Dougie’s Monday mailbag
PLEASE GO, PAC-MAN
You got it spot on again, Manny Pacquiao gets another 12-round decision that does little for his legacy and little to entertain anyone but his Filipino faithful. I really used to like Pac (even if he did destroy one of my favourite fighters in Rick Hatton) but enough is enough, he needs to retire and leave the fight game to the new generation. Everything about him and his team is p*ssing me off nowadays. From Freddie Roach constantly predicting the KO pre-fight, to Pac trying to touch gloves with his opponent every 8 seconds during a bout (just fight and touch gloves after the match you b*llend). The guy needs to go, plain and simple. No killer instinct, no competition, and no value for money.
On a side note, what was up with that scoring in the Donaire-Magdaleno fight? I had Donaire by a clear decision but in all fairness, a close Magdaleno win wouldn’t have bothered me as he did box well on the back foot. 118-110 though? That’s BS scoring. Who did you have winning? I was impressed that Donaire still had some juice left in the tank, thought he was on the slide.
Hope you had a good weekend, mate. All the best. – Brinsley (St Albans, UK)
I had a decent one, thanks for asking. It was nice to have a high-profile, world-class boxing card to watch on Saturday but the Top Rank PPV was only mildly entertaining (and that’s being kind to the show). I’m not taking a shot at the matchmaking, the pay-per-view production (or even the commentators), the fights just didn’t produce the competitive fireworks that many had anticipated or hoped that they would. That’s boxing. Pacquiao-Vargas and Donaire-Magdaleno were interesting fights on paper (I think we all knew that Valdez-Osawa would be one-sided and the Zou Shiming fight would suck – good Lord, why kick-off a U.S.-based PPV show with that “professional amateur” in a 12-round bout?). Anyway, congrats to Magdaleno and Senator Pacquiao for boxing very disciplined fights.
Regarding Pacquiao, like it or not, it’s clear that the future hall of famer will keep his foot in boxing until an elite young lion (like Terence Crawford) beats the piss out of him or the Mayweather rematch is made.
Everything about him and his team is p*ssing me off nowadays. From Freddie Roach constantly predicting the KO pre-fight, to Pac trying to touch gloves with his opponent every 8 seconds during a bout (just fight and touch gloves after the match you b*llend). That stuff doesn’t piss me off but it’s become “tiresome and trite,” as my man Dieter from that old “Sprockets” skit on SNL used to say.
The guy needs to go, plain and simple. No killer instinct, no competition, and no value for money. I agree that Pac’s killer instinct is gone (but that’s going to happen with all the tough fights he’s been in, and it’s natural for veteran fighters to adopt a more conservative boxing style late in their careers) and I share your opinion that his fights aren’t worth the $70-80 PPV price (but we should keep in mind that he’s got a legion of diehard fans who only want to see him win, so for them, maybe his events are worth the money). However, I disagree that there’s “no competition” for Pacquiao. Under the Top Rank banner, there’s Crawford, and if Bob Arum and Al Haymon are willing to do business, there’s the Thurman-Garcia winner, Adrien Broner and Errol Spence Jr.
I had Donaire by a clear decision but in all fairness, a close Magdaleno win wouldn’t have bothered me as he did box well on the back foot. 118-110 though? That’s BS scoring. Hey, if Stephen A. Smith was OK with it, who are you and I to disagree?
Who did you have winning? I didn’t score the fight but I thought it was a lot closer than the official judges had it (as did many writers on press row). I thought Magdaleno deserved the fight, but I wanted more from him and from Donaire. I was a little disappointed in how this fight played out. However, Maggy boxed better than I believed he was capable of against a border-line hall-of-fame level veteran and Nonito showed “flashes” (excuse the pun) of the brilliant talent he was 5-10 years ago.
I was impressed that Donaire still had some juice left in the tank, thought he was on the slide. He is on the slide, as is Pacquiao, but both are still a handful for up-and-comers.
STICK AROUND, PAC-MAN
I don’t understand why people are “tired” of Manny at age 37 and they still “respect” Bhop at 51. Reality is, Hopkins hasn’t been exciting since 2001 and Manny continues at least to be somewhat interesting.
