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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

23
Jan

DID I MISS SOMETHING?

Dougie,

Happy new year, hopefully it is filled with brutal fights. Brandon Rios vs Mike Alvardo is a great start. What is your prediction? Where should the winner go from here? I imagine Rios wins via knockout considering Mike Alvarado has his hands full outside of the ring with legal issues, and he might be a shop worm by now anyways. I hope I’m wrong, and that fight III between these two is a FOY candidate like the past 2 meetings.

I was presently surprised to see Deontay’s performance. I don’t understand the complaints. The boxing world wanted to know 3 things. Can he take a shot? Can he last 12 rounds? Can he hang with a top 5 heavyweight? Check, check, check. Be happy America, even if you aren’t a fan, this means more faces in front of the TV fight night, and I think we all want that. Like you, I want to see Wilder vs Fury. While we are talking about this fight, do you put any stock in the Stiverne was dehydrated leak?



Did The Ring announce FOY, knockout of the year, etc. for 2014? Did I miss it or something? Wikipedia is updated, but I didn’t see it on the website.

You know how you are always bashing people for not watching the lower weight classes, particularly in Asia? Please enlighten us on how to watch these fights. I watch what I can on TV from HBO, Showtime, FOX sports, NBC Sports, and CBS Sports, but I never have luck getting fights via the internet. Where do I look?

Last, let me help with the disappointment of finding out no Canelo vs Cotto or JCC jr vs Froch. Canelo vs James Kirkland and Cotto vs Andy Lee. JCC Jr. vs Fanfora is fine by me.

Mythical matchups:

Bermane Stiverne vs David Haye this year. – Jordan, NC

Haye plays it careful, utilizes a lot of lateral movement and pot-shots the s__t out of Stiverne en route to a decision win.

I’m not happy about the demise of Cotto-Canelo, but Canelo-Kirkland at the Alamodome is definitely a travel-worthy fight, and one that will put butts in the seats and deliver action (if it’s made). I think Chavez-Fonfara and Cotto-Lee are also fun matchups (if they’re made).

If you want to stick to TV, look for the beIN Sports network, which televised what I thought was the best scrap of 2014, the Francisco Rodriguez Jr.-Katsunari Takayama IBF/WBO 105-pound title unification bout, my man Chocolatito Gonzalez’s RING/WBC flyweight championship victory over Akria Yagaeshi, and WBO/WBA flyweight titleholder Juan Estrada’s stoppage of former 108-pound champ Giovani Segura.

THE RING has not announced its year-end award winners of 2014. Those will be revealed in the next issue of the magazine, which will be available next month.

I agree with your take on Wilder. He answered all of the questions we had of him against Stiverne, going 12 rounds will undoubtedly make him a better fighter, he’s got TV friendly style and personality, and seems to want to be part of big fights. What’s not to like? Wilder vs. Fury is THE heavyweight to be made in 2015, no disrespect to Wladdy K.

Yes, I believe Stiverne was dehydrated, but it’s his fault for reportedly starting training camp for weighing 290 pounds and for “making it rain” with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the clubs in the weeks leading into the Wilder fight.

Regarding tomorrow night’s rubbermatch, I gotta go with “Bam Bam,” who I view as the fresher fighter, who has fewer distractions and tighter punching technique (especially on the inside). But I don’t think Rios is going to have his way in this fight. Alvarado is going to box and brawl as best he can and he’ll definitely have his moments. I like Rios by close decision.

If I’m right and Rios wins the fight I’d like to see is a showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez. I think that’s a perfect matchup for The Forum in my hometown of Inglewood, California. If Alvarado wins, I’d like to see him matched with Tim Bradley, Marcos Maidana or Lucas Matthysse.

IF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WERE ALIVE

He’d say:”Yo Floyd, what’s up? You gonna fight this kat or what?” – Chip

Or maybe he’d congratulate Mayweather for his adamant stance on non-violence (at least when it comes to Manny Pacquiao).

 

THE AL HAYMON CHAMPIONSHIP BELT?

