Doug Fischer

Dougie’s FAT Friday mailbag

UTTER DISGRACE TO OUR SPORT

Morning Dougie,
Well the inevitable has happened, Manny Pacquiao has gone for another weak option. It is an utter disgrace and a black eye for boxing.

Shane Mosley will be a few months shy of 40.

He wouldn't have won for 2.5 years.

He couldn't get past or even remotely impress against the average Sergio Mora. Don't even get me onto the pasting he suffered at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr.

You (and others) made excuses for Antonio Margarito's showing against Mosley, seeing as though you borderline tried to make that bout a null 'n void Mosley hasn't produced a decent performance since fighting Luis Collazo, who was apparently injured from memory. That was in 2007.

Pacquaio and his handlers (and especially his fans for now doing a U-turn on Mosley and now how dangerous he is) are an utter disgrace to the sport for taking this fight and trying to talk it up as some sort of competitive “could go either way” fight or spouting other bulls__t.

What about Andre Berto? As unproven as he is at least he's in his prime? Heck, what's so wrong with the winner of Devon Alexander v. Tim Bradley? He wouldn't meet Juan Manuel Marquez @ 140 and I wonder why that is?

Team Pacquiao have given boxing a big black eye, end of in my opinion. — Geoff, London

Your opinion is shared by many fans and members of the boxing media, Geoff.

Pacquiao-Mosley doesn’t give boxing a black eye in my opinion but maybe that’s because I intend to turn a blind eye to the fight and instead focus on the competitive matchups that have already been scheduled, such as Bradley-Alexander and Montiel-Donaire.

However, whether we choose to ignore or pay attention to the May mega-match it can’t be denied that the fight will do very little for Pacquiao’s legacy and it won’t do much for his future marketability if Mosley gets in the ring and seemingly forgets how to fight as the near-40-year-old vet did in his last two bouts. If Pacquiao wins his third consecutive one-sided 12-rounder, why would anyone in his right mind order his next pay-per-view fight?

I realize “anyone in his right mind” excludes a lot of the Pac-maniacs but it describes most of the casual fans that Bob Arum says he’s going after with the Mosley fight. Maybe Arum is correct to assume that the general public recognizes Mosley more than Pacquiao‘s other potential opponents, but if the casual fans that bought the Clottey and Margarito pay-per-view shows watch the Filipino hero use an aging Sugar Shane as a punching bag for 12 rounds my guess is that they are going to assume that whoever Manny fights aside from Floyd Mayweather is going to get dominated and they are not going to want to pay to watch his next fight live. They’ll be more than content to watch the replay on HBO, if at all.

Regarding Mosley’s recent track record, I think his close points loss to Miguel Cotto in November of 2007 (which occurred after the Collazo fight) was a very good performance even though he didn’t get the nod against he 30-0 Puerto Rican star in NYC. Although Mosley faced a less-than 100-percent version of Margarito (and I’ll stand by that observation), he still took care of business and knocked the tough S.O.B out. And given Margarito’s straight forward, busy style, Mosley probably would have whupped a perfectly healthy version of the TJ Tornado.

But that was then, this is now, and right now Mosley looks like an old fighter who can’t pull the trigger on a quick, mentally sharp foe who either sticks him with a hard, constant jab (as Mayweather did) or constantly changes position (as Mora did, quite effectively in my opinion). Pacquiao does both of those things very well and he does so with power and from a southpaw stance.

It doesn’t look good for Mosley. I’m not saying that he can’t be competitive. It would be foolish of Pacquiao, Roach and Arum to overlook Mosley. The gutsy Southern Californian has sort of been Top Rank’s kryptonite ever since he stepped up from the lightweight division. He twice derailed the De La Hoya express (back when Oscar was Arum’s Golden Goose). He destroyed Margarito right after the mauler had become Mexico’s flagship fighter. He almost upset Cotto after the Puerto Rican had finally replaced Felix Trinidad as the island’s big ticket-seller at Madison square Garden.

Still, like you, I can’t ignore the poor form he showed three of his last four bouts (don’t forget he looked like ass against Ricardo Mayorga) or the fact that he was winless in 2010.

