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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

20
Nov
Photo credit: Naoki Fukuda

Photo credit: Naoki Fukuda

YOUNG LION, OLD WARRIOR

So this weekend it’s going down, two true ring warriors, each with a nation resting heavily on their shoulders.

The fight’s a toss-up; I give Miguel Cotto a decent shot at winning but he’s gotta box on the run if that’s going to happen. Canelo Alvarez’s one glaring weakness is that he doesn’t cut the ring off very well on fighters who stick and move and Cotto is totally capable of fighting that way; we’ve seen him dance behind a solid jab and land beautiful combinations while running for his damn life (I’m thinking of the Antonio Margarito rematch). We all know that Canelo can’t apply nearly as much pressure as the Tijuana Tornado.

The question is, does Cotto still have the legs to stick and move for twelve rounds? I really don’t think he can afford to sit down on his hooks – he punches probably just as hard as Canelo (maybe even a little more) – but he’s also a lot more vulnerable than the Mexican star. If he gets sucked into exchanging with Canelo I think he’ll get stopped, maybe brutally.



Regardless of who wins I’ll be happy. I think an Alvarez win would be better for boxing but I’ve also got a soft spot for the old warrior. The hardcore fans forget how many great moments Cotto’s given us, how’s he’s left a piece of himself in that ring more than once. It would be kinda nice to see him go off into the sunset with one last big win over a young lion. – Jack

Dude, you summed up my feelings on tomorrow night’s showdown with this one line: I think an Alvarez win would be better for boxing but I’ve also got a soft spot for the old warrior.

If Canelo wins, we’ll have a young, fighting champion who gives a damn about public opinion. I’m not saying Alvarez will take on Gennady Golovkin in his next fight, but I think he will face the boogeyman of the middleweight division within a reasonable time frame. I don’t think Cotto will bother with GGG.

And that’s OK. Because, as you noted, Cotto has given us many great moments – the shootout with Ricardo Torres, the blowout of Carlos Quintana, the extended beatdown of Zab Judah in a sold-out Madison Square Garden, the close decision over a still-dangerous Shane Mosley, the bold stands against Margarito and Manny Pacquiao, the competitive loss to Mayweather, the title-winning comebacks (in NYC) against Yuri Foreman and Sergio Martinez – and you’re right, he’s left a lot in the squared circle.

I’ve also got a soft spot for the stoic Boricua. I covered his sixth pro bout (in L.A. at Staples Center in 2001), all of his Las Vegas fights (except for the Mayweather bout), his first title win (vs. Kelson Pinto in Puerto Rico), and his Madison Square Garden appearances against Judah, Mosley and Joshua Clottey all from ringside. I enjoyed every one of those fights, and occasionally it was an honor to be there.

So if Cotto wins, I’m not gonna shed any tears for Canelo and Co. I’m gonna be happy for the future hall of famer (and for Freddie Roach). And whatever he wants to do with his career and life after Nov. 21 is cool with this boxing writer.

I give Miguel Cotto a decent shot at winning but he’s gotta box on the run if that’s going to happen. I think Cotto needs to get respect early and hurt Canelo to have a shot at winning. I don’t see him doing that if he’s concentrating more on lateral movement than his offense.

We all know that Canelo can’t apply nearly as much pressure as the Tijuana Tornado. True, but Canelo is a more accurate combination puncher than Margarito and he probably lands with more authority than the former welterweight titleholder.

The question is, does Cotto still have the legs to stick and move for twelve rounds? Yes, he probably does, but he can’t punch on the fly the way Mayweather and Erislandy Lara can. Cotto needs to set his feet when he gets off, and when he does, he can be clipped during an exchange.

But hey, that’s why he’s a hell of a lot more fun to watch than Mayweather or Lara.

 

RIGO’S RETURN

Doug,

I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to seeing Guillermo Rigondeaux back in action. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of his, but I hate to see elite fighters waste the precious time they have left in their careers. I know it won’t be an all-action fight, and I know he’ll coast to an easy KO, but hopefully this means he’ll get in there with other elite 122-126 pound talents. Do you think this road leads to Lomachenko, Quigg, Frampton, and Santa Cruz? I’d hate to see him spend the rest of his career fighting B-level fighters. Additionally, how do you think those fights would play out if they took place?

In the main event, I’m thinking Canelo takes it late after getting outboxed early, but honestly, I’d love to see Cotto make one last stand and turn back the Mexican challenger. I know your pick, but what, in your opinion, is Cotto’s path to victory?

Lastly, you talk about great gym fighters, but have you ever seen fighters who look fairly average in the gym, and spectacular come fight night? It seems unlikely but I was curious.

