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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

26
Jan
Photo by Chris Farina / Top Rank

Photo by Chris Farina / Top Rank

WHAT HAPPENED TO ALVARADO?

Hi Dougie,

Just a quick question on Mike Alvarado’s legs in the fight last night. What had him walking around the ring like a 70-year-old man with back pains? A heavy shot would stiffen them up but he was in no shape from the word go.

Also he hardly threw a punch and there was no venom in what he threw, unlike in fights 1 & 2. Surely your fundamentals remain intact, regardless of if you trained or not. I heard he didn’t train (that true?). If you don’t train for a make or break fight then throw in the towel? We’ve all seen Alvarado and we know he’s much better than that. Shot after some taxing ring wars? Thanks for your time. – Malcolm, Dublin, Ireland

I think the poor effort from Alvarado that we witnessed on Saturday was the result of a combination of three things:

1) The physical punishment of six consecutive hard fights (the bloody come-from-behind stoppage of Breidis Prescott, the tough 10-rounder with Mauricio Herrera, the two wars with Rios, the brutal beatdown from Ruslan Provodnikov and the hard-fought 12-rounder with Juan Manuel Marquez),

2) Living La Vida Loca, and

3) “Bam Bam” getting his act together and taking it to him hardcore from the opening bell of their rubber match.

I don’t know if it’s true that he barely trained for Saturday’s fight, but if he’s serious about continuing his career (as he told HBO’s Jim Lamply he would) three things need to happen for him to have even a prayer of being successful:

1) He needs to stop burning the candle from both ends,

2) Let his body rest before putting in a real training camp, and

3) Fight a soft opponent (or two) before deciding what’s next.

 

ALVARADO HAS NO ONE BUT HIMSELF TO BLAME

Doug,

Long time reader, big time fan since Maxboxing, been reading since 2002. That being said, I completely disagree with you on your take on Mike Alvarado and his performance Saturday night. Boxing didn’t catch up to him, being Mike Alvarado caught up with him. I was on the fence on this fight, until two things happened, one, the arrest. It’s easy to see that was going to be a major distraction. Two, the weigh in. He looked like he hadn’t trained a week for this fight. I immediately posted on a Facebook boxing group that Rios was going to win by easy, brutal destruction.

So not only did he get arrested, not train, and was on the verge of being completely embarrassed, but he QUIT. In between rounds, you could hear him saying he couldn’t see to his trainer, but when the doctor/Jay Nady asked if he wanted to quit, his trainer jumped in and obviously told him to answer wrong on the “how many fingers am I holding up” question.

Maybe I misinterpreted your piece, and I know it takes a special person to get in the ring, but I would almost consider withholding his purse. He threw 87 punches roughly the whole fight. He didn’t try, didn’t try, and quit. What are we rewarding him for? – Nathan B., Austin, Texas

You didn’t misinterpret my post-fight column at all, Nathan. I’m giving Alvarado a break. I don’t think Alvarado’s lifestyle was the only thing that caused his not-so-sudden crash. It was also his tough schedule, his high quality of opposition and his willingness to dig very deep in all of those bouts until Saturday’s rubber match that wore his body and his will down. Alvarado showed tremendous heart in his six previous bouts, and that earns respect and credit with me.

So yeah, I’m giving him a pass for his “no-show” on Saturday. I’m not going to defend him to fans and media who are ripping him for his sad performance or criticizing him for his out-of-the-ring choices. I certainly don’t condone or think he should be “rewarded” for partying through a training camp and then giving a half-assed effort in the ring, but when one has given as much of himself as Alvarado has in recent years, I have a hard time completely forgetting about his past bouts and all the times he behaved like a true fighter.

Same deal with Miguel Cotto. I’m not happy about his passing on the Canelo fight. I don’t care at all to see a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. (if that is indeed what he’s planning). I’m not fan of boxers acting like divas. But I’m not going to rip him to shreds on social media and I’m not going to pretend like he hasn’t challenged himself during his hall-of-fame worthy career. I’m going to give Cotto respect, because in my mind, he’s earned it.

 

BOXING POLITICS & THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

Dear Dougie!

The year started off with two superfights, no wait it didn’t. Disappointed? Yes. Surprised? No.

Maybe the boxing press is a little quick to advertise fights before they are actually signed. But still. It’s a little bit like being religious, for how long can you keep the faith when no one answers your prayers? Please give a doubter some hope, pastor Dougie! What are you looking forward to boxing-wise during 2015?

