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Dougie’s Friday mailbag

03
Jun
Photo by Chris Farina

Photo by Chris Farina

WAR ‘SIRI’!

Francisco Vargas and Orlando Salido squaring up tomorrow night at the StubHub Center, what more could a boxing fan ask for? I’m assuming you’ll be there Dougie? I’ll be watching the HBO telecast with a couple friends at a bad Mexican restaurant a few blocks away from my house. (Great people, atrocious food.)

Who’ve you got Dougie? I’m leaning towards Vargas as he can actually play a pretty good matador when he gets his counter-punching game going, (though Salido is one murderous bull.) Obviously, he is less experienced then Juan Manuel Marquez and Mikey Garcia, but I do think he can employ a similar gameplan that they used to beat Salido.

On the other hand, Salido is a master of mayhem – nobody is better at dragging their opponent down into hell with them – and Vargas doesn’t need that much dragging either. If that happens we’ll get a hell of a fight and Salido will also be able to negate Vargas’s reach and have success outhustling him on the inside landing to the body, hips, thighs, and crotch. The one thing I think he’ll really have to watch out for is Vargas’s nasty uppercut.



It’s a toss-up fight really. I kinda want Salido to win even though he’s a dirty fighter just cuz I really thought he got robbed in his last fight.

By the way, what are your thoughts on Vargas’s failed drug test? There may be something to it when he says the beef in Mexico has trace amounts of the drug but when it comes to guys who fail drug tests I’m always reminded of that line from Shawshank Redemption when Morgan Freeman’s character says to Andy, “You didn’t do it? You’ll fit right in, there’s not a guilty man in Shawshank…” – Jack E.

Can you believe I’ve never seen the Shawshank Redemption? Regardless, I understand the cynicism/skepticism fans have when Vargas maintains his innocence. Unless I’m mistaken, every boxer who has ever tested positive for a banned substance has said that he didn’t know that he was putting it into his body. (It’s probably the same story for athletes that get pinched in other sports but I wouldn’t know because boxing is the only sport I follow.)

Having said all that, I think Vargas is a clean athlete who made the mistake of eating beef in Mexico when in training for a fight. I’m OK with tomorrow night’s fight proceeding for four reasons: one, his positive test occurred more than a month out from the fight, giving VADA, the WBC, the California Commission, Team Vargas, Team Salido, and their respective representatives ample time to address the issue. (Had it occurred the week of the fight, regardless of the circumstances, I would be against the fight happening because Vargas would likely enter the ring with the unfair benefits of Clenbuterol.) Two, the recent precedent of professional athletes from other sports who tested positive for Clenbuterol being cleared of their PED violations because of information that supports claims that beef in Mexico and China can be tainted with the banned drug. (I think Team Vargas and Golden Boy Promotions were lucky that the NFL released their statement warning players of Clenbuterol-tainted meat a week after Vargas’ positive test.) Three, Vargas’ cooperation and willingness to comply with everything asked of him by VADA and the CSAC. (Vargas moved his camp from Mexico to Southern California and agreed to be randomly tested more boxers normally are.) Four, the fact that Vargas has passed all of his subsequent VADA tests.

Who’ve you got Dougie? I’m leaning towards Vargas as he can actually play a pretty good matador when he gets his counter-punching game going, (though Salido is one murderous bull.) I also favor Vargas (by hard-fought close unanimous decision) for the same reasons you lean toward the Mexico City native. I expect Salido to hit the deck at least once, both men to spill some blood, and Vargas’s face to look like a gargoyle’s mug by the end of the fight.

On the other hand, Salido is a master of mayhem – nobody is better at dragging their opponent down into hell with them – and Vargas doesn’t need that much dragging either. Good point. I agree, which is why I think we will witness a competitive fight.

If that happens we’ll get a hell of a fight and Salido will also be able to negate Vargas’s reach and have success outhustling him on the inside landing to the body, hips, thighs, and crotch. That’s his plan. He told me so in this interview after yesterday’s final press conference.

It’s a toss-up fight really. That’s why – along with its action-slanted style matchup – this 130-pound title bout is worth watching.

I kinda want Salido to win even though he’s a dirty fighter just cuz I really thought he got robbed in his last fight. I agree (that he can be dirty fighter and that he deserved to win that BS draw against Rocky Martinez last September).

 

THREE QUESTIONS/RANTS

Sup Dougie,

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’m an avid reader of your mailbag and it never disappoints in entertainment.

