Middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin could soon defend his WBO title against promotional stablemate Danny Jacobs.
Dougie's Friday mailbag
Fans give their pick on the Tim Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez fight and have their last say on Wladimir Klitschko, which brings up Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes, in this week's Friday mailbag. Enjoy!
MARQUEZ BY KO
I’m going on record now, I have Juan Manuel Marquez by KO. The dude is to deadly accurate with those combinations. I can’t believe you are picking against Marquez. First you picked against Floyd Mayweather, now Marquez. I think you are getting long in the tooth!!!!!
LOL! That dude’s punch selection is something to behold, and let’s be honest, Tim Bradley is not that good! He is not that strong, does not hit that hard, is not that accurate and slaps with his punches. They are sloppy shots that are just all over the place. Remember what Marquez did to the Baby Bull? Not calling Bradley the Baby Bull, but he was just in there grinding away and f___ing him up. I think Marquez will pierce him with surgical shots and get him the f___ out of there! – JCB
Hey, Marquez winning tomorrow night’s fight by KO would not shock or surprise me.
He’s the best combination puncher I’ve seen live (his right uppercut-right cross that put Terdsak Jandaeng down in the sixth round of their 2006 bout is still the best two-punch combo I’ve witnessed). And how could I forget what he did to Juan Diaz? That was one of the best fights I ever had the honor of covering from ringside.
However, as magnificent as Marquez was in that fight, I can’t forget the punishment that Diaz – who, like Bradley, is quick but throws a lot of slapping punches – heaped on the Mexican veteran in the early to middle rounds. Diaz’s downfall in that first showdown was that he got too greedy. He wanted to take Marquez out so he stayed in the old badass’ grill too long. Most fighters who take the fight to JMM with the intention of knocking him out get stopped themselves by the hardnosed counter-punching master.
Diaz boxed more in their rematch, and though Marquez clearly outpointed him over 12 rounds, he was able to bust up and completely close one of the future hall of famer’s eyes.
Marquez may have added terrific muscle to his frame in recent years but he can’t do anything about his tendency to bust up and swell in the face. And as experienced as he is, he still has trouble with mobile boxers. I know it’s not a popular pick, but I think Bradley – who I believe is every bit as good as he says he is, plus strong as a bull – can pull it off if he boxes smart and doesn’t get too greedy if he wobbles Marquez or marks up the old man’s face. I know Marquez will have his moments and will make the fight interesting, but I still like Timmy by close UD.
And if I’m wrong, I’ll get a bunch of s___ from hardcore Mexican fans. So what? I think it’s cool being recognized as a hater by two distinct cultures. Maybe I’ll pick Rios to upset Pacquiao and go for the Boxing Hater Trifecta.
CLINCHKO & ALI
Now, I for sure agree that Ali is the best heavyweight ever and that his resume puts him far ahead of Klitschko on “quality of opposition.” But like WK, Ali was uncomfortable fighting on the inside and relied a lot on his physical advantages (speed, height, reach) – though unlike the Ukranian, he had an iron chin. If one watches Ali vs. George Foreman or (especially) Joe Frazier one will see a fighter who grabs, holds and clinches A LOT to compensate for his weak inside game – and who gets away with it.
The main difference between the two is that Ali's opponents were good enough to make a fight of it anyway, while Klitschko's seem to wilt. Wlad does what he has to do and I don't blame him for it – I only wish he had some true top quality opponents to really push him into a fight.
You make a very good point, Benjamin. I agree that Ali held a lot – particularly during the 1970s – and was not vilified by fans or by the most of the media (though Frazier wasn’t shy about denouncing the tactics). Ali also leaned on Frazier and often shoved the pressure fighter’s head down with his forearm (since the shorter man was always in his chest).
However, the fact that Ali possessed an all-time great chin as well as all-time great opposition wasn’t the only differences between he and Wlad Klitschko.
Ali also moved about the ring a lot better than Klitschko and he let his fast, fluid hands go A LOT more than the current heavyweight champ.
I don’t work for CompuBox so I’m not going to bother counting how often Wladdy let his hands go against Povetkin and how often Ali did versus Frazier in their first fight, but I know there’s no comparison. Ali was constantly working his jab in every fight (especially vs. Frazier) and he dropped his one-two combination many times a round.