Would Andre Berto have been a better opponent? On paper, yes. In the ring, I think no. It would be a blowout in my opinion. Berto went life and death with the same guy Mosley comfortably beat in early 2007. You struggle with Collazo, you get killed by Pacquiao (just ask your boy Ricky Hatton).

I think Juan Manuel Marquez at 140 pounds would have made for the perfect big event given the Cinco de Mayo weekend date of the fight. It’s got everything: the heated rivalry storyline with their first two bouts, the competitive and entertaining style matchup, and the Mexican fan support. However, this fight only makes sense to me if it takes place at junior welterweight (and I would hope Marquez would weigh-in under 140 pounds). Why Pacquiao and company refuse to even consider fighting Marquez at 140 pounds (instead of the 144 or 147 they stipulate) is a very good question. The answer is obvious: they want every conceivable advantage against their aging but still-dangerous nemesis.

Another good choice for Pacquiao’s first fight of 2011 would have been the Bradley-Alexander winner. Bradley and Alexander are young, athletic, skilled, and accomplished. Plus, the winner of that fight will break into most pound-for-pound lists.

Pacquiao did not have much of a selection thanks to Mayweather’s well-publicized legal problems but in choosing Mosley he’s created a so-called big fight that I could care less about and many fans (like you) are downright upset about.

LOOKING FORWARD TO MAY 7TH

Hi Dougie,
I see the latest strop-frenzy match up has landed in the form of Pacquiao–Mosley. Personally, I’m quite looking forward to it. Critics are calling it a huge mismatch, that the contender has done nothing to deserve this matchup and that he may get seriously hurt. I see it a little differently. I think that none of the so called ‘deserving contenders’ have any more chance of beating Pacquiao than Mosley does. Memories are short in boxing and Mosley is only two fights removed from being a guy you wrote would ‘break Manny in half’ and that Roach wouldn’t touch with a barge poll. Sure, he got wiped out by Mayweather but so did Marquez (who’s now considered the mutt’s nuts and Pacman’s no.1 contender despite the weight). Mora was just wrong for Mosley from the beginning.

I’m not saying Mosley wins but Pacquiao represents a fighter who is a stylistic match for Mosley and it’s an opportunity for the Sugar Man to bow out on a high and with decent pay check. I think you’ll agree; few deserve it more.

I’m pretty excited about Haye vs Wladimir Klitschko and apparently negotiations are going well. Casual fans this side of the pond seem to think Haye is the second coming of Mike Muhammad Ali Tyson and he’s milking it for all it’s worth. I for one want to see him get KTFO so I can enjoy the peace and quite for a few minutes. How do you see this one going, has Wlad got this one in the bag or do you think Haye has picked his brother wisely?

Thanks for the good reading; it eases me through my working week.

Merry Christmas. — Rich, Cumbria, UK

Merry Christmas to you too, Rich. It makes me happy and proud to know that the stories on Ringtv.com are a good part of your work week.

You make a good point about memories being short in boxing but I’d like to remind you that A LOT can happen in this sport in a relatively short period of time.

When Mosley smashed Margarito (January of 2009), Pacquiao had just stepped up from lightweight to fight De La Hoya at welterweight (December of 2008). The Pac-monster dominated the Golden Boy but he only weighed in at 142 pounds and he beat up on a dude Mosley had twice defeated. In my mind, and in the minds of most rational observers, Pacquiao was still unproven at the higher weights. So if I said Mosley would “break him in half,” you better believe that I meant every word

However, in the near two years since that Mosley-Margarito, Pacquaio has proven to be a formidable welterweight as evidenced by the beating he gave Cotto, while Mosley has clearly declined, in least in terms of his reflexes.

So you can’t hold me or anyone else to something we said or wrote about a potential Pacquiao-Mosley match up two years ago. A lot can change about a fighter and a potential matchup in that time.

I agree that Pacquiao’s aggressive style presents opportunities for Mosley that he didn’t have against the more defensive-minded Mayweather and Mora, but you shouldn’t forget that the Filipino icon is an aggressive boxer. He doesn’t just come forward or stay in the pocket. He darts in and out and around his opponents while dishing out a lot of very hard leather.

