Middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin could soon defend his WBO title against promotional stablemate Danny Jacobs.
Dougie's Monday mailbag
Read on for a lot of mixed fan reactions to Saul Alvarez's unanimous decision victory over Austin Trout, plus feedback on Tyson Fury-Steve Cunningham and much more in this week's Monday mailbag. Enjoy!
HATING ON CANELO
I think I've boiled it down to a list of reasons why the hardcore boxing community refused to recognise him as a legit world-class boxer.
I think his defences had a lot more credit in them than say the fights that two British boxers have been taking in Ricky Burns and Nathan Cleverly. I could name a lot of other fighters who haven't been taking the “best” fights out there, but I don't want to incite too much hatred. My point here is that Alvarez isn't the only one taking a slightly more easy title fight road.
The Austin Trout fight should have had people eating their words, praising him for a good gameplan, smart aggression and solid defence, but that's not happened either. Trout was lauded massively before the fight and now people are acting like Alvarez did nothing special. Granted, it was close, but he definitely still won it (what the hell was with the 118-109 card man?! I'm glad to see another Texas judge hasn't totally ruined a competitive fight). He showed a great skill set, and he's a worthy champion.
Mad props to Trout for his attitude after the fight, showed a lot of dignity, but he didn't look like a man who believed he had won.
The sad thing is, Alvarez gets praise from all corners, and people still refuse to see him as a great boxer. If he isn't viewed as that, then at least as a fantastic prospect, but he isn't given credit for that either.
Looking at the rankings, I can't see him fighting any other fighter at LMW other than Floyd Mayweather and not get slated for it; he's in a no-win situation. A fighter as young as Alvarez, to have achieved this much, doesn't come about very often, and for me, it's being spoiled by the close-minded, bitter attitude of a lot of so-called “fans.” Heck, I was high on Trout before the fight and had him down to nick a close decision, but I'm willing to eat humble pie. It's just sad that a good majority are not. Trout didn't win, get over it. It's easier to cry robbery than admit they were wrong.
Which five boxers down the years do you believe to be the most underrated or downright hated by the hardcore contingent? I know Mayweather was given a lot of the same talk as is being said about Alvarez, as was Joe Calzaghe. Heck maybe it's just the way people treat undefeated fighters.
Cheers Dougie, keep up the good work, sorry for the rant – Alex, Durham, UK
Don’t be sorry for your rant, Alex. It was well written and I think you’re being honest and rational, plus you saved me the time and trouble of spitting out an angry rant directed at all the biased-assed hardcore heads who took a dump on the best performance of Alvarez’s career (and one of the most disciplined and effective displays of boxing I’ve seen from a fighter that young against a truly world-class opponent). (It’s better they hear it from a fellow fan and not a “Golden Boy shill” like Yours Truly. LOL.)
I agree with EVERYTHING you stated in this email.
As silly as your Top Five list of reasons the hardcore community won’t give Canelo credit sounds, I think it’s absolutely “spot on” (as you Brits like to say).
The bottom line for me is this: Alvarez receives too much criticism and doesn’t receive enough credit.
However, I don’t expect that to change – ever. It doesn’t matter what he does, who he beats or how he beats ‘em. I’ve covered boxing long enough to know when the hardcore community and/or boxing industry folks just have a “hard on” for a certain individual.
I’m going to select a few lines from your email that I appreciated because you were “keeping it real,” unlike the legion of Twitter fans/media/observers during Saturday’s fight:
“The Austin Trout fight should have had people eating their words, praising him for a good gameplan, smart aggression and solid defence (sic), but that's not happened either. Trout was lauded massively before the fight and now people are acting like Alvarez did nothing special.”
“A fighter as young as Alvarez, to have achieved this much, doesn't come about very often, and for me, it's being spoiled by the close-minded, bitter attitude of a lot of so-called “fans.” Heck, I was high on Trout before the fight and had him down to nick a close decision, but I'm willing to eat humble pie. It's just sad that a good majority are not. Trout didn't win, get over it. It's easier to cry robbery than admit they were wrong.”
Here are the top five fighters “underrated or downright hated by the hardcore contingent” since I’ve been covering boxing:
1) Mark “Too Sharp Johnson (underrated) – Johnson the best all-around boxer I’ve witnessed live; too bad social media wasn’t around when he was fighting badass Mexicans at The Forum because Twitter nation would have given him some love (and since he’s African American, they wouldn’t have had a problem with giving him credit for ring general and defense).