Seriously, watch the first three rounds of Ali-Frazier I and tell me if there isn’t more sustained action in those nine minutes than in Wladdy’s last four or five fights combined.
Bottom line: Ali used holding tactics to limit the amount of damage Frazier did on the inside, but he used his punches to bust up and wear down the relentless warrior. Wladdy primarily used his holding tactics to wear down Povetkin. The punches he landed were just icing on that cake.
Ali did a lot of holding, but he also did a lot of punching, which is why – along with his willingness to face the best – he was part of six of THE RING’s Fights of the Year. His first and third bouts with Frazier are among the 10 best heavyweight title fights of all time.
Can you imagine Wladdy being in a Fight of the Year candidate? Me neither.
FORGET KLITSCHKO, REMEMBER HOLMES!
What's up Douglass,
Fortunately I skipped out on watching Klitchko-Povetkin. I knew it was going to be a real s___-stain of a bout. Like what one guy said “You seen one of Klitchko's fights you've seen them all.” And by the way, I really got a big chuckle reading those flattering reviews from Vlad's adoring fan-club.
Anyways, all this recent talk about past big men like Ken Norton and Earnie Shavers had me thinking back to the one fighter that prevented both Norton and Shavers from winning the world heavyweight title. Besides Ali that is.
That's right, Larry Holmes. I recently checked in on Youtube for Larry's fights with Norton, Shavers, and Gerry Cooney. And let's face it, Youtube is the only place these days where you can actually watch REAL heavyweight action.
One question I have is where would you rank Larry? I wouldn't place him in the top 5 along with Ali but I rank him in the top 10 above Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, and Evander Holyfield, and clearly above Lennox Lewis and definitely above both Klitschkos.
And speaking of which there are some know-it-alls out there who will insist that both Klitschkos would have been too big and strong for Holmes to handle. Maybe. they're right. Yeah, maybe.
But I will say this. Holmes certainly wasn't built like Thor but he was determined to fight on and win no matter how hard he was pushed or how hard he was knocked down. One thing about Holmes that had really mixed reviews from the experts was the level of challengers he fought. Some writers insist that Larry fought some of the crappiest challengers there ever was.
Now I'm sure he crunched a few tomato-cans here and there but I'm also sure that his biggest-name challengers like Shavers, Cooney, Mike Weaver, and Tim Witherspoon were a much superior bunch over the punching bags the Klitschkos are hugging and humping away at. Crap, even someone like Bonecrusher Smith would have steamrolled over the Povetkins and David Hayes of today. Let me know if you think I'm full of s___ but I'm sure you're with me on this one!
Anyways keep up the faith and the good work as always! – Dave
Of course, I’m with you on this one.
Holmes didn’t face the caliber of opposition that Ali faced, but no other heavyweight in history did. Nobody would have looked good following an all-time great fighter/boxing talent and once-in-a-generation personality like Ali, but Holmes did an admirable job and he faced many solid fighters during his title reign from 1978 to ’85. Hell, he faced some of the best and toughest big men (Ray Mercer, Evander Holyfield, Oliver McCall) when he made his 1990s comeback in his 40s.
I wasn’t a fan of Holmes’ when he was in his prime (I couldn’t forgive him for smacking around a faded version of my idol), but I consider him to be one of the five best heavyweight champs of all time. My top five:
2. Joe Louis
3. Jack Johnson
5. Rocky Marciano
WHO WINS AND WHY
Imma keep it short and sweet. In these possible match ups, who do you think wins and how?
Danny Garcia vs Josesito Lopez @ 147
One last thing do you consider Martinez a first-ballot hall of famer?
And where do you consider Danny’s title reign in history as far as cleaning out all legitimate contenders (that are available to him since the cold war has started) in his weight class or do you think he should stick around and defend his title a few more times? Really would appreciate an opinion on these topics from a great boxing mind. – Ramiro M.
I think Garcia’s 140-pound title run is the best since Kostya Tszyu’s second reign more than 10 years ago. King Kostya’s was obviously better because he unified all three major belts (WBC, WBA and IBF) and he knocked out the prime, undefeated Zab Judah, but Garcia’s reign is impressive.
I would like to see Garcia stick around and defend his titles a few more times (especially since he just won “champion” recognition with the Matthysse victory in some boxing ranking circles), but beyond Lamont Peterson there really aren’t any significant matches for him thanks to the Cold War (as you noted). So I can’t blame him for wanting to go to 147 pounds.