Why is it that some people are urging him to leave while celebrating Hopkins’ Hall of Fame career? Even at his heyday, I like Manny more than Hopkins (not that I don’t respect him).
On to the fight, I thought Manny was good enough to beat an overmatched Vargas who paid too much respect to the future hall of famer. It’s obvious to me that Arum is looking to make a rematch with Mayweather or a potential star-building fight against Crawford. To me, Pacman doesn’t have the activity to beat any of those two. He isn’t who he used to be and he’s no longer active enough to use his advantages against master boxers, specially a guy in his prime like Crawford. Still, its impressive to see glimpses of the old Pacquiao once every two or three rounds, the knockdown was typical Pacman… straight left to the jaw. Loved it.
I’m not looking for him to retire, and would love to see him against the likes of Broner, Garcia or Porter. Thanks Doug. – Juan Valverde
I’d be interested in those fights, Juan. Let’s see if Arum and Haymon can do business (without Mayweather being in the picture) in 2017.
I wasn’t as impressed with Pacquiao as you were. He did what I expected him to do (though I was unabashedly rooting for Jessie). I thought it was a typical late-career performance from Pacquiao, not unlike his clear decisions over Tim Bradley (II and II), Chris Algieri and Brandon Rios. He’s evolved into a nice little ring general. He had to in order to remain world class because he only lets his hands go about 45 seconds of each round.
Why is it that some people are urging him to leave while celebrating Hopkins’ Hall of Fame career? Good question. I think part of the reason is because Hopkins never took part in a massively overhyped pay-per-view event that dominated general media, gouged the public and ultimately delivered a big steaming pile of nothing. The other part is the fact that, while it’s impressive for a veteran boxer to remain world class in his late 30s, it’s unheard of for one to do so in his late 40s/early 50s (at least since Archie Moore’s days). So B-Hop, who has also been out of the ring for two years vows to make his Dec. 17 his final bout, has more curiosity than derision aimed at him from the boxing world.
Even at his heyday, I like Manny more than Hopkins (not that I don’t respect him). They are very different fighters and personalities. I think Pacquiao was more entertaining as a fighter; but overall Hopkins’ was/is a more compelling sports figure. Both men are truly amazing (and inspirational) stories that only the sublime world of boxing could help produce.
On to the fight, I thought Manny was good enough to beat an overmatched Vargas who paid too much respect to the future hall of famer. I agree. Vargas needed to land his right before Manny tagged him his vaunted left.
It’s obvious to me that Arum is looking to make a rematch with Mayweather or a potential star-building fight against Crawford. To me, Pacman doesn’t have the activity to beat any of those two. Crawford will put Pacquiao to sleep; Mayweather and Pacquiao will put the audience to sleep.
I know you are tired of Pacquiao and I understand that but that little guy really is a legend. He’s too small at 147 to have any inside game at all and despite what some say he has lost speed and his work rate is much lower nowadays. It’s remarkable that despite some obvious handicaps at 147 he can still look impressive beating quality welterweights.
I first watched him against Marquez in 2004 and thought he was incredibly talented but limited in skill. He’s come a long way from 2004 because he really shows great ringsmanship and great overall craft. I never could stand Roach and enjoyed seeing him lose when he was a boxer, but he did a good job teaching Manny the fine points of boxing.
Where does Manny go from here? I think he’s too old and small to fight Thurman or Spence and I don’t like seeing older great fighters beaten by guys who will never amount to great fighters. You can lump Broner, Porter, Thurman, and Spence together and collectively they will never accomplish what Pacquiao has career wise. You know I am a serious hard core boxing fan and know my sh*t, but I know you won’t like this, but I would rather see Manny rematch Marquez or Mayweather. Those are older guys as well. It’s like when Leonard and Duran fought for the third time, I didn’t care for the bout but was OK with any outcome because it meant nothing yet some undeserving jerk like Broner couldn’t claim victory over an all-time great. – Eugene
I see what you’re saying, Eugene, but you gotta keep in mind that Leonard and Duran both continued fighting after their dreadful rubber-match/money grab and both lost to fighters they shouldn’t have lost to (sometimes in humiliating fashion). Pacquiao isn’t in his athletic prime but he’s not shot or inactive – in fact, he’s proven (against Bradley and Vargas) that he’s a top-five welterweight contender – so I’d have no problem with him testing the mettle of Broner, Porter, Thurman and Spence. In fact, I’d probably favor him to beat Broner, maybe even Porter.
