Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday Marquez Mailbag

AN HONOR TO WATCH MARQUEZ-KATSIDIS

Wow, what a fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Michael Katsidis! I feel honoured to have witnessed these two fighters give their heart and soul in the ring. I can only thank them for making it such a great fight.

However, for me, the best part of the night did not happen during the actual fight but in the post-fight interviews with Larry Merchant. I was overawed by the respect each fighter showed to each other; it demonstrated that trash-talk and insulting your opponent is not an essential part of boxing. And I'm not ashamed to admit that I welled up when Katsidis started addressing his brother, Stathi. It was a truly a night where boxing was at it's absolute best in terms of action and emotion. — Joe T.

I can’t state it any better than you just did, Joe. That’s exactly how I felt about the fight and the post-fight comments from both ring warriors.

I’ve covered the ups and downs of Marquez’s career since 1998 and I’ve always been impressed with the manner in which he conducts himself in and out of the ring. I wasn’t able to be ringside for his courageous performance in the first Pacquiao fight (May of 2004) because my first daughter had just been born but I’ve been there for most of his significant bouts of the past four years — starting with his 2006 shootout with Thailand’s ultra-tough Terdsak Jandaeng — and it’s been a honor to witness his ring craft and underrated valor. His victory over Marco Antonio Barrera, the rematch with Pacquiao, the first fight with Juan Diaz and Saturday’s showdown with Katsidis all left me in a state of awe.

I have to give a lot of credit to Katsidis for bringing the absolute best out of a great fighter. I hope he learns from this loss and rebounds to face the likes of Humberto Soto, Urbano Antillon and Brandon Rios.

BIG BOXING SATURDAY

Hey Doug,
What a night! Wife out of town, pizza and beer, and 5 hours of good boxing on the flat screen. Some quick impressions for you:

Having seen Arthur Abraham vs Miranda and Taylor, I viewed him as this oncoming, inevitable destructive force but Carl Froch made him look quite ordinary. Far from the shootout I expected, Froch showed patience
and boxing skills I did not know he had. His next fight with Glen Johnson sounds interesting but I am afraid that Johnson may suffer the fate that has befallen so many good boxers who get old all of a sudden. You've seen it. They are great one fight and the next, it is gone. They never know when they are going to climb those steps and they are done as fighters. I just have a feeling.

You have to give it to Andre Ward for taking a tough opponent like Sakio Bika when he really didn't have to. He got the win but it wasn't pretty. Their styles did not make for a good fight and he was lucky to get out with as little damage as he did.

On to HBO. I really enjoyed Jason Litzau's win over Celestino Caballero. The kid really went for it ignoring the 13 to 1 odds against him and took it to his man. If he had been wearing something other than the Lonsdale gloves he might have done more damage. He deserved the win and I hope he makes some real money next time out off of this performance.

Andre Berto sadly didn't actually prove anything with his one punch first round KO.

As Larry Mercant commented, it was more about the other guy folding than it was about Berto's ability. What do you think Berto should do next to make his case about his place in the division?

In Marquez-Katsidis I think I saw the fight of the year. I thought Paquiao-Maragrito was a clinic on boxing technique but Marquez' skills were truly awesome and exciting to watch. The kind of stuff that makes me glad to be a boxing fan. It was amazing the way he slipped in that left hook to the body and countered with it to the head. He’s one of those guys we need to appreciate while he is still out there doing it. I am glad the ref stopped it to save Katsidis from further punishment. All in all, a terrific night for fans. I now look forward to Khan-Maidana (another shootout).

I think Pascal-Hopkins will be a snooze fest. Bernard hasn't been in an exciting fight since Trinidad and I don't think Pascal has what it takes to get him outta there (unless Hopkins gets old all of a sudden). Whatta YOU think? — David, Nashville

If Pascal-Hopkins turns out to be a snooze fest we can expect to see a 45-year-old man crowned as the light heavyweight champion of the world. It’s Pacal’s job as the younger (28 years old) and more athletic defending champ to make the fight as fast paced as he can. If he can’t set the tempo, he’s gonna have a hard night against Oldman Nard.

Marquez-Katsidids is the Fight of the Year in my opinion. The sustained high-level exchanges from rounds three through eight surpass the action I saw in my other candidates (Escalante-Roman, Segura-Calderon and Burns-Martinez).

I’ll be shocked if Khan-Maidana delivers as much intense, close-quarters action as Marquez-Katsidis did. I’m more excited about the bantamweight fights taking place on the same night (Dec. 11).

