Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday Mailbag

GAMBOA-SOLIS

Hey, Dougie!

Man, didn't Yuriorkis Gamboa-Jorge Solis look eerily similar to Floyd Mayweather-Diego Corrales? The styles. The height difference. The speed. Jumping in with the lead left hook. I loved the right to the body/left hook combination. But, Gamboa punches more like Tyson than Mayweather. If Gamboa would just cover his chin, though. Everyone is not as tall or slow (compared to Gamboa) or weight-drained as Solis. He's going to continue getting caught coming in. — JW

We’ll see. I noticed that Gamboa held his hands up more than usual, especially when he was in close with Solis. He still drops them often, mostly to lure his opponents in, but I think he’s gradually cleaning up his technical flaws.

I didn’t think about it while the fight was happening but I guess there are some aesthetic similarities between Gamboa-Solis and Mayweather-Corrales. However, as impressive as Gamboa was, I was far more impressed with Mayweather’s performance over Corrales (even though the late “Chico” was so dried out that he looked like a zombie at the weighin). Corrales didn’t even attempt to jab as Solis did, but he had something the Mexican lacked — power. Gamboa was a lot like Mayweather in the manner in which he couldn’t miss with his lead left hook, but he wasn’t in the ring with somebody who could turn a fight with a single punch.

Gamboa obviously possess that attribute, which is why it will be a lot of fun watching him take on the best of his deep division. I know we probably won’t see the big showdown with JuanMa Lopez in 2011, so I’d like to see Gamboa take on either Chris John or Daniel Ponce de Leon or Elio Rojas later this year.

AT LEAST ONE GUY TRAINED

Hey Dougie,
So this weekend was pretty disappointing up until the Gamboa fight. All the underdogs seemed to have trained well, but Erislandy Lara, Dmitry Pirog, and whatever that bronze super heavyweight medalist from the Pirog undercard's name was all disappointed. These guys were all clearly in set up fights and couldn't sustain their own work rate for even a full round at a time. It was disgusting. They were all much better than the guys they were fighting, and all deserved to win (or tie) probably, but their conditioning was really disappointing. I understand fighters aren't always matched super tough every time out, and that's fine, but if someone's given a gimmie they need to win it in style. It's not an excuse to train half as hard.

Gamboa was excellent. It's worth correcting some writers though, he was equally brilliant in splattering Mtagwa. I've been a fan of Gamboa for a while and am glad to see him getting some credit (I do believe he has been more deserving of the low top ten lb 4 lb spot held by Lopez than Lopez himself is).

Two things though: First, I'm not sure why people say "we can't compare Pacquiao and Gamboa." No one has compared them entirely, Solis only compared their punching power, and after fighting bravely through both men's best shots he's earned the right to compare whatever he'd like to about them. It's fair for him to say Gamboa hits harder. He's in a good position to have an opinion. He may be right. Pacquiao has certainly eased off of his focus on power that he had at 126 (he fought Solis at 130), and turned into an aggressive boxer puncher since he passed into 135. Or he may be wrong, but there's no reason not to compare the two. In the lead up to the Frietas-Corrales fight I remember The Ring interviewed old sparring partners and common opponents and they pretty much all said Corrales hits hard but Frietas' power is on another level. It turned out not to matter when Corrales flattened Frietas in a pretty one sided beating. So right or wrong, no one should be making too big a deal out of believing or not believing what Solis had to say. He's a classy guy for saying it, you rarely see fighters that respectful of an opponent anymore.

