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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

10
Apr
Photo edit courtesy of Crown Boxing

Photo edit courtesy of Crown Boxing

CATCHWEIGHTS SUCK!

Dougie!

Please explain to me why a junior welterweight fight is being held at a catch weight of 143 lbs!! Has everyone lost their friggin minds?? What the hell is going on in boxing?? I would kill for some leadership. Some semblance of order. I get catch weights. But they exist within the frame of that weight class. Not the one above it. If you can’t make the weight anymore… move up!!! WTF????? I smell Angel Garcia’s dirty little hands having everything to do with this buffoonery.

Help us, Dougie. Please make it stop!! Stay cool, homie. – GB



I have a better shot at “staying cool” than I do making the catch-weight madness of modern boxing go away, which is to say that I can’t help at all.

You wanna get rid of catchweights in boxing, you gotta get rid of all the boxers who carry around the “A-side” sense of entitlement and all of the attorneys and business school grads in the sport who want to either kiss their asses or stack the odds in their favor.

You want me to explain why there’s a 143-pound catchweight for a showdown between the recognized world junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia and the IBF 140-pound titleholder Lamont Peterson? OK. I think I can make this simple (yeah right, I’m almost as long-winded as Droeks Malan from South Africa and Juan Valverde from Tijuana). Garcia is struggling to make the 140-pound limit. He sees bigger potential fights at welterweight than he does at junior welterweight, but I think his father/trainer is still not sure if he can hang with the elite badasses who occupy the 147-pound division. So, on the advice of Angel Garcia, “Swift” is fighting a little bit above the junior welterweight limit. The Rod Salka farce was just to see if he felt fast, strong and powerful by keeping on one extra pound and change (check, check and check – plus a $750,000 check for a glorified sparring session). Saturday’s fight against Peterson is to see how he fares against world-class opposition above 140 pounds. It’s a gamble, but not a big one because Peterson is not a natural welterweight, either.

By fighting at a catchweight and not announcing an immediate move to welterweight, Garcia gets to hold onto his 140-pound titles. That way, if he finds out that he isn’t as fast, strong and powerful as he appeared against Salka (if he struggles badly or loses to Peterson), he can head back down to 140 and still be the champ. However, the consensus thought among boxing wise guys (and wise asses like Yours Truly) is that the extra three pounds favors Garcia (as does the 10-round limit set for this bout since no world titles are up for grabs).

Let’s be real, we all know there are “A-sides” and “B-sides” in every televised PBC matchup and Garcia – the younger, more charismatic, undefeated fighter who taps into valuable ethnic/regional demographics and appears to have more of an upside – is the “house favorite” in Saturday’s main event from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

By the way, if anyone thinks I’m unfairly putting on the blame of the catchweight on Team Garcia, just watch these videos after his last junior welterweight fight (the controversial decision over Mauricio Herrera last March). Garcia admitted he had a hard time making weight at the post-fight presser, and the father talked about the eventual move to 147 with RingTV’s Bill Emes a month after the Herrera fight and immediately after the Salka fight. (It seems like Angel was pushing for his son to stay at junior welterweight a little longer, while Danny was leaning more toward a clean jump to 147.)

Also, when RingTV.com’s Anson Wainwright asked Peterson why the Garcia bout was set at a catchweight during an interview last week for a feature article, the 31-year-old Washington, D.C. native said: “I’m still really not sure, it’s unclear to me why we’re fighting at 143 pounds.

“For me, I can still make 140 pounds. When the fight was made that was the weight I thought we were going to fight.

“(The catchweight) had nothing to do with me. I have no idea if it was Garcia’s choice, or his manager, or whoever. I just know I can make the weight class and I was willing to make the weight.”

