Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

BAM BAM

What's up Dougie?

Brandon Rios put on a very impressive performance against a game Urbano Antillon. He's not ready for the Pac Man, but I think a fight with him against the winner of Robert Guerrero-Marcos Maidana would be sweet! What do you think Dougie!? — Miguel, LBC

I think you should be a matchmaker, Miguel. The winner of Guerrero-Maidana is the perfect next opponent for Rios. And just to prove to you that great minds think alike, Rios’ trainer Robert Garcia agrees with us. RingTV.com co-editor Michael Rosenthal and I spoke to Garcia Saturday night (at a Denny’s near the Home Depot Center) and the up-and-coming young trainer said Guerrero (who he favors to beat Maidana) is the best opponent for Rios at 135 pounds and that Maidana is the most entertaining choice for Rios at 140 pounds.

I think we’ve probably seen the last of RING champ Juan Manuel Marquez at 135 pounds, which means a lightweight showdown between Rios (THE RING’s No. 1 contender) and Guerrero (No. 3) could be (should be?) for the magazine’s title (and universal recognition as the real champ), especially since Humberto Soto (No. 2) has announced that he will campaign at 140 pounds from now on. (I know Guerrero-Maidana is at junior welterweight, but Team Guerrero has made it clear that The Ghost still wishes to fight at lightweight.)

Rios-Maidana at 140 pounds is just a fun, bombs-away slugfest like we had on Saturday, only it would probably last a lot longer.

These fights are just another reason to hope that Bob Arum and Golden Boy Promotions can continue to reconcile their differences and get back to working together.

WILLIAMS-LARA

Doug-
Concerning Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara, one word says it best:

RI-F___ING-DICULOUS.– Ronnie The Conqueror, St. Louis, MO

That was indeed an awful decision. I scored it 116-112 for Lara. Having said that, I don’t think it was the all-time worst decision ever as HBO’s commentators seemed to suggest. I scored rounds 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11 for Lara. However, I made note of any competitive round I scored for Lara, in which an argument could be made for Williams winning it. I put a mark by rounds 2, 4, 8 and 11. Having said that, I also thought that an argument could be made that Lara won all four rounds that I scored for Williams (3, 5, 10 and 12).

Let me be very clear, I am NOT saying that Williams legitimately won that fight. My point is that every round was not the landslide/beat down in favor of Lara that Bob Papa, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones made it sound like.

I thought there was way too much talk of Williams’ KO loss to Martinez, his imminent retirement plans, and the contrast between his body dimensions and his fighting style during the first half of the bout. I thought the HBO broadcast crew actually stopped calling the fight after the ninth round when they had Kellerman interview George Peterson between rounds. From that point on, you would have thought Williams was taking the kind of beating Jake LaMotta absorbed against Ray Robinson in their famous “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” fight on Feb. 14, 1951.

I thought Williams got some good work done (inside with uppercuts and to the body) in rounds 10, 11 and 12 while Max and Roy were fretting about his very life being in jeopardy.

LaMotta turned 90 on Sunday, by the way. Happy birthday Jake!

FIGHTS ON SATURDAY

Hi Doug. Here are my thoughts on Saturday's fights…

1. Rios-Antillon. I thought that was a total action packed three round fight, as I expected. I think those three rounds had more action than all Klitschko bros fights combined.

2. Molina-Cintron. Molina might be a good candidate for Cinammon's next fight.

3. Williams-Lara. Did Sergio Martinez ruin both Williams and Kelly Pavlik's career? I thought the arrogance of Williams and his coach was the good indication of result of this fight. I could not believe that they didn't think they need to change anything and they made no adjustment for Lara's over hand left during the fight.

4. Williams reminded me of the late Diego “Chico” Corrales after the two Castillo fights. Getting hit so often but no defense and not much pop in hands.

5. It was horrible decision but no, it was not the worst I ever seen. (It still goes to the first fight of Emanuel Augustus vs Courtney Burton)

6. Rico Ramos will be matched a lot of less talented fighters to give him experience and confidence, I feel. I'm sure Al Haymon will do a good job for that.

Keep up good work. — Naoki, Reno NV

Thanks Naoki, I’ll try my best to keep it up. In the meantime, I’ll respond to your statements in the order you presented them:

1) The two and half rounds of action we got from Rios and Antillon definitely packed in more violence and drama than all 12 rounds of Klitschko-Haye delivered. Saying it had more action than all of the K-Bros. fights combined is a little much. The Klitschkos have had a few decent scraps between them. Klitschko-Brewster I was pretty darn good even though Wladdy wound up getting KTFO. And Vitali’s showdown with Lennox Lewis featured a lot of exciting back and forth exchanges between the giants. (I guess the Ukrainian duo only thrill when they lose.)

