Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

ANGULO-KIRKLAND: FIGHT OF THE YEAR?

What’s good? With over 20 fights to be shown on TV and PPV before 2011 is done do you think we will get our fight of the year, finally? Also is GBP cashing out on James Kirkland? Where does the loser of Alfredo Angulo-Kirkland go? What is each fighter’s purse for that fight? Lastly with Bob Arum now pushing Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Brandon Rios, has he lost interest in JM Lopez or is he saving him for Nonito Donaire? Peace, and keep up the good work. — James

Thanks James. I’ll try my best.

I don’t think Arum has lost interest in Lopez. If he has lost interest in the Puerto Rican southpaw, he’s getting senile, because JuanMa puts butts in the seats in Puerto Rico, New York City and Atlantic City. The first step for Lopez getting back into the bigtime is to avenge his loss to Orlando Salido. If he can do that, I’m sure Arum will still try to make a showdown between Lopez and Gamboa — probably at 130 pounds. I don’t think he’s looking to put Donaire in with anyone as big as Lopez (or Gamboa) just yet. He’ll make a big fight at 122 pounds for Donaire first (against either Jorge Arce or Toshiaki Nishioka) and then take a look at the Filipino Flash’s options at 126 or 130.

I don’t think Golden Boy is cashing out with Kirkland. He’s in this business to win a world title and to make as much money as possible. The Angulo fight is the biggest money bout available to him right now — and no, I don’t know how much he or “El Perro” are making but my guess is that they aren’t getting paid in pesos and they’re probably grossing more than you or I make in a year — and it’s a winnable fight. If he beat Angulo, he’ll be in line to fight WBC 154-pound titleholder Saul Alvarez, which is an even bigger money bout.

GBP had him in line to fight for a major title (the WBO belt held by Sergei Dzinziruk) before he screwed up and got put away for close to two years. They’ve got him five comeback fights since he was released, it’s not their fault he somehow got KTFO by Nobuhiro Ishida. However, a good showing against Angulo, even in a loss, can make the boxing world forget about that loss. As long as the fight is a thriller (and how can it not be?), Kirkland will be welcomed back on premium cable.

The bottom line is that there’s no reason to baby Kirkland or continue to get him “confidence-building“ fights. He’s 27 years old with 30 pro bouts under his belt. He’s been a pro for 10 years. I doubt he’s going to get any better than he is now. He’s not a defensive-minded boxer by nature (and to try to make him one, might ruin his whirlwind style); he’s not going to learn the finer points of the Sweet Science. Arum isn’t going to put Miguel Cotto or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in there with him; Dan Goossen and Al Haymon aren’t looking to put Paul Williams in another grueling fight; middleweight champ Sergio Martinez might kill him; and southpaw boxers such as Dzinziruk and Erislandy Lara will likely take him to school.

So if you look at the current playing field at 154 and 160 pounds, Angulo seems to be Kirkland’s best bet. Let’s see what the Texas tornado does with this opportunity.

I can’t wait. I think both junior middleweights are going to put it down and this HBO main event from Mexico might provide us with that elusive Fight of the Year you’re looking for. If not, I’m confident that one of these rematches, Wolak-Rodriguez II, Cotto-Margarito II or Mares-Agbeko II — will.

FIRST-TIME MAILBAGGER

Evening, my man.

Just in from work, ready to hit the sack but a promise is a promise and truth be told, I’ve been looking forward to this all day, haha.

Firstly, I remember in the build-up to Hernan Marquez’s fight with Nonito Donaire last year and then there was a feeling of significant disappointment. He was unknown and his record at the time was pretty poor and although he was very much on the back foot for the fight, I thought he did his reputation no harm, particularly before the first knockdown in the 5th. Since then, though, what a turnaround! He’s moved down to Flyweight and his two fights with Luis Conception have had everything that makes this sport exciting. The first fight had the back-and-forth drama of a bona fide ring war and last night, we saw complete dominance from Marquez, ending proceedings in the first round via three knockdowns. He’s an exciting, aggressive Mexican flyweight. Sound like anyone else we know lurking around the division…? Marquez-Segura is just logic, right? I know he’s got eyes on Wonjongkam but if you’ve had the time to look over my article yet, I’m not convinced he has the desire to take on someone as dangerous as Segura, even in his backyard and if that’s the case, this all Mexican matchup is one I want made for next year.

