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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

23
Nov

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THE GOOD (NOT GREAT) RIVALRY/FIGHT

Dear Doug,
First of all, I hope Guillermo Rigondeaux’s fight didn’t put anyone to sleep and made them miss the last two fights of the night.

Now let’s get to the real topic. What a performance from Canelo Alvarez. His composure, defense, and offense proved that he belongs to the very top tier of boxing in this era. His confidence in the ring scores for himself even before the fight ends. The way he answered the question regarding fighting Gennady Golovkin is just exciting!!! Unlike SOME boxers saying “Oh, I will fight whoever my promoters arrange” or “I will fight anyone AS LONG AS the money is right,” this kid is a competitor and can rejuvenate the boxing world which was damaged by many so-called boxing stars.



If I have to pick one thing that I do not like about Canelo it has to be the fact that he weighs as a light heavyweight but fights for middleweight belt. I believe one of the reasons that Canelo’s offense was much more effective than Miguel Cotto’s is due to his weight advantage. I am not saying the win is not legit, but if both fighters weighed the same then the result might be different. What’s your thought on the same day weigh-in option? Can it even the scale and make a safer environment for the fighters?

Mythical match:
Antonio Margarito Vs Canelo Alvarez

I hope that I kept it short this time and didn’t make too much trouble for you to read it. Keep up the good work. – David C.

Thanks, David.

Rigo’s “fight” provided a nice long bathroom/refreshment break for the fans at Mandalay Bay’s Events Center, so he provided a public service. He brought out the “boo bird” in many of those who elected to stay in their seats, but that only whet their appetites for the glorious violence and drama of the Francisco Vargas-Takashi Miura war.

I’m glad to hear how excited you are about Alvarez’s performance and place in boxing. I had mixed impressions of what he did against Cotto. I thought he was effective but I wanted more. I wanted more from both main event fighters.

His composure, defense, and offense proved that he belongs to the very top tier of boxing in this era. Alvarez’s composure and defense was impressive, but I thought his offense could have been better (or more active). He was accurate and he hit hard, but he seldom put punches together and his overall volume was lower than the middleweight average.

I believe one of the reasons that Canelo’s offense was much more effective than Cotto’s is due to his weight advantage. I am not saying the win is not legit, but if both fighters weighed the same then the result might be different. I agree.

What’s your thought on the same day weigh-in option? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again and I’ll probably have to repeat this opinion after every high-profile fight where the winner weighs significantly more than the loser: I am not a fan of previous-day weigh-ins (as so-called safety precautions and “media events”) and I am all for a return to same-day weigh-ins.

Can it even the scale and make a safer environment for the fighters? Obviously, if the fighters weigh in the morning or afternoon of the fight they are going to be closer to the same weight when they step into the ring. You’re gonna re-hydrate more pounds over a 30-hour period than you can in a six-to-nine-hour period, right?

Your mythical matchup:
Antonio Margarito Vs Canelo Alvarez – at welterweight and junior middleweight, I think Margz would outwork and outpoint Canelo in a close (and punishing) fight. At middleweight, I think Canelo’s physical strength would be too much for the TJ Tornado, who wasn’t able to effectively carry much more than 150 or 151 pounds in a grueling distance fight, and I think he’d outbox and outpoint the boxing pariah.

 

AM I MISSING SOMETHING?

Hi Dougie,

A good weekend of boxing although I don’t agree with one of the results……the one that crowned Canelo as the new middleweight champ! Watching it live, I had it 7-5 in rounds to Cotto. Of the four guys I watched it with, two scored it the same as me, one scored a draw and the other had Canelo by 7-5. The official scorecards seemed very wide to me.

I saw a close fight where Alvarez did very little to close Cotto down and was only able to land when Cotto chose to engage. Cotto seemed to be controlling the pace, by and large but admittedly did start to slow by the end when Canelo stepped on the gas. So much for his lack of stamina!!! Canelo seemed to be following and missing with punches for the vast majority of the fight.

How did you score it?

Anyway, the result is good as hopefully the new guys will begin to take over. Let’s hope Canelo faces GGG soon!

