Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

THE FIX IS IN

When is boxing going to do something about these paid off judges? Granted, people have been asking that question since probably 1920, but seriously, that Brandon Rios-Richard Abril decision was ridiculous. No wonder boxing can’t get/keep fans. New fans see that and doubt the whole sport; old fans see that and finally get sick of it. How many times can they insult our intelligence? It is the same reason our congress has an 11% approval rating, there is just enough shady business going down that we doubt the whole organization. Rios should be ashamed of acting all proud about that fight, and he also clearly needs to move up to at least 140. That’s my rant, let’s hear yours. – Matt in Mattawan

I don’t have a rant. Sadly, I’ve seen too many God-awful decisions over the years to be shocked or even surprised when I witness a robbery like the one that went down at the Mandalay Bay on Saturday night. I don’t like what I saw. I was mad enough to yell at my TV screen when Rios was announced the winner. I was pissed enough to fire off a few angry/bitter Tweets for the next 10 minutes and then I was disappointed/depressed for the next half hour. (I forgot about the wonderful slugfest that Mike Alvarado and Mauricio Herrera delivered before Rios-Abril and I had a hard time paying attention to the Juan Manuel Marquez-Sergei Fedchenko bout.) I wrote my deadline report on Rios-Abril (and the two undercard bouts). I turned off my TV, busted out a quickie on the Marquez fight, added fight photos to the Rios-Abril and Alvarado-Herrera items, tweeted and posted the URLs on the RingTV Facebook page, closed my laptop and went to bed. I didn’t feel a lot of outrage. I didn’t want to read fan comments about the fight on our Facebook page or under the stories I’d just posted. I didn’t text or call any fan friends or boxing people to get their opinion on what happened. I didn’t care to debate anyone about the fight or its outcome on Twitter. I just went to bed.

Does this mean I’m jaded?

PLEASE HELP DR. DOUGIE

In short,
What the f__k can be done about the absolute farce that exists in the sweet science these days? Help us out Dougie. Wax poetic on the good times, or get all fancy-speak about the technicalities of a decision. Use words like affective aggression, or ring generalship to soothe over the pain. As for now, I ain’t giving Uncle Bob another cent for a PPV. I don’t care if the show came with complimentary weed and cootchie. – JB

“Complimentary cootchie,” huh. I dunno, JB. The Big Bob Man might get me with that incentive. I bought the PPV (I didn’t travel to Las Vegas so I had to in order to watch and cover the fight). It’s a work expense so I’ll get reimbursed for it but in all honesty, had I ordered it as a fan, I don’t think I’d feel cheated just because I thought Abril was robbed.

I didn’t expect much action from the co-featured bouts (Rios-Abril and Marquez-Fedchenko). I knew the stars of the show were matched against difficult boxer/technicians. I knew that Rios would struggle with Abril’s style (although I thought he’d wear the lanky clinch-and-move specialist down by the late rounds).

I also knew that Alvarado-Herrera would be good scrap. Well, Abril stunk out the joint and Rios couldn’t do anything to stop (or even discourage) him, and Marquez dominated in uneventful fashion, but Alvarado-Herrera actually exceeded my expectations. Hey, ya gotta take the good with the bad.

I know the Rios-Abril decision was really bad, but was it unexpected? Weren’t you thinking some people (including one or two of the official judges) could have given some of those close rounds that you personally scored for Abril to Mr. Bam Bam because of his aggression (effective or not) and activity? That’s what I was thinking (and, of course, it was what I was seeing on my Twitter feed). It’s never going to be easy for a pure boxer who holds a lot and only lets his hands go in spots to decisively beat a fighter as aggressive and busy as Rios.

There was some drama to Rios-Abril for exactly this reason. I wondered how long Abril could employ his tactics — both legal and illegal (all 12 rounds it turned out). I wondered if Rios would ever solve the puzzle or if he could just break through with sheer force (N-to-the-O). And I wondered if Abril would get credit from the judges for containing a beast like Rios and scoring the cleaner punches all night (HELL-to-the-N-O). While I was watching (and doing all this wondering), I was treated to the excellent commentary of Brian Kenny, Rich Marotta and Raul Marquez, who told it like it was and did so in engaging and informative fashion. Add this impressive broadcast booth to the Alvarado-Herrera thriller, an opening bout appearance by Mercito Gesta and the attractive Crystina Poncher handling sideline reports and I think we got a decent pay-per-view experience.

That doesn’t make the awful Rios-Abril decision OK. Judges Jerry Roth and Glenn Trowbridge failed to do their jobs in my opinion. What can I do about it? Not much beyond what I just did – state my opinion and put their names out there.

I’m not going to rant like a lunatic. If expressing one’s outrage in all caps made a difference in this sport Lou DiBella (AKA The REAL Twitter King) would already be the savior of boxing.

