Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

BRADELY VS. ALEXANDER

What up Doug-E,
I’m looking forward to the Timothy Bradley-Devon Alexander fight here in Detroit. Unfortunately, I feel no buzz. I’m an amateur boxing coach and some of my students didn’t even know about it! Anyway, I think the fight will be great. Bradley is a dog and Devon doesn’t play keep away very well. I see a close decision for Bradley, but I’m rooting for Devon.

Also, keep your eye on Domonique Dolton for your prospect list. We here in Detroit think he is the real deal; balance like Donald Curry. — Stephen, Detroit

I’ll keep my eye on Dolton this year. I know he was a good amateur and that he was one of Miguel Cotto’s chief sparring partners for the Yuri Foreman fight. I also see that he defeated his first “name” journeyman (Marcos Primera) via eight-round decision this past Saturday. Hopefully, the quality of his opposition will gradually improve over the course of 2011.

Regarding the “buzz” on Bradley-Alexander, I can tell that it’s pretty low outside of the Detroit area, too. I haven’t received many emails about the despite the fact that it’s a high-profile matchup of two of the best fighters in one of the sport’s deepest divisions.

I know hardcore fans are looking forward to watching the fight. I’m not quite sure why most are “mum” about it now that it’s fight week.

Bradley and Alexander are young, athletically gifted, skilled, battle tested and undefeated. What’s not to like about the matchup? My guess is that both boxers simply lack the charisma/personalities that cause fans to react in extreme ways. Nobody hates Bradley or Alexander, but nobody is in love with them, either. You get what I’m saying?

Regardless of the fighters’ personalities, and the plain fact that the fight belonged in St. Louis (where Alexander is a moderate draw in comparison to Bradley’s dismal numbers in Southern Calif.), I can’t help but think that the promoters of the card (Gary Shaw and Don King) dropped the ball on the local promotion of the show. It seems like everyone involved was more concerned with how much they’d get paid rather than with building the “event” into an attraction for Pontiac- and Detroit-area fight fans.

The promoters went with the SilverDome because they got a good site fee ($600,000) but the moment that freakin’ cavern became the location they should have done everything in their power to put local attractions on the undercard.

It’s going to take a lot more than Vernon Paris to get folks to drive from Detroit and other areas surrounding Pontiac and plunk down their very hard-earned cash for tickets.

Why isn’t newly crowned junior middleweight beltholder Cornelius Bundrage on this card? “K9” is a Detroit native and he’s promoted by King.

Ronald Hearns should be on this card. I know he’s got an alphabet middleweight title shot at Felix Sturm scheduled in Germany next month but if the promoters had their act together they would have secured the venue for the bout a long time ago. Perhaps if Shaw and King could have found a site sooner than Dec. 1 (two months after the damn fight was finalized) they would have sold more tickets (which didn’t go on sale until Dec. 20) and they might have landed the son of a Detroit legend before the Sturm-Hearns fight was agreed to (Dec. 30).

Even without the Hitman‘s son on the card, they could enlisted the services of the great Thomas Hearns to help promote the event locally. Yeah, they would have had to pay Tommy a little something, but with the site fee and the licensing fee they’re getting from HBO, I think they could’ve afforded it. And given what’s at stake, the future marketability of Bradley and Alexander, I think they should’ve afforded it.

The last time I was in the Pontiac area was for an internet broadcast of local fringe contender Rubin Williams and a not-yet-shot Antwun Echols from The Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., in January of 2007. More than 10,000 fans were on hand to witness the main event (which ended in an entertaining 12-round draw), but it wasn’t Williams or Echols who sold those tickets. It was female fighter Mary Jo Sanders (the daughter of Detroit Lions legend Charlie Sanders) who brought the crowd in.

Sanders hasn’t fought since earning a 10-round draw against Holly Holm at The Palace in October of 2008, but if I were promoting this event I would have made her a very attractive offer to come out of retirement. I would have done pretty much anything it took to put butts into the seats because it’s not going to look good for the main event participants — the two very talented young boxers who we all hope can be developed into “stars” — to have to fight in an empty arena that can hold as many as 90,000 fans.