I first watched him against Marquez in 2004 and thought he was incredibly talented but limited in skill. Dynamic but one-dimensional. Fearless but flawed. He was a lot of fun back then.
He’s come a long way from 2004 because he really shows great ringsmanship and great overall craft. Roach did some of his best work adding layers of craft to the shaky boxing foundation of a still-raw and reckless (both in and out of the ring) Pacquaio from 2004 to the end of 2008.
I never could stand Roach and enjoyed seeing him lose when he was a boxer, but he did a good job teaching Manny the fine points of boxing. “Good job”? Pacquiao is Freddie’s masterpiece. Prior to Pacquiao walking into the Wild Card Boxing Club 15 years ago, Roach’s other standout boxers had foundations set by great trainers (James Toney by Bill Miller, Michael Moorer by Emanuel Steward, Virgil Hill by Eddie Futch, etc.).
Where does Manny go from here? Either a rematch with Mayweather or in-house showdowns vs. Crawford or Lomachneko. Broner remains a remote possibility IMO.
WHAT TO DO WITH PACQUIAO?
I was not at all in favor of Manny making this comeback after a 7-month retirement. But I bought the Vargas fight out of loyalty and curiosity as to how he could do. I thought he looked very good, but only about 75-80% of the 2009 version.
So what do you and the rest of The Ring staff want to do with him in your welterweight ratings? I can’t help but feel a great big head scratching session is in store for you all. Do you dare put him ahead of Porter, Khan, or God forbid, Thurman?
Last thing, Stephen A. Smith annoyed the Hell out of me and my guests. How in the world does Bob Arum hire him to do commentary? Yours. – Don Badowski
Arum (and his advisers, which includes son-in-law and Top Rank president Todd duBoef) knew that adding Smith to the Pacquiao-Vargas broadcast was a bold move, but that’s what they wanted. They wanted something new, something different, something that would get hardcore fans buzzing on social media while attracting the attention of folks outside of boxing and hopefully get them talking about the fight.
I thought Smith added a lot of positive energy and enthusiasm to a very solid broadcast (Brian Kenny and Tim Bradley were rock solid as expected, and Charissa Thompson was a pleasant surprise as host), but not much insight. As for his over-the-top delivery, well, you’re either into that or it gives you a headache. I’m in the latter group.
But I bought the Vargas fight out of loyalty and curiosity as to how he could do. I don’t think you’re alone. I think enough fans did the same so as to keep Arum from losing his ass on this event.
I thought he looked very good, but only about 75-80% of the 2009 version. I think he’s about 65-70% of what he was in 2009.
So what do you and the rest of The Ring staff want to do with him in your welterweight ratings? Most of the Ratings Panel thinks he’s worthy of the No. 3 spot in the magazine’s welterweight rankings (some even believe he should be reinstated in THE RING’s pound-for-pound top 10). I think he deserves to be in the top five, but maybe not that high. I’d reshuffle the mag’s current top five a bit by dropping Amir Khan below No. 7-rated Errol Spence (given that he hasn’t fought at 147 pounds in 18 months and their respective performances vs. Algieri). My new top five would go like this: 1 Brook, 2. Thurman, 3. Porter, 4. Pacquiao and 5. Bradley.
FILIPINO FLASH FLICKERS
Judging from last night’s flickering performance of the once lightning quick heavy puncher donaire, would you agree (as with the many filipinos commented on the social media) that its time for the filipino flash to hang up his gloves? Or is it just magdaleno doing a rigo that sent nonito in limbo? – markslain of iligan city, philippines
Donaire is clearly no longer in his prime, and he may never win another major world title, but I still consider him to be a world-class 122-pound fighter (although lower top 10) and I think there are still interesting fights out there for him. If he wants to continue fighting, I would not criticize him, especially if he could land fights against the likes of Scott Quigg (at 122 or 126) and WBC 122-pound beltholder Hozumi Hasegawa. He’d probably have to dust off his passport for those challenges, but he’d also be well compensated.
