BEST WEEKEND EVER!
Looking at HBO'S telecast first, the Victor Ortiz-Lamont Peterson fight on the surface should give us a better idea of where 'Vicious' Victor really is in the wake of his disaster against Marcos Maidana. Personally, I feel when a fighter submits the way he did against Maidana, it leaves a permanent stain psychologically and simply becomes easier and easier to do. But while Peterson is highly skilled, I think he might be a little too passive at times to take Ortiz back to that place in his head where he will start to doubt himself again. I see Ortiz taking a close, but clear decision.
I'm less sure about Amir Khan-Maidana. I am absolutely in love with Khan's size, speed, skill set and power @ 140 lbs. Simply put, I see him a lot like a poor man's Tommy Hearns. Because of his skill and size I find it difficult to envision someone like Devon Alexander or Tim Bradley out-boxing him @ 140 lbs. Instead someone is going to have to break him down physically and totally sell out in the process of doing it. LOL, it just so happens this is the one thing Maidana absolutely excels at. He's got one punch power in either fist and this coupled with Khan's questionable whiskers makes for a highly compelling match-up. I am picking Khan to win by decision, but I think his supporters and Golden Boy are going to be holding their breath for the entire 12 rounds, because while Khan could easily sweep every moment of every round, it'll only take one clean from the power punching Maidana to end things. Again, I feel really unsteady about this pick.
As for Showtime's card. Joseph Agbeko and Yonnhy Perez already gave us a barnburner the first time around and I see no reason why their rematch should be any different. Unfortunately for Agbeko, I see no reason why the rematch will go any differently. I just think Perez is a bad match-up for him.
As for Mares-Darchinyan? Well I'm picking Mares to win this thing, but you have to love Darchinyan's bad-ass attitude and the fact that he will fight anyone remotely near his weight class, well ANYONE except Nonito Donaire apparently, but who can blame the guy? Vic's a wild card in the Bantam tournament, but I think he has been slightly exposed as a guy who can be out-boxed by a talented, disciplined boxer at junior bantamweight and out-muscled at bantamweight, where his size is less formidable as seen in the Agbeko loss. I think Mares does a little bit of both and stops Vic late in a thrilling, but one-sided beatdown.
Agree/Disagree? — Tom G.
I agree and disagree with different parts of your analysis on the bantamweight fights. I agree that Perez-Agbeko II will be a barnburner like their very underrated first fight, but I’m not convinced that Agbeko can’t beat Perez. I love Yonnhy as a fan because he gets the most out of his ability, he’s willing to face the best in the division and he never half-asses it (not even for one round in a 12-round war — and he‘s had three of those in a row, by the way). I picked up him to upset Agbeko last October but I thought the fight was closer than the official scorecards indicated and I believe that with a few adjustments, Agbeko can reverse the decision. If Agbeko has the ability to mix a little bit of lateral movement in with his usual attack as well as the discipline to resist trading as much on the inside with Perez (which is the Colombian’s bread and butter) and throw more heat from the outside, I think the gregarious Ghanaian can out-point the unbeaten titleholder.
It all depends on Agbeko’s ability to adjust to a card-carrying badass. My gut tells me he can adjust better than Perez can.
I would be pleasantly surprised if Mares beatdown Darchinyan to a one-sided late-rounds TKO, but I‘m not so sure it will happen. Maybe it’s the 115-pound king’s unflappable confidence or just that crazy look in his eye, but seeing Vic standing around the Emerald Queen Casino hotel (I flew out to Tacoma Thursday morning) and hearing him talk at the final press conference yesterday has me nervous about picking young Mares to beat him. However, as you known, Mares is not your average 25-year-old boxer. This young man is a versatile fighter with a good jab, solid balance, underrated footwork, and beautiful, fluid body-head combinations. I still think he’ll beat Darch Vader tomorrow night but I think it’s going to be by hard-fought decision. I think Vic learned from his first foray into the 118-pound division, which means he’ll use his speed and underrated boxing ability as well as his power.
