THE FIGHTING GINGER
For what it's worth, I'm going out on a limb and saying that “Canelo” is the goods, and that he could grow to be a star that transcends our great sport. His skill set reminds me of De La Hoya (albeit a tad slower), and the people seem to respond to him in a way they haven't responded to a “fighting ginger” since the heyday of Danny López. So what if Merchant has a thing for “Canelo”? He once had a crush on an unknown wild Filipino southpaw, too, and look how that's turned out… The man may be, er, “polarizing,” but he knows a little about our sport.
2) Who are you picking in the Bantam tournament? I'm a so pumped-up about these two fights that I plan to TiVo Khan-Maidana and watch it afterwards. This is why it's a miracle our sport is still standing: the lack of centralization and the fact that everyone is looking out for his own interests can cause THREE major fights to be broadcast at the same time on separate channels. Anyways, I'm picking Mares and Pérez to meet again in the finals. Agbeko's inactivity will do him in, while I would figure Mares has seen tapes of the Darchinyan-Donaire fight and knows the Armenian is one of those southpaws who you can't miss with a left hook. The man has no jab to speak of, and instead moves forward with his right arm crooked and bent at the elbow. Donaire was hitting him with his left all night, and I expect Mares to do no different.
3) Being also a baseball fan (and, as a Met fan, ecstatic that the Minaya Era is over, but I digress…!), I care a little too much about the Hall of Fame, Dougie, but here are my two cents about the IBHOF: do away with the “we must elect an Old-Timer AND a Pioneer every year” requirement. First of all, all of these guys have been dead for decades, so it's not like they'll be thrilled and proud of getting in. Secondly, we're scraping the bottom of the pot with them at this point. The IBHOF has been around for twenty-plus years. If a fighter who last fought in 1942 hasn't made it by now, it's very likely he doesn't deserve it. These voters talking themselves into thinking that these guys' candidacies have somehow gotten better in spite of the fact that they haven't even fought in sixty-plus years is the jouranlistic equivalent of beer goggles. I mean, Rocky Kansas? Marcel Thil? Gorilla Jones? The sad thing is, in doing this, the Hall of Fame is under-representing Modern fighters, some of whom are deserving but having to compete with the more slam dunk/well-known candidates.
4) Lastly, speaking of the Hall, would you (or “will you”, if you do have a vote) for these guys: Riddick Bowe, Sven Ottke, Virgil Hill, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Glen Johnson, Antonio Tarver, Miguel Cotto, Naseem Hamed, Wilfredo Vázquez, Vuyani Bungu, Esteban De Jesús, Julian Jackson, Joel Casamayor, Howard Winstone, Myung Woo Yuh, Hilario Zapata, Johnny Tapia, Israel Vázquez, Mark Johnson?
Sorry about writing so much. I know this won't help my chances of having this posted in your mailbag, but I don't have a good batting average with you anyways, so it's not like I have anything to lose at this point, right? LOL.
Cheers and keep up the great work! — Carlos, San Juan, PR
Thanks Carlos. I’ll answer your rather lengthy but quality statements/questions in order:
1) Not all of the boxing media snickered at Merchant’s idea of an eventual Pacquiao-Alvarez showdown. RingTV.com columnist Eric Raskin’s interest was piqued enough to dedicate his column this week to the subject. I believe given another year-to-18 months to mature and develop (his popularity in the States as well as his skill/technique) Alvarez can make for a very strong B-side to a major Pacquiao PPV promotion. Will he have developed enough by then to really compete with the Pac-monster? I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong. I think Alvarez is a hell of a prospect/fringe contender. He possesses solid all-around ability and he’s definitely got heart and a fighter’s instincts. I don’t think he’s all that fast and I don’t believe his technique is anywhere as tight as the young De La Hoya’s. I’m also not sold on his chin and durability. However, we all have to keep in mind that the kid is 20. It’s too early to call him an overrated “hype” job or the next great Mexican champ or the savior of the sport. What Alvarez is at this point is a young fighter to watch in 2011.