Pacquiao does represent an opportunity for Mosley to bow out with a big payday, which I think he deserves, but the P4P king also represents a potential beating for the veteran, and I don’t want to see that.

Regarding the Klitschko-Haye talks, I hope they are successful for two reasons: it’s a heavyweight showdown that will get people talking on both sides of the Pond and it’s an opportunity for Haye to back his big mouth up. I can’t stand fighters who talk s__t without taking risks in the ring.

I think Haye picked the more vulnerable brother but I still see him getting blasted by the champ.

MAYWEATHER'S FAULT?

Hey Doug,
So of course the talk in the boxing world is Pacquaio/Mosley is a done deal. And critics are knocking hard including myself. Like what Kevin Iole said, this fight is pure garbage. Back when Mayweather fought Mosley, many people were saying that Mosley's old including Arum. Now that Pacquaio's fighting Mosley, it's one of Pacquiao's most dangerous fights. I don't get the hypocrisy that goes on and the lies the people truly believe.

And when the critics are knocking at the door and saying this fight is no good, many people point the finger at Floyd Mayweather. True, Mayweather is at fault for the Pacquiao/Mayweather fight not happening but the Pacquaio/Mosley fight is all Pacquaio's fault. He's the one that chose to fight Mosley. He could've easily picked someone else. Then the argument is “well if Mayweather will stop doing this and that and fight Pac then this fight would not happen”. No one pointed a gun to Pacquiao's head and told him to pick Mosley or to even fight at all. Maybe Arum did…. who knows. I just don't think this has anything to do with Mayweather, yet his name still comes up constantly.

Pacquaio could have prevent the critics by picking someone other than Mosley or he can just not fight. He is a congressman. Can't he just go and be a congressman if the Mayweather fight is to never happen? Everybody has said that the only person left to fight for Pacquaio is Mayweather. So if Mayweather doesn't come along, then why continue to fight? He might as well go on vacation with Mayweather and enjoy the millions they both have already made. — Andrew's rant, SF, CA

Mayweather’s name doesn’t pop up over here, Andrew. Unless that guy has a credible fight lined up I’m more than happy to ignore him and allow him to hopefully get his personal s__t together.

I agree that Mayweather has nothing to do with Pacquiao-Mosley. Pac’s the man. He’s makes the ultimate decision in who he fights. And you know what? I agree with you 100 percent that it would be better for Pacquiao to take a vacation than to fight a sub-par opponent.

Why? Because most of the media that covers the sport will drop everything and focus mainly on Pacquiao-Mosley stories at least four weeks prior to the bout. During that time (the month of April) there might be a few significant bouts (such as the finals of Showtime’s bantamweight tournament) that will be ignored by the boxing press. That’s not right.

In fact, it kind of pisses me off that the damn fight was made just before the end of the year. Now everyone is talking (or complaining) about a fight that won’t take place until May instead of joyfully anticipating good matchups such as Bradley-Alexander, Montiel-Donaire and Agbeko-Mares.

NOT MAD AT ARUM

Hey Dougie,
So I'm not mad at Arum for making the Mosley fight. I'm not sure how many fights guys who are mad have seen, but “slick defensive #1 lb 4 lb” and “tall middleweight coward” aren't exactly accurate measuring sticks for gauging Mosley's chances against Pacquiao, who's still very much a volume brawler. Mosley's a complete question mark, but he's not DOA.

I also don't think Berto or Marquez are as good of alternatives. Berto is a bum and has his hands full every time he steps up to the B+ level, and Marquez (who beat Pac both times) has just gotten older. I'd hate to see Pac get a KO over the same Marquez that Katsidis put on the mat, and watch idiot “boxing fans” immediately revise their memories of what happened in the first two fights. It happens all the time (Toney-Peter II), and Marquez deserves better than that. At least with Mosley we get a guy who may or may not still be (but at least at one time recently was) faster and more powerful than Manny. In my opinion, if the Mosley who fought Margarito shows up, we've got the upset of the year. If the one who fought Floyd shows up, we've got a really good fight. I don't think its likely that Mosley is so far gone that he can't out perform Berto.

