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Dougie's Monday mailbag
Readers react to Floyd Mayweather's impressive decision victory over Canelo Alvarez, Danny Garcia's gustsy upset of Lucas Matthysse, CJ Ross' controversial scorecard and Dougie's "embarrassing" prediction of an Alvarez victory in this week's Monday mailbag. Enjoy!
YOUR EMBARRASSING MAYWEATHER PREDICTION
I always like reading your articles but could not understand your pick of Canelo Alvarez to beat Floyd Mayweather. The fight went exactly as I thought, and as most other people thought. Canelo is not a pressure fighter, there was nothing in his CompuBox stats to suggest he would have the accuracy to trouble Mayweather, and he doesn't have concussive punch power (12 rounds with Matt Hatton).
I’d be excited about an Alvarez-Trout rematch or Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara or Alfredo Angulo. Those are good matchups that can – and should – be made in my opinion.
I’d be interested in Mayweather vs. Trout or Lara – he’s the new 154-pound champ and both southpaws are top-five contenders – but those aren’t matchups that can be marketed as pay per view attractions, so there’s no chance in either happening.
Honestly, unless Mayweather makes the move to fight a middleweight titleholder, I won’t be getting too excited about the final bouts of his career. And I say that because he is that good – and, yes, arguably great.
I think Mayweather should go for RING middleweight champ Sergio Martinez. If he were to beat the aging but still formidable Argentine, he’d be the first fighter since Henry Armstrong to win RING magazine belts in three weight classes, and he’d join a very elite group in boxing history (which I’ll go into later in this mailbag).
The Martinez fight might be hard to make due to Maravilla’s relationship with HBO, but his handlers and team know that his days in the sport are numbered and they know that Mayweather represents the biggest fight and payday for him (and the pound-for-pound king is also a lot safer, physically speaking, to face than Gennady Golovkin, Andre Ward or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.). I think they’d be willing to do business with Mayweather & Co.
I don’t agree that only pressure fighters or concussive punchers can trouble Mayweather. I think a very good boxer with comparable or better speed can give him trouble, too. I thought – and still believe – that Alvarez is a good boxer, but he did not have the speed or reflexes to compete with Mayweather.
Pacquiao, by the way, was at his best (in terms of volume and punching power) in 2009 and 2010. His inevitable slide had already begun by 2011.
Why do you call Matthysse crude and overrated? How can a guy who gave Devon Alexander (who should have lost their fight) and Zab Judah hell, and who knocked out a seasoned titleholder like Lamont Peterson, as well as other solid pros (Soto, Ajose, Corley), be overrated? Garcia beat Matthysse in a very good, competitive fight (I had the champ winning by two points, 114-112). If Matthysse is “crude and overrated” that doesn’t speak well of Garcia, Peterson, Judah or Alexander – and I know for a fact that those are four excellent world-class fighters.
Anyway, time to get to the portion of this response that you (and many others) are waiting for:
I WAS WRONG ABOUT FLOYD MAYWEATHER. I thought Alvarez had the size, temperament, instincts, foundation and overall development to spring the upset. I couldn’t have been more wrong in that opinion.
I thought the young man was competitive – a minority opinion, I know – but I also thought that he was clearly outclassed from start to finish.
Mayweather is hands down the best boxer of this era. I think he’s the best pure boxer and defensive specialist since Pernell Whitaker. I’ve always said that he’s a first-ballot hall of famer and that he’d get my vote as soon as I see his name on the ballot, but after this performance – against a young champ, who I think will go on to achieve a lot – I think he makes a good case for being great. I think Mayweather is arguably great because of his obvious skill and talent, and also because of his longevity and ability to remain at top form for so long.
I say “arguably great” because there are different criteria for what makes a prize fighter “great” or an “all-time great.” And I think there is an argument against Mayweather’s greatness (which I’ve explained before, but I’ll do it again).
