Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

 

HELLO 2012

Hi Doug,

Love the Bi-weekly mailbags, thought I’d give it a go and see if I could get a line of your wishes for 2012.

What are you really looking forward to for 2012? Do you have a division you think is going to rule the ratings?

My thinking is that if Brando Rios and Robert Guerrero move up in weight as it’s rumoured, the division to be in could be Light Welter. Peterson, Khan, Maidana, Morales, Garcia and Bradley along with those two just scream ‘Great Match-Ups’ and throw in Marquez (if he doesn’t retire) and it could just be the most exciting division of 2012.

As a Brit I’m obviously hoping Amir comes back 10 fold and think he should stay where he is and try and become the No. 1 in one division before ‘dream’ fights against the wife beater who, let’s face it, will probably think up another ‘reason’ for not fighting Pacman when he gets released. And really how the hell did he manage to keep his belt? Surely that contravenes enough of the WBC’s own rules in itself! Am I the only one who rues the day that Graciano Rocchigianisettled his dispute with them and didn’t just let this corrupt little organisation enter Chapter 7.

As for the Lightweights even if we do lose the top three in the current ratings I still think there are some great fights out there and a chance for Ricky Burns or Kevin Mitchell and Antonio DeMarco to really shine. At Light-Middleweight I’d love to see Alvarez and Cotto get it on, and at Bantamweight Moreno and Mares would be a cracker.

As you may have noticed I’ve picked a few No.1’s and No. 2’s of the divisions as my main wish for 2012 is for The Ring Champion boxes to be filled in and ‘Vacant’ not to be the Champion of so many divisions! Here’s to hoping! — Chris McCandlish

I guarantee you that there will be less RING title vacancies by the end of 2012 than there are now. The magazine’s cruiserweight title will be filled by the winner of the Yoan Pablo Hernandez-Steve Cunningham rematch on Feb. 4.

If a Moreno-Mares fight is made, you better believe THE RING bantamweight title will be up for grabs.

Which division will be the hottest in 2012? That’s a good question. I think you’re correct in selecting the junior welterweight class, even though Bradley (who will most likely win the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes), Maidana and Alexander are all headed to welterweight this year. Peterson, Khan, Morales, Matthysse, Garcia, Mike Alvarado, and a number of non-RING-rated standouts, such as veteran Humberto Soto, and young guns Jessie Vargas, Josesito Lopez and Vernon Paris, make the 140-pound division the most stacked with talent and potential good matchups. If Rios and Guerrero join the junior welter party (there’s no guarantee that either will), that’s just gravy for us fans.

Junior middleweight has promise if the James Kirkland-Carlos Molina winner actually faces Vanes Martirosyan (as per the WBC’s “semi”-title elimination stipulations) and then the winner of that fight gets a mandatory shot at Saul Alvarez. It will be interesting to see how Alfredo Angulo bounces back and if Erislandy Lara can land a title shot. I wouldn’t mind watching the Cuban standout challenge one of the underrated beltholders of the division, such as Austin Trout or Cornelius Budradge. I’d also like to see Delvin Rodriguez get a title shot or a significant bout on HBO or Showtime.

I also believe that light heavyweight has potential. It’s got the aggressive young contenders with WBO boss Nathan Cleverly, IBF beltholder Tavoris Cloud, WBA titleholder Beibut Shumenov, and former champ Jean Pascal; the skilled veterans with RING champ B-Hop, Chad Dawson and Zsolt Erdei; and one scary ass darkhorse in my man Ismayl Sillakh (watch out for this Ukrainian brotha, he’s taking no prisoners in 2012). With a little luck, one of the super middleweight stars – Ward, Froch, Bute or Kessler – will test the waters at 175 pounds this year.

