Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

GREAT NIGHT OF FIGHTS

Nights like Saturday gain new fight fans. I was impressed with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and his body work and felt he edged it out against Sebastian Zbik.

If he's that open to be hit against Sergio Martinez it will be an early night. I'd highly favor Martinez. Chavez should go after unifying and fight (Daniel) Geale or fight a name like (Paul) Williams or (Peter) Manfredo. Whoever he fights, I'd keep him as far away from Martinez as possible if they want to keep him undefeated.

Carl Froch vs. Glen Johnson was exciting and brutal. Johnson landed the harder shots, but Froch had the combinations that looked good. The entire fight I was thinking if Johnson is 42 and bullying Froch to a degree then a younger, fresher Andre Ward should win a lopsided decision in my opinion. Froch is so awkward, but his style works for him and he has heart and can take a hell of a punch. Who'd do you have between Froch and Ward and where does Chavez Jr. go from here? — Michael

I honestly believe Ward-Froch is a 50-50, pick-’em fight. I would be shocked if either super middleweight beltholder dominates the Super Six final.

Don’t count Froch out against Ward just because Johnson gave him a tough fight. For all you know, “the Road Warrior” would give Ward just as difficult a scrap.

Where does Chavez Jr. go from Zbik? As far away from the real middleweight champ as possible. Bob Arum and Team Chavez know they have limited work-in-progress with Junior. He can continue to improve his technique and conditioning but he’s going to hit his ceiling, in terms of his  overall ability, very soon. He’ll never be an elite fighter but he can become an entertaining ticket-seller and that’s nothing to scoff at in this age.

What that means is hardcore fans can rule out Chavez aiming for Martinez or attempting to unify belts against the likes of Geale or Felix Sturm (both of whom can beat the kid). He’s got the belt that matters the most to him and I believe he’ll only defend it against beatable WBC-ranked fighters, such as No. 1 contender Marco Antonio Rubio, or Top Rank-promoted veterans who are well known but are naturally smaller and somewhat faded, such as Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto.

I know a lot of hardcore fans, especially those who thought Zbik won on Saturday, will complain about the way Arum & Company move Junior over couple of years but I don’t have a problem with them being careful with the young beltholder. Why? Two reasons: 1) I realize that Chavez is a limited paper champ, and 2) I believe he would make for entertaining fights vs. Margarito, Cotto or Rubio; fights that will sell a butt load of tickets. Chavez-Cotto can be built into a very solid PPV event.

 

THE SUPER SIX FINAL

What's up Dougie,

I watched the fight between Froch and Johnson on Saturday, and it was what I expected, a rough and rugged fight to the finish with Froch coming up the winner with his awkward style.

Now, most people question Andre "Oakland Raider" Ward's toughness, but I think he's going to have to attack and take it to Froch, or be ready when Froch decides to flurry. But in the end I think Andre whoops him to the point where Froch either doesn't want to exchange and the fight gets boring, or does exchange and gets KO'd. What do you think Dougie? I'm thinking Froch makes Andre scrap a little. — Miguel, LBC

I’m thinking Froch makes Ward do a lot of things we’re not used to seeing from the undefeated titleholder, which is why I see a competitive fight.

I don’t see Ward “whooping” Froch to the point where the Englishman stops punching or begins to recklessly exchange shots until he gets “KO’d.” Froch has faced a variety of talent and styles and nobody has convinced him to stop trying to win. And when was the last time Ward stopped anybody of note? I think Froch is too smart and too damn tough to get KO’d by anyone.

 

VARIOUS AND SUNDRY

Dougie,
I'll try to keep this short-ish, but there's a lot to talk about.

     Zbik-Chavez Card: I didn't really expect to say this, but I want to see both guys again. I considered Zbik the #19 contender in the division going in based on accomplishment, and Chavez #14. Now Chavez is top 10 and Zbik is at least a guy we've seen on TV who doesn't bore us. My big question is why Zbik fights at 160 if he only re-hydrates to 165. Seems like he ought to be very comfortable at 154.

I was also wondering if you have any insight into why they didn't put Vanes-Roman on TV? Vanes seems to me to be one of the prospects Top Rank really wants to push, and he was in a more competitive matchup than was Garcia. I mean if they're going to televise an Austin-Stiverne eliminator as part of a tripleheader this month (borderline top-20 guy against a top-75 fringe prospect), you'd think adding Vanes-Roman to this card would have been obvious.