Across the ocean, Martin Murray failed for the fourth time in a decent fight with the correct decision. That guy just doesn’t have it. Perhaps a “battle of the losers” match with George Groves with the loser forced into retirement? Hah!

Mythical matchup;

Salvador Sanchez v Prince Naseem @ FW

Sergio Martinez (peak) v Canelo @ MW

Calzaghe v Froch over 12 rounds, 15 rounds and under the old London Prize Rules.

Cheers and keep up the good work! – Matt, Beds, UK

Thanks, and thanks for sharing your thoughts, Matt.

I saw a different fight from press row than the one you and your friends watched on TV. Perhaps HBO’s replay of Cotto-Alvarez will look like a closer fight, but on Saturday night I thought Alvarez was the boss in the ring.

I thought the 25-year-old Mexican won the fight clearly. I can see scoring it close if you gave Cotto the benefit of the doubt in every competitive round, but I can’t envision a draw or points victory for the 35-year-old Puerto Rican. Cotto simply did not commit to his offense enough to win rounds on my scorecard. And when he did land solid shots they had little to no effect on Alvarez. However, Canelo’s power punches seemed to freeze and rattle Cotto enough to keep him from planting his feet and trading in every round but Round 8 and 12.

I saw a close fight where Alvarez did very little to close Cotto down and was only able to land when Cotto chose to engage. I saw a clear victory for Alvarez. Cotto let his hands go more than Alvarez, but he didn’t land much. Alvarez avoided most of Cotto’s jabs and volleys just by taking half a step backing and slipping them with head and upper-body movement. Alvarez didn’t let his hands go enough for my taste (I miss the days when elite boxers threw in high volume) but he landed a higher connect rate than Cotto.

Cotto seemed to be controlling the pace, by and large but admittedly did start to slow by the end when Canelo stepped on the gas. So much for his lack of stamina!!! Both fighters seemed stuck in one gear to me. I don’t think either ever shifted into a higher gear in an effort to seize control of the fight. Cotto moved around a lot, but I didn’t view this as “controlling the pace.” I thought Alvarez staked out the middle of the ring and waited for Cotto to come around, and when the veteran moved into range, he nailed him with hard, single punches that obviously caught the attention of the judges.

Canelo seemed to be following and missing with punches for the vast majority of the fight. He’s definitely not a pressure fighter. It’s just not in his mentality to hunt a mobile boxer down by cutting off the ring. However, he’s more elusive than he’s given credit for, and he’s an accurate power puncher. Cotto missed with more punches than Canelo did.

How did you score it? I had it 9 rounds to 3 or 117-111 for Alvarez, as Harold Lederman and my buddy Steve Kim (who I sat next to on press row) had it. Most of the media members around us scored it 116-112 for Alvarez, which I think is a fair scorecard. I have no problem with 8 rounds to 4. However, I think 115-113 and 114-114 tallies are bending over backwards for Cotto. Anyone who scored it 115-113 for the future hall of famer from Caguas, Puerto Rico is officially Team Cotto.

I don’t know what to say about Murray. I had high hopes for the Englishman. He might want to change his nickname to “The Bridesmaid.” I wouldn’t mind watching him fight Groves at all, and I don’t think the loser should retire. I don’t think a professional fighter has to win a major world title to be relevant.

Your mythical matchups:

Salvador Sanchez v Prince Naseem @ FW – Sanchez by UD or late TKO

Sergio Martinez (peak) v Canelo @ MW – Maravilla gets up from a knockdown to outhustle Alvarez to a close decision (that is a bit wider on the unofficial cards of fans and media)

Calzaghe v Froch over 12 rounds, 15 rounds and under the old London Prize Rules – Calzaghe by close decision in an entertaining fight (regardless of the round-limit or rules).

 

COTTO-CANELO LETDOWN

Hey Doug,

Writing to you from the UK to voice my opinion on Saturday night’s action.

First of all I feel a bit cheated. I thought there was a good night of boxing including the Crolla-Perez & Murray-Abraham fights, however I feel that the Cotto-Canelo fight was let down by the judges’ score cards in the end.

