Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

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Hey Doug:

I’ll keep it short and sweet. That doctor was quicker to stop the Jorge Linares fight than I can down my first drink at a bar. What a BS call. It was obvious a hometown call given the stakes.

In part I blame Linares because he knew what was at stake and took a gamble fighting on the road in a country where questionable officiating has been a problem in the past. Of course it also appears he is susceptible to cuts and that’s a big, big problem. Peace – Juan ‘West Coast’ Alvarado AKA ‘Johnny Sunday’ AKA ‘Lieutenant Diaz’

Don’t blame Mexico or the boxing officials of Cancun, Juan. Linares (and his handlers) thought he was in with an opponent he could beat without suffering too much punishment and they were wrong. Sergio Thompson was not intimidated by Linares’s reputation and the Mexican with the African-American last name brought the ruckus. Thompson didn’t just cut Linares with his punches, he hurt and he dropped the former two-division beltholder.

Cuts aren’t a “big, big” problem for Linares, right hands are. Thompson landed too damn many of them in less than six minutes. Linares thinks he can avoid punches by turning his head with them. He’s wrong. Roberto Duran could do this defensive move with expert precision. Linares is good, but he’s no “Hands of Stone.” The young man needs to keep his left hand up. And he needs to keep the fight in the center of the ring. He doesn’t remind anyone of James Toney when he’s backed to the ropes.   

Having said that, I still think the Venezuelan can be a force in the lightweight division. He’s got the talent, technique and the heart. He just needs to learn his limitations and find the right ring style. And before he steps into the ring with Antonio DeMarco again, I think he needs to set the record straight with Thompson. They should do it again – hopefully in the States and on U.S. television, because they make for a darn good fight from what I saw of just two rounds of action.

Thompson is a threat because of his right hand and his aggression, but Linares has more tools and he showed that he can hurt the gutsy upstart by rocking the hell out of him with a cross-hook combination midway through the first round.

TAKING A JAB AT TODAY’S FIGHTERS

Wasup dude? Watching Dannie Williams get picked apart by Hank Lundy for ten rounds got me to thinking about just how much the game has changed. When presented with a mythical matchup involving an Old School fighter vs a New School fighter you almost always pick the Old School fighter to win. I tend to agree in most cases. Today’s fighters, while still entertaining overall, just don’t have the honed skills necessary to jump in a time machine, go back a few decades and win many fights!

Williams showed heart but nothing else against Lundy other than an innate ability to eat the jab. I bet he could tell you the number of ceiling fans that are in the arena they fought in because his head got snapped back so many times I lost count. He constantly walked in with no head movement and no jab. Lundy controlled the pace and distance that this fight was waged at with quick feet and in my opinion the deciding factor, a jab.

Something as simple as that can change the game in a contest of evenly matched guys. Why was Mike Tyson so successful? Along with his head movement, fast feet and powerful fists, he had a jab that he used against taller and bigger guys. When Mike abandoned his jab and only relied on his power Buster Douglas leaned heavily on his own jab to neutralize Mike. Bernard Hopkins controlled Felix Trinidad with his jab. Winky Wright demoralized him with it! Big George Foreman’s second career was built around his telephone pole jab. Larry Holmes jabbed his way to the HOF! Muhammad Ali killed guys with it. You know who doesn’t have a jab? Dannie Williams and half the guys fighting today. Tell me, am I lying? Holla back! – Fleetwood

You’re telling the truth, Fleet. Well said. The jab is more of a lost art than body punching is in this era of boxing. It’s so rare these days that fighters – even top contenders and major titleholders – use an intelligent and consistent jab; it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the few who do (Floyd Mayweather and the Klitschko brothers, for example) are among the sport’s elite and the most dominant standouts in their respective divisions.

Floyd, Wladdy and Vitali are fortunate that they weren’t around during the 1970s and ‘80s when a skillful jab was part of the arsenal of most (if not all) top 10 contenders (especially in their weight classes – welterweight and heavyweight).

Even guys who were known as pressure fighters, power punchers or brawlers made use of the jab. They also made use of head and upper-body movement, another facet of the Sweet Science that seems to be lost among the new generation of trainers and fighters. (All those old-school white guys that young fans foolishly think of as one-dimensional tough guys – such as Jake LaMotta and Carmen Basilio – had excellent jabs. Even Rocky Marciano, who is often described as “crude,” varied his height and moved his upper body as he walked down his opponents.)