The last time I wrote was about the El Gallito-Segura match, which brings me to my first question. Why are we not beating the drums for a Chocolatito vs. Gallito rematch? Seems like everyone is focused on Twitter wars between a boxing blogger and A.C. Slater, bulls__t rumors about a fight between an MMA fighter and a retired (boring) boxer, and a fight that most likely won’t happen this year (Canelo-GGG). I would love to see GGG-Canelo but Chocolatito-El Gallito would be a better fight in my opinion. These two little warriors are P4P better than GGG-Canelo.

What are your predictions for Vargas-Salido? My prediction is an all-out war where one of these guys comes out of the ring limping with a little brain damage. (I’m a horrible person, I know)

Finally, it seems like every article I read, there’s always someone complaining that “boxing is dying.” In your opinion, is boxing really dying? As far as I can remember, boxing has been dying since the 90’s. I remember De La Hoya-Trinidad was supposed to “save” boxing and the sport is still alive and well. Is this “boxing is dying” just a never ending complaint?

(P.S. I love the YouTube videos you do with Steve Kim and Michael Baca for UCN Live.) – Peter, Houston, Texas

Thanks for the kind words about the mailbag and UCNLive’s “10 Count” series that I do with Kim, Baca and Michael Montero. In case you missed it, here’s our take on Vargas-Salido:

Why are we not beating the drums for a Chocolatito vs. Gallito rematch? I wasn’t aware that we aren’t beating the drums for Roman Gonzalez-Juan Estrada II. Maybe it’s just hard to hear it over all of the clamor for the silliness you put so well with this sentence “Twitter wars between a boxing blogger and A.C. Slater, bulls__t rumors about a fight between an MMA fighter and a retired (boring) boxer, and a fight that most likely won’t happen this year (Canelo-GGG)”. I’m guessing there’s less collective fan anxiety over the Gonzalez-Estrada rematch than there is for other potential elite matchups because it takes place in the often overlooked flyweight division and because most hardcore fans know that it’s probably going to happen. (And it is a match that HBO and Gonzalez’s co-promoter Tom Loeffler are actively pursuing.)

I would love to see GGG-Canelo but Chocolatito-El Gallito would be a better fight in my opinion. Agreed.

These two little warriors are P4P better than GGG-Canelo. Arguably.

What are your predictions for Vargas-Salido? As I write this, I’m doing my best impression of Mr. T (circa 1983): “Pain.” Seriously, I expect a hard and entertaining fight that takes a physical toll on both junior lightweights. I favor Vargas because he’s the fresher of the two, as well as naturally bigger and more technically sound.

My prediction is an all-out war where one of these guys comes out of the ring limping with a little brain damage. (I’m a horrible person, I know) You’re awful, but you’re not lying.

Finally, it seems like every article I read, there’s always someone complaining that “boxing is dying.” In your opinion, is boxing really dying? No, I don’t think boxing is dying. I think the U.S. boxing scene is in a transitionary period (where popular/world-class fighters are not yet ready to assume the crossover star status held by the future hall of famers – Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, as well as their supporting players, such as Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Juan Manuel Marquez – that are on their way out. We may never see PPV stars as big as Mayweather, Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson (or even Evander Holyfield) again, but TV as we know it is rapidly changing and it boxing (a sport that is every bit as international as soccer) seems perfect for the streaming revolution. We’ll see how it plays out, but I think the future is bright. There’s a lot of young talent who are quickly developing into legit prospects/contenders/attractions (some of whom I have the pleasure of watching grow on Golden Boy’s RingTVLive streams) and there are still major sponsors, such as Tecate and Corona, that are willing to provide funding for big and small boxing events, various television/streamed series, and thus the development of the new wave.

As far as I can remember, boxing has been dying since the 90’s. I remember De La Hoya-Trinidad was supposed to “save” boxing and the sport is still alive and well. Oscar and Tito didn’t save boxing (because it didn’t need saving) but their title runs at welterweight and junior middleweight (which included high-profile showdowns with current hall of famers Pernell Whitaker, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Hector Camacho, as well as top talents of the late ’90s/early 2000s such as Ike Quartey, Shane Mosley, Fernando Vargas, David Reid, Oba Carr and Yory Boy Campas), and their stab at middleweight supremacy vs. Bernard Hopkins, helped support the sport and bridged the Tyson/Holyfield/Chavez and Mayweather/Pacquiao PPV eras.

Is this “boxing is dying” just a never ending complaint? It is in the U.S., and I don’t expect that to change (que my man Limahl).

