Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

WHAT CAN BE SAID?

What's up Dougie,

I really don't have much to say about the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson fight, man. I agree with you, B-Hop should call it a career and advise young fighters. He was a renegade who told everybody where they could go, and would kick ass in the ring to get his point across! "The Executioner" is one of my all time favorites! But his time has passed. That second fight vs. Antwun Echols was classic as was his coming out party vs. Felix Trinidad when he just schooled him!

Tough break for Jorge Linares. Head butt or not, I would love to see him against Erik Morales! I just don't think Linares has the so called "intestinal fortitude" to hang with the tough, iron chinned bangers. What do you think, Dougie? — Miguel, LBC

I’m not ready to write Linares off against world-class tough guys just yet.

He was stopped in the 11th round of a fight he was dominating. He could have played it safe and avoided confrontation with DeMarco in the final two or three rounds of the bout, but he elected to stand and trade whenever the Mexican southpaw connected with a single shot, despite the bad cuts on his face and having his vision impaired by blood. I think that counts, at least on some level, as “intestinal fortitude.” I didn’t see Linares wilt, quit or punk out. I saw him get hurt and backed to the ropes in the 11th round of a good fight. He wasn’t totally out of it (if he was, he wouldn’t have kept his hands up) and he didn’t get much of a chance to fire back or show that championship heart that I’m sure a lot of will now doubt that he possesses.

I’m not saying it was a horrible stoppage, but it seemed a bit premature to me. Having said that, I was impressed with DeMarco’s late charge and I’m very happy for the young man. Actually, I was impressed with both young lightweights. I think Linares is young enough and certainly talented enough to bounce back from this loss.

I was ringside for both Hopkins-Echols II (2000) and Nard’s boxing clinic against Trinidad (2001) and both fights are among the most memorable that I have covered. Hopkins epitomized the word “fighter” vs. Echols and the word “boxer” against Tito. Witnessing those bouts has made it difficult watching Hopkins gradually succumb to Father Time in recent years.

I don’t have much to say about the Hopkins-Dawson outcome, either, other than I’m sick of controversy in high-profile boxing matches (especially those that headline pay-per-view shows).

It sucks to have to write about a controversy on fight night and sucks even worse to have to talk about it ad nauseum the following week.

Fight fans should be talking about the fight that took place on Saturday — and whether is was great, good, so-so, bad, boring, significant, etc. — and the fight that will take place this Saturday (Nonito Donaire vs. Omar Narvaez), not debating about a referee’s call or what may have been going on in the fighters’ heads at the time of the controversy.

B-FLOP

"B-Hop ain’t Old School, but an Old Fool." That's a quote from James Toney before the Dawson fight. James Toney, as much as he squandered his career, never would have bow out of a fight like that. Honestly Doug, would James Toney have quit? I mean, Bernard talks about being an "old school fighter." You know James. I've seen you cover him for years. You know he represents D Block. — Tyler

Toney is probably the toughest fighter I’ve ever covered, but Hopkins isn’t far behind ole “Lights Out.”

Hopkins says he was prepared to continue if need be and, given his history, I’m going to take him at his word. However, that doesn’t mean he should have continued. We know now that he was legitimately injured. His collar-bone was dislocated from his shoulder blade.

Toney is a crazy tough S.O.B., but I’ve never seen him fight with a dislocated collar bone. I’m not saying Toney wouldn’t try to, but some injuries can humble even the most iron-willed individuals. I was at the Wild Card Boxing Club when Toney’s Achilles tendon snapped during a sparring session in preparation for a fight with Jameel McCline in early 2004. Toney collapsed to the canvas and screamed like little girl when it happened. He quickly got himself together and got up, hobbling on one foot, (perhaps in part because there were lots of witnesses, including MaxBoxing’s videographer, Brian Harty) and yelled out that he was “still gonna whup up” on his sparring partner, but it was obvious that he couldn’t do s__t.

Whether you view Dawson’s shove as a foul or a legit reaction, Hopkins was seriously hurt by his fall to the canvas. I don’t think it’s fair to call him a quitter.

DAMMIT!

