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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Pacquiao-Matthysse, Usyk-Gassiev, controversial decisions)

Photo / Wendell Alinea-MP Promotions
12
Jul

PACMAN VS. THE MACHINE

Hi there Doug,

Will the Pacquiao-Matthysse clash this weekend be a new version of Leonard-Hearns II? You know, one of those fights where both have slipped enough to limit their defensive options in the ring, making for an entertaining fight. I do tend to think that Leonard and Hearns had a bit more left when they did their rematch, or am I being nostalgic? Anyhow, I think it will deliver and I will be watching.

Before Horn I would have said that, yes, Pacquiao isn’t what he once was but someone who could best Vargas and Bradley with relative ease is still pretty damn good. After Horn, I just don’t know. He looked more than a bit faded and Horn has been showed up by Terence Crawford for what he really is. World class, maybe, but very far from elite level. Or was it the fact that Horn was just simply the wrong guy for Pacquiao? What do you think?



Matthysse also looked shopworn, to be kind, in his last fight but he can still punch. So, I guess there is a chance that he can knock Manny cold but he hasn’t got the timing of a Marquez and I don’t think he is quite such a beast at welterweight.

I am going with the Pacman here to bleed once again but beat up Matthysse more than Matthysse beats him to eventually force a late stoppage or clear points win. Who do you have?

What do you think of Moruthi Mthalane’s chances against Muhammad Waseem for the IBF flyweight title on the undercard? After Budler’s victory this will be a big cherry on the cake for our boxing scene.

From what I can tell from Waseem, he is pretty solid all round like you would expect from a seasoned amateur. He does everything well but is a little predictable. If he throws the left uppercut or hook to the body (which he does well), you know the left hook is coming upstairs. He holds his left low and can sometimes be lazy with the jab which opens him up for the straight right and Mthalane has a good one. He also stops punching and looks uncomfortable under pressure.

If Mthalane can stay low and compact and put him under pressure, I think the much more seasoned pro can grind him down. He does sometimes have a tendency to straighten up with his gloves high when hurt and he must guard against this as that is when Waseem can nail him with one of those left hooks to the body.

I know Mthalane is ancient for a flyweight at 35 but he has been killing it in sparring over here, even handling featherweights.

Anyhow, should be a good card. Regards. – Droeks Malan, South Africa

I’m looking forward to it (even though I might not be able to watch it live).

If you say Mthalane was looking good in camp, it’s hard for me to bet against the South African veteran. If Father Time hasn’t caught up to him, I’ve gotta favor the man with 37 pro bouts over the guy with eight pro fights. I know Weesam is younger, fresher and bigger, but despite his amateur credentials, he’s never faced anyone like Mthalane or the pros that “Babyface” has battled, such as prime Nonito Donaire, Hussein Hussein, as well as Julio Cesar Miranda, Zonali Tete and John Riel Casimero (who he beat in back-to-back-to-back bouts from 2009 to early 2011).

That’s a heck of a comeback if Mthalane can regain the IBF title seven years after being stripped of the belt.

On the other hand, it would be an equally impressive accomplishment if Waseem could win a major flyweight title in his ninth pro bout.

Will the Pacquiao-Matthysse clash this weekend be a new version of Leonard-Hearns II? Jeez, I certainly hope so. That was a dramatic 12-round scrap that took place nearly 30 years ago.

I do tend to think that Leonard and Hearns had a bit more left when they did their rematch, or am I being nostalgic? You’re being a bit nostalgic. Ray was thought to be slipping and competing at an unnaturally heavy weight (super middleweight) due to being dropped by Donny Lalonde in his previous bout, and while Hearns had a body frame better suited to compete above 160 pounds, he was thought to be absolutely shot after getting KTFO by Iran Barkley at middleweight and following his struggle to James Kinchen at super middleweight (those were his previous bouts leading into the rematch with Leonard). If memory serves me right, most of the established boxing media crapped on Leonard-Hearns II going into the bout.

Anyhow, I think it will deliver and I will be watching. I’m hoping I can catch it live. I’m in New York for a special event tonight and I promised my wife I’d take her to a Broadway show on Saturday.

Before Horn I would have said that, yes, Pacquiao isn’t what he once was but someone who could best Vargas and Bradley with relative ease is still pretty damn good. And that would have been a fair assessment.

After Horn, I just don’t know. That’s also a fair assessment, and an honest one.

He looked more than a bit faded and Horn has been showed up by Terence Crawford for what he really is. World class, maybe, but very far from elite level. Horn needed a hometown decision over a faded veteran to get into The Ring’s welterweight rankings.

Or was it the fact that Horn was just simply the wrong guy for Pacquiao? Horn’s awkwardly aggressive/physical style was tough on Pacquiao, but I think a younger version (even by four or five years) would have chopped the Aussie down to a late stoppage. Age was more a factor for Pac than his opponent’s style.