 

VARGAS-SALIDO IS A MISMATCH

Hey Doug,

Just wanted to give my two cents on the fight this weekend. It seems everybody is super hyped up with the Vargas-Salido fight, most people think it’s going to be the fight of the year and that it’s a can’t miss boxing event. Call me crazy but I think this fight might be a big mismatch. Vargas is a newly crowned young champion who came up from being knocked down in a grueling fight against a prime opponent, while Salido is a smaller, older, spent bullet that struggled against the likes of Rocky Martinez (who I wouldn’t call a world beater these days). When I saw both fighters face to face I was reminded of this by the disparity in height, and physical attributes. You could see all the wars in Salido’s face while you could still see the youth in Vargas’ eyes. This fight is not going to go more than 7 rounds and I think it will be a one-sided beat down.

Now, my main gripe with this fight is the whole Clembuterol situation. Look, I understand that back in my country, contaminated meat is very common, but come on, it’s not THAT common. I’ll tell you from first-hand experience, Clembuterol is widely used for the wrong reasons in Mexico. It’s an easy to get OTC medication that costs no more than 3 bucks (40 pesos) and helps as a masking agent and also as a diuretic. Every trainer in Mexico knows this, and most of them are using it.

I used to work out at a gym where Antonio Margarito, JC Chavez Jr, Travieso, Zorrita, Cochulito and a lot more recent professional fighters used to train; we became friends with some of the trainers and always talked about how young fighters are using illegal PEDs because they can. Some young kids that we got to hang around openly talked about this. I remember them saying that everybody was using it and that they needed it in order to be competitive. In other words, it’s already in their head that they have to do it to succeed. So, to me, it has to be a matter of black and white, yes and no, no middle ground. If you test positive, there can’t be explanations, no alibies. I know VADA didn’t accept the explanation in their official press release, but I see that most of the west coast media did accepted Vargas’ argument that he ate contaminated meat. I’ll tell you something Doug, there’s a reason Salido has been making jokes about the Carne Asada tacos he was eating, and even along Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., they were mocking Vargas for his alleged contaminated meat consumption. This is a well-known trick down there, everybody knows it and that’s why they make fun of guys like Vargas. For me, this is why I think we have to be very strict with the rules.

In order for the system to work, there can’t be any exceptions. Most athletes that get caught using PEDs (If not all) never accept they did it, most of them blame something else. Vargas is no different. I know most of us want to believe it’s not true (we all wanted this fight so bad), but in my experience, I can’t do it, I’ve seen a lot of this and heard a lot of things from people that I do trust that are in the Mexican Boxing World (and I mean Mexico in land) confirming the use of these kind of drugs for me to believe someone I’ve never met or known. Since I don’t know these people personally (Vargas and his handlers) I can’t put my hands in the fire for them, I can only believe in one thing: the VADA Tests, and they came in positive. Say whatever you want but everybody can say that they ate contaminated meat and get away with it. To me, there has to be a stop to this and the best way to do it is by not accepting any excuses by anybody, even if you like him a lot. Contaminated meat is a real thing but we also have a very contaminated sport that is not regulated properly.

Thanks Doug, enjoy the weekend. – Juan Valverde

I will, Juan, despite your “tainted” (excuse the pun) view of the sport and sour opinion on tomorrow night’s main event at StubHub Center.

You have a right to your opinions but I’m glad the people who oversee VADA testing and those who are in decision-making roles with the WBC and California athletic commission don’t share your extreme views on PED violations. Infractions of any sort – outside and inside the ring – should be viewed in context and examined on a case-by-case basis. Black-and-white thinking limits perception. I’ll leave it at that.

Call me crazy but I think this fight might be a big mismatch. I wouldn’t call you crazy, but I would call you a big ole buzzkill. (Seriously, what other bummers to you got for me? You going to tell me the Julian Ramirez-Abe Lopez fight will be a dud? Is someone on press row going to spill soda on my laptop?)

Vargas is a newly crowned young champion who came up from being knocked down in a grueling fight against a prime opponent, while Salido is a smaller, older, spent bullet that struggled against the likes of Rocky Martinez (who I wouldn’t call a world beater these days). Dude, Martinez struggled just as much with Salido as vice versa, and I thought “Siri” clearly won their rematch. Yeah, he’s smaller and older, but he’s not a spent bullet yet. And if Takashi Miura – who didn’t bother moving his head at all – was able to get close and put hands on Vargas, what do you think Salido will do?