I think Martinez is hall-of-fame worthy but I don’t think his accomplishments merit first-ballot induction.
Your potential matchups:
Danny Garcia vs Josesito Lopez @ 147 – I gotta with Garcia by decision or late stoppage; he’s got better experience, more polish, less wear and tear, and he hits harder.
Danny Garcia vs Adrien Broner @147 – I’ll go with Danny Swift by decision for now, but if Broner looks really sharp in his second welterweight bout (presumably vs. Marcos Maidana) I might change my mind.
KLITSCHKOS, TOP 5 NEVER TO WIN TITLE
There are many fighters, some of whom are even enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame – such as 1930s/40s standouts Charley Burley, Holman Williams and Lloyd Marshall – who fought and beat the best of their eras but never got a crack at the world title because of the color of their skin and because they were unconnected. There are too many like them to list or rank, but I’m happy to give you a modern top five of fighters that watched in the 1990s and 2000s.
5. Michael Watson (middleweight/super middleweight) – his title shots came against a current hall of famer, Mike McCallum, and a future hall of famer (IMO), Chris Eubank, which led to tragedy in their rematch. Watson gave McCallum and Eubank hell and he handed Nigel Benn his first loss. McCallum told me that Watson was the strongest fighter he faced.
4. Herol Graham (middleweight/super middleweight) – Good choice, Rob. I give the Bomber the edge over Watson because he had a much longer career. He just had the misfortune of going for vacant middleweight belts against McCallum (who said Graham was the smartest boxer he faced) and a prime Julian Jackson (40-1 with 38 knockouts at the time). He gave McCallum fits en route to a SD loss and was outboxing Jackson until he got nailed. Graham dropped super middleweight Charles Brewer twice in his last title try (and last fight) before getting stopped in the 10th. He was good enough to stop future 168-pound beltholder Lindell Holmes, former 154-pound titleholder Ayub Kalule and American veteran Vinny Pazienza.
3. Angel Manfredy (junior lightweight/lightweight). He wasn’t the most skilled boxer or gifted athlete but he was a tough-as-nails technician who got the most out of his ability. Manfredy was good enough to beat Arturo Gatti, Ivan Robinson and Julio Diaz (albeit by controversial decision). He also beat faded but still serviceable former titleholders Calvin Grove and Jorge Paez. His title shots came against Floyd Mayweather (18-0 at the time), Stevie Johnston (27-1), Diego Corrales (32-0) and Paul Spadafora (34-0).
2. Oba Carr (welterweight). The talented and gutsy Detroit boxer didn’t have many signature wins but his title shots came against the best three welterweights of the mid-to-late 1990s: Felix Trinidad, Ike Quartey and Oscar De La Hoya – all of whom were in their absolute primes and boasted a combined record of 86-0 when he fought them. Carr has his moments in each title bout.
1.David Tua (heavyweight). Yeah, the TuaMan turned out to be a fat, lazy son of a gun but he was a monster as a prospect and was good enough to knockout four men who went on to win titles multiple times – John Ruiz, Oleg Maskaev, Hasim Rahman and Michael Moorer. He KO’d his share of contenders, too, and he was competitive in his points losses to Chris Byrd and Ike Ibeabuchi (who almost made this list). His one title shot was to then-undisputed champ Lennox Lewis, who was recently inducted into the hall of fame.
I hear what you’re saying about the K-Bros. I’m not a huge fan of either but I respect them and I recognize that they do big business in Europe. I don’t want them to walk away from the sport if they aren’t ready to (although it looks like Big Bro is getting close to doing that).
I’d like the best of both worlds. I’d like the top contenders and the top talent in the heavyweight division to fight each other – in what would hopefully be entertaining bouts – in order to create some public demand for whoever comes out on top to face Wladimir (or Vitali if he sticks around). The winner of Haye-Fury will be the king of the UK. Kubrat Pulev is a difficult stylist. Bermane Stiverne is a talented boxer-puncher. Deontay Wilder is a bona fide KO artist. Chris Arreola is still dangerous when he wants to be. Bryant Jennings is a hardnosed, well-schooled fighter. If these guys fight each other they’ll create excitement and whoever prevails just might be capable of giving Klitschko a fight.
Follow Dougie on Twitter @dougiefischer