DON’T ANNOUNCE FIGHT OF THE YEAR YET!
Can you guys wait until the year is over before making your ‘best of the year’ lists? Man, I loved that Adrian Hernandez-Kompayak Porpramook fight last week. (Did the lower weight divisions have an awesome year or what?). That and Takashi Uchiyama’s KO of Jorge Solis both deserve to be on their respective ‘best of’ lists, but may now go overlooked by many who would have enjoyed them. Have a Happy New Year! — Carl, Orlando, Fla.
Happy New Year to you too, Carl, and to everyone everywhere who is reading the first Monday mailbag of 2012.
Uchiyama’s 11th-round knockout of Solis is one cold-MF’n KO – the kind that forces referees to wave the fight off without a count and prompts fans and media to hope that the dude who got stretched retires (or at least takes a long break for the sport).
Porpramook’s WBC 108-pound title-winning TKO of Hernandez was indeed a damn good fight. It kind of reminded me of Akira Yaegashi-Pornsawan Porpramook – a tall, rangy, mobile boxer-puncher (Hernandez) vs. a strong, stocky stalking slugger (Porpramook) – only the Thai guy won by 10th-round TKO instead of getting stopped in that round. Kompayak has better technique than Pornsawan, and Yaegashi is more talented than Hernandez, but both fights delivered world-class competition and action.
It would have been nice to include Uchiyama-Solis among the KO of the Year candidates for the readers’ choice poll and Hernandez-Porpramook among the Fight of the Year candidates (although, personally, I think it fell just short of this year’s strong field), but those year-end awards are best served up during the final week of the year, which is typically very slow.
I want to be done with the year-end awards by the time the first week of January rolls around, because I’m ready to talk and write about the fights that are coming up; 2011 is over. Besides, if those bouts were included in the polls it would probably piss you off to see them barely receive any votes. (Hell, Yaegashi-Pornsawan didn’t even get 2% of the Fight of the Year votes.)
However, I should note that the winners of RingTV.com readers’ choice polls are not THE RING’s official year-end award recipients for 2011, which won’t be announced until the April issue of the magazine (which isn’t as long away as it sounds – the March issue, which looks great, just got put to bed this weekend). So I’m sure Uchiyama’s KO of Solis and Hernandez-Porpramook will at least get a mention in the mag.
Happy New Year!
I was lucky enough to see the Uchiyama vs Solis fight live in Yokohama on the eve. It’s a shame that this bout happened after the RingTV.com readers’ polls because I’m pretty sure this had to be KTFO of the year (well, maybe not. Donaire’s hook was also something to behold. But Montiel got up, so… ). Apparently, due to having surgery on his right hand, Uchiyama trained only with his left for about 6 months this year. Post fight, he said that that left hook was the punch he intended to win with. For the prior 10 rounds he was landing heavy jabs and some hellacious right hands as well. I have to give Solis serious props for taking some of the shots that he did and holding on but man, that left was evil!
I think Uchiyama is world class and would like to see him fight outside of Japan like Nishioka. Who would you like to see him meet next?
Also, Celestino Caballero did not look very good against Satoshi Hosono. Despite having such a huge height and reach advantage, I think he was pretty frustrated by Hosono’s pressure and let him get inside much too often. I feel like he and Paul Williams don’t put their gifts to good use when they decide to mix it up with smaller guys. But at least Caballero got to keep his belt. Sometimes it’s hard to do that in Japan against Japanese fighters. – Benjamin, Tokyo
I’m happy for Caballero (and his trainer, Jeff Mayweather), who should get back into THE RING’s rankings with this victory (Hosono was rated No. 10 at featherweight).
Uchiyama’s KO was definitely a worthy KO of the Year candidate, but it wasn’t going to beat Donaire’s blasting of Montiel. Nonito’s TKO was against a respected dual titleholder on HBO, and let’s face it, the Filipino Flash is more popular than Uchiyama. Polls are often just popularity contests (which is why Freddie Roach almost won Trainer of the Year).