The second point I wanted to make is that Gamboa-Lopez would be a great fight, but until it's going to be made I don't want to hear about it. It's not like Mayweather-Pacquiao where it's the only evenly matched fight either man could get into. It's just one of many attractive fights at feather right now. I'd love to see Gamboa in against Chris John (I'd pick Gamboa based off how close a short slow Rocky Juarez came), or even Jorge Linares. What I'd really like, (and what I'd trade never seeing the Lopez fight for) is to see Gamboa at 135 in two years. There are a wealth of fighters available at 135 and I'd guess the money gets better there too, plus, after having seen every fight both guy has been in on major networks, I really don't think Lopez-Gamboa is that close a fight anymore. Lopez is a powerful sharp shooter but his feet aren't anything more than average and his defense is wildly porous. It's not a 10 to 1 type fight or anything, but I think it's a lot closer to Jones-Toney than Leonard-Hearns. Take care. — Todd

Comparing Gamboa-Lopez to Jones-Toney is giving Gamby a little bit more credit than he deserves and it’s giving JuanMa way too much credit. The Puerto Rican southpaw is a solid technical puncher but he’s nowhere in Toney’s class in terms of ring generalship, defense, counter-punching ability and versatility. Having said that, it should be pointed out that Lopez has a lot more punching power at featherweight than Toney had at super middleweight. And because of this power, and his above-average accuracy, I don’t think anyone should make Gamby more than a 2-to-1 favorite over Lopez. However, knowing how most fans and boxing writers pee on themselves with excitement over fighters with the combination of power and ultra-quick hands/feet/reflexes, I have no doubt that whenever the fight takes place the Cuban dynamo will be installed as at least a 3-to-1 fave, and probably as high as 6-to-1. That’s going to be a mistake because Lopez can clip him, hurt him and stay patient while looking for the kill while Gamby tries to go all “cyclone” on him. Both featherweights have been rocked in past fights (Lopez more so than the Cuban) but the Puerto Rican has reacted with more professional poise to his adversity in my opinion. Gamboa gets caught up in proving that he’s not hurt whenever he’s been dropped, and at times, he’s gotten a little wild. Maybe he’s matured past that point, but maybe not. Solis didn’t have the power to let us know.

I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m not impressed with Gamby’s performance over Solis because I am. He exceeded my expectations and I’m very excited about his future. I can’t wait to see him fight again. And like you, I really don’t care to focus solely on the Lopez showdown because I think there are other worthy challenges out there for him. However, I do believe that Lopez is one of those worthy challenges.

Let’s hope Bob Arum doesn’t try to milk the matchup for too long. I don’t mind the fight not happening this year (although I’d prefer it in the fall) but if they don’t get it on by June of 2012 I’m going to stop talking about the damn matchup. I have no idea who you’re referring to when you say some people don’t want to hear any comparisons between Gamboa and Pacquiao but please tell them that Dougie says they need to get a grip and a life.

I was also disappointed in Lara’s performance against Molina. I didn’t see the Pirog-Maciel broadcast but I heard the Russian beltholder kind of stank it out. The “super heavyweight bronze medalist” I assume you are referring to is Vyacheslav Glazkov, who won the bronze in the 2008 Olympic Games for his native Ukraine. I saw where Glazkov (9-0, 6 KOs) was taken the eight-round distance by Denis Bakhtov on Pirog’s undercard.

Even though I haven’t seen the fights, I’m not surprised that Pirog and Glazkov struggled a bit. I’m not entirely surprised that Lara struggled, either. Why? Because I disagree that they were in with “gimmie” opponents. A “gimmie” is a bout where the favorite’s opponent can’t fight at all. That’s not the case with Molina, Maciel or Bakhtov. These guys are not rank journeymen. Maciel is prospect, which is basically what Pirog is. Yeah, the Russian is 30 and he had a lot of amateur bouts but come on, the dude just fought his 18th pro bout. He ain’t Marvin Hagler, so I don’t see why we should be so shocked or disappointed if he didn’t murder a tough kid from Argentina who has some skill and athletic ability (and actually more fights than Pirog). Pirog’s claim to fame is cold cocking Daniel Jacobs, who was what? A PROSPECT. Nothing more or less.

Let’s put these fights in their proper perspectives. Yes, Glazkov won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics, but he still entered his bout with Bakhtov with only eight pro bouts under his belt. He was fighting a real veteran of 38 pro bouts (33-5) in his first bout that was scheduled for more than six rounds. That’s a tall order. Don’t get carried away with Olympic credentials. It’s obvious that the competition isn’t what it was 20 or 30 years ago, especially in the super heavyweight division. I mean Deontay Wilder won a bronze in Glazkov’s division, for Christ’s sake, and despite having Vitali Klitschko’s frame, the dude is barely a six-round fighter two years after turning pro. The American is 15-0 with 15 knockouts and still not ready to face anyone nearly as experienced and competent as Bakhtov. (Wilder was dropped and seriously hurt by a real “gimmie” opponent, Harold Sconiers, last October.) So cut Glazkov some slack.

You don’t have to cut Lara as much slack because he had the talent, skill and style to soundly beat Molina even without his vast amateur experience. I agree that he probably wasn’t in the best of shape but I also think he was hampered by his mentality going into the fight. I don’t think he respected Molina (which he should have) and I think he tried too hard (at least in the early rounds of the bout) to go for the KO. That was a mistake because Molina is not just a tough-guy opponent with a decent record. The Chicagoan can fight and he can box. He isn’t dynamic and he doesn’t look smooth doing it but he knows how to employ some of the finer points of the sport and he did so against Lara. Molina didn’t just outwork the Cuban. He knew when to move his hands, when to move his head and when to move his feet.

Molina is definitely not a “gimmie” opponent. Ask Julio Cesar Chavez, Mike Alvarado, or Alexis Camacho. Those guys were all hot prospects when they fought Molina, and he did the same thing to them as he did to Lara. I was ringside for his second bout with Junior and I thought it could have been another draw or a close win for Molina. I thought the Alvarado bout could have been a draw. He soundly defeated Camacho, a puncher with a 17-1 record. If Molina got the nod in the Chavez and Alvarado bouts, his record would have been 20-2-1 going into the Lara fight and I bet a lot of fans would have viewed the match up in a different light.

Anyway, thank goodness for Gamboa, who exceeded expectations and looked sensational doing so. When highly touted fighters do that (as Nonito Donaire did against Fernando Montiel and Brandon Rios did against Miguel Acosta) it pushes them a little closer toward “star” status and creates a buzz in a sport that sorely needs as much as it can get.

NICK CHARLES

Hi Doug. It was great to see Nick Charles again. I was so happy to see him. He didn't look like what he was before but it was totally understandable. When Bob Papa started talking bout him, I actually thought he'd say something I didn't want to hear. Instead, when the camera panned out, here he was, standing right next to Bob and holding the microphone. It was awesome. I have a cancer patient in my family so I got emotional a little bit. He definitely has a special place in my heart. I really hope he'll beat the disease and come back 100%.

On to my thoughts about the fights on Friday/Saturday:

1. Lara didn't impress me at all and I thought he lost. Other Cuban 154 Lber seemed to be decent. The cruiserweight guy didn't impress me at all.

2. That was first time I saw Mikey Garcia fight. He's solid, patient and calculated like everyone said. I don't think he's ready for JuanMa or Gamboa though. I'd like to see him fight someone more experience and solid like Orlando Salido or another young guy with solid skills like J.C. Burgos, Daud Yordan, etc.

3. Gamboa impressed me. I have never been impressed by him before but the way he finished Solis, he impressed me. I wanna see him fighting punchers like Bernabe Concepcion or Jhonny Gonzales next before facing JuanMa.

Keep up the good work. — Naoki, Reno, Nev.

Thanks for writing in with your thoughts on Nick Charles, Naoki. Charles has a special place in all boxing fans’ hearts. It’s not just because of his valiant fight against a terrible and debilitating disease. It’s also because of his passion for the sport we all love and the professional but friendly manner in which he’s broadcast his vast knowledge and love for boxing over the years.

I had the honor of working two small pay-per-view broadcasts with Charles in 2008 (the Jorge Arce-Devid Lookmahnak ’Latin Fury’ from Mexico in May of that year and the Ivan Calderon-Hugo Cazares rematch from the very hot and humid Puerto Rico in August) and can tell you that the man is as warm and genuine in person and off-camera as he is on camera. The color commentator for both of those broadcasts I did with Charles was Genaro Hernandez, who is fighting his own battle with cancer. Both men are an inspiration. I always tell non-boxing fans who ask me what it is a like about the sport that “some of the best people I’ve met in life are boxing people.” Nick and Genaro are definitely among those people.

Anyway, onto your points, which I will reply to in order:

1. I thought Molina won the fight by winning six out of the 10 rounds, but I didn’t think the draw was a poor verdict. I was also disappointed with Lara and unimpressed with the cruiserweight, who appeared sloppy to me. Yudel Jhonson looks like a smooth operator in the ring. I’d like to see him in with a bigger, younger opponent than Gutierrez.

2. I agree that Garcia isn’t ready for Gamboa or Lopez (give him another year and he will be). Burgos would be a very dangerous fight for Mikey right now, but I’d love to see it. It would not disappoint. I’d like to see Garcia take on Bernabe Concepcion. That’s a fun fight.

3. I think Gamboa would ice Concepcion in one or two rounds. Gonzalez isn’t a viable opponent in my eyes unless he can pull the upset against Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan on April 8. I want to see Gamboa take on only the be best 126 pounders, Rojas, John, and of course, Lopez.

LIGHTENING GAMBOA

I was pumped to see Juan Manuel Lopez in the ring after the Gamboa fight. Hopefully that fight will actually happen. It needs to happen. If not, what's next for Gamboa? I think with his speed he'll be able to move up easily if nobody will fight him at his current weight. As a sidenote to how amazing boxers are as athletes: Zbikowski was gassed in a 4 round fight and he plays in the NFL! Thanks for all the good work Doug, keep it up. — Matt from Mattawan

I remember a quote from Mark Gastineau, a five-time Pro Bowler who tried boxing in the early 1990s (and had around 15 or 16 bouts, some of which were reportedly set-ups), when he was asked to compare being in shape for pro football to pro boxing conditioning (and I‘m paraphrasing here): “I was on vacation the entire time I was in the NFL and I didn’t know it.”

Anyway, my guess is that Gamboa, who began his pro career at 130 pounds, could go up to junior lightweight anytime and kick ass. However, I think that would be a mistake. There are no notable fighters at 130 pounds right now, unless you count Jorge Linares, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, which puts him on Bob Arum’s ban list.

The better fighters are at 126 pounds right now, so that’s where Gamby should stay. Lopez isn’t the only talented featherweight in the game. I think there are others who can give the Cuban a fight.

NETWORK

Dougie,

A few quick points:

1. I grew up watching network fights in the 80's, with the CBS involvement in the upcoming PPV fight do you see major fights coming back to network TV. Is this format more beneficial to fighters pockets or marketability?

2. I know you're a comics fan like myself and Marvel has a large digital archive of their comics, like early issues of Spiderman and Thor. Do you see The Ring Mag doing such a thing?

3. Whose the guy the walks in the ring now with the kufi and tank top, most recently with Mayorga. He looks like MC Shan on roids.

– Kino, New York, New York

Hey Kino. I’ll answer your questions in order:

1. I don’t see major boxing returning to network TV even if Pacquiao-Mosley is a huge pay-per-view success because of the fight’s exposure on CBS. What could happen is that the promotional build-up to more major PPV shows could be see on networks in the future. The network format is definitely more beneficial to a fighter’s marketability, which could translate into more money for those special few who possess the right mix of talent and charisma.

2. I am indeed a bigtime comic nerd. The good news for bigtime boxing nerds is that THE RING is working on making its vast archives available to those who subscribe to the digital edition of the magazine. I believe that the Imirus microsite (where you buy the digital edition) will begin listing individual back issues on April 1. I don’t know how far back these issues go, but I think the ultimate goal for the company is to eventually have most (if not all) editions of THE RING dating back to 1922 (when it was founded) in an accessible digital format.

Here’s the link to the sign up page for the digital edition if you’re interested: http://www.imirus.com/fulfillment_files/thering/subscribe.html?title=724

3. I have no idea who you are talking about, and I have no desire to look into who it might be, but I have to say that it never ceases to amaze me what and/or whom captures the attention of you hardcore heads before, during and after a fight. God bless ya!

 

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