Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Memorial Day mailbag

GYM NOTES

Hey Dougie,
I just wanted to congratulate you on a very well written and interesting article (“Alvarez, Golovkin worth a driving up a mountain to see”). The way you detailed the sparring session made me feel like I was there. I'm looking forward to seeing Gennady Golovkin fight. Always a fan of yours, hope to see you back on TV soon. BTW, I think everyone missed the mailbags. Keep up the good work. — Enrique

Thanks for the kind words, Enrique. I’ll try not to skip anymore mailbags (even when I’m traveling). I’ll be back on the tube (Fox Sports Net) for the June 23 edition of Fight Night Club, which is also streamed live on RingTV.com.

Because of his contract dispute with Universum (the Germany based promotional company that signed him out of the amateurs) I don’t think Golovkin will be featured on live U.S. television until next year. There’s a legal tug of war regarding his contract, which he says expires in November of this year.

Whenever it is you do get to see Golovkin I have a feeling you’re going to like what you see. If you want a mental picture of Golovkin imagine a busier 160-pound version of Kostya Tszyu.

I’m pleased to hear that you felt like you were at Abel Sanchez’s gym (The Summit) witnessing Golovkin’s six-round sparring session with Saul Alvarez while reading the Gym Notes breakdown of the session. That’s the goal of that particular column.

The next time I make the journey up the San Bernardino mountain (which is a three-to-four hour trip each way from where I live), however, I’m going to try and score some video footage of Golovkin sparring. I’m keeping my figures crossed that it will be a session with Peter Quillin. I hear that “Kid Chocolate” gives “Superman” his most competitive rounds in the gym.

APPRECIATE THE TECHNIQUE

Hey Doug,

Just gotta say, after finishing reading your report on the sparring session between “Canelo” and the new kid, Golovkin, that you're boxing writing makes other dudes look like they only understand the sport on the surface.

Enough criticism goes out to fighters for not putting on "entertaining"-enough fights, but the same could be said for a lot of the writers/commentators in how they present the sport to fans.

I really appreciate all of the technical details you know and are able to express in words, and wish you continued success in your craft.

Boxing needs more reporters like you. — Tim


Thank you, Tim. If I wasn’t the uppity “Halfrican” that I am, your words would have made me blush.

In all seriousness, though, it’s nice to know that there’s are boxing fans out there who want to read detailed gym reports. It ensures that I’ll keep the Gym Notes coming. It’s the most satisfying column I write because I get to share the stories and philosophies of my favorite trainers and chronicle the development of unknown or up-and-coming fighters.

TRIBAL COMMISSIONS

Dear Doug,

I just read a shocking story. Jorge Reyes, a fighter who has been suspended 14 times in the U.S. and at least once in Mexico over the past fifteen years, is being licensed to fight by a tribal commission. He hasn't won a fight in 11 years. He's 1-18-1 in his last 20 bouts.

Now, this reminded me of the Antonio Margarito storm when he was up for reinstatement. Don't get me wrong: I think Marg's a cheating slime who should've been banned for life, but the ABC needs to thunder more about the Jorge Reyeses of the world. I hope that an amendment to the Ali Boxing Reform Act can be passed that will reign in these tribal commissions. Some comments from the ABC would be nice, too. Tim Lueckenhoff certainly (and justifiably) was vociferous about Margarito.

(P.S. I hope that Pacquiao drops the defamation suit against Oscar now. Oscar has "tweeted" an apology. That's what Manny wanted, and he got it. As for Floyd Jr., Floyd Sr., Uncle Roger and Schaefer, different story, but Oscar's now atoned.

P.P.S. Did Pascal ever apologize to Hopkins for those steroid "you're-a-f___ing-cheater" charges?) Take care. — Patrick

Pascal stated numerous times that he doesn’t think Hopkins is on PEDs after the kick-off press conference and leading into their rematch, but I don’t believe he’s made a formal apology to the new champ, who was publicly considering legal action as recently as last Thursday.

As for Pacquiao’s beef with De La Hoya’s comments (some of which were made in a blog on this site), I don’t know if Twitter is the appropriate forum to make a lawsuit-breaking apology. It would be nice if the boxing industry could stop suing itself for 10 minutes, though, wouldn’t it?

It also be nice if commission could look out for hopeless professional opponents like Jorge Reyes, who outlived his usefulness as journeyman years ago. I’m not going to hate on a fighter’s record because the fact of boxing is that there are winners and there are losers — some guys win most of their fights, others lose most of ‘em, some hover around with a .500 record — that’s the way it is.

However, if a fighter is just getting the s__t beat out of him fight after fight, and not even offering a challenge to his opponents, he needs to be saved from himself (and from whoever is taking advantage of his total disregard for his health).