I’ll just say that Roth and Trowbridge f___ed up on Saturday and it wasn’t the first time they’ve done so. If enough fans and boxing folks do the same, and aim those opinions to the NSAC, action might be taken. Fans made their voices heard after referee Russell Mora’s crap job on Joseph Agbeko-Abner Mares I, and I don’t think I’ve seen him officiate a major fight since. (In fact, I saw him reffing a four-round bout on last week’s Friday Night Fights.)   

SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS

What’s up Dougie,

My thoughts on Saturday’s fights:

1.) Alvarado-Herrera is a fight of the year candidate! It was all heart, blood, and guts. That’s why I love boxing.

2.) Richard Abril may have gotten a raw deal, but for all the smack he talked he didn’t deliver (in my unbiased opinion). What would you rather see, Bam Bam against Alvarado or Danny Garcia, or Abril against these either of these guys? Rios is clearly not a 135 pounder and was fortunate that Yuriorkis Gamboa didn’t take this fight because he probably would’ve looked silly (and Gamboa must be kicking himself in the ass for not taking the fight).

3.) Juan Manuel Marquez is buff! I don’t know what he’s doing, and I’m not going to question him, but I would like to see him against Erik Morales!

What do you think, Dougie? – Miguel, LBC

Here’s what I think:

1) I agree. Alvarado-Herrera is an early FOTY candidate and gritty, bloody bouts like that one are the reason I love boxing, too.

2) I’d rather watch a Brandon Rios sparring session than Abril fight Alvarado or, God forbid, Garcia (nothing would happen in that bout). I don’t agree that Gamboa would have had his way with Rios had he shown up on April 14. For starters, I think Bam Bam would have trained with more intensity for Gamby, but I also believe that Rios-Abril is a MUCH different style matchup than Rios-Gamboa. Abril is 6-feet tall, rangy, and defense-minded with a penchant for holding. Gamboa is 5-foot-5½ with short arms (for a lightweight), and offense-minded with a penchant for lunging with his chin in the air.

3) If El Terrible decides to have one more high-profile bout, the long-awaited showdown with JMM is the only one I would be interested in seeing. However, I hope Morales retires. His loss to Garcia made it clear to me that he doesn’t have it anymore, while Marquez’s easier-than-expected route of Fedchenko tells us that he’s still a world-class fighter (which is freaking amazing). I don’t think Morales could hang with Marquez at this stage of their careers.

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON 24/7

Hi Doug,

I watched 24/7 last night and one thing is still apparent. Floyd Mayweather is still an obnoxious D#*K. It’s hard to know how much of his line is an act and how much is really him (the latter I’m afraid).Miguel Cotto is a humble and likeable guy and you can’t do anything but hope for the best for him (more on that later).

This fight would have been a better contest three years ago but Floyd was dodging the best welters then. Let’s be honest, for all of the respect Floyd is giving Cotto (calling him undefeated because Margarito cheated and Manny was on steroids) he is only taking this fight because he thinks Cotto is shot after the two brutal beatdowns he suffered. There is something to say for that. It is a factor that I worry about too.

That being said, I am going to buy this fight instead of Manny’s. Manny is a more exciting fighter but Tim Bradley makes ugly fights. I see him headbutting Manny and maybe cutting him that way…..but back to Floyd and Cotto. To draw a comparison, Ray Leonard didn’t fight Tommy Hearns again for 8 YEARS! Even though Tommy deserved an immediate rematch after their classic battle. Ray waited until he thought Tommy was a shot fighter. (Remember how he would touch his chin when talking about Tommy in the prefight interviews indicating that Tommy couldn’t take it?). I was in Las Vegas the week of Leonard/Hearns II and saw them both training in the SportsPavilion behind Caesars. Ray came in and did his speed bag and jump rope routines and mugged for little kids at ringside. Tommy came in a much more serious attitude and using the fingered martial arts gloves that Bruce Lee wore in the opening scene of “Enter the Dragon,” savagely pounded the big bag, did floor exercises and sparred with Milton McCrory in the ring. Come fight night, Tommy fought the fight of his life giving Leonard hell, out-boxing him and flooring him twice (and got screwed on the decision).

I mention all of that to make this point. I am hoping that Cotto has just such an effort left within him. No one has really nailed Floyd on the chin yet that I’ve seen (Shane Mosley aside) and I can’t wait to see it. Remember what happened when somebody finally nailed Roy Jones? I am hoping to see Cotto take it to Floyd and knock some humble into him and wipe that smirk off his face. Too much to ask? Whatta YOU think?– David, Nashville

It’s not too much to ask. I think a wobbly moment or two is very possible for Mr. 24/7. Seriously. I can see Cotto stunning Mayweather with a stiff jab. I can see proud Puerto Rican rocking Floyd badly with a hook. But I don’t think Cotto can take Mayweather out with one punch, nor do I believe he can overwhelm him to a stoppage if his wobbles him. Floyd’s the definition of an “elite boxer.” He keeps his cool at all times, even when he’s been rocked (just like Cotto), and he does a better job of defending himself when hurt than Cotto does.