So a few questions:

  1. What are the best three fights that never happened (but should have)?
  2. Which fighters will break out and become household names this year?
  3. How possible is a zombie apocalypse?
  4. Which of these fights are more possible to happen than a zombie apocalypse?
  • Kovalev vs. Adonis
  • Ward vs. Froch
  • GGG vs. Cotto
  • GGG vs. Canelo
  • Bradley vs. Brook
  • Algieri vs. Danny Garcia
  • Crawford vs. Mikey Garcia
  • Rigondeaux vs. Santa Cruz

Amen. – Stefan, Stockholm

Hallelujah my boxing brother. Boxing is indeed my religion, but when it comes to #TheNeverendingStory you can consider me agnostic. The Cotto-Canelo fight getting nixed, however, almost created a crisis of faith until Alvarez – boxing’s patron saint of freckles, horses and ballsy moves – reached out to James Kirkland – the Fight Game’s favorite Lord of Chaos – to make a suitable replacement event.

What am I looking forward to boxing-wise during 2015? Many entertaining TV bouts on NBC, NBC Sports Net and Spike TV involving the players within the Al Haymon Boxing League; Kovalev-Pascal; Canelo-Kirkland; Matthysse-Provodnikov getting made; the continued rise of Gennady Golovkin; the return of Andre Ward; the development of WBC heavyweight beltholder Deontay Wilder; the potential round-robin between the four kings of the flyweight and super fly divisions (Chocolatito, Estrada, Inoue and Cuadras), and whatever plays out with the many UK stars of the sport (including Froch, Frampton and Fury).

On to your questions:

1. What are the best three fights that never happened (but should have)? Riddick Bowe-Lennox Lewis, Naseem Hamed-Erik Morales (at featherweight), and Manny Pacquiao-Edwin Valero (at junior lightweight or lightweight).

2. Which fighters will break out and become household names this year? Canelo, GGG, Wilder and whoever prevails in Haymon’s informal welterweight tournament (the winner of Thurman-Guerrero vs. the winner of Garcia-Peterson).

3. How possible is a zombie apocalypse? Well, most of us are zombies already (some just don’t know it) and there have been signs of the apocalypse worldwide for the last seven years, so I’d say it’s definitely possible.

4. Which of these fights are more possible to happen than a zombie apocalypse? GGG vs. Canelo. I’m not saying it will happen this year, but of the current stars and elite fighters from 154-168 pounds, who do YOU think is going to be the first to step into the ring with Golovkin? I got my money on the redhead.

ALVARADO WAS MISMANAGED

Dougie,

Mike Alvarado’s last 3 fights were against Ruslan Provodnikov, Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios, which followed the first 2 fights of the brutal trilogy against Rios. Alvarado went 1-4, losing by knockout in 3 and taking a beating from JMM in that UD loss.

I think Alvarado’s handlers did him a disservice by not giving him a break with a tune-up fight at some point in that run. I understand that Alvarado admitted to not being fully prepared for the 3rd Rios fight, and that he showed in their 2nd fight that he could out-box the Oxnard slugger. But after the Marquez fight, it would have been fitting to give Mike an easier fight, perhaps on a PPV undercard against a lower top 15 or 20 contender. This would have given Alvarado a chance to recover from that murderer’s row of a schedule, and afforded his team to evaluate where he was physically and mentally following that string of tough fights.

You just get the sense that Alvarado’s career is pretty much over, but perhaps that he could have extended his career another 3-5 fights (and paydays) if he was managed a little better. Your thoughts? – John, Irvine CA

I’m sure Alvarado was offered softer opposition at different times during his run through murderer’s row, but when he looked at how much he was going to get paid fighting a softie, I’m sure he opted to face the murderers. And yes, he paid a hefty price for his bravery (he took just as much punishment in his one victory – the close unanimous decision over Rios – as he did in those losses).

It’s easy to say that he was put in too tough now that he looks like a spent bullet, but there’s two things you should keep in mind:

1) Alvarado, who turned pro in 2004, was carefully managed and matched for the first 29 bouts of his pro career (his level of opposition wasn’t really stepped up to fringe contender types until mid-2011). And it was really past due for him to step up when he finally did. Top Rank, which got Mile High Mike to 33-0 with the help of his management, had tried to move him into contender status earlier than that but his constant out-of-the-ring legal troubles hampered his development.

