Sunday, March 26, 2023  |



Dougie’s Monday mailbag


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Hey Doug,

Very good fight this Saturday with Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares. Both fighters earned their respective checks with a spirited effort that ended in a fairly one-sided entertaining scrap.

There were moments when the action got very heated and almost became a great fight. The only thing that kept it from it is the lack of power that both fighters present. There was never that sense that someone could get knocked out at any time and that took away from the drama. Still, even though I scored it 9-3 for Leo, it was very entertaining and probably one of the best fights of the year.

The PBC broadcast once again failed by cheerleading every second of the way. From the undercard fight in which Pollito Ruiz scored a come from behind KO, that they were already calling a great fight to the overly excited announcing team calling Leo-Mares the fight of the year; it was very much a pom pom waiving excersise by everybody involved.

Now, Teddy Atlas. Somebody needs to tell this guy to shut up during rounds. He talks way too much in a way that he interrupts the actual fight. I found myself being distracted by his over-analysis during the fight. He seems to be on cocaine. He just doesn’t stop telling us what’s happening. Hey Teddy, a piece of advice, please listen to Jim Lampley or just take a look at some old fights and you’ll see that sometimes being quiet is better than talking all over the action 3 minutes of every round.

That’s all I got today. Hope you had fun on the senior tour. – Juan Valverde, San Diego

I did. (Of course, it probably helped that I’m now considered one of the press-row “seniors” and saw my first Shane Mosley fight more than 20 years ago.)

I think you summed up Santa Cruz-Mares perfectly by stating that they earned their money with a “spirited effort that ended in a fairly one-sided entertaining scrap.”

I agreed with those two 117-111 scorecards for Santa Cruz.

I also agree that it was not the “great” fight that ESPN’s commentators, certain members of the boxing media and PBC cheerleaders on Twitter claimed it was.

However, I don’t agree with this statement:

“There were moments when the action got very heated and almost became a great fight. The only thing that kept it from it is the lack of power that both fighters present.”

I don’t think it was a lack of power that prevented Santa Cruz-Mares from being a classic bout or a legit Fight of the Year. I don’t think a fight necessarily needs the threat of a knockout to be special. Check out the first bout between Johnny Tapia and Paulie Ayala (THE RING’s Fight of the Year for 1999). Everyone knew going in that fight would go the distance and that neither man would even come close to suffering even a wobbly moment, but the matchup still delivered because of the bantamweights’ styles and mentalities (and because both were on top of their game). Check it out if you forgot about this little gem:

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For me, Santa Cruz-Mares fell short of being a Fight-of-the-Year frontrunner because it was marred by too many clinches and too much grappling, which cut down on sustained action and clean exchanges. (Note the clean, accurate punching from both Tapia and Ayala – these two didn’t swing and miss the way Leo and Abner did – plus the lack of holding and grappling on the inside.)

From the opening minute of the opening round – despite Mares’ hard charge at Santa Cruz – there were several arm locks when they got in close, which forced referee Jack Reiss to break them up multiple times.

I’m not saying it wasn’t a good fight. I absolutely think it was (arguably the best matchup and live event put on by the PBC this year). I loved the spirit, effort and body punching from both men. However, there was a little too much mauling for my taste. The fight was ugly and sloppy in spots.

Regarding Teddy Atlas, well, I guess he’s an acquired taste.

One more thing, it was Julio Ceja who scored the up-from-the-canvas KO. Good work from the experienced 22 year old (he turned pro at 16). If Jamie McDonnell ever steps up in weight, I’d like to see a rematch and if Ceja could avenge his one loss.)



I just watched a PPV quality fight for free. I can now say that this PBC thing is not so bad. The fight did not have major implications (coming in) but now after the fact, considering the entertainment value, I’d say they are front runners for a title shot. What’s next for Leo? And what’s next for Mares, because honestly I can’t wait to see them fight again. Wow. – Miguel from Chicago

That’s what an even matchup between young, aggressive, world-class titleholders/former titleholders in their hometown will do for fans. They’re usually going to put on a hell of a show and fans are going to want to see the winner AND the loser fight again.

What’s next for Mares? Hopefully, more significant fights. I might be in the minority with this opinion but I think he should pull a “Donaire” and head back down 122. He’s a pretty small for featherweight by modern standards. I don’t think he can wear legit 126 pounders down the way he did at bantamweight and junior featherweight and I cringe whenever I hear him call out Nicholas Walters.

Next for Santa Cruz? Again, I hope he doesn’t go back to the bum-of-the-month club and continues to take on fellow contenders. There are a couple top-10 rated 126 pounders that are part of the PBC League that I’d love to see Santa Cruz take on: Gary Russell Jr. and Jesus Cuellar. I don’t think I’m alone in that desire.