Doug,

If only Bernard and Chad had followed the script. If they had just fought the boring, tactical fight we all predicted then I wouldn't have to even mention them. No. I would instead be mentioning the Courageous Manliness smothered in Awesome-Sauce that was Linares vs. DeMarco. The very good, bloody war waged prior to a royal pain in my ass. But NOOOOOOO (in a childish whiny tone) Hopkins had to lunge at Chad, Chad had to duck his punch, and then somehow Hopkins was on the canvas making the same face he made Oscar De la Hoya make all those years ago, telling the ref something about his arm. Now I have to write about that garbage.

I didn't mean to buy this PPV. I only bought it because my birthday is next Tuesday and this was the best time to throw a mini-birthday get together and we used the PPV as a backdrop. I paid for it and even warned everyone in the room (mostly NFL and MMA fans) that the card was not designed to impress. So, from there, the card could only go up. The low expectations helped because these NFL-MMA fans actually enjoyed the Malignaggi and Holt fights even though they were one sided bouts. When the blood started flowing for Linares-DeMarco it was all the rage. I was just starting to think I'd gotten lucky with the night’s events when I was immediately floored by the referee's strange decision to award a TKO to Chad "The-only-time-I'm-emotional-is-when-I-might-not-have-won" Dawson. Some friends said it looked like Hopkins faked it (mostly from the MMA fans who think no fight can be finished without a choke hold and blue face), others were perplexed that a champ could lose his title in such a fashion and I'm caught trying once again to defend the sport I so love to watch and pay for.

Max Kellerman seemed to take a trip down memory lane and bring up the Joe Calzaghe fight, but I was surprised no one brought up Hopkins-Echols 2, where practically the same thing happened, only that time Hopkins fought with the ref from calling it in his favor to personally kick the ass of Echols one handed. One of my favorite Hopkins moments. See, since I've seen this before, I don't think Hopkins was faking. And I agree with HBO afterwards when they mentioned the ref apparently, didn't tell Hopkins he was about to get TKO'd if he didn't continue. Had Hop known that, I'm sure he'd have jumped up and tried to continue.

Regardless, I had enough sense to pass on the mismatch that was Mayweather-Ortiz, but still had to explain to my friends what had happened on Monday. Now this. In both cases, I feel the ref failed enormously. Far as I was concerned, once it happened, there were only two outcomes. Ref rules accidental foul and declares a NC. Or, ref feels Chad purposefully hooked his right arm under Hopkins right leg, lifted him, and dropped him; then DQ'd Chad. I'm guessing the latter happened, but would have been okay with a NC at that point. Admittedly, I'm not a Chad fan and have felt for quite some time, the dude isn't all there. It’s easy for me to see Hopkins playing his usual mind games, making it ugly and Chad melting down like Golota on roids. I guess not many others feel that way.

Whatever, if Manny-Marquez 3 ends with some bogus controversial result that has me defending my sport again, I just might decide not to. If only those two jackasses would have followed the freaking script! — Kyle in Federal Way, WA

Happy birthday, Kyle. Cheer up. I think the year will end with more than a few high-profile barnburners without poor officiating and/or controversy. (I’d mention the matchups but I don’t want to jinx ’em!)

Before the official verdict of Hopkins-Dawson was announced I was fairly certain that the bout had ended in a No-Contest. It didn’t look like Dawson purposely or maliciously body slammed Hopkins to the canvas. It looked like an agitated young challenger shoved a cagey old champ off his back (literally). It wasn’t a “boxing move,” as Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer put it, but I don’t think Dawson intentionally wanted to injure Hopkins with the shove. So I thought we were witnessing a bout end on an accidental foul and since we were only in the second round, that called for a No Contest.

Pat Russell, a veteran referee who I consider one of the best officials in the business, didn’t see it that way. Judging from the emails I’ve received since Saturday night, I think a lot of fans agreed with Russell’s decision and a lot of fans disagreed with it.

Regarding Hopkins-Echols II, which I referenced in my post-fight column — I don’t think it was the same thing as what we saw Saturday night. That was a foul-filled grudge match from the get-go, and Echols didn’t shove Hokpkins off his back, he reached for Hopkins legs from a standing position and dropped him on his side. It was clear that Echol’s WWE move in the sixth round was retaliation for Nard’s hitting-and-holding tactics and for what he felt were blatant rabbit punches through the first five rounds of the HBO-televised bout. Also, Hopkins was able to use his injured arm in this fight. I don’t think that would have been the case with the type of injury he suffered on Saturday.

Anyway, I’m glad to hear that NFL and MMA fans enjoyed DeMarco-Linares and appreciated Maligaggi’s performance.

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