2) If Alvarado has a tendency to undertrain against card-carrying badasses like Rios (as well as noted spoilers like Prescott and Carlos Molina), what makes you think he would train at all for a patsy? He could have fought a journeyman between the Rios rematch and Provodnikov fight, or the Provo and JMM fights, or Marquez and the Rios rubber match, but for all we know that ham-n-egger would’ve upset a grossly out-of-shape Alvarado and killed any chance of him making good HBO money against those top contenders.

 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR ‘BAM BAM’?

Hi Doug!

I’m pretty astonished about the fight between Rios vs Alvarado. Alvarado’s performance was really poor, he was not in good shape but what it is worst is that he didn’t show any heart. After the fight he said that he didn’t have the right training but I think that Alvarado has nothing left in his tank. He took too much punishment in his last fights and he is not anymore the brawler he used to be.

On the other hand, Bam Bam made a good fight and had the right game plan. He pressured Alvarado all the fight and made a lot of damage with his uppercuts. It’s good to see that the guy was focused and in good shape again, things that didn’t show up in his fight against Diego Chavez.

I know that you said you would like to see Rios matched with Juan Manuel Marquez, but do you think about Rios against Provodnikov, Matthysse or Maidana? Any of those fights would be wars! I would favor his three opponents to defeat Bam Bam by late KO but I can envision that he will have his moments and none of his rivals will come away clean.

Always a pleasure to read you and be in contact. Keep it up! Best. – Juan

Thanks Juan and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I think Marquez-Rios is one of the best matchups that can be made from 140-147 and I think it’s a natural Southern California event (perfect for The Forum here in my hood of Inglewood). However, I certainly wouldn’t object to Rios fighting Provodnikov, Matthysse or Maidana. Showdowns with Provodnikov and Matthysse are probably more realistic given the Russian’s good relationship with Top Rank and the fact that The Machine just cut ties from Al Haymon. Maidana, being a top name in the Haymon Army, probably isn’t a likely fight for Bam Bam. (Plus, the two sluggers share the same trainer and train at the same gym, which complicates matters further.)

Maybe Rios can get the winner of the potential Matthysse-Provodnikov fight? Whoever he fights next better be at their best if Rios continues to train the way he trained for the Alvarez rubber match. That was the best version of Rios I’ve seen since his obliteration of Urbano Antillon at lightweight. I consider him a very “live dog” against the badasses you brought up.

 

THE BRAVE ALVARADO

Hi Dougie,

This is my first time writing in for a mailbag of any kind. I’ve been a fan of your work for a while, and I hope I make it in.

Last Saturday’s main event with Alvarado and Rios was short, but I thought it was very entertaining. Brandon Rios looked very explosive and it was nice to see a fighter committing to offense so much and get to reap the rewards in the form of a knockout.

But something felt very off at the end of that fight, and Mike probably had to do with a lot of it. I actually didn’t feel he gave a shameful of a performance. Having boxed myself, I know how difficult it is to match the intensity of a guy like Rios was that night, but in the second and third rounds he fired back meaningful shots even after receiving heavy shots. I get what the critics are saying about his preparation, but given the circumstances you were right in saying a ‘thank you’ is in order.

I mean, he pretty much fought Herrera, Rios, Provodknikov and Marquez back to back to back. He signs up for one more tough fight only to have a mess of a training camp for his troubles, and his eyes after the match screamed of his frustrations.

The fans can say whatever they want, but it hurts me to see that a warrior like Alvarado admit he could have shown more heart. If anything, he has shown too much heart, and I hope the people of Denver won’t be harsh on him.

As for Brandon, I think a brawl-minded Tim Bradley would be a terrific opponent. Bam Bam deserves some credit. He beat Alvarado better than even Marquez and Provodnikov.

(P.S. I found a great bar called the Promenade in NYC that shows HBO fights Saturday nights. Do you know any places that show Showtime events? I wouldn’t wanna miss any great matchups this coming year!) – Harrison from NY

Thanks for finally writing into a mailbag (and making my column your first choice) and for sharing your thoughts, Harrison.

I’m glad there’s at least one compassionate fan out there. Alvarado has spilled more than his share of blood for the fans over the years. They shouldn’t turn their backs on him after one poor performance (especially his hometown fans).

