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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Miguel Cotto’s career, Sadam Ali’s future, Loma-Rigo)

Photo / Chris Farina-Top Rank
04
Dec

A MESSAGE FROM A NON-COTTO FAN

Hey Doug,

Hope everything’s well with you and your family. Congrats on the new position at The Ring. It was well deserved and I could definitely see it coming.

Well, first of all, I’m not a Miguel Cotto fan. I’m actually one that really doesn’t like him. Yes, I know he’s quiet and reserved but, really, my main problem is that when he opened his mouth the things he said always struck me as wrong. The way he blames illegal hand wraps for his loss to Antonio Margarito just doesn’t look good in my eyes. Also, talking about himself in third person has never been to my liking. Not accepting his loss against Canelo Alvarez was also the sound of sour grapes.



That aside, I did like him as a fighter a lot. He always gave his all, fought his ass off, took his beatings like a man in the ring and was always ready. He gave us a lot of memorable moments and was really a guy that you could look forward to watch. Even in his close losses to the likes of Canelo, Ali, Austin Trout and Floyd Mayweather, he gave a good account of himself and that is always what we want to see in a good professional.

Did he cherry pick a little bit? Yeah, but who doesn’t at that level? Did he use catchweights? Yes, but again who doesn’t when you’re the A-side? In the end, it doesn’t matter if I liked or hated the man. It’s irrelevant. I’m only basing it on interviews and I don’t know him personally. What really matters is the fighter and whenever he got in the ring, I was watching. My respects to Miguel Cotto, hopefully he does stay retired. Thanks Doug. – Juan Valverde

Thanks for sharing your opinions, for keeping it real, but also for giving credit where it is most definitely due (unlike a lot of a__hole fans on social media over the weekend).

I agree with your Cotto turn-offs (although I don’t think his prima-donna tendencies and post-fight denial – even in the case of Margarito I and the “wrapgate” conspiracy theories – bothered me as much as it did you and other hardcore fans), and I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of why you respect him and always watched his fights. Cotto always did the best he could, even when he was in over his head. That’s an admirable trait that any honest, hard-working human being can identify with.

Did he cherry pick a little bit? Yeah, but who doesn’t at that level? There is VERY little “cherry picking” on Cotto’s resume. The only fighters he faced that weren’t titleholders or legit top-10 contenders (such as Michael Jennings, Delvin Rodriguez and Yoshihiro KAmegai – and, mind you, these dudes weren’t chumps) usually came after he suffered a loss and/or had been out of the ring for a long time (or, in the case of Ali, was in his final bout – but even that Dec. 2 slot was originally meant for a top middleweight or a young standout, such as Errol Spence Jr., Mikey Garcia or Danny Garcia).

Did he use catchweights? Yes, but again who doesn’t when you’re the A-side? Cotto used catchweights to his advantage twice – when he was pretending to be a middleweight – first against Sergio Martinez (and he only stipulated that the champ weigh-in at 159, just one pound under the limit) and in his first defense of THE RING/WBC titles against Daniel Geal (157). The 155-pound catchweight with Canelo was what BOTH junior middleweights wanted. (Alvarez, for whatever reason, wasn’t ready to fight above 155 at that time.) The 145-pound catchweight vs. Pacquiao, as I’m sure you know, was Pac’s stipulation, not Cotto’s.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if I liked or hated the man. It’s irrelevant. I’m only basing it on interviews and I don’t know him personally. I don’t know him personally, either, but I’ve conducted a lot of long-form one-on-one interview with him over the years, and he seems down-to-earth and is usually surrounded by good people (his family and his longtime assistant, Bryan). People that I know who know Cotto well, tell me that he’s a prince. There’s photo retrospective on Cotto’s career in the next issue of THE RING (March 2018) and it includes comments from the veteran photographers and all of them told me that Cotto is very special to them, one of their top five all-time favorite boxers.

What really matters is the fighter and whenever he got in the ring, I was watching. Cotto always delivered. He was that rare boxer, in his prime, that I would travel to the east coast on my own dime just to cover his fights.

My respects to Miguel Cotto, hopefully he does stay retired. I think he will.

 

COTTO’S LEDGER VS. MAYWEATHER’S

Hello, Dougie,

Who is the official looking lady with the big red hair who is often inside the ring on HBO broadcasts?