MM:

Gonzalez vs El Finito @ 108

Mayweather vs Ellorde @ 130

Walters vs Marquez @ 126

Locche vs Pryor @ 140

Hearns vs Lara (it’s a shame Hearns never got to prove himself against a real fighter like Lara)

I kid. Best. – B

Dude, don’t joke like that.

Anyway, you’ll be happy to know that Rigo is being treated very well by the media that is here in Las Vegas. Casual fans chillin’ inside Mandalay Bay have no idea who he is or what he does for a living but they see young boxing media nerds following his every move around the casino so they figure he must be somebody and they ask him for his autograph and take pictures with him. The Cuban sourpuss must be feeling pretty good.

I know it won’t be an all action fight, and I know he’ll coast to an easy KO, but hopefully this means he’ll get in there with other elite 122-126 pound talents. If Rigo can’t cold cock Drian Francisco, the so-called boxing purists really need to get of his d__k. I don’t know if signing with Roc Nation is going to lead to significant matches with top junior feathers and feathers. Jay-Z doesn’t do business with Al Haymon and Bob Arum isn’t in a hurry to business with the Jigga Man.

Do you think this road leads to Lomachenko, Quigg, Frampton, and Santa Cruz? No, I don’t. But I hope I’m wrong.

Additionally, how do you think those fights would play out if they took place? I think Loma outpoints Rigo; and Rigo outpoints Quigg, Frampy and Leo.

I know your pick, but what, in your opinion, is Cotto’s path to victory? I think Cotto needs to get respect by dropping or hurting Canelo in the early rounds, outbox/outmaneuver the lead-footed young man in the middle rounds, and then press him hard in the late rounds when the Mexican star typically fades.

Lastly, you talk about great gym fighters, but have you ever seen fighters who look fairly average in the gym, and spectacular come fight night? Most elite fighters look rather average in sparring. It’s rare when a world-class boxer is the total boss in the gym. Edwin Valero was an anomaly. Tough guys that Valero dominated in sparring sessions, such as Urbano Antillon and Jose Armando Santa Cruz, used to PUT HANDS ON Manny Pacquiao and Joel Casamyor in the gym.

Your mythical matchups:

Gonzalez vs El Finito @ 108 – Lopez by close decision.

Mayweather vs Elorde @ 130 – Mayweather by close decision.

Walters vs Marquez @ 126 – JMM by competitive but clear UD.

Locche vs Pryor @ 140 – Pryor by clear UD (unless the fight took place in Argentina, in which case it would have been a controversial draw)

Hearns vs Lara (it’s a shame Hearns never got to prove himself against a real fighter like Lara) – Hitman by mid-rounds decapitation.

 

MARIAH COTTO & FACE-OFF HYPE

I don’t know what it is about Cotto lately that comes off as being a bit Diva-ish. Maybe it’s nothing new and has only recently become aware to me due to his improved English, but I also notice it in some of his body language. By all means, he’s entitled to act however he wants. He’s definitely earned the right to have as much, but it reminds me of Zoolander. Perhaps it’s signing/partnering with Roc Nation and some of that Jigga swag juice has gone to his bald head. But I think it’s misguided faith in his increased punching power, and The Roach Coach, brought on by his last 2 stoppages of who he perceives to be legit middleweights. And once he realizes that his power shots don’t hurt Canelo the same way, the YOUNG MEXICAN is about to go Ether on Miguel. Fight over inside seven. Maybe even 3 rds if Cotto comes out too brave.

And that Face Off hype show really needs to chill with the Super Dramatic gladiator music playing through the whole show. It sounds ridiculous when Max asks a totally loaded question in his hyper-dramatic “I GOT THIS UNDER CONTROL, not afraid to ask the tough questions” voice. Don’t get me wrong, I like Max, but I prefer articulate analysis, which Roy Jones Jr. must’ve forgot, and Kellerman attempts, but can’t seem to interpret.

….where was I…..

It sounds ridiculous with the suspenseful music playing throughout when Max asks, “why do you think of such and such” in the tone of voice like someone’s mother got disrespected, and the response he gets betrays the intended violent cliche most fighters would give, and is instead, super polite and anticlimactic. All the while Max sits with his chair turned backwards in between the fighters as if he’s the only thing stopping them from fighting right then and there. I’d much rather it be a regular interview without the Shakespearean theatrics. Can u imagine Artex and Atrayu walking in to the ivory tower with Brotha LYNCH Hung playing in the background? Actually that might not be a bad idea for a good laugh, but it’s not a good look for the broadcast. Keep the commercials short and dramatic instead of stretching them into what amounts to being a 30-minute commercial. And conduct interviews as real conversations with real people. That’s just my opinion. – Adam H.

