Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

HOMETOWN/COUNTRY DECISIONS

Hi Doug,

Hope all is good with Ward-Froch coming up this weekend.

I have been watching back over some of the other English fights from the last few weeks and things have not been going to well for us! First we had Martin Murray-Felix Sturm, which I have watched a few times and still can’t see how Murray didn’t win. I had him winning by two rounds but the hometown fighter somehow gets a draw to hold onto his title. Then we had the Dereck Chisora-Robert Helenius fight that I think everyone had Chisora winning by 4/5 rounds but again the hometown fighter gets a win, which I believe has to be the worst decision this year. Then we had last weekend’s fight, Khan-Peterson, which was a close one to call but I, as many of my mates had Khan winning the fight. I had 113-112 to Khan but some of my mates had Khan winning as much as 115-110. I know it was a close fight but again the decision went with the hometown fighter.

Now with this weekend’s fight coming up I’m just hoping that we have a good clear fight with no controversy surrounding it. I am sure this will be a close fight, one that I would love to see Froch win but I have a feeling that Ward will get the win by close decision (115-113).

Anyway on a side note how do you think Kell Brook will do on his America debut? I would love to see him and Mike Jones go at it in 2012.

Hope you have good Christmas and New Year!– Michael, London, England

Thanks, Michael. Happy Holidays to you and to everyone else who reads this column.

You’re not alone in your concern about the officiating. Nobody wants any “home cooking” to occur tomorrow night, and that includes American fans and even Ward’s team. If Ward wins he wants it to be a legitimate victory. He’s a proud competitor and he doesn’t want any “help” from the officials. I don’t think he will be the beneficiary of any biased actions from the referee.

Veteran third man, Steve Smoger, has the assignment and I think he’s going to let the fighters settle who’s best. The judges hail from Philadelphia, the UK and Canada.

I can see how Ward’s and Froch’s styles could mesh to make for many hard-to-score rounds, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that most fans will agree with the official outcome of the bout if it goes to the cards.  

FROCH SHOULD BOX

Hey Dougie,
I’ve been reading a lot of analysts opine that Froch needs to cut off the ring, press Ward, and knock him out or hurt him. I really think this is a losing game plan.

First, it ignores Froch’s real strength as a boxer. When he brawled against Dirrell, he looked very beatable and barely got by. When he boxed against Abe and Johnson, he looked much more formidable. Honestly, if Froch tried to brawl in either of those two fights, I think he would have gotten stopped seven or eight times out of ten. Froch should be who he is, a somewhat unorthodox looking boxer-puncher with above average size and power, and an excellent chin.

The second big problem I see with the game plan is it plays into Ward’s style in the most obvious way possible. Ward’s not a big puncher, and his chin was at least arguably “exposed” (though I don’t really like that term) early in his career by second tier fighters. If there’s anything Ward knows, it’s how to deal with a guy who comes charging in, trying to exploit the question marks around his jaw. If Froch comes caveman-brawling in like that, Ward will do what faster boxer-punchers do to slower pressure guys: he’ll slip shots and land big flashy counter shots on his way to a lopsided victory.

I think Froch needs to be who he is. He should box Ward at mid-range, use his jab and slight height advantage to keep Ward from leaping in like he likes to, and his underrated uppercut to make Ward pay for relying too heavily on bends at the waist. I think that’s a fight Froch can and should win. The alternative, though, seems like a sure thing for Ward. That game plan has been done to death. Nothing about Froch makes me think he can cut off the ring and stop someone any better than Bika, Miranda, or Abe. Anyway, take care. – Todd

Froch is going to enter the ring with a sound gameplan. The man is not dumb. He knows he just can’t walk Ward down and win a decision and he’s not going to try and channel Joe Frazier once the bell rings.

Froch boxed primarily from a distance, utilizing his height and reach and lateral movement, in his last two fights, the impressive deicisions over Abraham and Johnson. That style obviously worked for him, so I don’t see why he would opt to be a crazy man against Ward just because a few boxing writers think that’s the way to go for him.

I agree that he has to box Ward, but I also believe that he has to be the busier fighter and take action whenever the bout appears to be slowing down. Ward has a knack for taking control of the tempo of his fights. If Froch can’t prevent Ward from doing that by boxing, he may need to pull out some roughhouse tactics (as he did agaisnt Dirrell) in order to disrupt the American’s rhythm/momentum.  

‘CELEBRITY’ REFS GOTTA GO

Hi Dougie,

As usual I am a long time reader but first time writer, and a huge fan of the mailbags for a number of years!

I thought I would write in and ask you about the recent trend of referees trying to use fights to make a name for themselves as personalities in the sport, and whether or not you think this is detracting from the real action going on in the ring.

I bring this up obviously due to Jo Coopers performance in the ring for the Peterson/Khan fight over the weekend. (Just to state from the beginning, I had Peterson by a couple of points as did most of the British pundits… It seems a common thread that British fight fans love the aggressor, even if he is swinging at thin air for 90% of a fight.)

Now at the start of the fight I heard the ref shout something along the lines of “Bring the Thunder!!!!” and my immediate thought was, “Uh oh… I hope this guy isn’t going to be as bad as Joe Cortez.” As it turns out, my worries were realized and Mr Cooper seemed to be more intent on making a name for himself during the fight than officiating a boxing match. He seemed very intent on not breaking the fighters and allowing Peterson to just stomp into every engagement head first and then screaming at Khan to fight out of it when they were blatently tangled up permanantly. And the points deductions with no warnings were really rather painful to watch. Saying that, I think Khan appears to have lost some of his power – He didnt seem to be driving through his punches with his legs like he used to, and although this means he isnt diving in any more, it also means he lacked the power to stop Peterson in his tracks and the guy just kept coming! Kudos!