For many fans and observers “greatness” comes down to a fighter’s ability and dominance. But for others, and I fall into this group, character plays a big part in defining one’s “greatness.” In other words, it takes more than great talent be a great fighter. A fighter’s greatness, in my opinion, is defined by the choices he makes (in and out of the ring) and the fights he has.
It’s nothing personal against Mayweather. Some of my favorite boxers and boxing people are “arguably great” but I don’t consider them great. I love James Toney. I loved watching him fight when he was at his peak as a middleweight and super middleweight and I loved witnessing his antics and personality during his cruiserweight comeback and heavyweight run during the 2000s. I think Toney had the best blend of skills, slickness, toughness and guts of any fighter I ever saw live. However, in my opinion, Toney’s lack of discipline (with his work ethic, controlling his weight, his self-destructive lifestyle, etc.) cost him his due greatness.
Other “arguably great” fighters that I had the pleasure to watch as a fan and cover as a member of the media had all the talent and discipline in the world, but they didn’t have the dance partners.
Ricardo “Finito” Lopez is the closest thing to a perfect technician I’ve ever seen. Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson is the best all-around boxer-fighter I’ve ever seen. Johnson wasn’t able to get Johnny Tapia or any other top flyweight/junior bantamweight of his era to step into the ring with him. There was nobody in Lopez’s class at 105 pounds, and he didn’t move to 108 pounds until very late in his career (after potential rivals Michael Carbajal and Chiquita Gonzalez had lost and had faded). I don’t blame Lopez or Johnson for failing to get the big fights, but the fact is that they weren’t able to match their great talent and skill against fellow future hall-of-fame opposition.
Roy Jones Jr. is the best athletic talent I’ve ever seen. I have no problem saying that the prime RJJ had all-time great athletic prowess. Nobody came close to him in that regard. He also had amazing ring command to go with his scary speed and power. However, there are simply too many worthy opponents that he did not fight – for one reason or another, and I do place some of the blame on him – from middleweight to light heavyweight (McClellan, JD Jackson, Liles, Benn, Eubank, Nunn, Michalczewski) for me to consider him an ATG.
I’m glad you brought up Pernell Whitaker. I was not a “Sweet Pea” fan (big surprise, eh?). However, I respected Whitaker even though his style (at least at lightweight) turned me off. Whitaker never made a big deal out of fighting the best opposition. He just fought ‘em, and he usually owned ‘em in the ring.
I consider Whitaker to be great because he fought Julio Cesar Chavez when they were Nos. 1 and 2 in THE RING’s pound-for-pound rankings. He didn’t let the dividing politics of boxing, promoters or networks keep him from proving that he was better than Chavez. And he fought Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad when those two formidable young champs were at their peaks. ‘Nuff said.
Had Whitaker waited until Chavez lost to Frankie Randall (or some other Don King fighter) before fighting the Mexican icon, his legacy would have been diminished, in my opinion. Had the returning Muhammad Ali held off on fighting Joe Frazier until after 1971 or ’72, when the Philly warrior slowed down, or after Smokin’ Joe was KTFO by George Foreman in ‘73, his legacy would have been diminished.
As far as I’m concerned, Mayweather had the opportunity to make the biggest statement of his career against Manny Pacquiao in 2010, when Pac was THE RING’s pound-for-pound king and not long after the Boxing Writers Assoc. of America voted the Filipino hero as the Fighter of the Decade (for the 2000s), and he didn’t force it to happen. He should have. His legacy (as well as Pacquiao’s) was diminished by the failure of that fight being made.
Mayweather has fought many worthy opponents, some of whom will be enshrined in the hall of fame with him (De La Hoya, Mosley, Marquez), but most of the elite names were long in the tooth (and in the case of JMM, in the wrong division) when he fought them. Even though Canelo was still a little green, I give him credit for making this fight happen because Alvarez was experienced for his age and had proven to be the best 154 pounder (aside from Floyd).
If Alvarez goes on to regain titles and win big fights, it will strengthen Mayweather’s legacy. Whether Mayweather solidifies his greatness before he retires depends upon his choices with the final four bouts on his Showtime/CBS contract.