If Reyes hadn’t been stopped so often in recent fights — like his fourth-round TKO to a completely shot Johnny Tapia last March — I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. But he’s obviously been chosen to give opponent Hector Munoz a much-needed victory. I get it. Munoz has lost his last three bouts (by stoppage) to hot prospects. However, the guy I saw lose to Shane Porter in his last fight seemed pretty tough. He’s nothing special, but he’s a mature fighter who was fighting for regional titles (NABO, NABA and NABF) in his last three bouts. His handlers could put him in with a tougher journeyman than Reyes and still get the “W” they want.

WAITING FOR SUPERMAN

Hey, Dougie! Thanks so much for writing the article on Gennady Golovkin. Ever since you mentioned some crazy named Russian guy beating up on "El Perro" in sparring sessions in past mailbags, and especially after hearing about the impressive list of victims his amateur resumé has, I've really been chomping at the bit to learn more about Golovkin.

I cannot wait to watch this guy fight on Showtime or HBO. The fact that you said he reminds you of Tszyu, who was one of my favorites to watch, only piques my interest more. Thanks again, Doug! I love it when boxing gives me something to be excited about! — Jon Krueger

Take it from me, Golovkin is worth getting excited about. It says here that “Superman” would knockout the two unbeaten middleweights — WBC beltholder Sebastian Zbik and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. — who are fighting on HBO on Saturday.

Tszyu was one of my favorite fighters of the 1990s and early part of the last decade. His knockout of Zab Judah in Las Vegas in November of 2001 is near the top of my list of “memorable press row moments.” I was right behind Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was good buddies with Zab at the time, as I made my way from the MGM Grand’s Garden Arena to the post-fight press conference. Floyd was upset and kept yelling “I’m going to kill Kostya Tszyu!” This was back when I still had mad respect for Mayweather but as he ranted and raved (almost the way pro wrestlers act for the cameras) I recall thinking to myself “Somehow, Floyd, I don’t think you will.”

FUTURE HALL OF FAMERS?

Dougie -
Take a look at the following fighters, who are at, or near, the end of their respectable careers. Based on their accomplishments to date, 1) would you vote for their induction into the Hall of Fame, and 2) do you think they will actually make the HOF? A quick comment on each would be cool, too.

- Jose Luis Castillo
- Diego Corrales
- Fernando Vargas
- Winky Wright
- Rafael Marquez

Thanks. — John, Irvine, CA

These guys are all borderline hall of famers in my opinion. The first fighter you list, Castillo, is probably the most difficult to figure.

The former lightweight champ from Mexico could fight his ass off during his prime and he had some very impressive performances, including losing effort in the first fight with Floyd Mayweather, which many observers believe he won, the all-time great slugfest with fellow borderline HOFer Corrales, and his decision victories over HOF-worthy Joel Casamayor and the very underrated Steve Johnston.

Castillo didn’t duck anybody, which is the mark of a true HOFer, but he didn’t do his legacy any good by purposely coming in overweight for his rematch with Corrales and then failing to make weight (after legitimately trying) for their scratched third meeting.

He’s not someone I’d vote for the first time I see his name on the HOF ballot, but I won’t rule out voting for him 10 years from now.

I don’t think he’ll get into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but he’ll eventually make the West-Coast based World Boxing Hall of Fame.

Having died before his time, Corrales has the James Dean-thing going for him. He’s probably going to get a little more credit than he actually earned in the ring but most boxing writers are going to be OK with that because he was so entertaining. His accomplishments are nothing to scoff at. He stopped Castillo in an instant all-time great classic ring war (it was certainly the most brutal and dramatic fight I ever saw live). S__t, I’m proud to have been one of Showtimes’s press row judges (along with Tim Smith and Dan Rafael) for that fight. He’s got a decision victory over Casamayor, a late TKO of Acelino Freitas (who was undefeated at the time), and nice stoppages of capable world-class fighters such as Robert Garcia, Derrick Gainer and Angel Manfredy. His one-sided loss to Mayweather won’t count too much against him. Floyd’s a first-ballot HOFer and most of us know that Chico was weight drained near to death for that fight.

Corrales will get my vote and I have no doubt that he’ll get into the HOF posthumously.

Vargas will get into the HOF for two reasons, neither of which have anything to do with his ring accomplishments: he was popular and usually entertaining. However, El Feroz’s skill, which earned him a decision over the still-dangerous Ike Quartey in 2000 (just one year after “Bazooka” gave Oscar De La Hoya all he could handle), and heart, which enabled him to outwork Winky Wright in a close fight, cannot be denied. His losses to Felix Trinidad and De La Hoya won’t be held against him because A) those two rivals are first ballot HOFers, and B) those fights (and their promotional build up) were f__king awesome!

