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Dougie’s Monday mailbag

31
Oct

PACQUIAO’S EXPECTED RETURN

Hey Dougie,

Last April I was “tricked” into going to Manny Pacquiao’s final fight, his swan song, the last hurrah, his farewell, yet as it turns out he’s fighting again. Well that was a surprise! I want my money back!

Sarcasm aside, whoever thought that was the last fight clearly doesn’t understand the sport or hasn’t been watching long enough. Now that Manny is “coming back” against a good fighter in Jessie Vargas, the question is, other than money, does he really have any other reason to be here? Is he really looking to continue his career or is he fighting just because he can’t stay away from the bright lights? I do think that this version of the PacMan still gives fits to anybody in the welterweight division. I also think that Jessie Vargas won’t be able to compete against the Filipino Destroyer.  He was chosen for a reason!

I also think that the ultimate goal is for a MayPac Sequel (god let this not be!).   What do you think lies in the future of Manny Pacquiao if he wins this Saturday? Do you see him facing Terrance Crawford? How do you match him up with current welterweight titleholders? Thanks Dougie. Have a great week. – Juan Valverde

I will, Juan. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Pacquiao (and for keeping them short – by your standards, LOL).

How do I see the Filipino Icon matching up with the current 147-pound beltholders? Well, let’s start with Saturday night’s fight against Vargas, who holds Pac’s old WBO belt. I only slightly favor the 37-year-old future hall of famer. I think Pacquiao will win a hard-fought decision over the Las Vegas resident, but I don’t count Vargas out at all. Vargas has a good, busy jab, a constantly improving overhand right and he takes a good shot. Plus, he’s got good experience for a newly crowned 27-year-old beltholder and he’s finally with a trainer (Dewey Cooper) that can bring out the best of his ability. (If it sounds like I’m rooting for Jessie, it’s because I am. I like the young man and his young trainer; I think he’s good for boxing and I’m all for a changing of the guard.)

I would also favor Pac to outpoint WBC beltholder Danny Garcia in a good fight (in fact, I think the eight-division titleholder would have to get up from a knockdown or survive a wobbly moment or two). I don’t favor him against WBA titleholder Keith Thurman or even the post-GGG version of Kell Brook, who still holds the IBF trinket. I think Thurman outmaneuvers Pac and power-pot shots his way to a UD; and I believe that Brook would score a mid-to-late rounds KO (provided the Englishman can still make safely make 147 pounds).

Sarcasm aside, whoever thought that was the last fight clearly doesn’t understand the sport or hasn’t been watching long enough. Or perhaps it was just wishful thinking.

Now that Manny is “coming back” against a good fighter in Jessie Vargas, the question is, other than money, does he really have any other reason to be here? Yes, he’s got two reasons: his desire to go through another training camp with trusted individuals that have become his close friends over the past 15 years, and his desire to challenge himself against a solid, young titleholder/up-and-comer.

Is he really looking to continue his career or is he fighting just because he can’t stay away from the bright lights? Why can’t it be both? I also think that the ultimate goal is for a MayPac Sequel (god let this not be!). All the more reason to root for Jessie.

What do you think lies in the future of Manny Pacquiao if he wins this Saturday? Do you see him facing Terrance Crawford? If Pacquiao wins on Saturday, I think he’ll fight again. He’s a gambler by nature, and when he’s winning, he doesn’t want to stop. Plus, he’s not going to say no to another big payday. And yes, I can see a Pacquiao-Crawford showdown in 2017 if Pacquiao soundly beats Vargas.

 

MY FIGHT: KOVALEV VS. WARD

Hey Dougie:

Happy Halloween! Long time reader, 2nd time writer, with that being said, did you get a chance to watch the HBO 1/2 hour Ward/Kovalev special? To me this is HBO at is finest, initially I was a fan of the 24/7, but the format grew weary. Their original programing like this knocks it out of the park! Like or hate either fighter, you have to respect their journey to get where they are. Same can be said for Virgil Hunter. These kind of shows get me excited big fights and this is a truly big fight that I believe is 50/50.