A note on Uchiyama: I asked Charlie Ota (a Japan-based American fighter who served as a sparring partner for Saul Alvarez prior to the Alfonso Gomez bout) who he thought was the best active Japanese boxer. I thought Ota, the OPBF 154-pound champ whose real last name is Bellamy, would say Toshiaki Nishioka. He said “Uchiyama” without hesitation.
The WBA 130-pound beltholder is definitely world class. He’s appreciated at home and is beginning to get more recognition outside of Japan. The “dream” fights for him are obviously title unification bouts against former foe JC Salgado, countryman Takahiro Aoh or the Broner-Perez winner, but we know those fights won’t happen. So I’m looking forward to Uchiyama defending his belt against top WBA contenders such as Diego Magdaleno and Roman Martinez.
HOW WILL THEY PLAY OUT?
Seriously dig reading your mailbags and thought it was about time that I dropped you an email.
How do you see the Marcos Maidana-Devon Alexander fight going? I think Maidana’s going to hunt him down, hurt him a lot and put him away in the latter part of the fight.
With Marco Huck moving to heavyweight what are the chances that The Ring belt (the only one that counts) is on the line for the winner of the Yoan Pablo Hernandez-Steve Cunningham rematch?
What do you think of Rakhim Chakhiev? He looks like he could do some serious damage at cruiserweight. I love his alias “The Machine.” He fights like a machine.
How do you see these fights playing out if they ever happen?
(1) Brandon Rios vs Maidana (at Jnr. Welter) – can’t see how this would be anything but a total war.
(2) Kell Brook vs Amir Khan (at Welter) – I think Brook has a real chance against Khan.
(3) James Kirkland vs Victor Ortiz (at Jnr Middle) – Another fight that simply can’t be boring
(4) Tyson Fury vs David Price – I think Price has really good straight punches with good power and could give Fury all manner of problems.
(5) Gennady Golovkin vs Felix Sturm – I think Golovkin chops up Sturm
Keep up the good work Dougie. Cheers. – Steve, Cape Town, South Africa
Thanks for writing and for the kind words, Steve.
I think the Alexander-Maidana fight will go a lot like the Alexander-Matthysse fight only Alexander will get his shots off better for two reasons: he’ll be fighting at a more comfortable weight (147 pounds instead of 140) and because Maidana’s technique is not as tight at Matthysse’s. However, this fight will be scheduled for 12 rounds, unlike the Matthysse fight, which was a 10-round bout, so the relentless Argentine slugger will have more time to wear Alexander down and heap punishment on the former 140-pound beltholder in the late rounds.
Having said that, the fight is in Alexander’s hometown of St. Louis, where he’s received the strong benefit of the doubt on the official scorecards against Matthysse and Andreas Kotelnik (both of whom I thought beat the Missourian).
I’ll put it this way, if Maidana wants to win this fight he better take the judges out of the equation.
I think there is a very good chance that the Hernandez-Cunningham rematch, set for Feb. 4, could be fought for the vacant RING cruiserweight title. It’s going to be discussed with the Editor-In-Chief Michael Rosenthal and THE RING Ratings Panel. We’ll also reach out to Huck, who is scheduled to challenge WBA heavyweight beltholder Alexander Povetkin on Feb. 25, and see if he has any desire to return to cruiserweight (win or lose) after the fight.
I like Chakhiev. I called one of his fights (his third-round TKO of Harvey Jolly on the international broadcast of the Morales-Maidana card). He’s fun to watch. If I managed him I would have him only walk-out to Eric B. & Rakim (because I’m weird like that).
Here’s how I see these fun matchups:
1) Rios wins a brutal war of attrition by late TKO or narrowly on points.
2) Brook-Khan is a toss-up fight in my opinion, but if I have to pick a winner, I’ll go with Brook on points until Khan proves himself at 147 pounds.