I respectfully disagree with Merchant’s opinion of the Berto-Hernandez KO. It wasn’t about Hernandez “folding.” Hernandez was KTFO. Period. Berto did what he was supposed to do in beating the unworthy title challenger, but he did it in the most dominant manner possible. He knocked out a dude who was on a 13-bout unbeaten streak and had never been dropped or stopped in a pro bout. I’m not saying we should all kiss Berto’s stocky ass after this victory but we shouldn’t totally dismiss it, either.

What should Berto “do next to make his case about his place in the division?” How about fight Luis Collazo, who I thought out-pointed Berto by a 115-113 tally last January, in a rematch?

I was also happy to see Litzau (who I did not count out, by the way) get the well-deserved decision over Caballero and I hope he can make some decent money in his next fight. Perhaps he can parlay his back-to-back victories over Rocky Juarez and Caballero into a title shot against Japan’s Takashi Uchiyama, who holds the WBA 130-pound title. (The WBA currently ranks Litzau at No. 3 in it’s super feather rankings; maybe the American Boy will get a bump up to No. 1 or 2 after Saturday‘s upset.)

I thought Ward got the job done against a tough, experienced and awkward opponent but I’m beginning to wonder if any style makes for a good fight against the undefeated titleholder.

Though I was extremely impressed by Froch’s performance Saturday I think Abrham helped the Englishman look good by keeping his punches on lay away. Let’s not forget that Froch was lucky to get the decision against Andre Dirrell and he legitimately lost to Mikkel Kessler. Don’t count Johnson out. Even at age 41, the Road Warrior can take a shot and he always lets his hands go in a fight.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Dougie,
What a performance!! I was against a Pacquaio-Marquez third match until I saw that AMAZING Fight of the Year!!! Katsidis pushed Marquez to
greatness!!! — Joe, Columbus Ohio

I’d tell you to settle down, but Marquez deserves all the accolades and enthusiasm he’s received after yet another breath-taking performance. However, I have to remind you that Marquez’s best recent performances (his late-rounds TKOs of Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz and Katsidis) took place at lightweight and he was either just narrowly ahead or dead even on the scorecards at the time of the stoppages.

At 135 pounds, Pacquiao-Marquez III is a fight for the ages. At 140 pounds Marquez would be at a distinct disadvantage against his Filipino rival. At 147 pounds, I think the fight is a disgraceful mismatch.

I don’t think Freddie Roach or Bob Arum will allow Pacquiao to weigh-in lighter than 144 pounds to fight Marquez. If I were advising JMM I’d have him pass on Pacquiao at welterweight and fight Erik Morales at 135 or 140 pounds. I don’t agree with the pundits who slam this potential fight. If El Terrible beats Jorge Barrios he’ll have proven to me that he’s got enough left to make a fight out of a Marquez showdown. I think the two Mexican veterans would put on a good show. Morales has too much pride not to put forth a gallant effort against a fighter than many (myself included) believe he ducked.

GREAT WEEKEND

Doug,
Hope all is well with you.

What a great weekend of boxing. Upsets, comebacks, and a boxing lesson… from Carl Froch of all people.

Juan Manuel Marquez remains my favorite fighter for all the tools he displayed against Katsidis. He's tough, incredibly resilient, an absolute master boxer, and he's fun to watch. The man is a surgeon in the ring.
Katsidis deserves a lot of praise as well. He gave it everything he had.
Where do you see the fighters going from here?

Isn't it time for Andre Berto to fight someone in the top 5 at welterweight?

I was happy for Jason Litzau, who I figured had no shot against Caballero. Caballero looked awful.

Sakio Bika-Andre Ward looked like it belonged in a Glasgow head butt competition. That was a truly ugly fight.

Who knew Carl Froch could box? That was an absolute schooling of a guy who has not been as advertised. Normally when Abraham is being outboxed like that, he still looks like he knows he's going to catch and hurt his opponent. The last half of that fight, Abraham looked totally lost.
I don't know how Froch does it, but no one can execute their game plan against him. He always winds up drawing them into his fight.

Also- if you know anyone at Showtime, please ask them not to seat Carl's girlfriend anywhere near the announcers. She is ridiculously hot, but he voice could shatter glass.

And if you see him- please tell Gus Johnson to shut up. His job is to describe the action and ask questions of the analysts. Nobody gives a f__k what a neophyte like him thinks.

