Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

MARTINEZ CARVES OUT A LEGACY

Wasup dude? Can’t say anything bad about Sergio Martinez’ performance. You know I have been critical of Larry Merchant in the past and again I have to say that I thought he was off base by intimating that Martinez wasn’t living up to his P4P ranking by not getting rid of Matthew Macklin sooner. Dude, everybody isn’t freakin Arturo Gatti!! (RIP)

I thought that Martinez took his time, figured this dude out and then ended him. Just what a real boxer is supposed to do. Sorry Doug, I know you have mad respect for the old curmudgeon but I’m looking forward to the day he retires. I guess we can agree to disagree on this one.

I thought Edwin Rodriguez-Don George should have been a ShoBox fight. It was a cool scrap though. I thought that Kendal Holt-Tim Coleman was going to be a better fight but I guess all one has to do is dig a couple of shots to Coleman’s body and it’s a wrap!

Looking forward to Erik Morales-Danny Garcia even though I wish it was Morales-Marquez. I think that would be off the charts. Also, James Kirkland-Carlos Molina may be a trap fight for James. I know he bested Alfredo Angulo but Carlos has a toughness all his own and has subtleties to his game that Angulo never had. Looking forward to this one as well.

Two mythical matchups and I’m out:

1. Sugar Ray Robinson vs Bernard Hopkins (the one that fought Tito)

2. Wolverine vs Batman

Holla back! – Fleetwood

Great to hear from you, as always, Fleet. I’ll start at the top.

I’m glad there are real fans out there who appreciated Martinez’s performance as I did. If one went by Twitter comments during the first half of the bout, HBO’s main event was a boring exhibit featuring an over-the-hill and overrated champion getting his ass handed to him by a rank journeyman. I didn’t see that fight. I saw legit top-five middleweight contender box the fight of the life and compete with an elite fighter, who took his measure, stepped to him in the late rounds and then took him out in the 11th round of a decent fight.

I still enjoy Merchant’s commentary and I always look forward to HBO Championship Boxing shows that feature the broadcast legend, but I thought he was WAY off on Saturday. He was needlessly impatient with Martinez, while giving Macklin too much credit. Merchant’s criticism irked me, but it didn’t bother me so much that it ruined my viewing experience. I should note that most of the fan and boxing industry comments (from ringside and couchside) that I read on Twitter echoed his thoughts, and I agreed with some of his comments, such as Martinez throwing only one power shot at a time.

I had no problem with Rodriguez-George being an opening bout on HCB, however, I was disappointed in the lack of action it produced. I thought George would bring more heat and E-Rod would box less than he did. But George was a little to patient and Rodriguez boxed better than I’ve seen from him. I think George needed to go from broke after the fifth or sixth round and Rodriguez needed to either apply a little pressure or drop more combination down the stretch. Oh well, congrats to E-Rod, who is close to developing into a real top-10 contender.

Holt-Coleman disappointed but that was due to Coleman. I think this week’s Friday Night Fights main event, between Antwone Smith and Robert Garcia, will be better and I believe the FNF March 30 headliner – Hank Lundy vs. Dannie Williams – will be the best fight of that weekend.

Morales-Garcia is an interesting fight. We know El Terrible is a legendary warrior who still has some fight left in him, but seeing that he didn’t quite get it done against Marcos Maidana and had a tough time with unheralded Pablo Cano it’s hard to figure how he’ll fair against Garcia, a strong boxer-puncher who is 12 years younger. It’s also difficult to tell how good Garcia is. The best guy he’s faced, Kendall Holt, didn’t really commit to fighting. Garcia was only slightly more committed to letting his hands go in that forgettable bout. Can the version of Garcia that outpointed Holt beat Morales? I don’t think so. (I know the version that fought Nate Campbell will lose to the Mexican badass.) But the young man has to be motivated for his first shot at major title, so I’m expecting to see the best possible version of Garcia step through those ropes on Saturday.

I agree that Kirkland has a tough assignment in Molina, who is crafty, durable and coming off a banner year. The Chicagoan can land that sneaky right cross of his and he’s got the discipline to hold his form and pace himself against Kirkland, which could befuddle the southpaw hurricane. Kirkland’s going to have to be smart about his offense, but still apply a lot of pressure (and a mean body attack) to break down Molina.

Your mythical matchups (good ones!):

Prime Robinson beats prime Hopkins (which was the 35-year-old vet that schooled Tito) on points in a tactical battle. Hopkins size and technique will trouble Robinson at times, but Sugar Ray’s decided edge in speed, timing, footwork and power will produce a couple of knockdowns that seal the deal for the G.O.A.T.

Wolverine vs. Batman? Damn, despite being a bona-fide comic book nerd, I’ve never thought about this matchup. I guess it’s because they belong to different companies (Logan’s with Marvel, while the Dark Knight is with D.C.), which significantly lessens their chance of actually meeting – kind of like real life boxers who fight under the Top Rank and Golden Boy promotional banners.