FWIW I had it pretty close although I had Cotto winning by a couple of rounds. I think he boxed the perfect game plan from start to finish and Roach had him well drilled. His double jab to the head was so effective and I honestly just felt that overall, he was the better man.

When I heard the score cards being read out I honestly thought WOW! These are very generous towards Cotto…I don’t know man, scoring like that almost puts me off the sport for good, it happens waaaay too often! I could understand a 2-round swing either way, but any more is just crazy.

Now, in the UK we have Box Nation and on the panel we had Steve Bunce, Richie Woodhall & Barry Jones. In the post-fight comments they never mentioned the poor score cards…instead all they could offer was that Cotto was too small and couldn’t hurt Canelo. Am I wrong, or just because you can’t hurt someone doesn’t mean you can’t pick up points? Mayweather couldn’t hurt Canelo and still outboxed him.

I get the feeling that in order to beat Canelo, you have to knock him out. He got lucky against Lara and Trout (IMO), he somehow managed to get one of the judges give him the nod against Floyd, and last night those score cards just left a very sour taste.

Us British fans get a hard enough time as it is (having to stay up till 6am!).

What are your thoughts on those points?

Finally (sorry for the rant), I feel for Martin Murray…Abraham probably deserved it on the night, but I still think Murray has what it takes to be world champ – thoughts? Cheers Doug. – David (Glasgow, Scotland)

Perhaps the fifth time will be the charm for Murray. I honestly don’t know if he has the mental disposition to go out and TAKE the title from a world-class fighter. Maybe he’s destined to be a mid-to-lower top 10 contender. There’s no shame in that. I’ve covered a lot of good-to-very good fighters over the years that never won one of the four major sanctioning organization (WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO) world titles – Hector Lopez, Oba Carr, Ivan Robinson, Antonio Diaz, Micky Ward and Angel Manfredy come to mind – but that doesn’t mean those guys were not major players within their divisions or that they weren’t in significant bouts (a few of them were in Fights of the Year, the others in FOTY candidates).

Regarding your thoughts on the Cotto-Alvarez scorecards I thought the 119-109 and 118-110 tallies from Dave Moretti and Burt Clements were too wide in favor of Canelo. I was fine with John MaKaie’s 117-111 score, and I also thought the red-headed star won nine out of 12 rounds.

I have no problem with 116-112 for Alvarez, and I’m OK with 115-113, but I can’t fathom a draw or points win for Cotto. HE DIDN’T LAND ENOUGH PUNCHES TO WIN THAT MANY ROUNDS. It’s that simple.

I think he boxed the perfect game plan from start to finish and Roach had him well drilled. His double jab to the head was so effective and I honestly just felt that overall, he was the better man. I thought Cotto boxed the perfect game plan to keep from getting punished. His jab was busy but I don’t think it was effective. He didn’t fight like he was the better man. Canelo had all of the confidence in this fight. (Maybe his favorable track record with the judges was part of the confidence.)

When I heard the score cards being read out I honestly thought WOW! These are very generous towards Cotto…I don’t know man, scoring like that almost puts me off the sport for good, it happens waaaay too often! I could understand a 2-round swing either way, but any more is just crazy. I understand your frustration with poor judging, but I think you’re either a Cotto fan or you’re just not too keen on Canelo. I don’t think you’re giving the Mexican fighter enough credit for the hard punches he landed or for slipping so many of Cotto’s power shots.

Am I wrong, or just because you can’t hurt someone doesn’t mean you can’t pick up points? Mayweather couldn’t hurt Canelo and still outboxed him. Yes, Mayweather did outbox Canelo without hurting him. Do you know why? BECAUSE HE OUTLANDED HIM. Cotto did not do that. Cotto was busier than Mayweather was against Alvarez (throwing 124 more punches, according to CompuBox), but he wasn’t nearly as accurate as far as the punch-counters could tabulate. Cotto landed 21 percent of his total punches against Alvarez. Mayweather landed 46 percent. Cotto landed 14 percent of his jabs. Mayweather landed 42 percent. Cotto landed 29 percent of his power shots. Mayweather landed a whopping 53 percent.