Do you think Cotto’s 41-6 record, particularly due to the fact he never ducked anybody and he fought most of his opposition when they were in their primes, is stronger than Mayweather’s 50-0 record?

Orlando Salido has been one of my favorite boxers for years. What would he need to do at this point in his career for you to vote him into the hall of fame? Are you as excited as most hardcore fans are for Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux?

MMs:

Sadam Ali (Saturday night) vs Andre Berto (the version who fought Mayweather)

Butterbean vs Charles Martin

Larry Holmes vs Wladimir Klitschko Cheers. – Dennis, El Centro, CA

Interesting mythical matchups. I’ll go with Ali by close but unanimous decision, Martin by late stoppage, and Holmes by majority or split decision or by late TKO in a difficult fight.

Who is the official looking lady with the big red hair who is often inside the ring on HBO broadcasts? She’s a member of the New York State Athletic Commission. Don’t ask me her name. I don’t care to look it up for you. (You are OFFICIALLY a hopeless boxing geek for wondering who she is.)

Do you think Cotto’s 41-6 record, particularly due to the fact he never ducked anybody and he fought most of his opposition when they were in their primes, is stronger than Mayweather’s 50-0 record? I think Cotto comes damn close to Mayweather in terms of accomplishments and legacy because of what you noted. He lost brutal fights to Margarito in 2008 and Pacquiao in 2009, but Mayweather passed on fighting Margz in 2006 (and then pulled himself off the board in 2008 when the top welterweights – such as Cotto, Paul Williams and the TJ Tornado – were very dangerous) and he didn’t face the Filipino Icon until 2015. Cotto faced Margz and Manny when they were formidable and punishing, and he dished out his share of punishment, which counts for something in my book. It’s not just about wins and losses with me when it comes to assessing a fighter’s legacy, it’s about who he fought, when he fought them and what happened during the fight. Having said that, I think Mayweather edges Cotto both in terms of legacy and accomplishments. But it’s very close in my opinion. Ironically, the fact that Mayweather beat Cotto in 2012 is one of the deciding factors in my opinion. Mayweather won at least 11 world titles (and that’s not including numerous THE RING belts) over five divisions. He faced 22 men who held world titles, including fellow future hall of famers Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Genaro Hernandez (I hope) and Ricky Hatton. Mosley was faded. Cotto beat a more formidable version of Sugar Shane in 2007. De La Hoya and Hernandez were faded but still serviceable. Marquez was definitely undersized, but the victories of Hatton, Diego Corrales, Jesus Chavez, Canelo Alvarez and even the struggles with Zab Judah and JL Castillo fill out a very special resume.

Cotto’s resume is also special because, like Mayweather, he faced 22 men who held world

Miguel Cotto (left) vs. Sergio Martinez. Photo credit: Chris Farina/Top Rank

titles, won six belts in four divisions, most notably the lineal middleweight championship (against an admittedly aging RING/WBC champ who was not 100% healthy, or even 75%, but hey, Sergio called out both Mayweather and Pac and neither took the bait, Cotto dared to be great and deserves credit for pushing Maravilla off the ledge), and he bested A LOT of top contenders from junior welter to middleweight, including four undefeated up-and-comers that would later win major straps (Paulie Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, Ricardo Torres and Carlos Maussa).

Orlando Salido has been one of my favorite boxers for years. What would he need to do at this point in his career for you to vote him into the hall of fame? Well, he’s already got Steve Kim’s vote (although Kim doesn’t vote – but if K9 did take part in the IBHOF voting, I’m certain Siri would get a checkmark from him). For me, he’d have to do something really special – such as beat Mikey Roman in decisive fashion and then unify world titles against Miguel Berchelt and whoever wins Farmer-Ogawa (for the vacant IBF belt); or beat the Lomachenko-Rigondeaux winner – and I’m rooting for the gritty old veteran, I don’t think he’s capable of doing anything like that at this stage of his career.