How is it going to help the future negotiating power of the winner of Bradley-Alexander when everyone involved with the sport knows they couldn’t sell more than a few thousand tickets against each other?

I don’t want to hear a lot bellyaching from Shaw or from King (or from loudmouth message board trolls) if Amir Khan (and Golden Boy Promotions) insists that an eventual showdown between the British star and the Jan. 29 winner takes place in the UK.

BRADLEY-ALEXANDER, FEB. 19, CORLEY

What's up Doug?
Did you catch Lucas Matthysee on Saturday? DeMarcus Corley knocked down nine times? What is this, 1912? Seemed like every time Mathysse landed to the body he hurt “Chop Chop”. Makes Zab' Judah’s win look a lot better IMO. Not that Corley is relevant anymore, but the guy did last 20 rounds with Randall Bailey. A lot of people are talking about Maidana-Matthysee, but I hope it doesn't happen yet. I think it will take one of them out of the JWW picture for the time being, and I would much rather see them mixed with other 140 pounders.

I like Fernando Montiel, but I think Nonito Donaire is just on another level. I think people might be overrating Montiel a bit based on knocking out Hozumi Hasagawa in Japan. It was a great win, but Hasagawa was controlling that fight with his speed before he got caught. I think if Donaire comes to fight like he did against Wladimir Sydorenko, I think it will be a long night for Montiel.

And lastly, I hope Alexander beats Bradley. I will start by saying I thought Andreas Kotelnik outpointed him, and I thought he was WAY overhyped after knocking out Juan Urango. I mean Urango got outboxed by Ricky Hatton, and people like Max Kellerman were proclaiming Alexander to be the next P4P King, and Urango took rounds off him. That said, Alexander has grown on me since. I don't know if it's his background, underdog status, demeanor or what, but I'm rooting for him. Not to mention how I cringe every time Bradley tries to trash talk or call out a guy like Pacquiao, who probably doesn't know who he is.

Have a good one. — Brandon

I don’t have a favorite in the Bradley-Alexander fight. I have equal admiration for both young men and zero rooting interest in either. I’m going with Bradley by close decision in a brisk boxing match but my hope is that whoever winds up losing the bout performs well enough for fans and HBO to want to see them in another high-profile bout as soon as possible. I hope the winner gets Amir Khan so we can know who the real champ is in the 140-pound division.

I agree that Alexander got too much credit for beating Urango (but I understand why there was so much excitement and hyperbole following his victory — brutal knockouts tend to have that effect on people) and I also agree that he was lucky to get the nod over Kotelnik.

I also agree that Montiel is going to have serious problems with Donaire, however, even if the budding Filipino star brings the same game he brought to the Sidorenko fight, he’s going to have a much tougher time looking dominant against the dual belt holder from Los Mochis. Montiel has the footwork and technique to slow down Donaire’s offense. He also has the speed, power and counter-punching ability to be a threat in every round.

Montiel caught Hasegawa nine seconds before the end of the fourth round. Donaire better keep that in mind and maintain a steely focus for three minutes of every round against this veteran.

I did watch the Matthysse-Corley bout. I was amazed that Corley got up and continued to fight as readily as he took a knee and I was perplexed by the referee’s decision to allow the bout to continue after the fifth or sixth knockdown. I also thought that Corley may have to change his nickname from “Chop Chop” to “Drop Drop” after this bout (sorry, couldn’t resist).

You know who I’d like to see Matthysse fight next? Mike Alvardo. To hell with the Top Rank-GBP cold war, that’s a 140-pound bout that I want to see.

PACQUIAO TO SHOWTIME

It troubles me that nothing has been posted on the site about Manny Pacquiao's titanic move to Showtime from HBO. I have overlooked a slight slant in The Ring's coverage until now because I want it to succeed, and I know it has been in financial trouble in the past. But I can't help but believe that Golden Boy's hold over The Ring has influenced the lack of coverage of this series of events, and hurt the overall quality of the publication. — Max, Washington, D.C.

There are a few things I think you should realize, Max.