SUCCESS OF PBC

Hey Doug,

We all know the point of PBC is to introduce common sports fans to boxing. Well, as far as I can tell it is starting to work. Last Saturday at a family party I was watching Stevenson-Bika, and my uncles who are hockey fans started watching and enjoyed it. Only bad part was they wanted Aducknis to win. Even my grandma, who restarted watching boxing last year fell in love with Robert Guerrero after his gutsy showing with One Time. However, her favorite guys are Mares and Canelo. Do you see Abner ever getting back to where he was circa Ponce de Leon?

This weekend I’ll be at a condo with my friends, hoping they’ll be interested in the Garcia and Lee fights. What do you think? Does the PBC seem like a success to you? Thanks man. – Robert from Ashton, MD

The PBC has only been in operation for one month. The new boxing brand has had one show on NBC, one on SpikeTV and one on CBS. It’s too early to declare if the PBC is a success or a failure.

But I’ll say this: if it’s helping the sport reach a new audience (which I believe it is) and it’s making new (or renewed) fans (as you report), it’s doing well so far. I think we can call that a short-term success. It didn’t crash and burn out of the gate, which is good news.

But real and lasting boxing success is measured over a long time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, Robert (come on man, you know that. You don’t need me to tell you that). Hey, 10 years ago The Contender introduced new audiences to boxing. The so-called reality series made a lot of new boxing fans, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The ratings it pulled for its debut (as much as 8.1 million households, according to some reports; 5.6 million viewers on average) dwarfed the numbers (a peak of 4.2 million and a 3.1 million average) for the PBC’s debut on the same network (NBC).

However, TV wasn’t as fractured as it is today, and the numbers the first season of The Contender pulled in on average were considered “weak” at the time. Whereas the first show of the PBC on NBC was considered a success. We’ll see if the ratings grow, hold or fall as the year progresses. One key difference between the PBC and The Contender (apart from the PBC having a deep talent pool that fights in traditional bouts) is that the PBC is a time buy. Al Haymon’s investment group is reportedly committed for at least two years. So even if the ratings dip between now and the end of 2015, we’ll still get the PBC on NBC, SpikeTV and CBS (and other networks) in 2016 and maybe beyond.

Ten years ago, The Contender needed to compete with very popular programming on the other major networks and it needed to bring in strong ad revenue to justify its existence. NBC cancelled the show after 2005 and the series moved to ESPN for two seasons before ending up on Versus for the fourth and final season. Obviously, there were diminishing returns in terms of reach and TV ratings after the initial season.

I don’t have a crystal ball handy, so I have no idea if the PBC’s ratings will grow enough to bring in the appropriate sponsors for it to survive beyond the time-buy period. But I do know that if the fights don’t deliver action and drama, it’s going to be very hard to hold the interest of even the casual fan.

Do I see Abner Mares ever getting back to where he was circa the Daniel Ponce de Leon fight? No, I don’t but I hope I’m wrong because Mares is one of my favorite people in boxing.

SALIDO VS. MARTINEZ

Yo what’s up Doug, big salute from Serbia again.

I’m a big fan of Mexican fighters, so I would like to ask you for opinion about the Orlando Salido vs Rocky Martinez fight on Saturday. Salido already was there (Puerto Rico), two times, successfully, so I hope this time will be the same epilog. I think he was the man who started the end of JuanMa Lopez. Now, even though he is the veteran at 34, I believe he is good enough for Roman Martinez. But, we’ll see. You never know. Both of them lost against Mikey Garcia, but styles make fights. I must mention one more thing, I remember Martinez vs Juan Carlos Burgos fight, a good fight with a very controversial decision. That was also Mexico vs Puerto Rico, and I was very disappointed.

Also, very interested of Garcia vs Peterson and Lee vs Quillin. And can’t wait to see my favorite fighter Roman Gonzalez at the legendary Forum and HBO live. This venue at your neighborhood is something special for me, because at this place a lot of my favorite Mexican fighters (including Alexis Arguello) fought there. I hope one time I will be able to be at this place and watch some of my favorite fighters. Until then, big salute from Belgrade, Serbia, and all the best to you and your family. Take care bro. – Drago

Viva Mexico! (And Viva Nicaragua! That’s where Arguello and Gonzalez are from. You are aware that Chocolatito’s early mentor was the late, great Explosive Thin Man, right?)