Hope you are well! – Joshua

I’m good, Joshua. Thanks for asking and thanks for writing in to the mailbag for a second time.

I watched HBO’s 30-minute special on the Kovalev-Ward fight (it’s called “My Fight”) and I enjoyed the program. It’s like a condensed version of “24/7,” but it mainly contains meaningful content, not so much of the fluff and bluster.

It was interesting to get a glimpse of the difficult experiences both fighters had to overcome growing up (for Kovalev it was poverty, for Ward it was drug addicted parents/a broken home). It was also interesting to hear Ward talk about being biracial (although briefly).

However, I still think much of the program was overwritten and overproduced (which is a mistake that HBO Sports often makes with its boxing “pre-shows,” which are usually more commercial than documentary. I think the network does its best work on the “2 Days” series, because it’s a show that isn’t narrated and it airs AFTER the fight takes place, so they aren’t going for the hard sell).

Having said that, I agree that Kovalev-Ward is a significant, 50/50 matchup of elite boxers, and I hope that “My Fight” entices casual boxing fans to purchase the pay-per-view card because I want the event to be a successful venture.

 

JUANMA LOPEZ VS. SALIDO

Juan ma lopez v orlando salido? sure. it will not go well for jml tho.  salido may not be in his prime, but sometimes it’s real hard to tell. – Ceylon

Salido is not in his prime, but he’s still got a lot more in the tank than Lopez. Ya know why? Because Salido literally beat “the prime” of Lopez during their two Fight of the Year candidates in 2011 and 2012. Props to Lopez for upsetting the odds (at least in my view) by knocking out Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. this past Saturday.

This is the second time Vazquez has been stopped late by a boxer-puncher that I believed was totally shot (Jorge Arce did it the first time back in 2011). I like WVJ, but if he continues boxing, he will do so as a fulltime gatekeeper (and no shame in that, by the way – I’d love to see him test some of Golden Boy’s featherweight prospects, such as Diego De La Hoya, Julian Ramirez and Tino Avila, who headlines an LA Fight Club show this Friday). 

I still think Lopez should retire. I don’t think he looked like a shot fighter against Vazquez, but we have to keep in mind that he wasn’t facing a fighter that would test his legs or punch resistance. Vazquez started cautiously and remained on the outside during the early rounds. His lack of aggression and committed offense gave JML the time to fight off rust and doubts and eventually gave the southpaw puncher confidence to come forward and force exchanges that eventually got the better of his fellow Boricua.  That would not be the case against Salido, who will come forward, set the pace and force a fire fight until the day he can no longer lift his arms.

PACQUIAO VS. LOMA, ANYONE?

Sup Bro! Thanks for getting back at me on my last email regarding the much-anticipated November Mayhem. (Loma-Walters, Kova-Ward, Pac-Vargas). You’ve always been the best one.

Just had a few issues I want to hear you comment on:

  1. What’s your take on recent comments made by Bob Arum on his dream matchup? (Pac vs. Loma at 135 or 140) (http://www.boxingscene.com/pacquiao-vs-lomachenko-fight-arum–110154) Honestly, it already came to my mind when I first saw Loma fight that him fighting Pac will be an interesting match. I think at 140 is a great meeting place between the two, since Pac hasn’t fought at lightweight since 2008 (though they claim he can still make 135.) Can Pac’s wide experience and speed overwhelm the ultra-talented (and my favorite fighter) Ukrainian? How about Crawford vs. Loma at 140?
  2. Excited about Thurman vs. Garcia being made. Who’s your choice? How do you see this match going? I see One Time winning by close unanimous or majority decision. I’m not a Garcia hater but I think he has lost a lot of steam since he started cherry picking. The winner could take on Spence or winner of Pac-Vargas for a unification.
  3. (I find Roman definitely the most exciting elite fighter since Manny Pacquiao ruled the P4P ranks in the late 2000s. I agree. Gonzalez is not as dynamic as the Pac-Monster was, but he’s more sound fundamentally and more consistent offensively speaking.) Just want to know what do you mean by Chocolatito being more consistent offensively than prime Pac’s late 2000’s reign. Do you mean Roman is more consistently offensive minded than the prime Pac? Because I think I haven’t seen a more offensive minded bad-asses today more than the last decade run of Pac and also El Inca.
  4. Lastly, kudos to BHop! Hope he retires with a bang! His middleweight run is one for the books and is hard to surpass. I know there are lots of middleweight greats of the past. How do you see him as one of the best middleweights of all time? Do you see him up there with SRR and the others? Does he make your top 10 or top 5?

