Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

THE BIG WEEKEND

What's up Dougie.
What a weekend. Boxing fans were treated to some nice, meaningful fights. Here are my thoughts:

1. Abner Mares is a badass! If not for that cut he would have given the Raging Bull a reality check and stopped him late. He took all of Vic Darchinyan's blows while losing all that blood and kept coming forward, fighting out of his element. The kid from Guadalajara/Hawaiian Gardens is a badass!

2. Amir Kahn is tougher than we thought. He almost got KO'd and survived. However, I think all that dancing around the ring will not do him any good against guys with better boxing skills like Tim Bradley, Devon Alexander, and even Victor Ortiz, which brings me to my next observation.

3. What's up with Ortiz? I know Lamont Peterson's tough, but damn! He needs to finish the deal!

4. What about a Khan-Marquez fight?

I know, the last one is a stretch. What do you think, Dougie? — Miguel, LBC

I’ll answer your statements/questions in order, Miguel:

1. Mares is indeed a badass. Nobody, especially his fellow bantamweights, should be fooled by his boyish looks and charm. He’s had to grow up quick this year. The last 24 rounds Mares has fought (against Yonnhy Perez in May and Darchinyan on Saturday) were invaluable learning experiences that will ensure that he’s ready to take on all comers in the future. He’s dealt with just about every kind of adversity a professional fighter has to deal with in ring and he’s done so in tough fights with seasoned and confident foes. Fans can doubt Mares’ power or size but nobody can dispute his desire or his ability to take a shot. At 25, he’s my frontrunner to take over the bantamweight division.

2. Some might say that Khan’s questionable chin was exposed again in the 10th round of Saturday’s fight but I think he exposed his big heart by surviving that round and the following two to earn a deserved close decision. We will see how his very mobile stick-and-move style works against the likes of Bradley, Alexander and Ortiz. Khan, his management, and the folks at Golden Boy Promotions say those are the fights he wants to have in the next 12-18 months. Those are all even matchups but right now I think I’d go with Khan in each bout.

3. Ortiz has no one to blame but himself for that 10-round draw. He took his foot off the gas pedal after dropping Peterson twice in the third and waited until the final minute of the closely contested middle rounds to let his hands go. Hopefully, the draw will serve as another learning experience for him and he’ll try to have a more consistent offense in his next fight.

4. Juan Manuel Marquez is a fighter Team Khan has wanted in the ring for more than a year. They love that fight! Could it happen? It could, if GBP and Khan’s management can come up with enough money for JMM to take the obvious risk, but I hope it doesn’t happen. Stylistically speaking, I think the matchup is all wrong for Marquez.

OH WHAT A NIGHT!

Dougie,
What a night of fights! Mares showed a lot of heart and took punishment. He's quick and explosive, but I think he needs to focus more on boxing from the outside if he wants to have a long career. He trades way too much and has the ability to be a quality boxer puncher. Even though Darchinyan has never been my favorite fighter, I give him a lot of credit in changing up his style and boxing more than just going for the one punch KO. Vic is getting older so I don't think you can completely teach an old dog new tricks, but if he boxed even more, kept his hands up and was busier with much more combinations he'd be a lot more successful. He needs to stop thinking he's going to take everyone out with one punch because his two fights at this weight showed he doesn't carry his punch or it just doesn't have as much affect.

Agbeko fought beautifully. He boxed and brawled when he needed and if he's mentally there I'm favoring him over Mares. Perez needs to stop and take a breath in my opinion. He's long and has nice reach in the division and he should use his advantages. If he boxed from the outside, I think he'd have a much easier time.

Ortiz looked consistent and I had him easily winning. I didn't think it was that close and felt he was robbed. This was the least entertaining fight of the night, but I still enjoyed it except the decision.

I don't like to say someone is overrated, but Khan is very overrated. He has unbelievable speed and beautiful combinations, but in my opinion he just doesn't have the entire package. Maidana gained a lot of new fans. Too bad he faded a bit in the 10th because he had it. I had Khan winning by a point, but I thought a draw would have been nice. Khan ran at the end and reminded me a lot of his boss De La Hoya when he fought Trinidad.

I'd like to see Khan take on Ortiz next or have a rematch against Maidana. I don't believe he's quite ready for the Mayweathers of the world like he thinks. It was a solid fight and I think with the way it ended he didn't pick up any new fans. Most will say he was exposed, but I don't think he was. I think he's a good fighter with great speed, athleticism and that's it. He's not the next Paquaio or Mayweather. As of right now, I'd favor Bradley and even Alexander over him. Bradley I'd favor heavily. I'd even say Ortiz vs. Khan would be a toss up. Either or, I’d like to see Khan or Maidana vs Ortiz next. Awesome night of fights and an amazing December so far. Thoughts? — Michael, NYC

I think I was ringside for the more competitive bouts, which contained more sustained action, on Saturday (Showtime’s card in Tacoma, Wash.) but the HBO-televised fights in Las Vegas had very strong moments of drama (the third and late rounds of Ortiz-Peterson; the 10th and final rounds of Khan-Maidana).

