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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

08
Jun
Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

COTTO WAS IMPRESSIVE

Hi Dougie,

I was really impressed with Miguel Cotto’s performance this weekend. Granted, he was supposed to beat Daniel Geale; but I think few people expected him to blow out his opponent the way he did. How much of the outcome do you think is because of Geale’s weight problems, plus general wear and tear on his body? It seemed like Cotto hurt Geale more badly than Gennady Golovkin did.

It looks to me like Cotto is getting a lot more leverage and snap in his left hook now, compared to 2008-2012 (I remember him being unable to do as much damage against Margarito, Pacquiao or Clottey). What do you think? If so, I’m picking him to beat Canelo if or when they fight, and a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. would be winnable. But he still should stay clear of GGG.



Keep the mailbags coming. Cheers! – Ray

Thanks for sharing, Ray.

I thought Cotto looked absolutely sensational on Saturday. I think Geale coming down to 157 pounds put some stress on his veteran body, which softened it up for Cotto’s hooks and right hands. I don’t think Geale was completely depleted, though. If the Aussie had been in with a less accurate, lighter punching foe, I think he would have gone rounds. Cotto got him out of there in four rounds because he was razor sharp.

Cotto was more relaxed, focused and pin-point accurate with his power shots for Geale than he was for his previous two comeback victories under Freddie Roach’s guidance.

However, one thing Geale, Sergio Martinez and Delvin Rodriguez all had in common was that they lacked the punching power to seriously hurt Cotto. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that they lacked the sufficient “pop” (or in the case of Martinez, the legs to generate power in his shots) to even earn Cotto’s respect.

So, of course, the veteran boxer-puncher was going to be cool, calm and collected in those fights.

That won’t be the case when Cotto steps into the ring with Alvarez. When Canelo connects with his equally accurate power shots, Cotto’s going to know that he’s been hit and that he’s in a real fight.

Having said that, I won’t argue with anyone who thinks Cotto can beat Canelo. Cotto appears to have equal power, but his technique seems tighter and more fluid. He’s also lighter on his feet than Canelo and more mobile/versatile than the 24-year-old Mexican star.

It’s certainly within Cotto’s ability to beat Canelo, and after the manner in which he dispatched Geale I expect Cotto’s fans, proud Puerto Ricans and diehard Canelo haters to back the four-division titleholder 100% going into the proposed mega-showdown. The perception of an even fight will help promote the event, which will be good for the sport, because my guess is that regardless of the outcome or how long the fight lasts, Cotto and Canelo are going to deliver action and drama.

I wouldn’t count Cotto out against Mayweather if they fought a rematch at 154 or 155 pounds but I’d pick Floyd on points based on his quicker hands and better defense. If Cotto faced Mayweather after fighting Canelo, I wouldn’t give him much of a shot because win, lose or draw, I envision the Canelo fight being a grueling one.

And obviously a showdown with GGG would be a grueling and punishing affair. No sense of even talking about that fight until after Cotto faces Canelo or Mayweather.

 

COTTO’S CHANCES AGAINST CANELO

Dougie!

Looking to go 2-for-2 in making mailbags. I was covering Cotto-Geale on Saturday, and expected Cotto to be dominant. I thought he’d wear down Geale to the body and stop him late. Turned out it was quicker. I think Cotto needed this fight to prove to himself (and maybe doubters) that his power was legit vs. actual middleweights.

There’s no question now, and I may be in the minority, but I think Cotto will actually beat Alvarez. Canelo may hit harder, but Cotto’s boxing ability is off the charts, and with Freddie Roach turning Cotto Super Saiyan his skill might be too much for Canelo. What do you think? Cotto’s not what I’d call “slick” but fighters that can defend themselves have been problematic for him.

Also, GGG was in the house but Cotto won’t fight him. Are you like me and think Golovkin would chop up Carl Froch?

Mythical matchups just for fun:

Aaron Pryor vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. at 154

Felix Trinidad vs. Miguel Cotto at 147

Mailbags make Mondays worth waking up for, keep it up! – Rai in Staten Island

I will, Rai. Thanks for the kind words.