Are you as excited as most hardcore fans are for Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux? No, I’m not. I think it’s an interesting matchup that has obvious story lines and undeniable interest from fans and media because of the ballyhooed skill levels of both former amateur legends, but I’m not expecting a great fight. I hope I’m wrong, but I think we’re going to get too much dancing, feinting and posing for my tastes. (Loma will provide the dancing in the early rounds as Rigo does the posing, both men will feint their asses off, but once the Ukrainian connects and hurts the Cuban to the head or body, I think Rigo will do his share of dancing en route to a 12-round decision loss). I’m going to be in Vegas where the card is stacked and the main event is guaranteed to deliver an action fight with plenty of aggressive veteran savvy. The funny thing about Loma-Rigo is that some Twitter nerds get mad at me for not being as into the matchup as they are. They tell me that it’s “history in the making” because Loma and Rigo are both two-time Olympic gold medalists. But I know damn well that these schmucks don’t even follow the Olympics or any level of amateur boxing.

 

COTTO’S FAREWELL FLOP

Doug hi,

I don’t know what to say about the Cotto farewell fandango. I wasn’t that impressed either way, though it wasn’t bad. Cotto should retire (props, he knows it and already said so).

And I’d like to see Ali fight either Jeff Horn or Liam Smith (depending on his weight), two good fights, both of which I think he’d lose. Actually, Liam Smith might work him over.

Maybe I’m holding that Vargas loss against Ali too much? He looked ok last night. I just couldn’t help thinking what a 2013 Cotto would have done to him, you know? But I don’t feel nostalgic about that, I’m just all kinda fired up to see the rest of the Super Series through, plus Lemieux/Saunders and Loma/Rigo.

What fights are you most highly anticipating in the next two-to-three months? Cheers. – Alec

Hands down, the fight I’m looking forward to the most in the next two-to-three months is the Sor Rungvisai-Estrada showdown that headlines the recently announced “SuperFly 2” card (Feb. 24), followed by the Groves-Eubank Jr. WBSS semifinal (Feb. 17), followed by the Saunders-Lemieux fight (Dec. 16). I’m also looking forward to Salido-Roman, Melindo-Taguchi and Gassiev-Dorticos.  

I don’t know what to say about the Cotto farewell fandango. I don’t think you have to say much. Goodbye Cotto. Hello Ali. That pretty much covers it if you’re not a big Cotto fan.

And I’d like to see Ali fight either Jeff Horn or Liam Smith (depending on his weight), two good fights, both of which I think he’d lose. I agree that those would be good fights. You can count me as being on the Ali Bandwagon because I would pick him to win both fights by competitive decision.

Actually, Liam Smith might work him over. Time will tell. Everybody thought Cotto would work Ali over.

Maybe I’m holding that Vargas loss against Ali too much? You and everybody else.

He looked ok last night. I thought Ali looked a lot better than “OK.”

Photo / @HBOBoxing

I just couldn’t help thinking what a 2013 Cotto would have done to him, you know? That version of Cotto would have beat Ali handily (hell, I thought Cotto edged Ali on Saturday). Cotto is 37 and calling it quits after a hard near-17-year pro career. That’s why this was such a grand opportunity for a talented boxer in his athletic prime, such as Ali. I still can’t fathom why Errol Spence Jr., Danny Garcia and even the undersized Mikey Garcia passed on fighting Cotto.

But I don’t feel nostalgic about that, I’m just all kinda fired up to see the rest of the Super Series through, plus Lemieux/Saunders and Loma/Rigo. We’ve got good stuff coming up, don’t we?

 

IS LAMPLEY DRINKING THE KOOL-AIDE?

Hi Dougie,

I’ll keep it quick.  Have we lost Lampley? He was the reason for accepting Max and Roy (especially Max). I get the narrative of the house fighter but are we watching PBC now? Best. – Cory, NYC

I’m not sure what you mean by “have we lost Lampley”? I think he’s deservedly in a number of hall of fames because of his legendary broadcast talent and impressive body of work, but he’s never been considered a bastion of journalistic impartiality when it comes to his boxing commentary on HBO (which is famous for its production quality and narratives, not its unbiased commentary).  I think he, Jones, Kellerman and Lederman make a great team, but they all have their various biases. Everyone does. Sometimes their biases can muck up their commentary during certain fights, but it’s usually quality. (I might be in the minority among hardcore heads, but I generally enjoy the commentary from all four – in fact, sometimes I wish we got to hear more from Harold.)

 

LOMA’S FLAW(S)?

Hey Dougie, hope all is well in your world. Thanks for you twice-a-week mailbag and imparting your boxing knowledge.

