Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

BEST NIGHT OF FIGHTS

All I can really say is, this was the best night of fights THAT I CAN REMEMBER IN YEARS. I enjoyed every single fight tonight. Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno was extremely impressive, but I have a feeling he’s going to have a hard time finding fights.

Brandon Rios did what Rios does. He looked vulnerable but closed the show. Abner Mares and Joseph Abegko showed elite skill and heart, but Mares definitely deserves the respect in this one. He surprised me. I thought King Kong was going to wear him down.

Cotto boxed beautifully and should thank Manny Pacquiao for softening Margarito’s eyes. Either way, I’m very happy for Cotto and can’t wait to see who he fights next. I know he’s a junior middleweight, but I’d like to see him against Floyd Mayweather or a rematch with Pacquiao. He might be the champ at 154, but is it me or he looks very small? No matter who fights who next, THIS WAS A GREAT NIGHT FOR BOXING FANS.

Where does Rios, Mike Jones, Chemito, Cotto, Mares & Abegko go from here??? — Michael

Rios goes to 140 pounds where the 2012 Fight of the Year awaits against Top Rank stablemate Mike Alvarado.

Jones gets to face Randall Bailey for the vacant IBF welterweight title, and I favor the undefeated Philly contender to win that fight.

Chemito will be on the next Mares-headlined Showtime card, probably against Eric Morel, who won his 10th consecutive fight on the Mares-Agbeko undercard on Saturday.

Cotto might take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in an attempt to win a title in a fourth weight class.

Mares will face a “softie” in a much-deserved gimme fight in his next bout, and then probably take on Moreno in a unification bout.

I’m not sure what Agbeko does next. I’d like to see him go to 122 pounds and face the likes the Toshiaki Nishioka and the Rico Ramos-Guillermo Rigondeaux winner.

I would be interested in a Cotto-Mayweather showdown (at 154 pounds, not welterweight or a catchweight). Cotto’s already faced and defeated two of boxing’s “bad guys” in PPV bouts this year (Mayorga and Margarito), let’s see how he does against a “villain” who actually wins the big fights.

Just my two cents, but I’d rather see Cotto fight Saul Alvarez at 154 pounds than Junior at 160.

I’m also happy for Cotto. He looked sharp against Margarito. I don’t think he needs to thank Manny Pacquiao for his success in the rematch. I think he should thank Manny Steward for helping to correct his form in a way that enhanced his jab and made him less susceptible to uppercuts than he was three years ago.

I agree Mares deserves respect for his performance against Agbeko on Saturday. Unfortunately, a lot of hardcore heads will continue to call him a “dirty” fighter and root against him.

Mares did not surprise me. I knew he had the ability to beat Agbeko without controversy and the rematch went much the way that I had envisioned (although I thought Agbeko would finish a little stronger and the scores would be closer).

Rios is a natural-born fighter. He’s a beast even when he’s weight drained. I’m looking forward to his junior welterweight invasion.

Moreno was better than advertised. He was supposed to be a pure boxer, a finesse fighter, but he showed some balls by standing his ground and trading with Darchinyan in the middle and late rounds of their fight. I like this southpaw string bean from Panama.

SWELLING

Hi Doug,
Have you changed your opinion on Margs using loaded wraps during his first fight with Cotto, due to the lack of swelling Cotto suffered? Or is it simply a case of Margarito being a diminished fighter who couldn’t connect like he did in 2008?


My thoughts are at the higher weight he should have busted up Cotto more. But didn’t. Which smells bad. Thanks. — Dave from Ilderton

No, the result of Saturday’s rematch does not make me think that Margarito wore loaded wraps for the first fight with Cotto.

For starters, Margarito has physically gone downhill since the summer of 2008. Apart from entering the fight with a damaged eye, he’s slower and more plodding than ever (which is swaying something because he’s always been rather slow and plodding).

And although Cotto has lost a step since their first encounter, he’s made technical improvements that limited Margarito’s ability to mount a sustained attack and connect with a lot of clean punches.