I can’t disagree with that opinion.

I think Face Off works only when at least one of the fighters is a major talker or someone who just doesn’t give a f__k. The only Face Offs I was into was the one for the Jean Pascal-Bernard Hopkins rematch, the Wlad Klitschko-David Haye fight, and the Cotto-Margarito rematch (I loved it when “Mariah” got out that tablet with the photo of Margz’s hand wraps in the ring after their first fight and the TJ Warlord just sneered at him and something like “Yeah, what about it, b__ch?”).

There’s no doubt that Cotto is a diva. He wasn’t always like this, but it’s nothing new. It predates his signing with Jay-Z, teaming up with Roach and knocking out faded/drained middleweights. However, I’m sure being the crown jewel of Roc Nation’s boxing division isn’t making him any less of a diva.

And I’ll tell ya something else, I don’t think that “Jigga swag juice” – or Jigga himself – has helped at all to promote tomorrow night’s event.

PLEASURE TO MEET YOU

Dougie,

Just wanted to say it was a pleasure meeting you earlier today (Thursday) near the media centre at Mandalay Bay. You are certainly a genuine and down to earth guy, not that I expected anything different, but you never know, you could have been like Bhop. Lol.

I have always found it interesting and humbling after 11 years of coming to Las Vegas for big fights, that sports in general and boxing specifically can bring strangers from all walks of life together and allow them to connect about a sport that they love. I have met so many cool people (yeah you can consider yourself cool, lol) on fight weekends.

In any event, I never really got a chance to express my appreciation for what you do and the way you do it. Keep up the great work. I have been a religious follower for over a decade, since the MaxBoxing days.

So thanks for all the insight over the years.

If you are around after the weigh in and want to talk boxing over some grub and booze hit me up. Would love to pick your brain and hear a few stories. Lol. I know you are obviously busy this weekend with coverage so, no worries if you are tied up. Nonetheless, enjoy the fight! – Anthony

I will, Anthony. Thanks for the kind words. It was cool (yeah, you’re cool too!) meeting you after the undercard press conference yesterday.

The best thing about my job (apart from covering great fights) is meeting true-blue hardcore fans from various parts of the world and different walks of life. While talking to you, I bumped into fellow writer Eric Raskin (who I haven’t seen in many years) and was able to catch up a bit. Then I caught a cab with Steve Kim, Beto Duran and Jessica Rosales to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for the weigh-in for tonight’s Golden Boy card topped by Diego De La Hoya. While there I met more longtime fans like you (some of whom were red corner fighters on the card and their trainers), and talked shop a little bit with your buddy B-Hop (LOL). On the ride back to the Mandalay Bay I caught up with old friend Rolando Arellano (former manager of Fernando Vargas who now works for GBP). After writing my story on Takashi Miura in my room, I met up with Kim and a large group that included Larry Merchant and promoter Artie Pellulo in the sports book for a few drinks and more shop talk. It was great because one of the fans who was there was a guy who sent me a flippant tweet (in regard to Ronda Rousey RING cover), which elicited a vulgar/inappropriate response tweet from me (which upset more than a few peers and Twitter pals). He introduced himself and it was all good. No hard feelings. Just a lot of boxing talk.

And that’s the best thing about these big boxing events (beyond the main event and undercard), meeting fellow fight junkies and connecting with old friends.

I wish I had time to hang out after today’s weigh-in but I’m going to need to take off to the Hard Rock to prep for the RingTV Live webcast/broadcast of the De La Hoya-Giovanni Delgado card. But I’m sure we’ll catch up at another major event not too far down the road. Thanks again for the kind words and for introducing yourself.

 

OSCAR DE LA HOYA

Has Oscar relapsed? It’s a serious and legit question. A week ago the Playboy essay was on full display; he minced no words on how he felt about Mayweather. The essay was personal and bitter. He was also emphatic there was NO chance Floyd and Canelo would fight again.

Fast forward a week: he’s on record with the LA Times claiming he and Mayweather have patched things up and angling for a Canelo rematch?? L. Ellerbe says Oscar is losing his mind. Don’t know if you have direct contact with him but he seems fragile, very unstable. Best wishes for him. – Tony

I have some direct contact with De La Hoya and he seems happier and healthier than I’ve ever seen him. I think he’s just having fun with the media and certain fans.