2)I’m so pumped up about Showtime’s bantamweight tournament that I’m actually going to be one of the very few members of the boxing media to travel to Tacoma, Washington this weekend to cover the semifinals. I’m picking Abner Mares to win the whole thing, but I know the kid has his work cut out for him. Both semifinal fights are even-money matchups in my opinion. I think Joseph Agbeko has a good chance of evening the score with Yonnhy Perez in their rematch. And of course, with the Vic Darchinyan’s experience, awkward style and punching power, the Aussie-Armenian vet could catch and take out the young Mexican boxer. However, I think Mares is too smart to run into any big, crazy power punch. I also think he’s too big, strong, technically sound and versatile for Darchinyan. I think he’ll out-box Darchinyan and whoever wins Perez-Agbeko II.
3) I don’t have a problem with old-timers and pioneers being inducted in the IBHOF every year. One function of the hall of fame is to enshrine the best of the best of all time, but another purpose is to preserve the sport’s long and storied history. Most hardcore fans only care about the best fighters of their era, however a small but significant percentage of us diehards want to know everything about the sport’s history and deceased old-timers such as Rocky Kansas, who I believe is hall of fame worthy, are part of it.
4) Some of the names you mentioned are already on the ballot, such as Yuh and Zapada, both of whom always receive a check mark from Yours Truly. Tapia and “Too Sharp” Johnson will get votes from me as soon as their names appear on the ballot. DeJesus, Benn, Jackson, Hamed, Bowe, Casamayor, Eubank, Cotto, Tarver, Johnson, Hill and both Vazquezes will also eventually get checkmarks from me, though not necessarily first-ballot. Winstone, Bungu and Ottke? Mmmm, I don’t think so.
IS DONAIRE NOW P4P WORTHY?
Hey Mr. Fischer,
I’ve been aware of Donaire since he turned pro (in fact, I covered his pro debut at Hollywood Park Casino here in Inglewood, Calif.). I’ve always known that he possessed very special talent. I think he has top-five pound-for-pound potential but I still wouldn’t put him in my personal pound-for-pound top 10, even after Saturday’s sensational KO of Sidorenko. The former titleholder than Donaire smashed was sturdy and battle tested but he wasn’t a current top-10 bantamweight contender. Sidorenko was only one bout removed from back-to-back losses to Anselmo Moreno and he only fought once in 2009. Donaire beat a very a solid fighter in spectacular fashion, but let’s not get carried away. Sidorenko doesn’t possess the level of speed, power, technique (or even experience) that Montiel does. The Ukrainian was a step in the right direction for Donaire but Montiel, who I do rank in my P4P top 10, will be his true proving ground.
You gotta beat an elite (as Montiel did when he stopped Hozumi Hasegawa) before you can be an elite.
“EL CANELO” ALVAREZ VS PACQUIAO?
And of the current opponents currently being discussed for Pacquiao (if the Mayweather doesn't happen), who do YOU think he should fight and why? And what exactly is going on with “Perro” Angulo. I haven't heard anything on him. I like watching his fights. And do you see a Pacquiao vs. Martinez happening?
Who would you like Juan Manuel Marquez to fight if a fight with Pacquiao doesn't come through? I would like to see Marquez against the winner of Timothy Bradley-Devon Alexander? Marquez has proved he’s just too good at 135.
And what would be your top 5 fights to see for 2011? Thanks. — Jaime, Phoenix, Arizona
A few of the top five fights I want to see in 2011 have already been made. Nonito Donaire-Fernando Montiel is one of them. I’m really anticipating this bantamweight showdown after witnessing the frightening manner in which Donaire dispatched Wladimir Sidorenko on Saturday.
Humberto Soto-Brandon Rios is another one. Soto’s 12-round battle with Urbano Antillon was damn good. Soto-Rios might be even better.
Bradley-Alexander is another high-profile bout I want to see that’s been made. I want to see whoever wins the Super Six tournament fight Lucian Bute, and I think Showtime will see to that. I also want to see David Haye and Tomasz Adamek get it on in what I think would be a fun scrap between two small, top-10 rated heavyweights.
Call me crazy or sadistic (or both, I‘ve been called much worse), but I’d like to see Marquez fight his future hall-of-fame peer Erik Morales next year if “El Terrible” gets by Jorge Barrios this month. I think the champ is the best lightweight but I don’t believe that he lacks legit challenges at 135 pounds. I would LOVE to see JMM defend his RING title against whoever wins Soto-Rios.
I’d rather see Pacquiao fight the Bradley-Alexander winner than Marquez. I think the winner of that 140-pound showdown would be more competitive with the Pac-monster than Mosley, Marquez or Berto, even if they fight at welterweight.
