Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

MARTINEZ KNOCKED DOWN?

Dear Dougie,

Love the mailbags – I look forward to them every week. Two things on the Martinez fight:

1. In the early rounds, when Martinez almost knocked Macklin down in the early ropes, it appeared Macklin only stayed up because he hit the ropes. I thought when only the ropes kept a fighter from touching canvas it counted as a knockdown. Am I wrong about this? If not, am I wrong to think it applied in this situation?

2. I thought the HBO guys were pretty hard on Martinez. It appears from the last few fights that he is a slow starter who takes his time and doesn’t like to get hit. Yet he has finished each of the fights in knockouts. So maybe we shouldn’t say he is looking bad when he isn’t visibly dominating early on, since he clearly is wearing down his opponents and finishing them late. Cheers. – Brandon

Thanks for the nice words about the mailbag, Brandon.

1. I think it could have been ruled a knockdown when Macklin reeled into the ropes. He wasn’t hurt, but he did get clipped and was knocked off balance into the ropes, which held him up – which means it could have been ruled a “technical knockdown.” But that’s not an automatic ruling, it’s up to the referee’s discretion. Eddie Cotton, a veteran official who is usually very solid, opted not to make that call and I was fine with that.

2. Once again, I agree with you. I thought it was ridiculous for Merchant to expect Martinez to blowout such a strong and rugged fighter who’s never been stopped early (and was arguably unbeaten at middleweight). Martinez always begins his fights by moving in and out and around his opponent, working a hard jab from a distance, while assessing his opponent’s rhythm, style, weaknesses, etc. It’s what a veteran fighter does. Why compare Martinez to Roy Jones Jr.? He’s a good athlete but not a super-talent as the prime Jones was at 160 and 168 pounds. Martinez is a strong, smart and well-conditioned fighter who has a similar approach to boxing as Marvin Hagler and Bernard Hopkins – he systematically breaks his opponents down. However, he’s not the technician those two great middleweight champs were. Martinez uses more of a mobile, athletic style to pick his foes apart (which I guess is why some folks compare him to Jones). Now that I think about it, the same criticisms I’ve heard about Martinez after the Barker and Macklin fights were also heaped on Hopkins and Hagler after they took they defended their titles against lesser-known middleweight contenders. Hagler and Hopkins were also called “overrated,” “ordinary,” and “old” until they were able to get lighter-weight super stars to step up and fight them (Marvin needed Roberto Duran and Tommy Hearns; B-Hop needed Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya). I think folks who criticize Martinez (and DiBella) for wanting smaller guys like Cotto and Mayweather forget that middleweight champs throughout history often made their names (or their biggest paydays) fighting the “lighter-weight stars” of their eras.

THE BRITS

Hello Doug,

I thought I’d drop you a line and pick your brains as I respect your view and often wonder how you feel about certain things.

Being a patriotic Brit I hope you don’t mind if I focus on ‘my boys’?!

Firstly, I should commend Matthew Macklin on a gallant effort against Martinez. I thought he got his tactics right and until the ‘trip up knock down’ late on he was in the fight. Unfortunately, Sergio woke up and Mack the Knife looked out of his depth. It wasn’t a huge surprise to anyone that he lost, and an honourable defeat was realistically the best he could hope for. No disrespect to Macklin, I just believe ‘Maravilla’ could’ve turned it on at any time and blown him away. Having lost to the top two guys, does Macklin gain or lose credibility in the division?

My favourite performance of the night was from Kell Brook, who schooled Matthew Hatton for 12 rounds. I’ve long admired his skills and think he is destined for big things. Do you think he would be more highly rated, or further along in his career, if he was American? Because there seems to be a reluctance to recognise him as a true contender across the pond, despite his silky skills and marketable appearance/personality. Does the Hatton performance make a difference, as Brook arguably dominated him more than Alvarez (and indeed Hatton said Brook caused him more problems)? Does he deserve a fight against the top welterweights (outside the BIG two) and how would he get on?