Regarding the HBO doubleheader, I also favor Ortiz over Peterson, who I have a lot of respect for. As you (and everyone else who watched his fight with Tim Bradley on Showtime last December) know, I thought he gave the undefeated titleholder a much sterner challenge than the official scorecards indicated. I was impressed with his body work and ability to adjust to Bradley’s stick-and-move game in the middle-to-late rounds. I think Peterson will test Ortiz as no other post-Maidana opponent has, but I think the spacey favorite of Golden Boy’s stable will prevail by boxing a disciplined fight (akin to the Campbell fight) and gradually imposing his greater size and strength on Washington, D.C. native.
In the main event in Las Vegas, I think Khan keeps Maidana at arms length and keeps moving around the slugger for six or seven rounds until he begins to break down the Argentine badass. Once his jab begins to make Maidana woozy, I think Khan will put more combinations together and even step to the KO king periodically in an attempt to score a stoppage. I don’t think he’ll get the KO but I think he’ll get an impressive ‘W’.
Of course, the awesome thing about all four fights on HBO and Showtime is that I would not be surprised at all if the guy I’m picking against won. I wouldn’t be shocked if the “underdogs” in each fight won in dominating fashion. You gotta love it!
DUMB FAN STATEMENTS
1) Wlad and Vitali should fight each other: this one blows my mind. As someone that has boxed before (if only recreationally), I can say only a true idiot that has never stepped in the ring could manage to say something this stupid. Boxing is fighting. The hits are real. These guys aren’t gonna go in there with headgear and white tipped gloves and try to outpoint each other to see who has more skills. They are pros that fight for 12 rounds with little 10 oz gloves and try to knock their opponent out. Every time the Klitschko brothers fight, they do so accepting the risk that at the very worst, they may be killed or that they may kill their opponent (rare, but it happens in boxing). How anyone thinks that they should get in the ring and assume that risk against their own brother is beyond me. “Hey Mom, I accidentally killed little/big brother in a boxing match today because I really wanted to win”. Get out of here with that crap.
2) Wlad and Vitali are scared of anyone in the current heavyweight division: LOL.
3) Manny Pacquiao going up some 40 lbs over the course of his career and still being fast/strong means he is on steroids: as a former somewhat high level athlete (all-district HS basketball) that works out a lot, I can easily vouch for the fact that with supplementation, and proper tweaks to dieting and training, some people are genetically able to bulk up very quickly. I’ve gone from about 155 lbs to 200 lbs in less than 3 months before by eating more, using creatine, and adjusting my workout routine. Speed and jumping ability completely retained. To think Pacquiao couldn’t do the same thing over years (instead of months) under the guidance of world class strength and conditioning coaches is idiotic. Only a couch potato that has never picked up a weight in his life would be so in awe of something like that that they’d have to cry steroids.
4) Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather is the best boxer of all time: psh. Pacquiao routinely fights outgunned opponents with name recognition to make the most money (hey more power to him), and his matchmakers are so protective of him it makes me want to throw up. But I guess fighting those guys is still better than fighting your baby mama or a rent-a-cop. LOL. Hard to make a case for either being the G.O.A.T.
OK so that’s only 4, but my rant was getting sorta long-winded. There are too many idiotic ideas among boxing fans to cover here. Was wondering what your faves were, I know you must have some awesome ones. Keep up the good work Doug, love reading the mailbag. — Nick, Austin, Texas
Thanks for writing in and for the kind words, Nick. There’s nothing “awesome” about some of the dumb things some hardcore fans spew on message boards and boxing forums. I get tired of idiots.
You touched on the main ones, which I’ll comment on:
1) Fans who want to see Wlad and Vitali fight in a real 12-round heavyweight championship bout are sick. Period. There’s a reason brothers fighting each other in professional bouts is almost unheard of (heck, it’s against the rules of many amateur tournaments).