I’m also interested in tomorrow night’s PBC doubleheader (I think both fights are competitive matchups) and I’m super hyped about Gonzalez’s Forum appearance/HBO debut. We’re spoiled with quality boxing this spring. I think Salido-Martinez will be the fight of the night on Saturday.

Martinez has home turf advantage and he’s the slightly fresher and more polished of the two hardnosed veterans, but “Siri” is such a relentless bastard that I have a hard time going against the Mexican pressure fighter. Yeah, I know he was dropped a bunch a times in his last fight against my favorite Thai gatekeeper, but as I’m sure you’re aware of, the fighting pride of his country is on the line whenever he faces a Boriqua (especially on the island) so he’s gonna bring 100 percent of his usual ruckus. Salido might get hurt or dropped during the first half of the bout but I think he’ll fight through it and once he warms up and gets into his roughhouse rhythm, he’ll take over the fight and put a beating on Martinez, who will hang tough until the final bell but lose a close decision.

ROACH TALKS TOO MUCH

Dougie,

I got two quick questions for you? I respect Freddie Roach as a trainer, but I think he takes his attacks on fighters a little too far. This good vs evil crap with Paquaio and Mayweather? Come on man, seriously. And his personal attacks against Mayweather’s ugly past? I mean, I don’t condone domestic violence, but quite a few boxers have had those issues reported whether true or not (the great Sugar Ray Robinson, Leonard, Mayweather, Tyson). Plus where I come from if you talk that much, then you put illnesses and everything on the table (Roach’s Parkinson disease).

2) Who are you picking this weekend? I think Garcia will win a tough maybe controversial decision and I think Quillin will win as well.

Final comment, thanks for explaining that GGG over Hearns hypothetical match-up. You actually hurt my feelings with the original thought, had to boycott one of your mailbags for that. LOL. Keep up the good work. – KJ

LOL. I’ll try KJ. I hope I don’t offend you with any future mythical matchup picks. It’s just an opinion, bro, and it ain’t real, so don’t take any of it too seriously.

Regarding Roach, the hall of fame trainer will be the first to admit that he talks mad s__t. And he knows that he’s pissed off a lot of people in the industry – mainly the fighters and trainers that he’s gone up against with his fighters – over the years. Often when you see an interview with a notable trainer or fighter ripping the hell out of Pacquiao, the venom that they can’t hide really isn’t for the Filipino hero, it’s actually directed at Roach, who probably said something about them that they didn’t like (or it’s just good old fashioned jealousy).

But Roach has fun with his smack talk. He’s old school in that regard in much the same way that Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Roger Mayweather are. The Mayweathers talk a lot s__t, too. They don’t care if they’re being disrespectful to a beloved fighter or trainer. They will rip anyone to shreds in public, especially if it’s a future opponent of Floyd Jr. They realize that words can hurt and words can create doubt in even the strongest individuals. Roach knows this, too. And Roach believes that Pacquiao is already in Mayweather’s head (a theory that I subscribe to as well). So he wants to put more negative thoughts in Mayweather’s head with these public statements. It’s just psychological warfare. Mayweather does it. Bernard Hopkins loves it. Muhammad Ali perfected it a long time ago. It’s part of boxing.

However, I agree that when someone talks endless s__t that individual can’t get mad or offended if his opposition dishes out some verbal low blows of their own. I didn’t like it when Robert Garcia and Antonio Margarito made fun of Roach’s neurological illness in a video prior to the Pacquiao-Margarito fight, but I didn’t totally condemn them either because boxing is like a combination of the boy’s locker room and the barber shop – it’s the home of vulgar attacks and brutal truth.

I also favor Garcia and Quillin tomorrow night. I think both guys (the fresher, bigger, stronger fighters) will earn competitive decisions by mixing power punching with a stick-and-move strategy.