First, Golden Boy Promotions doesn’t have a “hold” on THE RING or RingTV.com’s editorial coverage. I don’t want to name names (and if you pay attention, I really shouldn’t have to) but if it seems like our coverage has a “slight slant” it may have more to do with a certain promoter’s refusal to speak to us than any sort of mandate from the parent company of the publications.

Second, Manny Pacquiao’s “titanic” move to Showtime has yet to be officially announced (by the network or by his promoter). There is plenty of coverage on this “monumental” (is that a strong-enough adjective for ya?) event to come from this website and other publications. Heck, my old haunt of MaxBoxing.com, which pride’s itself on this kind of story, has yet to really sink its teeth into the subject. Steve Kim, who specializes in industry happenings, discussed it a little bit at the bottom of a piece on Freddie Roach and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday. In that same story my good buddy stated that Thomas Hauser, who practically lives for this kind of story, would have a “detailed account” (an understatement to be sure) of the development on Monday morning.

Kim and Hauser are all about what happens (or doesn’t happen) behind the scenes with HBO (and to a lesser extent, with Showtime). Michael Rosenthal and I? Um, not so much. I’m sorry if that’s the kind of boxing coverage that floats your boat, but you are mistaken if you believe that all fight fans are interested in industry happenings. (To illustrate my point I’ll have you know that I’ve only received two emails, including yours, on the “titanic” news.)

However, as the fight nears, I can assure you that Showtime’s (and hopefully CBS's) involvement in the Pacquiao-Mosley pay-per-view event will be a major storyline on RingTV.com (if not the primary feature subject). For now, our focus is going to be on high-profile up-coming fights.

The third thing you should know is that we have posted items on the possibility of Arum taking his Pac-ball across the street and I have discussed it in mailbags. The machinations that led to Showtime getting the Pacquiao-Mosley PPV event were set off last year when HBO went with Lou DiBella and his fighter Sergio Martinez over Arum and his fighter Miguel Cotto for their March 12 date. Here’s what I had to say about Arum possibly taking his key fighters from HBO to Showtime back in the Jan. 4 edition of the mailbag:

“Will HBO’s decision to run with Martinez instead of Cotto on March 12 cause Arum to take his superstar, Manny Pacquiao, elsewhere? I doubt it. Arum might take Cotto and some of his other standouts, such as Juan Manuel Lopez and Brandon Rios, to Showtime out of spite, but when it comes to the Pac-monster he has to appreciate the production costs and marketing muscle HBO contributes to the Filipino hero’s PPV events.

Then again, Arum has gotten to that stage of his life where he’s more than happy to tell anyone to “go f__k themselves.” He’s been known to cut his nose off to spite his face. Remember when he pulled the first Chavez-De La Hoya fight off PPV and only offered it in closed-circuit locations to “teach all the cable box thieves a lesson” back in 1996? All he did was cost himself millions. But the old man has a temper and he’s a little bit crazy, so maybe he is willing to do Pacquiao-Mosley himself or offer it to Showtime.

We’ll see what happens. I know a lot of hardcore fans live and breathe inner-industry beefs (Top Rank vs. GBP or HBO, Arum vs. Al Haymon or anyone who happens to piss him off on a given day), but I couldn't care less what Arum does with his fighters in response to HBO’s March 12 choice.

Actually, I’d be kind of happy if Bob pulls Manny away from HBO for this next fight. I don’t even want to see commercials for a Pacquiao-Mosley 24/7. And if Arum takes most of his top fighters to Showtime maybe fans will be treated to good scraps that HBO wasn’t aware of (Soto vs. Rios) or showdowns that wouldn’t have happened if he kept his crew at HBO (the Montiel-Donaire winner vs. the Agbeko-Mares winner, Bute vs. Pavlik).”

If you want to read the email I responded to (and my entire rant) click here and scroll down to MARTINEZ VS. TBD, COTTO-MAYORGA.