Feroz was a major reason that the late 1990s and early part of the 2000s was a fun time to be a boxing fan, and for that, he will get a checkmark from Yours Truly whenever I see his name on the ballot. I know he’ll be inducted. All fan favorites are.

I’ll definitely vote for Wright, who topped my personal pound-for-pound list from May of 2005 (when he nearly shutout the come-backing Trinidad) to November of 2006 (when Pacquiao seized the lead after smashing Erik Morales in their third bout). I like Winky because he unified the junior middleweight titles against Shane Mosley, twice beating the then-P4P rated three-division champ, totally owned Tito, and held then-middleweight champ Jermain Taylor to a draw (in a fight I thought he won by a 116-112 tally). Also, his losses to Vargas and Harry Simon could have gone his way.

I don’t think Wright will be voted into the HOF the first time his name appears on the ballot but I think he’ll eventually be inducted.

Marquez will get my vote because he was one-half of an all-time great trilogy (against Israel Vazquez) and his third bout against Vazquez was one of the best fights I’ve ever had the privilege of covering. Seriously, it was an honor to witness that fight and write up a report immediately after. I don’t care that he lost the rubber match by a few measly points. ‘Rafa’ showed all-time great grit in that fight and it took a super-human effort from Vazquez in the final round to beat him. I also think Marquez was the best bantamweight titleholder since Orlando Canizales. His two pre-title victories over Mark Johnson were impressive (I thought “Too Sharp” edged him out in their first encounter, but he dominated the best all-around fighter I’ve ever seen en route to an eighth-round TKO in their rematch) as was his IBF belt-winning effort (TKO 8) over undefeated titleholder Tim Austin. He defended the IBF strap seven times, which included one of the coldest one-punch knockout shots I’ve ever seen (his right uppercut KO against Heriberto Ruiz) and back-to-back stoppage victories of formidable contender Silence Mabuza.

Marquez will definitely get my vote and though I doubt he’ll get inducted into the HOF the first time he appears on the ballot I’m pretty sure he’ll eventually get in.

CLEVERLY/BROOK/JMM

Hey Dougie,

Good to have you back – sounds like you had a few people worried!

Friday's mailbag was all about Nard and RJJ – however, there were a couple of big British fight that also took place last week Nathan Cleverly and the grudge match between James DeGale and George Groves. Did you get to see them and if so, what were your thoughts.

Going into the weekend I was convinced that Cleverly, DeGale and Kell Brook(who wasn't fighting) were three fighters who will go on to be big stars in their respective weights. I still think Degale will get there but has a lot to learn but really think both Cleverly and Brook are now at the point where they can be competitive at the top end of their divisions – both are blessed with a lot of talent and with Cleverly's willingness to make fights as exciting as possible and Brook's power, I see both becoming big names in the not too distant future. Where do you see them both heading over the next couple of years?

Shame about Pacquiao fighting JMM, I am big fans of them both and actually felt that up to and including Margarito he had every right to take those fights – each person he fought would be a legitimate challenger at the top end of their weights and were considerably bigger in size and it seemed only in hindsight after the fights people suggested they should never have happed. However, for the Mosley fight I felt going into the fight it would be uncompetitive and now I feel that JMM fight will be a complete mismatch. Any chance Manny is being given fights that won't take too much out of him in anticipation that the Floyd fight will happen at some point??!

Anyway, keep up the great work. — Paul K, London

Thanks, Paul. I’ll try my best.

Bob Arum is in the Manny Pacquiao business, which means his job is to keep the Filipino hero winning in the biggest events possible. Arum is smart enough to know that a fight with Mayweather is not a guaranteed victory for the star of his Top Rank stable, so my guess is that Pacquiao’s recent opposition has nothing to do with preserving him for an eventual showdown with Mayweather.

I’m also a huge fan of both Marquez and Pacquiao but a third fight at welterweight interests me about as much as Manny’s fight with Mosley, which is not at all. I’ll be staying home for this so-called mega fight in November.

Regarding the potential stars from your neck of the woods, I consider both Cleverly and Brook to be top-10 contenders in their respective weight classes.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat it for the non-believers, the big light heavyweight fight of 2013 will be between Cleverly and one of my pet prospects, Ismayl Sillakh. Whoever wins that fight will be the Heir Apparent of the 175-pound division.

Brook is like a 147-pound Naseem Hamed without the one-punch KO power. I think he can make his name in the U.S. by fighting either Andre Berto or Mike Jones, and I would favor him in both potential match-ups.

Both Groves and DeGale will develop into bona fide 168-pound prospects over the next 18 months. I have no doubt that they will face each other again in a rematch, probably in 2013 or 2014, with at least one major title on the line and I expect that fight to be every bit as anticipated and popular as the rematch between then-super middleweight beltholders Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank, which drew 42,000 to the Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester in 1993.

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