However, if he sticks around past 2017, my guess is that he would end up being a gatekeeper or stepping stone for young up-and-comers like Diego De La Hoya. I don’t think Donaire wants that to happen, so I’m sure he’s carefully considering the final stages of his boxing career.
HOPKINS NOT THE ONLY 160/175-POUND CHAMP
Just finished watching the Ring TV interview with Bernard Hopkins and I could not have enjoyed it more. A real lesson in how to talk to a champion, ask the right questions and leave the viewer feeling like he knows more about the subject, unlike these camera-holding YouTube guys. Difference between an untrained fan and an experienced educated professional. As a regional newspaper owner, I am pleased to see you demonstrating what a pro can do.
But I need to clarify something which struck me while watching. Did Hopkins say he is the only middleweight champion to win the Light heavyweight championship? I am pretty sure a chap called Bob Fitzsimmons did it first (he was born on the same street I am writing this, about 20 doors down from my house) as well as later being done by Tiger, Hearns, Leonard, McCallum, Barkley, Reggie Johnson and Jones Jr. It was said at 34.50 into it and I may have misunderstood what he was saying. – Cheers Toby, Helston, England
Thank you for the very kind words about the Hopkins episode of “In The Ring.” I’m glad you enjoyed it and appreciated the discourse. Hopkins likes to talk (and lecture), so getting him to open up during an interview or recorded conversation is never a problem. The challenge for the interviewer is to guide it enough to keep it coherent and informative. I love it when Hopkins goes on his tangents but I couldn’t let that happen during an interview that was not supposed to go more than one hour. I think it came together well (probably 95% of the original interview made the final cut – and we did the entire show in one take). It didn’t hurt that the interviewer has known “B-Hop” since 1999 and has a profound appreciation for his accomplishments and contributions to the sport.
Regarding what Hopkins said a little over half an hour into the interview, you are correct. While talking about his proudest moments/accomplishments in boxing, he included: “… became the first middleweight to win the light heavyweight champion(ship).”
I missed that during the interview, in part because I was already thinking about our next subject (as well as being mindful of the overall length of the conversation), but also because Hopkins packaged the statement with Sugar Ray Robinson’s failure to capture the 175-pound title against Joey Maxim. In real time, I interpreted Hopkins’ comment as “I did something that the great Ray Robinson could not accomplish” and we moved on from there.
Anyway, you are absolutely correct in pointing out that other middleweight champs/titleholders have accomplished this feat and the first to do so was Fitzsimmons. I think Hopkins was the fourth man to go straight from the middleweight championship/division to the light heavyweight title (after Dick Tiger, Mike McCallum and Reggie Johnson). Fitzsimmons stepped up from middleweight to win the heavyweight championship and then dropped down to light heavyweight, where he won the title (with a 20-round decision over George Gardner at age 40 in 1903). Hearns, after failing to take the undisputed middleweight championship from Marvin Hagler (while still the WBC 154-pound beltholder), incredibly jumped to 175 pounds and won the WBC belt from Denis Andries (remember him?) and then dropped back down to 160, where he grabbed the vacant WBC middleweight belt by beating Juan Roldan. Jones and Barkley won titles at 168 before winning 175-pound belts. (Leonard, of course, had to do it his way and win a light heavyweight bout AND a 168-pound belt in the same bout, vs. Donny Lalonde, which was set at the super middleweight limit.)
NO MODERN ALL-TIME GREATS?
Hi Doug, a two-part question here:
You said in your last bag that you don’t consider anyone in this era of the sport to be an all-time great (except perhaps B-Hop). Out of all the candidates why doesn’t Mr. Senator make it to your list? It’s an honest question. The only eight division champion in the sport. My original letter to you to today was if Pacquiao could step up and become a nine time world titlist, then I realized that there is nobody at middleweight that wouldn’t put him into the mortuary. Although Pac-Man vs. BJS seems interesting to me. Lol. Stupid, I know.