2) Molina is the LAST guy an unbeaten young attraction like “Canelo” should step in with. The crafty Chicago native is not only an underrated boxer with guts and an iron chin, but he doesn’t make for eventful fights (win, lose or draw).

3) It sure looks like both Pavlik and Williams have lost a step since losing to the middleweight champ, but their careers are not over (despite what Kellerman & crew tried to convince viewers about Williams on Saturday). Pavlik is making a sincere effort to restart his career after dealing with his personal problems. Let’s see how he looks against Darryl Cunningham next month and then let’s see how he does in his fight after that one. As for Williams, well, I know he didn’t look good against Lara but I didn’t think I was looking a totally shot fighter. It’s hard to look great against a boxer with Lara’s talent and skill. Let’s see how Williams looks against an aggressive orthodox fighter before we force him to retire.

4) Williams has always been easy to hit with not much pop in his punches. The only difference is that now that he’s been KTFO, commentators make a big deal out of it instead of kissing his ass the way they used to when he was winning. I mean that. Williams fights the same way now as he did when he out-pointed Antonio Margarito. He wasn’t any more elusive or powerful back then than he was on Saturday. The only difference is that he was fighting a fellow defense-challenged pressure fighter/volume puncher when he faced Margz. Of course, he’s not going to look as good against talented southpaws who can stick and move. I’m not saying that Williams hasn’t taken his share of punishment or that it hasn’t begun to take it’s toll. (I picked Lara to beat Williams by KO because of the damage he’s taken in recent fights.) However, he hasn’t taken the kind of punishment that Corrales did against Castillo (and other fights).

5) I agree 100 percent! Augustus-Burton is the absolute worst decision I’ve ever seen (on TV).

6) If Ramos wants to hold on to that WBA strap of his he’s going to have to fight “interim” beltholder Guillermo Rigondeaux by this time next year. If that happens, two words can describe the outcome: “short reign.”

RIOS VS. CASTILLO

Brandon Rios vs prime Jose Luis Castillo @ 135 – surely one of the greatest fantasy match-ups ever right? Who wins it?

Where does Rios go from here? – he's running out of guys to knockout at lightweight, though I have my doubts as to whether he'd be as effective at the top level in the higher weights 140 plus – do you think he'd stay on top moving up? — Ed from UK

I think Castillo at his best beats the version of Rios that fought Antillon, but it would be a very good, competitive (and, of course, brutal) fight. I like Castillo by late stoppage or very close decision (115-113). The Mexican in his prime was a superior technician who was better at blocking and parrying punches than Rios is now. However, I should point out that Rios is still a work-in-progress.

What’s next for Rios? I hope it’s not Marco Antonio Barrera. The future hall-of-famer’s reflexes have dulled too much with age and he’s too small for Bam Bam. I think he’ll stay at 135 until the end of this year. If there aren’t any significant challenges/paydays for him at lightweight we can expect him to invade the 140-pound division next year.

I think he can hang with most junior welterweight contenders. I’d pick him to beat RING-rated 140 pounders Maidana (No. 3), Devon Alexander (4), Andreas Kotelnik (5), Lamont Peterson (8), Erik Morales (9), and Danny Garcia (10).

LONG, TALL TRAGEDY

Dougie:

What an egregious miscarriage of justice, a travesty, the decision going to Williams over Lara! Imagine if that had been a higher profile fight, a PPV extravaganza–imagine what the damage would have been to the image of the sport among casual, sometime observers and the mainstream media? Kudos to the HBO broadcast team for not mincing words during their post-fight commentary.

What were the reports from Williams's training camp going into this fight? I know Team Williams were back in forth with HBO about suitable opponents and that Paul has hinted at retirement but I wasn't at all prepared for what took place last night. Though he was constantly moving forward, The Punisher looked as if he were just going through the motions and wasn't throwing with much conviction. He seemed to just want to prove to himself that he could make it to the finish line, looks as though Martinez may have irreparably shattered his confidence.

Reports on Cintron I got from a trainer friend in Houston were that in preparation for Molina he was flakey about sparring and was being handled by his sparring partners (which may have included Lara). K.C. for the most part had little snap in his punches and seemed to be pushing them a bit.

What could be next for Williams and Cintron or should both call it a career? My first thought is that given where they both are in their careers right now they could engage themselves again but after their first non event and its bizarre conclusion with Cintron "falling" through the ropes who'd want to see it? — Dirk, Raleigh, N.C.

