Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

JOHNSON-GREEN/JUDAH-MATTHYSSE

Two questions for you Dougie, as we approach the glorious month of November:

1) Supposing Glen Johnson gets past Allan Green (I say he does), how do you rate his chances against, Abraham, Froch and Ward?

2) Similar to above, I'll be rooting for Lucas Matthysse against Zab Judah this Saturday. How do you rate his (or anyone else capable of giving Judah trouble) against The Ring’s top four contenders?

I get the feeling that there is too much focus now on those four, and that there's some great match ups to be made including those four with the likes of Victor Ortiz, Lamont Peterson, Andreas Kotelnik and even Judah. A lot of these fighters are going to suffer from single losses to any of the top four, when their style is more suited to another fighter.

That said, bring on November! — Kartik, London, UK

I agree that both the fans and the media focus too much on Tim Bradley (THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight), Amir Khan (No. 2), Devon Alexander (No. 3), and Marcos Maidana (No. 4), and their scheduled (or almost scheduled) fights against each other. There are at least eight bad-ass fighters currently campaigning at 140 pounds and they ALL make for fascinating and potentially exciting matchups against each other.

A terrific series of fights between these junior welterweights can be made that might remind some longtime observers of the welterweight and light heavyweight round robins that occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

I think there’s a good chance it will happen over the next two years. We’ve already got Khan-Maidana on tap Dec. 11 and many sources say that Bradley-Alexander is a “done deal” for Jan. 29. We just need the winners of those fights to face each other in order to determin the real champ of the division and then we need the winners AND losers of those two matchups to take on the four fighters you mentioned (Ortiz, Peterson, Kotelnik and Judah).

It looks like Golden Boy Promotions is already thinking of staging some kind of eventual round robin. They already promote Khan, Maidana, Ortiz, and Matthysse. Bradley, who is currently co-promoted by Gary Shaw and Thompson Boxing Promotions, could be a free agent next year and it’s no secret that his manager Cameron Dunkin is taking his clients over to GBP. Peterson, who has verbally committed to fighting Ortiz on the co-feature to Khan-Maidana, is also reportedly a free agent. Oh, and I couldn’t help but notice Kevin Cunningham (trainer and manger of Alexander, who is currently promoted by Don King) and his fighter giving dap to Oscar De La Vader, I mean Hoya, at last Thursday’s Fight Night Club. Who knows? Maybe if the “Evil Empire” adds the other 140-pound standouts to their ever-growing roster the anticipated junior welterweight round robin will begin in earnest.

Anyway, now that I’ve riled up all the GBP/HBO conspiracy theorists/alarmists, I’ll reply to your two question in order:

1) I don’t think Johnson’s a lock to beat Green. He’s 41 years old with 66 pro bouts and at least 10 grueling ring wars under his belt. Oh yeah, and Johnson hasn’t fought at 168 pounds in 10 years. How many times have we seen a past-his-prime veteran crash and burn in the ring after attempting to make a lighter weight than he’s been used to fighting at? Think about Oscar De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao or Chris Byrd vs. Shaun George. I think Green, who’s back is against the wall in this fight, is going to be dangerous for the veteran. However, if Johnson is able to make super middleweight without weakening himself and he defeats Green, I’d give him a shot to beat both Abraham (who he could outwork) and Froch (who he could outmuscle) but not Ward, who has the speed, reflexes and legs to duplicate what Chad Dawson did to the Road Warrior in their rematch.

2) If Matthysse can beat this mature/motivated 140-pound version of Judah I will consider him to be a live dog against the junior welterweight Fab Four. For now, however, I consider the Argentine KO artist to be a live dog vs. Judah.

MIND GAMES

Dougie,
Do not know if you have seen this video interview on Fanhouse, but it shows that the mind games Freddie Roach tries to play on people before matches does not seem to work on Robert Garcia. His sense of humor towards the whole thing and the jab he throws back at Manny has me looking forward towards the next 24/7 episodes.

This is awesome, I don't remember your exact words but in one of your past
mailbags; you compared Garcia to Roach when it came to both being outstanding trainers. Maybe they are more alike than I thought. This is entertaining, it got me from being on the fence about the fight to ordering it. I can not wait. — Luis, San Diego, CA

I know Garcia’s humor about the handwraps situation will get under the skins of a lot of people but I like it. To me it says that he’s got confidence and the kind of attitude that a decided underdog should have going into a major fight. And the truth is that it doesn’t matter what Margarito or Garcia say about the issue, many boxing observers will continue to believe that Margarito knew what Javier Capetillo as doing before the Shane Mosley fight and than the fighter and his former trainer had done the evil deed in previous fights.

As Bert Sugar told me for the How will fans and the media react to a Margarito victory? article, “(the media will) still think Margarito had something in his gloves (should he upset Pacquiao). They’ll maintain the mental hard-on with the wraps.” ‘The Hat’ is correct. So why shouldn’t Garcia have some fun with them? Why not taunt them a little bit while verbally counter-punching Roach and letting the veteran trainer know that his opinions/accusations don‘t bother him?

