Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

MARTINEZ’S WEIGHT BAIT

How hard do you think it is for Sergio Martinez to get to 150 pounds? Could he be exaggerating on how much of a disadvantage he would have in fighting at this catchweight? I ask cause I've read he doesn't really struggle all that much to make middleweight and I know how familiar you can be with some fighters training camps…

Also do you think age could be catching up to him? He would be really susceptible to "getting old overnight" due to how his style seems to rely so much on reflexes. Do you think he could fight in an alternate style? One that could rely more on his power and grit? — Jesse in Fort Worth

How hard would it be for Martinez to make 150 pounds? That’s potentially a multi-million dollar question. If one of these lighter-weight stars knew for sure that it would weaken him, they might take his “weight bait.” But nobody knows, including the middleweight champ.

Martinez isn’t making any exaggerations about how hard it will or might be to get down to 150 pounds. What he’s told the media time and time again is that he doesn’t know how hard it will be to make the weight or how it will effect him during the fight. I believe he’s being honest.

Although I can vouch that he doesn’t struggle to make middleweight (he weighed 164 pounds in camp one week before the Darren Barker fight — and that was before he worked out), he hasn’t weighed 150 pounds for a fight in eight years. Ten pounds is a lot of weight for a middle-aged fighter to lose, even one as well preserved as “Maravilla.” I don’t know how old you are, but I can tell you that a man’s metabolism changes a lot between the ages of 28 and 36.

Having said that, I don’t think age is catching up with him and I don’t believe he needs to change his style at all. It’s part of the reason he’s so well preserved (clean living and a true love for training are the other reasons). I think Martinez will be as good as he is now for at least another two years.

Let’s hope we get to see him fight more than four times in that span.

 

SUMBU KALAMBAY

Props for putting Sumbu Kalambay on the 10 list of the best middleweights of the last 50 years…..sadly, most American fans only recall his stunning KO loss to Michael Nunn on HBO….but he did some great work over the course of his career, excellent overall craft.

Sadly, in the pre-Internet age, his craft was plied largely in the dark for US fans. Even more sad, in the age of the Internet, fans seem more interested in talking smack in cyberspace than they do in learning about this great sport, watching great fighters, interesting fighters of all types apply their craft against other skilled, interesting fighters. You and I are roughly the same age I believe….we're lucky to have been deeply immersed in the sport in that great time….lots of INTERESTING fighters. The record, a simple number, says so little about the fighter…..there's always a story behind those numbers….that's the interesting stuff right there.

Huge Mike McCallum fan….for Kalambay to hang the first professional loss on that hammer….that alone is impressive. — HG in SC

Amen to that, HG. McCallum told me that Kalambay was the best defensive fighter and one of the smartest boxers he’d ever fought during our interview for his Best I’ve Faced.

I’m glad you appreciated Kalambay’s inclusion in the recent middleweight 10 list. There have been a few fans who disagreed with his being on the list (and “the great” Roy Jones Jr. being left off it), but that opened the door to discussing Kalambay’s accomplishments further. I think it’s part of my job to let younger fans know about underrated fighters of the past (particularly those I was lucky enough to cover or watch on TV as a fan).

Kalambay is one of the best stick-and-move boxers I’ve ever seen. His jab, lateral movement, feints and counter punches all flowed together harmoniously. And his middleweight resume is damn impressive. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate his victories over McCallum or Herol Graham, both undefeated at the time he first fought them, can’t call himself a “hardcore” fan.

So Nunn caught him cold in the first round. So what? At least he got in there with Nunn when the 6-foot-2 southpaw was 32-0. He was stripped of his WBA title for taking that fight. That move probably cost him a lot of money, but hey, he wanted to know who the best 160-pound titleholder was. It was Nunn on that night. Kalambay had never been knocked out prior to that fight and he wasn’t stopped after it. And Nunn never blasted anyone out like that again. I don’t want to call it a fluke, but it was certainly an aberration for Kalambay, who went on to win the European title, lose a narrow split decision to McCallum in their rematch, defeat Graham again and outpoint future titleholder Steve Collins, before dropping a very close decision to underrated WBO belt holder Chris Pyatt in his final fight.

 

PROKSA POWER

Hey Doug,
Did you catch the Grzegorz Proksa-Sebastian Sylvester fight? Man, Proksa beat up Sylvester in very impressive fashion. I'd never heard of Proksa before this week end but am now definetely a fan. He has a very pleasing aggressive style. A poor man's mix of RJJ and Sergio Martinez. Do you have any thoughts on him? — Stephen, Montreal

Yeah, a poor man’s Sergio Martinez (not so much RJJ) is how I would describe Proksa with his aggressive and athletic southpaw style. The head and upper-body movement with his hands down reminds me a lot of the middleweight champ. He’s too busy and forward marching to remind me of the prime Jones, who liked to strike a pose during his fight and didn’t have to let his hands go much because of his one-punch KO power.

But hey, the fact that Proksa has to work a little bit to get his knockouts makes him a fun fighter to watch. I think he’s for real and he can make for some very good 160-pound matchups against his fellow top-10 contenders.

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