1) Mares-Ramirez looked like the best scrap on paper and it turned out to be just that. Given the hesitation Mares exhibited in his last fight, I was looking for how he would respond to Ramirez’s aggression and he did the right thing by not responding at all – taking the fight to his tough-but-limited opponent instead. In other words, Mares was fighting his fight. Mares is a versatile boxer, but he’s at his best when he’s the aggressor. Kudos to Ramirez for fighting back and dishing out as much as he could while getting the s__t beat out of him.

2) I was also impressed by Thurman’s performance, but I totally understood the boos from the crowd inside the MGM Grand’s Garden Arena. Thurman talked a lot s__t coming into Saturday’s fight, and he acted like he was the star of the show in days leading into the event. However, he failed to entertain on fight night. He merely got the job done, which I believe was good for his overall development as a fighter, but it didn’t help his image as one of the most exciting welterweights in the game. I agree that a punchers’ showdown with Maidana is the ticket to rekindling the excitement and the fans’ fascination with Thurman.

3) Khan appears to have matured as a man, gelled with Hunter and his trainer’s boxing philosophy and come into his own as a fighter all at the same time. The result is an experienced, ultra-talented stick-and-move specialist whose style is absolute poison for pure boxers. If Khan doesn’t get Mayweather next year, he’ll get another big name.

4) I’m over the moon happy for Lee, and though I didn’t make any bold predictions prior to the bout (which was sort of under the radar in recent weeks) I loved his chances against Korobov and was openly rooting for the Irishman. He really is one of my favorite folks in boxing. I think Lee vs. Saunders is a very solid middleweight matchup.

5) No contest, man! I’d spend my money on Cotto-Canelo. That’s a FIGHT. There’s no way those two are gonna pussy foot around the ring. There too much national pride on the line, plus their styles have always been heavy on offense. It won’t be a total slugfest or blood bath – both guys have some technique and can box a little – but it will be an entertaining fight. Mayweather and Pacquiao are both past their primes and are no longer hungry. Maybe their passion will be spiked in facing each other but I still doubt they would make a great fight. Pacquiao is no longer the dynamo he was five years ago and Mayweather is Mayweather.

Your mythical matchups:

Hatton vs Algieri – I ALREADY DID THIS ONE! The prime version of Hatton is too strong, frenetic and smothering for Algieri to hold off.

Hamed vs Lomachenko – Prime Hamed would have been a threat to land a fight-ending bomb at any time, but I think Loma’s fast, precise in-and-out attacks would keep the unorthodox bomber in check over 12 rounds. Loma’s blend of technique, style and talent is all wrong for Hamed in my opinion.

 

GBP, TOP RANK & CINCO DE MAYO

Hey Dougie,

I don’t write in often but it has been a very interesting weekend for the welterweight glamour division and I wanted to share my thoughts and get yours on a couple of things so I hope I make the bag!

Being a Brit (and of Pakistani descent) I was always going to watch Amir Khan even though the fight definitely had potential to be a snoozer. Khan has changed into a more measured but less exciting fighter and Devon is usually pretty boring. I felt Alexander would be a threat but Khan shut him down so I guess they were right, but it wasn’t a chess match and Khan was in control and handled Alexander easily. Do you think Khan gets the Mayweather fight? I doubt it, which leads me on to my main point.

Mayweather has called Pacquiao out. He has done this before. What’s changed? The cold war is thawing, and Canelo (my man!) has basically said “f**k Mayweather, cinco de mayo is my sh*t, I’m taking it back”. Arum and De La Hoya must be rubbing their hands together, I am pretty sure they really wanna knock Mayweather off that date for obvious reasons i.e. Arum probably hates Money (see what I did there) and De La Hoya is probably pissed with Haymon et al. and wants his cash cow Canelo to take over. Mayweather is sh*tting bricks right now because he is actually scared that he is gonna bomb on the all important PPV’s if he has to take on Canelo AND Cotto at the same time. Hence I actually think he wants Pacquiao now. What do you think? I can only congratulate De La Hoya and Arum if they knock Mayweather off his perch. This leaves Khan in the cold, since I do not think American viewers will buy into it (although Khan is back on Sky Sports and for my money I think he is a more valid B-side than Mayweather’s last few fights, and taps into the British market).

