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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

11
Sep

IS MAYWEATHER THE LANCE ARMSTRONG OF BOXING?

Dougie,

I must admit I was surprised and not surprised about what I read this morning regarding our favorite boxer, Floyd Money Mayweather.

Is USADA in Floyd’s back pocket? Approving IV use weeks after the fight and not allowing Pacquiao pain killers for a torn rotator cuff on the evening before the fight. This brings me to the subject of performance-enhancing drugs or other methods to improve ones performance in sports. Interesting, it was Floyd who accused and pointed his finger at Pacquiao. I’m sure Floyd will come back saying there are no pictures or videos to prove he did anything wrong, just as he did with his women beating.



I’ve already started hearing why Floyd hasn’t been knocking out people and if he is or has been using PEDs or any other performance-enhancing drugs. The answer is simple: Floyd has cupcakes for hands. The question is not whether he has enough power to knockout other fighters but can his brittle hands handle the force required to knockout another fighter. Floyd is not stupid. I’ve never questioned his punching power. It has always been whether his hands could handle the abuse of knocking out people. But my question would be regarding his recuperating ability and maintaining his reflexes and endurance.

Have a great weekend to all, including Floyd groupies. – RYazzie

Oh I’m sure they’re having a great time. As if their hero wasn’t being scrutinized enough by us “haters” for choosing Andre Berto as the dance partner for his supposed swan song, Thomas “Hitman” Hauser had a to drop a 7,200-word bomb of an investigative article that seriously questions the credibility of Mayweather’s anti-doping agency of choice (USADA) and challenges his claim of being a crusader for a clean sport.

Hauser is not only an award-winning journalist and author, he’s an attorney, so his fact-collecting and presentation is meticulous (almost to a fault because he often presents too much info for the average reader to digest in one setting) and his case-building game is unmatched among sports writers (certainly among boxing media). All of this means it really sucks to be on the opposite side of his magnifying glass, as former HBO Sports prez Ross “the Boss” Greenburg will tell you.

Regarding Mayweather’s punching power/lack of KOs, I think it has more to do with his style/mentality than brittle hands. I’ve always said that Mayweather’s physical strength and punching power is underrated. If he tried to knockout more opponents, he probably would have, but to commit too much to his offense would open him up to being clipped in return and “Money” ain’t havin’ that.

Apart from his defensive style and omega-level ring IQ, Mayweather’s strongest boxing attributes have been various athletic traits, such as recuperating ability, reflexes and endurance. There’s no doubt that certain performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), such as synthetic testosterone, would prolong these attributes into a boxer’s late 30s/early 40s and also boost other physical traits like speed and strength.

Am I saying that Mayweather is using or has used PEDs? Absolutely not. There’s no hard evidence of this. Mayweather, just like his pal Pacquiao, has yet to fail a drug test. And I’m not one to point my finger and accuse an athlete of cheating when there isn’t sufficient evidence. I’ve defended Pacquiao’s elite-level performances as he’s climbed weight classes, and I refused to accuse Juan Manuel Marquez of doping just because he bulked up with lean muscle and had acne on his back. I’ve also defended Antonio Margarito when fans and members of the sports media accuse him of loading his gloves for his first fight with Miguel Cotto.

Anybody who regularly reads my mailbag columns knows this. So, I’m going to give Mayweather the same benefit of the doubt I’ve given Pacquiao, Marquez and my main man Margarito. Floydiots worldwide can call me a hater all they want, but at least I’m consistent.

Mayweather’s defenders on Twitter were pissed that I retweeted Hauser’s article (along with some Floyd-ripping memes that I found funny) yesterday. In their myopic view, I was damning their hero. I wasn’t. And neither was Hauser.

Hauser’s article was primarily aimed at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). It’s entitled “Can Boxing Trust USADA?”

It’s not entitled “Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a Dirty, Rotten, Cheating-Ass Mother F__ker!” (That’s my R-rated version of how Floydiots read Hauser’s headline. The headline you gave your email is the PG version. LOL!)

I think calling Mayweather “boxing’s Lance Armstrong” at this juncture is reaching – a lot.

