A HISTORIC BROADCAST
Say what you want about HBO, but they put on a good boxing show. That’s not to say there is nothing to criticize, but good to have the boxing season fully started, and it’s not the same without our friends at the big network.
First, Jim Lampley’s glasses. I probably could have devoted the entire e-mail to my thoughts on this topic, but I will move on to something Manny Stewards said that stuck with me. Specifically, it does feel like an awful lot of attention being given to fighter’s lady friends these days. Which, for example in Carl Froch’s case, is nothing to complain about. But what’s your take on Mrs. Donaire? If she is anything like the old Mrs. Mosley, the Filipino Flash is in trouble.
And speaking of people of the female persuasion, finally – it happened! – an actual shot of the ring card girl. I certainly have high expectations for Mr. Hershman going forward, but if he were to retire tomorrow, Ken will still be remembered with fondness.
Oh yeah – the fights. I would loved to have seen Nonito Donaire throw more body shots and change it up more, instead of loading up on almost every punch. However, I thought overall he fought a great fight. Total control and domination.
As for Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., what can we say? First, I don’t know about these out-of-shape rumors, but I would pay a lot of money to be as “out of shape” as he is. Maybe he is way better than people give him credit for – and if he stops messing around and gets serious, perhaps he could even be great. But of course he won’t.
Oh yeah – something something superbowl something… – B., NYC
Super Bowl? Did that happen this weekend? Who won?
Thank you for not going on about Lamply’s glasses. That’s what Twitter is for. (Actually, I liked the frames.)
I think way too much is made of the significant others of high-profile boxers, however, if the fighter’s wife is his manager of record she has to expect a degree of spotlight and the scrutiny that comes with it.
What’s my take on Mrs. Donaire? Well, I’ve met Jin Mosley and I’ve met Rachel, and I can tell you that Rachel is no Jin. I think the Filipino Flash is in good hands.
You’ve never seen a ring card girl on HBO? You need to pay more attention.
I know you were focused on the fights because I agree that Donaire needed to settle down a bit and could have probably scored the knockout he was looking for had he invested more to the body.
Having said that, Donaire has always been something of a “pot-shot” specialist. He likes to load up with single punches and between those monster shots he does a lot of what our good friend Manny Steward might call “shuckin’ and jivin’.”
The only time he realy put punches together was when Vazquez pressed him to the ropes in the late rounds. Maybe his hurt hand had something to do with it, or maybe he’s one of those ultra-talented fighters who is never able to consistently put it all together in the ring.
Still, even at what seemed like 70 percent of his ability, he took care of biz against a very solid former beltholder in his 122-pound debut.
I think Chavez Jr. is a better fighter than most give him credit for, but he’s not doing himself any favors with DUI arrests or by barely making 160 pounds and then coming in 21 pounds over the weight limit by fight time or by skipping out on post-fight drug tests. This type of behavior only serves as fodder for his many critics.
I am not one of his critics (even though I believe he’s rated too high in THE RING’s middleweight rankings – but that’s on us, not him). I see Junior for what he is: a big, rugged-but-flawed middleweight who makes for good fights against fringe contenders and lower top-10-rated 160 pounders.
These two fights Saturday night were supposed to answer a lot of questions.
I’m with the group that thinks Rubio was the appropriate step up for Junior. I would not have been shocked if there was an upset. However, I did think Junior would pull it off. He did good enough to make me think he is good enough to be in the next tier of the talent pool. But just when I thought he was taking his training serious and was developing genuine boxing skills, I hear about his DUI and weight troubles. I think he has the real talent to do very well but I again question whether he has real desire to be great. So I have three questions:
1. Do you feel at this point that Juniorr is climbing up the ladder or has he leveled off?
2. This is the eternal question about Junior (you don’t have to answer) will he ever be truly great?
3. Can we stop talking about a Martinez vs Junior fight for now? Junior hasn’t earned a shot at THE champ yet.
Sorry if this is getting too long.