I gotta go with Batman, who would find a way to almost kill the merry mutant. Wolvie’s healing factor, adamantium-laced skeleton and claws, plus more than a 100 years of combat experience make it all but impossible for a homo sapien to beat him, but Bruce Wayne is cold, calculating mother___er. In his own way, he’s crazier than Wolverine. He’s certainly more focused and obsessed, and I think he’s smarter. (I wish there odds on comic book fights – my guess is Wolverine’s mutant powers and popularity with Generation X – pun intended – would make him a decided favorite.)

FOUR QUESTIONS

Dougie:

Hey bro, again nice call on a big fight. Martinez and Macklin delivered. Got a few questions arising out of the fight.

1) Is it me or did Sergio vastly increase his chance of landing a November fight with Mayweather?

I’m personally over the idea of Mayweather-Pacquaio, but I would guess that Floyd was watching this fight at home and thinking, I could execute Macklin’s plan and meet Martinez speed for speed and win, then people would acknowledge my greatness… especially if the HBO people were right about Martinez talking an 80-20 split. I’d pay to see that fight.

2) I’d love to hear your score at home. I had Martinez up by a round going into the 11th. Is it just me or is the Argentine marvel going to not get the benefit of the doubt on the scorecards because of the way he fights?

My wife is a huge Martinez fan. (What’s not to like? Good looking guy, socially conscious with causes that would get female rooters). She kept asking me why the HBO guys were so down on Martinez. I said that it was a) a perception issue, Macklin is more of a plodder, so seeing him fight on relatively even terms made it seem like maybe he was winning, and b) that Martinez’s style is unorthodox enough that judges don’t give him the credit he deserves because he’s often retreating almost as quickly as he engages.

3) My opinion, Martinez is good enough, and fought enough as the linear champ to put a little perspective in. Where does he stack up, in your opinion against the best recent (30 years) middleweight champs?

Since we both love this stuff:

Hagler v. Martinez? (I think Hagler by mid round KO-stoppage)

Hopkins v. Martinez? (Hopkins by close UD)

Trinidad v. Martinez? (I think Martinez wins late KO against the middleweight version of Tito)

4) Which leads to the money question… If Martinez lands the Mayweather fight, how do you see it going? I’m going to wait to see how Money carries the 154 against Cotto, but I think given that Maravila came in at 158, a fight could get done at 154 for November.

Peace. – Steve in ND

1) I’d rather see Mayweather-Martinez than Mayweather-Pacquiao. I still view Mayweather-Pacquiao as a competitive fight, but at this stage of both star’s careers, I think the Filipino icon has less of a chance to beat Mayweather than Martinez. Pacquiao’s body has settled in at welterweight. He’s still a handful for any 147 pounder, but he doesn’t bring the pace and workrate of a junior lightweight as he did when he first stepped up to 140 and 147 pounds in 2009. Had Mayweather and Pacquiao fought in 2010, I would have favored the Pac-Monster. I have less faith in him now. I see him as the 1987 version of Marvin Hagler against Sugar Ray Leonard if he ever faces Mayweather (which is doubtful thanks to their giant egos). So let’s beat the drums for Mayweather-Martinez!

2) I thought Martinez-Macklin was competitive, but I didn’t see the razor-thin contest that you and HBO’s crew (Harold Lederman and Larry Merchant) saw. I thought Martinez was in control of most of the fight and only scored rounds three, six and seven for Macklin (and I scored the seventh 10-9 for Macklin because I thought Martinez was winning the round before the off-balance/trip knockdown). I knew once Martinez made the move to step up his pressure and aggression that Macklin would get beat up and stopped. That was Maravilla’s plan all along. I agree that his somewhat erratic style costs him close rounds, but it really doesn’t matter how anybody scores his fights because he likes to close the show and he’s got enough power in that accurate left hand of his to break down and knockout anyone.

3) I agree with all three outcomes to your mythical middleweight matchups (although I can see Martinez making it to the distance against Hagler, who was a methodical and somewhat plodding technician, even in a 15-round bout).

4) I’d prefer Martinez-Mayweather at 154 rather than 150. It’s fine if Mayweather were to make Martinez come down to 150 (that’s what the middleweight champ and his promoter proposed), but if he did, he would need to stop criticizing Pacquiao for making his opponents fight at catchweights. Anyway, if the fight were to be at 154, Martinez would be a strong favorite in my view. At 150, I wouldn’t be as sure in my pick (seeing that Martinez hasn’t fought below 154 pounds in seven years). Getting that low in weight could wipe him out, but I would still favor Martinez. I’ve only seen Mayweather fight above 147 pounds once, and while I thought he took Oscar De La Hoya to school, I don’t believe he looked particularly formidable against the 2007 version of the Golden Boy, who didn’t have the stamina to fight past seven rounds. We all know Maravilla has great stamina AND he retains his power late. Beyond physical attributes, I think he’s very smart and just as competitive as Mayweather.

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