I don’t see Pacquiao-Martinez ever happening. Pacquiao-Alvarez might happen in 2012 if “Canelo” can keep winning and continues to grow in popularity in 2011.
I don’t know what’s up with Angulo. I’m not even sure he’s in the country. I’m going to see his trainer Clemente Medina, who is also training Abner Mares, this week. I’ll be sure to ask him what’s up with “Perro.”
SICK OF THE PAC-FRAUD
There, I said it and the legion of Pac-Maniacs who believe he is the 'best pound for pound' fighter the sport has ever seen — or even just as laughable, on par with the great Sugar Ray Leonard (the best fighter I have been old enough to witness) — can pound sand for all I care. Once upon a time, Manny was a hungry killer who made his 'bones' on the storied carcasses of Marco Antonio Barrera, even convincing the Mexican bad ass to play it safety first in their re-match and subtlety focus more on surviving the 12 round distance more so than trying to win after being bludgeoned in their first encounter (and watching bitter rival — and one of the toughest modern warriors boxing has ever seen — Erik Morales take two frightening knockout losses in his return matches against Pacquiao). He wowed us in two thrilling see-saw encounters with Juan Manuel Marquez, all the while growing his legend, deservedly so, as the sports best fighter.
Hindsight being 20/20, the De La Hoya victory, as spectacular as it was, loses a little luster given Oscar's condition entering the fight but let's be fair, it was still a great achievement for a fighter of his size completely dominating such a significantly bigger and still somewhat skilled fighter. And while Hatton was coming off a stoppage loss to Maywether and had never lost at 140 lbs (feel free to woo over his victory over Paulie Wal-Nuts, I'll pass), it was still an electrifying knockout over a rugged foe, even though Hatton was also one fight removed from NEARLY BEING STOPPED BY A COMPLETELY USED UP Juan Lazcano, 'nearly' thanks in part to some helpful assistance to Hatton by the referee….
So what next? Manny has managed to set the new standard for greatness by fighting the LOSER!!! Cotto gets savagely beaten down by Margarito, so does Pac fight Margarito? Nah… instead he watches the Puerto Rican go life and death with Clottey in a fight where the Puerto Rican star appeared to be prepared to submit were he pushed hard enough and decides to add his scalp to his growing collection. Clottey meanwhile was so impressive in losing to a half-dead Cotto he instantly jumped to the front of the line after a fight with Mayweather couldn't be made and despite Clottey providing the blueprint for Arthur Abrahams's next two fights stylistically, while simultaneously trying to break Compu-box records for the fewest amount of punches ever thrown, the Manny-Love continued to grow. So Shane Mosley destroys Margarito. Does the best fighter in the world choose to fight Sugar Shane? Of course not, we are instead fed a story about Mosley being too big, after Shane agreed to do everything but enter the ring with one arm tied behind his back, yet low and behold after he served a suspension and looked oh so ordinary in his lone comeback fight, Margarito suddenly is the perfect 'challenge' for Super Manny. Though, if he was outweighed by Margarito by as much as 16 lbs, why wasn't he deemed 'too big'? Maybe because he was coming off a knockout loss where he looked like absolute dogsh%t?
So who's the frontrunner for the Pac-Man now? Mosley of course. He must look absolutely arrestable after losing just about every second of every round to Floyd Maywether and struggling to a draw against Sergio Mora. On a side note I understand loyalty in boxing is a naive, dirty word, but Mosley is showing a complete and total lack of class with his dealings with Golden Boy/Top Rank at the moment. Golden Boy made him relevant again. Before they brought him into the fold he was relegated to fighting on ESPN and no one cared about him. His pandering to Bob Arum and Top Rank is downright pathetic and quite frankly is something I would expect out of Mayweather, not someone with a reputation as one of the sport’s classiest ambassadors, but I digress.
When I first started reading you on Maxboxing I thought you had a nut for Mayweather given the way you critiqued his quality of opposition after moving up from 135lbs. But you know what Doug? You were right. And I'm not singling you out, but I want to know why the boxing media isn't as skeptical of Manny's quality of opposition? Why was Mayweather picking on a too small Marquez and Pacquiao-Marquez (even if its at 144 lbs, which from what I hear is a pipe dream, it’s 147 or bust) is a Superfight that needs to be made? Is it too much to want to see the supposed world's greatest fighter actually fight someone young/and/or full of momentum? Or does every opponent not named Mayweather have to be coming off a knockout loss?
