Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

THE MARQUEZ BROS.

Dear Doug,

I thought that Rafa Marquez got hit more than he should have against that type of opponent. He better improve for Toshiaki Nishioka.

As for Juan Manuel Marquez, that KO is meaningless. Likar Ramos was a mediocre super featherweight who had been KO'd by Jorge Solis. The fight, though, accomplished its goal: to demonstrate Marquez's viability at a higher weight (to casual fans, that is, not to people like you who understand that Marquez just isn't a welterweight).

So, we'll have Pacquiao-Marquez III — a fight that JMM deserves (based on resume) far less than Shane Mosley, but one which many in the media (led by Dan Rafael and Ron Borges) have been demanding based on two fights that occurred four and three divisions, respectively, below where No. 3 will happen.

Note: Sorry, JMM fans, but beating Juan Diaz (again) and Katsidis isn't anything close to the comp of Mosley's prior two fights (Floyd and Mora), and of course, since these fans only conveniently want to go back two fights, they can omit Floyd/Marquez.

Also thought that Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez looked good; that was a brutal beating.

(P.S. I have a new candidate for a judge suspension: Patricia Jarman, who had it 77-75 for Ramos's Belarussian opponent ("Georgie":)) Take care. — Patrick

Jarman should have been banned from boxing last year for scoring the Gabriel Campillo-Beibut Shumenov rematch 117-111 for Shumenov.

Give me Gonzalez vs. Giovani Segura, Hernan “Tyson” Marquez, Luis Concepcion, or Brian Viloria at 112 pounds and I’ll be a happy fan. I’d slightly favor “Chocolatito” against all of them save for Segura, who is just too damn big, powerful and relentless.

I agree that JM Marquez’s first-round KO proved nothing about his ability to effectively carry weight above 135 pounds except that the old man still has good timing and decent power. If his fans want to believe that’s enough hold his own with Manny Pacquiao at welterweight, God Bless ‘em.

However, I disagree that he is less deserving of a shot at Pacquiao than Mosley was based on his most recent fights. A) he won his fights, unlike Mosley, and B) Diaz and Katsidis were top-rated contenders, unlike Mora.

And though this has nothing to do with his resume, the fact that Marquez’s fights were far more entertaining (especially the Katsidis bout) than Mosley’s duds against Mayweather and Mora makes the reigning lightweight champ a more deserving challenger in the eyes of many fans.

Marquez’s first two bouts with the Pac-monster will sell the third match, but nobody in his right mind should expect the Mexican master to perform as efficiently as he did at featherweight (seven years ago) or at junior lightweight (three years ago).

Regarding Rafa, it looks like his technique and power are still there, but his speed and reflexes are diminished, which is a big problem against Nishioka. I heavily favor the classy Japanese titleholder over Marquez, who may very well be the best bantamweight fighter I ever saw live.

MIKE MCCALLUM

Appreciate the "Best I've Faced" with McCallum. He’s way underrated historically… this guy could flat out fight. I think it’s also of note that he trained under George Benton (for a period of time). Benton was definitely one of the best trainers this sport has ever produced. He taught CRAFT, real ring craft, real smarts. And he was a guy that was largely off the radar, he didn't want the spotlight, he let Lou Duva have it… but people who worked with that group, they give George high marks as serious old school trainer, a real TEACHER.

AND, I love the mutual respect between McCallum and crazy ass James Toney. For Toney to give this guy props was huge, then McCallum gave it right back. Loved it. — HG in SC

“The Body Snatcher” is the only former ring foe that Toney truly respects (at least on record). It didn’t surprise me at all when Toney listed McCallum as the best overall fighter he faced or when McCallum named ole Lights Out as the best overall boxer he’d faced. High praise indeed given the level of opposition those two faced.

McCallum, who gets his due props from older hardcore fans, wouldn’t be so overlooked and underrated by casual fans had he received a shot at either Roberto Duran or Thomas Hearns at 154 pounds. I’m not saying he definitely would have defeated either legend but I know he would have put up a good enough fight to earn a life-long rep.

Oh well, his resume is still awesome. He fought all the dangerous young guns (Toney, Jackson, Curry, Collins, McCrory, Graham, Watson and more) of the 1980s and early 1990s.

He was able to beat all of those guys (he insists he won that first fight with Toney) because of the technique and ring generalship that was instilled by great trainers such as Benton, Eddie Futch and even Emanuel Steward (who bumped heads with McCallum in his managerial role).

The great thing about interviewing McCallum was how much fun he had recalling those fights and filling in the various categories. He almost listed Toney as having the best chin but I reminded him of his fight with Collins (the first prize fight I ever attended as a fan) and his eyes lit up. “You’re right, it was Collins. I hit him everything!” My inner boxing geek couldn’t have been happier.

THE FANTASTIC FIVE

Hey Dougie,

Haven't bugged you in a while so here it comes. Nothing too grand or anything, just a few verbal jabs and hooks here and there plus a matchmakers' top five.

