Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

 

SO THIS WAS WHAT THE BIG DEAL WAS ABOUT?

Doug,
What a disappointing and unfulfilling night of boxing. Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander are both very good fighters, but neither of them are special and in anyway approach greatness. Bradley’s biggest assets appear to be his tenacity and determination. But he tends to slap with his punches, leads with his head with the enthusiasm of Evander Holyfield and he tends to generally engage in spirited-but-drama free fights. I mean Bradley may be the best 140 lber in the world, but off of Saturday night’s performance does anyone think he’s a legit threat to Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather, the two super fights he so desperately craves.


Alexander has nice tools for certain, but I thought he mostly fought without seizing the moment. I also thought he found himself in a tough fight and simply decided he’d had one too many close encounters with Desert Storm’s cranium.

During the pre-fight segment with HBO’s broadcast team, Manny Steward made the unfortunate comment of comparing this match up to Leonard-Hearns. Unlike that fight, the one that all other match-ups against rising stars trying to prove their greatness should be judged against, neither of these two men so clearly defined himself. At least Bradley tried by bringing the fight. Alexander spent way too much time on the outside, refusing to engage. When he did, his shots really had no commitment and he looked like an amateur. It’s easy now to see why he struggled so much in his last fight. At this level his going to have trouble keeping guys off of him if he continues to do so.


The Ring looks pretty good now not making this fight for the 140-lb Ring Title. The unsatisfying result didn’t do too much to clear the murky waters @ 140 lbs, but clearly Amir Khan has to be figured into any equation that crowns a champion. — Tom G.

I agree, Tom. The magazine’s editorial board made the right call in not putting THE RING belt up for grabs on Saturday. Bradley is clearly the No. 1 junior welterweight in the world, but not by much. It should take more than beating beltholders Junior Witter, Kendal Holt, and Alexander to become the undisputed 140-pound champ. And it was extremely debatable as to whether Alexander deserved to be the second-best junior welterweight in the world (as many boxing writers and fans considered him going into the Bradley fight). It should take more than beating Witter, Juan Urango and just getting by Andreas Kotelnik to earn a shot at the undisputed title.

Bradley vs. Khan will be for the undisputed 140-pound title and that is as it should be. All the fans and media who said it was “disgraceful” or a “tragedy” that THE RING title wasn’t on the line for the Bradley-Alexander winner prior to Saturday’s fight are pretty quiet today.

Having said that, I’m not in a hurry to see Bradley-Khan. That fight has “tactical” match written all over it. I think Bradley needs to rekindle some excitement in his career by facing an aggressive puncher before going for all the 140-pound marbles vs. Khan. I’d like to see him take on Marcos Maidana or Lucas Matthysse in his next fight. Hopefully, Khan (if he and his team can stop being cheap asses and offer enough money to get a decent opponent) will land an aggressive-but-competent foe for his scheduled April bout, and if both the top-two junior welters win their respective fights there will be a justifiable international clamor for a winter showdown.

In the meantime, I think Alexander should get back into the ring — and not against Bradley — as soon as his eye heals up. I agree that he looked amateurish at times on Saturday and I think it’s clear based on his last two bouts that he is still in need of some pro seasoning. I’d like to see Alexander come back against a tough, talented fringe contender such as Tim Coleman or Josesito Lopez and then take on one of the Peterson brothers before he tosses his hat back into the “elite” 140-pound mix. But that’s just my opinion.

I agree that Bradley’s biggest assets are his tenacity and determination. From a technical standpoint he isn’t a pound-for-pound-level boxer, but once you add his will power to the equation, you can at least make the argument. I thought Alexander had many opportunities to land clean counter lefts as Bradley lunged in (leading with the “bowling ball,” of course) but he just wouldn’t set his feet long enough to get off. However, even if Alexander had taken more chances, I think Bradley would have survived any “wobbly moments” or even a hard knock down. He’s that kind of competitor and he should be commended for it.

However, right now that tenacity and determination doesn’t look like it would get the job done against Pacquiao or Mayweather. Bradley is a few victories (hopefully over Khan, Maidana, and another top fighter, perhaps Andre Berto) from earning a shot at either of boxing’s two star players.

BRADLEY BORE-ILLIANT

Hey Doug, how are you?
Regarding Tim Bradley-Devon “The Fairly Good” Alexander, I was not surprised at the outcome as I was convinced Bradley would outpoint him (I saw it a 70-30 fight). It wasn’t a great fight but it was still great to see two guys at the top of their division getting it on. I now expect Bradley to fight Amir Khan (60-40, shoot me down…) and post a similar victory in another boring fight, which is fine by me. I give full credit to Tim for finding ways to neutralize his opponents when they appear to have advantages in speed, reach and size over him, it reminds me a little of Bernard Hopkins (He’s good with the head too!) who often makes for less than thrilling fights because he’s simply too damn good. I think this guy is going to go a long, long way in boxing and may soon be (if not already) the most deserving contender of a fight with either one of the big two (I can’t be bothered to see their names again, so I’m not writing them!).