I’m guessing you missed it, and I’m not surprised. That’s our fault. One of the major drawbacks to the web design of RingTV.com is that the homepage can only hold a maximum of 14 stories/news items at one time (four links in the top-of-the-fold area, four “feature stories,” and six “blog items”), and once a story is moved off the homepage there’s no way to access it. We have no archive system. That’s going to change (obviously for the better) very soon. We are going to get a new homepage layout that includes more room for story links and on the backend we are getting a new (and supposedly faster) CMS (content management system) that will enable us to post news items quicker. So you can expect Rosenthal and I break more news (and actually get credit for it because the item will have a decent shelf life on the site).

Anyway, thanks for pushing my buttons and setting me off on an industry news-related rant. I so enjoy (please note sarcasm) defending the journalistic integrity of this site and discussing network decisions and rivalries as opposed to fights that actually take place in the ring.

THE DOWNFALL OF HBO?

Hey I'm a long time reader but this is my first time writing in. I grew up watching HBO and only in the last few years starting watching Showtime. To me HBO always seemed to be of a higher class. However recent reports have Bob Arum pulling his two biggest names from HBO for good in Miguel Cotto and the Pacman and putting them on Showtime.

Is it me or is HBO on the ropes and ready to be taken out? What I really worry about is that HBO eventually pulls the plug on boxing altogether and buys into UFC. Another thing that I worry about is how this will affect future fights between HBO fighters and Showtime fighters. Can you give us your opinion on these recent events and how they may change the sport. — Kyle

I don’t think the “earth-shattering” events of Cotto and Pacquiao fighting on Showtime is going to change the sport or kill boxing on HBO. Here’s how I see it: Bob Arum is pissed off at HBO and he wants to let them know it by yanking Pacquiao’s next fight from the network. However, he needs Showtime’s help in distributing two pay-per-view fights (Cotto-Mayorga and Pacquiao-Mosley) that hardcore fans and the boxing media are not high on. End of story. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he plans to end all business dealings with HBO.

Now, if Arum decides to make all future Pacquiao and Cotto fights exclusive to Showtime AND moves all of his top fighters to the network — something I seriously doubt he would do, but one never knows how far the old man will go in the name of spite — that would have a serious impact on HBO’s boxing programming. However, it wouldn’t necessarily “destroy” it.

Maybe I’m just a half-full kind of guy (which I admit is very rare for a boxing writer/fan), but I just view Arum’s recent decisions as a boon to Showtime’s boxing programming (which you’ve been missing out on because I believe it has been slightly superior to HBO’s since about 2005 when the late Jay Larkin’s “Great fights, no rights” policy finally began to pay dividends).

Who knows? It could be also boon to HBO’s boxing programming. Without Top Rank’s vast stable of fighters to pull from maybe HBO’s sports executives will elect to do more business with Lou DiBella, Kathy Duva, Don King, Gary Shaw, Dan Goossen, and non-U.S.-based promoters such as Frank Warren, Kalle Sauerland and Yvon Michel.

Just because a network is on Arum’s s__t list doesn’t mean that it can no longer provide compelling on-going boxing programming. Please examine ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights series as a prime example.

There are plenty of compelling fights that can be made without Top Rank talent (even without HBO’s supposed favorite son, Golden Boy Promotions).

Tomasz Adamek (Duva) vs. Alexander Povetkin (Sauerland) or Chris Arreola (Goossen), Povetkin vs. Adamek, Adamek vs. Arreola II, Beibut Shumenov (Goossen) vs. Tavoris Cloud (King), Shumenov or Cloud vs. Nathan Cleverly (Warren), Sergio Martinez (DiBella) vs. David Lemieux (Michel), Kermit Cintron (DiBElla) vs. Alfredo Angulo (Shaw) II, and the Bradley (Shaw)-Alexander (King) winner vs. Zab Judah (Duva) are all good style matchups between top fighters in their respective divisions and these fights can be made for reasonable license fees.

If you add GBP to the mix there are many more attractive matchups that can be made: David Haye (GBP) vs. Adamek or Arreola or Povetkin, the Bradley-Alexander winner vs. Amir Khan (GBP) or Victor Ortiz (GBP), Andre Berto (DiBella) vs. Saul Alvarez (GBP), Angulo vs. James Kirkland (GBP), Andre Ward (Goossen) vs. Librado Andrade (GBP), and James DeGale (Warren) vs. George Groves (GBP) are among them.