Love your mailbag, keep up the good work and stay real (you always do, that’s why I read your stuff). Peace. – Riz, London

Thanks for the kind words, Riz.

Before I get into the Mayweather-Pacquiao talk, I want to address what you said about Khan being left out in the cold. There’s no doubt that a Mayweather-Khan pay-per-view would be a hard sell in the U.S., but the matchup would not be completely pissed on by American boxing writers and sports media (the way it would have had the fight been made early this year). Khan has proven to be a real welterweight threat with his dominant decision victories over Luis Collazo and Devon Alexander. I think Khan would receive some respect from the boxing world going into a Mayweather showdown and some of that might rub off on casual fans. There’s no doubt that the fight would sell PPV buys in the UK, so that’s an economic incentive for Mayweather to roll the dice against your Pakistani-British brother.

Now, regarding Mayweather’s “earth-shattering” announcement on Showtime this past Friday, all I’m gonna do is let out big-ass yawn. Pacquiao called Mayweather out after he outclassed Chris Algieri. Arum and Freddie Roach talked their usual s__t about Floyd in the following days and weeks. To me, Steve Farhood’s brief interview with Floyd was all about giving Mayweather an opportunity to protect his pride by saying he’s willing to fight Pacquiao (as well as the chance to talk a little s__t). That all that was to me, just more of the same old back-and-forth bulls__t we’ve been force-fed for the past five years.

You asked what’s changed? Canelo going to HBO and declaring that he wants to fight on the May and September Mexican holiday dates is something different. So is Golden Boy and Top Rank working together. Like you said, the threat of Cotto-Canelo getting done lights a fire under Mayweather’s ass to put together a bigger PPV event if he’s going to hold onto that May 2 date (which makes no sense to me if he’s not fighting a Mexican star, but that’s a rant for another day). The only fight that’s bigger than Cotto-Canelo is the Pacquiao fight. But just because Floyd realizes this doesn’t mean this superbout can be made. Nothing else has changed in regard to Floyd and Manny. Mayweather is still a Showtime fighter. Pacquiao is still an HBO fighter. (Some claim that Manny’s a free agent in terms of U.S. networks, but even if this is true, he’s still an Arum fighter and Top Rank has a very close business relationship with HBO. Top Rank as a company cannot afford to alienate or piss off HBO.)

Here’s something else that hasn’t changed – and never will. Mayweather is still an egomaniac and Arum is still a stubborn son of b__ch. And they still hate each other. Arum and Al Haymon aren’t exchanging Chanukkah and Kwanzaa cards this holiday season, either.

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Mayweather told Farhood that he wanted to make the Pacquiao fight, but he didn’t say he wanted to work with Arum. And he didn’t say anything about Showtime working with HBO the way the two networks cooperated in order to make the 2002 Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson PPV event. Mayweather still spoke like he’s the boss. I’m not saying that Mayweather shouldn’t have bargaining power at the negotiating table. His PPV numbers are stronger than Pacquiao’s recent events. But he can’t dictate all the terms of this potential mega-event and expect anything to happen.

There’s a legion of boxing people who will gladly bend over and spread their butt cheeks for Mayweather. Arum, Pacquiao and Ken Hershman (HBO’s boxing boss) aren’t in that group.

So basically my brotha, I’m saying that I still have a lot of doubts about Mayweather-Pacquiao happening.