 

EXPERIENCE VS HALL OF FAMERS

Good day to you Mr. Fischer,

I’m a long time reader of the mailbag and value your knowledge of the wonderful game above all others!

I’m shamelessly attempting to use the up and coming Mayweather/Pacquiao fight to convert more friends into boxing fans. Football (‘soccer’) is generally the be all and end all with the company I keep but this fight seems to have gained their attention in a greater way than even Lewis V Tyson did several moons ago!

The only downside to my wish coming true is that many friends that have NEVER watched a boxing match are now putting themselves across as experts and I’m biting my lip just to keep them aboard the good ship boxing.

The most annoying point that keeps getting raised is Mayweather’s “0” and how this means he must be in some way invincible. My counter argument to this generally falls to the quality of opposition faced by both and here’s where I’m hoping you can come in as my pre-Morales knowledge for Pacquiao and pre-Corrales for Mayweather isn’t as clear as it should be.

The question –

How many times has each fighter, Mayweather and Pacquiao, faced genuine/first ballot hall of fame worthy opposition thus far? Here’s my count and I hope you can tweak it with that faithful knowledge of yours.

Mayweather –

Cotto x1 fight

Mosley x1 fight

Marquez x1 fight

De La Hoya x1 fight

(I know Gatti is actually in there but come on, that’s a heart call rather than ring talent/accomplishment)

So I have Mayweather fighting four contests versus Hall of Fame level competition

Pacquiao –

Marquez x4 fights

Mosley x1 fight

Cotto x 1 fight

De La Hoya x1 fight

Barrera x2 fights

Morales x3 fights

So I have Pacquiao fighting twelve contests versus Hall of Fame level competition

Your thoughts, Fisch Man? – Jethro

I don’t think there’s any doubt that Pacquiao has had more fights against more current/future hall of famers than Mayweather has. (It’s why I would rank the Filipino icon slightly higher than the undefeated American on my personal all-time great rankings list if I bothered to rate more than 20 at a time — neither makes my top 20.)

If you’re arguing which fighter has accomplished more in boxing, that particular stat is something that helps you prop Pacquiao ahead of Mayweather, but I don’t think it necessarily is an indication of how well the underdog might fare against the odds favorite.

If you just want to keep your stats to first-ballot hall of famers, I wouldn’t add or detract any of the fighters you’ve listed. However, if you wanted to expand it to borderline or eventual hall of famers, I think you could include Ricky Hatton (for both Mayweather and Pacquiao) and Genaro Hernandez (for Mayweather). I think Hatton and the late Chicanito will eventually be enshrined in the IBHOF.

And if you wanted to add other quality fighters (top-five contenders at the time Pacquiao and Mayweather faced the opposition), you could include Jose Luis Castillo, Zab Judah and Jesus Chavez (for Mayweather) and Chatchai Sasakul, Lehlo Ledwaba, and Tim Bradley (for Pacquiao).

No matter how you analyze or dissect the Mayweather-Pacquiao matchup, the bottom line is that they are two of the most accomplished, experienced and battle tested elite fighters in the sport. I’m expecting a competitive fight.

 

LEE VS. QUILLIN

Hi Doug,

Although I am looking forward to the Garcia-Peterson fight this Saturday (I think it will be a good, competitive fight with Garcia returning to form to win a clear decision), I am more intrigued by the Andy Lee-Peter Quillin fight, because I am really not sure who is going to win and what could be better than that?

A strange twist of fate finds the southpaw Lee in the position of defending WBO champion. Not so long ago Quillin was the holder of that belt.

It is a real feel good story, as the road has been a long one for Andy Lee, who took his setbacks in his stride, dusted himself off and kept learning his trade.

Lee is a tall, rangy boxer who started off in the quintessential European style; straight, stand-up boxing with punches thrown from long range. I think his inability to fight on the inside and remain calm under pressure caused his first defeat and to a lesser extent, the second one.

