Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

ZAVECK-BERTO, UFC-FOX DEAL

Hi Dougie,

This is only my second time writing in and hopefully it will make the mailbag this time. I just had a few comments regarding Andre Berto-Jan Zaveck, and your thoughts on this UFC move to schedule a card on FOX on the same date as Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez. First, what are your thoughts on Zaveck? I only know what I've seen on Youtube, and I thinking he might be overlooked by team Berto. I kinda feel bad for these foreign champions, who often visit the US for a shot at stardom, only to be robbed or mistreated. How do you feel about that? I like Berto, but I think Zaveck will put up a fight. He is technically undefeated, seems like he trains like a pro, and is a current champion.

So, moving on to this UFC deal on FOX. It seems that they have scheduled their first show on the same night as Pacquiao-Marquez. I think it's ridiculous that some writers are calling this a UFC vs Boxing thing. I think it's stupid that this whole debate still comes up. Anyways, do you believe this was done on purpose? Did the UFC purposely schedule this event on the same night? And if they did, why? What are you thoughts, Dougie? That's it for me, so hopefully I will get a chance to read this on your mailbag column. Take care Dougie and keep up the good work. — Oscar, Ontario, Canada

Here’s your chance, Oscar. Thanks for emailing me your questions.

I don’t see the UFC’s Nov. 12 debut on the FOX network as move against boxing or Bob Arum (promoter of Pacquiao-Marquez III). I don’t believe that boxing’s schedule is really on the radar of UFC prez Dana White and FOX’s sports programming executives.

And I don’t believe the two shows will cut into each other’s action. The UFC show is on a network, which will bring in casual observers along with MMA fans. Pacquiao-Marquez III is a pay-per-view event with a built-in audience of dedicated Filipino and Mexican boxing fans, as well as all the hardcore nut cakes in the U.S. who are willing to part with 50-65 bucks to watch the two boxing legends resume their rivalry.

Regarding Zaveck-Berto (notice that I put the titleholder’s name first), I agree that the relatively unknown Germany-based Slovenian will give Berto a good fight. Berto has a decided edge in speed, power and overall athleticism but Zaveck durable, physically strong and the better technician of the two squat welterweights.

I’m looking forward to watching this fight. It’s a showdown between two top-five welterweights (at least according to THE RING’s ratings) and the physical/stylistic matchup suggests a good scrap. Let’s hope the judges give Zaveck credit for whatever effort he gives on fight night.

MMA & BOXING

Hey Dougie,
I was a little surprised reading Monday's mailbag that no one mentioned the deal that the UFC picked up with FOX. I couldn't help but think…"Man, Boxing should really be on network TV…". I'm a fan of both sports, basically I like combat sports, but boxing has my heart first and foremost. With the first UFC event being broadcast on network TV the same night as the Pac-JMM trilogy, I was waiting for Arum to say something… and he didn't disappoint, haha. I read something today about Dana White responding to Bob Arum's comments and thought it was kinda true (if you're interested in reading it, http://sports.yahoo.com/mma/news;_ylt=AtTBsjTs.0ZEb6_cHNV6LFE9Eo14?slug=ki-iole_dana_white_bob_arum_feud_08221). I don't see MMA surpassing boxing on a global level anytime soon, but in the US, I can see it happening relatively soon (if it hasn't already). And frankly, I could care less. I'm still gonna watch boxing and MMA, and even though I'm only 24 and wasn't around for the glory days of boxing on network TV, I just find it hard to imagine "the fights" being referenced to the last UFC show rather than boxing. Do you think the major players in boxing are greedy and dropped the ball? Your thoughts, please.

Also, got a top five for you…after watching the last FNF, I couldn't help but think how corny Demetrius Andrade's nick-name was…"Hot Hands"?…C'mon, man…

Top 5 best and worst nick-names in boxing of recent memory…

Here are some of my favs…Boom Boom, Thunder Gatti, Pretty Boy, El Perro, Marvelous Marvin, The Motor City Cobra, Iron Mike…they don't make em' like they used to…haha

Worst: Hot Hands, Galaxxy Warrior, The Matrix, The Hispanic Causing Panic, Money, The Problem.

Keep up the good work, Dougie. — Bobby

LOL. Nice job with the nicknames. I was thinking the same thing about Andrade’s nickname (although it’s probably a step up from “Boo-Boo”).

I love nicknames when they fit the style and mentality of the fighter, such as “Hawk,” “Buzzsaw,” “Smokin’,” “Sweet” or “Sugar.”