And finally, a word on the Khan-Peterson rematch. It’s difficult, even for a patriot like me, to want Khan to win this fight. After the way he behaved after the first fight I have been forced to back the more gentlemanly Peterson, who has proved that class has nothing to do with where you come from. Do you think Peterson was wrong to take the rematch, because I reckon if Khan wins another close one, the third fight would NEVER happen?

That’s all from me. Thanks for your time, keep up the good work! – Ryan, UK

Thanks for the kind words, Ryan, and thanks for writing in.

Regarding Macklin, I was not only expecting him to challenge Martinez in his usual pressure-fighting mode, I was looking forward to it! However, I agree that the tactics he chose were the right ones to unseat the middleweight champ, and I was impressed with his skill level. He’s a better/smarter boxer than I thought he was. I don’t think Macklin lost any credibility on Saturday. I think he gained a lot of fans in the U.S. with his strong showing. I’m not sure if he enhanced his current status/middleweight ranking with the loss, but I don’t think he’ll drop much. I think he remains a solid top-10 contender, one who is deserving of a shot at any of the alphabet beltholders.

I don’t view his loss to Sturm as setback because I thought he won the fight, and I don’t believe Martinez could have blown him out at any time. Maravilla knew that he had to break Macklin down and make a move when the Brit had petered out a bit.

Regarding Brook, I know I don’t speak for all Americans (fans or boxing writers) but I’ve recognized his talent and potential for quite some time (and I should note that he’s THE RING’s No. 6-rated welterweight). I don’t think his lack of support in the U.S. has much to do with him not being American; I think it has more to do with his lack of TV exposure in the U.S. If his last three or four fights were on HBO, Showtime or ESPN, I think American fans would be clamoring to see the Sheffield native take on fellow young 147-pound contenders, such as Victor Ortiz, Andre Berto, and Mike Jones.

I agree that all the bellyaching about hometown officiating, the scorecards of WBA officials and “Mystery Men” following what was a good, close fight makes it hard for a lot of fans to root for Khan. Even folks who thought he won (as I did) and believed the referee was too involved were turned off by the British star’s sour grapes.

He (and Golden Boy Promotions) should have taken the high road, accepted a close defeat and pressed for the rematch on the grounds that the first fight was very entertaining and a return bout might be just as good – or even better. I think Peterson and most fans would have agreed. But making such a loud federal case about everything just pisses folks off (and let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to get boxing fans bitching).

I don’t think Peterson was wrong to take the rematch. It’s a good matchup, a fight he can win, and he got a good deal from GBP. It’s also what real fighters do; they want to erase any doubts the public might have about them. Peterson is a real fighter.

MARTINEZ IS NO. 1 PFP

Hi Doug,

Where was your mailbag on Friday? Missed it. Your comments on one thought:

I think Sergio Martinez should be No. 1 p4p. Reason: He is ducking nobody, taking on everybody at any given place and beating them in convincing fashion. Now he is calling out Mayweather at 150 (according to Lou DiBella) at a 20:80 share. What else can a man do to convince people?– Matthias, Germany

Not much else, Matthias. All Martinez and DiBella can do is wait for Mayweather to take the bait in late 2012 (if the undefeated American beats Cotto and the ultra-super-mega-bout with PacMan fails to come off again).

I agree that Martinez is an elite fighter. Paul Williams was in everyone’s pound-for-pound rankings when Martinez first fought him (and many thought he deserved to win that terrific fight). He was the first middleweight to beat reigning 160-pound champ Kelly Pavlik (and it was only his second bout at the weight) and then he KO’d P-Will cold in their rematch. His stoppage of Sergei Dzinziruk was impressive given long-reigning 154-pound beltholder had never tasted defeat as a pro and had never been dropped, let alone knocked out in any fight, amateur or pro (and the rangy Ukrainian technician was an excellent amateur who won 195 of 220 bouts).