2) Oscar De La Hoya (hated) – It didn’t matter who the Golden Boy fought, hardcore heads and East Coast media gave him s__t. At lightweight, he fought John-John Molina (17th pro bout), Rafael Ruelas, Genaro Hernandez and Jesse James Leija in the same year (1995); he dominated Julio Cesar Chavez and Miguel Gonzalez at 140 pounds; and at welterweight, he fought Ike Quartey, Felix Trinidad and Shane Mosley, all of whom were unbeaten (a combined record of 103-0-1) and in their primes, and the hardcore set STILL claimed he was “protected.” If a close fight (Quartey, Pernell Whitaker) when to him, they said the other guy was “robbed.” If a close fight went against him (Trinidad, Mosley rematch), they said he deserved to lose. (And for the record, I gave Goldie fair amount of hate.)
3) Bernard Hopkins (underrated and hated) – During his IBF middleweight title reign (prior to unifying the major belts in the HBO/Don King tournament in 2001) hardcore fans and boxing media (some of whom now proudly hug B-Hop’s nuts) wrote him off as an “overrated,” “ugly/dirty” “beltholder” of average talent/skill who had already been “exposed” by Roy Jones and was going to get exposed further by Trinidad or any other “elite” boxer he faced.
4) Antonio Margarito (hated) – The Tijuana Tornado was, and remains, The Mexican They Love To Hate. (They = gringos y morenos.)
5) Joe Calzaghe (underrated and hated) – The athleticism and ring generalship of The Pride of Wales was always undeniable. He just had the wrong skin color, the wrong promoter, and came from the wrong part of the world as far as American hardcore fans (who dubbed him “Cal-Slappy”) were concerned. Had Joe been an African American who fought his career on HBO he would have been in everybody’s pound-for-pound top five and fools would argue that he deserves “all-time great” status.
WHO TOOK CRAZY PILLS?
What's you're feeling on Juan Manuel Marquez and Tim Bradley? I'm a big Marquez fan, but I'm a little disappointed in him. He seems like he's letting his ego get to him. Manny Pacquiao didn't need to fight him three more times and give him the opportunity to finally get redemption. He also didn't need to make him an extremely rich man. I personally think he owes Pacquiao a rematch. Thoughts? – Michael, NYC
I don’t think Marquez owes anybody anything. He’s given too much to boxing for us to tell him what he should do.
I agree that Pacquiao didn’t have to fight him four times, but hey, the Filipino legend was paid well during that that series, which only bolstered his legacy.
Marquez is getting old. And despite what Pacquiao haters like to pretend, he didn’t just walk in blast his arch rival out last December. He had to walk through fire and he sustained a lot of damage. He knows that he could be the one on the canvas for a 10 count in a fifth bout. Bradley is a bad-ass dude but he’s not a puncher. So he’s less of a risk than Pac in that regard. Bradley also presents a new style matchup for us all to digest and debate.
I think Marquez-Bradley is an intriguing fight if it happens (and I think it is FAR from being a done deal – the two sides have not agreed to terms or money), but I don’t think it will make for a big pay-per-view event. As great as JMM is, and as courageous as Bradley is, both are essentially Pacquiao ‘B-sides.’
Where do Canelo and Trout go from here? I think Team Alvarez (and GBP) wait to see what happens with Mayweather-Guerrero before they make any decisions. If Mayweather wins, they’ll try to make that mega-fight. If it can’t be made this September, I think they’ll go for Miguel Cotto, which can still be sold as a pay-per-view event in my opinion.
I think Team Trout and Al Haymon will look at some up-coming major 154-pound bouts – Zaurbek Baysangurov-Demetrius Andrade (WBO belt, July 6), Ishe Smith-Carlos Molina (IBF belt, whenever it’s made) and Erislandy Lara-Alfredo Angulo (June 8) – and then try to make the best deal possible with the winners of those matchups (if they are interested, which they probably will be).
I don’t think Trout was popping any crazy pills. He was just keeping it real. He knows he didn’t win the fight and he saw no reason to bulls__t just because one of the judge’s scorecards was filled out before the fight.
Obviously, the live fight looked different than it did on TV. For starters, the impact of Alvarez’s punches seemed much greater than Trout’s shots from press row. And the media and fans insdie the Alamodowm didn’t hear Showtime’s commentators or the open scorecard announcements, which understandably pissed off those watching the broadcast.