Hello Mr. Fischer!

This has been recently crossing my mind. Will it be possible that Haymon Boxing turns in to a boxing governing body? I have a feeling that soon we will be introduced to “THE PBC BELT.” If this were to happen would you recognize it and how it would affect the rest of the governing bodies?

In other news, I’m really bummed out about Canelo Alvarez not fighting Miguel Cotto like we all thought was gonna happen, but plan B sounds like good fight. Canelo-James Kirkland has what it takes to be an excellent fight. I hope this time around the fight gets made. How do you see this potential fight playing out taking into consideration Mandingo’s inactivity? I see Canelo stopping James by the 6th Rd in a thrilling fight!

Hope to hear your thoughts on both subjects, like always your mail bag is really appreciated. Keep up the good work! – Agustin, Mexico City

Thanks Agustin. I was also “gutted” (as our British friends say) when I heard the news of Cotto-Canelo not happening, but like you, I’m very much intrigued by the prospect of what Krazy Kirkland can do against the young Mexican star. There aren’t many bona-fide volume punching pressure fighters out there who possess the speed, power, and frenetic pace that Kirkland brings to the ring (not to mention his southpaw stance). If the fight happens (fingers crossed), he’ll present the most physical challenge Canelo has faced so far.

Given Kirkland’s inactivity (and tendency to blow up in weight during his down time), I think Canelo has a window to stop the Austin native in the first or second round if he places his punches right (especially if he goes to the body from the get-go), but the red head has a habit of holding back in the early rounds and Kirkland has a habit of battling back from adversity, so I envision a war of attrition. I favor Canelo, but not overwhelmingly so.

Regarding the possibility of Haymon coming up with his own title belts for his fighters and their fight series on NBC and SpikeTV, yeah, I can see that happening, especially in light of the shadow power broker’s recent dodging of sanctioning organization mandatories (Quillin-Korobov, Garcia-Postol). Wanting to put the alphabet sanctioning bodies out of business is nothing new in this sport. Networks, promoters, advisers, agents and boxing publication (such as THE RING) have been trying to do this for decades. Haymon’s an ambitions man. He’s playing a serious game of Monopoly with the sport (at least here in the U.S.), and title belts are major pieces on the board.

The-Contender-title-beltWould boxing fans and the general public give a damn if there were was PCB belt to go along with the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO? No, I don’t think so. Casual fans have been ignoring the belts since the 1980s. Hardcore fans will rate a PCB “world” title slightly higher than they did The Contender “championship” belt.

They’ll probably respect it a little more than the Fight Night Club belt (which Fight-Night-Club-beltmight make a comeback along with the new series, and it ain’t so bad to have around your waist when it’s accompanied by the Quaker State girls). But that’s probably it.

Hey, I won’t hate too much on a Haymon belt. I know there are longtime, knowledgeable boxing fans that don’t recognize THE RING championship. They have their reasons, which I really can’t argue with.

For the record, though, the only title that REALLY matters is the NABO belt. (Shout out to Mark Reels!)

 

F__K COTTO!

Hi Doug,All I can say is f__k Cotto! I haven’t had this type of excitement-to-disappointment ratio since the proposed GGG vs Chavez Jr. fight fell through. I’ve been a Cotto defender in the past but no more. Thanks. – Cory, NY, NY

While I won’t defend Cotto’s actions (or inaction in this particular case) I can understand it because the Puerto Rican star is very close to the end of his career. I really thought he would fight Canelo because A) it’s a big-money fight, B) it’s a fight he can win, and C) the public was clamoring for it.

However, I can also see why he would opt to wait around and see what happens with #TheNeverendingStory. If Mayweather wants to dance again, why not take it if you’re Cotto? He was competitive with Mayweather with a trainer who didn’t stress offense in 2012, now he’s with a hall of famer who’s got him punching the way he did during his prime, he won’t be facing a natural middleweight, and even if he loses again, he won’t absorb as much punishment as he would against Canelo. Oh, and he’d probably make just as much money.