I want to see Khan face the winner of Bradley-Alexander. Those young guns are the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 (Bradley, Alexander and Khan) junior welterweights, in my (and just about everyone else’s) opinion. I think Khan’s height, reach, speed, combination punching and mobility will trouble Bradley and Alexander. I’m not saying they can’t beat Khan but I’m not sure they can put him in the dire straights he experienced in the final three rounds of the Maidana fight. They are quicker, better-technical boxers than Maidana but they don’t have the Argentine’s brute physical strength, wild looping punches and KO power.

I agree it’s early to compare Khan to a Pacquiao or Mayweather, but that can be said of any young fighter in the game right now.

Anyway, I don’t think Khan is overrated. I think he has some defensive holes and technique (such as defending against and countering uppercuts) that he needs to work on but I don’t think he’s a lot of hype. I think he’s a good young titleholder and a legit top-five contender in a deep division.

Maidana was the third RING-rated contender Khan has defeated (and I scored it 114-111 for the talented Brit) since stepping up to 140 pounds (Andreas Kotelnik and Paul Malignaggi are the other two). He’s fighting a variety of styles and he seem serious when he says he wants to challenge the Bradley-Alexander winner. You can’t ask anything more of a young up-and-comer.

I give Ortiz credit for facing a young, hungry contender as skilled and talented as Lamont Peterson, but I do not believe he had an easy time against the Washington, D.C. native. I thought the draw was fair. I scored rounds two, five, six, seven, eight and nine for Peterson to end up with a 94-94 tally. Could rounds two, five and seven have gone Ortiz’s way? Sure, but Ortiz’s tactics are part of the reason many rounds of the bout were hard to score.

As for the best fight on Showtime’s card, I want to point out that Mares usually boxes more than he did against Darchinyan. I don’t fault Mares that much for getting caught with clean punches as many times as he did, I credit Darchinyan’s underrated speed, ring generalship and timing. Mares prepared for the aggressive version of Darchinyan that we usually see and he mostly worked a stick-and-jab strategy in tough sparring sessions with southpaw bombers Daniel Ponce de Leon and Giovani Segura. However, Darchinyan fought the smart fight that worked so well against Crisitian Mijares in 2008. He got on his toes and let the younger man come to him. Darchinyan is an excellent counter puncher. If he countered in combination he’d be able to take out bantamweights the way did flyweights and junior banties.

I also believe the cut Mares sustained in the first round effected the way he fought. The blood poured directly into his left eye and most of Mares’ gameplan was predicated on stepping to his left.

I was impressed with both fighters. I thought Darchinyan showed his maturity and Mares displayed his fighting heart. These attributes cancelled each other out in my opinion. I scored the fight a draw, 113-113.

Agbeko put on a clinic (except in the entertaining fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds when his fighting spirit got the better of him) as I knew he had the ability to do against a strong-but-one-dimensional pressure fighter like Perez. Yes, Perez is tall and rangy but that doesn’t mean he’s better suited to box from the outside. When he tried doing that in the final rounds against Agbeko he was dominated. He doesn’t have the speed and reflexes to fight “tall” and from a distance effectively (on the world-class level) in my opinion.

I think the fascinating finals of Showtime’s bantamweight tournament, Agbeko vs. Mares, is a toss-up fight. Agbeko is quicker, taller, rangier, more athletic, and perhaps more mobile, but Mares has the better technique and the more consistent offense. He punches in combination better than Aggreko (especially with body-head combos) and he can outwork the talented Ghanaian. But Agbeko might have more one-punch power than Mares and he just proved that he can outbox a relentless volume puncher.

I can’t wait for this fight. It might turn out to be a better bantamweight showdown than Donaire-Montiel.

KHAN FOUND OUT

Morning Dougie,
Well first effing off, majority draw in the Ortiz fight… WHAT?!!?!!?!?!!? I had him a fair few rounds ahead, I mean Christ – what were the judges on?!?! Poor kid, talk about getting done up the arse without lube.

As for Khan, well it was MUCH more fun than I thought his UD would be. But you know what, he struggled big time. He gassed, he got wobbled horrendously and got tagged way too much for what many people class as a “boxer.” If Maidana was less crude, a la Bradley, he wouldn’t have lost. I had him up 115-113, and that was including the s__t point deduction and the to be fair decent body shot.

I will eat my hat if Khan never gets stopped again, I mean Maidana loops his punches from fecking Australia and managed to get through more often than I thought he would. Be fun to hear the Khan twat hugging muppets claim he could live with the likes of Mayweather/Manny etc. Kid ain't as good in terms of ability as some thought.

Suddenly Team Khan will be viewing the winner of Bradley/Alexander with a whole lot less enthusiasm now. — Geoff, London

I hope you’re wrong about that. I hope they view the tough final rounds of his 12 rounder with Maidana as a growing experience and have more confidence to face the Bradley-Alexander winner.

Scheduled 2011 showdowns between the best of boxing’s deeper divisions, such as Bradley-Alexander, Montiel-Donaire, and Agbeko-Mares, are what’s going to elevate the sport. Khan vs. the Bradley-Alexander winner will excite fans worldwide.

So what if he was repeatedly wobbled by Maidana? Is Maidana weak? Is he a light puncher? No, he’s relentless brute with KO power in both hands. If he was more polished as you hypothesized (i.e., had a real jab instead of that shot put-launching motion he does with his left, textbook technique, balance, and the ability to cut the ring off) he’d be the freakin’ second coming of Julio Cesar Chavez. However, I’d like to give you some food for thought. It says here that his wide, awkward looping punches were the reason he was able to eventually reach Khan’s chin. I think it’s harder for orthodox boxers (see Kotelnik and Malignaggi) to get through to Khan than unorthodox fighters.

I admit that I’m smoking the same s__t the two judges who scored Ortiz-Peterson a draw were. I also admit that I don’t believe I can handle the hallucinogens the judge who had it 95-93 for Peterson was trippin’ on.

CREDIT TO KHAN

Dear Doug,
All credit to Khan. Yes, he ran late, but I thought (and I wrote to you predicting this last year) that one or two Maidana right hands would end his night. But he took some huge shots. I thought he won 114-112. I'd love to see a rematch, though that'll have to wait until he fights the Bradley/Alexander winner, a fight that must happen. How about Maidana/Ortiz II in the meantime? Take care. — Patrick

I would love to see Maidana-Ortiz II, but I’d rather see Maidana vs. Lucas Matthysse. Or Maidana vs. Brandon Rios.

Basically, Maidana vs. anyone he doesn’t have to chase around the ring to get a fight from is the kind of matchup I want to see the Argentine slugger in next year.

KHAN VS. MAIDANA, ORTIZ VS. PETERSON!

Hey Doug,
I just finished watching the Khan vs Maidana and Ortiz vs Peterson fights, and I gotta say that they were both good fights, but I liked the Khan vs Maidana matchup better and I think its a good candidate for fight of the year. I think Maidana had Khan out in the 10th round but he was just to tired to finish him, I would like to see a rematch. What do you think of a rematch?

On the Ortiz/Peterson fight, I thought Ortiz won that fight. I think Ortiz got robbed. So what do you think is next for all 4 fighters? Do you think Khan vs Marquez will happen if Pacquiao vs Marquez doesn't come through (which most likely is not) what’s next for Ortiz? — Jaime

According to Richard Schaefer, Ortiz might be next for Khan. However, Zab Judah was also mentioned as the possible opponent for Khan’s scheduled UK bout in April. If Khan-Judah is next. Ortiz has other options, including a rematch with Maidana that I’m sure HBO would be interested in airing, a matchup with Kaizer Mabuza for the vacant IBF strap, or even the winner of Bradley-Alexander (if that fighter doesn’t want to wait for Khan).

I don’t see Khan-Marquez happening. I don’t believe we’ll see him in a rematch with Maidana any time soon, either.

I think we’ll see Khan fight either Ortiz or Judah next and if he gets by one of those two power-punching southpaws (which is not a given) we’ll see him in the anticipated showdown with the Bradley-Alexander winner.

QUEEN KHAN

Hello Doug-
All of this talk of Khan becoming a possible superstar… delusional. Superstar? That's an elite group. Marcos Maidana was very slow, extremely hittable, didn't have much on his punches, below average technique most of the night, yet Khan couldn't take care of business. No doubt, Alexander and Bradley would annihilate Queen Khan. As would JMM.

Cortez was absolutely horrible tonight. Why were there no points taken from Khan for excessive holding during the final rounds (which would've made it a draw at the very least)? How many punches did Khan take in that round, unanswered? Would Cortez have let Maidana take that many punches unanswered? Of course not – he would've stopped it so as not to impede the Queen's “trajectory” to “superstardom.”

In the end, I'd like to salute Maidana. Off the top of my head, I can't recall a time when I've seen a fighter get up from a body shot that was enough to drop him, and then go on to basically stop a fighter (though Cortez robbed him of the win). He also seemed gassed from the get go. Hope he gets a better conditioning coach.

Ronnie The Conqueror. — St. Louis, MO

Maidana wasn’t “gassed” from lack of preparation. He was weakened from that hellacious body shot he absorbed in the first round — a punch that would have ended the fight against 90 percent of the top 140 pounders in the world — and the many hard jabs and right hands he ate during the fight.

Come on, man, give Khan some credit. He earned it just as much as Maidana did. Don’t call the man a queen when he’s willing to step in the ring with a monster like Maidana. He did the best he could and I thought he out pointed Maidana by three points. Did he get some help from Mr. Not-So-Fair-Or-Firm? You bet (just like Mayweather did when he fought Hatton). But you know what? Mayweather is still considered a superstar and that fight put him over the top in terms of that recognition and earning power.

I agree that it’s too early to call Khan a future superstar. He still has to prove that he’s the best in his own division. However, the man JUST turned 24. Time is on his side. If he keeps winning — especially against the best of the 140-pound division — the potential is there for him to be a star and from that plateau he can be a superstar.

I strongly disagree that Bradley, Alexander or Marquez would “annihilate” Khan. I hope we get the chance to see Khan prove me right against the young 140-pound beltholders but not against the aging lightweight champ.

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