24/7

Hi Doug,
I just wanted to point out some thoughts I have on Pacquiao vs Margarito 24/7 show. I just think HBO is doing a brilliant job in cleaning Margarito's image with his natural charisma.

I also think they are trying to make the public think that Pacquiao is giving away this fight with his distractions. I just think it's all an act, and it's all just to make good drama. Freddie Roach should get an Oscar.

As for Margarito, I really hope he is competitive in the fight. He may look good in training, he may look ripped, but that is not enough to beat the best. I think Antonio lost a lot more in the Cotto fight than people think. I don't think he has enough left to beat Manny. I hope I'm wrong and we get to see a good fight.

As for now, I keep my original prediction: Manny Pacquiao via 8 Round Stoppage. — Juan Valverde, Tijuana

That prediction might pan out, Juan, but my gut feeling is that Pacquiao will have to work a lot harder than boxing people initially thought he’d have to in order to score the stoppage.

I don’t think the concern in Pacquiao’s camp is an act. I believe that it’s being played up by the 24/7 producers and by Bob Arum, but I don’t think it’s fabricated.

I also don’t think it’s a good idea to completely write Margarito off on Nov. 13 (especially if you’re a proud Mexican fan who happens to live in Tijuana). The last time Manny Pacquiao was thought to be a “guaranteed” winner against a tough Tijuana fighter who was considered a spent bullet, Erik Morales scored what was arguably the most significant victory of his future-hall-of-fame career.

I know a lot of Mexican fans who were embarrassed (and even ashamed of themselves) after the Morales-Pacquiao fight for not supporting their countryman.

One boxing insider of Mexican decent who gave Morales zero chance of beating Pacquiao (and even put money on the Filipino) told me:

“My father always told me never to root against the Mexican in a fight,” he said. “I wasn’t necessarily rooting for Pacquiao, I just couldn’t picture Morales winning before the fight, but I forgot about one thing in my pre-fight analysis: Morales wasn’t afraid.”

You better believe Margarito has the same mindset Morales had going into that first Pacquiao fight. I’m just sayin’….

WHAT IF?

I was surfing the web and saw a replay of Morales vs Pacquiao 1 and wow!!! I'm a hardcore Morales fan from Puerto Rico and although I understand that Pac was badly cut, what if Morales had gone up to 135 in the rematch? And 140 for the 3rd fight? Do you think the outcome would have been different? — Enrique Rivera

I think it’s possible that the outcome of rematch could have been different had Morales not had to drain himself to make 130 pounds. He may have had the strength to keep Pacquiao at bay and defend his early lead to another narrow points victory. However, it should be noted that Pacquiao made some technical adjustments between the first and second bouts that may have had more to do with his late TKO win than Morales’ well-documented battle with the scale.

The rubber match would have ended the same even if it took place at 140 pounds. Pacquiao is much more effective at junior welterweight than Morales is.

NICE ARTICLE

Dougie,
I enjoyed your article putting Pacquiao's weight run in perspective. It's important that someone balance out the promoters who like to act like every run is unprecedented right up until it's time to jump on the next one.

Got a quick top 5 for you, top 5 power punchers who looked like they shouldn't hit near as hard as they did. For me, guys like Little Red Lopez, Morales and Corrales jump to mind, but so do guys like Randall Bailey and Acelino Frietas who weren't scrawny but still didn't look near as powerful as they turned out to be.

Keep up the good work. — Todd

Morales at 122 pounds is definitely on my top five “power punchers who don‘t look powerful” list. The guy appeared absolutely emaciated at junior featherweight — it seriously looked like he hadn’t eaten in about a week when he would step on the scales (and he probably hadn’t) — yet he usually cracked skulls once he stepped into the ring.

Corrales makes my list, but not Frietas, ‘Popo’ always looked physically strong to me. Bailey also had a lean-but-obviously-powerful build to my eyes.

I attributed Finto’s strong KO percentage more to his uncanny accuracy and timing than to his punching power. Felix Trinidad, who probably never lifted a barbell in his life, had very good timing and accuracy but his awesome KO ratio is due mostly to the fact that he could whack with the best punchers of the past 25 years. Tito definitely makes my list.

Despite his tree-trunk legs, the 5-foot-2 Naseem Hamed, whose arms were downright skinny, did not seem like he should have wielded the legitimate one-punch KO power than he possessed. The Prince is on my list.

The lightweight version of Oscar De La Hoya was far more powerful than he appeared. The Golden Boy is on my list.

Thanks for the kind words on the prolific weight climbers article.

It reminded me just how great some of the ring legends I grew up watching on TV, such as Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns, really were.

What Pacquiao has accomplished at welterweight is amazing, but it’s no more impressive than Duran’s middleweight fights with Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Iran Barkley.

And of course, there are the old-timers such as Jimmy McLarnin — who was world class from flyweight all the way to welterweight — and Sam Langford — who battled the most feared heavyweights of his day even though his best weight was probably welterweight. They remind us that Pacquiao is special but far from unique.