You could see all the wars in Salido’s face while you could still see the youth in Vargas’ eyes. I can see the wars in Salido’s scar tissue, but I also see hunger in his eyes. I see the youth and hunger in Vargas’ eyes, but I also see the battle scars from the Miura fight around his right eye.

This fight is not going to go more than 7 rounds and I think it will be a one-sided beat down. From your lips to God’s ears, my glass-half-empty homie.

Some young kids that we got to hang around openly talked about this. I remember them saying that everybody was using it and that they needed it in order to be competitive. In other words, it’s already in their head that they have to do it to succeed. This is the same story among athletes in every sport worldwide – from the elite pros down to junior high school competitors – no need to piss on Mexican boxing. But you’re correct in that it’s a huge problem, which is one of the reasons I’m very pleased with the recent partnership between VADA (which you should support) and the WBC.

So, to me, it has to be a matter of black and white, yes and no, no middle ground. If you test positive, there can’t be explanations, no alibies. Juan, what do you do for a living? Please tell me you’re not a school teacher.

I know VADA didn’t accept the explanation in their official press release, but I see that most of the west coast media did accepted Vargas’ argument that he ate contaminated meat. Really? Have you interviewed or canvassed the opinions of the “west coast media” on this matter? I spoke with VADA president Dr. Margaret Goodman a few days before Canelo-Khan and she seemed to give credence to Vargas’ claim while trusting the CSAC’s ability to handle the situation. And I think they made the right call given the circumstances and time frame. Vargas has been tested more stringently and more often than any boxer EVER in the past month.

I’ll tell you something Doug, there’s a reason Salido has been making jokes about the Carne Asada tacos he was eating, and even along Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., they were mocking Vargas for his alleged contaminated meat consumption. Wow. You ever hear of the old phrase “the pot calling the kettle black”?

 

IT’S ABOUT TIME

Hi Doug,

I’ll keep it as short as I can.

When I saw an article on The Ring’s website saying that professionals were now allowed in Olympic boxing, my reaction was “what took so long?” I thought the response would be overwhelmingly positive! I’ve honestly never spoken to anyone about this before, so I just thought my position was common sense and would be virtually universal.

Boy was I wrong! Almost every reaction I’ve read has been negative!

I admit, I’m genuinely puzzled by this. I don’t understand the perspective, and was hoping a respected person in boxing (yes, this does indeed mean you!) might explain it somehow. My limited understanding of the ultimate ideal of the Olympics was: The Best contest The Best. The absolute best in the world, theoretically, compete against the absolute best in the world, in each event. Aren’t the absolute best boxers in the world professionals? Shouldn’t the Olympics strive to bring the absolute best in each event to compete on the world stage?

And yes, I know there are all kinds of circumstances preventing this (ie. doping, politics, more), but isn’t this at least the theoretical ideal? All the best! – Josh from Virginia

Thanks Josh.

This line cracked my s__t (as they used to say back in the Ozarks): “Boy was I wrong! Almost every reaction I’ve read has been negative!” A negative reaction in boxing? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I think the main reason for the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the Olympic ruling is the fear that a seasoned professional might beat the crap out of some 18-year-old kid on the international platform of the Summer Games. You gotta admit that wouldn’t be a good look for the sport.

Your understanding of the Olympic ideal being the “best competing against the best” as an argument to allow pros to box against amateurs in the world’s most prestigious amateur tournament makes me think of the basketball competition of the ’92 Summer Games (back when I still gave a rat’s ass about the Olympics). That was the Olympics that featured “the Dream Team” (a U.S. basketball squad that was comprised mostly of future NBA hall of famers). Some proponents of the team said it was only fair because other nations had used pro and semi-pro players in international competition for years, while the U.S. always used college talent. But the result was a media circus that overshadowed the Games and the basketball teams of every other nation and a bunch of gross mismatches en route to the gold medals that everyone knew the U.S. squad would win. (I remember being embarrassed by the attitude and antics of Charles Barkley throughout the tournament.)

I don’t think a “Dream Team” of pro boxers will participate in the Rio Games, but I believe this is the concern of most fans and media that are against it. What I don’t like about it is the international media spotlight may be taken away from deserving amateur standouts and placed on certain professional boxers.

However, you should know that some members of the boxing community, including Bernard Hopkins and a couple of U.S. amateur stars from Philly (Paul Kroll and Shakur Stevenson), aren’t bothered at all by the ruling. Read this article by Joseph Santoliquito.