And there are numerous Boxing After Dark-level matchups that can be made without Top Rank’s roster, such as Erislandy Lara (GBP) vs. Joel Julio (Duva), Adrien Broner (GBP) vs. John Molina (Goossen), Molina vs. Luis Ramos (GBP), Rico Ramos (Goossen) vs. Charles Huerta (GBP) or Chris Avalos (Shaw), Shawn Estrada (Goossen) vs. Bastie Samir (GBP), and Archie Ray Marquez (Shaw) vs. Fidel Maldonado Jr. (GBP) to name a few.

I doubt HBO would drop boxing and pick up the UFC. The network discussed a deal with Dana White a few years ago and I don’t think the UFC president was satisfied with the manner in which HBO wanted to produce the shows.

But let’s say HBO does drop its boxing programming. Is the sport going to die in the U.S. because of that? I don’t believe so. What if the lack of HBO’s huge licensing fees forces U.S. promoters to developing more local attractions and to pay more attention to the live gates of their events (like successful promoters in other countries)? What if no more HBO money forced major U.S. promoters to get off their high horses and make reasonable deals with basic cable? Imagine if HBO-caliber fights were suddenly seen on ESPN, Fox Sports Net and Telefutura (networks that are in three times as many U.S. homes as HBO). What if the sport's elite fighters have to fight more often — as many as five and six times a year — in order to make the kind of money HBO was paying them for one or two fights a year?

Does that sound like it would be bad for the sport, Kyle? Think about that.

Don’t think about “how this will affect future fights between HBO fighters and Showtime fighters.” Kyle, Kyle, Kyle… Why would you “worry” about something that hasn’t even happened? Arum hasn’t announced that all of his fighters are going fight exclusively on Showtime. Heck, Showtime doesn’t want all of Arum’s fighters. But let’s say a bunch of Arum’s elite fighters do sign exclusive multi-fight deals with Showtime. The biggest fights in the sport have a way getting done regardless of who is signed to HBO or Showtime — Pernell Whitaker (HBO) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez (Showtime) and Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield (Showtime) vs. Lennox Lewis (HBO) are examples. Oscar De La Hoya (HBO) vs. Felix Trinidad (who had been a Showtime staple but moved to HBO in 1999) eventually got made, too.

SERGIO MORA

Hello! You really like Sergio Mora don't you? I don't know that he deserves to be front on The Ring's web page. You also thought he had won that fight against Shane Mosley. Hey it's your opinion and I have to respect it. You go against a lot of your peers and followers of the Sweet Science and Kudos to you. I don't care to see him fight. We already have Paul Malignagi for that style but I really like the kid as a person. Hopefully, Bryan Vera corners him and we get a fight but I doubt it!! — Denis, Montreal

I think Vera will have his moments and we’ll get a good fight on Feb. 4. Mora can be entertaining when he’s matched right. His two bouts with Peter Manfredo Jr. and his seventh-round stoppages of Archak TerMeliksetian and Calvin Green were fun fights. (Seriously.)

It’s true, I do believe he beat Mosley (handily, and I‘m not alone, but you don‘t have to respect that opinoon if you don‘t want to) and I have no problem with having a different opinion from my peers.

I think Mora was more than “top-story worthy” on a slow boxing weekend. Had the exclusive Timothy Bradley video that our intrepid videographer Daniel Morales got for us on Thursday been ready to go up on Friday we probably would have gone with it as our lead Saturday feature instead of my piece on Mora. However, in lieu of that item (which was posted late Saturday), I thought Mora discussing his thoughts on the Mosley and Vera fights was fine where it was. It was either my man “Snake” or features on Chris Arreola (who fights on Friday) or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (who fights on Saturday). And had we gone with either subject I would have received a dozen emails on how both fighters are “lazy” ne’er-do-wells and unworthy of our (and other boxing media’s) attention.

Doug Fischer can be contacted at dougiefischer@yahoo.com

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