Some of the most relevant fights that could happen would probably be stinkers or mismatches: Either Klitschko vs Haye or Adamek (Mismatch), Hopkins vs Dawson (Yaaaawwnn!) and P4P 1 vs P4P 2 (Hate to say it, the annoying one boxes his way to a dull but clear decision win) are all fights we should have seen by now. The fact that they would most likely stink is a small price to pay for seeing truly significant fights. Bradley will most likely have more than a few of these along the way and is not going to be another Oscar, but he’s a champion who’s fighting and beating the best on offer rather convincingly. How many of these do we have at the minute?

Hope you are well Doug, all the best. — Ewan, Scotland

There aren’t many fighters at the top of their weight classes who are willing to face the best in their division, so guys like Bradley are generally appreciated by fans and media. However, crappy fights, no matter who is involved and how much is at stake, aren’t NOT appreciated by anyone but the most hardcore boxing purists (such as yourself).

It makes sense for a super fight, such as the pound-for-pound showdown that has teased the sports world for the past 18 months, or a truly high-profile heavyweight championship such as Wladdy vs. Haye or Adamek to be made because of the strong public demand. But other bouts between the top dogs of a particular division that are clearly awful style matchups (such as Hopkins-Dawson) have no business being made. Those kind of fights only hurt the sport, especially if they can’t even sell more than a few thousand tickets (as Hopkins-Dawson would be lucky to attract).

Call me a blood thirsty ghoul (I‘ve been called a lot worse), but I’d be more excited about Bradley vs. Maidana than Bradley vs. Khan, even though the first matchup would not be for THE RING title. I know Bradley-Maidana would be an entertaining fight, one that fans and media can get excited about and not be let down on fight night. And hey, if Bradley beats Maidana in a more dominant manner than Khan did, wouldn’t that just add to the interest in a Bradley-Khan fight? I think so. Excitement in the ring breeds excitement in the sport/industry.

If Pacquiao-Mayweather can’t be made I’d much rather see Floyd fight an Alfredo Angulo or James Kirkland than a fellow boxer. And regarding the heavyweights, I said this in my last mailbag and I’ll happily repeat it: I’d rather see the more entertaining contenders, such as Adamek, Haye, Povetkin and Arreola, fight each other than watch them get picked apart by the K-Bros. No, none of those matchups would give us a real heavyweight champ, but they might give us a few heavyweight slugfests.

It says here that a hardcore big-man shootout would do more for the sport than crowning a legit heavyweight champ did.

“BRALEXANDER” LETDOWN

Hi Doug,

There is inevitably going to be the usual debate as to whether or not Alexander “quit”, so here’s my tuppence worth. I thought the second cut was dangerously close to the left eye, and if it had gotten any worse there could have been permanent damage. So in that situation, it’s best to get out of there and come back to fight another day.

Not that I’m really too eager to see it again; I thought the fight was a bit flat. I felt that Alexander had the advantage in power, and I was disappointed that he hardly landed a meaningful enough shot to use that power. I think the nerves got to him, and we have to remember he is a very young man at 23. Maybe this fight came too soon for him?

Final thought – judging on that fight, Khan beats them both. All the best. — Tom “Springer”, Oxford, England

Good point about Alexander’s eye. The cut was pretty deep and wide.

I think Khan might be installed as a slight favorite if and when a fight is made with Bradley, but I wouldn’t count the Desert Storm out. He’s one of those scrappy fighters who somehow find a way to win against better skilled/talented foes.

BRADLEY-ALEXANDER THOUGHTS

I was disappointed by the outcome of the fight, and I wonder how much different things might have been had they staged the bout in St. Louis instead of Pontiac, Michigan? I feel like an energized crowd would have given the fighters a greater sense of urgency, and the hometown crowd may have motivated Alexander to continue rather than call it a day after that second headbutt. But Bradley deserves credit for coming to win and doing what he had to do to get that technical decision.

On another note, I watched the fight at a bar in San Francisco, the Abbey Tavern, which used to be the best place in the city to watch boxing. On Saturday night, however, they had split the bar in two, relegating the boxing match to the back room, and giving the main floor to the patrons who were there to see the Strikeforce match (Diaz vs Cyborg) on another channel. For comparison’s sake, when I first found this place, in 2004 when they hosted Trinidad-Mayorga, the entire bar — front and back — was filled with people who were there to see boxing. If this is a sign of things to come, then the writing is clearly on the wall.