3) Kirkland-Ortiz would be fun while it lasted but I’ve got to go with the bigger man(dingo) in this shootout. I wouldn’t be shocked if Kirkland had to get off the canvas to stop Ortiz.
4) I like Price by decision in a good, competitive heavyweight fight.
5) Superman stops the Sturminator before the 10th round.
How you doing Doug? I have a few end of year ponderings that don’t necessarily relate to the boxing’s current biggest stories but I’d be interested in your opinion on them nonetheless:
1. I have a little 112lb dream! The WBA’s Flyweight and Junior-Flyweight Champions, Hernan ‘Tyson’ Marquez and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, are two guys I would love to see go head to head. Obviously, Gonzalez would have to move up and Marquez hasn’t fought the level of quality Gonzalez has but nonetheless I think it would make for a really explosive, action packed fight, with massive KO potential!
How do you see that fight and also who would you like to mix if you had your choice between all the top 108 and 112 lbers?
2. At Junior-Featherweight in 2012 I see the big players being Donaire, Nishioka, Rigondeaux, Ramos and Vazquez, jr. – We’ve already got 4 out of the 5 squaring off against each other. Who do you think will win those two fights and do you see either of the winners taking on Nishioka?
3. And finally, the three best Lightweight boxers in the world in my opinion are JuanMa Marquez, Brandon Rios and Robert Guerrero – however it seems that none have the desire to campaign at the weight anymore. How do you see the division developing and eventually looking throughout 2012?
Keep up the superb work, I’m a massive fan of the site –and bring on 2012! – Callum, England
Hell yeah, bring it on! Thanks for the very hardcore fan questions, which I will address in order:
1) Marquez-Gonzalez would be a hell of a fight at 112 pounds. Tyson, who has fought at 115 pounds, has a good chance to overpower the naturally smaller Nicaraguan, but I’m going with Chocolatito by decision if that fight is ever made. I think he’s the superior boxer and technician, and he hits hard enough to get respect, even at 112 pounds.
If I could mix and match the best 108 and 112 pounders, I’d make Marquez vs. Brian Viloria at 112, and I’d have Gonzalez stay at junior flyweight to defend his title against one of Japan’s talented 105-pound beltholders, Kazuto Ioka or Yaegashi.
2) I like Rigondeaux by surprisingly competitive unanimous decision and Donaire by late stoppage in their upcoming 122-pound title showdowns. I don’t think either will land a fight with Nishioka. (Although Bob Arum talked about making Nishioka-Donaire after Toshi beat Rafa Marquez, so ya never know, but I think if the Japanese veteran wants a high-profile bout he’ll pursue a rematch with Jhonny Gonzalez at 126 pounds).
3) Rios will try to stay at 135 for at least one more bout, maybe against Yuriorkis Gamboa. JMM will probably never fight at lightweight again, and I don’t see The Ghost doing so, either, which is sad because I think he could take over the division. Once Rios leaves, a new star will be needed at 135 pounds, and I think it will be the winner of the rematch that has to happen between Antonio DeMarco and Jorge Linares. IBF beltholder Miguel Vazquez can beat any 135 pounder on a good night, but he’s not much fun to watch. The UK trio of Ricky Burns, Kevin Mitchell and John Murray add a lot of fun to the division. We’ll see if John Molina, Luis Ramos (who has a tough ShoBox debut against Rey Beltran on Friday), Darley Perez and Sharif Bogere can work their way to title contention by the end of 2012.
‘MARGACHEATO’ MEET ‘WIFEYBEATO’
That it does, but don’t expect U. S. boxing writers – who will NEVER lose their collective hardons for Margarito – to give Money too much s__t for his sins. At least not until a fight with Manny Pacquiao is made. And if Mayweather wins that dream showdown you better believe that all will be forgiven.
Doug Fischer can be emailed at email@example.com. Follow him on Twiiter @dougiefischer