Some MM:

BHop vs Ketchel

El Inca vs Loma at 130-135

El Inca vs Walters at 130

Much love bro! Don’t you listen to those stupid retarded haters as they don’t know much. Your knowledge and opinions in boxing are always fair and helpful. Keep them coming and stay cool! Have a great weekend! 😀 – Neil from Philippines

Will do, Neil. Thanks for the kind words and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

What’s your take on recent comments made by Bob Arum on his dream matchup? (Pac vs. Loma at 135 or 140) I don’t know what to think of that matchup. It’s fascinating style mesh if you view it from a pound-for-pound/mythical matchup sense, but as an actual fight in 2017 it seems like a desperation move by Arum. He’s got a faded star and a future star he needs to put in significant fights, but he doesn’t have many suitable dance partners in his Top Rank stable and he still doesn’t want to play much with other promoters (despite what he tells the media). So he figures he’ll put them in the ring together. I’m not that much into it, but if it captures the imagination of boxing geeks, maybe he can sell it to the general public as well.

I think at 140 is a great meeting place between the two, since Pac hasn’t fought at lightweight since 2008 (though they claim he can still make 135.) Can Pac’s wide experience and speed overwhelm the ultra-talented (and my favorite fighter) Ukrainian? I have to see if Loma can compete at 135 before I take a showdown with Pacquiao seriously. If he can (and I don’t put it past him), I think he can be to Pacquiao what the PacMan was to Oscar De La Hoya in December 2008.

How about Crawford vs. Loma at 140? I think Bud is too big for Loma.

Excited about Thurman vs. Garcia being made. Me too.

Who’s your choice? Thurman.

How do you see this match going? Thurman winning a close and competitive decision by boxing Garcia from the outside.

I’m not a Garcia hater but I think he has lost a lot of steam since he started cherry picking. Garcia does not have the status or respect in the sport that he had at the end of 2013. Nobody can deny that. Perhaps Garcia can vindicate himself within the boxing world with a victory over Thurman (which is within his reach).

The winner could take on Spence or winner of Pac-Vargas for a unification. Let’s hope so. Let’s hope the winner (and loser) doesn’t sit out for eight-to-10 months and then need a “tune-up” against a no-hoper before taking on another challenge.

(I find Roman definitely the most exciting elite fighter since Manny Pacquiao ruled the P4P ranks in the late 2000s. I agree. Gonzalez is not as dynamic as the Pac-Monster was, but he’s more sound fundamentally and more consistent offensively speaking.) Just want to know what do you mean by Chocolatito being more consistent offensively than prime Pac’s late 2000’s reign. Do you mean Roman is more consistently offensive minded than the prime Pac? No, I mean Chocolatito is more consistent in that he’s working his offense for three minutes of each round. He’s always coming forward and his hands are always moving – working the head and the body, usually in combination. Prime Pacquiao was an offensive marvel, however he usually got off in spots (or maybe you could call it “explosive bursts”). He was in and out with hard super-fast power shots, sometimes delivered in combo, sometimes just one punch at a time. And there were lulls between his attacks, although he usually set the pace and stressed out his opponent.