However, the manner in which USADA handled Mayweather’s weigh-in day IV use prior to the Pacquiao fight does cast a shadow of suspicion upon the pound-for-pound king and Hauser’s article certainly begs many questions.

Here’s what I wondered while reading Hauser’s article:

–Had USADA’s collection agents not found evidence of an IV being administered, would Mayweather’s representatives have let them know? (Surely, Mayweather’s “medical team” knew that WADA – the World Anti-Doping Agency, which sets the standards USADA is supposed to follow – prohibits IV infusions of more than 50 ml per six hour periods because it can dilute or mask the presence of another substance already in the recipient’s body or substances added later.)

–Why did it take USADA 20 days to notify the NSAC of the IV situation? (And why did Team Mayweather apply for a therapeudic use exemption – TUE – 18 days after the Pacquiao fight?)

–Why did Mayweather even need an IV infusion (supposedly saline and multi-vitamins) to recover from dehydration? I thought he was a natural welterweight, too small to fight regularly at junior middleweight even though he holds titles at 154 pounds? His fans always say he’s really a blown-up lightweight or junior welterweight, and point out how he rarely puts on a lot of weight after his weigh-ins.

–Why doesn’t USADA communicate more with state athletic commissions? The agency apparently withheld information about Erik Morales’ two failed drug tests from the NYSAC (prior to El Terrible’s rematch with Danny Garcia). Why doesn’t USADA provide full drug test results to the state commissions that regulate boxing?

–How much of USADA’s “business” within professional boxing is connected to bouts involving Al Haymon-advised fighters? How much money per year, on average, is the agency receiving from Haymon and Mayweather Promotions?

Given USADA’s gross mishandling of Morales’ failed drug tests, the fact that Mayweather dictates when his so-called “random,” “Olympic-style” drug testing begins and ends (usually five-to-eight-week training camp periods), and the non-transparent manner in which the agency appears to operate, I don’t trust ’em.

But that’s just my opinion.

FORGOTTEN ‘SUPER’ FIGHT

Hi Dougie,

I had completely forgotten about this coming superfight until Tuesday when I saw an article in the newspaper. I also noticed that Thomas Hauser wrote a piece on Mayweather. A lot of what he wrote was already printed, except of course that Floyd may have taken an IV drip the day before the Pacman “fight” (I use that term lightly). So do you think Bob Arum will push for a no contest? What do you see happening? I’m guessing you don’t really give a s__t? Fair enough.

I see Scott Quigg v Nonito Donaire is off. Damn. I was excited about that one. Who would you pick in it? If Donaire is moving down a weight wasn’t he way better at the lower weights? I wonder if we’ll ever see Frampton v Quigg.

Is it just me or has 2015 been s__t for fights so far? Maybe you’ll be able to remind me of some of the good fights. You did that in a mailbag last year. Anyways, enjoy the freakin weekend. – John

I’ll do my best. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

This is the least public interest I’ve witnessed for a Mayweather fight since he emerged as a PPV force following his decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. Even his pre-De La Hoya PPV fights vs. Carlos Baldomir, Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti garnered more attention than this fight.

Hauser’s article has created more of a buzz than any part of the promotion for Mayweather’s “last hurrah.”

Will Arum push for a no contest in the Pacquiao fight? Hell no. There about as much a chance of that happening as the results of Margarito-Cotto I and De La Hoya-Shane Mosley II being changed to no contests. Slim and none (and Slim left town, as Don King would say).

Quigg vs. Donaire is apparently off. That sucks, but was it ever officially “on”?

I don’t see Frampton vs. Quigg happening unless Scotty joins the PBC Revolution. That also sucks.

This year, for the most part, has sucked. We’ve got more boxing on TV than we’ve seen in 25 years but most of it has been uneventful. Still, we had Martinez-Saldio I, Kovalev-Pascal, Matthysse-Provodnikov, Glowacki-Huck, Santa Cruz-Mares and Linares-Mitchell (and all of this is literally off the top of my head, I’m sure there were other quality entertaining world-class scraps). Maybe Martinez-Salido II will deliver. I’m not expecting too much from Mayweather-Berto and Jack-Groves, but I can see those fights being fun if the combatants commit just a little bit.