I get the feeling that in order to beat Canelo, you have to knock him out. He got lucky against Lara and Trout (IMO), he somehow managed to get one of the judges give him the nod against Floyd, and last night those score cards just left a very sour taste. I’m starting to get the feeling that Alvarez won’t get credit for a victory unless he scores a knockout. It would be awesome if more of Alvarez’s opponents actually tried to knock him out, but something tells me the only future foe that’s going to do that is GGG. The young man is too damn strong and sharp for most opponents. I think he legitimately beat both Lara and Trout. I think it sucks that poor judges in both of the bouts (Levi Martinez, who scored it 117-111 for Canelo against the Cuban, and Stanley Christodoulou, who had it 118-109 for the redhead vs. Trout) tainted two of Alvarez’s better victories. (CJ Ross scored the Mayweather fight a draw, 114-114.)

 

MIURA-VARGAS, JAPANESE FIGHTERS

Hi Doug!

Takashi Miura vs Francisco Vargas was really entertaining: Vargas staged an amazing comeback TKO win.

Interestingly, with the exceptions of the guys like Toshiaki Nishioka and Nobuhiro Ishida, most Japanese fighters have been unsuccessful in the US (that is, abroad) at least in the last 30 years.

What is the problem for them? They just faced opponents who were too much for them? Or they are used to fighting at home too much?

Takashi Uchiyama is the best super featherweight, but I’m afraid that he will face the same fate if he fights in the States…

Mythical matchups:

Julio Cesar Chavez vs Carlos Ortiz at 135 pounds

Erik Morales vs Wilfredo Gomez at 122 pounds

(I like Gomez by close decision. I think El Terrible would beat Bazooka at 126/130, though.)

Cheers. – Taku from Japan

Nice to hear from you Taku.

I knew (like a lot of hardcore heads) that Mirua-Vargas had the potential to be a gem, but the WBC 130-pound title bout exceeded expectations. It was a thrill to witness it live. I had a lot of respect for Mirua coming into the fight. Now I have MAD respect for both junior lightweights.

I said it before the fight and I’ll proudly proclaim it in this week’s Monday mailbag: Mexico vs. Japan is an underrated national boxing rivalry.

Tough break for Miura, but he made a lot of U.S. and Mexican fans on Saturday and I would not count him out in a rematch should it happen. If Uchiyama were in with Vargas on Saturday, I think the Japanese fighter would have been victorious.

I hear what you’re saying about the poor recent track record of Japanese fighters outside of Japan, but I think you’re missing an important factor in your analysis: The best Japanese fighters aren’t the ones who leave home.

Nishioka is one of the few elite Japanese fighters who traveled. And he won major bouts on the road (vs. Jhonny Gonzalez and Rafael Marquez) before being stopped by a motivated Nonito Donaire. I think Nishioka, who was semi-retired before taking the Donaire fight, simply got “old” the night he took on the Filipino Flash.

What is the problem for them? They just faced opponents who were too much for them? Or they are used to fighting at home too much? The best Japanese boxers stay at home because there isn’t much of a market for sub-featherweights in the U.S. and they can make more money fighting in your country than they can in Korea, the Philippines, Mexico, South America or South Africa. Most of the Japanese fighters who have traveled to the U.S. have not been champions. They’ve been tough second-and-third-tier sluggers like Nihito Arakawa, Yoshihiro Kamegai and Ishida. And yes, they were in with better opponents, (but they still gave ’em hell, didn’t they?)

Takashi Uchiyama is the best super featherweight, but I’m afraid that he will face the same fate if he fights in the States… I think Uchiyama would kick ass anywhere he fought. However, at age 36 (and having reigned for more than five years) he could get old overnight as Nishioka did.

Your mythical matchups:

Julio Cesar Chavez vs Carlos Ortiz at 135 pounds – Ortiz by razor-thin decision in a great fight.