You think both guys are front-runners for a world title? Well, Santa Cruz is already there. He won the WBA’s “super” 126-pound title. Mares is certainly a worthy title challenger for any of the featherweight beltholders but I’d like to see him look good in a win or two before getting that shot. (And like I said, I’d rather see him challenge 122-pound standouts and titleholders.)


It’s after 5am and I’m wide awake.

First off, how refreshing to see a competitive, world class bout headlining a PBC show. Both Mares and Santa Cruz impressed me. Like you, I had picked Mares to win but I think Leo did enough. However I don’t think it was as wide as the judges. Is it possible for both a 117-111 and a 114-114 to be fair scores? I felt there were a lot of close rounds in there but Leo deserved the nod for the quality of his punches.

Onto LSC. Where now? While there are many competitive matches out there (I’d favour my fellow Brits Carl Frampton and Lee Selby to beat him as well as Vasyl Lomachenko comprehensively) I fear he will go the same route as Danny Garcia after his Lucas Matthysse win. Can he still make 122? Him vs Scott Quigg would be a war!

Also a quick shoutout to Abner. He played his part gallantly but I fear for him against any of the top featherweights. A rematch vs Jhonny Gonzalez perhaps?

Hope you enjoyed the farce that was Mosley-Mayorga! – Andrew, Gateshead, UK

I did. And there was nothing farcical about those bombs Mosley nailed Mayorga with for six rounds, or the resiliency the Nicaraguan badass exhibited.

I have no idea what’s next for Santa Cruz, but he’s definitely got world-class options within the PBC universe – Russell, Cuellar, Frampton (whenever The Jackal moves up to 126 pounds, which could be soon), and of course, an eventual rematch with Mares.

I disagree that Frampton or Selby would “comprehensively” beat Santa Cruz. I would favor him to beat Selby and I’d view Santa Cruz-Frampton as an even fight at featherweight. (By the way, Santa Cruz is definitely not going to head back to 122 pounds.) I agree that Loma would decisively beat Santa Cruz.

I also agree that Santa Cruz-Quigg would be a barn-burner.

Only time will tell if Santa Cruz decides to pull a “Garcia” and take his foot off the gas pedal after scoring a big, respect-earning victory. I hope he realizes that his athletic prime is limited and if he wants to build a lasting legacy he needs to strike now while other featherweight standouts are still at their respective peaks.

Regarding Mares, I think a rematch with Gonzalez is a great idea (provided J-Gon wins his next fight – which is a big “if” at this advanced stage of his career).

Regarding the scoring, I thought 117-111, 116-112 and even 115-113 (for Santa Cruz) was fair. The 114-114 tally was really giving Mares the benefit of the doubt. (Man, remember with Max DeLuca was the most reliable young judge out there? Not anymore.)

I thought Mares could man-handle Santa Cruz if his mind was right, but Leo is too damn tough (a Santa Cruz trait) and I just don’t think Abner has the size and strength at featherweight to do what he did at 118 and 122. I also don’t think he’s as committed to getting in another man’s grill the way he used to be. He pushed hard for about two rounds and then backed off to adopt a more swarm-and-move style, which simply did not work with Santa Cruz’s pressure and volume punching.

Also, Santa Cruz proved to be better, technically speaking, than I gave him credit for going into the matchup. His jab and straight punches were superior to Mares’ haymakers.


Hi Doug,

I think we both need to revise our feelings on the Santa Cruz vs. Mares fight. That was top entertainment! I think Santa Cruz won relatively comfortably but that fight is rematch material surely? And the Ceja fight was excellent as well! I think we’d just like to hear you ‘go nuts’ on how good a night of boxing you thought that was? (I don’t know, maybe I’m just high because it was the first night in a long time I’ve had to watch the fights due to work responsibilities :)) Were you there for it? Cheers man. – Alastair

I was not. I was at The Forum to cover Mosley’s sixth-round KO of Mayorga. I enjoyed watching Santa Cruz-Mares on TV the next day (Sunday) but I didn’t “go nuts” while doing so. Sorry.

Maybe I would have gone nuts had I been inside Staples Center to witness the bout live and soak up what certainly appeared to be an electric atmosphere.

I thought the Ceja-Ruiz fight was a fun scrap. I like Ruiz’s technique. He just got a little too greedy/brave vs. Ceja and got clipped. I’d love to see Ceja challenge Frampton.



Hey Doug,

After watching the Santa Cruz-Mares fight, can’t help to think what Mares was before his unfortunate KO against Jhonny Gonzalez. Remember when he and Nonito Donaire were pitted against each other but the Cold War between Top Rank and GBP hindered that fight from materializing? It was 2012 then when both were on the top of their division until Jhonny Gonzalez and Guillermo Rigondeaux came up as perfect showstoppers to these hyped-up boxers.