And, of course, we’ve got GGG-Lemieux, Gonzalez-Viloria, Klitschko-Fury and Cotto-Canelo to look forward to. The late stretch of 2015 could provide a lot of drama and excitement.

ANDRE BERTO

Hey Doug, what’s good?

Ever since Mayweather-Berto was announced it’s received plenty of (justified) criticism, but there was once a time when this would have been viewed as a solid fight (i.e., around the time of the cancelled Berto-Mosley fight). When Berto was coming up on HBO it seemed that he was destined to become a top tier fighter at WW.

In your opinion was this an illusion created by weak competition or was there real potential there? He obviously had physical gifts, but I feel he was never properly developed. He was an under-sized welterweight who never learned to come in behind a jab or fight on the inside. He instead relied on his physical ability to out-class lesser fighters often just jumping in with power punches. I have to place much of the blame on his trainer. I feel given his physical skills, a trainer should have been able to get more out of him, what do you think? If you could start his career over and place him with any trainer who do you think would best fit his skill set?

Heavyweight mythical match-ups:

Tyson vs Frazier, Marciano & Dempsey

Frazier vs Marciano & Dempsey

Marciano vs Dempsey

Jack Johnson vs Ali

Enjoy the fights this weekend, I know you got your TBE gear on deck. – Amp in Miami

Yeah right. I’ll be wearing my TUE gear, Amp.

Anyway, you are correct that Berto was once viewed as a potential world-beater at welterweight. He was gifted with formidable speed, power, physical strength, reflexes, and most importantly, a fighting heart. However, his boxing foundation always left something to be desired (or worked on). From my point of view, it had to do with his balance and foot placement. It always seemed off to me. I don’t know if he was never taught right or if it was a combination of his squat stature and extreme physical strength, because he often used to throw himself off balance while loading up on his power punches.

I’m hesitant to blame his original trainer because I think Tony Morgan is an experienced and knowledgeable coach. He guided Berto from the amateurs to two major titles, so he must have done something right.

Honestly, I think Berto’s development was hampered by inactivity. Since 2009, he’s only fought once or twice a year. That’s no way for a young talent to improve, especially when the best fighter he’d faced prior to 2009 was an undersized (light-hitting), somewhat faded Steve Forbes.

So yeah, part of Berto’s hype was a mirage created by weak opposition (at least during his prospect/contender days). When he finally stepped up to face a world-class fighter (Luis Collazo in early 2009), he wasn’t nearly as dominant as he had been. (In fact, he was lucky to get that decision.)

After Collazo, Berto was kind of in the deep end of the pool even though he haden’t fully learned to swim. His competition remained strong (except for Freddy Hernandez and Steve Upsher Chambers) to this day. He won some, he lost some, and he took some beatings. At least he’s been paid well.

Your heavyweight mythical match-ups:

Tyson vs Frazier, Marciano & Dempsey – Frazier and Marciano by up-from-the-canvas late TKOs; Tyson by early KO

Frazier vs Marciano & Dempsey – Frazier by late TKOs

Marciano vs Dempsey – Dempsey by decision

Jack Johnson vs Ali – Ali by decision

SCORING INFLUENCES

Hi Dougie,

I hope George Groves can win the world title tomorrow to potentially set up some quality all-UK world title matchups at 168 lbs during 2016 (Groves, DeGale, Murray, Fielding, Callum Smith, Buglioni) and that’s all I have to say on tomorrow’s shenanigans!

My main purpose of writing is to get your thoughts on the wild differences of opinion regarding the scoring of McDonnell-Kameda II with the divide seeming to fall firmly in the middle of the Atlantic. I see two potential reasons for this:

1) Different scoring criteria on each side of the pond.

2) Viewers on both sides are heavily influenced by the opinions of commentators, more so than we all wish to believe.