I also thought Cotto would gradually wear Geale down to a late stoppage (on the strength of his body attack) or beat the former beltholder up enough to earn a clear decision, but the Puerto Rican star was even sharper and more confident than he was against Martinez. In fact, I think Cotto flashed the kind of pound-for-pound level form he had prior to his first fight with Antonio Margarito. Seriously, I think he handled Geale as easily as he casually dominated Alfonso Gomez in April 2008.

[springboard type=”video” id=”1531071″ player=”ring003″ width=”648″ height=”511″ ]

Still, I favor Canelo to beat Cotto. It won’t be an easy fight for the young man. I have no doubt that Cotto will more than hold his own but I don’t think he’ll hold up against the Mexican’s assault for 12 rounds. Cotto might go the distance but in order to do so, he’ll have to go into survival mode down the stretch.

I think Cotto can hurt the young challenger, even drop the bigger, stronger man, but I’m confident in Canelo’s recuperative ability and his ability to stay composed during adversity. If Cotto hurts Canelo and tries to move in for the kill, I think he’ll get counterpunched and rudely reminded of his age, natural size and the wear and tear on his 34-year-old body.

I also think Cotto can outbox and outmaneuver Canelo in spots during their fight, but as you noted, though the Puerto Rican star is savvy, he’s not what anyone would call “slick.” His face sported bruises and welts even after Saturday’s brief and dominant performance. Even when Cotto is in stick-and-move mode, I think Canelo will land his share of power punches. They are both excellent combination and body punchers. We’ll see who takes a better shot. My money is on the younger, bigger, fresher fighter.

I don’t think Golovkin would “chop up” Froch. I think he would land the harder, more damaging punches – and maybe score a knockdown – over the course of a competitive, hard-fought distance bout, I would expect him to win a decision (even in England).

Your mythical matchups:

Aaron Pryor vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. at 154 – Mayweather by decision. Pryor would be a handful at any weight due to his killer mentality and awkward, swarming offense, but I think his ceiling as an elite fighter was at junior welterweight.

Felix Trinidad vs. Miguel Cotto at 147 – Trinidad chops Cotto down to a brutal late stoppage in a classic boxer-puncher (Cotto) vs. puncher-stalker (Tito) showdown. Cotto would probably score an early knockdown and might be ahead on the official scorecards at the time of the stoppage.

 

HARDCORE FAN RANT

“Freddie Roach, Cotto’s Hall of Fame trainer, said after Friday’s weigh-in that he wanted Cotto to go after Geale’s body with left hooks as a primary weapon in the early rounds, figuring he was very depleted from making weight.”

http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/13027505/miguel-cotto-scores-two-knockdowns-tko-daniel-geale-fourth-round-rout

Well, no one can say Old Master Roach and Princess Cotto don’t know what they’re doing. Still, I’m proudly in the camp of fans who find this unappealing. Why not just get rid of weight classes altogether for televised fights and allow the promoters to agree on a contract?

It can’t be any more disrespectful to the ideals of the sport than what our current (so-called) champions are doing. By manipulating the standards, these divas are mocking the very concept of having beltholders in the first place. If you’re not going to defend the belt in the weight class it was intended for, give it the f__k up!

A true warrior would not have bitched about those three pounds, but gone out there and taken care of business without all the extraneous bulls__t. I’m sick of all this A-side B-side, weight provision, contract this-and-that crap. It simply speaks to a lack of integrity, but perhaps I’m naive to believe that our sport had any integrity to begin with. I could be wrong but don’t remember the Four Kings pulling this sorta nonsense. In any case, let Cotto go spend another year with his family – bring on Froch or Canelo vs. GGG and give us a real man’s fight. – Jay V.

I want to see Cotto-Canelo (which would probably have a mutually agreed upon weigh-in limit of 155 pounds), but I’d be happy with Froch-Golovkin or Canelo-GGG.

Sugar Ray Leonard, arguably the most famous of the Four Kings, used his star power to negotiate catchweights (vs. Donny Lalonde and fellow Kings, Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran, in their respective rematch and rubber match), ring size and glove type (vs. fellow King Marvin Hagler).