Beyond good matchups in boxing’s deepest divisions, the main thing I’m looking forward to in 2012 is for the sport to get over its Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather obsession. If the fight happens this year, well then, halle-f__king-lujah. Boxing fans around the world can form a giant daisy chain and jerk each other off until Michael Buffer hollers “Let’s get ready to rumble!” with Floyd and Manny in the ring. But if the super-mega-ultra-uber fight does not happen this year, my most sincere wish if for everyone to DROP THE F__KING subject. I cannot begin to express how so sick I am of Mayweather and Pacquiao fans holding every internet boxing forum, message board and comments page hostage with their ignorant, racist ramblings. I’m tired of the pointless debate. I’m tired of sharing the boxing world with small-minded nut huggers pretending to be real fans. If Pacquiao-Mayweather doesn’t happen in 2012, I want the fight to go away forever and I want their most mindless fans to disappear with it.

Sorry for the rant, Chris. Thanks for all of your kind words. And for the record, the mailbag is a TWICE-weekly column (at least 40 of the 52 weeks of the year), not bi-weekly.

GOODBYE 2011

Doug,
Now that boxing is done for 2011, the debate can begin for Fight of the Year. Chances are the Ortiz-Berto fight will undeservedly win the award. The fight was entertaining, but it was very sloppy considering both fighters, especially Berto, who looked out of form. 2011 was a year chock full of controversy: Mayweather-Pacquiao didn’t come to fruition, De La Hoya admits his drug problems and the infamous drag pictures, the Mayweather-Ortiz drama, Larry Merchant vs Mayweather, the Marquez-Pacquiao III debacle, the Hopkins-Dawson fiasco, and the Peterson-Khan finish. It would be fitting to award the Fight of the Year to the actual best fight of 2011 which was the Ana Maria Torres v Jackie Nava fight in July. What better way to inspire the male fighters for 2012 by acknowledging two females did it better than any two men?

Moving on… just finished watching Andre Ward’s masterful performance, and I can’t help but comment on the scoring of two judges whom had it 115-113. Where do they get these guys?! What were they watching?! There is no way Froch won more than two rounds. Being one who believes Marquez beat Pacquiao, I believe it is time for boxing to take a different approach to appointing judges. I don’t know what the required credentials are needed to be a judge, but what if people who are actually involved in the sport become judges? Former boxers, trainers, referees, and journalists would seem to be the ideal candidates. How great would it be to see Mills Lane, Bert Sugar, Angelo Dundee, and Larry Holmes scoring a fight? Also, I think it should be more than three judges. There should be ten judges ringside scoring championship fights. It should take the lead of Olympic gymnastics and diving which reaches a more general consensus and cuts down on the controversy. I know these ideas are radical, and have some negatives in there own, but what do you think Doug? Thanks. – Roger

Nothing wrong with radical ideas, Roger, they just need to be rooted in some logic. I’m not convinced that more judges equals better judging. In fact, less is probably more in this instance.

I have no problem with the referee scoring certain prize fights (the way some non-world title bouts are determined on British soil). All that matters to me is how good of a judge the ref is. Boxing’s problem isn’t that there aren’t enough judges; it’s that there aren’t enough good ones.

The three-judge system works fine when we have quality officials in place.

What boxing needs are strict standards for officials who are assigned the highest-profile bouts, especially fights that have one or more major titles on the line (as the Ward-Froch and Khan-Peterson fights did). Whoever refs or judges those bouts should be the most experienced officials with the best track records. It’s as simple as that.

I like the idea of having celebrity boxing hall-of-famers scoring big fights, but I’m not sure Mills Lane, Bert Sugar, Angelo Dundee, and Larry Holmes would do much better than the usual suspects, Patricia Morse Jarman, Glen Trowbridge, Glen Hamada and Duane Ford.

Just because someone is a great referee or writer or trainer or fighter doesn’t mean that he will make a great judge.

Regarding the Fight of the Year, unless fans are treated to a truly great high-profile showdown as we were in 2000 (Barrera-Morales I), 2002 (Gatti-Ward I), 2005 (Corrales-Castillo I), and 2008 (Vazquez-Marquez III), there’s going to be a lot of debate as to which bout was the most exciting of the year.

Most years we have a handful of gems and the best of the bunch boils down to what each fans prefers in a good scrap – sustained two-way action, ebbs and flow, multiple knockdowns, blood and guts, miraculous comebacks, etc.