I happened to watch the fight without sound and found it incredibly difficult to score, in the end giving it to McDonnell by a round because of the questionable knockdown, but frankly I wouldn’t have fancied offering any firm opinion as a judge. My issue with the fans who think it was a clear decision either way is that I don’t think McDonnell was truly able to impose his will on Kameda but that for all Kameda landed the better looking shots, there were so few of them in every round that it was hard to justify giving rounds to him either.

Anyway, which of the reasons above, or any other reasons for that matter, do you think have had the biggest influence on the differences of opinion in this fight or any other fights you can recall that have led to similar debates?

All the best. – Sir Laurence of Nottingham

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions Sir Laurence!

I think the two factors you mentioned have an equal influence on how people score fights and how those watching on TV often score close rounds.

Cultural preferences/biases definitely come into play with professional boxing. Ring generalship (the control of the distance, pace/tempo of a fight without necessarily landing punches) is often given more credit by American boxing commentators and pundits, whereas forward-marching aggression and punch volume is often appreciated more in Mexico, Japan (where, ironically, Kameda is from) and sometimes in the UK.

Oscar De La Hoya’s split decision loss to Floyd Mayweather wasn’t viewed as controversial by most of the American boxing media, but if memory serves me right, commentators for the live telecast in Mexico and Japan didn’t understand why Mayweather got the benefit of the doubt in so many of the close rounds.

And of course TV commentators have an influence on how those watching at home or in sports bars perceive the fight.

Most of the ringside media agreed with the official judges’ close scorecards favoring Shane Mosley in his rematch with De La Hoya, but HBO’s commentators thought the Golden Boy won it clearly and most of the fans watching the HBO broadcast agreed – in fact, many fans were outraged by the decision. (By the way, I’ve been told the commentators for the Mexican broadcast had Mosley winning – again, the cultural preference for come-forward aggression and hard punching at work.)

The good folks on press row for De La Hoya-Mosley II didn’t hear the HBO commentary. Would it have swayed us if we had? Maybe a little bit.

Like you, I thought McDonnell-Kameda II was a close, difficult-to-score contest were neither man was able to impose his will or style on the other. However, I doubted my own eyes as I scored Rounds 3, 5, 6, and 7 for McDonnell. Why? Because Virgil Hunter and Paulie Malignaggi were raving about Kameda’s strategy and boxing ability during those rounds, and I respect their analysis and opinions. After all, Hunter’s a decorated amateur and professional trainer; Malignaggi’s a two-division world champ. Who the hell am I? (Paulie would probably answer: “A f__king moron!” LOL.)

Anyway, I saw a close points win for McDonnell and I have no problem with anyone who thought Kameda did enough to win the bout.

 

 

WEEKEND FIGHTS

Hi Doug,

There are some interesting things going on in boxing this week/weekend and I thought I’d hit you up with a few questions for the Friday mailbag.

1) Thoughts on Mayweather’s IV scandal? Is this something that could yield a no contest? Or will it be swept under the rug? Also, do you think it was legit re-hydration or pure shade?

2) How do you see the Spike TV card playing out Friday night? Obviously, both Stevenson and Spence are being set up for KO wins, but will they deliver? Karpency’s only stoppage loss was pretty odd as he seemingly quit from alleged nausea when he faced Fonfara. Otherwise, he generally moves pretty well and doesn’t open up a lot. Van Heerden, on the other hand, hasn’t been stopped before but also leaves himself wide open when he’s on offense.

3) Thoughts on how Martinez-Salido II plays out? Knockdowns aside the first fight was pretty close. Does Salido learn and improve and make it closer? I’m inclined to think he does. I could see that one going to a draw or split decision either way.

4) I keep going back and forth on Jack-Groves. I think Jack has the advantages because he seems hungrier, he’s at home, and will probably get the benefit of the doubt on the scorecards. Additionally, if he stays in Groves’s chest, which I think he will, I can see Groves not working enough. I hear a lot of talk about Groves’ scoring the stoppage, but that seems a little far fetched to me.

5) Jermall Charlo and Cornelius Bundrage is an interesting fight to me. Charlo is very untested. He has really just faced a Murderer’s Row of bums. You’ve said you often favor the craftier/more experienced fighter when deciding who will win. Is this one of those cases? I am curious because I think Bundrage has had some good wins and far far more experience. Charlo is untested, has logged very few rounds, and honestly doesn’t have a good work rate.