2) Anyone who thinks the K-Brothers are ducking anyone or scared to fight any heavyweight contender in the world is simply deranged, however, I must admit that I don’t get many emails stating such nonsense. Even American fans who can’t stand the way the Klitschkos fight are finally giving the giant Ukrainians their due these days. I actually think there are a few decent heavyweights out there (well, more like a couple), but I would favor either K-Bro to beat David Haye, Tomasz Adamek and Alexander Povetkin without much trouble.
3) I’ve gone over the “Pacquiao on PEDs” B.S. in my mailbags too many times to go through the reasons I believe Manny’s clean here, but in short I’ll just say that while the accomplishments and performances of the PacMan are amazing, they’re not impossible or unprecedented.
4) Ugh. I think these statements get on my nerves more than the usual dumb fan talk (such as calling close fights “robberies” when they disagree with the verdict) because most of the people who claim that B.S. haven’t done the homework to support their opinion. If they have a solid grasp of boxing history and actually know the names, accomplishments and fighting styles of more than 15-20 hall of famers, I can respect their opinions even if I disagree. However, when a fan says Mayweather is the G.O.A.T. but can’t put together an all-time pound-for-pound top 10 without including Roy Jones Jr. or Mike Tyson; or when a Manny-ac claims that Pacquiao could have defeated any welterweight in history but can’t name more than three or four 147 pounders in the hall of fame — I have no choice but to dismiss and ignore them. If fans want to place their favorite fighters in an “all-time great” context it’s up to them to do the necessary historical research to support their boasts, otherwise I think they deserve the ridicule they get from a__holes like myself. LOL.
Anyway, the reaction some fans had to Klitschko’s withdraw from Saturday’s scheduled title defense did not surprise me at all. Fans (and media for that matter) either love the Klitschkos or they hate them. If you hate the K-Brothers you’ve had a difficult time coming up with something to chide them about apart from their “boring” styles or the fact that the rest of the division kind of sucks in comparison to them (which is really a compliment). So when one of them pulls out of a fight (and this was the first time Wladdy’s ever done so as far as I know) it gives embarrassed David Haye fans (yes, he actually has fans in the UK) a chance to strike back at the online Klitschko supporters who have been calling their man a “chicken s__t” for the better part of the last two years.
I wouldn’t pay them any mind if I were you. And to be honest, I wasn’t paying the Klitschko-Chisora fight any mind before it was canceled/postponed. That matchup pitted the best heavyweight champ since Lennox Lewis (or at least since his brother was “the man”) against a bona fide prospect with 14 bouts. That fight was not going to sway my attention from the bantamweight and junior welterweight fights happening tomorrow night.
MAIDANA BY KO
Like I stated earlier in this mailbag, I would not be shocked or even surprised if that happened. Maidana is a relentless, hardnosed, hard-punching S.O.B. Guys like him (and the late Edwin Valero) have a way of breaking down superior boxers and technicians. I’m sure it sucks to be the guy trying to outbox dudes like that but it’s fun for the fans.
I’m not convinced as you are that Maidana can cope with Khan’s jab, but I hope you’re right because there’s a chance that the British star turns this fight into the track meet he made of his title-winning bout against Andreas Kotelnik if the slugger can’t get past the left stick.
By the way, full props to you in the Monday mailbag if Maidana pulls it off.
I think it’s a fascinating matchup that a lot of hardcore fans would be into but I don’t think there’s much of a chance of Maidana getting a shot at the Pac-Monster, even if he destroys Khan in one round tomorrow night.
For starters he’s promoted by Golden Boy in the U.S. and Arum has made it pretty clear that he’s not doing any co-promotions with GBP (or any other promoter not named Fernando Beltran for that matter). Then there’s Maidana’s crossover appeal. He doesn’t have any. If he destroys Khan he’ll be an underground hero to hardcore heads and to the legion of Khan haters out there but he’ll still be another faceless Latino slugger to casual fans. If the Big Bob Man thinks Juan Manuel Marquez lacks the name recognition and fan following to qualify for a third crack at Pac, what chance does Maidana have getting the green light?