Sorry for the length. — Matthew

Maybe Showtime will consider replacing Johnson with Froch’s girlfriend… on second thought, that’s probably not a good idea.

Froch boxed the most discipline bout of his career against the right opponent. Good for him (and bad for my pre-tournament prediction that Abraham would win the Super Six). The more I watch Fight Camp 360 (which is excellent), the more I like Froch and want to see him succeed. His intelligence has been underrated up until now. If he beats Johnson and Ward defeats “Armadillo Abe” it will be fascinating to see how the two of the smartest super middleweights in the game match wits in the ring.

Ward-Bika was indeed awkward and ugly. However, did anyone expect anything more of the matchup?

I didn’t pick Litzau to win but I did not think Caballero would knock him out and I didn’t count the naturally heavier fighter out. Caballero did not do himself any favors by coming in heavy or by fighting cautiously in the opening rounds of the bout. I don’t see how he or his representatives are going to lobby featherweight showdowns with JuanMa Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa after Saturday’s performance.

The last time Berto fought a real welterweight contender (Collazo) I thought he got beat, however, I thought he showed balls down the stretch and made for a hell of a fight. I’d like to see him take on one or more of the Puerto Rican trio of Collazo, Miguel Cotto and Kermit Cintron at 147 or 154 pounds next year.

Marquez has been one of my favorite fighters since his cold-blooded KO of Terdsak Jandaeng in Lake Tahoe in August of 2006 (that double right — uppercut to overhand — he used to take out the Thai badass is still one of the best combos I‘ve ever seen). I think we’ll see Marquez fight Morales at 140 pounds next May and then defend his lightweight title against Robert Guerrero in September.

I’m not sure what Katsidis does next but I’d love to see him battle fellow lightweight pressure fighters Brandon Rios or Urbano Antillon (perhaps after one of them relieves Humberto Soto of his WBC title)

JMM IS THE MAN!

Yo. Seriously. JMM IS THE F___ING MAN. Where the hell did that come from??? A boring outboxer turned risk taking counterpuncer turned laser-accurate phone both fighter? Are you kidding me?!?! What a f___ing performance! That's pretty much the full extent of my thoughts on the clear fight of the year. Holy s__t. From time to time boxing will kick you in the nuts, steal your groceries and then slap your sister, but on nights like tonight I wouldn't trade it for anything else. I had NO IDEA JMM had the ability to implement such a badass fight strategy, yet the rugged piss-drinker looked like a lightweight Bernard Hopkins or Andre Ward out there. Give that man his money. — JK

B-Hop and Dre wish they could fight as furiously as JMM does.

I agree that Marquez’s style transformation (especially at this stage of his career) is amazing. I once called him “Yawn” Manuel (after his boring shutout of Victor Polo on the Corrales-Castillo I undercard in 2005). However, after he seemed to fins his inner warrior after he was jobbed against Chris John in Indonesia. It’s like he vowed to bring his own judges to his fights from that point on. God bless him, because he goes about getting his scalps with world-class technique and style.

The only reason I care to see Marquez fight Pacquiao at a ridiculously heavy catchweight is the ridiculously large payday he’ll receive from the high-profile showdown.

SECOND-TIME EMAILER

Hi Doug,
Second-time e-mailer, I hope this will be my 1st time published. I read your mailbags and ringtv.com so much at work that I won't be surprised if they end up blocking it.

Were the IPAs clouding my vision, or was Katsidis throwing right hands with hopes of landing an elbow after the follow-through? He appeared to be throwing chicken-wings at Marquez. In any case, Marquez was quoted as calling Katsidis “valiant” and that is a most fitting description. How can I tell I'm watching a dy-no-mite fight?… I say “damn” as often (and with the same inflection) as Jim Lampley says “bang!” That was the best fight that I've watched all year.

I didn't watch his fight but I'm happy for Litzau; that guy deserves some luck.

Lastly, why doesn't anybody call out Pacquiao for reverse weight discrimination? He makes Cotto and Margarito come down, and now, via Coach Roach, refuses to fight Marquez below 147? I am sure that there will be plenty of catch-weight jokes written about Pacquiao (a-la Eddie Murphy saying Rocky Marciano beat Joe Louis when he was 90-years old, or something like that, at the end of Coming to America)… and when I think of one, I'll let you know. — BK

Pacquiao commands enough money and has reached a level of fame that enables him to set certain stipulations for his fights that only stars such as Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya have been able to pull off in recent years.