If Mares and Nonito hypothetically beat those two – or luckily never faced them – who would you have picked to win a Donaire-Mares fight at that time (2012-2013)?

Also, who do you think has a better chance of reviving his career currently?

Other than that, I would like to give you props for doing a job well done. I’ve been reading your stuff for such a long time now and I must say you’re doing great work in keeping boxing conversations interesting. – Miggy de Sagun

Thanks for the kind words, Miggs.

I do recall when both Donaire and Mares were on top of their game and appeared to be headed toward an anticipated clash as elite boxers. Had the fight happened, I would have favored Donaire to win.

I don’t think one veteran has a better chance of reviving his career over the other. Both men have to win a significant fight in order to convince fans and media that they still have it. Donaire needs to beat Quigg (if that fight is made). Mares needs to beat someone like Cuellar, Russell or Frampton.

Both guys have their work cut out for them, but even if they fall short in their respective comebacks, I’d still be interested in a Donaire-Mares showdown.



Hi Dougie,

Huge fan of the mailbags, been an avid reader of them for about 6 years. It’s been a wee while since I last wrote in.

I know Mosley should just retire already, but Amir Khan is desperate for a name fighter so why not Sugar Shane at 154 lbs?

I watched him fight Mayorga and he still might have a punchers chance against Khan. Could be an interesting last hurrah (hopefully) for Mosely against a young gun.

MM: Mayorga vs Gatti @ welterweight

Cheers. – Andrew, York, UK

HmmmmÔǪ. Khan vs. Mosley. Interesting matchup. Khan should be able to out-box, out-speed, out-work and out-maneuver the 44-year-old veteran but I think the same shots Mosley landed to Mayorga’s dome would knock the Englishman out.

But I don’t see this cross-roads match happening. For starters, Khan would be dragged over the proverbial hot coals for even calling out an unrated and way-past-his-prime fighter. Then there’s the Al Haymon factor. As of right now, Mosley ain’t part of PBC Nation and I don’t think he’s on good terms with Al given the same-day events they just put on Saturday.

Mosley seemed to be realistic about his current comeback during the Mayorga post-fight presser. He said he’ll only fight a few more times and the only name he mentioned was a fellow 40-something future hall of famer, Juan Manuel Marquez. That’s a fight, believe it or not, that could be embraced by some fans and even sold as an event if it’s in the right place and priced right.

I’ve also read on certain sites that Mosley called out Kell Brook. That would be a terrible idea for Shane.

Anyway, on to your mythical matchup: I got Mayorga by late stoppage or decision in a crazy, crowd pleasing slugfest. Gatti might arguably be the more talented and better overall fighter, but not at welterweight. There’s no way in hell Thunder would have ever beat Vernon Forrest.

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Hi Doug, good job as always on the mailbag. I may not always agree but hey, you are the man in the chair and I am just the armchair writer.

1) Who really cares about unification bouts that may or may never happen in late 2016 between GGG, Andre Ward & Sergey Kovalev. This year is rounding out nicely. Don’t know a whole lot about Roman Gonzalez but if he pulls out another early rounds KO like he did on the last GloveKing fight he will turn some heads I hope.

2) Canelo will put Cotto in the hurt locker. It won’t be easy because Cotto will not come out reckless like James “two-guns” Kirkland, but in the stare down at that first presser I saw a confidence in the younger man’s eyes that won’t be denied. Oscar has him believing that he is the next big thing and his youth alone I believe will ensure this does not go the distance. But Cotto is the sharper, more well-dressed man. But he goes on blind-faith on everything Freddie Roach tells him, big mistake.

3) I am picking a real Canadian “good boy” to win against Golovkin and not just because he is my fellow countryman. He is from Quebec and the rest of our nation will always view them as stuck-up separatists. And I am not buying that GGG is “a little scared.” I just like the no guts, no glory fighter in a true underdog, bloody battle with many knock downs, prolly will go the distance and give us a true idea of GGG’s mettle, a good loss for him I will view it as.

4) I am not a Money Team pole dancer okay, but we will all watch him fight Berto and I think it will be entertaining, not even I could call for the upset here though. You will watch too man, it’s okay to admit it lol

5) I was walking around for four days with no idea I had a broken collar bone, I even took a lady out for dinner and drinks and sat across from her, laughing at her jokes, drinking and eating with this chicken wing sticking out of me, cool as a penguins kneecaps. So now I am home recovering, if you fcuk yourself up bad, don’t ever YouTube like “internet clavicle fixation” videos. Have any fighters you know of had this same injury in the ring?