I have to confess that I have a non-sexual crush on Lomachenko as a fighter. I’ve been a boxing fan for most of my life but I can’t remember being so excited to see a fighter fight as I am with Loma. In my opinion he is a truly special fighter. When I talk to my boxing-ignorant friends about him, I tell them he is boxing’s equivalent to Barry Sanders. Do you remember the way Sanders would be running down field and could seemingly make an instant 90-degree turn, leaving defenders tackling air? Or how he could spin off multiple tacklers? That’s how Loma is to boxing. I don’t see any flaws in his fight game and I can’t see anyone under 147 beating him.

Now that I’m done with the hyperbole, what do you think? Do you see any flaws in Lomachenko? Do you see any fighter south of welterweight that can beat him?

Happy Holidays to you. – Hammer

Happy Holidays, Hammer.

I think the Sanders-Loma comparison is pretty good, and I agree with it as long as Lomachenko remains at 130 pounds, but I think both Jorge Linares and Mikey Garcia can give him a run for his money at 135 pounds, and I would have firmly favored Terence Crawford to beat him at 140 pounds, so there ya go. I don’t think Loma is invincible.

I think he will defeat Rigondeaux, which will be impressive if he’s able to do so in decisive fashion, but I still wouldn’t declare him unbeatable – even at 130 pounds. Miguel Berchelt could be a future threat at junior lightweight.

Do I see any flaws in Lomachenko’s game? Not many. The only time he’s vulnerable is when he over-commits to his offense and tries to force the knockout.

 

LOMA-RIGO AFTERMATCH

Hey Dougie,

Hope you’re doing well. I have a silly question and a real one. The silly one is based on a Rigo quote. I just read an article where he said he would fight anyone, even the Son of God. Think he was talking about Jesus or Andre Ward?

Now for the real one. Obviously, the Loma-Rigo fight is gigantic. Maybe not in terms of national attention, but definitely for the sport. Hardcore boxing fans are going nuts over it, and anyone who knows anything about boxing should be able to appreciate the skill that will probably be on display. Since Loma is currently ranked three in the Ring’s pound for pound, with Rigo at four, and even though those ratings are subjective, I think everyone knows how good the two of them are, do you think the winner will have done enough to jump over Terence Crawford into the second spot, or even GGG at number one? As always, a huge fan. Best. – Graham, Bangkok

Graphic by Lorin Elise/RBR Boxing

I think if Rigo wins, one can make an argument for him leap-frogging Crawford and GGG to the top spot because he jumped past featherweight to take on the No. 1 junior lightweight (as well as a fellow amateur boxing legend and pound-for-pound player). However, he would have to beat Loma in impressive and decisive fashion.

If Loma wins, he might be able to overtake Crawford in the mythical rankings, but he’d have to ice Rigo cold to do that because he’s the odds favorite. He’s the younger, fresher, naturally bigger man – he’s supposed to win. However, Rigo’s mystique is so strong that I wouldn’t be surprised if Loma’s growing bandwagoners demanded that THE RING make the Ukrainian No. 1 P4P even if he outpoints the Cuban.

It’s all subjective and there’s no wrong answer when debating the P4P merits of talented and accomplished fighters like GGG, Bud, Loma and Rigo. (Shameless plug, this endless hardcore fan debate about who’s No. 1 in the mythical rankings is the cover story to the next issue of THE RING magazine, which will be available as a digital edition later this week and will be on sale on Dec. 26. Subscribers to the mag will have it mailed out a couple weeks before the on-sale date.)

No comment on the silly question. Rigo needs his full focus on Loma.

 

MOORER-COOPER

Dear Doug,

Much enjoyed your advice to the boxing newbie on what to watch. Mentioning Moorer-Cooper reminded me of a question that has been nagging me for a while. If I remember right, in the first round Cooper knocked Moorer unconscious. When Moorer fell, it looked obvious that he was out cold. Yet he revived, beat the count, and went on to knock Cooper out. (Cooper was great fun to watch but he never did have any stamina.)

Am I nuts, or is that actually what happened? – Leslie Gerber, Woodstock, NY

I’m pretty sure you are not nuts. But I’ll place a YouTube vid of that classic modern heavyweight shootout right here and let the mailbag readers decide. How “out-on-his-feet” Moorer actually was in the opening seconds of the bout is debatable, but what can’t be debated is how amazing the fight was thanks to the guts, technique and offensive commitment of the two heavies. Enjoy!

 

 

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

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