DIBELLA’S HBO DATE (MARCH 12)
I’ve been prompted to write to you, just having read Steve Kim's excellent article on MaxBoxing about Lou DiBella.
It has increased my respect for DiBella tenfold. Don't get me wrong, we all want to see the best face the best in this sport, especially nowadays, but entertainment (amongst other things) is what brings the crowd and what makes a memorable fight. DiBella seems to understand this.
Will we get entertainment with Sergio Martinez vs Sergei Dzinziruk? It waits to be seen. It is also an extremely clever move pushing John Duddy vs Andy Lee onto the March 12th card as well. This may actually be an HBO fight worth paying for, for a change! DiBella seems to care about the fans just as much as he cares about his pockets, which is more than we can say for some. (Stand up Bob Arum)
I myself am extremely excited about the Duddy vs Lee fight as an Irishman, however with Miguel Cotto fighting on the same night, I have to presume that Manny Steward will be thousands of miles away, in the corner with Cotto against Mayorga. This makes me worry as a huge Andy Lee fan. Nobody wants to have the biggest fight of their career (which Duddy will be for Lee) without their trainer in the corner! What's your say on the situation? In normal circumstances I would pick Lee over Duddy 8 days a week!
Thanks, Eoin (damn, if that’s not an Irish-sounding name, I don’t know what is). I’ll keep ‘em coming.
DiBella has his faults as a promoter but recognizing a good fight is not one of his shortcomings.
He understands what fans want to see because he is a fan. He’s also got a veteran matchmaker’s eye for how styles often play out in the ring. I think he knows that Martinez-Dzinziruk isn’t going to produce a classic Hagler-Hearnsesque middleweight war. Heck, he’s aware that it won’t remind anyone of any great tactical middleweight matchups in recent decades (such as Mike McCallum-James Toney I, one of my personal favorites). So, he did the right thing by ensuring that fans get at least one ring battle on HBO’s March 12 program — enter your countrymen.
I don’t know who the “armchair Nat Fleischers” are that Kim’s article says are “bemoaning” the Duddy-Lee fight, but I’m not one of them. I like the match-up and I think it will be fun.
I also think your boy Lee will have his hands full with Duddy whether Steward is in his corner or not. In Duddy’s mind, he’s the man and Lee is the boy, and he’s going to enter the ring with that kind of confidence (despite taking a bad beating to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in his last fight).
Lee should be fine as long as he sticks to his jab and keeps everything at a distance, but if he allows Duddy to get close (and drops his hands in an attempt to do that homage to Pernell Whitaker’s famous “dipsey-doo” that he sometimes does), he’ll pay dearly for it. Lee is far more naturally gifted and skilled than Duddy, but I think you know that John is the more durable of the two.
The answer to your question is real simple: he got old and he got his hands on a little bit of money.
Solis was 21 years old, and still literally hungry, when he blazed through his first World Amateur Championship, beating Ibragimov and Haye along the way.
Now he’s 30, and he’s got all those amateur bouts and a lot of heartbreak and stress (from defecting from his homeland and bouncing from South America to Miami to Germany and back to the States, while dealing with the usual BS boxing/promotional politics). Maybe eating a ton of candy is how he copes with it. I don’t know.
I’m not as impressed by Solis (as an amateur or pro) as you seem to be.
I’ve watched the Youtube video of his 2001 World Amateur championship finals victory over Haye that you spoke of and all I can think of is how lucky Solis was that he took that massive right uppercut from Haye in the first round in an amateur bout. Had he caught the same shot under pro rules Haye might have finished him.
I like the way Solis bounced right back by the end of the round and the pressure he put on Haye in rounds two and three, but that was a very amateur-style stoppage he scored. He wasn’t physically overwhelming Haye. He was taking over the bout with his punch output and dominating on points.
I think Solis had mad heart back in the amateurs and I love his volume punching, but he swatted too much with his shots for my liking, and I think he was a bit stationary. He certainly is now that his fighting at 260-270 pounds.
I think Vitali will do to Solis what he does to everyone when they meet. However, after watching that Youtube clip again, I wouldn’t mind seeing Haye and Solis go at it as pros. It might be a fun fight.
MORRISON & THE MAILBAG
Hey Dougie, how's life treating you? I hope all is well. I took this girl to see The Fighter on our first date and she loved it. She said that although she had never liked boxing, she would give it a try to watch a televised fight. So I invited her to my place for the season premiere of FNF and she really liked it. So I recruited a new fan, and started what should be a good relationship. Anyway, down to business.
1. I read in the Monday Mailbag that you were good buddies with Tommy Morrison (one of my all time favs and one of the most exciting heavyweights ever imo). What is he up to these days, I hope he is healthy and doing well for himself.
Your loyal reader — Tyler B., Tupelo, MS.
Hello my loyal reader. Good going on the convert. I’m going to try to take the wife to see The Fighter tomorrow night.
I’ll answer your questions in order:
1) Morrison’s not really my “good buddy” (so I guess that rules out him being my spiritual adviser), but I’ve met and talked to “the Duke” on a few occasions (we’ve even IM’d once) and I had the honor of sharing a dressing room with him and Riddick Bowe at a “celebrity” boxing fundraiser event in Monterrey, Calif., last March. He’s a true character. He’s fun to talk to because he’s such a good story teller. (And, man, does he have some crazy tales to tell.) I agree with you that he’s one most exciting heavyweights we’ve seen in a long time. He’s arguably the most exciting big man of the 1990s, which is saying a lot. Anyway, Morrison’s doing alright. He’s healthy and his mind is sharp. He’s working on a book/screenplay of his life, building his own gym (which he may have completed), and he’s even looking at fighting again (in New Zealand and Canada, if the Canadian boxing authority clears him). I’d prefer if Tommy stayed out of the ring and focused more on a broadcast career (which I believe he would excel at) but I wish him the best in whatever he does.
2) I’ve been to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., but never during the induction weekend. I hear it’s a blast and I‘d like to go soon. Maybe this year will be my first time.
3) Me too.
4) If I were a fighter my ring-walk music would constantly change depending on my situation and mood as well as the personality or style of my opponent. If I were a huge underdog fighting a big shot/millionaire/idol-type fighter (i.e., Floyd or Manny), I’d go with classic hip hop, such as “Mass Appeal” by the late great Guru (of Gangstarr) or “I Ain’t No Joke” by the immortal ‘R’ (of Eric B. & Rakim).
If I had an opponent that I didn’t like or who disrespected me in some way and I really wanted to beat his ass bloody, I’d walk out to some old-school metal from Metallica (probably something from the Ride the Lightning LP, like “Fight Fire with Fire“) or I’d go with something a little bit harder/meaner/darker such as
But I might also mellow things out with the walk-in music or go a more conceptual route if I knew that I needed to have a clear head and my emotions in check or focused in order to perform my best. I recently downloaded some old Pink Floyd albums from iTunes and “Welcome to the Machine” (from Wish You Were Here) and “Fearless” (from Meddle) are two songs I’ve enjoyed listening to while I work. I think it would different to hear this kind of music while a fighter enters the ring.
I apologize if this music selection isn’t contemporary enough for some mailbag readers. I’m 40, folks.
5) I’ve done this particular Top Five subject at least three times. It’s a broad one. Are you talking about all-time? Since I’ve been a fan? Since I’ve covered the sport? I’ll go with the top five since I’ve been a member of the boxing press (it’s easier), and it changes slightly every time I do it off the top of my head. I’d include Erik Morales-Juan Manuel Marquez (at 126 or 130 pounds, between 1999-2004), but I think we’re finally going to get this one in April. Anyway, here’s my list for this mailbag:
1. Shane Mosley-Steve Johnston (at 135 pounds between 1997-1999), 2. Floyd Mayweather-Acelino Freitas (at 130 pounds in 2002, after Popo narrowly out-pointed Joel Casamayor to unify two titles), 3. Naseem Hamed-Marquez (at 126 pounds between 1998-2000), 4. Johnny Tapia-Mark Johnson (at 115 pounds between 1997-1998), and 5. Fernando Vargas-David Reid (at 154 pounds, naturally, and before either fought Tito, so 1998-1999).
Alvarado was in jail for parole violations for a good portion of 2010, which is too bad because while he’s not the athlete that Mike Jones is, I think he looked more like a seasoned pro (at 140 and 147 pounds) than Jones does at welterweight.
He fought in November, so I assume he’s a free man again. I think I heard Bob Arum (his promoter) talk about putting him on the undercard of either the Fernando Montiel-Nonito Donaire card (Feb. 19) or the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga PPV show (March 12) at the recent Montiel-Donaire press conference in L.A.
I hope “Mile High” Mike, who’s only 30, can get his act together in 2011. I’d love to see him battle the likes of Lamont Peterson, Victor Ortiz, Brandon Rios, Lucas Matthysse and Marcos Maidana.
I agree that Jones needs to move to junior middleweight. Because he has to weaken himself so much to make 147 pounds, I think he’ll stink out the rematch with Karass. I don’t expect him to do much more than jab and move against the tough-but-limited fringe contender.
I didn’t mean to take up all your sweet time. I’ll give it right back one of these days.
I am also a Voodoo Child. I’ve got most of his music on tape (and, believe it or not, actual ALBUMS!) I’ve just begun to get his stuff off iTunes. In fact, I’m listening to “Gypsy eyes” from Electric Ladyland as I respond to your email.
Hendrix is a very special artist in that I honestly do not have a favorite song or album of his. I love every musical/singing genre/style he had and everything he ever put out. What I listen to depends on my mood. Right now I’m into Axis: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland because that’s what I've recently downloaded from iTunes. (“If 6 were 9” and “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)” are the songs getting the most play time.)
But next month I might be into Are You Experienced? or The Cry Of Love.
Anyway, I would never ask a Bieber fan “Are you experienced?” That line could be taken the wrong way and I might be accused of something that's illegal in most states.