Talking of bona fide ring wars, my day was made this morning when I realised that next weekend is the long-awaited Kirkland-Angulo showdown. This fight has been 2 odd years in the making and it’s so important for both men. I’m glad Kirkland’s back down at 154 (hopefully looking good) and now he’s back with Ann Wolfe who knows him so well and obviously has his respect. My hunch is that Kirkland is a little more versatile than ‘Perro’; he’s quicker and if he’s got the discipline to mix his offense with some effective movement, I think he can take a very exciting decision. That being said, some might still question his chin and Angulo is very effective at cutting the ring down and just one all-round tough S.O.B. If James decides to throw caution to the wind and just slug it out, I think he’ll be worn down for a late stoppage and not one to sit on the fence, I think that’s what will happen so that’s my pick: Angluo, late stoppage. How’d you see it going down?

Lastly, only managed to catch the 6th and final round of the Eloy Perez fight and the going forward, the dude looked as strong as I’ve seen him. He’s got lovely footwork, pivoting to his right to throw a left hook after having one blocked early on in the round. Would of liked more head movement, though. He was caught with a couple when going for the finish. I know he’s got defence, I saw it when he sparred Rios and I’ve got a feeling that when more dangerous opponents are in the opposite corner, à la Ponce de Leon, we’ll see more of it. Super Featherweight isn’t the strongest division out there at the moment, though and I’m liking any of the beltholders right now as well as Martinez. Call me old fashioned (I’m only 19!) but from a fan perspective, I’m liking a good ol’ fashion scrap to determine the best young unbeaten contender in the division: Perez-Magdaleno – whose ’0′ would go? Too early for it, considering the emphasis on unbeaten records now?

Hope you’re well, Dougie. For now, my bed is calling but glad I’ve finally got one in. Expect many more in the future! — Jack Hubert, London, UK

Thanks for sending in your first mailbag email, Jack. I’m looking forward to more.

Perez wasn’t as sharp as he normally is against Ira Terry but I didn’t expect him to be for two reasons: A) the fight was thrown together rather quickly and B) as you pointed out, he knew he wasn’t in with an offensive threat.

On the bright side, he made for an entertaining scrap from start to finish. The knock on Perez has always been his supposed lack of power and that he can sometimes be involved in boring fights. I know that he can make for an entertaining fight (his 10 rounder with David Rodela was all action, and I‘ve been told his 10-round decision over Dannie Williams was barnburner), but I’m sure he wants to prove that hardcore fans. I just hope he doesn’t abandon his defense in doing so. As you’ve noticed, Perez has a sound boxing foundation that a lot of young up-and-comers lack these days.

Magdaleno is one of the few young contenders as complete as Perez. I have no idea who would win that fight, but I don’t expect it to happen until they both get more exposure and at least one of them gets his gloves on a major 130-pound title. Mark my words, if that fight ever happens Magdaleno and Perez will prove that fighters with low KO percentages can make for entertaining fights because I’m betting that it will be a thriller.

Speaking of thrillers, I’m going with Angulo by mid-rounds stoppage in a total shootout. I think both junior middleweights will get hurt in first and second rounds, but I think Angulo will land the cleaner shots (particularly the right hand, which new trainer Nacho Beristain has likely enhanced) and take the better punch. Still, we can expect Kirkland to bust up “Perro” as he takes his licks and then go down swinging.

Marquez has definitely done well for himself. I think Marquez-Segura is one of the best action matchups that can be made right now. However, it will have to wait until Segura settles business with WBO beltholder Brian Viloria, a showdown that’s being discussed for December or early 2012 (in the Philippines). You might be right about Wonjongkam not wanting to accept Segura’s challenge but we gotta let him try for the shot (it’s his dream). If Segura beat Viloria and the “dream fight” with the RING flyweight champ can’t be made, I betcha Segura’s management will look into a Mexican civil was with Marquez. I’d be willing to travel to south of the border to cover that one.