“An egregious miscarriage of justice, a travesty.” Wow. Way to channel the late, great Howard Cosell, Dirk. Jim Lampley couldn’t have (over)stated it more eloquently or dramatically.

I hadn’t heard anything negative out of Williams’ camp for Lara, but my hunch was that he would be vulnerable against a sharp-shooting southpaw with Lara’s talent. (No bulls__t, I really did think that. Out of 11 “insiders” polled by BoxingScene’s Lem Satterfield, I was the only one who picked Lara to beat Williams – I thought the Cuban would catch P-Will and take him out.)

However, Williams’ chin held out. He didn’t deserve the decision he got but he’s not as faded as I thought he might be going into Saturday’s fight.

His reflexes and accuracy did not appear sharp at all but I think Lara’s coordination and lateral movement had something to with that. Although I think Williams would probably look better against a more stationary orthodox fighter there’s no doubt that he’s lost a step, physically speaking. I don’t think he’s shot but he’s definitely beginning to fade.

Cintron looked faded against Molina, but it didn’t seem to be a physical thing. He had the coordination and reflexes to avoid some of Molina’s punches (with decent upper-body movement) but he just couldn’t let his hands go (a problem that Williams, even a version that people think is shot, will never have).

Nobody wants to see a Williams-Cintron rematch but if the P-Will who fought Lara took on the Cintron that lost to Molina I think Williams wins handily.

I don’t know what’s next for either fighter. To be honest, I really don’t care to watch Cintron fight again. I only want to see Williams fight if he’s in an attractive matchup (vs. Angulo, Alvarez, Martirosyan, Bundrage, an aggressive top 154-pound contender).

WHAT’S NEXT FOR RIOS?

I saw the Antillon/Rios fight last night and it was very exciting for the time it lasted.

A fight like this reminds me that your son E. Valero could have possibly fought either of these two guys and provided us with fireworks. It's too bad he's gone.

I think Rios gives everyone at 140 a run for their money. However, I am not sure if he can beat the top dogs at that weight.

Who do you see him fighting next?? — Juan 'West Coast' Alvarado

Hopefully not Marco Antonio Barrera. I want to see Rios take on the Guerrero-Maidana winner. There’s also IBF 135-pound beltholder Miguel Vazquez, an underrated technician who has the chin and style to give Rios trouble.

I agree that Rios can give the best 140-pound fighters hell. There aren’t many who I’d pick to beat him. Khan and Bradley would give him trouble because of their speed and constant movement. However, I think Bam Bam has the size to outmuscle Timmy in close and the power to dent Khan‘s chin (if he can get to it).

Rios vs. 140-pound badasses Maidana, Lucas Matthysse and fellow Top Rank stablemate Mike Alvarado would be soooooo much fun!

Not as fun as Valero vs. Rios. Good lord. That would be like two pitbulls on steroids going at it. I think Valero would have prevailed. Valero vs. Antillon is a matchup I’d seen in Southern California gyms a few times in 2003 and 2004. Good stuff until Edwin landed the clean… then it was kind of like what we saw on Saturday against Rios.

But hey, let’s give my man Urbano credit for his willingness to get in there with a bona fide monster like Valero and card carrying badasses such as Rios and Soto in real prize fights.

WILLIAMS-MARTINEZ III

Dear Doug,

After that "win" (LOL!) against Lara, Williams said, in reference to a third Martinez fight, "Y'all wanna see it."

No, Paul, no one who is sane wants to see it.

Pathetic decision.

But how about Lara/Molina II!

P.S. How would you fancy Miguel Vazquez's chances against Rios? His name wasn't mentioned Saturday night, but I think his style would provide many issues for the Californian. Also, with Soto's move up, Marquez's Pacquiao fight, Guerrero's Maidana fight and no one else really out there at lightweight, Vazquez clearly would be the best choice in terms of top comp. (Please, please, please don't give us Rios-Barrera.)

Take care. — Patrick

Yeah, I’m really hoping Rios-Barrera isn’t made. However, if it is made, are boxing writers and bloggers going to jump all over Bob Arum’s ass as they did Golden Boy Promotions when Morales-Maidana was made?

How come whenever a Golden Boy fighter gets jobbed on another promoter’s card (such as Lara against Williams and Matthysse against Alexander and Judah) that promoter isn’t dragged across the coals by hardcore fans the way GBP is when a fighter is robbed on one of their cards (against one of their fighters, such as the first Diaz-Malignaggi fight)?