HISTORY'S GREAT WEIGHT CLIMBERS

Where's Young Stribling? Your list is organized in terms of span. He'd come in ahead of Sam Langford. And you can easily find world class opponents to list for him from the Lightweight to the Heavyweight division. — Ryan

Stribling, a bona fide hall of famer, fought from lightweight to heavyweight but he didn’t face world-class opponents at lightweight, welterweight and middleweight.

Like John Henry Lewis and Tommy Loughran (who Stribling faced and beat a few times), all of the top contenders and future hall of famers he fought were in the light heavyweight and heavyweights divisions.

The list I compiled was organized in terms of weight span but the fighters who made the list had faced contenders in at least four weight classes.

I’m not saying that everyone on the list is better than Stribling. The Georgia native fought the best light heavyweights and heavyweights of his day, some of whom turned out to be hall of famers. And he was a great puncher, part of the 100 KO club, a select group that includes the likes of Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong, Archie Moore, and Sandy Saddler. Only Moore, the all-time KO king, recorded more knockouts than Stribling, who notched 125.

I should have mentioned him in the introduction to the list along with Lewis, Loughran and Bob Fitzsimmons.

But that’s the thing about list articles (particularly those that encompass the “best of all time” in specific categories), someone is always going to be left off.

I left Roy Jones Jr. — who spanned 40 pounds and fought contenders in four weight classes — off the list. I guess you could say “I musta forgot,” which pissed off his fans. (I didn’t even know he still HAD fans.) I added Jones and Mike McCallum (who I also left off the first posting of the article), but still received a few nasty notes through the Facebook postings. I gotta give it up to Roy, he’s a literal shell of the fighter he was just seven years ago and he’ll probably lose at least four or five more times before he finally hangs up his gloves but the man STILL has nut-huggers. Go on with your bad self RJ!

Of course, none of the ill-mannered Facebook buffoons had a problem with McCallum not being on the list. Ahhhh, nut-huggers. God bless ‘em.

DAVID LEMIEUX

Hey Doug,
I was less than enthusiastic about David Lemieux's last fight when I heard the opponent was to be Camacho Jr. I hadn't given the fight much thought… It turned out to be a statement wasn't it? Somehow I think they are going to try to get Manfredo next, but they are going to need some opponents to go rounds with him though. The kid only has 53 rounds in 24 fights. That is not a lot of experience to take on the top dogs at middleweight. Your thoughts?

I'm getting pretty excited about this kid. — Stephen, Montreal

I’m excited about Lemieux, too, but he’s still a prospect. And I think it would be a HUGE mistake for him to take on Peter Manfredo Jr. in next fight or even three or four fights down the road.

Yes, he blasted Camacho Jr., which on paper is a statement. Junior had never been counted out in 57 pro bouts (the stoppage to Andrey Tsurkan was a TKO that ended with him on his feet, complaining to the ref). However, we have to keep in mind that Lemieux beat a guy who was never serious about being a professional fighter and who appeared flabby fighting at junior middleweight. He was held to a split decision by the ancient Yory Boy Campas, who shouldn’t even be fighting but still managed to come in lighter than Camacho‘s chubby ass.

I’d like to see your boy get quality rounds in with some tough hombres like Marco Reyes (18-1) or Michael Medina (24-2-2) before he steps up to experienced fringe contenders like Manfredo. I would favor Lemieux to beat both young Mexican middleweights but I think they would be competitive and last at least past the fifth round. Those are the kind of fights the kid needs.

AMIR KHAN

Hi Dougie,
There’s a lot of talk from the Wild Card that Amir Khan’s ready for Floyd Mayweather. While of course I’m skeptical of this at the moment, I do believe he’s the real deal and could become a two or three weight world champion. More people will realise this after he puts on a boxing clinic against the plodding but game Maidana. What I want to know is, just how good do you think he can be?

Big fan of your mailbags, keep them up! — Charlie, London, UK

The sky’s the limit for Khan. As I’ve said before (even when the Brit was just one fight removed from being KTFO by Breidis Prescott), he’s got as much talent as I’ve ever seen in the ring and in the gym.

Having said that, I don’t think he’s ready for a fighter as complete and experienced as Mayweather. I don’t know what they’re smoking over at the Wild Card but I want some of it. Sounds like some strong stuff.

Khan’s only 23. There should be no rush to put him in with the sport’s elite. He still needs to develop in certain areas and he needs more big-fight experience against legit threats.

He’ll get one on Dec. 11. If he takes care of biz vs. Maidana (and I think he will) the Bradley-Alexander winner or Ortiz-Peterson winner will be waiting for him. If he beats the winner of either two bouts (especially Bradley-Alexander), he’ll earn pound-for-pound status among the U.S. fans and boxing media and the drums might begin to beat for an eventual showdown with Mayweather. I think Khan has the talent and style to beat any of the top 140 pounders, but let’s all take it one fight at a time. He’s got to beat Maidana first.

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