GYM RATS

Doug,
Based off the last episode of 24/7, both Manny and Juan are droppin’ guys in sparring, which is not normal. Correct? Last I ever saw or heard, “The V-nom” (your prodigy, and I mean no disrespect) was the only video that existed of sparring partners getting dropped. Manny looks pissed, so does Juan. Your thoughts? — Rob, Bakersfield, CA

It’s rare for pro boxers to get dropped during sparring sessions but it’s not unheard of. It happens from time to time. I’ve probably witnessed it 30-40 times since I started covering the sport in the mid-1990s. Pro boxers getting knocked out or stopped in sparring is extremely uncommon. That almost never happens. The video you’re thinking of with Edwin Valero is the sparring session with Urbano Antillon. That session had to be stopped because Antillon’s head was twisted so violently from Valero’s cross-hook combination off the ropes, however, Antillon was never off his feet. I witnessed that particular session (and I’m the reason it was made public through MaxBoxing.com). I can only think of seven or eight other occasions when a sparring session between two pros ended up with one of them getting stopped or knocked out cold (the late Valero was involved in two of them; the late-‘90s version of Shane Mosley was involved in two of them; James Toney and Ismayl Sillakh — both of whom are in action this weekend — also took out quality sparring partners before my eyes).

I don’t make much of the knockdowns caught by HBO’s cameras and shown on the latest 24/7, but I do think that both Pacquiao and Marquez are in tremendous shape. Marquez looks great and I believe he’ll carry the added weight better in this fight than he did against Mayweather, but he’ll still get punished by the Pac-Monster. The man is just not a welterweight. Hopefully, he’ll get in a few shots and make for an exciting fight for as long as it is allowed to continue (I know JMM won’t back down or quit). I just hope he doesn’t get seriously hurt.

R.I.P AMILCAR BRUSA

What’s good Dougie? I read that Amilcar Brusa, the great trainer, has passed away. My family and I were saddened by this news as we prepared Eloy Perez for his bout Friday night. Brusa was the best trainer of all time in my opinion, but he was an even greater man. I learned so much from him and his attention to detail, his demeanor, and how he conducted himself with every fighter no matter the level they were at. He was truly a great teacher, something lost amongst today’s boxing trainers.

The days of La Brea Boxing Academy are long gone but the memories of me and you sitting back and watching the two old masters (Brusa and Don Familton) conduct their craft with an old-school style to their young pupils is something to cherish. Brusa used to have a couple of sayings that I, as a young trainer, will never forget: “A fighter who does what he wants is a victim of his own errors.” And, before every round of sparring, he would shout “Tiempo para los buenos!” (Time for the good ones, i.e., the good fighters). I hope he gets his just due. Thanks — Sam Garcia (and the entire Garcia Boxing Family), Salinas, Ca.

Real boxing fans know that Brusa is a great trainer. His track record speaks for itself. He made Carlos Monzon. He developed a kid off the streets into an all-time great fighter. How many of today’s top trainers can say that (aside from Emanuel Steward)? Beyond the number of major titleholders he trained (14 or 15 depending on who you ask), I’m impressed by the job he did with fighters who were thought to be faded or no longer world class. I thought Carlos “Famoso” Hernandez was practically shot when Brusa started training him in late 2000. After just a few weeks with the “old man,” Hernandez gave Floyd Mayweather one of the future hall of famer’s tougher fights. Five bouts later I was witnessing Famoso win the IBF 130-pound belt against David Santos. I thought Carlos Baldomir was a lost cause. Despite my respect for Brusa, I thought he was wasting his time with that guy. What did I know? Not a fraction of a fraction of what Brusa knew.

He was a master at getting the most from his fighters. He got them to box smarter and fighter harder. He made them better athletes. And none of Brusa’s fighters were ever overtrained. They were always peaking the day of their fights.

He was a humble, self effacing veteran of the sport who had wonderful stories for anyone who cared to hear them.

I was surprised to hear of his passing (last Thursday), but not shocked. I didn’t know he was sick or ailing, but he was getting up there in age. He lived a full life and had a positive impact on a lot of people all over the world, so I’m not sad. But I do wish I would have dropped by his gym on La Brea more often when I had the chance.

 

 

 

 

 

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