AMAZING story about Duchovny in Bob Dylan’s gym man, that is why I follow your mailbag, more anecdotes like that man, please. – Stevie, Toronto, ON

Thanks Stevie. I probably have a hundred such anecdotes floating around in my head. I’m glad you liked it. I’ll share more whenever they pop into my head while compiling these mailbag columns.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ll respond to your points in order:

1) Now that the GGG-Lemieux and Cotto-Canelo fights have been made, I’ve got no complaints for 2015. Gonzalez is a terrific lead-into Golovkin main events. If he can blast a still-dangerous Brian Viloria as quickly as he thrashed the shopworn Edgar Sosa, I might consider “Chocolatito” to be the best fighter in the world.

2) I see and hear confidence from both Canelo and Cotto. I agree that Cotto is the sharper puncher, but youth might ultimate be the difference in this showdown.

3) You are the first mailbag reader to pick David Lemieux in an upset special. Good for you! Just like Canelo and Cotto, the 26-year-old puncher exuded confidence during his recent press tour with GGG. I can’t wait to see how his confidence, youth, power and stamina combine against Golovkin on Oct. 17.

4) Of course I’m going to watch Mayweather-Berto. I’m the editor of It’s my job to help cover the event and my co-workers won’t let me take the night off. Besides, I’m looking forward to Jack-Groves and Martinez-Salido II. And who knows? Maybe Berto’s lack of legs and big punch will combine to make for a rare Mayweather shootout. But dude, you should know if I could take the night of Sept. 12 off, I would. Mayweather-Berto is not a fight that I feel the need to watch live.

5) You must be one tough S.O.B. I broke my collarbone playing a rather aggressive game of schoolyard tag back in third or fourth grade and I can still recall the shooting pain. Anyway, 1984 Olympic gold medalist and former heavyweight contender Tyrell Biggs reportedly suffered a broken collarbone in the second round of his 10-round decision victory over heavy handed slugger Jeff Sims. Check out highlights of the fight:

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Why do always rate PAC over mayweather when doing your lists? PAC is a ATG and an ambassador to the sport but mayweather has the edge in to many categories to list PAC over him…also that fighter of the decade accolade is pure crap considering PAC lost to a past prime morales and a draw with jmm…he let Marquez back in the fight by not adjusting and being on dimensional. Mayweather went undefeated and fought better versions of hatton and DLH….also mayweather has over twice as many title fight wins, far more title defenses, defeated more champions and still took no L….also mayweather is more skilled and on par with PAC on athletic gifts…you can’t measure the mind so people always look at aesthetic things…mayweather also better at making adjustments mid fight….no need for so many fight series if you win clearly…both are ATG but in my book mayweather is the best of this era…after may 2nd that has been made crystal clear. – OkDarrien

You can certainly make an argument that Mayweather is the best of this era, and thus ahead of Pacquiao on any sort of all-time pound for pound list. I guess it all depends on your criteria. Just to be clear, though, the recent list posted in this column (in Friday’s mailbag) simply named Pacquiao the fighter of the 2000s (so it didn’t factor in anything from the 1990s or 2010s).

I could have easily gone with Mayweather or Bernard Hopkins as the fighter of the 2000s. Like I said, it comes down to what you value in a fighter’s accomplishments. All three secured their eventual hall-of-fame enshrinements during the last decade. In terms of their entire careers, I consider Hopkins to be an all-time great and I rate him over both Mayweather and Pacquiao, but I have no problem with anyone who thinks that Floyd and Pac are also ATGs (or better fighters/legacies than B-Hop).

Anyway, I slightly favored the quality of Pacquiao’s opposition over those that Mayweather and Hopkins faced from 2000 through 2009. Did he dominate everyone he fought? Nope. Is he as good a boxer/technician as Floyd or Bernard? Nope. But he was fiercely competitive with everyone he fought, including Marquez and Morales (who was past his prime but still dangerous and still highly rated), and he also made for many memorable fights. Pacquiao gets a lot of points from me because he dominated Marco Antonio Barrera when the Mexican master was near the top of most pound-for-pound lists and then took on one of the most avoided fighters of the late 1990s/early 2000s in JMM. Pacquiao faced Marquez when the counter-punching technician was in his prime and they fought at Marquez’s prime weight class: featherweight. The two victories over Barrera, the trilogy with Morales, the draw and split decision over JMM, the chilling KO of Hatton and stoppage of Cotto held a lot of weight with me (not to mention his winning titles and champion recognition at 122, 126, 130, 135, 140 and 147 pounds).

By the way, just because Mayweather is undefeated doesn’t mean he absolutely dominated everyone he faced. He arguably lost to Jose Luis Castillo in 2002 and he struggled with Zab Judah and the 2007 version of De La Hoya.



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