Erik Morales vs Wilfredo Gomez at 122 pounds – Bazooka by late TKO in a classic.

 

CANELO COMES OF AGE

Cotto was the perfect old lion to be served at the young one’s table. Actually, I thought he was a bit too crafty for Canelo to easily eat him.

Cotto: The dude was sent to earth to become a boxer. Mad respect to him. He stuck to his fight plan for dear life. Obviously it was not enough. I was afraid that he would try to be a bully (a-la-Margarito I) and end up with his rear end in the canvas. That did not happen, and he did put some glove in Canelo’s face. Should this fight happen in Cotto’s prime, perhaps the outcome would’ve been the exact opposite.

Contrary to what some think, Cotto had nothing to lose in this contest. I expected him to lose by KO. However, he lost like the fierce competitor he was, is, and will be. Despite the fact he was clearly faded in the championship rounds, his craftiness – and underrated chin – kept him from being seriously damaged. Total and absolute respect to the guy. He’s had a wonderful career and I would totally respect if he retires, or searches for a farewell fight.

Canelo: credit to his trainer, for it’s due. He was well prepared and did solve the technical challenge in front of him. On my card, he lost rounds 1, 4 and 6. He was patient – perhaps a little too much – and tried to systematically break down the boricua. Sometimes I believe that Canelo’s extreme self confidence, I-can-eat-raw-meat-attitude, is a defect. Some other times I think is an attribute. That approach might have cost him a round (when he started showing off and got his freckles tagged in return), but in the end it might have earned him the fight. His body language spoke tons. The mental fight belonged to Canelo before and after the initial bell. Freddie Roach tried his best to get into Canelo’s skin, but was unable to. Can’t blame him.

The fight was not a barn burner but was very entertaining. However, it was difficult to generate a thrilling contest when you just saw a jaw-opening KO by Vargas just a few minutes ago. I don’t think a rematch is needed. At least I don’t need it. It rightfully will rest in the pantheon of great M├®xico-Puerto Rico fights.

I also don’t think my man Canelo needs to fight GGG. There’s no need to. They live so far away from each other and none of them speak English. And people are tired of PPV shows and Canelo’s mom wouldn’t let him AND I DON’T WANT HIM TO!!! Let Canelo be the face of boxing for just a little ok? Don’t start pushing for that fight Doug :(. – Carlos, Hermosillo, M├®xico

Ha! I don’t have to beat the drums for Canelo vs. GGG, HBO and almost every hardcore fan on the planet are going to clamor for that showdown (either because they think it’s a good matchup or because they want to see the young Mexican star get his ass kicked).

I don’t need to see it right away but I think it should eventually happen. I’m curious to see if Canelo can get to Golovkin’s body and want to see how many hardcore Mexican fans back the man from Kazakhstan on fight night.

You made excellent points about both Cotto and Alvarez in your analysis, Carlos. There’s not a whole lot that I can add to it.

I agree that Cotto’s elite ring savvy spared him from the brutal beatdown most of us predicted and that he’s had a wonderful career. I also will respect whatever he decides to do next. If he retires, he’ll get my vote for the Hall of Fame as soon as it appears on the IBHOF ballot in five years. If he decides to stick around (especially at 154 pounds where he belongs) I will look forward to his next fight.

I also agree that Canelo’s confidence can be a defect. I think he knows that he only has to tag his opponent with a few solid shots to get respect (from the fighter and from the official judges) and this often keeps him from working a consistent jab and those beautiful combos that he can drop when he wants to. As it is, the only time we get to see Canelo put his punches together is when he’s facing a come-forward slugger.