6) Lastly, I’m not too familiar with Oscar Valdez but he looks pretty one dimensional to me. I would give Chris Avalos a good shot against him based on my limited review of his BoxRec profile and a few YouTube clips. He’s stopped a lot of nobodies but hasn’t faced many experienced guys who will pressure him.

Anyway, hoping Berto hits a home run on Saturday for all of our enjoyment. Have a good weekend Dougie. – Vincent, New York, NY

Hey, Berto’s a home-run hitter. I’ll answer your comments/questions in order:

1) I see the IV revelation as more of a scandal for USADA than Mayweather. USADA’s lack of communication with NSAC (in the Mayweather IV instance) and with state commissions in general puzzles me. I do think it’s kind of strange that a guy who has always called himself a small welterweight would get dehydrated making the 147-pound limit, but at age 38 maybe it’s finally beginning to be a struggle. However, one thing that I’ve always viewed as bulls__t has been Mayweather’s talk of “cleaning up” the sport by leading the way with Olympic-style drug testing. He’s got too much influence with USADA and there’s nothing “Olympic” about his drug testing because it’s not year-round. Hauser’s article enforced my belief that all that “I’m cleaning up the sport” talk was grandstanding for the media and a way to put off the Pacquiao fight.

2) I think Karpency and Van Heerden go the distance in one-sided losses tonight.

3) I think Martinez beats Salido again, perhaps easier this time. I view Salido as a spent bullet. There’s a lot of wear and tear on that Mexican veteran.

4) I’m looking forward to Jack-Groves. I think it will be an interesting and competitive matchup. Groves appears to be the more talented boxer and athlete but he fights in spots, which can allow for Jack – who seems to be the more fundamentally sound and consistent of the two super middleweights – to outwork him. The fight will really get interesting if they have the power to rock/hurt each other. If it goes the distance I really hope there’s no home cooking for Jack (should he not legitimately deserve the nod).

5) I generally go with a battle-tested titleholder over a younger, more talented but untested challenger (such as Froch over Groves – both fights!) but K9 is getting very long in the tooth and he’s inactive, so I can’t really call this one. I slightly favor Charlo, though.

6) I agree that Valdez is somewhat one-dimensional but Avalos hasn’t reminded anyone of Salvador Sanchez. Both featherweights like to come forward with hard punches and impose their will on their opponents. Avalos is still young but although he’s been in with much better opposition, he’s just one bout removed from an ass-kicking by Carl Frampton, so I wonder where his head/confidence is at. I’m going with Valdez. He doesn’t hit as hard as Avalos but he’s stronger, more confident/determined and more consistent with his offense. I think he’ll break Avalos down with his body attack.

THE BIG FIGHT THIS WEEKEND

Good day Mr Fischer,

I’m really looking forward to the big fight Saturday (Anthony Joshua vs. Gary Cornish) although it’s not getting any media love. Is Joshua is the future? He’s fighting another big undefeated heavyweight with a chip on his shoulder. I hope you find time to tweet this weekend, it adds a great deal of entertainment to the fights. – Cornell

Thanks Cornell. I’ll try to find a decent stream of the Joshua-Cornish fight tomorrow. If I do, I’ll definitely Tweet some of my thoughts on my favorite prospect, Joshua – AKA “Black Colossus.” Yeah, I do think he’s the future.

If this matchup of undefeated heavyweights isn’t getting any love in your neck of the woods it’s because it might be a bigger mismatch than Mayweather-Berto. Yeah, Cornish (I love his nickname, “Highlander”) is tall, rangy and unbeaten in 21 bouts, but he’s faced woeful opposition and he barely had any amateur experience before turning pro at age 24.

Joshua has the Olympic amateur credentials go with the superior technique, skill and athleticism. Cornish is too straight up and down (and probably too game) to avoid Joshua’s accurate jab and power combinations.

I think Joshua will behead the Highlander sometime before the fifth round.

“There can only be one.”

 

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

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