I’m not directing this question to you, Pat, I’m just askin’ in general….

I “fancy” Vazquez’s chances against Rios and any other lightweight in the world. The guy is a tenacious technician, always in great condition, and a big 135 pounder (who used to fight at welterweight and junior welter). He’s only lost to Canelo Alvarez and Tim Bradley and he’s never been stopped.

I would probably pick Rios to win by decision (just because I think his aggression would be rewarded by the judges) but I don’t think it would be an easy outing for Bam Bam.

However, I think there are more interesting matchups that can be made with Rios at 135 pounds than a fight with Vazquez, who often makes for uneventful bouts. Guerrero is still a lightweight even though he’s fighting Maidana at 140 pounds. If a showdown with Rios was offered, I know he’d have no problem coming back down to 135 pounds.

Jorge Linares, who started training at the Wild Card gym under Freddie Roach’s watch, is a fascinating option in my opinion. The classy Venezuelan has looked sharp in recent bouts. I’d like to see that boxer vs. brawler matchup. And if Michael Katsidis looks good in his next fight I wouldn’t mind watch him bump heads with Rios.

Lara-Molina II? I know the first bout was a big upset and all, but was it that entertaining? I don’t think so. I’d rather see both guys get title shots. Cornelius Bundrage and Austin Trout are in need of name opponents in order to get on TV, perhaps Molina and Lara have done enough with their efforts on Saturday to be those “name” fighters.

Martinez-Williams III? Uh… no. Just no.

WORST DECISION EVER?

Boxing wonders why it loses fans and can't keep new ones? Decisions like the Williams one last night are a huge reason. What a disgrace. Sometimes I wish they would just use the Harold Lederman scorecard because he is usually spot on. All this bitching leads to my questions:

1) Was that the worst decision you have ever seen?

2) What are your top 3 (or more) worst decisions ever?

3) Should Paul Williams call it quits before he gets injured by another southpaw?

Love the Mailbag, keep up the good work. — Matt in Mattawan

Bad decisions like Williams-Lara certainly do not attract new fans to boxing, but neither does over-analysis/over-speculation/over-dramatization by the commentators.

The Boxing After Dark crew usually does a great job but I thought they over-criticized Williams during the Lara fight. The constant mentioning of his height, his low-held right hand, his susceptibility to left hands, and possible retirement took away from the first half of the fight, which was competitive, even though Lara was clearly in control and landing the harder, cleaner shots.

I’m sure the concern for Williams’ health was sincere but I thought it was laid on pretty thick during the final rounds.

“Hard night for Paul Williams,” Papa said after the 10th round, which I thought Williams got in enough work to win. “The Punisher has gotten punished.”

Roy’s observations were excellent during the Shimoda-Ramos fight and during the first part of the Williams fight but then he went overboard with his fears for P-Will’s health.

“This fight has taken some real years off Paul Williams’ life,” he said during the 11th round.

“There’s a good probability that this is the last we see of Paul Williams in a boxing ring,” stated Kellerman, who egged Jones on during those final rounds.

“I hope it is because he’s taken a real killing here tonight,” said Jones. “I wish his corner would stop it before he gets knocked out because it’s not safe for him, he’s not about to win and the kid is really teeing off on him.”

The way Jones was going on (and on and on), you would have thought Lara had pinned Williams in a corner and was busting him up the way Ray Mercer was all over Tommy Morrison in the fifth round of their brutal 1991 classic.

“Those shots take a lot off a guy’s life and people don’t understand that don’t really box that this is the type of punishment that causes bad problems once he’s done with this game,” Jones continued.

OK, Roy, we get it. However, if you feel as strongly as you do about Williams maybe you should practice what you preach and never lace on a pair of gloves yourself.

Anyway, onto your questions:

1) No. Emanuel Augustus’ split decision loss to Courtney Burton in 2004 was worse than Williams-Lara.

2) Off the top of my head, Augustus-Burton, Evander Holyfield-Lennox Lewis I, and Almazbek Raiymkulov-Miguel A. Huerta. Joel Casamayor-Jose Armando Santa Cruz, Bobby Pacquiao-Carlos Hernandez and Pernell Whitaker-Julio Cesar Chavez and Whitaker-Jose Luis Ramirez I were also really, really bad.

3) Williams should only call it quits if he no longer has the will and desire get in the ring and lay it all out the line the way he does. I think he’s got a few more fights in him, but he doesn’t look like an “elite” fighter (and should probably stay away from elite fighters) and he should definitely try to avoid talented southpaws.

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