You know what I miss? The nicknames of the heavyweights of the 1980s and ‘90s. They didn’t all fit the fighter but most of them had a good ring to them.

Michael “Dynamite” Dokes, Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield, “Merciless” Ray Mercer, James “Bonecrusher” Smith, Alex “The Destroyer” Stewart, Donovan “Razor” Rudduck, Tommy “the Duke” Morrison, James “Buster” Douglas, and Tony “TNT” Tucker (Tony Tubbs had the same nickname, which didn’t fit at all but I guess it was better than “Fat-ass with a Jheri curl”).

Now that I think about it, even the heavyweight fringe contenders and journeymen of the '80s and '90s had fun nicknames: Mike “The Bounty” Hunter, Mike “The Giant” White, Jerry “Wimpy” Halstead, Bobby “The Fighting Hillbilly” Crabtree, Tim “Doughboy” Tomashek, and my all-time favorite, Jamie “the Sponge” Howe. (Boxrec.com lists Howe’s nickname as “Featherman” but f__k that, I remember watching that Ohioan absorb crazy freakin’ punches against Alex Stewart and others and I recall him being introduced as “The Sponge.”)

Anyway, why would it surprise you that nobody mentioned the UFC’s deal with FOX in my Monday mailbag? I don’t really write or talk that much about MMA, RingTV.com is an all-boxing website and a lot of the folks who submit emails for the mailbags are from Europe, where MMA and boxing fans seem to have less of a hard-on for each other than North American fans.

I agree with Dana White that Arum (as well as the other major promoters of the 1980s) was greedy when he abandoned network TV and ran after the big licensing fees of HBO (and to a lesser extent Showtime). Have all boxing promoters dropped the ball? No, not entirely. I believe boxing has made some strides in recent years, and ironically, I think the rise of MMA had something to do with it.

MMA (mainly the UFC) kicked boxing’s ass in the U.S. in 2005 and 2006 and sort of smacked some sense into the two biggie promoters, Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions. From 2007 to the present, both companies did more shows outside of Las Vegas. Arum increased the production value of his live arena shows and GBP worked harder to beef up the undercards of their PPV events.

I honestly think the strong Sept. 17 PPV card (Mayweather-Ortiz, Morales-Matthysse, Alvarez-Gomez and Vargas-Lopez) is the eventual result of Richard Schaefer & Co trying to raises boxing’s standards to the level of the UFC’s PPV shows.

Who knows? Maybe this deal with FOX will raise the bar for U.S. boxing promoters and encourage them to strive for network deals of their own.

RECENT THOUGHTS

Hi Dougie. Love the websites and your articles. Anyway here are some of my recent thoughts:

1. Alfredo Angulo: I don’t think we can read too much into ‘El Perro’s win over Joseph Gomez, who appeared to quit as soon as he had a meaty blow to me. Angulo will probably need more rounds to shake of any accumulated ring rust before he steps up the level of competition as he had precisely 2 rounds of boxing in the last 16 months. Perhaps a fight with a robust and not-too threatening opponent like say Lovemore Ndou would be in order. I’m not too sure he’d be able to stop Ndou, (Miguel Cotto, Junior Witter, Kell Brook, Saul Alvarez, Kermit Cintron and even the iron-fisted Paulie Malignaggi couldn’t KO him) so he could be looking at 12 solid rounds under his belt. That said, I’m not so sure he doesn’t get exposed Arthur Abraham-style shortly. He lacks the necessary boxing skills for me to become elite and at this stage I’d favour Vanes Martirosyan and Saul Alvarez to beat him.

2. Demetrius Andrade: This guy has some talent but isn’t the most exciting to watch. I thought Grady Brewer would be a stern test for him but how wrong I was! I think he has the tools to become a major player, (but probably not a major ticket seller). I don’t think he’s quite ready for a top 10 rated boxer in the light middleweight division but he should square off with someone just outside that who will take him out of his comfort zone more than Brewer did. Someone like Yuri Foreman, Ryan Rhodes or Sechew Powell would be a decent step up and give us a better idea of what he’s made of.

3. Hank Lundy: Hammering Hank looked good last Friday with his win over David Diaz. How far do you think he can go? I think he can reach the top 10, maybe top 5 of the lightweight division but I don’t think he will ever reach the truly elite because I question his ability to take a punch. I do however think he will make for some good competitive fights against the Kevin Mitchells and the Michael Katsidis’ of this world. He should perhaps try to avenge his sole loss to John Molina.