Finally, I think Roy Jones is a really good analyst, but I can't understand why he'd defend the discredited WBC regular title as a real "World Championship" so blatantly. Maybe he's just trying to be consistent so he can feel like a "World Champion" when he beats somebody like Antwun Echols for the WBU title or some such nonsense in the future. Still, I was encouraged to hear that he's at least thinking about retiring for once.

   Froch-Johnson: I want to defend the Japanese judge. I had Froch winning 115-113, and I think the 114-114 was no more or less credible than the 117-111 Froch. On my card Froch was coming from behind in the middle rounds because he lost the first three (2 and 3 being hard to call). I though Johnson clearly took 1, 7, and 8 and also gave 2, 3 to him close. I had Froch clearly winning 4,5, and 9-12, and gave him 6 close. So if I had just swung 6 to Johnson, I would have been in total agreement with a draw. Anything between 114-114 and 117-111 Froch would draw no argument from me. Sometimes I think the Showtime crew in particular are a little too absolutist about their cards when too many close rounds exist.

I just want to go on the record and say that I hope the ratings panel makes the right call and installs Froch as the #2 contender and sets up the Super Six championship as the Ring Championship, as well. Froch has faced and beaten the much better opposition- even more so in the last couple years. I already had Froch #2 before this fight, and let's face it- Mendy is no Johnson. I'm afraid the wrong call might be made out of respect for Bute's "0" or just because it feels right for the Super Six winner to have to fight Bute first, but the fact is that the Super Six has proven Froch in a way Bute hasn't been able to match (and hasn't really even tried to with Brinkley, Magee, Mendy, and even Miranda). Hope you'll back me up on that. — Dan Culp, Columbia, MO

I’ll back you up, Dan. I agree that Froch is now more deserving of the No. 2 spot in THE RING’s super middleweight ratings than Bute. As you pointed out, it just comes down to the quality of their recent opposition. All one has to do is look at their last six bouts. Bute fended off Librado Andrade (twice), Fulgencio Zuniga, Edison Miranda, Jesse Brinkley and Brian Magee; a solid group, but only one (Andrade) was RING rated when the undefeated beltholder faced him. Andrade, who just lost to Aaron Pryor Jr., is no longer rated by the magazine.

Froch has faced Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham and Glen Johnson; a group that includes four fighters currently rated in THE RING’s super middleweight or light heavyweight rankings (Pascal, Kessler, Abraham and Johnson). (Taylor was ranked when he fought Froch and Dirrell earned a ranking after fighting the Englishman, but was removed when he withdrew from the Super Six tournament citing neurological troubles following his bout with Abraham.)

You don’t have to defend the Japanese judge’s scorecard to me, although I personally thought Froch clearly won a close but comfortable decision. Johnson's pressure wasn’t always effective but he marched forward the entire fight and landed his shared of jabs, hard right hands and sneaky body shots. I thought Froch controlled the majority of rounds with his jab, lateral movement and sporadic combinations, but someone from a different culture can view that same strategy as stalling or avoidance tactics.

In Japanese culture, a fighter who gives ground is basically conceding to the “better man,” the fighter who is “making” the fight. That’s why poor Jose Navarro got screwed when he challenged WBC 115-pound beltholder Katsushige Kawashima in Japan, despite putting on a boxing clinic, and that’s why Japanese broadcasters thought Oscar De La Hoya beat Floyd Mayweather Jr.

I know why Jones stuck up for the WBC. The Mexico-based organization always had Roy’s back when he was on top of his game. The WBC kept difficult and experienced light heavyweight contenders, such as Michael Nunn and Graciano Rocchigiani, from creeping up on him when he held their title. When Jones dropped the belt to campaign at heavyweight (against Buster Douglas) a few months after his first-round rematch blowout of Montell Griffin in August of 1997 the WBC matched Nunn and Rocchigiani for the vacant belt (which the German won) in March of ’98. However, when Jones decided against the Douglas fight and looked to return to light heavyweight, he didn’t have to fight Rocchigiani. The WBC gave their belt back to Jones a couple months after he stopped a still-dangerous but inactive Virgil Hill (who was coming off a loss to Dariusz Michaleczewski) with that beautiful body shot. Rocchigiani sued the WBC for $31 million over that BS (and won).