Barker and Macklin aren’t world-beaters, but they are solid middleweight contenders with underrated skill and ability. They aren’t the “tomato cans” a lot of American fans (and scribes) are calling them. I might be in the minority (which is fine, because I’ve been one my entire life), but I enjoy watching the reigning middleweight champ defend his crown against hungry, young middleweights.

Sorry about the missing mailbag on Friday. I must be getting old because I completely forgot about it on Thursday night. I didn’t even realize that I’d forgotten until early evening on Friday. Hey, next time I have a “senior moment” like that and you don’t see a mailbag on Monday or Friday morning PLEASE shoot me an email saying “Wake up, Fischer!”

MAYWEATHER-COTTO WINNER

Hey Mr. Fisher,

First time writing to you, long time fan. When you disappeared for a minute in between Maxboxing and RingTV.com, I was worried about where I was gonna get my boxing fix… I am from your generation (42 years mature) although a few years older. I remember being a little pup and sitting with my uncles and mentors watching great free fights on Friday and Sat. (free! what a concept)…

About this weekend. Sergio did a great job of figuring out a bigger fighter who’s focus was not getting clipped with a left. He wore him down, took his heart, and feasted like a piranha when he smelled/saw blood. With that same left I might add. Any chance the winner of Mayweather-Cotto (I don’t assume it’s a walk-over for Silly Boy) gives him a shot? He is willing to come down to 150 for Fitty’s butt boy… Or if Cotto wins does he try to beat a top 3 PFP’er two times in a row and cement a stronger legacy than Tito?

Keep up the great work! Peace to you and your… – Marcos

“Fitty’s butt boy?” Good Lord. No you didn’t, Marcos. But, yeah, you did, and you shouldn’t have. Not to say I haven’t wondered about that relationship, as others have (hip-hop folks more so than boxing people), but there’s about as much evidence that that they’re “a couple” than there is evidence that Manny Pacquiao is using PEDs. Just because Mayweather likes to make baseless allegations doesn’t mean everyone else should stoop to his level and cast aspersions without proof.

Come on, man, if you’re from my generation (and I turn 42 in May, by the way), you should know better. OK, time to hop off the ole P.C. soap box.

I think it’s a longshot that the winner of Mayweather-Cotto takes on Martinez. Boxing writers, hardcore fans and armchair Eddie Futches of the Twitterverse might view a fading 37-year-old veteran in Martinez, but I betcha Floyd and Miguel see an athletic middleweight champ with the strength, power and smarts to systematically breakdown rugged 160-pound contenders.  

If Mayweather or Cotto wins their May 5 fight via unexpected blowout, perhaps they’ll be on such a high that they’ll have the confidence to face Maravilla. But I don’t think Mayweather-Cotto will be a blowout for either fighter, and even if one of them wins in one-sided fashion I think both men are more about their business than their legacies at this stage of their hall-of-fame careers. Martinez vs. Mayweather or Cotto is great for boxing nerds like you and I to dream about, but not for the naturally smaller fighters, who can make more money fighting a popular (and very beatable young-‘un) like Saul Alvarez.

I said this in response to the previous email, but I’ll repeat it. I enjoy watching Martinez do his thing against strong middleweight prospects/contenders. I know he can still make 154 pounds (although I’ve seen him effectively carry 170 pounds in sparring sessions prior to the Dzinziruk fight), but the fact that his challengers are bigger/heavier is part of what makes the fights interesting.

I think Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will eventually fight Martinez (and a lot of fans already give the kid a shot). It won’t happen this year, but when it does – probably next year – it will be a big fight. If Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin looks good against Winky Wright and gets another victory under his belt, I’d like to see him take on Martinez. And like a lot of hardcore heads, I wanna see how undefeated beltholders Gennady Golovkin and Dmitry Pirog do against the champ once they get some U.S. TV exposure (which should happen this year).

 

 

Email Doug Fischer at dfischer@ringtv.com. Follow him on TWitter @dougiefischer

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