This is one of those years. Berto-Ortiz I was as good as it gets for six rounds, but I agree that a lot of the exchanges were sloppy and I also think the action tapered off in the late rounds. The best fight that I saw live in 2011 didn’t even make most “honorable mention lists” – Marcos Maidana-Erik Morales. I loved this fight, and not just because of the action. The DRAMA of the bout made it unforgettable in my opinion. Who “El Terrible” is and what he means to boxing, the awful condition of his eye after the first round, and the fact that he was completely counted out, had as much to do with the compelling nature of this fight as the back-and-forth action for 12 rounds.

ORTIZ-BERTO II

Hey Dougie,

How’s it going? Happy New Year to you. I am a big fan of your work and have emailed you a handful of times over the years. You even put one in the Monday morning mailbag!!!! Thanks, that was a big thrill for me.

I am writing you because I have been a boxing fan for over 25 years and have never been to a big Vegas fight!!!! I live in the Bay Area and have been too many local shows featuring Andre Ward and even the card I met you at: Kirkland-Julio/Ortiz-Arnaoutis in San Jose, Calif. Due to lack of funds or waiting for the right fight to go to it has just never happened. Well the time has come and I am going to Berto-Ortiz II on February 11th (my birthday) in Vegas. I am so excited to take in the whole event. Can you give me any tips as to attending any of the activities such as the weigh in or where to hang out? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. You going out for this one? If so maybe we can grab a drink. Keep up the good work. Take care. – Alex

I will be there (God willing), Alex. I’m looking forward to covering this bout. (In fact, I should probably make my flight and hotel arrangements this week.) And I’ll drink anything as long as it has alcohol in it, but I’m partial to a room-temperature pint of Guinness.

Advice? Just enjoy yourself, buddy. Try to get in town by Wednesday or Thursday morning, if work or school or wife permits. You can bump into pro fighters on the card (and those who are just in to watch the show) before and after the final press conference, which usually takes place around noon on Thursday. The weighins for these big fights are always open to the public. It will be interesting to see if this one can attract more than a 1,000 fans. In recent years, only Pacquiao, Hatton and Mayweather bouts have attracted big numbers to the MGM Grand’s Garden Arena for a weighin.

If you’re a night owl, hang out by the Rouge Lounge or the Zuri bar, which is near the lobby (and the main elevators) into the wee hours. You’ll see a lot of boxing people in and around those drinking holes (and most are pretty friendly one they’re drunk).

I hope to see you there, Alex. Don’t be a stranger if you see me.

ON THE CUSP

Hey Dougie,

Why did you get rid of all the crazy inflated typos on the records for the honourable mentions in the On The Cusp story on prospects to watch in 2012? That was the best part of the original article. Seriously though, I enjoyed the article and know the typos aren’t your fault.

I’m hoping Rosenthal doesn’t pull another Omar Narvaez non-effort (i.e., triple spaced, size 22 font and half the regular number of features) with the 3rd issue of the magazine under his watch.

The Ring Mag is like a hotly antcipated PPV or Championship fight, the loyal readership expects world-class writing, production and effort from the staff.

Like I said I know it’s not you but I sincerely hope things get ironed out.

Peace. – Adam, Whitby Canada

I know it sounds like I’m making excuses, but I swear on the Bible, Qur’an, Torah, Dhammapada, Mahabharata, Guru Granth Sahib, Toa Te Ching, and The Boxing Register (the official record book of the IBHOF) that Rosenthal is not at fault for the weird-ass size and font of the January issue. But the growing pains of taking over the magazine are pretty much over for Mighty Mike. You’ll find that the February (90th anniversary) issue has more quality content without typos or strange point sizes, and I guarantee that you’ll think the March issue (with Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on the cover) is off the damn chain. I’ll go ahead and give the March issue, which we just put to bed, the “Dougie stamp of approval.”

Please let me know what you think when you read it, and thank you for the kind words and the criticism. Both are appreciated.

 

Doug Fischer can be emaield at dougiefischer@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer

Around the web