Matthysse also looked shopworn, to be kind, in his last fight but he can still punch. Hey, it takes two to tango, and Tewa Kiram definitely did not want to dance with the Argentine veteran that night. I’m glad Lucas finally clipped the Thai fighter, but maybe Kiram’s weak chin made it seem like The Machine is still a world-class bomber.

So, I guess there is a chance that he can knock Manny cold, but he hasn’t got the timing of a Marquez and I don’t think he is quite such a beast at welterweight. True, true and true.

I am going with the Pacman here to bleed once again but beat up Matthysse more than Matthysse beats him to eventually force a late stoppage or clear points win. Who do you have? I’m rolling with The Machine out of sympathy. Manny’s a bona-fide icon in the Philippines and already considered an ATG, but Matthysse can instantly cement his spot among the boxing legends of Argentina if he pulls the upset in Malaysia. I’m rooting for Matty. I’d even be willing to put some money on my pick if I were a betting man (but not too much, Manny deserves to be the favorite).

 

JOSE RAMIREZ/PACQUIAO-MATTHYSEE/USYK-GASSIEV

Hey Doug,

Feels like we’ve been in that slow summer period, but the next two weekends should deliver some excitement. I wasn’t exactly fired up for Ramirez-O’Conner, but it was too bad to see the main event fall through. Do you see Jose being in some meaningful fights over the next year? Not a great look sitting out the 140 WBSS. I hope he doesn’t follow the trajectory of a certain 168lb Ramirez (seriously, do something, Zurdo).

Glad everything came through last minute and Pacquiao-Matthysse is coming off. Do you think Manny has the legs & work rate to pull it off?

Usyk-Gassiev is going to be a treat. I would not lay any $$ down on that fight.

What’s it look like? 70’s Foreman vs Ibeabuchi, 90’s Foreman vs Ibeabuchi, Bud Crawford vs Meldrick Taylor @140, Arbachakov vs Pacquiao @ flyweight, Galaxy vs Too Sharp @ superfly. – DJ

Gotta go with the Big George of the 70s by late stoppage (in a sensational scrap); The President by decision over the kinder, gentler, fatter version of Foreman; Crawford by close, maybe majority or split decision (because Taylor’s phenomenal speed would give him fits over the first half of the fight); Arbachakov by decision or late TKO; and Johnson by close decision in an instant classic.

Good mythical matchups!

Do you see Jose being in some meaningful fights over the next year? I hope so. His prime is now. I’d hate to see him squander it the way Gilberto is seemingly pissing away his WBO 168-pound title reign. I think the reported showdown with Antonio Orozco on Sept. 14 is a big step in the right direction, that’s a hard fight if “Puro” can safely make 140 pounds. If Ramirez can beat the WBC’s No. 3 contender, there are other solid WBC-rated junior welterweights that he can defend against – such as former beltholder Sergey Lipinets and Yves Ulysse Jr. – while he waits for his mandatory challenger (Regis Prograis) and No. 1 contender (Josh Taylor), the two favorites of the WBSS, to work their way through the 140-pound tournament. I think the plan if for Ramirez to eventually face the winner of the WBSS.  

Glad everything came through last minute and Pacquiao-Matthysse is coming off. You and me both, brotha! The August edition of The Ring magazine previewed that fight in depth and had Pacquiao on the cover.

Do you think Manny has the legs & work rate to pull it off? Yes, as long as he stays focused and doesn’t get too greedy with his offense. Matthysse is going to be dangerous during in-close exchanges.

Usyk-Gassiev is going to be a treat. NO. DOUBT. ABOUT. IT.

I would not lay any $$ down on that fight. I wouldn’t either. It’s true pick-‘em. I slightly favor Usky given his amateur experience and versatile boxing style, but the location of the fight plus Gassiev’s crunching power and steep recent learning curve evens it all out.

 

CAN THE PUPIL BECOME THE MASTER?

Hi Dougie,

Quick question, would you be interested in seeing Bellew vs Joyce and who would win if it did take place?

Obviously, Tony is flying high at the moment after retiring The Haymaker but he’s already ruled out fighting the top dogs at Heavy and I think Usyk, Gassiev dominate him. Who does he fight next that’s classed as a ‘big fight’?

Joyce is no spring chicken at 32 and he needs to move quickly and get a name on his record if he’s serious about challenging for honours as a pro.

I think it’s quite a sellable fight due to the subplot of Haye being The Juggernaut’s promoter and mentor.

Problems I see as to why this won’t happen:

  • Joyce isn’t a name
  • Joyce doesn’t share either Bellew or Haye’s ability to talk trash (sell a fight) or generally hold anyone’s attention for more than 5 seconds (the big guy looks more uncomfortable on camera than a hemorrhoids sufferer riding a big playground slide)
  • Why would Tony fight Joyce? It’s a lose/lose situation for him.

I know this won’t happen but for what it’s worth, imo Joyce is just too big and strong for Bellew to overcome, even though he’s quite clearly the better technician – KO round 4 to Joyce.

Anyway I’ll stop thinking of stupid fights and look forward to reading the musings of sane, rational and logical fight fans….Lol. Keep up the good work Doug. Best regards. – Steve

Thanks, Steve.

