Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

REST IN PEACE NICK CHARLES

Hi Doug. First of all, I'd like to say that I'm so saddened to hear the news of Nick Charles. It's ironic that only a week after CNN showed his interview, he passed. He was true inspiration. RIP Nick Charles.

I wonder why HBO televised the heavyweight fight between a veteran journeyman and a young inexperienced guy. It should have been on ESPN’s FNF. Skill level of those two guys make me sick.

Lucas Mathysse… once again lost close fight on points. I really wonder why this fight was 10-round fight, not 12? I call this a poor man's Hagler-Leonard. Leonard made the fight 12 rounds instead of 15 and shoe-shined constantly to win the fight. Hagler, on the other hand, did more damage to Ray but didn't get the decision. To me, Devon's punches were not effective at all but got crowd's and judge's attention like he did against Andreas Kotelnik.

Mathysse is a good, tough fighter. He's also an exciting fighter. Why GBP keep putting him to fight in someone's backyard? Why don't they treat him like A-side, like they do to fellow Argentine Marcos Maidana? Keep up good work. — Naoki, Reno, Nev.

Golden Boy would like to provide the A-side treatment to Matthysse, a fighter the company’s matchmakers were high on more than four years ago, however, he’s been the lesser-known/lesser-accomplished fighter in his two HBO appearances.

Matthysse had only fought twice in the U.S. (against lower-level opponents) prior to facing Judah, a former champ who practically grew up on U.S. television. The only “name” on Matthysse’s ledger at the time was Vivian Harris, and his four-round stoppage of the former beltholder was controversial.

He proved himself to an extent in the Judah fight but he still wasn’t on the same level as Alexander in terms of accomplishments and recognition (in the U.S.) going into Saturday’s fight. If Matthysse would have somehow been the “A-side” in the Judah and Alexander bouts, every blogger and his pet rock would have complained about Golden Boy’s “unfair” influence.

And just for the record, apart from his Boxing After Dark fight with largely unproven prospect Victor Cayo, Maidana has been the B-side in his fights with Victor Ortiz, Amir Khan and Erik Morales. He’ll be the B-side against Robert Guerrero on August 27.

It’s a hard road for these Argentine badasses. How many times was Sergio Martinez the B-side? He was the B-side (in his rematch with Paul Williams) even after he won the middleweight championship.

Hopefully, Matthysse takes a page from his gym mate’s book and keeps at it. He’s got a lot of potential and I think he proved it in the Alexander fight. I agree that he landed the effective blows against Alexander, whose shots often fall short of their target (maybe that’s why he adds a sound effect to every punch).

The fight was a 10 rounder because neither fighter has a title and my guess is that Alexander’s side didn’t want to go 12 rounds with a heavy handed punisher like Matthysse.

I have no idea why HBO televised the Bermane Stiverne-Ray Austin fight. That was some sloppy s__t. Maybe Don King called in a favor. You would figure that it made more sense to televise the Cornelius Bundrage-Sechew Powell fight, not because there was an alphabet title on the line (K9’s IBF 154-pound strap) but to build up a credible future opponent for young guns like Saul Alvarez and Victor Ortiz, or even for the winner of Williams-Lara.

Nick Charles’ untimely passing saddened everyone in the boxing community. I had the honor of doing two Latin Fury pay-per-view shows with both Charles and Genaro Hernandez in 2008, before either man was diagnosed with cancer, and just like “Chicanito,” Nick was as warm, friendly and down-to-earth as he seemed in front of the camera — even more so off camera. And he was a true professional. I learned a lot just by watching how he prepared before the shows and how he conducted himself with everybody (the fighters, his co-commentators, producers, fans, etc.). Both Charles and Hernandez passed on a lot of wisdom during their brave fights with cancer over the past two years, mainly what’s really important in life — family and pursuing your dreams. They will both be missed.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR DEVON AND LUCAS?

I thought Matthysse deserved the decision on Saturday night. He has good skills against southpaws, obviously. As you predicted, however, Alexander was there to be hit.

What's next these two, a rematch?

I don't think either guy truly lost. Alexander showed real grit, and Matthysse showed he's still a top five guy in the division. — Gopal Rao

Both guys are definitely still top 10 junior welterweight contenders. Alexander should drop a little bit, in my opinion, and Matthysse (who was THE RING’s No. 9-rated 140 pounder before Saturday) should climb a notch or two.

