Hi Doug. How’s it going?
Just wondering what you were thinking on the interesting matchups in December, mainly Carl Froch-Andre Ward and Amir Khan-Lamont Peterson? Do you see the underdogs taking them two at all? A lot of people say Ward will win this fight comfortably, but Froch can never be counted out and always seems to improve. I think a lot the fight talk has come from Froch’s performance against Andre Dirrell, but the more I think about, the less I see the similarities. I don’t think Ward will spoil and run like Dirrell did and will engage Froch inside. Froch’s boxing skills seem to have drastically improved as well, so I don’t see him dominated if Ward stays away. However, I think Khan gets past Peterson easily; he always does well against good boxers and I don’t think Peterson got the pop to take Khan out, and see him getting broken down to a late-rounds stoppage.
On Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto II, do you see another classic? I know a lot of rematches don’t live up to the hype, but Margarito only knows how to slug and Cotto won’t be kept away from a tear up. I also don’t see him being able to dance away and outbox Margs, a) because he doesn’t quite have the skill and b) I don’t think he could keep Margarito out that way, others things will go the same in the first fight. My only worry is that with the punishment these two guys have taken, whether they will keep it going late, or really ease of as the damage tolls up. What your pick on the fight?
Also (FMJ-Pacman aside), what do you feel are the top five matchups for the first half of next year? I’ve got Bute-Martinez, Cleverly-Cloud, Donaire-Gamboa, Marquez-Morales & Angulo-Kirkland II. — Mike, London
Those are all terrific bouts, Mike. Boxing fans will be blessed if we get three out of the five. If I had to pick which three have the best chance of being made, I’d go with Kirkland-Angulo II, Marquez-Morales and Cleverly-Cloud (if Cloud beats Zsolt Erdei on Dec. 31).
Martinez’s handlers (Sampson Lewkowicz and Lou DiBella) have repeatedly told the media they have no plans to move the middleweight king to 168 pounds (where he might lose to bigger, equally talented boxers). And Bute has no shortage of high-profile dance partners. This fight ain’t happening in 2012 and probably not ever.
Donaire is moving up to 122 pounds next year; Gamboa wants an immediate move to lightweight. These guys are not going to be anywhere near each other in weight next year. Unless Bob Arum and HBO or Showtime can come up with A LOT of money, I don’t see this dream match between ultra-talents happening any time soon.
That’s OK with me, Kirkland-Angulo II, Marquez-Morales and Cleverly-Cloud are the kind of high-level action bouts that most fans crave anyway.
My pick for Cotto-Margarito II is Cotto by hard-fought close decision. I think we will get another classic. It won’t be as fast-paced as the first fight because both guys are older, more battle worn and bit heavier, but it will be just as intense and brutal. In fact, there’s more animosity between them now, so we can expect a lot of exchanges with bad intentions.
I think Peterson’s style is the right mix of “boxer” and “fighter” to give Khan problems. He’s a better athlete than Andreas Kotelnik and Paul McCloskey; he’s grittier and gutsier than Zab Judah; and he’s smarter and more technically sound than Marcos Maidana. I think Khan has his work cut out for him on Dec. 10.
NOBODY should consider Froch an underdog to Ward. He’s every bit as proven as the undefeated American and he’s one of the most confident world-class fighters in the sport. Yes, Ward dominated the one guy (Mikkel Kessler) who beat Froch. And, yes, Dirrell gave Froch fits. But Froch has grown from both 12-round contests and Ward doesn’t fight like Kessler or Dirrell (both of whom had their hands full with the badass from Nottingham). I see the showdown for the Super Six trophy and THE RING’s vacant 168-pound title as an even-money fight.
THE MEXICAN LEGEND TRIO
In what order would you rank the three Mexican legends Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez?
What three fights would you pick to be on the undercard of Mayweather-Pacquiao if there wasn’t the usual 1 million dollar undercard limit?
Marquez-Morales, Donaire-Gamboa and Rios-Maidana would be my dream undercard.
Also, it would be great if you would write an article on the p4p best power punchers 147 and below.