HBO was only interested in two fights for Saturday’s Boxing After Dark card, and the network is higher on Garcia than it is Martirosyan. We can’t really fault them for that. Mikey looks like the goods at 126 pounds, and Vanes was in a really stinky fight with Joe Greene in the HBO-televised co-feature to Foreman-Cotto last summer. Perhaps the exciting in manner in which he beat Roman on Saturday will change their minds. Martirosyan’s now the No. 1 contender for the WBC 154-pound belt held by Saul Alvarez (which HBO is very high on), so I think it’s only a matter of time before we see him back on the network.

Zbik and Chavez made for a good fight, and since the German vet was rated by THE RING (No. 6 at middleweight) prior to Saturday, I assume both men will be rated by the magazine (given the close and controversial nature of the decision) going forward. To honest, I don’t either man deserves to be rated higher than No. 9 or No. 10. I said this before their fight, and I have no problem repeating it, Gennady Golovkin (an undefeated middleweight who isn’t ranked by THE RING) would knockout both Chavez and Zbik.

Regarding Zbik’s weight, I think if he were in his early 20s (instead of pushing 30) I’d agree that he might be able to make 154 pounds, but the truth of the matter is that he’s a real middleweight. Fighters are not supposed to put on 20 freakin pounds after the weigh in, as Chavez did. What that stat tells me is that Chavez is really a super middleweight/light heavyweight and that there’s too much time between the weigh-ins and the fights.


FROCH FINDS A WAY

I have to hand it to Carl Froch. Every time I think he is in over his head, he steps his game up a notch. This time, he actually outworked Glenn Johnson. The Super Six final has shaped up to be quite an intriguing matchup, despite the tournament's detractors.

I don't really know what to expect, but I do know that whoever wins the Ward-Froch match will have earned the top spot in the super middleweight division. — Gopal

Agreed. And for the record, the Froch-Johnson bout went exactly the way I thought it would.

I stopped overlooking Froch after he KO’d Taylor. I stopped underestimating him after the hotly contested Kessler fight. I started giving the man his due (admittedly late) after he dominated Abraham.

I’m not going to count him out against Ward.

 

GREAT NIGHT OF FIGHTS

Dougie! What a good boxing weekend this was!

Haters gonna hate but I think Chavez did good for himself this weekend. He finally fought someone who helped answer some questions! Here are the few answers I got from watching him fight on Saturday:

1. The kid has heart (although Zbik landed plenty, it is easy to not be discouraged fighting a light hitter).

2. Junior will not withstand a fight against a heavy hitter. He came in at 180 (WTF???) and Zbik was pushing him back at the beginning of the fight. A light hitter, 15 pounds lighter than you, should not be able to push you back!

3. If Freddie is able to teach Junior how to get some leverage behind his punches the kid will be scary. He looked HUGE next to Zbik. He is no longer that scrawny kid from a few years ago. He is tall and has really broad shoulders. A guy that big should be hurting people but I guess that is where the amateur experience (that Junior does not have) comes into play. No fundamentals will leave some holes in your game.

Junior and Arum are screwed now. Just like Golden Boy did with Canelo, they got him a paper title so that they can be called 'champs'. What they really did is corner them. I think both these guys have enough to hang in there but neither of them are championship caliber fighters yet. Now that they are champs so early in their development (I know Junior has almost as many fights as Hopkins but I am talking where they are in their development as boxers) they will be expected to fight champs and heavy contenders. No more of these silly Latin Fury cards fighting Tijuana cab drivers! I don’t see Junior hanging in there with someone as small as Cotto; Maravilla is just out of the question! Same for Canelo, he's got the goods but he is still green. What is next for either of these guys?

WOW Froch! For 3 or 4 rounds I caught myself thinking that maybe we would see another 40 something become champ but then the real Froch came out. It amazes me that so many boxing fans dislike Froch and discredit him. The first time I saw him was against Taylor and I remember asking myself: “Who the hell is this British guy? He fights with his guard down like Floyd, fights pretty like a Rican, and has the heart of a Mexican!” I think Froch is the real deal and has been for a long time. Many people might not give him a chance against Ward but I for one will be watching this one closely. Ward might beat him but it will not be complete dominance that's for sure!