Nonito Donaire left me with many unanswered question that perhaps you can answer:
1. Can he be great moving up? He beat a top ten guy, but didn’t look spectacular. Is it because…
2. Vazquez is a good fighter or …
3. His power didnt carry up or…
4. He hurt his hand.
5. Am I being too critical? Like the HBO staff, as a fan, I really wanna see another spectacular knockout.
I don’t know what to make of this performance. He beat a top ten guy, but against the top two guys will he be able to hurt them, will he be hurt by them? I know Vazquez landed more in the middle rounds but he marked up Nonito early with nearly nothing. I don’t mind seeing him continue on in the 122-pound division but Yuriorkis Gamboa is completely out of the picture for now. My gut tells me he should stay at bantamweight and be one of the best ever in that division. Donaire vs Mares sounds awesome. – Boxing Fan
At the risk of being called a “Golden Boy shill,” I would have preferred that Donaire stay at 118 pounds and clean out the bantamweight division (if he could) before jumping to junior featherweight. Donaire vs. Mares would be the war you expect. Donaire vs. Anselmo Moreno would be a super-intense boxing match.
But he’s a 122-pound beltholder now, so I’ll answer your questions from his junior featherweight debut:
1. I think he can be great moving up, but he has to win the right fights and based on his performance against Vazquez there will be many fans and boxing media who pick Toshiaki Nishioka and Guillermo Rigondeaux to beat Donaire if those bouts are ever made.
2. Vazquez is a good fighter.
3. It’s hard to say if Nonito’s power didn’t carry up. He wasn’t able to land a clean shot directly to the chin or temple area because of Vazquez’s technique, plus he had the hand trouble.
4. I’m sure the busted left hand had something to do with Donaire’s lack of power and combination punching.
5. You’re not being too critical, you’re just being a hardcore fan.
But be patient. I think your questions will be answered if and when Donaire takes on Nishioka or Rigondeaux.
OK, onto your three questions about Junior:
1. I think he’s leveled off of the time being. He didn’t beat Rubio with any new skill or technique. He beat the veteran by being the bigger man by 10 pounds, fighting the pressure-style he grew up emulating from his oldman, and by being able to take a good shot. However, if he decides to get his act together and train like a pro while staying away from the booze, I’m sure he’ll improve in every facet of his game.
2. No, I don’t think he’ll ever be “great.”
3. Yes, I am more than happy to stop all talk of that ridiculous mismatch. Honestly, I think Chavez would have his hands full with most of the middleweights who are rated under him in THE RING’s rankings. I think Dmitry Pirog (No. 7) would beat him. I think Gennady Golovkin (No. 10) would put him in the hospital.
Long time, no write. Random comments:
Vazquez fought well, but talent disparity and difference in speed were too much to overcome. It was probably a moral victory to lose by split decision and may have provided a semi-blueprint to fighting Nonito. I would favor Gamboa in a future clash with Nonito.
Chavez Jr should fight somebody like Pavlik next, he’s not ready for Martinez.
If Cotto beats Mayweather (and that will be very difficult/unlikely), do you think he eclipses Tito Trinidad in boxing accomplishments (not in PR following, but in HOF credentials)? — Christian Formby, San Juan, PR
That’s a damn good question. I’m not sure Cotto would eclipse Tito’s accomplishments with a vicotry over Mayweather. If it’s a decisive victory I think he’ll probably equal Trinidad in terms of hall-of-fame credentials.
Don’t forget, Trinidad defended his IBF welterweight title 15 times, which included decisions over Pernell Whitaker and Oscar De La Hoya (although it was a controversial win over the Golden Boy). His run at 154-pounds was brief, but his brutal victories over David Reid and Fernando Vargas were very impressive.
Tito beat three Olympic gold medalists (Sweet Pea, TGB and Reid), plus an additioanl U.S. Olympian (El Feroz) in the span of two years and still managed to fit in two mandatory title demolitions of Hugo Pineda and Mamadou Thiam.
Trinidad fought 15 titleholders. So has Cotto. Mayweather will be his 16th. I think Tito fought more hall-of-fame bound fighters. But if Cotto beats Mayweather , I think he’s definitely in the top three or four mix of all-time great Puerto Rican fighters.