And then there’s the weight. Pacquiao and his peeps say he’s a natural junior welterweight at this stage of his career but he refuses to fight at 140 pounds, where Maidana is at his best. I don’t think he would pass up on an opportunity to make Pac-money just because the fight was set at welterweight but ya never know. Maidana might draw the line at Team Pacquiao’s catch-weights demands where other fighters haven’t.
TSZYU VOTED INTO THE IBHOF
While I feel Kostya Tszyu had HOF-caliber talent, I think his professional resume is a bit thin, compared to guys like Chavez. The signature wins of his career are guys like Zab Judah, Sharmba Mitchell and Rafael Ruelas. The way he went out in his last fight left a bad taste in a lot of peoples' mouths.
With Tszyu being voted into the Hall of Fame, I'm wondering who are some other fighters from his era that are on the bubble? Who among the following is going to make it, and who can you add to this list?
Add Casamayor-Corrales-Castillo to that list. In their case, I think if one of them gets in, they all get in. — gopal rao
I didn’t consider Tszyu to be on the “bubble” because of his amateur accomplishments. It’s the International Boxing Hall of Fame, not the Professional Boxing Hall of Fame. The amateur credentials of those worthy enough to be on the ballot matter in my opinion. Tszyu was a 1988 Olympian, the 1989 and 1991 European Amateur champ, the 1990 Goodwill Games gold medalist and the 1991 World Amateur champ. He compiled a reported 259-11 record and defeated many of the top Cuban, Russian, European and American amateurs, including Vernon Forrest (in the finals of the ‘91 World Championships).
He went 12-2 against world titleholders during his pro career. By the way, you left out Miguel Angel Gonzalez, who he thrashed worse than Oscar De La Hoya did. You also failed to put some of his signature victories in context. He was the underdog in the fight with Judah, who was undefeated and on some P4P lists at the time. We can all say Judah is a flawed talent now, but at the time nine out of 10 boxing writers (and no, I wasn’t one of them) thought he would wipe his ass with Tszyu. He was thought to be a future superstar in 2001 when Tszyu blasted him. He was also the underdog in rematch with Mitchell, who was dangerous when Tszyu fought him.
Anyway, that’s my opinion. I’ve been Tszyu fan since he fought Juan LaPorte in his fourth pro bout.
All of your “bubble” fighters will eventually get checkmarks from Yours Truly, some before others. “Too Sharp” will get my vote as soon as I see his name on the ballot because in his prime (mid-to-late 1990s at 122 and 115 pounds) he may very well be the be best all-around fighter I’ve ever seen fight live. Hamed already got a vote from me. The dude won every major featherweight title and knocked out many underrated fighters such as Wilfredo Vazquez, Manuel Medina and Steve Robinson (yes, I’m telling you that Brit was a very solid belt holder). Casamayor will get a vote from me soon after his name appears on the ballot because of his excellent amateur credentials (which includes a gold medal in the ‘92 Olympics) as well as his two victories over the late “Chico” Corrales. He’s not a first-ballot inductee in my opinion but I think he eventually deserves to be enshrined. Same deal with Marquez, Wright and Glen Johnson, all of whom will eventually get my vote. Marquez for his victories over Too Sharp, Tim Austin and the Vazquez trilogy; Wright for his dominant victories over future HOFers Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad (and I thought he beat then-undisputed middleweight champ Jermain Taylor); and Johnson for his longevity and victories over Roy Jones and Antonio Tarver.
The other guys (Hill, Forrest, Corrales, Castillo) will eventually get my votes but it might take a few years. Chico will get my vote before the others for his victories over Casamayor, Castillo and Acelino Freitas, and for obvious sentimental reasons.