Antonio Margarito probably made as much as $6 million fighting Pacquiao. Think how well a Pacquiao-Marquez III PPV will do and how much money JMM would make from it? Maybe it’s worth it to him to allow Pacquiao to weight as much as 147 pounds in order to make eight figures. I’d rather not see him get his ass kicked by the Filipino hero but it’s Marquez’s call.

Should we make jokes about negotiating power Pacquiao and his representatives currently wield? Maybe. But I think we should wait until we know who he’s fighting next. If it’s Marquez and the fight takes place above 140 pounds I know he’ll be heavily criticized by the boxing media and hardcore fans.

Yeah, it did appear that Katsidis was throwing “chicken-wing” right hands (and occasional right elbow follow-ups) at Marquez‘s noggin. So what? You didn’t hear the champ complain about anything did you?

JMM'S ALL-TIME RANK AMONG MEXICAN FIGHTERS

What's up Dougie?
What can you say about Dinamita? As the fight went on, (after the knockdown and everything) I was telling my peeps that it was a replay of his first fight against Juan Diaz.

So now we beg the question, where does JM Marquez rank among the great Mexican fighters? I gotta tell you bro, he's top five if not top three in my book right behind JC Chavez and Salvador Sanchez. I know, Ruben Olivares and Pipino Cuevas were badasses, but how many fighters have you seen counter punch and throw those wickedly accurate combinations throughout a fight…much less a Mexican fighter, who for the most part are brawlers? He won titles in three different weight classes, gave Pacquiao fits to the point where Freddy Roach doesn't want to get near him unless he blows himself up to 147 (like Fraud did), and has beaten the best in his division. The guy is just awesome, and as a true boxing fan, I'm sure that you agree. Peace out Dougie. — Miguel, LBC.

If you go by his accomplishments and longevity I think Marquez is arguably among the top 5 Mexican fighters of all time, however, I’m sure there are more than a few historians who would dispute that argument. There have been many great fighters from Mexico. I’m sure you know about Chavez, Sanchez, Olivares and Finito Lopez but check the records and biographical info on Baby Arizmendi, Vicente Saldivar, Carlos Zarate, Kid Azteca, Enrique Bolanos, and Miguel Canto before you definitely plac JMM in your top three of all time.

I’ll say this about Marquez, he’s definitely pulled ahead of the best Mexican fighters of his era, which includes Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Jose Luis Castillo, and Jorge Arce. I think he’s more accomplished than Humberto Gonzalez and Daniel Zaragoza, both of whom are already in the hall of fame. That’s saying a lot.

I think if Marquez had the opportunity to fight both Naseem Hamed and Morales during his featherweight prime he would have defeated both men and many would consider him to be in the class of Chavez today.

Can he do enough now to equal the great Chavez? Maybe. If he were to beat Pacquiao and/or win a title in an unpredicted fought weight class (by defeating the Bradley-Alexander winner for THE RING 140-pound belt) that might do it.

PUT JMM BACK TO NO. 3 P4P

Wow Dougie,
Juan Manuel Marquez is class personified. In the last mailbag you stated how privileged you felt to watch him perform live. I felt that way just watching him on TV.

He is by far and away my favourite fighter to watch. He posses all the weapons and knows when and how to use them. I was hurting just watching those awesome left rips to the body literally break Katsidis down. His counter punching and combination punching are the best in the business. Marquez has great toughness, tenacity, courage and intelligence. And God Bless him for being willing to demonstrate his sublime skills for us to enjoy against all comers.

JMM back to number 3 on the pound for pound list please. Heck, I don't have a problem with putting him in pole position on the list.

I was rooting hard for my boy Katsidis and got very excited at his knockdown of Juan Manuel. But Marquez is in another league. There is no disrespect in losing to him. I don’t mind admitting that I was getting choked up listening to Michael's post-fight interview with Larry Merchant. Hold your head high Katsidis! Thanks Dougie. — Choppa B. Sydney, Australia

He is, Choppa. Katsidis appeared to be in good spirits after the fight (I saw him and his mates at the Rouge lounge in MGM Grand a few hours after the fight on Saturday).

He knows as you know (and everyone else should know) that he lost to very special, arguably great fighter. And he knows he gave the champ a run for his money in a hell of a fight. He’ll be back.

For the record, I never dropped Marquez from the No. 3 spot on my personal pound-for-pound top 10 as I explained in last week’s Monday mailbag (scroll down to the fourth email titled POUND FOR POUND for my reasoning).

I think his body of work over the past three or four years outshines the impressive last three fights of Sergio Martinez.

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