Do you think more regulation should be placed on all referees to concentrate on doing their job at a consistent level, rather than allow these guys to promote their own self image with silly catch phrases and detracting from our beautiful sport? Is this only a recent occurrence or did referees in the ‘60s/’70s and ‘80s

On a side note – I dearly want Froch to win this weekend, as a reward to him for fighting more top level fighters in the last 2 years than almost anyone else on the planet. I really hope Ward gets riled and stands in the pocket, trading with Froch’s granite chin and iron fists, because that s__t is only ever gonna end one way! I can see Ward getting inside a lot though and punishing Froch with some roughhouse tactics. Whatever happens it’s going to be a helluva fight. Keep up the good work buddy. — James, UK

Thanks, James. I think you’re right about tomorrow’s fight. I’m not expecting a Fight-of-the-Year candidate but I believe that it will be a hotly contested championship between seasoned, complete fighters. And I think we’ll see a little bit of everythig from both Ward and Froch. We’ll get infighting and stick-and-move tactics.

I don’t think there should be any rules that prevent referees from having catchphrases, but that practice annoys me as well and I think it should be discouraged. (I never understood Cortez’s “Remember, I’m fair but firm” line, anyway. Shouldn’t that go without saying if you’re a referee? That would make me nervous if I were a fighter and he reffed one of my bouts. That’s like a bank teller saying “Remember, I’m not going to steal your money.” Huh?)

You did not see many referees of past decades utter some goofy line just before a fight. I definitely believe the trend is an attention thing that is encouraged by “face time” on TV.  

I think the sport needs regulations on who gets the honor of refereeing world title bouts. Only the most experienced and competent referees should qualify for championship duty. If it’s a high-profile bout like Ward-Froch, the referee better have paid his dues (as Smoger certainly has).

And I believe anyone who referees world-class bouts on a regular basis should have to undergo some kind of yearly testing that goes over the basics and how to approriately deal with fouls, but also includes a physical exam to assess sight, hearing, reflexes and mobility.  

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTS

Hey Dougie.

Gotta say it; all this Mayweather-Pac crap is killing boxing. Every boxer from 135 to 160 has the goal of fighting one of these two whether it is realistic or not. I follow Robert Guererro on Twitter and every other tweet is about fighting Mayweather May 5th. C’mon, seriously? I know Robert has his own “Greatest Hits” segment on HBO but who has he beat? An old Casamayor and Katsidis. He pulls out of his biggest and most challenging fight of his career against Maidana, and he thinks he deserves a shot at Mayweather. And Amir Khan has been talking about fightingMayweather next year to anyone that will listen. I guess those plans have changed. In my mind, despite all that is reported, it’s a guarantee that Pacquaio will be fighting Tim Bradley next. I know it’s a business, and that a fight w/ either May or Pac represents more money than they’ve ever made, I realize that, but it is a sport and you have to earn your right to fight one of these guys.

When I look at the Ring Ratings at 140 lbs I see so many fights that I would love to see at that weight. There isn’t a single guy there I would be interested in seeing against Pac or May. I want to see these fighters against each other; think about it. – Brandon Rios v Guererro @ 140. Peterson v Mattyse Khan v. Bradley Madaina v. Alexander (coming up) Alvarado v Morales or Demarco @140 or any combination of this list I would love to see. These fighters need to take care of business at 140 lbs and stop chasing the May Pac lottery. If these fights took place, each subsequent fight would take on greater significance and create more money within the division. We wouldn’t care (as much) who gets the golden ticket against Pac May; we would care more about who ultimately gains supremacy in the division. At the end the fighter who comes out on top would have earned the right for a big fight w/ May Pac.

Backtracking, a bit, if there is a fighter who deserves a shot at Pac or May it would be Tim Bradley. He has the heart, style, strength, and speed to give either of them trouble. And he’s earned it more than anyone on the list. However, I have to say that Pacquiao and Mayweather need to fight each other. The fans deserve it.

Super Six Finale, I can’t wait to see this. I’m in the minority here, but I’ve seen every match live on TV. In my opinion the winner of Ward-Froch will be the champion at 168. I’m guessing Ring will keep it vacant until the winner fights Bute. I see Ward pulling out a decision in an exciting but at times ugly fight. Ward is one of those guys who will always find a way to win. He’s a guy like B-Hop where you have trouble doing the things you want to do. — Jim, Monona, WI

The winner of Ward-Froch will be THE RING’s 168-pound champ. If Bute wants to be the champ he will have to fight the winner of tomorrow night’s Super Six final. I think he will sometime in 2012.

I also think Bradley will win the Pac-lottery next year and I agree that Desert Storm has the style, talent, experience and mentality to trouble both Pacquiao and Mayweather.  

Regarding the round robin you want to see at 140 pounds, I think it’s already begun. Khan has faced Maidana, Judah and Peterson in the past 12 months. Guerrero and Maidana were scheduled to fight this past summer before The Ghost injured his shoulder. Matthysse fought Alexander this year and was ready to fight Morales before he suffered a training injury. Morales will fight Garcia next month.

Alexander will fight Maidana in February (at welter). Bob Arum brought up the possibility of Rios fighting Alvarado in 2012 during the Cotto-Margarito post-fight press conference, and you and I both know that Peterson only wants to fight the best, so I think the junior welterweight division is headed in the right direction.

 

Doug Fischer can be emailed at dougiefischer@yahoo.com

 

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