 

ANDY LEE

Hey, Doug, It must have been good for you to see Andy Lee put a big victory on top of a great story. I enjoyed that. Korobov is a solid prospect. He falls asleep in the ring, though, and pulls in and out in a straight line. The ONLY reason Andy was able to turn that fight around was that he moved out of the pocket after every exchange and finished them with his right hook. I don’t know if he beats Korobov twice.

Mauricio Herrera is a fantastically skilled fighter. I don’t need whatever mysteries that may be happening between 3 “judges,” a promoter and a cable network to tell me that. It probably wouldn’t produce a knockout, but I would love to see Herrera/Bradley. I think that speaks volumes for each guy. IMHO, they represent the best of boxing. Take care! – V. Hunt

Bradley-Herrera may not turn out be a good fight if it ever happened. The two are friends and have sparred countless rounds in the gym, so they may be too familiar with each other, if you know what I mean.

I agree that Herrera is a very skilled professional. He’s rugged technician and ring general. The only thing Herrera lacks is world-class power, which sadly prevents too many judges from crediting the work he does during his fights.

I let out a cheer during the Khan-Alexander post-fight presser when I learned Lee knocked out Korobov. (I guess it was a good thing I wasn’t at the Bradley-Chaves card, there’s no cheering on press row.)

I disagree with your take (and HBO’s take) on Lee’s stoppage. I think there was more to it than Korobov falling asleep at the wheel or pulling straight back. Lee caught him during an exchange, and Irish southpaw was looking to set traps for that big right hook of his the entire fight. (Same deal with his up-from-the canvas KO of John Jackson.)

 

FOR SHAME

Hey Dougie,

I haven’t written to you in a while, but I had to say something after what we saw on the weekend: judges once again turning this great sport into an absolute joke. Please don’t take my upcoming rant to mean I have something against you, this site, or the magazine. I think you guys do an awesome job, but I have to say this.

Bradley and Herrera got screwed over and nothing is being done by anyone to stop this kind of nonsense. What a lot of people aren’t getting is that it isn’t just about the history of the sport – these fighters are getting paid to risk their lives and each bad decision makes it that much harder for them to get paid again, because they “lost” a fight.

Now I realize that neither you nor The Ring is all powerful in the world of boxing, but you guys can do one thing: write about it. And make it big, not just some footnote to another article. Create an entire page on the site and in the magazine dedicated to naming the true winners and shaming the judges involved. I notice that all your writers still refer to fights like Pacquiao’s “loss” to Bradley and Herrera’s “loss” to Garcia, sometimes without even qualifying them as controversial: stop doing that. Or at the very least color it up with adjectives like “ridiculous” or “preposterous” or straight up “bulls__t”. Don’t allow changes in rankings based on horrible judging and change the rankings even if judges don’t agree. That much you guys can do. And name Mauricio Herrera the Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight Champion. End of story.

On a lighter note, I have to echo Friday’s fan write in about Amir Khan: really don’t get the hate. In fact, I think he’ll give “TBE” fits if they meet next year. Anyway, hope I make it in and even if I don’t, I want to wish you and your family Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Peace. – Abs, Cape Town

Thanks Abs. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family, too.

I think Khan earned some overdue respect – even from some of his haters – with his performance against Alexander. And I agree that he would give Mayweather fits. I didn’t think he was ready or worthy of fighting Mayweather this time last year, but he’s made me a believer with his performances in 2014.

Regarding the controversial official scores of the Bradley-Chaves and Herrera-Benavides, here’s the RingTV.com headlines for the Top Rank/HBO show:

Poor judging mars entertaining Tim Bradley-Diego Chaves card

Jose Benavides wins with dubious decision over Mauricio Herrera

Does is it look like we’re pulling punches or glossing over what happened?

I included hyperlinks to the stories, so you can read what Andreas Hale, the RingTV.com contributor who covered that show, had to say about official scoring of both bouts. He doesn’t hold back with his opinions on the official scores, which he thought sucked.

Lem Satterfield is compiling a poll of media scores for both fights, which will run this week (probably Monday) and hopefully add more perspective on the magnitude of injustice.

There will be follow-up features on Saturday’s scoring this week.

I’ve mentioned this in previous mailbags but I’m happy to repeat it: THE RING magazine began keeping tabs on habitually bad judges shortly after Gustavo Padilla somehow scored the Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov fight for Shumenov (114-113). Starting with the July 2014 issue, editor Michael Rosenthal said that he’s instituting a new feature called POOR JUDGEMENT, “a list of horrible scorecards that we’ll continually update.” I can’t speak for Mr. Rosenthal but my guess is that the POOR JUDGEMENT list will be added to in the next issue.

However, having said that, I should also note that Max DeLuca (who had Benavides winning by a 116-112 score) and Julie Lederman (who had Chaves winning by a 116-112 tally) are not habitually bad judges. They are usually on point. Just because they had a bad night doesn’t mean their names should be dragged through the mud for all eternity.

Regarding some RingTV.com writers not referring to disputed decisions as “controversial,” “ridiculous,” “preposterous,” or “bulls__t” in their stories, I don’t want to force them to do so if that’s not their opinion. Believe it or not there are a few boxing writers who thought Bradley legitimately beat Pacquiao in their first fight and though disagree with that opinion I happen to have a lot of respect for those members of the media.

 

SATURDAY NIGHT’S FIGHTS

Dougie,

A couple of questions for you:

1) What did you think of Thurman’s “Mayweather” impression? When he scored the flash knock down in round 1, I thought he was going to put Bundu away. I was impressed with his movement and control, but was disappointed by the lack of action. Everyone has a regular day at the office.

2) What is with that scorecard on the Bradley fight, 8 to 4 for Chaves? And why was Roy Jones and Jim Lampley making excuses for that crap? Didn’t watch the Herrera fight, but he suffered the same fate. What are these judges missing that we apparently aren’t?

3) If Erroll Spence Jr. (I think that’s his name) was your guy, who would you match him up against before you put him in front of a bona fide gatekeeper? Kid has the talent to do some things.

Keep up the good work and if you get a chance check out that new Star Wars edition (comics) coming out in Jan 2015. Those variants are going to be worth some money one day. – KJ

No they won’t, but I’ll check ’em out anyway. LOL. And I’ll answer your questions in order:

1) I wouldn’t call what Thurman did against Bundu a Mayweather impression, it was more like an Erislandy Lara imitation (but with more power punches than jabs). I didn’t expect Thurman to blowout Bundu and I thought it was possible that the European champ could take him the distance, so I wasn’t disappointed in the way he won on Saturday. I thought he could have tried taking the fight to Bundu a few times during the bout but a shutout decision is nothing to be ashamed of. (Thurman’s won every round on every card both times he went the 12-round distance. The first time was against Jan Zaveck.) I think Thurman needed the rounds, having only fought twice this year.

2) I have no idea how anyone could score eight rounds for Chaves, but I wasn’t sitting where Julie Lederman was sitting and I wasn’t ringside for that fight the way Lampley and Jones were. There was more mauling and rough stuff in the Bradley-Chaves fight than there was in the Herrera-Benavides bout, so maybe that made it harder to score. I don’t think Lampley and Jones were signing off on the 116-112 scorecard, I think they were saying that maybe a draw verdict isn’t a robbery. (The scores for the Herrera-Benavides fight were much worse, by the way.)

3) I think Spence is ready for a gatekeeper right now. I’d put him in with Jesus Soto Karass, who I think is a little faded. If he passed that test, I’d put him in with Yoshihiro Kamegai, a gatekeeper who isn’t faded. And if Errol passed that test, I’d put him in with Leo Bundu, a bona-fide fringe contender. Those guys would give him some quality rounds, right? (If not, let’s toss him in with Thurman and see whose chin holds out!)

 

ONE TIME

Hi Doug,

How will Keith Thurman compete at the highest level without much of an inside game? Mad love for the mailbag. – BK, Seattle, WA

Thanks BK.

I’m not ready to declare that Thurman lacks an inside game. He didn’t do any infighting against Bundu, but that doesn’t mean he can’t fight on the inside. I think he’s done so in some of his previous fights, but I’ll be watching for this going forward, especially against world-class competition.

If it turns out that he’s not that good of an infighter it doesn’t mean he can’t compete on the world-class or championship level. The heavyweight champ, Wladimir Klitschko, has no inside game, and he’s dominated the division for the last several years. Khan doesn’t have much of an inside game, but he’s developed a effective style (especially against boxers) that limits in-close exchanges.

Muhammad Ali wasn’t much of an inside fighter (that’s why he moved as much as he did while in his prime, and it’s why he held a lot as he got older and less mobile during the 1970s).

 

CLOSE BUT NOT ROBBERY

Hi Dougie,

First time writing in. I was extremely excited about the Benavidez v Herrera fight and it didn’t disappoint. As the end of the fight neared I questioned my ability to score a fight as the broadcast was clearly giving the rounds to Herrera over the last half of the fight. I thought it was very close but gave the fight to the youngster largely based on harder punches landing clean to the chin and body and hurting Herrera where as Herrera’s punches to me were landing to the arms and elbows and the head shots being mostly blocked by the gloves. Close fight but hardly a robbery. Am I crazy?? – Richie from Oz

It was a competitive fight. I scored it 115-113 (or seven rounds to five) for Herrera. I think the HBO crew was upset with the lopsided nature of the scores (116-112 and 117-111 for Benavides) more than the fact that the youngster won.

My scorecard was much like Harold Lederman’s, except I scored Round 7 for Benavides. I thought Herrera took the first three rounds with his jabs to the body and head, and 1-2 combos, but Benavides won the next four with his heavy body shots and sporadic power punching. The kid’s problem is that he paced himself too much and spent too much time on the ropes during the late rounds, which helped Herrera outwork him. Benavides was good in spots down the stretch but I thought Herrera was more consistent with his offense (even though he was throwing a lot of arm punches).

It was a good fight. Too bad the official scores gave Benavides the benefit of every doubt (and then some). Hopefully, Herrera won’t let it get him down and Golden Boy works hard to get him another big fight in 2015. I’m sure the experience will make Benavides a better fighter. The kid has a lot of potential.

 

ABNER MARES

Sup Doug!

Mares is back and I couldn’t be happier, but damn what a freaking chin on Ramirez! Mares was landing some thudding hooks to the head that i felt would knock must others out.

I like this version of Mares better. Is he a better boxer than he was with Hunter? Maybe not defensively but offensively he looked better. Combinations were crazy, like the one that basically ended the fight in round 5.

How do you see a war between Mares and Santa Cruz playing out? To me I see Abner’s superior experience against tougher opposition carrying him to victory in an epic slugfest!

Hey, keep up the good work Doug and happy holidays to you and your family. – Mainor

Thanks Mainor, likewise to you and your family.

I think Mares is a better offensive fighter with Clemente Medina, and I think he’s at his best when he’s aggressive. Medina isn’t considered on par with Hunter or Floyd Mayweather Sr. or hall of famer Nacho Beristain – all of whom Mares has trained with over the years – but I think he gets the best out of Abner. The defensive and counter-punching techniques of the other trainers just didn’t seem to fit with Mares.

He has a better flow and rhythm with his boxing when he’s letting his hands go in body-head combos. But he’s also got very good footwork and decent upper-body movement. His hand speed is pretty good, too.

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The 126-pound division is deep and dangerous, but I think Mares can give any of the top dogs fits with his style and experience. And yes, I think he can beat Santa Cruz (just based on his versatility), but that’s a fight I want to see because I know it would be a nip-and-tuck battle.

Press conference videos by Daniel Morales

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

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