Something that was not mentioned by HBO’s commentators (and probably went unnoticed to all but Emanuel Steward) was the fact that Cotto’s fighting stance has evolved since the first bout, when he was trained by his uncle Evangelista. Cotto’s stance was more squared up under his uncle’s guidance, which made him a sitting duck for uppercuts. The main improvement that Steward brought to Cotto in their two camps was to get Cotto box from an angle with his left foot and shoulder in front, chin more tucked, and his right hand in better position to get off and to block uppercuts.

Cotto’s new trainer, Pedro Diaz, improved his footwork and coordination and laid out a very sound fight plan, which Cotto executed well. Cotto pivoted well in close and was careful to keep Margarito turning and in the center of the ring. He got off and then moved, but he never went straight back. He also tied Margarito up in close and pushed the pressure fighter back on his heels whenever he could.

Cotto didn’t do these things in their first fight. He moved too much, and loaded up with ever shot he fired while on the fly, which tired him out quicker. He backed to the ropes where Margarito was able to get off with repeated power shots (primarily the right cross and left uppercut), and the Mexican mauler was able to do this as early as the second round in the first bout. That’s why — in my not-so-humble opinion — Cotto’s face was beaten into a bloody mess by the late rounds of the bout. Not illegally loaded wraps.

GREAT NIGHT OF BOXING

Sup Doug,

Perfect timing for a great weekend of boxing! The wife was out of town and I was left behind on baby duty. No worries, as there were plenty of great matchups to look forward to. And MAN, did boxing deliver! Anthony Dirrell is the truth. I love his poise and focus. With a little more lateral movement and just a bit more knock out power, I think he has what it takes to be elite. That being said, I’d love to see him in with Lucian Bute. What do you think about that matchup? Screw the waiting, go big and make some noise. Maybe then he’ll get more respect from the media. His win didn’t even make the headlines on YahooSports and was merely just an update on RingTV.com.

As for Saturday night, I don’t even know where to begin. Moreno schooled Darchinyan. Vic talks a little too much for my taste, so it was nice to see him get owned. I was worried Moreno would just run, but he wasn’t afraid to go toe to toe at times with Vic at all which definitely earned my respect. And Mares left no doubt over Agbeko. I’d love to see Mares and Moreno fight each other next where the winner gets Nonito Donaire.

The only thing missing I guess is a KTFO. When your best punch puts ‘em down for the count. Even the hardcore boxing fans need it from time to time. Bute and Nonito have it. Really looking forward to what comes next for these guys.

Other quick notes: Rios dehydrating and still going the distance and winning by TKO, what a beast! And it was good to see Cotto get redemption. Chris. — Austin, TX

Good for Cotto. That had to be the most satisfying victory of his career.

Rios is indeed a beast. John Murray is a very tough cat, who deserves some respect as well. I don’t know how he absorbed all of those uppercuts and lasted until the 11th round. I hope this fight didn’t ruin him because I’d like to see him on the big stage again.

Mares’ lack of “KTFO” power ensures that all of his bouts against top 118-pound opposition will be tough, extended fights. His rather smallish stature and susceptibility to facial cuts only add to the adversity he faces when he takes on world-class fighters.

However, that’s one of the reasons I enjoy watching him fight. He has to work for his victories. He has to dig himself out of a hole sometimes (as he did against Darchinyan), he has to make adjustment, he has to rally hard down the stretch. It makes for compelling, dramatic fights.

Moreno is a beautiful stick-and-move boxer, but he’s not a runner. He’s got some fighting spirit, which makes me want to see him test his considerable skills against his fellow top 118 pounders, including Donaire, Mares, Agbeko and Koki Kameda.

Mares and Moreno will probably fight sometime next year. Golden Boy Promotions will make that bout eventually happen. I doubt Bob Arum would allow Donaire to fight Mares or Moreno, but I hopefully I’m wrong about that.

Dirrell is a gifted boxer, but I don’t think he’s ready for the Froch-Ward winner or Bute. He needs to get some quality rounds under his belt before he targets one of the top 168 pounders. I think he should have to beat an experienced former title challenger, such as Sakio Bika or Jesse Brinkley, or at least a fringe contender, such as Dyah Davis or Don George, before he gets a title shot.

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