 

STEVENSON AND GHOST OF CANELO’S FUTURE

Yo Dougie,

First, let’s put it out there that I will always remain a loyal mailbag reader, even if I disagree with your lack of urgency about Canelo-GGG. Personally I think Canelo is as ready for GGG as he’s ever going to be, and I think his upper body movement and counter punching gives him a better shot against GGG than he’s getting credit for.

But what moved me to write, and another reason I think Canelo-GGG needs to be now and not later, was the announcement of the latest winner of the “Aducknis” sweepstakes. As Adonis Stevenson preps to take on his latest nobody, think back to just a few years ago when Kovalev-Stevenson was THE fight to make at Light Heavyweight. Fast forward to today, and Stevenson is a complete afterthought in the division where he’s supposed to be the lineal champion. At this point, unless their name rhymes with “Smadonis,” you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would pick Stevenson to beat Kovalev.

This is the fate that awaits Canelo if he avoids GGG too long. There’s no other fight on the table for Alvarez that can boost his reputation any higher than it is right now. Let him roll the dice against GGGodzilla. Even if he loses, so long as he fights valiantly (and I believe he will) it can’t be any more damaging to his reputation than the slow slide to irrelevance that comes with fighting inflated Junior Middles or picking over GGG’s leftovers. Be well. – Sean

I agree that Canelo’s respect, stature and popularity will suffer if it takes too long for the Golovkin fight to take place (certainly if the bout never happens). However, it’s too early to compare him to Stevenson (or to even use the WBC 175-pound beltholder as a cautionary tale for the young Mexican star). It’s been more than two years since Stevenson signed with Al Haymon and left HBO. He’s fought four times since the start of 2014 (Thomas Williams Jr. will be opponent No. 5). Canelo wasn’t even on Golovkin’s radar until last May (when he blasted James Kirkland and set up his showdown with Miguel Cotto) and he wasn’t obligated to fight GGG until he won the WBC middleweight title less-than seven months ago.

There’s no other fight on the table for Alvarez that can boost his reputation any higher than it is right now. True, but there are more than a few bouts that will spare him the physical punishment that comes with stepping into the ring with Golovkin.

Let him roll the dice against GGGodzilla. LOL. Spoken like someone who doesn’t have to take any punches from the Middleweight Monster.

Personally I think Canelo is as ready for GGG as he’s ever going to be, and I think his upper body movement and counter punching gives him a better shot against GGG than he’s getting credit for. I agree that Canelo can be competitive with Golovkin, given his physical strength and boxing ability, but how can you know that he’s “as ready for GGG as he’s ever going to be”? What do you base this opinion on, his proven track record against legit top-10 middleweight contenders? Oh wait. He’s never faced any, and he’s yet to allow himself to weigh-in above 155 pounds, so there is a bit of mystery as to how well he’d perform fighting at the full middleweight limit against a real 160 pounder.

 

STEVENSON IS THE MAN

Hey Douglass.

Tony Bellew looked explosive demolishing power-punching Mukabu in 3 rounds. More explosive than any Golovkin knockout I’ve ever seen. And against an actual dangerous puncher too. And do you know who big winner is? Adonis Stevenson that’s who! So it’s time for these fools to shut up with their “Stevenson fights bums” crap. Same with this Stevenson is scared of Kovalov bulls__t. Whats with some of you fools with your Soviet Supermen. GTFO already. The overrated Kov fights nothing but old men and never weres. And his punching ower is so overated. He couldn’t knock out a 50 year old man so Im not even sure if he can knock you or me out. And why did Stevenson get stripped of his titrle and why is it ok for Kov to act like a racist s__t-talker but you condemn guys like Floyd Mayweather for doing the same. And if you want a real 175 championship fight it should be between Stevenson and Andre Ward.

And heres a question. Since pros will be fighting in Olympic boxing will we see Kov in GGG in the Olympics since all they beat up are amatuers anyways? – SuperDave

This cannot be real. You’ve got to be some a__hole trying to bait me into using “the demographic” term in order to win a lame-ass bet you have with a fellow message board cretin.

You can’t be this f__king dumb. I refuse to believe it. I refuse to even validate your empty thoughts by responding to them. It’s too easy to rip apart your opinions. Too easy. I can’t give you that much time, energy and space in this column. I’ll just leave it at this:

If this is real and you really believe all of that crap, you’re too stupid to bother debating. No matter what I say or write, it will be lost on you.

If you’re faking, if you’re pretending to be a dumb-ass just to get into the mailbag column, you’re f__kin’ weird. Go be weird somewhere else from now on, OK?

Thank you.

 

 

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

 

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