I think Chavez vs. Pavlik looks like a damn good fight. It would be a throwback scrap, and I’m talking about all the way back to Harry Greb vs. Mickey Walker because after the fight they would probably get into it again outside of a club as legend has it the two 1920s icons did.
I agree that Vazquez fought well, proved a lot people who thought he was going to get KO’d wrong (myself included), and definitely scored a moral victory (although the judge who scored the fight for him probably does more drugs than Chavez Sr. did during the ‘90s) . I think Vazquez’s stature in the division raised a little bit with his strong showing.
GOOD START TO 2012
I’ve been following your column for quite sometime now. I don’t agree w/ you all the time but I respect your point of view, and it’s always nice to hear opinions especially coming from someone who has as much knowledge about boxing as much as you do.
Well I really enjoyed this weekend of boxing. It was an impressive win for Donaire despite of the fact that he broke his left hand earlier in the fight. I just don’t like his showboating. I believe he is at his best when he is keeping his left jab busy. He is already great but I think he still has room for improvement. I’m just wondering what fight did Judge Garcia watch to have scored it 115-113 for Vasquez? Guys like him are bad for boxing. I’m already excited now to see Donaire against Jorge Arce. If that fight happens next who do you think will prevail?
And Chavez Jr. vs Rubio really exceeded my expectations. It was a great fight for fans who love to watch a give and take type of bout. Rubio has nothing to be ashamed about. What do you think is next for Junior? He seems to have some issues regarding his weight. If he moves up to 168 lbs,who do you think are the logical opponents for him? I don’t think he is ready for Martinez yet….
And lastly what are you thoughts about Floyd vs Cotto? I believe this is going to be a very intriguing match. Do you think there is a chance of Cotto hurting Floyd? Cotto is a decent boxer and he also has power, and w/ Emanuel Steward on his side this is going to be a real test for Money….we’ll good start for 2012 isn’t it?….keep up the good work and God Bless. – Jayson Belda, Philipppines
I’m positive that the first half of 2012 will be a very good one, Jayson.
I think there’s a good chance that Cotto, who is not only heavy handed, but a good counter puncher, will hurt Mayweather at some point during their fight. I think Mayweather will do the same to Cotto, which is why I’m looking forward to this one. One note, Steward was replaced by Pedro Luis Diaz before the Antonio Margarito rematch. I think Cuban added to the technical improvements Steward instilled in Cotto during the two training camps they had.
What’s next for Chavez? Well, he dropped the names of Sergio Martinez, Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto during his post-fight interview on HBO. By simple process of elimination I’d have to put my money on Chavez-Margarito.
Martinez has the ability to not only beat Chavez, but ruin the kid. Plus, he’s got a promoter and Bob Arum doesn’t care much for co-promotions these days (unless he knows for sure that the opponent will serve as a stepping stone for his fighter). So THE RING middleweight champ is out. Cotto, who is a free agent, just signed to fight Mayweather in May (rather than Manny Pacquiao in June). I’m not saying that Arum is pissed at Cotto for doing business with Mayweather and GBP, but the hall of fame trainer is probably more inclined to put a loyal Top Rank soldier in with his “other” cash cow. That man is Margarito, who will help Chavez sell tickets in any city with a big Mexican population (the fight is a natural for Staples in L.A., the Alamodome in San Antonio or even Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas).
Plus, Margarito, who can probably still make 147 pounds, is too light in the ass the really threaten Junior, but his experience and tenacity will make for an entertaining fight.
The same thing can be said about Arce if the veteran is next for Donaire (and I’m sure that he is). However, I’m sure more than a few fans and fight scribes will give Arce a shot to beat Donaire based on their respective performances against Vazquez. I am not one of them. Provided his left hand has properly healed by the time they fight, I see Donaire dominating Travieso.
LEGACY ENHANCING FIGHT?
Since the day Mayweather-Cotto was announced, I’ve been involved in a chat room debate that has turned pretty nasty on whether beating Cotto enhances Mayweather’s legacy or not. Its my opinion that it does, if only slightly. Obviously, it won’t be the same as if he had beaten Cotto say six months after he fought Ricky Hatton (which BTW is when the fight should have happen.). But IMO, moving up and beating the #1 jr middleweight in the world has to help the man’s legacy.