I had it eight rounds to four for Alvarez at the fight. I thought Trout won the first round but then it looked to me that Canelo was in control from rounds two through seven. I thought Trout rallied courageously after his knockdown and won rounds eight through 10 by pressing the fight and soundly outworking Alvarez. However, I thought Canelo took the championship rounds. So my final score was 116-111.
Watching the broadcast, I thought the fight could have been closer, but I still scored it eight rounds to four for Alvarez. From TV I scored rounds one, three, eight and 10 for Trout. However, I thought rounds five and six could have been scored for Trout also, which would have resulted in the 114-113 card that a lot fans and media had.
I think Showtime’s broadcast booth did an excellent job, as they usually do. However, given the fact that Alvarez was the favorite son of the crowd, the region, the sanctioning organizations, and, of course, the lead promoter, I think the commentators tried a little too hard to be “neutral” and in doing so they bent over backwards for Trout in some of the rounds.
I think they made too much of Trout’s activity. I don’t care to hear how many punches or jabs one fighter is “throwing.” All that matters to me is how many of those shots are landing and what effect those blows are having on his opponent.
Honestly, I don’t see how anyone could have scored more than six rounds for Trout, and I think if Trout really felt he won more than six rounds and truly deserved the nod he would have said so after the fight.
But I agree with one thing you said, Trout had no reason to apologize. He fought a hell of a fight and I think Saturday's experience will only make him better.
CANELO, FURY, STEVENS AND THE REST
Wasup dude?! First off, I really appreciated the "boxing" match between Rigo and Donaire. I do wish that The Cuban Boxing Specialist had thrown more shots, though. Too many times he let Donaire off the hook when he made him miss. I don't know, maybe he felt the power early and decided to act as if he would get money back for every unused combination that he took back to the Boxing Store! Good win though. Tired of Donaire's excuses after every sub-par performance. Dude, they can't all be ESPN highlight reel KOs! Even SR Robinson looked like some isht from time to time. You lost, move on and destroy the next cat that you get in there with.
I like both of the Charlo brothers and Julian Williams seems to be progressing nicely. I see him as a step behind them at this point though. Good fight for the future. Somebody needs to tell Abner Cotto that the Cottos GIVE the body shots, not TAKE them! Omar Figueroa may be one to watch in the future. Body shot KOs are impressive. Speaking of being impressed. "Hey Fortuna! Mike Tyson called! He wants his power back!" This dude is knocking cats out like a pimp that just discovered that all his "employees" were about to go on strike! I know I saw Zumudio's spirit leave his body just before that punch landed in an effort to avoid the fate that the rest of him was about to suffer. Glad he's okay. Javier is another one to watch in the coming years. That's all I got dawg. Holla back! – Fleetwood
Nobody states it better than you do, Fleetwood.
But I want to give you credit for more than just your Iceberg Slim-way with words. I must give props to an African-American boxing fan that is willing to give as much props to Canelo as you did in this email.
I don’t know if he can beat all the junior middleweight contenders that you mentioned, but I’d like to see those fights and I do know this: if he doesn’t knock them out cold, the hardcore haters of Twitter Nation won’t give him any credit.
I also have to give you props for your observation on why Trout missed with so many of his shots: “A lot had to do with Canelo's heretofore unseen head movement but a lot had to do with Austin throwing his shots from the back seat. A lot of those punches would have landed if he had stepped into them more. I guess Canelo had given him a reason to play it safe.”
I don’t know why Showtime’s commentators didn’t mention this more during the fight.
I think this is part of the reason Trout was clearly disappointed with himself and apologetic during the post-fight interview. He knew going in that he needed to physically impose himself on Alvarez and he didn’t (or just couldn’t) do it. At the final press conference, he told media that he considered himself to be the bigger, stronger fighter and he didn’t see the fight going the distance.
I thought that was the right attitude to take into the fight but I didn’t see him carry himself like that once the bout started.
Anyway, I agree with your observation on Rigo and your advice for Donaire.
I betcha Miguel Cotto forces Abner to change his last name to Dulorme. (Oooooh, that was a like a low blow from Figueroa.)
I also think there should be a “beard rule” in boxing in honor of the great Roberto Duran. Any boxer with bushy facial hair and a mean streak should get a top-10 ranking. I’d like to see Stevens in with the winner of the J’Leon Love-Gabriel Rosado fight.