Hopefully, Donaire vs Montiel will give us the blistering action fight that we’ve all been waiting patiently for. — gopal rao

Yes, let’s hope Montiel-Donaire delivers (thankfully, the bantamweights normally do). Another high-profile dud will definitely hurt a sport that is already struggling as you well know.

We can only guess as to how a large hometown crowd would have effected Alexander’s performance on Saturday. Prior to the fight, Alexander said fighting in his hometown and dealing with all the attention and high expectations contributed to his poor showing against Kotelnik. So who knows? After Saturday’s fight, I think a lot of fans would ask “Who cares?”

I had no interest in the Diaz-Cyborg bout and I have no idea who won the MMA match that was televised on Showtime. (I live in a self-imposed vacuum only boxing may penetrate the bubble — the folks I watched Bradley-Alexander with joked that I probably don’t know who’s playing in the Super Bowl — and they were right!) However, if Diaz-Cyborg delivered action, excitement and drama, and if other MMA bouts have done the same on a consistent basis, those UFC and Strikeforce shows deserve to be televised on the main floor of the Abbey Tavern.

If boxing consistently delivers uneventful and boring matches — particularly with the high-profile bouts — it absolutely deserves to be relegated to the back rooms of such establishments. Hell, boxing is lucky to be shown at all in bars in taverns. If you lived outside of San Francisco, chances are you wouldn’t have been able to watch Bradley-Alexander in a public space at all.


I CALLED IT WRONG

 

Doug:

First off, while I had the fight 95-95 counting the abbreviated 10th round for Bradley, I won’t quarrel with the official decision. So I called it wrong.

That said, we at last discovered Bradley’s secret weapon, his right forehead. Dude, after the buildup both in The Ring and in my own mind, two things come to mind:

1) Khan would have ripped either guy that showed up last night to shreds.

2) Alexander needs to build some power or at least learn to fight as a pro.

I think I put too much stock in the young fighter’s knockout of Urango, who I think I gave too much credit for his tough fight with Andre Berto. That said, the idea of Bradley, at least the incarnation of him that fought Alexander and the welterweight from Argentina last year, fighting Pac-Man is ridiculous. The Pinoy bad ass would rip him to pieces. Bradley never even moved Alexander, who Kotelnik moved. Someone who gets in the ring with Pacquaio without the power to keep him from coming forward is going to get slaughtered.

Going forward, I’d want to see Bradley in against Khan or Maidana. And I think Alexander has lost enough luster that maybe a fight with Zab Judah or Victor Ortiz is in order.

But seeing the Hitman at ringside made me long for real fighters. He was a real warrior. So how about a top 5 against current fighters around his original weight? Say Pacman, prime Mosley, prime Mayweather, prime Cotto, and the fight that would have raked, Tommy Hearns vs. Margarito pre Mosley…

I see that being 5-0 for the Cobra with 3 KOs (Mosley and Mayweather being the exceptions). — Steve in ND

 

The Motor City (you can’t leave his city’s nickname out of his “other” nickname) Cobra would’ve gone 5-0, all by knockout prior to the fifth round, against the modern-day quintet that you suggested. The only active fighter that could have gone the distance with the prime Hearns and have even a prayer of beating him is Bernard Hopkins (at middleweight and light heavyweight, and no I‘m not talking about the recent version of B-Hop that fought RJJ and Pascal). Nobody currently fighting at 147 or 154 pounds could even compete with the welterweight and junior middleweight version of Hearns. Sergio Martinez may have the combination of speed, power, timing and experience to have competed with Hearns at 160 pounds, but my money would be on the Hitman.

Bradley-Maidana is the next major 140-pound fight to be made, in my not-so-humble opinion. If Berto-Ortiz can’t be made I’d like to see Bradley take on one of those two in his next bout.

If Alexander is going to learn from his mistakes and develop a professional style I don’t think his very next fight should be against an opponent where one wrong move could result in his getting KTFO. And I think that could happen against Judah or Ortiz. As I stated earlier in this mailbag, I think Alexander should target a fringe contender, such as Lopez or Coleman, which isn’t to say that Josesito and Tim can’t hurt Alexander. They just don’t possess the one-hitter-quitter punch. (Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing Lopez vs. Coleman now that I think about it. That‘s an interesting fight.)

Alexander has power, by the way. He just needs to plant his feet and commit more to his power punches.

I agree that the Pac-monster would chew up Bradley at the present time. I’m not so sure that Khan would do so.

If you had the fight even after nine rounds and 2 minutes of the 10th, I think you were giving Alexander the benefit of every doubt.

I had it 97-93 (or seven rounds to three) for Bradley at the time of the stoppage. I scored rounds, 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 10 for Bradley. I thought the 4th could have gone either way. The bout was competitive through five rounds and then Bradley pulled away just by taking more chances.

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