I wasn't expecting Danny to win the fight against Lucas. I was however especially surprised to see him actually beat him up, and as much as I hate to say it, kudos to Angel Garcia. He wasn't intimidated by Lucas and pushed Danny to go out there and show him who's champ. Pity the same can't be said of Lucas' corner. Is it true they didn't have an anti-swell thingy at hand? To me it seemed that they seemed to not know what to do when their fighter was losing. It was as if they were never in that situation before and it looked like they failed their fighter. That doesn't take anything away from Danny’s great performance.
As for the main event? I wasn't expecting Alvarez to win and he didn't. I watched the fight on PPV in my friend’s house because I don't have cable. I was thinking of getting cable to watch live boxing (I usually watch the replays online) but after Saturday night I think I'll stick to watching the replays on YouTube. No disrespect to Money May. He's definitely the man. But Saturday night just wasn't enough to make me pay $110 per month plus the price of a PPV buy.
Anyways, keep up the good work, and I'm looking forward to reading this Monday’s mailbag. – John
I bet you are (LOL). Everyone wants Dougie to eat crow, don’t they? “Shame on Dougie!” “Let’s attack Dougie!” “F___ Dougie, he’s a Floyd hater!”
A man can’t have an opinion that’s contrary to the masses, can he? Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong. Neither is that big of a deal to me.
Don’t you guys think it would be boring if EVERYONE always picked Floyd to win by lopsided decision (or KO as way too many knowledgeable cats do with Mayweather fights)? Where’s the anticipation for that?
I guess some folks are into “boring.” Most of us are not, which is why after Saturday’s fine boxing performance against Alvarez, I think Mayweather is going to be a tough pay-per-view sell.
I think Mayweather is the closest thing to a prime Pernell Whitaker because the man is practically untouchable, but like “Sweet Pea,” Floyd needs a strong B-side (one that brings his own fanbase to the big dance) in order to have a successful pay-per-view event.
Whitaker’s fights against Chavez and De La Hoya were pay-per-view events. All his other big fights (including significant bouts against Buddy McGirt, Julio Cesar Vazquez and even the popular Felix Trinidad) were on HBO.
Mayweather’s fights have to be pay-per-view events because of his guarantee demands, but who’s available for him to fight that will even attract half of the attention (and buys) as Alvarez? I’d say Danny Garcia is a front runner because he’s from the East Coast (Philadelphia) and is of Puerto Rican descent, so he can potentially tap into key markets and demographics. However, as good as he looked on Saturday, he’s only begun to make a name for himself outside of hardcore fans and he does not yet have a dedicated following, like Alvarez, De La Hoya, Marquez or Ricky Hatton.
And Garcia – like everyone else who fights Mayweather at 147 pounds – would probably be a 10-1 underdog. Not an easy sell.
My good friend Dave “Coach” Schwartz had the idea of Mayweather-Garcia being on CBS. That would be different. That would be quite a story, and very good for boxing. Dave thinks the event could be big enough for Mayweather to make the kind of money he expects with the commercial advertisements.
I doubt that but I think it’s a grand idea, one worth pondering.
I thought Garcia was absolutely sensational in the manner in which he dealt with Matthysse’s aggression, power and perseverance. That wasn’t an easy or one-sided fight (I don’t care what all the Matthysse haters want to pretend). I don’t think Matthysse or his corner really did anything wrong. Garcia simply fought the right fight and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s a versatile boxer-puncher and that he’s got a world-class chin.
Matthysse’s corner did have an enswell device and they tried using it on his swollen eye, but his trainer’s thumbs worked a lot better.
‘THE ONE’ PPV CARD
I give Mayweather full credit for taking on and beating (decisively) Alvarez. I think it’s one of his all-time best performances (along with Corrales, Chavez, Castillo I, Hatton and Mosley).