I agree that it’s still a big ass buzkill regardless of what Cotto does this year, but I won’t say “f__k him.” He’s fought too many badasses, provided too many thrills and spilled too much blood over the years for me not to respect him.

 

ALTERNATIVES TO #THENEVERENDINGSTORY

Hi Doug,

Since it seems more and more likely were not going to get #TheNeverendingStory. What do you think of these other substitute matchups that might replace it?

Haymon’s guy vs Cotto II (Smdh)

Arum’s guy vs Khan

Eli, Austin, TX

What do I think of Haymon’s puppet going to Plan B, after announcing to the world that he “wanted” to give them the fight everyone has demanded for five years? What do I think of Arum’s boy fighting his old sparring partner?

Here’s what I think of that:

[springboard type=”video” id=”1385391″ player=”ring003″ width=”648″ height=”511″ ]

 

HAYMON’S TV DEALS ARE GOOD FOR BOXING

Hi Doug!

I’m glad to know that Al Haymon is finally making the fights happen instead of putting a spoke in the wheel. I think all boxing fans were pretty tired of the cold war between Top Rank and Golden Boy and now that these companies are in good terms and willing to make fights together, the appearance of Al Haymon as a new obstacle to see the best fights was not good news. So I celebrated when I heard the NBC announcement and his deal with cable network Spike TV.

Except for Danny Garcia vs. Lamont Peterson, the fights may not be the best ones that Haymon can organize given the quality of boxers he has in his stable. However, let’s see the glass half full! These are fights that match up quality opponents and I don’t expect anything else but entertaining bouts.

Shawn Porter vs. Roberto Garcia: Maybe the most lopsided fight, where the American will be the favorite by far. However, I think the Mexican will give him a good run for its money. Porter by late KO.

Andre Berto vs Josesito Lopez: Both guys really need a win to revitalize their careers. In my humble opinion the loser will become a gatekeeper for upcoming prospects. I don’t have a favorite here.

Adrian Broner vs John Molina: The Problem will have a tough time facing Molina. Although the trash talker has better skills, his opponent is a brawler and he confirmed in his fight against Lucas Matthysse that he is a heavy puncher. The fight will help us to know what Broner is made of and if he will be a serious contender on the welterweight or not. I see Broner winning by majority decision after going to the canvas once.

Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero: After seeing his fight against Leo Bundu I don’t think that One Time will be able to KO Guerrero. The Ghost has a good chin and is a relentless fighter so Thurman will have to work hard to outbox the guy. However, I think it will be good for Thurman’s experience to have 12 rounds of action before facing the top contenders (which I hope to happen at the end of this year). Thurman by majority decision in a close fight.

Garcia vs. Peterson: Peterson being destroyed by Matthysse is still fresh in my memory, as well as the smart fight that Garcia made against the argentine brawler, so I see a clear victory for Swift by decision. Although the Puerto Rican descendant has power in his hands I don’t think he will be able to knock Peterson out.

How do you see these fights? Please give me your thoughts!

Keep up the nice job you are doing. I love your mailbag. Best! – Juan (from Argentina)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Juan.

If Haymon can keep the main event/co-feature matchups of the new NBC and Spike TV series at the level of the fights that you commented on throughout the year and beyond (and if he’s willing to occasionally work with the top talent of other major promoters) I think sport will be in a better place than it has been in recent years.

My thoughts on the matchups:

Shawn Porter vs. Roberto Garcia – Porter by competitive but clear decision in a bout that gets physical at times but is mostly controlled by the former beltholder’s speed, footwork and greater activity.

Andre Berto vs Josesito Lopez – I favor Lopez by decision in what begins as a boxing match but gradually becomes a slugfest. Berto will do well early in the fight, but Lopez will keep walking to him and one-upping him during exchanges until he exposes the wasted legs of the former two-time beltholder. It might get hard to watch down the stretch.