Paul Williams – I have to laugh when I read these comments about P-Will’s aches and pains with his fellow lefties. Like the ultra-skilled Sergio Martinez wouldn't have pin-balled him around anyways if he was right-handed. Any decent fighter who can box and punch will give P-Will hell regardless of his stance. That's just the way it is for face-first hyper-active fighters who don't have enough power. That's why Ricky Hatton didn't stay on top for too long.

Lennox Lewis – After hearing how Wladdy waltzed it out in another stinker (shocker!), my appreciation for Lennox Lewis suddenly grows. Sure, the big Brit had several drab ones (the David Tua bout in particular) but for the most part Lewis did put on the line and gun for the kayo. And even Lewis' harshest detractors couldn't picture him being passive against smallish guys like Sulton Ibragimov and David Haye.

Error! Speaking of which, you recently noted that the Klitschkos have only been entertaining when they lost. You forgot Vitali-Corrie Sanders, which was actually fun to watch as well.

For a Klitschko to be fun to watch he has to at least be pushed hard enough whether he loses or not. Too bad there is no one around to make that happen.

And now here's 5 possibly fantastic or at least decent fights I like to see happen:

5) Alexander Povetkin-Chris Arreola. The most fun heavyweight fight that could be made right now.

4) Brandon Rios-Marcos Maidona. Yeah, I'll like to see this one as well. Who wouldn't? We can find out who pound for pound (literally) has the hardest right hand in boxing.

3) Andre Berto-Miguel Cotto. A good must-win crossroad fight for both fighters.

2) Victor Ortiz-Tim Bradley. Timmy's not as hard hitting as Berto but he's a better, tougher infighter. But can he withstand Victor's firepower?

1) Nonito Donaire-Abner Mares. I'm obviously picking Mares to beat Agbeko. I can't pick him against Donaire but I’d still love to see this one happen of course.

Well that does it for me Doug. Have a good one. — Turbo Toddy, Guy of Destiny

Those are good fights. I’d definitely like to see Nos. 5 (agree that it’s the best heavyweight matchup to be made), 4 (guaranteed fight of the year, and Bam Bam would definitely prevail), and 1 (a huge fight in California if Mares can beat Agbeko, which I think can). Cotto-Berto and Ortiz-Bradley I could live without. Berto’s unproven at 154 pounds and Bradley hasn’t done enough at 147 to merit a shot at Ortiz’s green belt.

Povetkin and Arreola (if he continues to stay trim, busy and improve) might be able to press the action against the K-bros.

I guess Vitali’s fight with Sanders was “fun” if you get your rocks off watching thugs smash the skulls of baby seals with clubs. The semi-pro golfer from South Africa had one moment in the first round and then proceeded to get his face pounded into raw hamburger for the next seven rounds. If you thought that fight was good you probably think Klitschko’s beatdown of Danny Williams ranks up there with Ali-Frazier I and III and Norton-Holmes.

I was one of Lewis’ critics but I think he’s title reign was underrated. He emerged as “the man” during the best decade for heavyweights since the 1970s (the ‘90s).

You’re probably right that Martinez (and even Lara) would have still smacked Williams around if they were right-handed boxers but both lefties are more than “decent fighters who can box and punch.” Martinez is an elite talent and physical marvel. Lara is a skilled former amateur world champ.

UNREALIZED POTENTIAL

Dougie,

Of these two fighters who had enormous potential, which career holds the most disappointed for you in that it wasn't fully realized? Ike Ibeabuchi or Edwin Valero? — Harold

No contest: Valero. He’s the far bigger disappointment for me, personally, because I covered his career so closely. I chronicled his gym exploits and watched him win two major titles despite being banned from fighting in the U.S., a year of inactivity (2004) and basically training himself (from ‘04 through ‘07). I was ringside for his first title defense in Tokyo and I was part of the broadcast booth (along with Barry Tompkins and Bernard Hopkins) for the small PPV card that he headlined and won his second major belt (the WBC lightweight title with a second-round TKO of Antonio Pitalua).

I thought he would be star, something akin to a modern day Roberto Duran. Ask veteran broadcasters (such as Tompkins and Al Bernstein) and writers (such as Thomas Gerbasi), neither of whom followed Valero’s career as closely as I did, about their first impressions upon meeting the mercurial Venezuelan. They’ll tell you that there was something about the kid that made you immediately think that he was special.

Unfortunately both Valero and Ibeabuchi were mentally ill to the extreme that they were a danger to people outside of the ring.

I thought Ibeabuchi had the talent to become the undisputed heavyweight champ. He had the stamina and durability to outwork a prime David Tua over 12 hellacious rounds and the speed and technique to catch and take out the ultra-slick Chris Byrd. Evander Holyfield was too old in 1998 and ’99 to keep up with Ike and Lewis didn’t have the chin to last the distance with the Nigerian.

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