I don’t see Bellew-Joyce happening either due to the points that you listed, but if it happened this year, especially if it occurred in their very next bout, I’d heavily favor the veteran to outclass the prospect. I know Joyce is taller, rangier and would carry 40 extra pounds into the ring, but he’s an inexperienced pro (five bouts) that has never gone the distance or been forced to go through adversity. Bellew is experienced, crafty and as battle-tested as a fighter can be without being shopworn. I think he would either outpoint Joyce or take the Juggernaut into deep waters and drown him.

I think Bellew is aiming for the Usyk-Gassiev winner. The fact that you and pretty much everyone else gives him no shot at beating either cruiserweight standout only serves as added motivation for the Liverpudlian. My hunch is that he will invite the WBSS cruiser winner to step up to heavyweight, where he’s more comfortable thanks to his two bouts with Haye, and he’ll likely get the showdown to land in the UK. Bellew is as shrewd as they come in the boxing business. He’ll give himself the best chance to win the bout and he’ll make a mint regardless of the outcome.

 

THE PROBLEM OF THE JUDGES

Hi Doug,

Hope all is well with you and family. I read and enjoy your column twice every week.

One of the things hurting boxing in my opinion is unfair/bad judging. Most fans think that when a fight is given to the wrong person that the judges are being ‘Paid Off’. I think sometimes it may be incompetence. Many people feel like there is no point in watching boxing if the winner may very likely get the shaft with a bad decision!

Listed below are a few examples of what I think were bad decisions:

  1.  Holmes/Witherspoon
  2.  Ali/Norton
  3.  Golovkin/Alvarez
  4.  Leonard/Hagler
  5.  Lewis/Holyfield
  6.  Williams/Lara
  7.  Pacquiao/Bradley
  8.  Povetkin/Huck
  9.  Pacquiao/Horn
  10.  Provodnikov/Bradley

Some were worse than others; Holmes/Witherspoon and Williams/Lara come to mind. What can be done to stop this problem? Seems to me that judges who make bad calls often should be banned from the sport (Melvinia Lathan is one in my opinion). I think she retired. I also feel that there should be some way to ‘Reverse’ decisions that are obviously ridiculous! It isn’t fair to the fighter who gets cheated. What is your opinion on this matter. Thanks. – Mike

I think judges who put forth poor scorecards should have to go before a review board and explain why they scored the rounds as they did. If it’s evident that they don’t understand how boxing is scored, they need to be suspended from judging major bouts until they prove that they’ve learned how to properly judge a pro boxing match. I don’t think judges with a history of bad, questionable or controversial scorecards should be selected for high-profile boxing matches.

Having said all that, boxing is subjective and it’s very possible for knowledgeable judges (or fans or media members) to watch the same fight but come up with widely divergent scorecards.

For example, I think half of the bouts that you listed were legitimately close. I thought Leonard and Bradley (vs. Provodnikov) deserved to win (and nobody paid me to score those bouts for them).

 

NOT FAIR!

Hi Dougie,

I’m a diehard Mexican boxing fan and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. is my idol. It was hard to admit that he lost to Whitaker, I gave it to Sweet Pea by 4 rounds. Whenever they talk about robberies that fight gets mentioned by the experts. What about Castillo vs Mayweather 1? He’s not an undefeated fighter. He lost it but rarely anybody mentions that. I will like to know your opinions on that. Best regards. – Jorge, Hayward, CA

First and foremost, happy birthday to Chavez, who turned 56 yesterday.

Second, if you – an admitted diehard Mexican fan who idolizes Chavez – thought Whitaker beat your national idol by four rounds, why would you get upset at “experts” for viewing that controversial majority draw as a “robbery”?

Third, most of the boxers in the hall of fame escaped losing at least one difficult fight due to controversial scorecards, so don’t fret about Chavez’s legacy. The three-division champ was already considered to be an all-time great prior to the Whitaker showdown by the same experts that call that 1993 draw one of the worst robberies ever. Those same experts view Whitaker as an all-time great, in part because of his performance against Chavez.

Who cares about Castillo-Mayweather I. Floyd went life and death with Chavez’s sparring partner regardless of who you thought won the fight (and I scored it for Mayweather by one point from press row).

There’s no shame in Chavez being outclassed by a fellow great, and there’s no shame in Mayweather struggling with Castillo, who was a very good lightweight champ. I wouldn’t view Mayweather, a first-ballot hall of famer who is arguably an ATG, any differently had he officially lost that first fight with Castillo. 50-0 or 49-1 (or 48-2 or 48-0-2 or 48-1-1 if De La Hoya-Mayweather or Mayweather-Maidana I had been scored draws or close losses), it makes no difference to me. Floyd’s the same fighter based on his performances and opposition, not his record. Likewise, with Whitaker. It made no difference to me, or to any other real boxing fan, that he had a loss to Jose Luis Ramirez and a draw to Chavez on his record. What mattered was what happened in the ring.

 

 

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

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