I think a rematch, perhaps set for 12 rounds, is in order. It doesn’t have to be an immediate return bout but these two should meet again sometime down the road. Alexander did not decisively beat Matthysse, so there’s unfinished business between the two, plus the first fight was a darn good one.

Matthysse, who I thought won by three points, does indeed have good skills against left-handed fighters (heck, after facing Judah, DeMarcus Corley, and Alexander in consecutive fights, he should be an expert at breaking down southpaws). And Alexander is not difficult to hit. However, it obviously isn’t easy to stop the St. Louis native. Alexander’s got heart.

HAIL THE GYM NOTES!

Hey Dougie,
The Gym Notes didn't lie, despite how the judges had it. Matthysse put it on Alexander. 4 (+ knockdown), 7, 8, 10 were all clear cut for Matthysse. You'd have to give Alexander the remaining 6 rounds all of which were less decisive either way and presumably that’s exactly what two of the judges did. Not surprising but still some sad s__t.

I'm looking forward to seeing Matthysse in more big matchups soon.

Are you hearing about any more boxers on the horizon from Argentina ready to crossover to North America?

Thanks for continuing to give us that high quality first-hand insight that separates the parrots from the true voices of the game. Peace. — Adam, Whitby, Canada

Thanks for the kind words, Adam. There are more Gym Notes coming. I want to post that column at least twice a month. I’m going to try and do one on both Brandon Rios and Urbano Antillon before their July 9 showdown.

I’m not aware of any Argentine up-and-comers who are on their way to these shores, but if there are any, I bet they’ll come through the World Crown Sports gym in Oxnard, Calif., where Martinez and Matthysse train. I’ll keep my eyes and ears out. The prospect that Matthysse’s trainers and the co-owners of the gym are high on is from the Dominican Republic, a featherweight named Javier Fortuna. I plan to write up a New Faces on Fortuna before his next fight.

Matthysse made good on the Gym Notes scouting report. He boxed very well and displayed a lot of patience and technique. However, I wish he would have pressed harder in the final two rounds. There’s a place for patience and poise and then there’s a time to go out and try to wreck a mother f___ker. If he can find the right balance of the Sweet and Savage Science he can beat the best of the 140-pound division. I would not count him out against Tim Bradley, Amir Khan or Maidana (which would be an awesome shootout).

TIRED OF BOXING BEATING ITSELF

Hi Dougie,

Hope this finds you well. Just woke up after watching the Alexander – Matthysse fight and must admit, I’m feeling really dejected not just about the sport, but also the attitudes that seem to be creeping in. Maybe this is me just really tired (I’m in the UK so was quite a long night) but I opened up RingTV.com and expected there to be some criticism of the result last night/this morning. What I saw instead was justification for Matthysse losing the fight because he’s not the hometown fighter, because he wasn’t promoted by Don King and basically because for 1 round he didn’t give his all. For the other 9 he certainly did and as far as I’m aware, winning 6 rounds and knocking your opponent down for a 10-8 round should mean that you win a fight. If you don’t, then the fight has been rigged.

Usually I look to The Ring to provide a level of integrity that isn’t in other publications or to be frank, the sport itself. I’ve been watching boxing for two decades now and reading The Ring and when you guys launched Ring online for just as long. Seeing the increasing bias and outrageous judge decisions hasn’t surprised me. It hasn’t even surprised me that you guys seem to accept that this is the status quo. What surprises me and saddens me though is reading that Matthysse deserved to lose the fight because of these things and his supposed naivete in thinking that winning more rounds and knocking down his opponent would be enough to get the decision. I’m sure I’m not the only person feeling this disappointed. Have a good rest of your weekend. — Rob

Rob, first let me say that I’m very high on Matthysse. I considered him to be a better fighter than Alexander going into Saturday’s bout, I picked him to win the fight and I scored the bout in his favor. Like you, I thought he took six rounds (4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10) to win the fight by a 96-93 margin (with the 10-8 round he earned in the fourth). However, I’m not going to pretend that there weren’t close rounds that could have gone Alexander’s way. I think rounds six and 10 could have gone to Alexander. I didn’t score them that way, but you know what? I wasn’t THERE. I was watching on HBO just like you. Who’s to say that you or I wouldn’t have scored one or two rounds differently if we were ringside.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Rob, but if you’re fighting a boxer in his hometown on a card put on by his promoter, you CAN NOT count on winning a competitive round. You should, but the reality is that you can’t. I know it’s not fair. Boxing is not fair. Sports is not fair. Life is not fair. If it was, Nick Charles and Genaro Hernandez would still be alive.