 

TOSS-UP FIGHT

Hey Dougie,

First time writer hope you are as excited as I am for the upcoming fight this weekend. I just wanted to share my opinion about the fight. I am a big Cotto fan, first time I saw him fight was when he took Malignaggi’s ‘0.’ Although, I am also Mexican, and I have to say that my heart is with Canelo. The difference is Canelo has not obtained the same respect I have for Cotto as a fighter. What I am trying to say is whoever wins, I will be happy.

I’ve noticed lately in the last fights Canelo has had, Trout, Lara, and Floyd have given Canelo trouble. I don’t believe that Cotto is able to have the same mobility as these fighters. Cotto has been in the ring with Trout and Floyd and both of them were faster on their feet. When it comes to power, I have to give it to Canelo. I think Canelo is growing into his body very well, getting to that prime in his mid-20s, improving his power with combination punching. I have to say that if Cotto is to beat Canelo, first he has to frustrate him with his body movement like Lara and Mayweather did, second, when Cotto connects they have to be hard punches that will earn him respect and make Canelo think twice before returning fire with his own combinations.

For some reason I can visualize Cotto winning by a left to the body. If Cotto is unable to frustrate Canelo with movement, and smart boxing, I can see Canelo pulling off the win.

Mythical Matchup: what do you think would have happened if Dmitry Pirog would not have back problems? He had great foot work, and decent power, and a good chin. I think he eventually would have faced GGG? What would have been the outcome of that fight? – Alberto

I think Golovkin would have done to Pirog what the Russian enigma did to Daniel Jacobs.

I think Cotto would be wise to go to Canelo’s body, and I believe it would behoove Canelo to do the same to the veteran.

I agree that Cotto isn’t as slick and mobile as Trout, Mayweather and Lara, but he commits to his punch a lot more, so I think we’re in for a hell of a fight for as long as the Puerto Rian star’s face and body can hold out.

Unless Canelo hurts himself making 155 pounds, I think the 25-year-old Mexican will be able to take more punishment than the future hall of famer.

 

HOLLY HOLM ON THE COVER OF RING

Sup, Doug?

I’ve seen a lot of posts regarding Ring TV not ever putting Holly Holm on the cover. I’m with them, but the past is the past. Are you going to see to it that she makes the cover in the near future? Thanks.

Mythical Matchup:

Julian Letterlough vs Chris Arreola on ESPN FNF

– JDB

It’s not my call, but Holm making a future cover of RING is definitely a possibility. That’s all I can tell you for now.

Arreola would brutally knockout Letterlough by the middle rounds of a fun scrap. (Chris is a heavyweight and the late “Mr. KO” was a light heavy/cruiserweight – but he probably would have buzzed Arreola a few times before being put down.)

 

SERGIY DEREVYANCHENKO

Hello Dougie,

I was very impressed with Derevyanchenko’s performance on SHOBOX. I would like to see him step up his level of competition. What kind of fights/fighters would you like to see him face in his next 3-4 fights?

I am really looking forward to this weekend and I hope this is the beginning of Canelo’s legend.

I like Klitschko in his matchup with Fury but doesn’t boxing really NEED characters like the young Englishman?

Here are some mythical matchups:

Bazooka Gomez vs. Barrera at 122 (I like Barrera by close maybe controversial decision)

Bobby Chacon vs. Chico at 130 (Tough,but I think Chacon’s skill lets him outpoint Chico)

Freddie Pendleton vs. Emmanuel Augustus at 135 (I could be totally wrong but I just think Pendleton is the superior fighter)

Hitman vs. Terry Norris at 154 (I think the Hitman beats just about anyone at 154,but he might have some scary moments in a great fight)

Darkseid vs. Thanos (Darkseid all the way)

Enjoy this weekend’s show. – Mark from Indiana

I will, Mark.

I agree with all of your mythical matchup outcomes except for the first one, I think Gomez would outpoint Barrera in a close and brutal contest.

I don’t think boxing “needs” nutty characters like Fury but they do add spice to the coverage and promotion of the sport.

If Saturday is going to be the start of Canelo’s “legend” the young Mexican star is really going to have to make a statement.

I’m also impressed with Derevyanchenko and I want to see more of the Russian. At age 30 I think his management has no choice but to step up the level of his competition.

What kind of fights/fighters would you like to see him face in his next 3-4 fights? I’d like to see him face a solid unbeaten up-and-comer like Dominic Wade, then a fringe contender/former title challenger like Willie Monroe Jr., then a legit top 10 contender like Chris Eubank Jr. or Hassan NDam, and finally a well-known 160 pounder such as the winner or loser of the upcoming Jacobs-Quillin and Lee-Saunders title bouts.

 

 

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

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