I like how you coined the phrase “pac-burnout”. And although we put too much thought into these P4P rankings, Manny is the only 4-time Lineal Champion. Ever. You gotta cut the man some slack for his one Dud fight against Money.
I know you hold him in high esteem. For me, the reason that makes him still a viable draw at his age in this sport is his tendency to get touched.
But not an ATG? I know and I’m sorry, you’ve been asked this before: But why is Manny Pacquiao not an ATG? Remember the look on Morales’s face when he quit in the ring in their third fight?
My second question is…
What are the best looks on fighters faces when they’ve been dropped and realized they are in waaay over there heads? Erik Morales vs. Pacquiao & Curtis Stevens against GGG come to mind. What are some of the best WTF moments? – Stephen, Canada
Nothing beats the bewildered look on Stevens’ face when he went down from that GGG hook in Round 2 of their 2013 bout, and thanks to the emergence of social media (Twitter began to take off within the boxing community that year) that close-up shot of his shocked visage went viral worldwide.
But I’ll say this about Stevens, he called out Golovkin, wasn’t too difficult with his money demands and then he got into the damn ring with the titleholder. And he got up from that knockdown and had a few moments before the fight was halted (at the right time). Now he’s a fighter that I root for, and he’s become one of my favorite interviews and follows on Twitter because he keeps it 100% real no matter who he is talking to.
Another WTF moment that comes to my mind was during the early goings of the 130-pound title unification bout between Joel Casamayor and Acelino Freitas in 2001. I don’t know if the moment was clearly captured by Showtime’s cameras (I was ringside/press row for the fight), but Freitas landed a big right hand in either the first or second round and Casamayor’s eyes got so big as he backpedaled away that they looked like the proverbial saucers. The Cuban, who was as cocky and confident as they came, realized at that moment that he had a long night ahead of him. (Freitas won but it was close and many ringsiders thought Casamayor did enough to edge it out.)
Out of all the candidates why doesn’t Mr. Senator make it to your list? Because my list ain’t easy to get on. How many “All-Time Greats” do you believe exist in boxing? If you think there’s 50 or more, OK, I can definitely see Pacquiao in there (along with other standouts from the past 25 years). But I believe if we fighters we call that many fighters “great,” that word loses its meaning. In 2014, I compiled a list of 20 “modern greats” (along with several other boxing writers and historians) for an article that appeared in THE RING magazine. Hopkins was the only active fighter that made my list and he was No. 20. And the only reason he made my list was because it only included fighters whose primes came after World War II.
If you’re really curious about my reasoning and criteria, please read this commentary piece I wrote about the list. It should explain everything. (I’m nothing if not detailed and long-winded.)
The only eight division champion in the sport. I know. And it’s an amazing stat, but I keep in mind that it was accomplished in an age when boxing hosts 17 weight classes and at least four “major world titles” in each division. Had there been this many divisions and world titles floating around during the first half of the 20th Century (when there were eight-10 weight classes and only one title per division), there would have been too many five-, six-, seven-division titleholders to mention. (A talented standout like Billy Conn could have conceivably won major belts at 147, 154, 160, 168, 175 and cruiserweight.)
I also keep in mind that two of Pacquiao’s “eight” titles were of THE RING/lineal/IBO variety. Obviously, I recognize THE RING championships, which he won when he stopped Marco Antonio Barrera (at 126 pounds) and Ricky Hatton (at 140 pounds), but there are other fans/historians/boxing publications that do not. (I also believe that the vacant WBC 154-pound belt did not need to be on the line for his fight with Antonio Margarito.)
My original letter to you to today was if Pacquiao could step up and become a nine-time world titlist, then I realized that there is nobody at middleweight that wouldn’t put him into the mortuary. The current titleholders at JUNIOR middleweight would do him in. The only reason Pacquiao won a title at 154 pounds is because he faced a shopworn Margarito at a 150-pound catchweight, not to take away from his performance, which was sensational, but I don’t think he could have done that to the guys who had previously held the WBC title (Vernon Forrest and Sergio Martinez).
I know you hold him in high esteem. I do. I think he’s among the best/most accomplished boxers, arguably top five, of the past 25 years. He’s also the greatest Asian/Filipino fighter of all time.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer