Doug Fischer

Dougie’s FAT Friday mailbag

ANY QUESTIONS?

Hey Doug.
As a boxing columnist you heard and read them all before. The same old questions over and over again. What's the best fight you ever saw? The best fight that never happened? Who was really the one and only G.O.A.T.? Who would have kicked whose ass between Manny Pacquiao and Henry Armstrong? Muhummad Ali and Joe Louis? And so on and so on.

Time for some role reversal, Doug. This time you ask the questions. The other big twist will be that I'll already have the answers listed right here. You just have to think of a question that will match. Ready? Fire away:

1) Hagler-Hearns
2) Ray Robinson scrapes up the canvas with each one of them. On back to back nights even.
3) Let's go with Joe Frazier-Earnie Shavers.
4) Just about any fight that involved John Ruiz.
5) Carlos Baldimir.
6) Muhammad Ali would have lost a close one.
7) Ricky Hatton wins. Barely.

Well, that wraps up this session, Doug. Thanks for the questions. Glad I had the answers for you. Have a good one! — Todd Johnson, Orillia, Canada

This is a neat idea, Todd (good enough to earn the top spot of my Friday mailbag on a slow weekend). Here goes:

1) When you were deep into your comic-book bliss during the early-to-mid-1980s, and had almost forgotten about the Sweet Science, what single fight reminded you that boxing was alive and still worth watching?

2) What would happen if the sport’s true G.O.A.T faced the self-proclaimed G.O.A.T (Floyd Mayweather) and fan-voted G.O.A.T. (Manny Pacquiao) of this era?

3) What heavyweight matchup did not happen during the division’s glory decade (the 1970s) that you would have loved to see?

4) What fight made you wish you weren’t a boxing writer but still made you glad that you don’t cover MMA?

5) Name Floyd Mayweather’s weakest “major” opponent AND provide a prime example as to why THE RING titles can be overrated?

6) What would have happened if the early 1970s version of “the Greatest” fought the prime versions of Larry Holmes, Lennox Lewis, and Vitali Klitschko?

7) What if Ricky Hatton fought Mayweather at 140 pounds and the bout was refereed by Mickey Vann or Dave Paris instead Joe Cortez?

WHO R U PICKIN‘?

Hello Dougie, hope you and your family are doing well. I have a couple of fairly brief questions:

Who do you like in Fernando Montiel vs. Nontio Donaire and why (I think Donaire might outbox him )? Who do you like in Tim Bradley vs. Devon Alexander and why (I'll take Bradley, Alexander may be very good but they built him up pretty fast)?

One more. Do you think Khan beats both Bradley and Alexander (I say probably)? I'm looking forward to the fights. Hopefully there will be some high skills on display. Sincerely. — Adam L.A

There’s no doubt that there will be mad skills on display in both the Bradley-Alexander and Montiel-Donaire showdowns.

I consider both fights to be even-money matchups but I’ll go with the more seasoned and versatile boxer, which is Bradley in my opinion, in the Jan. 29 showdown; and I’ll go with the bigger and more athletically gifted fighter (Donaire) in the anticipated Feb. 19 bantamweight clash.

I think Alexander is a tremendous young boxer but he’s kind of basic in his attack (jab, jab, left cross or uppercut, rinse, repeat). I think Bradley will mix it up enough (stick-and-move, pressure fighting, counter-punching, etc.) to get the job done via competitive decision.

I think Montiel will display the finer boxing acumen versus Donaire but the Filipino’s size, speed and power will keep him on the defensive (which means he’ll be on the move a lot). I think Donaire will take more chances, offensively speaking, and the judges will reward him for his aggression.

We’ll see what happens.

As for how Bradley or Alexander match up against Khan, I’d like to watch their fight on Jan. 29 before I get off into that particular pontification.

THE RING BELT DECISION

Hey Dougie,
Thought I wade in with my views about the decision to not make Bradley Vs Alexander for The Ring belt.

I get that there were conservative rules set up by the magazine to counter the lunacy imposed on the sport from the vile alphabet organisations and I think largely The Ring has done a good job; but I don’t think this decision serves the sport or The Ring particularly well. The eagerly anticipated fight later this month is certainly worthy of The Ring Championship as both fighters have done more than enough to be contenders. I can’t imagine that Amir Khan would have a problem with it either as it will make the proposed match up between him and the winner that much more important.

Getting the top fighters to face each other is already difficult enough but if a few more top fighters (like Bradley) were Ring belt holders then I think it might make it slightly easier to justify the fights happening. Having so many vacant titles, as The Ring currently does, is not helpful because we all want casual fans and mainstream media journalists to come to RingTV.com to check who the champions are in each weight category.

I don’t want my email to be misconstrued as an overall criticism of The Ring belt policy, I genuinely believe that the board gets it right far more times than they get it wrong but I do think in this instance they have missed an opportunity. Being The Ring champion really means something to me and to people like me who love the sport, having so few champions and Ring title fights each year only plays into the hands of the alphabets and the promoters who seem to have little to no regard for the sport. Regards. — Toby, London, UK

I agree that 140-pound showdown on Jan. 29 is worthy of filling a RING title vacancy, however, while Bradley has firmly established himself as the No. 1 junior welterweight, Alexander simply hasn’t proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s No. 2.

Khan has done enough to deserve to be in that top-two mix. He probably wouldn’t mind if Bradley and Alexander fought for the RING title but a lot of his fans (or folks who just aren’t that high on Alexander) would be. And we’d hear it from them just like we’re hearing it from Alexander boosters (and folks who are just anti-Khan or anti-Golden Boy Promotions) had THE RING title been up for grabs next Saturday.

I think Nigel Collins and the rest of THE RING’s editorial board realize that they can’t always make everyone happy with these kinds of decisions. But if THE RING championship is really going to be fought for and worn by the absolute best fighters of each division the magazine can’t be in a rush to crown the winners of every bad-ass matchup that we’re blessed with from time to time.

If the goal was to crown a RING champ in every division ASAP the magazine could declare that Montiel-Donaire will be for the bantamweight title or the winner of the Super Six will earn the vacant 168-pound belt. But that wouldn’t be right to Lucien Bute or to all the excellent bantamweights (Anselmo Moreno, Abner Mares, Joseph Agbeko, Yonnhy Perez) who have done more at 118 pounds than Donaire has.

I appreciate your reverence for THE RING titles (because I know it’s not shared among all fans). Be patient. I have a feeling most of the vacancies will be filled during the next 24 months.

The winner of Bradley-Alexander will fight Khan. It just makes sense. It will also make dollars. HBO wants that fight — bad — so you can count on it. Plus, the fighters are young and truly hungry. They want to know who’s really the best at 140 pounds.

One of the most talked about potential super fights is the featherweight showdown between Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa. If that fight happens (and I think it will be by next June) THE RING title will be on the line (Lopez is No. 1, Gamboa is No. 2).

If No. 2 junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo gets his visa in order I can see him fighting No. 1 Kermit Cintron in a rematch for the 154-pound belt. Steve Cunningham and Marco Huck could engage in a rematch of their own for the cruiserweight belt. And if Andre Ward prevails in the Super Six (as most expect him to) I expect him to go after Bute (especially after the Quebec star signed a multi-fight deal with Showtime). There’s already been some talk of No. 2 junior lightweight Ricky Burns taking on No. 1 Mzonke Fana, and so on.

There are no politics or egos preventing these matches from happening (as we have at welterweight between No. 1 Pacquiao and No. 2 Mayweather) so I’m hopeful that most of the vacancies will get filled in 2011 and 2012.

MAKES NO SENSE

So, Golden Boy's Amir Khan will get a chance to fight for the ring magazine belt after Bradley and Alexander fight. Not surprised. The ring magazine works for oscar so they will do what it takes to help a fellow employee out. Probably because Oscar said so. I really don't see why bradley and alexander can't fight for the belt. If amir khan is really going to fight the winner then he will still get a shot later this year, so why not put the belt up for the bradley alexander fight? It really makes no sense and it really makes the ring magazine look like oscars little toy. What a shame. Just when I thought boxing couldn't get any worse this happens. Anyways I hope they change their mind and put the belt up for grabs Jan 29th. Peace! — Ivan

Calm down, Ivan. Golden Boy Promotions and Khan had nothing to do with THE RING’s decision not to put the vacant 140-pound title up for grabs on Jan. 29.

Alexander had everything to do with the decision. He’s the one who dropped the ball. He was THE RING’s No. 2-rated junior welterweight earlier in the year (following his KO of Juan Urango). He’s the one who struggled mightily against Andreas Kotelnik last August.

In fact, Alexander is lucky on a few counts. He’s lucky he got the decision over Kotelnik. A lot of observers thought the former titleholder, who Khan dominated a year earlier, was robbed. (I scored it 116-112 for the Ukrainian.) He’s lucky THE RING only dropped him one spot in the rankings. He’s lucky he still got the Bradley fight and the seven-figure pay day that came with it.

If anyone should be pissed it’s Bradley. He earned his No. 1 spot and didn’t do anything to jeopardize it. In fact, he stepped up in weight and earned a RING ranking at welterweight. He deserves to fight for THE RING’s 140-pound title. And if he wins on Jan. 29, I’m sure he’ll get his chance before the year is out.

If Alexander, who I like and respect, beats Bradley, he’ll get his chance vs. Khan (or perhaps against Bradley in a rematch if the fight turns out to be very close or controversial). However, Alexander did not earn the absolute right to fight for the belt next Saturday because he didn’t beat Kotelnik in dominant fashion.

You can’t blame that fact on GBP.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Greetings from sub-zero temps in Milwaukee! How the heck are ya? Just wanted to share some thoughts with you and hopefully get your input on some recent topics that have been rattling around the noggin this week.

1) Why are Euro fighters so damn soft! The three that come to mind is Ricky Hatton, David Haye, Duddy and now Amir Khan who says he wants to retire at 28. They appear on the scene fight a couple fights, make plenty money off their diehard fans and retire stating they’re satisfied with their careers yatta yatta when they haven’t accomplished ish! Boils my blood.
2) Whats up with Roach?! Now hes saying that his first choice for Pacman was Marquez when a month ago he was saying the opposite? Goodness that whole camp changes their mind more than women! MARQUEZ #1 P4P!!
3) I was never a fan of Roy Jones because he never fought anyone other than Bhop and MMA legend James Toney but I think his work as a analyst is second to none. Im glad HBO has decided to hire him on (and not keep the always insightful Lennox Lewis Xp). Hopefully his brain continues to function 1-2 years from now.
4) Last but not least, I believe promoters need to find a medium on how to protect their fighters. One extreme being throwing talented young fighters to the wolves (see Fernando Vargas). The other extreme being protecting fighters past their prime to be nothing more than money grabbers and insignificant belt holders (see Andre Berto, who at 27, 28, will not amount to nothing other than what I just mentioned).

Please enlighten me with your thoughts and keep up the great work. — Adrian, Milwaukee, WI

Thanks for the kind words and the reminder that I’m lucky to be living in a climate that is usually warm and sunny all year. I’ll respond to your statements in order:

1)I don’t know if “soft” is the right word to use with European fighters who retire early. I’d say “smart” is probably more fitting. I think in Hatton and Duddy’s case, they made the right call. Hatton really did accomplish about everything that a pro fighter can: he amassed a loyal fan base (one that would follow him by the thousands to the States), he won a number of titles including the undisputed/RING title), he beat two aging legends (Kostya Tszyu and Jose Luis Castillo), he fought the two pound-for-pound best fighters of the 2000s (Mayweather and Pacquiao), and he made a s__t-load of money. What else was out there for him to do? As for Duddy, he was a limited fighter who got the most of his ability. We’re talking about a guy who went life and death with Yory Boy Campas and Anthony Bonsante. He took a beating from a still-unproven Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in his last bout. It’s not like he was ever going to win a major title or make the huge paydays his handlers always thought he would. I think Duddy made the right call. If he didn’t pull himself off the board he would have become a stepping-stone for young up-and-comers by the end of the year. Regarding Haye and Khan, listen, all active fighters say they are going retire early — especially the popular ones who make decent money. Oscar De La Hoya said he would retire before the age of 30. Fernando Vargas said he would quit before he was 25. Most keep fighting and don’t retire until they are way past their prime. To be honest, if Haye retires it won’t bother me much. If he’s not going to fight the K-Bros or take on some aggressive contenders such as Alexander Povetkin or Chris Arreola, why should I care if he continues to fight or not? And if Khan fights the likes of Bradley, Alexander, Ortiz, Matthysse or Maidana (again) in the next four years (he’s only 24), he’ll have earned the right to walk away from the game with his head high.

2) I have no idea what’s up with Roach. The man’s a celebrity. I cover boxing, not Hollywood.

3) I’m also glad HBO signed Jones to be their analyst for B.A.D. shows. Perhaps the new gig will help him decide to hang up his gloves for good.

4) Matchmaking for a young fighter is not an exact science. Every fighter matures and develops at different rates. Plus, the fans (and most of the media) are generally unhappy regardless of the pace that promoters (or managers) elect to move and advance their young prospects. I received an email earlier this week from a fan who was unhappy with the level of opposition that junior welterweight prospect Frankie Gomez has fought so far. The kid is 19 years old with eight pro bouts. If GBP put Gomez in with a fringe contender, say a hardnosed dude but a clearly fading fighter, such as Herman Ngoudjo, in his next fight and he lost, I think fans would be in an uproar. Everyone would be asking why GBP put such a raw, young prospect in so tough. The problem with middle-ground opposition, such as Gomez’s last opponent of 2010 — Ramon Montano, who is better than a journeyman but clearly not world-class — is that the prospects don’t get any more credit for beating hardnosed pros like Montano than they do the “professional loser“-type journeymen. However, I think the middle ground is the way to go with top talent prospects. The most important thing is that they get in quality rounds to learn from. Stern competition without taking a beating is the key to proper development.

YOU FORGOT SOMEONE

Brad Solomon – should have been on the advanced prospects list… — Akhil

You are absolutely correct. I intended for Soloman, a terrific welterweight who has defeated two undefeated prospects (Ray Robinson and Kenny Galarza) and won seven bouts in 2010, to be included in my advanced list.

I had his name and accomplishments written down on paper. I simply forgot to add him to the story when I sat to write the master lists. I did the same thing with heavyweight Travis Kauffman on the intermediate prospect list and lightweight/junior welterweight Ivan Redkach and flyweight Takashi Okada on the novice list.

For the record I’m high on all four prospects and I look forward to watching them fight in 2011.

Doug Fischer can be contacted at dougiefischer@yahoo.com

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