Oh btw, Saul Alvarez should be fighting Carlos Molina instead of Kermit Cintron who has looked terrible and unmotivated in his last two fights. — Shail, Georgia
I agree that Molina is more deserving of a title shot, HBO showcase and payday than Cintron, but the former two-time welterweight beltholder presents a degree of athleticism and punching power (not to mention height and reach) that could cause Canelo more problems than the tough Chicagoan’s crafty brand of boxing. We’ll see what happens tomorrow night.
I’ll think about doing a 10 List on the best sub-middleweight punchers of all time. I think the next list feature I do will be on the best high-profile rematches ever, in honor of Cotto-Margz II and Mares-Agbeko II.
The three fights I’d go with on the Mayweather-Pacquiao PPV event (if there was no money limit for the undercard) would match the best and most-popular fighters Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank have on their rosters, which means Chavez vs. Alvarez, Khan vs. Bradley (or Rios), and Rios vs. Maidana (or Guerrero). If any one of those bouts couldn’t be made, I’d try to do Donaire vs. Mares or Arce vs. Mares.
Barrera, Morales and Marquez are equals in my eye. All three are first-ballot hall of famers and arguably all-time greats. But if I have to rank ’em, I’ll go with 1. Marquez, 2. Barrera and 3. Morales. Barrera is my personal favorite. I have the most respect for Marquez. And, over the years, I’ve become a bigger fan of Morales than I am of the other two.
If Marquez-Morales is ever made, I’ll pick JMM to win but I’ll root for “El Terrible.”
For pure boxing skill, with a side order of drama, I’m looking at Khan-Peterson. Plus, Khan’s chin will always have drama attached… I don’t care what he says. And Peterson might be underrated at this point… maybe. Mares-Agbeko for a even, skilled, drawn-out affair. I’m glad Agbeko gets another shot. IBF did right by Agbeko and Mares did right by accepting. Boxing redeems itself a little. And as bad as Russell Mora was, I think Mares’ rep also took a hit with the low-blow fest. Hopefully, he can clear that up so people can just focus on two very good boxers. Cotto-Margarito… for the obvious, blood-thirsty reasons. Something tells me action will not be a problem with these two. And speaking of action, if Rodriguez-Wolak can come close to what they put on ESPN FNF, people will get their money’s worth. I’m going to make my TV black-and-white for that one. Their 1st fight transported me back to a different era. That good. Anyway… these fights have sustained action written all over them… which is all I can ask for. Let’s hope they deliver. Your thoughts?
On a lower-profile, but interesting note (to me, at least)… Sebastian Lujan vs Mike Jones. Lujan has a unique/weird/awkward/pressure style that fighters don’t see often. How do you think that aligns with Mike Jones’ more conventional style? Is it like Jones-Soto-Karass II, or does Lujan bring something more to the table?
Alright Doug… thanks for listening. Keep up the great work and happy Thanksgiving. — Jorge
Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Jorge, and to everyone else reading this mailbag. I hope you had a good one.
Yeah, Lujan brings a little more to the table than Soto-Karass. The rugged Argentine is craftier, more awkward (as you pointed out) and I think he’s better preserved than the Mexican, who never met a punch he didn’t like. Jones will have to be at his best win this fight, which I’m looking forward to, and I think the undefeated Philadelphian will be. I like Jones by decision in a good fight.
We’ve got a hell of December ahead of us, the busiest that I’ve experienced since I started covering the sport in the late 1990s. Four of the five Saturdays feature major boxing cards and I’m looking forward to every single main event.
I think Rodriguez-Wolak II will be just as good as the first fight and I believe Rodriguez (who I believe won the first bout) will “upset” the Polish pressure fighter.
Cotto-Margarito II will whip Mexican and Puerto Rican fans into a bigger frenzy than their first fight did. I favor Cotto but believe that both fighters will put forth efforts that instill pride in their diehard followers. In other words, Margarito will once again walk through Cotto’s best shots and punish the titleholder, but the Puerto Rican star will dish out his share of punishment and survive the Mexican’s late-rounds rush.