Adrien Broner vs John Molina – Broner by decision or late stoppage. I agree that Molina will have his moments. Broner is there to be hit, and Molina can crack, but the three-division beltholder’s chin and heart are underrated. He might wobble, he might get dropped, but he’ll get up and put more damage on Molina. I’m thinking this might be a really fun fight. We’ll see. It depends on what’s left of Molina. There’s no way that Matthysse fight didn’t take something off his fast ball.

Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero – Good, solid welterweight matchup, and Thurman’s first against a top-10 rated 147 pounder. I agree that Guerrero goes the distance but I think Thurman outclasses him from a distance and does some damage to the former featherweight’s body and face. I don’t think Thurman will come away clean. We’ll know and he’ll know that’s he’s been in a fight.

Garcia vs. Peterson – I like the younger, fresher fighter in a good distance fight. I think Peterson will outwork the Philly boxer-puncher but Garcia will land the harder shots and probably score a knockdown to secure a close decision (that some fans will not accept).

 

IT’S NOW OR NEVER

Hi Doug!

Saw your interview responding to Elie Sechback’s inquiry with regard to #TheNeverEndingStory. And I have to agree with all your insights and that the fight is a toss up. Yes it is. You said both are not getting any younger and have shown declines with their fighting strengths. Floyd tends to get himself planted at the center of the ring more often, exchanging allowing himself to get vulnerable to haymakers and not opting to use his legs more. (God that shoulder roll D would get smashed by Pac’s 10-12 combos!) While Manny on the other hand is not the usual relentless dynamo – who throws a hundred punch per round – like you said. He’s now more of a thinking boxer, using lateral movement efficiently and has improved on his technical skills so to speak. So by switching styles, they’ve grown and even matured boxers.

But that comes with a price. Manny has been a victim of his own success by not registering a KO win in the last 4 years which his fans have been used to seeing. Mayweather remains the defensive wizard that he is but his share of criticism comes from throwing even less but more accurate punches or should we say potshot-precision technique. He’s no more the invincible Pretty Boy he used to be coz lately he has been bleeding out of his nose, mouth, busted lips, swollen face, bitten gloves… LOL. They’re own fans are accustomed to what they’re known for so drastic changes in their tactics is taking a toll on their overall ring supremacy and popularity. So true.

You also mentioned that both guys have faced very interesting opposition in their respective recent fights: FMJ faced a left-handed Victor Ortiz, a rugged Guerrero, a body puncher in Cotto and Alvarez, and return bouts with an unorthodox Marcos Maidana. Common factors? All are power punchers. Similar to that wicked fists of his arch rival, Manny Pacquiao. MP for his resum├®, with the exception of Rios, has fought pure boxers: JMM, Tim Bradley & Chris Algieri. Exposing himself to these decent counter punchers makes him outthink, out-box and out maneuver his counterparts.

Which brings us to the conclusion that both guys have prepared themselves well for a May 2 showdown. Borrowing Dan Rafael’s phrase, lets now put away the marinade on this #NeverendingStory coz the fight is over ripe!

Mythical Match Ups:

Kosztya Tzu vs Lucas Matthyesse at 140

Eric Morales vs Juan Manuel Marquez @ Super FW

Bam Bam Rios vs Edwin Valero @ Lightweight

Andre Ward vs Roy Jones Jr @ SuperMW

Canelo vs Golden Boy @ Jr MW

Thanks man! Keep it up! Best regards. – AJ, Dagupan City, Philippines

Thanks for the regards, AJ.

I appreciate your analysis of #TheNeverendingStory matchup, but I can’t comment on it or add to it. If it’s ever made, we can all talk about it from every conceivable angle. But until then, it’s just silly to give this much attention to a potential superfight that has been bandied about since the start of 2010. There should be more emails on Rios-Alvarado III and other fights that have been finalized and officially announced this year, but we’re all still obsessing on a fight that hasn’t been made and may not be (at least for May 2). That sucks.