Your mythical matchups:

BHop vs Ketchel – Hopkins by decision in bouts scheduled for 12-to-20 rounds. Ketchel by decision or late stoppage at any distance beyond 20 rounds.

El Inca vs Loma at 130-135 – Valero by late-rounds knockout at both weights

El Inca vs Walters at 130 – Valero by mid-rounds KO in a thrilling shootout

 

LAST OF THE OLD-SCHOOL REFS

Hey Dougie,

I hope you are keeping well and looking forward to all the upcoming boxing as much as I am. When you look beyond the posturing and sidestepping of some of the elite boxers there is a lot of good boxing taking place.

Did you see the brilliant fight between Sam Eggington and Frankie Gavin last week? One of the British pundits said that Eggington reminds him of Antonio Margarito. What do you think of him yourself?

This Saturday legendary referee Mickey Vann will take charge of his last ever fight. Fittingly, it will be in the oldest purpose built boxing stadium in the world, The National Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Ironically it will be on Red Corner Promotions first ever show (hopefully this new promotional company brings regular shows back to Dublin).

Is Mickey well known and/or respected in America? Probably the most famous fight he took charge of was Lennox Lewis vs Frank Bruno. But my favourite Mickey Vann moments were in the Michael Katsidis vs Graham Earl fight and last years Jamie Conlan vs Junior Granados battle.

In the Katsidis-Earl fight, Earl’s corner threw in the towel and Mickey threw it back out of the ring, and 10 seconds later Earl dropped Katsidis.

In round 7 of Conlan vs Granados, Granados dropped Conlan midway through the round, then after Conlan beat the count Granados unleashed about 60 unanswered punches. Vann allowed the fight to continue and Conlan won on points!

That might sound neglectful of Vann, but Mickey is old school. He said after the fight that he was looking at Conlan real closely and because he was slipping and blocking instead of trying to grab hold of Granados, he figured he wasn’t too badly hurt.

Speaking of old school, I read that Bernard Hopkins was picking between Joe Smith Jnr and Seanie Monaghan before deciding on Smith.

If those 2, Smith and Monaghan, were to fight each other now, who do you think would win?

I’ll finish with a couple of mythical match-ups:

Marco Antonio Barrera vs JM Marquez around 2001-2002

Erik Morales vs Israel Vasquez

Bernard Dunne vs Wayne McCullagh

Clubber Lang vs Butterbean (apologies if you have done this one before)

Cheers Doug, enjoy the remainder of 2016 and all the great fights that will happening in 2017. – Paddy, Dublin, Ireland

I will enjoy the remainder of 2016 (as I’ve enjoyed most of this much-maligned year) and I’m looking forward to 2017. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Did you see the brilliant fight between Sam Eggington and Frankie Gavin last week? Yup, it was a good scrap. I did not expect Eggington to win or get the stoppage, but that’s why they fight the fights.

One of the British pundits said that Eggington reminds him of Antonio Margarito. What do you think of him yourself? I think he’s a tall, strong, rangy aggressive boxer who has a lot of room for improvement but luckily, thanks to his age (only 23), he’s got time to develop and advance. He does not remind me of Margarito. Eggington doesn’t walk down is opponents as relentlessly as Margz did. He’s more of an aggressive boxer than a pressure fighter, which is what the Tijuana Tornado was. Eggington isn’t the volume puncher that Margz was, but he could develop into a better boxer. I like that Eggington will take a half step back or pause when he feels it’s necessary during a fight. He can be choosey with his punches, which can be a good thing, although I think he could add more pressure to his game and commit more to the body when he’s in close with his opponents.