I think Mares-Agbeko II will deliver faster and more sustained action than Cotto-Margarito II or Rodriguez-Wolak II, and I’m fairly confident that it will do without too many fouls or controversy.
Peterson IS underrated. It says here that he will give Khan hell. (However, I should point out that I thought Zab Judah would knockout the British star, so don‘t go out and bet the house on the Washington, D.C. native based on my word.)
The December fights I am looking forward to the most are Khan-Peterson (I‘m intrigued by the style matchup and Peterson‘s hometown “advantage”), Cotto-Margarito (two of my favorite fighters of the past decade), Mares-Aggreko (I thought the first bout would be a fight of the year candidate; I KNOW this one will be), Rodriguez-Wolak (two very down-to-earth, blue collar fighters beating the s__t out of each other — you’re right, this is a throwback fight) and Cloud-Erdei (will vs. skill at 175 pounds).
With a great December approaching regarding top class fights it got my mind wandering about what will happen next year so I decided to hit you with my top 10 fights of 2012. I want to know can you give me your prediction on each and what you think the chance we have of seeing each fight on a scale of 1-10.
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER VS MANNY PACQUIAO
2. VITALI KLITSCHKO VS DAVID HAYE.
3. AMIR KHAN VS VICTOR ORTIZ.
4. JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ VS ERIC MORALES
5. MIGUEL COTTO VS SAUL ALVAREZ
6. JAMES KIRKLAND VS JULIO C. CHAVEZ JR
7. CARL FROCH VS LUCIAN BUTE
8. MARCOS MAIDANA VS BRANDON RIOS
9. NONITO DONAIRE VS GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX
10. ANDRE WARD VS CHAD DAWSON
There will be no talk of boxing being a dying sport if these fights are made. — Ronan Knox, Waterford, Ireland
Sure there will, Ronan, but you and I know better, don’t we?
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER VS MANNY PACQUIAO — Pacquiao stops Mayweather in the middle rounds of a good fight to make the majority of the U.S. sports media eat their words. (Chances of the fight happening on a 1-10 scale with 1 being unlikely, 10 being definitely — 5)
2. VITALI KLITSCHKO VS DAVID HAYE — I’m not looking forward to this fight being made, but I like Big Bro, of course. I think he’ll stop Haye late. (7, unfortunately)
3. AMIR KHAN VS VICTOR ORTIZ — Good fight at 147 pounds. I like Victor by come-from-behind KO. I think he’s got the right style (counter-punching) and the power to pull off what will be viewed as an upset. (5)
4. JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ VS ERIC MORALES — I love this matchup! I’ll go with the great JMM by close decision in (what else?) a DAMN good fight. (6)
5. MIGUEL COTTO VS SAUL ALVAREZ — I like this fight a lot, too. If Cotto beats Margarito, it’s a natural. I think it makes more sense than Cotto challenging Chavez Jr.; he shouldn’t fight above 154 pounds. If it happens next year, and Cotto doesn’t take too much of beating against Margz, I’ll go with the Puerto Rican by close (maybe controversial) decision over Canelo. (3)
6. JAMES KIRKLAND VS JULIO C. CHAVEZ JR — This would be fun. Too bad Bob Arum won’t hear of it. If it happened I’d go with Junior in a slight upset, either late stoppage or decision. (2)
7. CARL FROCH VS LUCIAN BUTE — Good fight. I like Bute by close decision. (8)
8. MARCOS MAIDANA VS BRANDON RIOS — Guaranteed Fight of the Year for 2012, if it happens. I gotta go with “Bam Bam” by late-rounds stoppage in a Corrales-Castillo-type war. (6)
9. NONITO DONAIRE VS GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX — Not really interested in this matchup. Sometimes the best talents make the worst fights. I’ll go with Donaire in an uneventful, disappointing chess match. (4)
10. ANDRE WARD VS CHAD DAWSON — This could be interesting, or it could make Donaire-Rigondeaux look like Vazquez-Marquez. I have no idea who would win, but I’ll go with Ward by competitive decision because he’s a born-winner with the superior amateur background and his mental strength and ability to adapt is more proven than Bad Chad’s. (2)