He has great fighting heart in the Irish tradition, but he tends to get hit flush and I don’t think that his chin is made from the kind of granite where one doesn’t need to worry about it.

However, it is clear to me when looking at his last two fights that he has learned to remain calm under fire and fight on the inside as well. That last bit enabled him to uncork his biggest weapon, his southpaw right hook. Lee can punch.

He also has a good jab, decent hand speed and moves well. I think that he has become a complete fighter and is a dangerous proposition for anyone, except maybe Gennady Golovkin.

But he is not facing Gennady Golovkin, he is up against Peter Quillin, even though, being undefeated, “Kid Chocolate” isn’t one to melt easily.

Quillin was doing ok, but then came the Korobov no-fight and like another Haymon advised fighter, Danny Garcia, he lost all momentum and even worse, he will be coming into Saturday night title challenge with a year’s worth of inactivity. How much of an effect do you think the inactivity will have?

Style wise, Quillin is boxer-puncher with good power and undoubted talent. I do think, however, that he has a tendency to let his work rate fall away and fade late. I wonder what will happen if he is put under consistent pressure by someone who can punch. He looked uncomfortable in spots in the Rosado fight when his opponent was coming on.

Why skip on the Korobov fight? Is it really promotional issues or does his team know something we don’t? What do you think?

Andy Lee will make him answer those questions.

To beat Lee, Quillin will have to work and apply constant pressure while not getting tagged. I don’t think that he has quite the ruggedness and physical strength of a Chavez Jnr. to just roll over Lee. He will have to keep throwing punches in bunches and that is not his style. He tends to fight in spurts.

Would we have given Andy Lee much of a chance if Quillin didn’t have the inactivity and if Lee didn’t dispose of Korobov?

Probably not, but a lot can happen in a year. Lee is an improved fighter and Quillin can’t be better than the same he was last time out. Both can knock out the other. Both can also win a decision, but I think that Lee is the one who can throw punches at a more consistent rate over twelve rounds.

For those reasons, I am going to roll the dice and go with the underdog to extend his Cinderella run. I think Lee will start by keeping Quillin at the end of his jab. When Quillin starts to up the pressure, Lee will catch him and put him down. It is also possible that Quillin could put Lee down and that may well happen, but in the end, I think Lee will be more consistent in more rounds to win an exciting decision.

Irish eyes may well be bleeding, but I think that, in the end, they will also be smiling. Would love to hear you weigh in on this one. Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

I can’t really add much that you haven’t already addressed, Droeks. (Seriously, bro, you don’t have to pen an entire article every time you email me; we’re all hardcore fans here so we already know the styles/strengths and recent histories of all these fighters. You can just give me your opinion and/or ask me questions.)

I think Lee is a live dog, but I’m going with the “house fighter” and A-side, Quillin. The dude is a natural super middleweight and I think he’ll use his size and considerable strength to his advantage early on in the bout. I expect him to hurt and man-handle Lee in the early rounds.

Can Lee clip him during an exchange? Absolutely. Quillin’s inactivity/ring rust, plus the momentum Lee has coming into this bout are big factors that could favor the defending titleholder. (Lee, who had a much more extensive amateur career, also has better technique than Quillin.) However, I think Quillin will hurt Lee first, and if Lee hurts Kid Choc in return I think the unbeaten fighter will do what he had to do to survive the rough patch (he’ll hold until his head clears and then he’ll play keep-away for a few rounds). We’ll see if Lee can go into hunter mode and cut the ring off on Quillin if the former beltholder decides to move a lot and rely on his heavy jab from a distance. I think Lee is more at home when his opponent takes the fight to him, but we’ll see what happens. I think the late rounds of this middleweight fight will be very interesting.

I also expect Quillin to get the benefit of the doubt in every close round on the official scorecards.

Regarding Quillin’s decision not to face Korobov, I think it was simply a Haymon mandate because it was a purse bid situation with a fighter who was promoted by a rival (Bob Arum) on a show that was to be put on by another rival (Jay-Z).

 

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

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