When formuating your response, keep in mind that these guys are being critical of my stance partly because I’ve never been high on Cotto as a fighter. They’re saying that if I never thought Cotto was good, how can it enhance the legacy of the best fighter in the world in my mind. My answer is simple, those, like yourself, who’s opinion actually matters, have rated Cotto much higher over the years than me. And it is my stance that as a fan, I always defer to media and experts and based relevance of a fight on ya’lls opinions, not my own. Does that make any sense to you bro? – Kevin
Yeah, but you’re probably giving us “media guys” too much credit. Anyway, you’re right that I’ve thought highly of Cotto for many years. I still do. It takes a lot to get me to travel beyond the West Coast, but I’ve hopped on a plane to cover Cotto in Puerto Rico, Atlantic City and, of course, NYC, many times over the years.
And I absolutely believe that an impressive victory over the Puerto Rican star will enhance Mayweather’s legacy. For starters, Cotto is very accomplished. He was a 2000 Olympian (the Games that followed Mayweather’s 1996 Olympic appearance). He’s fought 15 titleholders, including Pacquiao, Mosley, Margarito (twice), Zab Judah, Carlos Quintana and Paul Malignaggi.
He’s won four major belts in three weight classes, and he’s got a darn good record (6-0) when it comes to fighting undefeated opponents.
I agree that Mayweather should have fought the then-undefeated Cotto at welterweight sometime during the first half of 2008, but there are some aspects of the 2012 matchup that might add more of a challenge to the undefeated American.
For starters, the fight is as 154 pounds, which I think suits Cotto. I also believe his current trainer is a better fit for this fight than his original training (uncle Evangelista Cotto). He was squared up with very little head movement under his uncle’s guidence, which would have played into Mayweather’s laser-straight punches and uppercuts.
Cotto has also won three consecutive bouts, all of which have helped him recover psychologically from his brutal setbacks against Margarito and Pacquiao. In a nutshell, I think Cotto’s in a good place. He’s going to enter this fight in prime condition and with a lot of confidence. So if Mayweather beats him, it means something in my opinion.
You know me, I’m supposed to be this big f___ing Mayweather hater, but if he smokes Cotto, you will read nothing but high praise for his performance from Your Truly.
DONAIRE IS OVERRATED
I still don’t see why this guy is in p4p lists. He has beaten 2 guys in spectacular fashion (Darchynian & Montiel) and a bunch of guys that went from fly to bantam.
He can’t pull the trigger effectively against guys tthat have a defense and a jab, even though one of them was 36, was a flyweight and looked like he was in elementary school.
I specially can’t see why he is ranked above Marquez or Ward who are more than proven, beating guys that are on the same level or giving hell to them (like Marquez against the p4p). – Eduardo
I think an argument can be made that JMM should be rated above Donaire (and the Mexican legend is on my personal P4P list), however, the Filipino Flash’s KOs of Darchinyan (at 122 pounds) and Montiel (at 118) trump any of Ward’s victories so far in my opinion.
Both Darchinyan (who was the No. 1-rated flyweight and undefeated) and Montiel (a three-division beltholder who was No. 1 at bantamweight and held two major titles) were rated in everyone’s P4P top 10 at the time that Donaire iced them.
I think it’s fine to criticise his other recent victories and diss the age of Omar Narvaez or the boyish looks of Tyson Marquez, but Narvaez is THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior bantie and Marquez, who had a terrific 2011, is the mag’s No. 1-rated flyweight. So, it’s not like Donaire is fighting journeymen.
The fact that you believe he should be demoted because he didn’t kill a solid 122-pound contender like Vazquez in his junior featherweight debut only suggests that he has very high expectations, and his marvelous past performances are the reason for those high expectations.
Does it seem like Nonito struggles to deal with the jab to you?
I know he dominated Vazquez but his face got pretty banged up. – Gopal
Donaire certainly struggled with Vazquez’s jab, but I wonder if his injured left fist prevented him from getting off with his own jab.
Any fighter who doesn’t make use of his jab will be troubled by an opponent who does.
Email Doug Fischer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer