Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

VICTOR-Y

Dougie,
What a fight! Victor Ortiz showed heart, determination, and willingness to go for it all. If he didn't change how people feel then I don't know what will. I took his statements after the Marcos Madaina fight with a grain of salt because at the time he was just a kid and I think he and mostly everybody underestimated Madaina. Now with the resume Madaina has, that loss doesn't look that bad. The only thing that looks bad is the post-fight interview.

I thought Andre Berto looked completely flat, but I don't think if he was on he would have won. Ortiz came to win and would not be denied. I'd like to see Ortiz-Madaina 2.

On another note, I think Ortiz should change trainers. I know it might sound extreme, but I think in the long term it would benefit him. I just didn't hear the right comments throughout the fight. I didn't like that he kept saying “We’re winning, your going to be champ.” He sounded more like a fan/cheerleader than a trainer/coach. I believe he should have said when you get Berto against the ropes go to the body. I really believe if he would have done that it would have opened up Berto's head and Ortiz would have taken him out. Thoughts?

The Khan fight was a complete mismatch, can't wait for Khan-Bradley!!!! Gamboa easily out points and possibly knocks out Juan Manuel Lopez. I think Salido would have probably won, but bad stoppage. Lopez will bounce back. Salido should enjoy his moment. That was one hell of a performance. Horrible stoppage, but I'm guessing we'll see a rematch. Thoughts? — Michael

I didn’t care much for that stoppage, but it wasn’t the worst I’ve seen. Lopez was on wobbly legs and getting tagged with very hard punches. However, he knew where he was, he was punching back, and he possesses the kind of power than can instantly change a fight. Salido has masonry block for a chin but let’s not forget that Lopez rocked him at the end of the sixth and seventh rounds.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure we’ll see a Saldio-Lopez rematch by the end of the year. I think the version of Lopez that fought Salido would have little chance against Gamboa but I’m sure that’s not the version the Cuban dynamo will get if that fight ever does happen.

The Khan fight was not only non-competitive, it was boring. I didn’t like the form Khan showed against the punchless southpaw. He seemed to lunge and push with his punches whenever he tried to put them together, and though he totally outworked McCloskey, he didn’t nail the Irishman flush too often. That version of Khan does not beat Bradley, which is a high-profile and significant bout but not a matchup that has "fight of the year" written on it.

I don’t think Ortiz needs to switch trainers just yet. I know that Danny Garcia is limited in some areas, but I believe he’s improved since the Maidana fight (as has his fighter) and I think he did great job preparing Ortiz for the 12-round war we witnessed on Saturday. Ortiz was ready to take advantage of Berto’s defensive holes/offensive spurts and he was in physical and mental condition to go the full route. Let’s not forget that the barnburner we saw was Ortiz’s first 12-round bout. The 24-year-old belt holder had never fought past 10 rounds prior to Saturday. I was impressed by Ortiz’s form, output and stamina, and I have to give his trainer some credit for that. Also, I had no problem with Garcia telling Ortiz that he was winning or that he was going to be the new champ. Some fighters want their trainers to keep things positive between rounds. Listen to what Angelo Dundee told Sugar Ray Leonard between rounds during the classic 12-rounder with Marvin Hagler. I’ll take the sunny outlook Garcia had between rounds on Saturday over the panicked “Victor! What’s wrong! React, Victor! React!” exclamations he spewed during the Maidana fight.

I thought Berto looked kind of sleepy during his ring walk and a little spacey during the fighter introductions, but once the fight began he seemed like the same old Berto to me. He just got caught by a very motivated puncher. He should have known Ortiz was going to try to check his chin early. He also should have listened more to Tony Morgan’s instruction and told his brother to shut his mouth during those precious one-minute breaks.

I’m not all that interested in an Ortiz-Maidana rematch. I know it will happen sooner or later, and the more time that goes by the less chance I give Maidana of repeating his victory. I’d rather see Ortiz-Berto II.

“If he didn't change how people feel then I don't know what will.”

Truer words were never written regarding Ortiz’s critics.

 

IS BOB GOING TO KISS MY ASS?

Dougie,
Sorry for sending two emails, but wow. Two undefeated over-hyped prospects get beat in the same weekend. I was pretty sure my birthday was in January but I guess I was wrong.

Remember when Bob Arum said fans could kiss his ass? And he suggested we basically go screw ourselves until he felt like making the Yuriorkis Gamboa v JuaMa Lopez fight? How's that fight lookin' now, Bob? He'd better start kissing the fans' collective asses if he wants to sell that fight within the next two years. Good for Salido, as the announcers pointed out, he got there the hard way. — Todd

Ya gotta be happy for a major underdog like Salido. Even when one of my favorite fighters get knocked off, I can’t help but feel good for the guy who believed in himself when nobody else would. Stories like Salido’s upset, Ortiz’s redemption, and Erik Morales’ courageous performance last week are what make boxing so rewarding to follow and cover.

Gamboa-Lopez is a dead subject until the Puerto Rican attraction can redeem himself, and it may take more than a rematch victory over Salido to do that. The fans and media of this era are very unforgiving when it comes to losses, particularly stoppage losses to unheralded opponents.

Look how long and how many fights it took Wladimir Klitschko, Amir Khan and Ortiz to regain their status in the sport after KO losses to underdogs. It took more than one year and definitely more than one fight. Lopez might have to beat Salido and a string of very good featherweights — I’m thinking seasoned titleholders such as Chris John and Jhonny Gonzalez — before fans will give him a shot against Gamboa or sign off on that potential matchup.

As for Arum, he’s too old to be kissing anyone’s ass, but it will be interesting to see how he handles this setback. I’m curious to see how he rebuilds Lopez and how he handles any fallout from the media after the way he publicly challenged them.

Then again, Arum often gets a free pass from the media, so maybe my fellow boxing writers will take it easy on him. I know if Lopez was promoted by Golden Boy my peers would be very loud with their displeasure and criticism.

Regarding your early birthday present, I wouldn’t call Berto and Lopez “over-hyped prospects.” Berto was an overrated welterweight contender. Lopez was an overrated pound-for-pound entrant. Both fighter had proven their mettle to a degree with tough 12-round bouts (Berto vs. Luis Collazo, Lopez vs. Rogers Mtagwa) that were fight of the year candidates and I thought both men showed heart in their losing efforts, which fans are calling fight of the year candidates. I don’t think they’ve done anything to be ashamed or ridiculed by the fans.

 

DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK

Hello Dougie,
After watching boxing with the usual MMA fans this weekend, one dared to comment that, "boxing is making a comeback."

Of course, being a hard-core boxing junky, I noted that these kinds of fights were here all along. Nice to see them in such an array though! Here's some random thoughts:

-JuanMa lost that fight before it started. Every pre-fight photo shows him bundled up like he was training in Big Bear rather than on la isla de encantra. Having to shed pounds compromised his ability to recover quickly from such shots from Salido. And good for him, a grinder that finally found the belt though guts and determination.

-Berto is going to get stopped vs Ortiz every time out. Who would have thought that the Haitian could bring out the true Mexican in Ortiz? Who by the way looked much more fit in his sombrero after the fight. Ortiz got his mind right finally, proving all other tools were there to his detractors.

Finally a question: Of the recent string of surprising fights –


Morales v Maidana
Kirkland v Ishida
Ortiz v Berto
Lopez v Salido

– which rematch(es) do you think would have different outcomes?
– Joseph

I believe all four rematches (if they happen) can have different outcomes to the first bouts. I can see Morales starting faster (while keeping a good guard to protect his eyes, of course) and boxing a little bit more to win a close but clear-cut decision over Maidana.

I can see a refocused Kirkland shedding his weight more intelligently, getting better sparring to prepare for Isisha and then fighting the Japanese veteran with a little more respect than he did the first time and winning on points.

I can see Berto working his jab more, keeping the action in the center of the ring, avoiding the ropes and following up better on whenever he rocks Ortiz to either score a late stoppage or win by a close decision.

I can see Lopez fighting with a more controlled form, employing constant lateral movement and outboxing Salido over 12.

I don’t think Berto is going to get stopped every time against Ortiz. He didn’t get stopped the first time. Why would he get stopped any other time? I think both guys will rock and drop each other almost every time they fight, so let’s just hope they do it again at least one more time.

I had read and heard talk of Lopez going to 130 pounds prior to the Salido fight, which wasn’t a good sign. It wouldn’t shock me if he moved to junior lightweight immediately after regaining his featherweight belt in a rematch with Salido. In fact, win or lose in a Salido rematch, JuanMa is probably going up in weight.

They may never admit it to you, but your MMA friends know that when boxing is at its best nothing can compare to it.

 

LOPEZ CAN COME BACK

Dougie:
Just boarding the train in Bayamon from Lopez vs Salido. I am not going to count out Lopez for one loss against a very experienced, tough as nails contender, and former champion. Hopefully, Lopez will take this as a wake-up call to learn defense. I think Gamboa vs Lopez will happen anyway, and will be an exciting fight. — Christian Formby

Of course it will. And there’s no reason for anyone to count Lopez out after his first loss. Salido had 11 losses and he obviously shouldn’t have been counted out.

Lopez will be back, more motivated and shaper than ever. It’s just going to take him some time to prove that he’s really back to this generation of fans and media. But there’s no doubt in my mind that he can do it.

 

TWO FIGHT OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES

Hey Dougie,
Wow. After the inspirational performance Erik Morales had last week, now we have 2 more fight of the year candidates this week! I guess not many people will be doubting Victor Ortiz's heart anymore. Round 6 was unbelievable. Props to Berto too, his legs looked gone early on but he made a tough fight of it and he'll be back.

What now for Ortiz though? Dare I say it… Manny Pacquiao?

Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, I've never been happier to see a potential future superfight go out of the window. Salido was landing some enormous right hands and Lopez was out on his feet at the end of the 5th and in the 6th, only to come back and somehow win the 7th. I thought the stoppage was bad, even though he was clearly in trouble. It was a shame. If his powers of recovery had surfaced again we might have been treated to and ending à la Gatti-Ward. Either way, superb all action fight. Let's all forget about Gamboa with these two for now and look forward to a rematch!

Keep up the good work, always look forward to reading your views. — Sam Goodyear, Portsmouth, England

Because of the Puerto Rican’s pride and power, I agree that Lopez-Saldio could have escalated into a truly classic slugfest had the ref not intervened midway through the eighth. However, win or lose, I think Lopez could have absorbed a career-shortening (or even career-ending) beating in the process. I know he was pissed with the stoppage but he lives to fight another day.

Pacquiao vs. Ortiz? Nah. Not this year. I don’t think he’s not ready for the Pac-monster. However, if you talk to Freddie Roach, he’ll admit that Ortiz has the style and power to hurt his star fighter. He’s had them spar before. He once told me that he had to cap those session to two or three rounds because of the damage both southpaw punchers would inflict on each other.

The fights for Ortiz this year, in my humble opinion, should be a voluntary title defense against a solid young guy like Mike Jones or Brad Solomon (both are in the WBC’s top 10) over the summer, and then the Berto rematch in the fall.

The high-profile money fights that I would push for Ortiz in 2012 and 2013 would be a welterweight or 150-pound catchweight bout with Saul Alvarez and junior middleweight showdown with Miguel Cotto. Alvarez-Ortiz can fill Staples Center or the Honda Center. Cotto-Ortiz can sellout Madison Square Garden. And I think he can win both fights with just a little more seasoning.

 

ORTIZ ANSWERS SOME QUESTIONS

Hey Doug,

It's been awhile. Lots of boxing action this weekend but to keep this one short and sweet. I'll concentrate on Berto/Ortiz. I went in expecting an action fight and thinking that Berto would probably get the win. I wound up cheering out loud at several points while at the same time cursing at the referee who in a word SUCKED. He not only took a point from Ortiz on a bad call but was continually getting between the fighters and interrupting the flow of the fight. I was wishing that Ortiz would scream, "GET OUT OF THE WAY!"

I like both fighters but I guess I was hoping that Victor would pull it out. I thought he did a good job but I wish he would have taken about a half step back to get more punching room because I think he might have gotten Berto out of there if he had. Never the less, I did think he answered the questions about his fighting heart and maybe silenced some nay sayers out there.

Lots of talent in that division and the mind boggles at the possible matchups. Do you think there will be an immediate rematch or are there plans for Ortiz' next opponent? One last random thought. I was wrong about Eric Morales getting a serious beatdown last weekend but I do think Roy Jones is headed for one next time out. Any thoughts? — David, Nashville

I agree about Jones…. But after witnessing Morales almost beat Maidana, Ishida blast Kirkland in one round, Ortiz outgut Berto over 12, and 10-to-1 underdog Salido knockout Lopez, it’s hard for me to completely count RJ out.

I don’t think we’ll see an immediate Ortiz-Berto rematch. Both fighters took a lot of punishment on Saturday and deserve easier interim fights before they do it again.

I couldn’t help but pull for Ortiz during the fight. Not that I have anything against Berto, but of the two unproven young guns I thought Ortiz received the lions share of criticism from the fans and media. Some of it was warranted, but a lot of it was just mean spirited drivel that had more to do with anti-Golden Boy Promotions and anti-West Coast feelings than anything Ortiz ever did (or didn’t do) in a prize fight.

I picked Berto to win in an action-packed distance fight. I didn’t think either young man would wilt as soon as they got hit with a good punch. I’m not saying that I predicted the barnburner with all the knockdowns that we were treated to, but I saw a very good see-saw slugfest in which both fighters were rocked. I favored Berto because of his experience, especially in the late rounds of a 12-round bout. I thought that would be when he rallied to take a close decision, but to my surprise, it was Ortiz who finished stronger.

It was a pleasant surprise. I like Ortiz. Watching at home, I got to “Ooh and ahh” a little bit more than when I’m on press row, which was fun. I also bitched about the referee’s missed knockdown in the opening round and the point deduction. It tickled me to hear Larry Merchant echo these thoughts.

 

HECK OF A FIGHT

Dougie,
Saturday night's fight was excellent, I'm glad I picked it right early in the week. Three things jumped out at me while watching. First, the ref did a terrible job. Maybe because he use to be a fighter, he seemed to be overly protective of Berto. He took something like 9 or 10 rounds to warn him for holding (when from about the fourth round on Berto's bread and butter was clenching and complaining about rabbit punches), and most upsetting, he waited to rule on the first knockdown until after Berto pleaded his case to him. It's only a few seconds, but it's grossly inappropriate. You don't look to a fighter or listen to him when ruling a knockdown. The point taken away was disgusting. Berto's survival tactics included bending at the waste and turning his head away from the action. It's not even a foul, much less a point, when a fighter gets hit in the back of the head as a result of turning away from the shot. The worst part is, this kind of reffing doesn't help anyone. Serious brain injuries come from recurrent and consistent abuse, not from quick knockouts. If a fighter is so beaten that his only means of surviving the round is to hold on, he's better off in the long term if you refuse to let him break the rules, make him fight, and let him get sent home early. I'm not saying the fight should have been stopped, I'm saying if a guy is hurt in the ring the best thing you can do for him is make him fight and keep him from "surviving" too long in a grueling fight. I think Jermain Taylor is a great example of how protective reffing can lead to a premature accumulation of damage, and a premature retirement.

Second, Berto's brother wasn't doing him any favors. No fighter needs more than one voice in the corner. If Berto wants to be an elite pro he needs to behave like a professional and save his entourage for the after party. If his brother wants to be a good brother he needs to accept that he has no business near the ring.

Third, I think it's particularly satisfying that after Berto made so much talk about "heart" in the lead up to the fight, he ended up trying to quit at least twice. The first, was in his aggressive blinking and staggering after one of the shots behind the head. All that disappeared once the action began again. It was the same thing as Robert Guerrero (if I remember right) complaining about his eye in the second round a couple years back to try to draw a no contest or technical decision. The second, was in Berto's "odd looks" he was giving to his corner while getting pounded against the ropes. I don't think it makes him a coward, but it does prove that he's not averse to packing it in when he knows it's just not his night.

Take care. — Todd

I don’t think Berto was trying to quit at any point against Ortiz. And I don’t recall Guerrero complaining about his eye in the Daud Yordan fight. He got cut, the ref asked him if he could see, he said no, and the fight was waved off. I think if Guerrero knew it would be ended that abruptly, he would have held his tongue. He was fighting at home and he was the guy who sold all the tickets. No fighter wants to go out like that in front of his people.

And I don’t think Berto would have wanted to the fight to end on a foul or take a disqualification win. He’s got too much pride for that. To my eyes, he simply recognized early in the fight (as you pointed out) that he could talk to the ref and get a response, so he tired to take advantage of that situation by complaining, which helped lead to the point deduction, and gave him a little extra breather here and there. I thought it was moderate theatrics, nothing that really took away from an excellent scrap. It wasn’t nearly as bad as Bernard Hopkins’ antics in the Joe Calzaghe fight.

I agree with you about Berto’s brother.

Good call picking Ortiz. If you’re a betting man, you did alright. He was a 4-to-1 underdog in some places.

 

UNSURE

Mr. Fischer:

When Ortiz lost to Maidana, I immediately ripped off a reactionary email regarding blah blah blah. He was immature. He still is immature. He is a man whose performance is driven by emotion and, apparently, the amount of food in his belly. He's like Brandon Rios or Abner Mares at 147. At 140 he's like, well, Miguel Cotto was at was 140–underweight. You have been consistent about Mr. Ortiz's strengths and weaknesses. We all had the kid at the wrong weight, but you had a better angle on his character. I had a feeling you were right, and that I was wrong. Re: the Maidana fight, the guy was concussed, and ill prepared. And, apparently, dehydrated (or not, who cares now.)

Regardless, I'm fully on the 'Vicious' bandwagon. I can't wait to see him again. I hope to never see Berto again unless he gives Luis Collazo the long-deserved rematch.

And having recently attended a show at the Foxwoods (Martinez/Dzinziruk) I am very high on the facility, and the life of the sport if they can continue to put on shows like this. Props to Lou Dibella and Golden Boy. Thank god the fans still have a say. — Matthew, NYC (Washington Heights)

One of these days I’ll cover a big fight at Foxwoods.

I don’t mind seeing Berto again as long as he’s fighting a tough, offense-minded opponent with good hand speed. Berto vs. Ortiz, Collazo, Mike Jones, or even Kell Brook sounds good to me.

I thought Ortiz was always destined to be a welterweight. Youth and Spartan training are the only reasons he could make 140 for as long as he did. I told him years ago, before Cotto lost to Margarito, that the Puerto Rican would be his breakout fight.

Turns out it was Berto, but I’d still like to see Ortiz fight Cotto at 147 or 154 pounds.

 

KILLIN’ WEEKEND OF BOXING

Zup Doug,
How’s the family doing?

Great weekend of fights. Gotta get a long winded on this one, I’m hyped. This weekend is why I love this sport, you just don’t know what’s going to happen.

But this was not one of them! I never really liked this fight between Khan and McCloskey, but that being said, Amir really didn’t look that good to me. If its possible for a cat to win every round, but still look like he is struggling, this was the fight. I was not impressed at all. By the way, terrible stoppage.

Lopez makes exciting fights, but the reason is he’s just too easy to hit. He’s all O and no D, and it cost him in this fight. When I saw Salido slinging that overhand right like it was a windmill, and he kept clocking Juanma, I knew it was going to be a long night for Lopez. But Salido had more than an overhand right, he also had some nice body punching and some sneaky uppercuts inside that continually rocked Lopez, whose only defense was to throw punches and keep bringing it. I loved how when he had Juanma hurt towards the end, he stepped up his body attack. With all the wars that Lopez has been in, I knew that it would catch up to him. I really never thought Lopez could beat Gamboa, mainly because of his lack of defense. If slower fighters are rocking Juanma, then he would be a sitting duck against Gamboa. Even though Juanma he was on his way to being stopped, this fight was also a bad stoppage. I hope the ref made it out of town safely. BTW, Arum should have struck while the fire was hot, with a vulnerable fighter like Lopez.

I liked the Berto vs. Ortiz fight back when they first announced it. Even though Andre was perceived as the bigger cat, in my opinion he really never fought anyone. Collazo severely tested him. With that in mind, and the fact that Victor usually comes in almost a middleweight for his fights, I thought this was a pretty good fight. It turned out to be much better than I thought, a barnburner. 5 knockdowns (I don’t care what the ref ruled, Berto was down 3 times in my opinion) and a slugfest in a fight that went all 12 rounds, that’s my definition of a good fight. The judges and the ref (questionable point deduction for Ortiz, but he still won that round, so I scored it 9-9) looked like they tried their best to give Andre the fight, but I had Victor comfortably ahead. And the ref should have penalized Berto for all the holding he was doing. Ref was definitely biased, can you say ‘paid off by Haymon’? However, Victor simply had more in the gas tank and was the aggressor throughout. There were just too many rounds where Berto was mostly holding and on shaky legs (I suspect from Ortiz continually going to his body on the inside).

And round 6 was why I watch boxing! Berto rocks and knocks down Ortiz with a right hand that I thought for sure would end the fight, then goes for the kill – only to get plastered to the floor by an Ortiz left hook as he’s coming in – a round-of-the-year type round, which I scored for Berto 10-9, because he looked like he got the better of it – but Berto was done after that round. It does not get any more dramatic than that. And again, Ortiz had to fight Berto and the ref. Berto’s head had all kinds of lumps on it after the fight, and that’s probably the real reason he skipped the presser, while Ortiz looked unmarked to me.

In my opinion the body shots sapped Berto’s energy. HBO was not giving Ortiz credit for those punches, but Andre’s reaction told me all I needed to know, holding, leaning on the ropes, and constantly looking at the clock waiting for the fight to end. After the fight Berto said “that was not him in there”. That’s definitely true. The Berto we usually see is in there with bums! Ortiz threw more, landed more, and landed harder – he just outworked an exhausted Berto. Be careful what you ask for.

Ortiz has just set himself up for some huge fights. He says he wants to fight Pac, but with the TR-GBP war going on, I don’t know.

But where does Berto go from here? Where does Haymon go from here? His fighters are losing left and right. Did you see the look on the Watson kids’ faces?

I’m still high! I hope you enjoyed the fights as much as I did. Peace. — Steve

I did. It’s a great time to be a boxing fan. This Saturday we have Showtime’s bantamweight tournament finals and consolation match and you and I both know there’s no way that Agbeko-Mares and Perez-Darchinyan won’t deliver.

Berto and Haymon will be alright. Saturday was a setback but not a huge one because of the excitement level of the fight. Watson’s kids aren’t sweatin’ a damn thing. They just want to know where the TV cameras are.

The GBP-Arum cold war is a good thing for Ortiz right now. If you go life and death with Berto, you ain’t ready for PacMan.

I was also impressed with Ortiz’s body attack, especially his shots to Berto’s chest. I used to hear older trainers tell their fighters to “hit him in the heart” in the gym. They told me shots to the chest are every bit as effective — maybe more so — than punches to the stomach, ribs and liver area.

I also thought Ortiz should have been credited with two knockdowns in the opening round and I scored the sixth for Berto.

I also agree that Arum should have pulled the trigger on Lopez-Gamboa, but I wasn’t convinced that the Puerto Rican puncher couldn’t beat the Cuban dynamo. Gamboa doesn’t pay that much attention to defense either, and when he’s right (not weight drained and distracted with divorce drama) I think Lopez has sharper punching technique than the Cuban. I could see Lopez landing a nice compact right hook or uppercut while Gamby was loading up with one of his bombs. I don’t know if Gamboa would get KTFO but I know he’d go down from such a shot.

Salido looked like a complete fighter against Lopez. The educated jab and constant lateral movement of Chris John would enable the Indonesian belt holder to outpoint Salido, in my opinion, but I wonder if the new titleholder’s rock-solid chin would hold out against Jhonny Gonzalez. I’d like to see that all-Mexican showdown.

I agree with you on the Khan fight. I don’t think he looked good despite winning all six rounds and I thought the stoppage was weak. Great minds think alike, eh? 

 

 

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