 

COTTO-CANELO NOTES

What’s up Doug, been a while since I last wrote in so figured I would after a great weekend of boxing:

A few notes on Alvarez-Cotto:
1) Freddie Roach’s biggest contribution to Cotto is his defence. He uses his legs and distance so much better and takes a lot less punishment.
2) Apparently Alvarez rehydrated to 175 (light-heavy) and couldn’t hurt Cotto who’d been stopped at welterweight. How’s he fair against a legit middleweight?
3) Alvarez defence was also improved and he picked his punches well although didn’t throw much. Does he still worry about his conditioning later in fights?
4) I like Alvarez’s mentality. He’s old school. Fights the best and wants to be remembered as a Mexican great when he’s done. No shame in that except the greats done one thing differently. They won more convincingly against the best. Alvarez shades it in his biggest fights. I remember watching The Ring round by round for the Trout fight and Lem had it 114-112 or 113 for Trout if I’m correct? The Lara fight was dubious. A lot of people had Lara winning? And although he beat Cotto, I don’t think he done so by the margins on the scorecards. Would you like to see more from the young Mexican? I don’t rate his KOs of Kirkland or Angulo. Without being disrespectful they were tailor made for him.

What can Alvarez do against GGG? He certainly couldn’t outbox him. GGG’s nearly flawless technically and if Lemieux, Stevens couldn’t even bother him with their legitimate power Alvarez couldn’t out slug him?

Miura-Vargas was crazy!! After a lengthy break for some recovery, Vargas-Uchiyama for a unification/revenge type fight would be awesome. Who you got in that one, Dougie?

As always all the best and keep up the brilliant work!! – David, Dublin

Thanks for the kind words, David, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on Cotto-Canelo. I’ll answer your notes and questions in order:

1) I agree that Cotto’s defense was on point on Saturday and Roach definitely deserves some credit for that, but the offensive brilliance we witnessed when the Puerto Rican veteran faced Sergio Martinez and Daniel Geale was not there.

2) I have no idea how Alvarez would fare against a legit middleweight contender. I hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out.

3) I believe that Alvarez, who indeed possesses underrated defensive ability, does worry about his stamina down the stretch of distance fights and rations out his punches because of this concern. I have a theory that boiling his big, strong body down to 152-to-155 pounds is the primary reason for his conservative punch output. I believe that if he allowed himself to weigh-in at 158, 159 or 160 pounds he would be surprised at how much more energy he would possess on fight night. (But that’s just a theory. Maybe he would be sluggish at any weight above 155 pounds.)

4) I agree that Alvarez has an old-school fighter’s mentality. Too bad he doesn’t have the work-rate of the old-timers, especially the great Mexican fighters of past eras. I think Canelo will always struggle with elite-level boxers, but I give him credit for taking on difficult styles and I believe that he legitimately won seven rounds against Lara and eight rounds against Trout. (I also think Floyd Mayweather Jr. would have struggled with Lara and Trout. It’s funny how all of these purists say that the elusive/technical boxing style is the most superior in the sport but they never demanded that their so-called TBE challenge himself against fellow stylists, such as Joel Casamayor, Stevie Johnston, Paul Spadafora, Vernon Forrest, Cory Spinks, Lara or Trout.) Did Alvarez have some problems with Cotto? Yeah, he did. So what? Cotto is a future Hall of Famer. Mayweather struggled with Cotto! Why give Canelo s__t for how the official judges scored the fight? And why wouldn’t you rate Alvarez’s KOs of Kirkland and Angulo? Kirkland was supposedly “tailor-made” for Angulo and the Texas southpaw almost killed him. Angulo was supposedly “tailor-made” for Lara and the shopworn Mexican took the Cuban to hell. Give Canelo some damn credit, homie. It shouldn’t be that hard.

What can Alvarez do against GGG? He certainly couldn’t outbox him. GGG’s nearly flawless technically and if Lemieux, Stevens couldn’t even bother him with their legitimate power Alvarez couldn’t out slug him? I don’t know how Alvarez can beat Golovkin. He probably can’t. I think he can give GGG a fight, but I also think he’ll ultimately get beat down. But that’s OK in my book, as long as Canelo gets in there and gives it his best effort.

Miura-Vargas was crazy!! After a lengthy break for some recovery, Vargas-Uchiyama for a unification/revenge type fight would be awesome. Who you got in that one, Dougie? I favor the Japanese fighter. But I thought Miura would break Vargas down. And Miura did! He just couldn’t break Vargas’ spirit. So going forward, I’ll never count Vargas out.

 

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

 

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