There are two things I'm afraid of about the new format The Ring's taking. (1) Round card girl of the month is just corny. Spoiler alert, the internet is full of everything naked, in every sort of naked way ever conceived of. It's stupid for HBO to go out of their way to avoid showing the call girls between rounds, but it's just as stupid for you guys to go out of your way to show them. (2) Please don't let the “free flowing” style of writing mean, “blog” style. Blogs are free. If I pay newsstand price, I want something written by a guy who was at work, not at Starbucks.

Take care Dougie and Happy Holidays. — Todd

Happy holidays to you too, Todd.

While I respect your right as a fan to give Arum a pass on making Pacquiao-Mosley, to look forward to the fight, and to view the old man as a credible opponent, I have to toss a few counter points at some of your statements.

You say: “Mosley's a complete question mark, but he's not DOA.”

I say: Why would anyone want to pay $50 to watch Manny Pacquiao fight a “complete question mark”? No, Mosley is not DOA but let’s all pray that he doesn’t wind up DAF (I’ll let you figure out that acronym).

You say: Pacquiao is “still very much a volume brawler.”

I say: You’ve been missing out on something very special for the past three years.

You say: “with Mosley we get a guy who may or may not still be (but at least at one time recently was) faster and more powerful than Manny.”

I say: Mosley’s hand speed hasn’t been close to Pacquiao’s since 1990s. And ask Miguel Cotto who hits harder. Ask Antonio Margarito whose punches are more damaging.

You say: “if the Mosley who fought Margarito shows up, we've got the upset of the year. If the one who fought Floyd shows up, we've got a really good fight.”

I say: If the Mosley that faced Margarito shows up, he’s STILL got problems because he ain’t facing Margarito. He’s fighting Manny-freakin’-Pacquiao! If the Mosley who fought Mayweather shows up fans will witness a 147-pound version of Holmes-Ali.

I sincerely hope that does not happen.

Regarding THE RING’s new format, the rumor is that the company plans to save money and hopefully boost sales by firing the magazine’s staff and having the ring card girls pen monthly blog items. I’m kidding. I’m kidding.

Dude, don’t let a couple of cheesecake ring card girl photos turn you off on THE RING’s new look. I don’t care for that kind of stuff either. If I want to see some “T-n-A” I want to see everything, if you know what I mean. Back when I used to buy SI (were going at least 20 years ago — pre-internet) I used to think their swimsuit issue was a silly waste of time. It was kind of insulting, I thought. It was like the publisher assumed that all sports fans are men with the mentality of first-year frat boys. Not all sports fans fit that description, but you know what? Many of them do. I don’t have a problem with some boxing fans enjoying the sight of some sexy ring card girls in THE RING as long as there aren’t so many pics that they detract from the mag’s editorial content, and I can assure you that the new feature will not.

As for the writing, I guarantee you that the standard will remain the same. The stories will not read like internet blogs. The magazine will remain worthy of its newsstand price (and if you elect to purchase the new digital version of THE RING you can get it for much cheaper, $2.99).

END OF THE YEAR TOP FIVE

Hey Dougie,
I'll keep it short and sweet.

What were your top five fights of 2010 and who were your top five fighters of 2010?

Have a good Christmas. — Toby, London, UK

Thanks Toby, I will. And thanks for keeping it short.

My top five fights: Marquez-Katsidis, Soto-Antillon, Segura-Calderon, Escalante-Roman and the four-round Fight Night Club opener between Oscar Andrade and Ramon Valadez.

Before you say that Andrade-Valadez doesn’t belong check out the 12-minute barnburner on this Ustream.tv broadcast of the July 22 FNC (just scroll to 30:20 of the stream because there were some delays to the start of the show).

Honorable mention: Burns-Roman, Kessler-Froch, Perez-Mares, Mares-Darchinyan, and Hasegawa-Burgos.

My top five fighters: Sergio Martinez, Fernando Montiel, Juan Manuel Lopez, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Bernard Hopkins.