On a different note, you think Timmy Bradley woke up in the middle of the night a few days ago to the sound of money being flushed down the toilet?! I mean, Timmy is good, I like him. He is a champ and he comes to fight but I think he has an unwarranted ego that might potentially cost him in the long run. I have been to his fights in Palm Springs and he can't fill a small venue in his hometown! I understand that he is a title holder and blah blah blah but when Khan (who is somewhat of a bigger draw/name, and a notoriously bad negotiator) says lets go 50/50 including UK revenues and you say no because the fight has to marinate, then sir your ego needs to be brought down a few notches. In order to act like a rock star you need to be perceived as a rock star first. Timmy is no rock star. Junior is not half the fighter Timmy is and he can probably make more demands because he puts asses in seats! Judah is a live dog. If he beats Khan, Bradley will be kicking himself in the ass for a while for bailing on his potential coming out party! "This fight needs to marinate…" PLEASE! Fighters fight, promoters promote. — Hector

I think Bradley believes that as long as he remains undefeated and in the public eye with a solid fight or two, he’ll remain a player in the 140-pound division, and he’ll eventually face the winner of Khan-Judah. His stinker with Devon Alexander guaranteed him another HBO date this year (which will pay him nearly as well as the Khan fight would have) and he thinks a fight against whoever wins on July 23 will pay him a lot more than the Khan matchup would have. You know what? He’s probably right, so my guess is that he’s sleeping like a baby.

I’m not upset about Bradley pulling out of the proposed Khan fight because I didn’t see that as an entertaining style matchup. I think Khan-Judah has the potential to be dramatic and maybe even explosive because of Zab’s power.

I concur with your take on Froch, and I’ll say it again: I’ll be shocked s__tless if Ward dominates the Nottingham native as he has recent opposition.

I don’t think Top Rank or GBP have painted themselves into corners by getting their young Mexican stars WBC belts. The quality of the ticket-sellers’ opposition will slightly increase due to fan expectation and media/network pressure, but I think they’ll be fighting least-threatening WBC-rated fighters for the rest of the year and probably through the first quarter of 2012.

When Chavez finally steps it up, he’ll probably be facing Cotto. When Alvarez finally steps it up, he’ll probably be facing Martirosyan. I don’t count Junior or Canelo out of those matchups.

My thoughts on your thoughts while watching Zbik-Chavez:

1. I agree. The kid does have heart (and I believe he’d show balls against a power puncher).

2. I agree. If he doesn’t improve his defense, someone will catch his ass cold, and it might not be a feared power puncher who does it. He could get clipped by an accurate puncher with average power.

3. I think Chavez already gets good leverage on his punches. Roach can help improve his technique, which will add to the accuracy of his shots and give them a little more “pop” at the end, but the celebrated trainer can’t give Junior punching power. You either have KO power or you don’t. Chavez does not have it.

 

FROCH & JOHNSON = UTTER FREAKS

Hey Dougie, how are you? Haven't written to you in a long time but just had to after tonight's fight between Froch and Johnson.

Where to start? Froch is my favorite current fighter but I love Glen Johnson, the guy is a class act. Part of me was pissed when this bout was made because I didn't want to see either man lose, but it just reaffirmed why I like them. I can actually understand why Bernard Hopkins has achieved what he has at such an advanced age, his utter dedication, style and mastery of boxing have been key to this. Other than the Spartan work ethic that they share, Johnson (admittedly 4 years younger) does not have this excuse, he's a pressure fighter who's been in numerous wars and I just think he's an absolute legend to be doing what he's doing after the career he's had (Froch: "It's like sparring an oak tree").

As for Froch, he'll have his detractors after that but who cares? The guy is either a robot or a psychopath taking right hands like that and the way he fought back after taking them was why I love watching him. I can't see him being an old man in the ring like Johnson or Hopkins, his style is definitely not conducive to longevity, but I think he's pretty remarkable too. I have no doubt those right hands from Johnson would have seen him through against any other guy in the tournament, but Froch's freakish toughness has seen him through yet again.

As for the final, Ward is probably an even bigger favorite now but with a strong referee this fight could be closer than people may think. I don't think Ward can hurt Froch and if he's not allowed to clinch all night and use his head as a third fist, then he may not be as unbeatable as he's being made out to be (if it's Joe Cortez I will bet my mortgage on Ward by UD).

Hope you are doing well Doug. — Ewan, Scotland

Who can disagree with your admiration for both Froch and Johnson? Not me. If Johnson wants to continue fighting (and I think he does), I wish him well and hope he remains at 168 pounds. I’d love to see him back on Showtime against Kelly Pavlik.

Those who detract from Froch are missing his ring generalship because of his awkward style, less-than-fluid movement and sometimes shoddy technique, but the bottom line is that he’s a lot like Ward: He’s super smart, tough as nails, and he knows how to fight AND win.

I’m really looking forward to the Super Six final.

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