And speaking of his performance, thank you for acknowledging that he tried to fight back. He started the opening round the wrong way – by immediately using lateral movement instead of getting some respect – and he took an awful s__t-kicking for that tactical mistake, but after catching a little breather with his Tito/Cotto move (nailing Rios in the family jewels), he went toe-to-toe with Bam Bam in the final minute of Round 2. Alvarado got the worse of the exchanges, but he did try to fight back. Too many fans are acting like he just laid down and provided zero resistance, which is bulls__t.

And thank you for also recognizing that it’s very hard – for any level of talent or any style of boxer – to deal with a technically sharp slugger who is as hell bent on your destruction as Brandon was this past Saturday. Rios came close to averaging 100 punches a round, and he landed 41% of those very heavy, very accurate shots.

Alvarado got overwhelmed. It happens in boxing. Let’s all move on.

And sign me up for Bradley-Rios. Desert Storm has the edge in versatility and athleticism but he’s also got the heart and balls to match Rios, which might tempt him to slug it out more than he should.

Regarding a place in NYC where Showtime boxing is regularly shown, I can’t help you, my friend. I live in Inglewood, California. Anyway, I wouldn’t worry too much about Showtime’s boxing content for the time being. The network doesn’t have anything scheduled beyond a Feb. 20 ShoBox headlined by Sammy Vasquez.

 

PLAYING CHESS WITH MAYWEATHER

Hi Dougie,

I know you’re sick of the #Neverendingstory, but I have two interesting points to bring up.

One: Common sense tells me Pacquiao is making a smart move by pursuing a fight with Amir Khan now that Floyd says he will not do business with Bob Arum.

Pacquiao knows Floyd’s only two viable options for his next fight are Khan and Cotto. If Manny takes Khan away from Floyd, that leaves him with Cotto. The funny thing is, to fight Cotto again, Mayweather would have to do business with Arum and show the world what a farce he is because this has been his main excuse for not fighting Pacquiao, at least the most recent excuse.

I think the Pacquiao team is making the right move putting Floyd in check by having Manny go to England and marketing the idea of Khan as his next potential opponent for the world to see.

What now, Floyd? Take on Cotto and do business with your despised Bob Arum? Then what was your REAL excuse for not fighting Manny?

Two: I, among many other boxing fans around the world, believe Floyd Mayweather is a disgrace to the sport by so blatantly ducking Pacman and indirectly insulting boxing fans around the world by thinking everyone is still stupid enough to believe his (Bob Arum and other…) excuses.

I wonder if there’s a way for the governing bodies of the WBC, WBA, IBF to simply strip Mayweather of his titles for refusing to fight the only person who should be his next MANDATORY, Manny Pacquiao.

Also, Ring Magazine should push Mayweather down a notch or two on the P4P list and no longer give him the luxury of being officially sanctioned as the best P4P fighter on earth if he continues to avoid the only other fighter who rivals his elite status as a professional boxer (and happens to be in the same weight class).

As long as Floyd continues to run from Pacquiao, he is a disgrace to the sport of boxing and should be stripped of all the official accolades he has been given.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, Dougie. Best. – Rob, Longwood, Florida

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rob. I’d love to share mine but I refuse to think too much about all of the matchup machinations currently revolving around #TheNeverendingStory. Is Pacquiao-Khan an interesting fight? Yeah, I think it is, but why go into it when it’s still just a potential matchup and when Mayweather’s next fight has yet to be officially announced?

I’m over Mayweather. I’m over the Mayweather-Pacquiao blame game. I’m over boxing’s divas (which includes Cotto). Seriously, if they aren’t going to give us the fights we want, I’m ready for them to retire. And dude, trust me, when Mayweather finally says tootle-oo to the fight game, I’m gonna feel so happy and free I’ll have to hop on my Luck Dragon and go for a fly.

the-neverending-story

Regarding Mayweather and the sanctioning organizations, there’s no way they’ll ever strip him. For starters, he makes them a buttload of money, but he’s also fighting dudes who are rated in their top 10.

Regarding his place among the top of the “all-important” mythical rankings, it isn’t up to editors of THE RING to drop his arrogant ass from his pound-for-pound perch, that’s up to the elite boxers who are within striking range: Pacquiao, Klitschko, Andre Ward and Roman Gonzalez. These guys need to continue to dominate and take the kind of challenging fights that will enhance their legacies and elevate them past Mayweather if they win the bouts in impressive fashion.

 

 

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