Honorable mention: Manny Pacquiao, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Giovani Segura, Hozumi Hasegawa, and Toshiaki Nishioka.

THANKS FOR YOUR WRITING

Dougie, Michael, Eric and Bill,
Thanks heaps for your writing in 2010 both on RingTV.com and in The Ring magazine. Your insights and analysis kept me well informed and your angles and thoughts made me ponder the fight game on a deeper level. I also appreciate the humour each of you allow in your writing and podcasts, it is very entertaining. And you guys always tell it how it is and keep it real. I love that!

Thanks heaps Dougie for including me in some of the Mailbags.

It was great to see one of your articles, Michael, in the February print issue of The Ring. I hope to see one of your articles in there one day, Dougie.

Congrats to Bill for winning (I think) the RING Theory quick picks competition. It was very close and a point or two either way in close fights could have seen Eric victorious. I really enjoyed the podcasts and hope they continue in 2011.

2010 had a great finish to it so lets hope the momentum runs into 2011 and early indications are that they will.

Enjoy the festive season, be safe and merry.

Regards. — Choppa B, Sydney, Australia

Thanks for the many kind words for the RingTV.com and RING magazine staff, Chop. It means a lot to us.

We will continue to deliver quality writing, boxing coverage and analysis in 2011, and as far as I know, RING Theory will return next year, too — probably with more guests given how well this year’s final episode with Jim Lampley did.

Happy holidays to you too.

GOLDEN BOY VS. TOP RANK

I've been reading about the GBP-Top Rank feud for a few weeks now in the boxing press.

Let's say the companies put aside their differences and put on one big “GBP vs Top Rank” show on PPV, featuring fighters from each stable matched up against fighters from the other stable.

What fights would you want to see on that card? — gopal rao

My dream would be an eight-bout extravaganza with the first four fights on network TV or basic cable and the last four on the pay-per-view show.

The headliner would be Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather at welterweight, of course. It’s THE fight that the general public wants to see and the winner will give us a real welterweight champ and let the fans know who is truly the best boxer, pound for pound, on the planet.

The co-featured bout would be a showdown between Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez at 154 pounds. The fight is a natural attraction with plenty of storylines (Puerto Rico vs. Mexico, veteran vs. up-and-comer, Cotto’s revenge for Canelo knocking out his older borther, etc.) and the matchup of styles should produce plenty of action.

The next bout would be Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Humberto Soto at lightweight. This 135-pound showdown will deliver everything that makes boxing great: skill, technique, aggression, footwork, versatility, courage and non-stop action.

The PPV opener would be a grudge match between Victor Ortiz and Brandon Rios at 140 pounds. ‘Nuff said.

The network/basic cable portion of the card would be headlined by Kelly Pavlik vs. Librado Andrade in a 168-pound bout. It’s not the most significant bout in the world but it’s a must-win fight for both young veterans and it pits a troubled but likable former middleweight champ against clumsy but classy super middleweight perennial contender. If nothing else, they’ll beat each other up and then say nice things about each other after the fight. General sports fans like that stuff.

The co-main would be Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin at 160 (or a few pounds heavier if the “son of the legend” can’t make middleweight, which he probably won’t). They should make for a good fight. Chavez Jr. is more experienced and a better technical fighter but Quillin is the superior athlete and a harder puncher.

The other bout would be Vanes Martirosyan vs. Erislandy Lara for a 154-pound alphabet title. The two undefeated former amateur stars believe they are ready for the world. Fine, let them prove it against each other.

The opener would be a light heavyweight bout between Norte Dame grad Mike Lee and teenage amateur standout Trevor McCumby (and it says here that these raw white boys would steal the network TV/basic cable portion of the show with a wild four-round war).

Well, whaddaya think? I’d have no problem buying tickets to this show.

MAILBAG RESPONSE

Dougie, you know you are my boy and I really respect your writing and opinions, and I'm not (usually) a radical. Boxing is subjective, but BHOP won that 12 rounder my man. He jumped on Pascal's a$$ to start off the round after building to a crescendo with punishment over the last 9 rounds, he battered Pascal around the ring, did you see the dejected look on his face? Yes, BHOP got tired toward the end and could not finish him in the 12, but he went for it, he tried and he was punishing him for most of the round. Yes, over the last several seconds of the round Pascal tried to mount a rally, but come on, BHOP won that round.

Probably over the years you have learned that I like that old dude, but like or not, he absolutely schooled Pascal, if it were not for the knockdowns it was a route and not even close (obviously there were knockdowns). One judge (the one who scored 10 even) actually had round 1 10-9, because BHOP wasn't hurt and it was illegal/borderline illegal. By the way, Pascal landed a number of rabbit punches throughout the fight. BHOP fought surprisingly clean as he normally does in his biggest fights (Trinidad, Pavlik, Pascal) and put on one of his best performances.

George Foreman said years ago, “watching Bernard Hopkins is like watching a how-to-instruction on boxing”. This was some old school s__t man. Dude, did you see how he went to the body, to the head, head, back downstairs, he was lifting him of the canvas with some of that s__t! He was twisting and turning and landing blows, he was setting traps and just walking him into s__t, hard s__t. At one point Tarver said “ding, school is in session”. He completely figured Pascal out and dominated him. Pascal was confused and had NO answers.

Yes, Pascal did the Jermain Taylor, “youth aggression” throwing wide, wild, bolo punches to excite the crowd and occasionally landed one, but he was not putting anything together, he was not mounting an attack, it was just one and done, and normally at the end of a round.

You're my man and we can agree to disagree, but BHOP won that fight. I'm just a fan of that old school boxing, taking a man to school, completely shutting him down, Toney, Mayweather, Hopkins. At one point in the fight he was just toying with him…

PS…there is a BHOP and Shaw interview on Boxingtalk. BHOP is fighting for the title with or without Pascal. WBC is mandating rematch, if Pascal fights Dawson, he has to give up the title and BHOP fights for it. Shaw said, with or without the title Pascal is fighting Dawson next. It looks like either way BHOP will fight for and WIN the title in his next fight! — JCB (an old school a$$ kicking fan)

Don’t get over-excited. The WBC’s president said he thinks there should be a rematch but he doesn’t plan to force one.

Hopkins is indeed a master, old-school boxer. He can also be rather clumsy in the way he sometimes lunges in with his shots. He always keeps his chin tucked when he steps forward, which is good, but he also comes in with his head down. His opponents claim this is an attempt to head butt but it also results in the rabbit punches he often absorbs. Yes, I’m saying that Hopkins is at least partially to blame for some of those shots that land towards the back of his head.

Regarding the fight, though I was in awe of Hopkins’ effort I just don’t agree that he “completely figured Pascal out and dominated him” as you say.

However, I think any scorecard favoring Hopkins by one or two points is totally legit. He won most of the rounds after the third, but not all of them.

His aggression was most effective in rounds four, six, seven, nine and 11 — all of which I scored for him. But the other rounds — yes, including the 12th — were competitive and could have gone to Pascal, who landed the harder single shots in those stanzas.

Re-watch the 12th. Hopkins bulls Pascal to the ropes early and lands mauling-type shots but he was repeatedly nailed cleanly on his way in and took more flush shots in the final minute. It wasn't a one-sided round and it wasn't a one-sided fight in my opinion.

I'm not saying that you or anyone else who thinks Hopkins deserved to win is wrong by any means but I gotta call 'em like I see 'em and I saw a competitive fight that went Pascal's way because of the knockdowns Hopkins suffered early in the bout.

I also hope you don't think I was replying to your email with any anger or frustration. I was just poking fun at all of the F-bombs you dropped in the email, which had me rolling to be honest. (I see you’ve toned it down to S-bombs for the holidays, nice touch.)

It's good to see that B-hop rekindled some passion in you and others. We'll miss him when he finally hangs up the gloves.

Anyway, happy holidays to you and your family.