And he was heavily criticized for acting like a prima donna by hardcore fans and much of the sports media at the time. (I remember this because I was a bigtime Sugar Ray booster during the 1980s – and I’m proud to say that I handled his criticism a hell of a lot better than some Floyd Mayweather fans who happen to be grown-ass men.)

The other three didn’t do much of that. Duran and Hearns didn’t bother having naturally bigger opponents come down in weight when they went division climbing, and Hagler made it clear that he was kind of the middleweight mountain and wasn’t going down or up in search of opponents. If someone wanted to be the middleweight champ of the world, they had to fight and beat him – at middleweight.

The thing that bugs me about the 157-pound catchweight in the Cotto-Geale fight is that I don’t think Cotto needed to have the challenger come in lighter than usual to beat him. Maybe Geale could have lasted a few more rounds, but the form and power Cotto showed on Saturday would have eventually caught him and taken him out (probably before the end of Round 7.)

I don’t fault any fan (hardcore or casual) for finding catchweights unappealing. Unfortunately, we’re all going to have to get used to them. This is the age of “A-side” privilege and “business before sport.” I blame much of this mess on the proliferation of attorneys, music moguls and, ahem, bankers in boxing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I could wave a magic wand and change one thing in the sport, I’d zap all of the corporate outsiders and business/law school grads currently acting as “advisors,” promoters and network executives into limbo and replace them grizzled-old boxing guys like Russell Peltz and Don Chargin.

 

TEXAS VS. NEW YORK

DFishin,

Cotto looked beautiful. Come to NY in the Fall, we’ll see Canelo in a real test. I can’t picture a better fight right now, short of Crawford vs Machine.

MMU – GGG vs Kovalev in an alley

Peace. – WS

If Cotto-Canelo lands in New York, I’ll be there. If it lands anywhere in Texas, I’ll be there. If Las Vegas somehow lures the Puerto Rico-vs.-Mexico middleweight event to the strip, I’ll go (reluctantly because I’m sick of Sin City).

Cotto-Canelo could wind up in the middle of arctic tundra lands in northern Alaska, and I’ll still gladly travel to be there.

But I’m hoping it winds up in the New York-area. I love NYC and haven’t been there this year, and I also think Cotto fights better there than he does in Las Vegas or anywhere else.

Your MMU:

GGG turns the Kruel Krusher into a Good Boy with a few well-placed body shots.

 

COTTO STILL HAS MUCH TO PROVE

Hey Doug,

I’m not going to be fooled by what happened last Saturday night in Brooklyn. I’m happy Cotto won but am saddened to see that the fight wasn’t in the ring, but during negotiations. Miguel Cotto KO’d Daniel Geale during the signing of the contract by 3-pound KO. Those 3 pounds where the decisive factor. Daniel Geale is not a great fighter, nor is he an A-class contender. So, why take his only chance of making this fight competitive by making him lose those dreaded pounds? The dangers of dehydration aren’t known to everybody, but when fighters undergo this kind of weight loss, they lose so much water that the liquid in which the brain lies also decreases making an injury to the head more likely to happen.

During the week it was obvious Geale was struggling, his body looked soft and his face looked dry. When the fight started I knew it wouldn’t last. His punches lacked snap, speed and his movement was like watching a man walking on quicksand. Cotto didn’t look very fast either, he didn’t seem as good as a lot of people are saying, he simply had a dead man in front of him. In my opinion, Cotto showed a couple of things, he is still the same fighter he’s always been, and he’s not going to beat Canelo.