The victories over Ortiz (younger, bigger, but painfully green and not very accomplished) and Guerrero (younger but not bigger and not terribly versatile) are nothing to crow about. Those are the kind of victories that any fighter who is at or near the top of his division notches. I know it has become en vogue to kiss Mayweather’s ass, but do we really need to engulf our entire faces between Money’s butt cheeks? I’m sorry, dude, but you’re going overboard with the Mayweather praise.
Mayweather “looked like he just stepped out the shower at the end of the fight, while Saul was busted up.” Come on, Steve. The kid had a small mouse under his left eye. That’s it. Don't act like he looked like Rocky Balboa after going 15 rounds with Apollo Creed.
Do you really need to do the Money Team cheerleading thing for Mayweather? Were you doing a victory dace as you wrote this email?
Did you really have to preach boxing proverbs to me (“Boxing is not about who is stronger, except when the skill sets are comparable.”) Are you Eddie Futch, now?
Steve, it’s great that you predicted that Theophane would lose to Cano (nobody asked me about that fight, but I probably would have picked Ashley by decision) and it’s wonderful that you – and almost everyone else who gives a rat’s ass about boxing – didn’t believe Alvarez had a chance in hell to beat Mayweather.
I was wrong. I’ll say it again. My prediction was bad. My reasoning turned out to be faulty and my scorecard was just awful. I’m the village idiot. Everyone who picked Mayweather (even by knockout) is a genius of pugilistic prognostication.
Give me your address and I’ll forward it to Ellie Seckbach. YOU can be Ellie’s new “Boxing Expert.” Just spare me the long, patronizing emails.
GARCIA FOR REAL
What's up Dougie,
The Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez went the way I expected, Canelo getting a Master's course in boxing. I was with you in hoping Canelo would catch him, or wear him down but realized after the 4th round that it wasn't going to happen. The good thing is that he didn't take a career altering beating like the one Felix Trinidad took against Bernard Hopkins in 2001. Canelo should be a better fighter because of it.
Speaking of Philly fighters, Danny Garcia is for real. The kid can fight, period. When he beat Amir Kahn I thought he was just a power puncher who landed a good punch on a better boxer who has a glass jaw. Didn't give him much credit for his victories over Erik Morales and Zab Judah. Yeah, I was on that train, but after his performance on Saturday I have to give credit where it's due. He showed good defensive skills, a good chin, and just all round skills. He had Lucas Matthysse frustrated. Not sure he'll beat Mayweather, but I really don't care to see that fight. I'd rather see him with the Marcos Maidana-Adrien Broner winner (if the fight is made). What do you think, Dougie? – Miguel, LBC
Sign me up for Garcia vs. the Broner-Maidana winner. That’s a hell of a fight. If not Broner or Maidana, I’d like to see Garcia take another top welterweight, such as Kell Brook or Keith Thurman.
I think he should have at least one significant victory at welterweight before getting the Mayweather fight. Even the great Roberto Duran fought a string of welterweight bouts (and a few junior middleweight fights – eight in all), including a 10-round decision over Carlos Palomino, before challenging Sugar Ray Leonard.
But if Garcia goes straight into a shot at Mayweather, more power to him.
Mayweather-Alvarez obviously did not go the way I thought it would. I thought Alvarez had the ability to box a physical fight and hurt and damage Mayweather en route to a close decision win. I was wrong – not about Alvarez’s ability, but rather his maturity and mentality. The young champ didn’t take enough chances or press the fight when he needed to.
I’m going to drop a boxing proverb on ya, like my good buddy Steve, the boxing expert: Boxing often comes down to mentalities. Steve picked Mayweather to beat Alvarez by knockout because he believed Mayweather had the ability to do so. And you know what? He’s absolutely right. Mayweather did have the ability to KO Canelo (or at least force a stoppage), just like he could have stopped Zab Judah, Carlos Baldomir, De La Hoya, and Marquez had he really stepped on the gas in the late stages of those fights. But he didn’t do that because he’s a boxer, and it’s not part of his mentality to take the risks that come with pursuing a KO.