So you better believe that when fans ask me about mythical matchups between today’s best and the top dogs of yesteryear I usually side with the old timers. On average, they were more complete fighters. They didn’t have more talent than today’s fighters and they weren’t necessarily “tougher” (although I would argue that they were hungrier), they were merely taught better. Really, it’s the trainers of this era who are to blame for the limitations of the fighters. Too many trainers focus more on strength and conditioning than fundamentals.  

WELCOME BACK, PAVLIK

What’s up Dougzilla,

Glad to see Kelly Pavlik’s return. His power and in-your-face no-s__t way of fighting was sorely missed. I already can’t wait to see him ram heads with fellow ass-kickers like J.C. Chavez, Gennady Golovkin and the rest of the fighting guys in the middle. And as for those who are suggesting Pavlik-Paul Williams my suggestion for you folks is turn the frigging power on upstairs. Pavlik will pound the snot-rockets out of P-Turd in less than four rounds. But then, that could get rid of Williams for good.

With apologies to the stylists; those tap-dancers masquerading as fighters and couldn’t bruise a banana with their punches don’t make the sport go round. It’s those rock ‘em, sock em robots like Pavlik, Golovkin, and Mike Tyson when he was around that make this sport worth watching.

Just one question Doug, will there be a Mailbag this Good Friday? – Todd The Terminator

There most certainly will be, Triple T. I wasn’t a very good Catholic (even when I used to go to church.) Besides, God told me not to skip anymore mailbags.

I agree that “rock ‘em-sock ‘em” fighters are what stir the drink in this sport, and Pavlik certainly fits that description when he’s at his best, but it wasn’t his punching power that impressed me on Saturday, it was his technique.

His form was tight and he seemed relaxed but focused as he went about his business. His jab was sharp and his hook was nice and compact. His reflexes were there, which is a good sign. Pavlik’s got smart boxing people around him (new head trainer Robert Garcia and conditioning coach Cecilio Flores – the giant Mexican dude you saw standing next to him, who used to be part of Sergio Martinez’s squad) and he’s in a good training environment (Garcia’s gym in Oxnard, Calif.), so if the hunger is still there I think he can be a factor at 168 or 160 (where Flores thinks he can get back down to).

I’m not going to get too excited, however, until I see Pavlik fight a few more times. He looked good Saturday, but let’s keep it in perspective. He knocked out a 35-year-old journeyman son of a journeyman who had twice been KO’d by fellow journeymen. Let’s not even talk about fights with P-Will or any other notable middleweights until Pavlik can get at least two more fights under his belt this year. He fought once in 2010 and once last year. I think activity is a key component to his comeback.

UNLIKELY FIGHTS

Alright Doug, still enjoying your work here in the UK!

I have been reading more and more about a possible clash between Hopkins v Nathan Cleverly! I am struggling to see an outcome an which Hopkins beats Dawson what is your take on it I see Bad Chad being too young for the future HOF a bit like Morales v Garcia! Why would Clev fight him when he is coming off a loss! Also on Twitter, Lenox Lewis announced a rematch against Vitali Klitschko. More than likely an April fool but who would you favour?

Cheers Doug, keep them mailbags coming! – Dave from Weymouth, UK

My money would be on Big Bro if Lewis foolishly came out of retirement to fight the WBC titleholder. But Big L ain’t no fool. He knows that he barely got by the Ukrainian political hopeful when they tangled back in 2003 and Dr. Iron Fist is a better fighter now than he was back then. That fight won’t happen.

I doubt we ever see Cleverly challenge Hopkins, either. Like you state, the future hall of famer (and all-time great in my opinion) has his work cut out for him against Dawson on April 28. If B-Hop defies Father Time one more time and legitimately beats Bad Chad, my sincere hope is that he rides off into the sunset, not fight another young, undefeated contender/titleholder. He’s done it so many times in the past that I’m not sure anyone would give him credit for beating theWelshman. And if Cleverly were to beat Hopkins, no one would give him much credit because the old man is closer to 50 than he is 40. So what’s the point?

I’d rather see Dawson fight Cleverly or the soon-to-be WBC mandatory challenger Ismayl Sillakh, or Cleverly and Sillakh square off.

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