Your mythical matchups:

Tszyu vs Matthysse at 140 – King Kostya by late TKO in a damn good fight

Morales vs Marquez @ Super FW – JMM by decision in a hotly contested battle

Rios vs Valero @ Lightweight – Valero by mid-to-late rounds stoppage

Andre Ward vs Roy Jones Jr @ SuperMW – Jones by mid-round KO

Canelo vs Golden Boy @ Jr MW – De La Hoya by competitive but clear decision

 

WILL IT HAPPEN?

First time sender, the way things are unfolding, Cotto-Canelo is out, De la Hoya insists May 2 will still be Canelo vs TBD, unless Mayweather fights Pacquiao. Will it happen or will it be Mayweather’s plan B (rematch with Cotto)? – rhyean

You guys are aware that there are at least a dozen version of #TheNeverendingStory song on YouTube that I can and will continue to post up in these mailbag columns (including live versions with Limahl’s old band, Kajagoogoo) aren’t you? PLEASE don’t make me do that.

 

RIDDLE ME THIS

What’s going on?

I hope that the day is treating you well and is not overly stressful. Big fan of the bag, great insight, colorful background tales, snappy retorts to the haters and random comic/nerd facts, can’t ask for much more than that!

Willie Monroe~ I am a bit tardy on this in reference to his last bout but while the homie did look good I couldn’t help but think, “aren’t you supposed to ‘dominate’ gatekeepers?”, if so, that is not what I saw. Not looking to be a hater but to me when Willie was on the inside with Bryan Vera he was getting caught, hard, on a regular basis and when he was on the outside he just looked like he was running. Don’t get me wrong he won the bout, but, if that was his performance with a gatekeeper I don’t think he wants to run into the elite just yetÔǪ

Wilder~ Earned a lot of points in my books, I talked long and loud about how he was going to get KO’ed so I will happily eat my crow and give him his props. Now that he won I can’t wait for Wilder/Fury, I can’t think of a better pair to hype a fight in all of boxing (they will be s__t talking by the metric ton!). What was up with Strivern? They are saying he was dehydrated but I couldn’t think of why a heavyweight would be dehydrated before the fight; do you think that is real or after the fact excuse?

Refs~ who are some of your favorite current or past “action” refs, who the fans knew at sight if there was a fight to be had this ref would let it blossom?

Nerd Corner~ I know you like the comics, just curious if you checked the Gotham series out on Fox. When I heard about it I hated the idea of Gotham essentially with no Batman, missed basically the entire first season then one day while ensnared in a maddening fit of boredom I gave it a shot ‘on demand’ and have been serious hooked ever since, watched the first season in roughly a dayÔǪ

That’s that, thanks for the time. – Bakari, the Cleveland homie

Hey Bakari! Great to hear from you. It’s been awhile.

Monroe Jr. – I view him a fringe contender for now. I think he would be a stern test for a young prospect like Hugo Centeno or an inexperienced badass like Japan’s Ryota Murata, and if he beat those guys decisively, I might consider him to be a lower top-10 middleweight, but I certainly wouldn’t toss him in there with GGG anytime soon.

Wilder – Bring on Fury! Yes, heavyweights can suffer from dehydration if they balloon up to close to 300 pound between fights and sit their fat asses in a sauna in order to weigh-in at a respectable weight. Hasim Rahman did this prior to fighting Alexander Povetkin in 2012, and he was even more listless than Stiverne was against Wilder. The moral to this story? Even heavyweights, who don’t have a weight limit, need to train between scheduled fights. Duh! LOL.

Refs – in the past it was Steve Smoger and Pat Russell (and these veterans are still among the best in the business); now it’s Jack Reiss and Harvey Dock. What like about Reiss and Dock is that they don’t interfere with a good scrap but they generally know when to stop a fight.

Nerd corner – I tried watching the series premiere of Gotham but only made it halfway through the episode before it bored me enough to switch to the Cartoon Network to watch Venture Bros. I’ve heard from others that it got better, so maybe I’ll give it another try. For the record, I made it through one and half episodes of S.H.E.I.L.D. and three entire episodes of The Flash before getting fed up. See? I’m a patient geek.

 

 

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

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