Don’t get pissed off at me for telling it like it is.

And let’s be crystal clear on something: I am NOT saying that Matthysse DESERVED to lose the fight. I wrote that he gave up the right to COMPLAIN about losing a close split decision by not finishing harder in a competitive fight. He did not win every round leading into the final two rounds of the bout. It was conceivable that he dropped the first three rounds of the bout to Alexander.

If you think I’m biased because of that opinion that’s your business. I really can’t worry about it. Somebody is always going to think I’m biased or that THE RING is biased. (Trust me, if I thought Matthysse won seven or eight rounds and I wrote a scathing column claiming that Alexander got a gift and that Don King screwed the Argentine, more than one a__hole message boarder would have emailed to accuse me of having a bias for Golden Boy Promotion fighters.)

That crap is just part of boxing, just like hometown decisions. That’s life. I don’t like it but I accept it.

MATTHYSSE SHOULD HAVE WON

Come on Dougie, whether he gave away that ninth round or not he flat out won that fight. He was beating the crap out of Alexander through a lot of that fight.

And what the hell is up with Devon's punch delivery? Light puncher or not, his punches just don't land effectively, it's horrid to watch through a long fight! How the hell does he get credit for those shots?! — Ed from UK

I’m telling you, man, that loud barking noise Alexander makes every time he punches gets the attention of those judges.

I think Matthysse won the fight, but I don’t think he was so far ahead after eight rounds that he could afford to give away either of the last two. I don’t think you really believe that he could afford to give up the ninth round, either. Not unless you think it was inconceivable that Alexander won the first three rounds or could have won one or two rounds between the fourth and ninth or stolen the 10th.

IT WASN’T A BAD DECISION

Doug:

I bet this will make the bag because I'm probably the only person writing who doesn't think the decision was out of line…

Here's the thing, if you look at the totality of the fight, I agree the Argentine won, but that isn't how judges score fights. I had Alexander winning 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and 9, and thought that 1, 6, 8 and 10 were arguable either way. Was it my impression that the Argentine (I can't spell his name) had stronger punches? Absolutely. But the only clear rounds that he won were 4 and 7. He dominated those two rounds, and if you were weighing the total fight, they were enough superior that you could say he "won" the fight. But… if you have a 6-4 edge in rounds, and only the one knockdown against you, you're going to win the fight.

That said, Alexander needs to go back to the drawing board. Khan would annihilate him, he probably couldn't keep Maidana off of him, and frankly the division is too broad and deep for him to be a real force until he learns to sit down on his punches and put some authority into them. I like the kid, he's probably one of my favorite young boxers, but he's headed for a beatdown if he doesn't make some adjustments.

Speaking of which, I was glad to see Juan Diaz, who was another of my favorite young fighters, walk away, here's to seeing the impressive young man stay away and make something for himself outside of the ring.

Lastly, if you remember about a year ago, I wrote a note about Judah hanging out and calling someone out, and how he was done… well, why do I have this sneaky feeling that he's got one last great fight in the tank and has a chance of pulling off the shocker against Khan? Am I nuts? — Steve in N.D.

I don’t think you’re crazy. If I was a betting man (and thank God I’m not), I would not hesitate to put a C-note on Judah, a 5-to-1 underdog who I believe has the speed and timing to catch Khan and the power to either end the fight or change its course with one good punch.

Kudos to Diaz’s decision to hang ‘em up. He’s biggest overachiever of the past decade. Watching his early fights (when he was still in his teens) I thought he would just be an entertaining TV fighter, and never win a major title. So what does he do? He goes out and wins three major belts (the first one at age 20, while he’s still in college). He was half of one of the best fights I’ve covered from ringside (his first fight with JM Marquez). He’s made good money. He’s got nothing more to prove in boxing, and I’ll bet he’s destined fro great things outside of the ring. (See, I learned my lesson about underestimating the Baby Bull).

I agree 100 percent with your analysis on Alexander. He’s got world-class talent and the heart of a pro, but his style is still mostly amateur. If he doesn’t learn how to sit on his punches better and fight effectively in close, he won’t beat the top 140 pounders.

I don’t think he beat Matthysse or Kotelnik.