For a long time I favored Cotto to beat Canelo, but after seeing both fighters’ last couple of fights I now am inclined to pick Canelo by KO. Cotto is slower and his size will be a difference. Again, I am not impressed at all and in all honesty I am a little disgusted in how current superstars are simply doing these kind of things because they can. We all remember Chad Dawson vs Andre Ward, we also remember Roy Jones when he came back from heavyweight. Losing weight is serious and can provoke serious injuries. This can’t happen again. – Juan Valverde, San Diego

But you and I both know that it will. In two weeks, we’ll be “treated” to Adrien Broner vs. Shawn Porter at a 144-pound catchweight. I was into this matchup when it was first talked about, but once the weight limit was announced I lost a lot of interest for it because I don’t see how Porter (who has already come down from middleweight and junior middleweight) is going to give up those extra three pounds. Porter is all muscle at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, which I’m sure he has to work hard to make.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the boxing industry will be discouraged from setting catchweights until a weight-drained fighter is severely injured and he or his team comes out and admits to losing an unhealthy number of pounds just to make the fight. I hope and pray we don’t witness any ring fatalities due to weight drain caused by catchweights.

You’re absolutely right that the process of “drying out” in order to get down to an unnaturally light weight can make a combat fighter more susceptible to head injuries. As you noted, dehydration causes a reduction of cerebrospinal fluid in and around the brain and this fluid helps cushion or buffer the brain’s cortex during hard hits and blows. Dehydration also causes shrinkage of brain tissue. A fighter who loses a lot of weight in a short amount of time (as Geale did last week) can actually shrink his brain, which then has more room to bounce around inside of his skull (and incur bruises and contusions) during a punishing extended fight.

Of course, I should note that fighters dehydrate themselves all the time going into bouts that aren’t catchweights. Sometimes it prevents them from performing anywhere near their usual talent/skill level (see Wilfredo Gomez vs. Salvador Sanchez or James Toney vs. Roy Jones Jr. or Diego Corrales vs. Floyd Mayweather), and sometimes the severe weight loss leads to getting concussions and a lot of punishment, as Tim Bradley found out when he boiled down from 185 pounds to 147 for his WBO welterweight title defense against Ruslan Provodnikov (the Fight of the Year for 2013).

Bottom line: boxers need to fight at their natural weights.

One of the many good things about the Cotto-Canelo matchup is that if Cotto wants the fight to be closer to junior middleweight than middleweight (and we know he will) that won’t be a problem for Canelo, who looked very strong and fresh against Kirkland after weighing in at 154.5 pounds.

By the way, Cotto didn’t look slow at all against Geale to these eyes. I agree that Geale made Cotto look more formidable than he probably is. However, I also think Cotto’s punching technique is tighter than it’s been in many years and I believe he’s a little bit quicker than Canelo. I also favor Canelo over Cotto but I don’t envision the younger man having his way with the future hall of famer.

 

COTTO ATG FANTASY

Ez Dougie,

I’ve been a reader of your Mailbags for a fair few years now and for some reason today I felt compelled to write a few lines to one of my favourite boxing voices.

SoÔǪ. imagine a parallel universe far far away where Puerto Rican bad ass Miguel “I’m not a middleweight” Cotto was to beat both Cannelo and then GGGÔǪÔǪ.

Where would you place him in your all-time top 100 fighters?

If in this parallel universe he was then to beat Floyd after slaying GGG, where the ********* do we then place him in that list

Here’s some Mythical Matchups:

Lightweight / Terrance Crawford V Pretty Boy Floyd

Middleweight / Sugar Ray Leonard v GGG

Light Heavy / Calzaghe v Kovalev

Heavyweight / Lennox Lewis v George Foreman version 1

Thanks. – Ryan De Warne, Leeds, UK

Cotto would crack my top 80 if he beat Canelo and GGG. He would crack my top 40 if he beat Canelo, GGG and Mayweather.

Thing is (as Cotto’s recent savior Freddie Roach is fond of saying), it’s not fantasy to think he can beat the red head. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he can get the better of Mayweather over 12 rounds, though it’s a bit far fetched. Cotto beating Golovkin, on the other hand, wellÔǪ now we’re traveling to the Twilight ZoneÔǪ but, guess what? Stranger things and bigger upsets have happened in boxing (and, yes, I’m talking about the Sweet Science of THIS universe).

Golovkin appears to a have world-class whiskers but we haven’t seen him in against a puncher as experienced and accurate (to the head and body) as Cotto. Maybe Cotto can catch GGG with the same hook that put Geale down?