4. David Diaz: What a warrior this fella is. Even though his best days are behind him, if he doesn’t decide to call it a day, I don’t think he’ll be short of work as he has name value from his fights with Pacquiao, Morales and Soto, has an entertaining style, is easy to hit and is a bleeder. People who want a tune up fight or name up and comers will see Diaz as a good test.

5. Robert Guerrero: This guy gets no luck. The Guerrero-Maidana fight was a fight I was looking forward to as much as anything else scheduled this year, as it would of given us a true idea of how good The Ghost is and how far he could go at 140. The only fighter I’d favour over Guerrero in that weight class is Amir Khan, simply because of Khan’s speed, however I fancy Guerrero would take more rounds off Khan than anyone else at light welterweight if the fight went 12 rounds. The only other big test I see for Khan at the weight class is Lucas Mattheyse, but that is because of his power and Khan’s questionable whiskers. Hopefully Guerrero is back soon.

6. Mares-Agbeko 2: I like Agbeko in this. When you said after the fight that Russell Mora wasn’t fair on either fighter you was right. I can see Mares being apprehensive about throwing body shots in the second fight as he will be under more scrutiny about them going low. This could then take away from his overall game and there is no way King Kong starts as slowly in this fight. Anyway to some up my thoughts on Mora- if he didn’t think the blow was low that but Agbeko down in the 11th- then why did he instruct Mares to stop punching and go to the corner before JA was even on the canvas. (I must admit I found it funny comparing Mora’s post fight interview, in which he was shown a replay that clearly showed it was low and Mora still denied it was, to that of Zab Judah’s a few weeks earlier who was shown a replay, the punch was clearly on the belt and Judah said “clearly he punched me in my balls.” LOL).

7. Andre Berto: So he’s blaming his loss to Victor Ortiz on overtraining? Here is what I blame the loss on: Berto is simply not that good. He lost by quite a wide margin to Ortiz in the end (I had it 117-111 on my scorecard if I remember correctly). I also think Luis Collazo beat him too. How do you see Berto v Zaveck going? Zaveck is not gonna set the world on fire, but I see him pushing Berto to the limit. I think Berto may just edge it in a close, perhaps controversial decision.

Anyway sorry for rambling on keep up the good work. — Sam, Blackburn, UK

Thanks for rambling, Sam, I’ll answer them in order:

1. It’s going to take a serious badass to “expose” Angulo. That’s one hard mother f___er, bro. I think Martirosyan has the style and skill to beat Angulo but I would go with the Mexican in that matchup. I think “El Perro” is too strong, durable and relentless for the talented Armenian. I think Angulo’s too mature for Canelo at the moment, too. However, I might go with Alvarez if they fight next year.

2. Andrade vs. Foreman, Rhodes and Powell sounds like a cure for insomnia. I want to see Andrade in with hardnosed pressure fighters with solid technique and good speed. How about Deandre Latimore? Now that’s a test!

3. I think Lundy has the heart and talent to be a top-10 lightweight contender and I won’t rule out his becoming a titleholder (hey, don’t forget, there’s four major belts out there). I wouldn’t pick him to beat the likes of JM Marquez, Brandon Rios or Robert Guerrero now or even a year from now, but I don’t think those three elite lightweights will still be fighting at 135 pounds a year from now.

4. Diaz is an honest fighter, one of the toughest I’ve ever covered and also one of the nicest human beings I’ve met. You’d like him if you ever met him. I think it’s probably time for him to hand up the gloves but if he keeps fighting I’ll be rooting for him. I hope he can get one more decent payday before he’s through.

5. The Ghost will return. You can’t keep a good man down. And on a good night, I believe he can beat any 135- and 140-pound fighter in the sport.

6. I think Mares-Agbeko II will be another close, hotly contested bout, but I’m going with youth in this one. I think Mares will be more confident against Agbeko now that he’s gone 12 hard rounds with the Ghanaian veteran.

7. I also thought Collazo beat Berto (although by a score of 115-113 and I was impressed by the manner in which the young titleholder closed the show) I thought the Ortiz fight was closer than you saw it. Anyway, I see Berto squeaking out a close fight against Zaveck. I hope to God it isn’t a controversial decision. If it is, Berto’s going to be more hated than Jermain “Bad Decisions” Taylor was during his middleweight title reign.

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