However, you are absolutely right that A) a case can be made for Alexander winning the Matthysee fight (by one point) and B) that pointing it out in your email guaranteed its inclusion in this week’s Monday mailbag.

Well done, Steve!

MATTHYSSE-ALEXANDER; CLOUD VS. PASCAL

Dougie,

I scored the fight 96-93 for Matthysse. I thought rounds 1, 3, 5 and 6 were close. If I give Alexander the benefit of the doubt in each of those rounds, he wins by 1 point. Alexander's biggest flaw IMO is that he doesn't know how to pace himself. He wastes way too many punches, and it nearly cost him/should have cost him in this fight. Your thoughts? Also, who do you favor in a bout between Tavoris Cloud and Jean Pascal? I'll take Cloud in that one because he fights hard for 12 rounds; Pascal seems like a classic front runner. — KC

Pascal is a bit of a front runner (although he had a good 12th round against Nard in their rematch and he fought hard in the late rounds of his barnburner with Carl Froch), however, his athleticism and lateral movement will enable him to compete with Cloud. That’s a good fight. Like you, I favor Cloud to wear Pascal down over the second half of the bout, maybe to a late TKO. I’d like to see Cloud bump heads with Beibut Shumenov, too. Cloud’s technique and punch consistency is superior to the WBA beltholder’s but Shumenov is a big, tough, strong, bold MoFo who would make it a fun scrap.

I just want to see Cloud in the ring more often, regardless of who he fights.

My thoughts on Alexander echo yours. He’s got flaws and he got the benefit of the doubt in two hometown fights. However, after Saturday’s fight I have to add that the young man (still just 24) has courage. And he’s obviously not afraid to challenge himself. His last five opponents (Witter, Urango, Kotelnik, Bradley, and Matthysse) were RING-rated junior welterweights when he fought them. He’s not looking to fight chumps or guys he knows he will beat. I respect that.

MATTHYSSE ROBBED IN ST. LOUIS

Hey Doug,
I was in attendance at the Matthysse/Alexander fight last night, and I have no problem saying that Matthysse got robbed, and I know that many of the local fans in attendance would agree with me. Matthysse backed Alexander up for the entire fight, all the while landing the harder punches throughout. At one point, it seemed like Matthysse could not miss with the straight right or the right uppercut. I scored the fight 96-63 for Matthysse, while my friend sitting next to me scored it 97-92 for Matthysse. I could have seen 95-94 for Matthysse, but the 95-94 score for Alexander was bad, while the 96-93 score for Alexander was terrible. Kudos to the majority of the St. Louis fans I talked to for realizing the home-town decision. Where do you think Alexander and Matthysse go from here?

Also, I thought Yusaf Mack looked good early on in his fight with Tavoris Cloud, as he found success with countering Cloud in the middle rounds. However, Mack did what he usually does in his big fights: he got knocked out. Anyone without significant punching power and a solid chin is going to have an uphill battle with Cloud, who throws punches with bad intentions. I would like to see Cloud fight Beibut Shumenov next, as I think that fight would produce some great two-way action. Thoughts?

Lastly, I just wanted to state my observation that people in boxing are some of the most down-to-earth people around. Thanks to Emanuel Steward, Harold Lederman, and Leon Spinks for taking time out of their busy nights to pose for pictures with yours truly. All three are class acts in my book. Take care Doug. — Brian Lee, Carbondale, IL

Most boxing people are down-to-earth and more than happy to spend time with the fans who keep them in business.

Cloud-Shumenov is a damn good fight that needs to be made. I don’t think Hopkins, Dawson or Pascal plan on getting in the ring with the “Thunder” Cloud. I would favor Cloud to beat Shumenov.

By the way. Speaking of Shumenov, if you want to see the definition of a robbery, watch his rematch with Gabriel Campillo (who ironically trained at the World Crown Sports gym for that fight last January). That, my friends, was a “gift” to Mr. Shumenov.

But if you and the folks who sat near you at Saturday’s fight believe that Alexander was robbed more power to you. You guys can score a fight better than the judge who had it 96-93 for Alexander.

I’ll say this for St. Louis people, they may not know how to score an official boxing match but they do know when somebody got his ass kicked.

Where do Alexander and Matthysse go next? I think both fighters will take on a mid-level opponent in stay-busy type fights in their next bout and then their handlers will either try to maneuver them into a title bout or a rematch.

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