Or maybe we’re just thinking about what an alternative reality Cotto could do if the stars were aligned in his a favor – a version of the proud Boricua that didn’t spend too many years killing himself to make 140 pounds and somehow avoided punishing fights with Ricardo Torres, Shane Mosley, Margarito, Josh Clottey and Manny Pacquiao.

Your mythical matchups:

Lightweight / Terrance Crawford V Pretty Boy Floyd – Mayweather by decision in a competitive boxing match

Middleweight / Sugar Ray Leonard v GGG – Leonard by close, maybe controversial decision in an entertaining fight that looks a lot like Ray’s classic confrontation with Hagler

Light Heavy / Calzaghe v Kovalev – Calzaghe gets off the canvas to win a controversial decision in a fast-paced boxing match

Heavyweight / Lennox Lewis v George Foreman version 1 – Big George survives some early round wobbles to blast the Englishman out by the middle of the fight

 

COTTO-PACQUIAO II

Doug –

How does Cotto do in a Paquicao rematch? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN

If they fought at junior middleweight or middleweight, I think Cotto would knock the little booger out.

 

KEEP COMMENTATING

I am a casual boxing fan (casual cause I do not study the sport) that loves the sport and I watch all fights on all networks available with my cable package (including the premium channels in the US for boxing fans, HBO and Showtime). (I’m not a big PPV fan.)

The PBC has added a few networks, which of course, I welcome.

I was happy to see a real good fight on Fox Sports 1 Thursday night and you surely added tremendous appeal to the show. So I’m sending this e-mail to your mailbag inbox (which I found by thumbing around for you on social media) to say thank you, and I hope you stay with FS1 or any boxing program or network as a commentator.

I am not an avid viewer of Golden Boy shows, though I do record and scan through each card, but I saw that some good fights are coming up during Thursday’s show!

So hope that becomes more the norm. I have been critical of FS1/Golden Boy boxing cards due to the level of fights and the broadcasting teams in the past, but Thursday’s LA Fight Club was a pleasant surprise. I, and probably the majority of viewers, really enjoyed it!

So thank you for your contributions that you give to the sport by your great knowledge and the gift you have to verbally articulate your knowledge to us fight fans in a professional and captivating manner.

(P.S., the1976 Olympics really planted a firm foundation for me in boxing. My first favorite fighter was one of the gold medalists of that U.S. team yeah, you know the guy, the one who found more trouble than fame and had a couple front ones missing, but he was my man РLeon Spinks!) РJoe B.

Hey, you can’t go wrong with Neon Leon, Joe. He may have fell short of his professional promise but he’ll always have that upset victory over the great Muhammad Ali, and for my money, he’s one of the most exciting amateur boxers of all time. Leon Spinks in the amateurs was like a 178-pound Aaron Pryor – he was non-stop aggression and beautiful combination punching. The way he knocked around those top-class boxers from the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Cuba to earn the Olympic gold medal was nothing short of spectacular.

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to find my mailbag email (which, just so ya know, I usually post at the bottom of these columns) and thank you for your very kind words about my color commentary on Golden Boy’s Fox Sports 1 broadcasts. Thursday’s LA Fight Club broadcast was pretty good – but that’s because of the matchmaking and the effort the fighters put forth (especially unheralded Daniel Ramirez, who beat the odds just by lasting the distance with world-rated Jayson Velez). It’s easy to put forth good commentary when the fights are entertaining (or at least interesting). (The blow-by-blow commentator Beto Duran also helps with his professionalism, energy and genuine enthusiasm for boxing.)

I’ll be working with Duran (and roving interviewer Jessica Rosales) on three shows this month: the anticipated David Lemieux-Hasson N’Dam IBF middleweight fight in Montreal (on Fox Sports 2) on June 20, a Golden Boy Live card from Salinas, California (on Fox Sports 1) on June 27, and another GBL on June 30, this one a special Tuesday show from Philadelphia.

Beyond June, I’m not sure what’s up, but I know that Golden Boy Promotions will have some big announcements about their future boxing series.

 

 

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

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