I'm also sick of everyone blaming Arum for Pacquiao's choice of foes. Pacquiao is the biggest star in the sport, he could easily demand for Arum to make whatever fight he wanted too. But 'the so-called people's champion' and trainer Freddie Roach are clearly focused on taking the path of most cash and least resistance… — Tom G.
It looks like that’s the case now, but as you noted at the start of your dissertation-sized email rant, Pacquiao was once a fearless “killer.” He built up a lot of good will among fans and the media with his battles with Marquez and Morales and his upsets of Barrera and De La Hoya.
However, after scoring a one-sided victory over a disgraced fighter that most agreed was undeserving of the opportunity to fight the sport’s biggest star, I think the boxing media’s love affair with Pacquiao will sour a little bit if he fights the clearly fading Mosley next year.
If that fight is made you can expect to read a fair amount of criticism directed toward Pacquiao, Arum and perhaps even media-darling Freddie Roach.
Why does the media view Pacquiao-Marquez III as a super fight? Probably because aside from the troubled Mr. Mayweather, there’s no other available opponent who has an established name and is as accomplished as Pacquiao. When Arum and Mike Koncz walked by press row during Saturday’s Top Rank show in Anaheim, Calif., most of the writers wanted to know about the chances of a Pacquiao-Marquez fight. Both pooh-poohed the fight, which didn’t go over well with the media. I don’t want to see the fight at welterweight. But some writers — the same ones who pissed themselves over Mayweather’s one-sided points win over Marquez (and please don’t act like everyone dismissed that victory when it jettisoned Floyd to No. 1 on many P4P lists) — don’t know how much weight factors into a prize fight.
Bottom line: Pacquiao will get the criticism you think he deserves next year. You just have to be patient.
Having said that, I think you’re out of line a little with your criticism because your timelines are all screwed up.
You claim that Pacquiao avoided certain fighters (Margarito after he beat Cotto and Mosley after he beat Margz) but I think you’re forgetting the dates of those fights and the weights that Manny fought at around those months.
Margarito fought Cotto in July of 2008. Mayweather was welterweight champ at the time. He was the guy who needed to call out the winner of that showdown of the Nos. 1 and 2 welterweight contenders, not Pacquiao, who had JUST stepped up from the 130-pound division to claim a lightweight belt by beating up David Diaz one month prior to Cotto-Margarito. (Go look it up on Boxrec.com if your memory needs more jogging.) Why would you expect a guy who just won a lightweight title to call out the winner of a high-profile welterweight bout?
Mosley destroyed Margarito in January of 2009, just ONE MONTH after Pacquiao shocked most of the boxing world by beating up on De La Hoya. Pacquiao jumped from 134½ pounds to weighing in at 142 pounds to fight De La Hoya in a welterweight bout. Why would you expect a guy who just had his first welterweight bout (and who barely weighed above the junior welterweight limit for it) to call out Mosley after the veteran knocked out Margarito? Nobody even viewed the De La Hoya fight as a legit welterweight bout because of faded star’s wilted “condition” as you pointed out.
The truth is, the jury was still out on whether Pacquiao could really hang at 147 pounds until his fight with Cotto. You can criticize Pacquiao for fighting Clottey but the Ghanaian was a top-5 contender at the time, and he’d never been decisively beaten until the Filipino hero smacked him around for 12 rounds.
You can definitely criticize him for fighting Margarito, but in the aftermath of the failed Mayweather negotiations, who would you have preferred him to fight? Margarito was undeserving but his size, controversy and Mexican heritage helped sell the event.
Like I said, if the Mosley fight is made, have at him. Criticize away. You won’t be alone. However, I think you have less patience for Pacquiao than I had for Mayweather. I didn’t start criticizing Mayweather until he wasted two years (2003 and ‘04) fighting no-hopers and then fought hapless Henry Bruseles in early 2005. I didn’t really start to lay into him until after he wasted everyone’s time with a shot Sharmba Mitchell and then decided to fight Zab Judah after the New Yorker lost to Carlos Baldomir.
You act like there’s a double standard in the way the fans and some media deals with Pacquiao and Mayweather but that obviously goes both ways.