Alvarez is also a boxer but he had shown a killer instinct against lesser opponents. He was in over his head against Mayweather. The red head is mature for a fighter who just turned 23, but not enough to deal with the best boxer of this era. No shame in that. Like you said, he wasn’t busted up and he should learn a lot from the experience.
I still expect a lot of Alvarez in the years to come.
THE BEST 140-/147-POUND MATCHUP
Would you say that Garcia vs the Rios/Pacquiao winner is the premiere matchup right now? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN
Garcia vs. the Rios-Pacquiao winner or the Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov winner are excellent 140-/147-pound matchups. But unfortunately they will remain “dream matches” until the Golden Boy/Showtime-Top Rank/HBO divide is bridged.
I knew there would be a speed difference but damn! I knew there was a skill difference but damn!! Floyd was like an NFL secondary when properly coordinated. He showed movement, he stepped to him, laid on the ropes a little, featured a jab (which he hasn't often done), led at times and countered at others. He never did the same thing twice but the jab showed me he respected Alvarez. He didn't throw as many lead rights, which is kind of a smack in the face to polished pros. The dude put on a clinic. He's a sharp accurate puncher but if he could really crack he would be more pleasing. Problem is if he could crack he probably wouldn't be this well preserved. Most dudes with pop tend to get into more tough fights because they’re looking to send folks home happy. Imagine Tommy Hearns fighting Marvin Hagler using strictly his boxing skills. We likely get a shutout but wouldn't have arguably the greatest 3 rounds of our lifetime. In the ring, Floyd is disciplined, tough and smart. He just knows what he's doing. There is no answer right now for the guy we saw Saturday night. I was wrong.
Props to my boy Danny G from Philly. That cat ate some bombs but like Floyd never got thrown off his game and always seemed in control. He performed like a champ should and I thought Angel was going to have a heart attack the way his boy closed the show. Garcia is the man but both those men left it in the ring. It was a good scrap, however both need not apply for a Mayweather moment. They have nothing coming that way. – Michael H.
Well stated breakdown of Mayweather-Alvarez. I must admit that “Floyd was like an NFL secondary when properly coordinated” is lost on me. I don’t watch football.
I’m gonna assume that means Mayweather was very sharp. I think having his father back as head trainer and fighting twice in the same year (just four months apart) contributed to his extra-fast reflexes and defensive coordination.
Garcia is a true champ. There can be no doubt about that now. I agree that Garcia and Matthysse have no shot at beating Mayweather, but who else is he gonna fight? The winner of Alexander-Khan? Mayweather-Khan would be a huge event if it took place in the UK, but it would probably be treated like a joke in the States. Mayweather-Alexander? No disrespect to Devon – because he only fights the best – but that’s not a fight that can be sold to the public.
PRESS ROW POLL
Man, I enjoy your mailbags. I enjoy people giving you crap and you giving it back. I understand your prediction for the fight but you scorecard is as bad as CJ Ross’.
I enjoy watching Floyd. He is just a pure boxer. By the way Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker is my all-time favorite. At this point, just enjoy and appreciate Floyd. Give this man his due and appreciate that you are watching a one of a kind talent. Sincerely. – J Seda
I would if I could, J, but Mayweather’s style (in and out of the ring) simply isn’t my cup of tea. I had the utmost respect for Whitaker as boxer and a competitor but I was not into his fights at all until he got older, went up in weight and stayed in the pocket more during his fights.
I appreciate Mayweather’s talent and respect this skill/technique but I don’t enjoy watching him fight. Deal with it.
And deal with my scorecard, too. I gave two early rounds, which I thought were close, toss-up rounds, to Alvarez. So what? I saw a different fight than other media. I don’t need to hear about every other boxing writer’s shutout scorecard. I respect how they saw the fight. I thought Guillermo Rigondeaux won every round but the round he was dropped in when he fought Nonito Donaire. More than a few esteemed members of the boxing press saw it as a one-point fight. I’m wasn’t mad at them because they saw it differently.