Is Mickey well known and/or respected in America? I hate to say this, because I know Vann is a big deal within the UK boxing scene, but I don’t believe that he’s well known or very respected in the U.S. (among fans, that is – I’m sure veteran officials, state commissioners and sanctioning body reps hold him in very high regards). Unfortunately, to a lot of longtime U.S. boxing fans, Vann is one of the judges that robbed Pernell Whitaker of a deserved decision victory over Julio Cesar Chavez in 1993. His 115-115 scorecard does not sit well with American fans to this day (and his admission that he deducted a point from Whitaker for what he felt was an “egregious” low blow in Round 6 without referee Joe Cortez instructing the judges to do so only further pisses off the oldheads on this side of the Pond). For younger American diehards, Vann is that “old skinny guy” who was always refereeing Ricky Hatton’s fights when they used to watch the Hitman on Showtime during the early-to-mid 2000s.

Probably the most famous fight he took charge of was Lennox Lewis vs Frank Bruno. I remember watching highlights of that fight in the newsroom of The Patriot Ledger daily newspaper in Quincy, Massachusetts (just a few months after a graduated from Columbia).

In the Katsidis-Earl fight, Earl’s corner threw in the towel and Mickey threw it back out of the ring, and 10 seconds later Earl dropped Katsidis. I remember that scarp. Hell of a fight. Vann wasn’t wrong for allowing the fight to continue when he did, but the right thing to do would have been to stop the fight when the corner felt their fighter had had enough.

In round 7 of Conlan vs Granados, Granados dropped Conlan midway through the round, then after Conlan beat the count Granados unleashed about 60 unanswered punches. Vann allowed the fight to continue and Conlan won on points! Vann is obviously familiar with the resilient and gutsy Belfast native. Anybody else would have remained on the canvas after that second body shot knockdown. But Conlan has a penchant for rallying in the face of adversity, and Vann was aware of it.

That might sound neglectful of Vann, but Mickey is old school. Bro, that was ANCIENT School. Vann would have been right at home reffing one of Abe Attell’s bloody 20-rounders in the early 1900s.

He said after the fight that he was looking at Conlan real closely and because he was slipping and blocking instead of trying to grab hold of Granados, he figured he wasn’t too badly hurt. Conlan was hurt – bad. But he was willing to fight through it, and more importantly, he was ABLE to fight through it, so I guess Vann made the right call.

If those 2, Smith and Monaghan, were to fight each other now, who do you think would win? I don’t know, but if their amateur bout (won by Smith in the finals of the 2008 New York City Golden Gloves tournament) is any indication of what would happen in the pros, it would be a damn good scrap. Regardless of what happens against B-Hop, I hope Smith and Seanie fight sometime in the near future (preferably in 2017).

I’ll finish with a couple of mythical match-ups:

Marco Antonio Barrera vs JM Marquez around 2001-2002 – MAB by very close, perhaps controversial decision in a fight that is less aggressive and more tactical than their actual meeting at 130 pounds in 2007

Erik Morales vs Israel Vasquez – Morales by close UD or late TKO (on cuts) in an all-time great slugfest

Bernard Dunne vs Wayne McCullough – The Pocket Rocket by UD in a very entertaining fight

Clubber Lang vs Butterbean (apologies if you have done this one before) – the fictional Lang beats the breaks off ole Bean, but Eric Esch would have knocked out Mr. T in a real fight

 

ROOTING FOR B-HOP

I’m going to be rooting for B-Hop in his last fight.  Let us all pray that win. lose or draw, B-Hop comes through the fight with no serious injuries!  He has been a great champion for many years and an inspiration to young people as well.  He has shown young folks that you can overcome a less than perfect past and rise to the top of your profession through hard work and dedication.  He could have chosen a ‘Tomato Can’ as an opponent for his ‘Last Hurrah’ but that isn’t his style!  He is facing a very good fighter.  He is truly one of the greats and I wish him the best. – Mike

Unless you’re related to Joe Smith Jr., or on his team, or in his union, or you’re just a fiercely proud Long Island native, you’ve GOTTA root for Hopkins on Dec. 17!

 

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

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