If Cotto is going to spring the upset he’s going to have to put forth a supreme effort much like Hearns did against Leonard in their rematch (and I agree that Tommy was robbed in that fight). He’s got box AND fight his ass off on May 5. He can’t be reckless, but he can’t assume the role of a pure boxer. He can’t beat Floyd in a boxing match. He’s got to box his way in close and then let his hands go (especially to the body). He has to gradually make the ring smaller as the fight progresses and he needs to punish Mayweeather’s arms and midsection whenever he can get the supreme stylist on the ropes. And he’s got to try to avoid getting clipped hard while doing all of this. It might be mission impossible for Cotto, but I think it will be worth watching.

I’m also looking forward to Mayweather-Cotto more than Pacquiao-Bradley. (Of course, I’d be lying if I said Mayweather-Cotto is the event I anticipate the most on Cinco de Mayo weekend – that “honor” goes to The Avengers movie – but the fight is a close second.)

I understand what you’re saying about Mayweather’s choice to take on Cotto now rather than back in 2007 or 2008, before Cotto’s debilitating first bout withMargarito, but I only half-agree. Yes, the young, undefeated version of Cotto was a true wrecking machine, especially at 147 pounds where he seemed to take a punch better than he did at junior welterweight. But the Evangelista Cotto-instilled stance he had at the time was too squared up and his aggressive style was tailor made for a pin-point punching surgeon like Mayweather. I’m not saying that Mayweather would have had an easy time with Cotto back then, but I do believe that the technical improvements that Emanuel Steward and Pedro Diaz have brought to Cotto’s game will make it harder for Floyd to blast him with flush shots and help him crack the undefeated American’s vaunted defense. I also think being able to come in at 154 pounds will benefit Cotto.

I don’t have much to say about the first episode of 24/7: Mayweather vs. Cotto. Mayweather is doing his usual 24/7 schtick. Who’s cares if it’s real or not. We know he’s doing it to sell pay-per-view buys; and there’s nothing wrong with that. I hope they sell a million-plus because I think it’s a good fight, but personally I’m tired of Mayweather’s pre-fight act. (Does this opinion make me jaded or just a “hater?”)

DISGUSTING

What’s sup Dougie, all I can say is “wow.” This has got to be one of the most disgusting robberies I have ever seen and this is coming from a Rios fan. This ranks up there with the Whitaker vs. Ramirez decision. Also what makes me even more angry is that Rios had the audacity to celebrate. I don’t know if I can root for Rios anymore. This is second consecutive time he couldn’t make weight and then he gets a boxing lesson and celebrates as if he dominated his opponent. Roth and Trowbridge shouldn’t be suspended they should be thrown in jail.

Well, at least on the bright side Alvarado and Herrera gave a hell of a fight and Alvarado came through representing Denver well. I think he’s ready for a title shot, what do you think?

Well I hope you take it easy. – Israel, Denver, CO

I think Alvarado is ready for a shot at one of the titleholders. I wouldn’t favor him against Tim Bradley or the winner of the Peterson-Khan rematch, but I think he’d give all three 140-pound standouts hell in entertaining fights. I think he’s even money against Danny Garcia. He’d give Marquez a very tough fight (that would probably turn into a barnburner).

I don’t know if the Rios-Abril decision is as bad as the verdict for the first Jose Luis Ramirez-Pernell Whitaker bout (I haven’t watched that fight in at least 15 years), but there are similarities between the two. Both Rios and Ramirez were given too much credit for walking forward. Neither aggressor was able to hurt or break down their crafty adversaries. However, one difference is that Whitaker did not employ holding tactics as Abril did. Two of the judges appeared to penalize Whitaker for backpedaling for much of the 12 rounds. I guess Roth and Trowbridge penalized Abril for holding too much.

Both Nevada veterans obviously favor forward-marching fighters, and the more active boxers, as evidenced by their cards in two other controversial title bouts: De La Hoya-Trinidad (which Roth scored 115-113 for Tito) and Pacquiao-Marquez III (which Trowbridge scored 116-112 for the PacMan).

I know Rios’ popularity probably took a bit of a hit from Saturday’s fight but I don’t hold it against him too much for thinking he won. He’s a fighter, a card-carrying brawler. He’s not a technician or a stylist, so he’s not going to appreciate anything Abril – who he didn’t like to begin with – did against him. In Rios’ mind all Abril did was avoid a fight, and by doing so, he was responsible for a boring, ugly bout. As far as he’s concerned, Abril basically made him disappoint his fans. So he’s glad the judges screwed Abril. I don’t agree with this line of thinking, but I can understand his perspective.

I can also understand your perspective of not wanting to root for him anymore. Personally, I’ll just wait and see what he does next.

I think if Rios makes an immediate move to 140 pounds, takes on a badass and puts on one of his signature slugfests, most fans will jump right back on the Bam Bam Bandwagon.

 

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

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