It happens, dude. Don’t get all outraged. I’m not a child molester. I don’t eat human flesh, and I’m not into bestiality, so everyone should calm down.
Let’s not go out and lynch CJ Ross. Her 114-114 card was overruled by two winning tallies for Mayweather. He wasn’t robbed. He’s still undefeated. All is right with the universe. But guess what? If he was robbed, the sun wouldn’t have gone super nova. The world would not have ended. And nobody would have thought less of Mayweather.
Whitaker had a bogus loss to Jose Luis Ramirez and a controversial draw to Chavez that NOBODY in boxing ever recognized. He was still considered unbeaten, still the pound for pound king and everybody (even "haters" like Yours Truly who didn’t care for his style) respected him.
Ey up Dougie, how's your hangover?
Mate there's something I've been wondering about for a while now and after last night I'm even more curious. My question is; are ringside judges required to submit to any kind of drug or alcohol testing? Are they breathalysed before they take their seats. If not, do you not think that it would be a good idea? After all, the performance of the judges is as critical to the outcome of a fight as the performance of the fighters themselves. There is only one possible explanation for those scores last night; alcohol. Or perhaps in CJ Ross's case; methamphetamine!
I mean c'mon Doug, be honest, you downed a couple of Shirley Temples before you started your round by round report, right? Floyd put on a master class, pure and simple. I had it 120-110 and I thought that was generous. I heard Michael Rosenthal after the fight comparing Mayweather's performance to art and that was bang on the money. Before the fight Floyd was being compared with Leonard and Robinson, after that he should be compared with Leonardo and Michaelangelo. That was the Sistine Chapel of boxing displays, as clear as any sober man could see. Grab yourself a coffee mate, I'm off to buy a hat. TBE Baby!
Cheers Doug. – Mark G, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Serious statement: I fully expect to see at least 30 percent of the boxing media wearing TBE hats at Mayweather’s next press conference.
If you’re a Mayweather fan (and I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume that you have posters of Leonard Ellerbe in your bed room), don’t get too happy about Rosenthal’s comparing Mayweather’s performance to great artists – and by the way, I did that 12 years ago after he stopped Jesus Chavez in San Francisco – my good friend Michael does that a lot.
Here’s what he wrote about Floyd’s favorite fighter, Manny Pacquiao, after the Filipino superhero beat up on Antonio Margarito in 2011:
“Watching Manny Pacquiao fight is like witnessing Sinatra sing or Astaire dance or Hendrix play the guitar. He’s the best at what he does. And we have a powerful attraction to the best.
“… we should enjoy him while he’s here. Sinatra and Astaire and Hendrix are all gone, leaving us only with recordings and memories. Soon Pacquiao will call it quits and devote himself entirely to public service. Let’s savor every moment until then.”
I don’t reprint this diss Michael. He meant every word of what he wrote (in a Weekend Review) and it his sentiment was shared by many boxing scribes and even some respected historians at the time. But I’m sure there were more than a few fans who did not consider Pacquiao’s bludgeoning of Margarito as a “Sistine Chapel of boxing display.” I’m going to go out on a limb again and guess that you – as a member of the UK chapter of the Money Team – weren’t demanding that everyone savor every moment of Pacquiao’s career at the time.
And that’s fine. But don’t expect everyone to appreciate Mayweather’s brand of art as much as you do.
CJ Ross obviously didn’t appreciate it. I don’t think homegirl was drunk. She might be getting old, though. She may not see as well as she did a decade ago. I think it might be a good idea for commissions to check the vision of longtime judges.
But the most important thing that commissions can do to cut down on poor officiating is to keep track of controversial rulings and suspend the judges and referees who have f____ed up too many times.
By the way, I had no Shirley Temples before or during the Mayweather-Alvarez bout, but I did drink a few Coronas after it.
Follow Fischer on Twitter @dougiefischer