B-HOP NOT A TOP 20 ALL-TIMER

Doug i like ya but your maths is screwed up as far as your Hopkins Pascal scorecard is concerned, and Bernard Hopkins as a top 20 all timer is a huge insult to so many great fighters. Hopkins became a middleweight champion after Roy Jones vacated the division for a mega fight with James Toney, and Jones had few problems cruising to a UD over a peak Executioner. Can you imagine any other all time great crawling around trying to draw a DQ the way Hopkins shamelessly did against Joe Calzaghe? — Ben

Hopkins would not make MY personal all-time top 20, maybe not even my all-time top 30, but given his accomplishments I think one can make the ARGUMENT. He is one of the best middleweights of all time (is he not?). He holds the record for title defenses (correct?). He dominated and was unbeaten at middleweight for more than 10 years (1994 to 2005, am I making that up?). He has fought a number of fighters who will definitely be inducted into the hall of fame (Jones, Trinidad, De La Hoya, Calzaghe) and a few who will likely be inducted (Tarver, Johnson). And then you have his excellent track record at an advanced age (facing the likes of Tarver, Wright, Calzaghe, Pavlik and Pascal — giving them all hell). I think it's easier to ARGUE (key word, here) that he belongs in the top 20 than it is to argue that he DOESN'T belong. Right?

Anyway, happy holidays, and thanks for sharing your opinions with me.

DEXTER?

Your mailbag had me rollin Doug. A boxing writer and fan who is squeamish! Now that’s a good one, hahahaha.

I thought BHop edged it out, but it could have gone either way, a draw is not unfair.

The big question about Pascal is this Doug. I know he’s no hall-of-famer, but will he be the same after fighting BHop? I saw a seriously dejected cat post-fight, and the look on his face between rounds spoke volumes. Pascal was a cat who came in with all the confidence in the world, but he did not look like that after the fight. I think Hopkins plays with cat’s minds, not just before fights, but during the fights also. Even those who don’t take a serious beating don’t seem to be the same afterwards, and by that I mean the same as whatever they were before.

Peace. — Steve

Yeah, I don't mind blood in the boxing ring as long as the fight is competitive but I can't stand all the torture and cadavers Hollywood churns out in flix like “Saw” and decent TV shows like “Dexter.” There is much to American pop culture that I just don't get (poker, rims, UFC, Justin Bieber) that I don't get, but the whole torture-zombie-murder fascination truly escapes me.

Anyway, only time will tell if B-Hops' boxing lesson mind-f__ked Pascal the way he did poor Kelly Pavlik.

He does get in guys' heads more than most fighters. I can tell you from personal experience — being around him as an enemy and as a friend (well, ally or co-worker, I don’t think he has or wants friends) — Hopkins is a master intimidator. It's one of the things he was born to do. He does it well and he LOVES it.

Some guys who believe they are fearless lose an edge when a guy reminds them that they are human.

I hope that's not the case with Pascal. This sport needs as many regional attractions as it can get.

Hey, if we don't correspond before the end of the year — happy holidays to you and your family, Steve. Hopefully I'll see you at some of the fights next year.

HOPKINS WOULD HAVE WON IN U.S.

Dear Dougie,
The first knock down didn't seem right to be against Bernard. The second-plausible. Bernard won the fight, though. Still pretty incredible in that he got a draw in a foreign country. He would have won in the US. Your thoughts? All the best. — Brij

I think Hopkins probably would have got the nod in the U.S., and if that happened my inbox would be full of emails from pissed off Canadian fans asking me how the hell a guy can take a title after being dropped twice and losing at least five rounds.

I thought the first knockdown was an “iffy” call. I don’t think a shot to the ear is an illegal blow. The punch was not delivered directly to the back of Nard’s skull as everyone is saying. It landed on his ear towards the back of the head. I think its up to the referee whether or not to call a knockdown on a borderline punch like that. It shouldn’t have been shock to Hopkins or anyone else that the call would go against him in Quebec.

What do you mean the second knockdown was “plausible”? Uh, dude, it was more than plausible, acceptable or reasonable, it was 100-percent legit. Pascal landed a left to Nard’s chin and the old man sank to the canvas. He wasn’t hurt but it was a knockdown, pure and simple.

I agree that getting a draw in Quebec after two knockdowns is an amazing feat.

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