I think the Charlo twins (Jermell and Jermall, who fought on Saturday) have excellent technique and the best jabs among undefeated U.S. prospects. J-Will has a fan friendly style and I look forward to watching him develop.
I’ve got nothing but respect for Cunningham. He wasn’t bulls__ting when he made the move from cruiserweight to heavyweight. If he was able to carry just 15 extra pounds he probably could have scored a mid-rounds stoppage with Fury, but credit to the big man from Manchester who knows how to survive rough spots during a fight and will do whatever it takes to turn things around.
Fury’s chinny and a bit awkward but I’d still like to see him in with the top contenders of the heavyweight division. I don’t know if he can beat David Haye or Alexander Povetkin but I know he’ll make for a fun promotion (especially with fellow brash British personality Haye) and an entertaining fight. If he were to beat one of those two, I say let him try his Irish luck against one of the Klitschko brothers. So what if he would be a 50-1 underdog?
If Fortuna can still make 126 pounds, I’d love to see how he matches up with Gary Russell Jr. later this year, or even RING champ Mikey Garcia or one of the other beltholders. If he can’t make featherweight, I wonder if Sampson Lewkowicz would be willing to have him travel to Japan to fight one of that nation’s 130-pound beltholders.
TROUT DID NOT FIGHT TO WIN (AND CANELO WAS GLAD FOR THAT)
Trout said before the fight that if he lost “theY would never let him back in”, meaning getting another title or big fight. He KNEW he could not and WOULD NOT get a close decision Saturday night and he never really fought like he wanted to win. He was humble in defeat and a nice guy and I respect that, but it was very frustrating watching a guy who only wanted to shadow box in front of Canelo. He threw 75% if not more of his punches from distance he could not land at; he never really wanted to take the chances necessary to win. He knew he was losing the fight, he had to know it, his corner knew it, AND they had the OFFICIAL score cards and Trout still didn’t try to win.
Canelo will get KTFO by Mayweather, put it down now, his gas tank is too small. He explodes in spurts and then takes the round off, he gets gassed. I guess he really is the next Golden Boy, at least Oscar established himself before his gas tank developed a well known defect. You can’t fight the way Alvarez does against Mayweather, it leads to getting stopped, simply by activity, with Alvarez getting gassed and Mayweather sitting down much more as of late. We saw how he went for it against Ortiz, even before the sucker punch. Alvarez did not help his stock Saturday night. I guess he still stays alive for Mayweather fight, but hurts himself at the negotiating table, because nobody views Alvarez as a live dog in that fight. I believe you picked Alvarez in a year or so, Alvarez couldn’t beat Floyd when he is 102.
For the record, I like guys with skills, but what Trout displayed is not my idea of skill. I thought Rigo displayed a lot of skills, even though it wasn’t for everybody. – JCB
I think Trout has skills. So does Alvarez, which is why Trout wasn’t able to do to the 22-year-old “kid” what he did against Cotto.
And though I think Alvarez still needs a little more seasoning before he faces Mayweather, I disagree that Floyd would have his way with the young champ.
I think Alvarez showed the kind of professional “wrinkles” against Trout – such as upper-body movement, a well-timed power jab, throwing the right hand to the chest (instead of to the head), and quick counter-punching ability – that would give a defensive boxer like Mayweather fits.
Mayweather literally grew up fighting guys who simply press him and throw punches (and caution) to the wind. He’ll be able to outbox or beat up one-dimensional pressure fighters until he’s 50. However, I think a naturally bigger fighter with good hand speed and power who takes a step back and forces “the boxer” to take the lead will likely make Mayweather look his age and his size (no bigger than a welterweight). Alvarez’s head movement and timing are better weapons against Mayweather than his punches.
And one more x-factor to think about regarding the potential Mayweather-Alvarez matchup: what makes you so sure Floyd can take a punch as well as Trout? For all we know one of those accurate straight rights or uppercuts that Canelo landed on Trout will put Mayweather on Queer Street.
Anyway, the ball will be in Mayeather’s corner after May 4. If he wants to fight Canelo in September the bout will be made.
I agree that Trout needed to fight on the inside and attack the body more than he did. Canelo could have done more of that, too.
CANELO GROWS UP
Canelo grew up on Saturday! I thought he was going to get outboxed but he actually showed up with a couple of new tricks... the kid is showing improvement and I like it. I can’t say the same about the scorecards... Although last night it was so close it could have gone either way (by a point) but you saw the judges’ cards. Shame on them and shame on whoever allows this to happen again. Whitaker vs Chavez was robbery enough... we did not need another one (in the same venue). The fight was a lot closer than those judges had it. It was a close fight.
Can't wait for next week... don't be surprised if the Brit catches Maravilla late...he is a tough dude and Sergio is getting old.
I remember you. Thank you for reading my stuff – the mailbag in particular – for all these years.
I will be surprised if Martin Murray beats Sergio Martinez this Saturday, but not shocked. Anything can happen in boxing and I know Murray is a tough, ballsy kid. But I think Martinez will be inspired by the huge hometown crowd in much the same way Canelo was in San Antonio, and he’ll defend his RING middleweight title.
I agree that open scoring sucks ass. I’ve NEVER been a proponent of it. (Ask Steve Kim if you don’t believe me – we once argued about it on his mid-to-late ‘90s Southern California-based radio show, “The Main Event.”)
Speaking of my former HOB and MaxBoxing cohort, the notorious "Korean Hammer" Tweeted that Trout’s camp was “most comfortable” with Stanley Christodoulou because the veteran official from South Africa is a WBA judge. If this is true, they were very much mistaken.
I agree that Alvarez came of age on Saturday. He put into play tactics and techniques that I know he’s been working on in the gym for a few years. The red head is a student of the game, and given his pride and work ethic, my guess is that he will continue to develop over the next three-to-four years until he is a complete fighter while still in his athletic prime.
Who knows? Maybe one day the biggest fight in the sport won’t be Alvarez-Mayweather but rather Golovkin vs. Canelo.
ALVAREZ, OPEN SCORING, THE NEED FOR A 'SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT' DIVISION
A few thoughts from Saturday:
1. I thought prior Saturday that Trout would beat Canelo. To be honest, I was shocked with Canelo's ability to slip shots. I know you have to give Trout credit for being so active, but I barely saw anything land on Canelo, and when Canelo did decide to throw, it landed, and hard. I know lots of guys wish/think that Canelo lost, but I think Canelo won (thanks to the knockdown), and I think Canelo gave Trout rounds from inactivity rather than Trout winnings rounds. I take nothing away from either, they are elite, 2 of the 3 best junior middleweights (Floyd being the other), but I think Canelo was slightly better, slightly earned the win (because of the knockdown), and has more upside that Trout does. The right man won, and boxing justice was done in my eyes.
2. I like open scoring. To heck with the fans, if I'm a boxer, and I know for a fact I can't win on points going into the championship rounds, I would appreciate that because I would know for a fact what I need to do (KO the guy). There is open scoring in Olympic Boxing, and it allows for the guy losing to KNOW (not guess) what he needs to do at the end of the fight.
3. Props to Steve Cunningham for hanging in there against a guy 40 pounds heavier than him. It was awesome seeing him knock some humility into Fury during the knockdown. Once Fury got serious, the size took over. I really think there should be a Heavyweight and Super-Heavyweight division. It's not fair for the 210-220 pound guys to have to fight 250-260 pound guys. I think there are enough 6'9'' 250 pound monsters out there to have a Super-Heavyweight division. Fights like Adamek-Klitschko come to mind, where the much much smaller Adamek had no chance.
Thanks for the time! – Jose from San Diego
Thank you for taking the time to write me with such a comprehensive email. I’ll respond to your statements in order:
1) I wasn’t shocked at all by Alvarez’s ability to slip and block shots. It’s something I’ve seen him work on the gym (he had no choice but to be defensive minded when sparring with GGG in Big Bear two years ago) and during fights against lesser opposition (such his bout with Alfonso Gomez). The prevailing “feeling” among ringside U.S. media – even those who officially picked Canelo to win – before the fight was that the young Mexican might be dominated by Trout in the same fashion that Donaire was against Rigondeaux. I told them all “Alvarez will surprise you.”
2) I hate open scoring. It sucks the drama out of a fight. Maybe I’m an old school pr__k, but I think a fighter (and his corner) should know when to press a fight and go for a knockout without having a peak at the official scorecards.
3) I think guys who walk around at 210 or 220 should make the necessary sacrifices to make 200 pounds and fight at cruiserweight. Unless they’ve the great equalizer – punching power – like “The Hayemaker” or they’re willing to commit to being pure boxers, like my man Chris Byrd, they need to leave the heavyweight division to the giants. We’ve already got 17 weigh classes. I don’t want an 18th division.
Email Dougie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer