Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Friday mailbag

MASSIVE SHAKEUP

Hey, what’s up Doug?

Wow, what a frigging shake-up. I really thought Brandon Rios was going to completely run over Richard Abril. Didn’t quite work out that way. On the other hand I completely smashed that nail squarely on the head when I predicted Mike Alvarado to pound out a barnburning win over Maurico Herrera with his superior strength and power. He clearly stole the night. Saved it, actually. And oh yeah, nice win by “Kid Pacquiao” (Mercito Gesta) as well.

And now the real huge shake-up; the removing of Brandon Rios and J.M. Marquez completely from the lightweight rankings altogether. OK so Rios is really a boiled down welterweight as opposed to a true lightweight. But Marquez? What gives? I know it’s been a while since he’s fought at 135 pounds but what happened to the rule that declared that The Ring titles can only be won and lost in the ring. Don’t tell me that those alphabet retards are now taking over and f__king up The Ring publication. What next? Fractured Ring titles? Just kidding. (I hope!). But seriously, did Marquez clearly state that he’s no longer fighting as a lightweight. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s wondering about this. Anyways back to you on this one.

Jr. Welter Skelter: So it’s Sponge-Bob Arum’s master-plan to pit Marquez against either Rios, Alvarado, or (WTF!?) Gesta. Personally, I’ll rather see Rios square off against Mike Alvarado. Now that is a fight! Forget what happened against Abril. Rios will be much more effective as a junior welter. I don’t know who to pick between him or Alvarado but one thing for certain is that Rios wouldn’t be unloading F-bombs on Alvarado without catching some serious knuckle in return. Alvarado versus either Marcos Maidana or Lucas Matthysse would also be fights that fans would give up booze, comic books or junk food for a year or two in order to see happen. And Rios-Victor Ortiz? That bout woud be like setting off a bomb inside a gasoline truck, providing it actually happens. What are those two waiting for?

And if we do get Marquez against Rios or Alvarado? Either the old master counter-punches those guys silly or either of those bigger, stronger punchers prove to be too much for him. If anything, Marquez would probably prefer to fight Pacquiao ten more times than take on these young hard-hitting studs.

Mares-Morel: I’m predicting Mares to win a hotly contested fight by close but unanimous decision.

And if Mares does indeed take it, the expectation from some fans is for him to go after Nonito Donaire. I even suggested that fight in one of my past e-mails but in all fairness I think Mares might be better off taking at least two more fights in the 122 pound ranks before tackling the Filipino.

Well I’m done ranting for now Doug. Your turn. – Todd The Terminator

I was told (by Abner’s manager Frank Espinoza and Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Eric Gomez) that the plan for Mares – if he’s successful against Morel tomorrow night – is to defend his WBC 122-pound title at least twice, against grizzled old warhorses like Jorge Arce and Rafael Marquez or young-but-flawed contenders like Rico Ramos or Akifumi Shimoda, and then go for the showdown with Donaire.

Sounds like a decent plan to me. If Mares establishes himself at junior featherweight, Donaire is the guy that most fans will want to see him fight. Mares would probably be the underdog in that matchup, but not a huge one. It all depends on how he looks against Morel, who can still box with the best of them, and how good Donaire performs on July 14 (vs. Cristian Mijares or Jeffery Mathebula).

Based on what I saw last Saturday, I would favor Marquez to beat both Rios and Alvarado by close but unanimous decisions in very good fights. I don’t think the Mexican master would shy away from either young buck provided the money and the public demand was there to make those fights happen.

I’d rather see Rios-Alvarado, which could be a Corrales-Castillo-caliber war. Rios vs. any aggressive 140-pound contender will be a fight-of-the-year candidate. Let’s just hope that he hasn’t pulled a “Morales” (killing one’s body to make an unnaturally light weight for so long that he struggles to make weight even after he moves up one or two divisions).

Regarding the Marquez’s removal as THE RING, I think it was time. I respect Marquez more than any other active fighter, but to continue to recognize him as the 135-pound champ after his last three bouts were at junior welterweight (or higher) wouldn’t be fair to the top lightweight contenders. It’s obvious that Marquez isn’t returning to lightweight, where his last fight was his thrilling title defense against Michael Katsidis in November of 2010. Who is there for him to fight at 135 pounds? He’s not going to come back down to lightweight to fight Antonio DeMarco or Miguel Vazquez. And that’s fine, but DeMarco and Vazquez (or Ricky Burns) should be able to fight for THE RING title if they have the guts to face each other (and I think they do).

I think the rule that RING titles can only be won and lost in the ring needs to be updated for the modern era (in which elite fighters like Marquez only fight twice a year). Even back in the “glory days” of one belt and only eight divisions, champions – such as Jack Dempsey, THE RING’s first heavyweight champ – would abuse that ideal. Dempsey didn’t fight or defend the title at all in 1924 and 1925, and yet he remained the champ (during a period that he should have defended his title against Harry Wills).   

I also thought Rios would prevail over Abril (in a tough fight), but I knew you weren’t giving the lanky Cuban enough credit in your rant last week. Bam Bam is a beat, but not when he’s weight drained and facing a guy who refuses to fight fire with fire.

LEE GROVES’ BEST MIDDLEWEIGHT LIST

Is this a late April Fool’s joke?
10 – Arthur Abraham
9 – Gene Fullmer
8 – Les Darcy
7 – Felix Sturm
6 – Ray Robinson
5 – Stanley Ketchel
4 – Harry Greb
3 – Marvin Hagler
2 – Carlos Monzon
1 – Bernard Hopkins

Where is Tiger, LaMotta, Walker, Fitzsimmons, etc.? – M. Bunatank

I had the same questions for Lee when he gave me an advance peek at his list on Sunday. Then he explained to me that he primarily ranked the middleweights on what they accomplished during their title runs. (He stated as much in the introduction to the feature, but it doesn’t appear than many fans noticed or care.)

I still didn’t agree with the order, or the inclusion of Abraham or Sturm, but I understood where he was coming from.

There are many ways to rank fighters in a specific division, especially in an “all-time” or “best-ever” sense. You can rank them based on how good they were when they were at their absolute best in that particular weight class, in which case a once-in-a-life time marvel, such as Ray Robinson, who was at the peak of his physical prowess when he made the full-time move to middleweight in 1950 – the year before he bludgeoned Jake LaMotta to win the title and prior to his retirement from ’52-‘55 – will most likely be at the top of the list.

Or you can rank them based on the quality of their opposition and take a close look at who they fought and beat in that particular weight class. Again, an old-school mack daddy like Robinson, who beat (and often beat up or KO’d) fellow hall of famers/ATGs, such as LaMotta, Carl “BoBo” Olson, Randy Turpin, Gene Fullmer, Carmen Basilio, and Rocky Graziano at 160 pounds, would have to be at the top of the list.

However, if your aim is to rank champions in a specific division, one way to rate them is by analyzing their title reigns – how long their championship run lasted, how many title defenses they made, and who they beat before losing their title(s). This is probably the only criteria in which Robinson isn’t going to come out on top at middleweight. Robinson lost to Turpin, Fullmer (twice), Basilio and Paul Pender in title bouts. Under this criteria, lesser talented but more consistent technicians who had long title reigns, such as Bernard Hopkins, Carlos Monzon and Marvin Hagler are going to come out on top. And that’s fine with me. I think those three are truly great fighters, who could have competed in Robinson’s era and even with Sugar Ray himself.

I think most readers are OK with the top three, even if they think Robinson or Greb should be ranked ahead of them. It’s King Arthur at no. 10 and the Sturminator at No. 7 that’s burning everyone’s ass. But you know what? I respect Lee’s opinion (he’s one of the few active boxing writers who knows more about boxing history than I do) and I give him credit for having the balls to run with a middleweight list that doesn’t have automatically have SRR installed at No. 1. I also respect the arguments he presented for Abraham’s and Sturm’s inclusion (and that he included lesser known fighters, such as Les Darcy, as he usually does with his 10 lists).

RIOS AND HIS WEIGHT

Doug,
Long time reader, first time writer. I would like to take Brandon Rios’ battle with weight in another direction. First I would like to make the most obvious point. At the age of 25, his body is going to only continue to fill out and grow. This leads in to my second point, which is that due to the fact that he has missed weight in 3 of his last 5 fights, why does everybody assume that 140 is where he will fight at? If he really did try as hard as he says he did and if his team really did hire somebody to carefully watch his weight and make sure he had a proper diet, and he still came in at a drawn out 137 and 139, how many fights does he really have at 140? I know the last 2 or 3 pounds are the hardest, but guess what, all his body apparently had in it was to get to 137. Next time, who knows if he will be able to even get that low. A short stay at Junior Welterweight may be an understatement.

Take it easy – Brian, Virginia

I think you might be right, Brian. He may struggle to make 140 pounds. And knowing this, I hope his management tries to maneuver him to the most significant junior welterweight matchups that can be made this year and next before Bam Bam’s body forces a move to welterweight (where he may not have the size, strength and power to compete at).

By the way, I know Rios came in over the lightweight limit for his fights with John Murray and Abril. What was the third fight (in his last five bouts) that you speak of? Thanks for finally writing in. I hope to hear from you again soon.

JUDGEMENT DAY

Dougie,

Two things:

With all this tiresome ranting over all these even more tiresome bad decisions that we keep getting in boxing I’m sure there’s something that could be done. Suspending some of these inept officials as is the case of the Williams-Lara bout was a start. But how about calling some these so-called judges to the microphone after they screw up on their shady scoring. When a fighter gets pot-shotted to bits ten out of twelve rounds and gets the win I don’t think it’ll be a bad idea to have someone like Larry Merchant or a commissioner to call any of the three blind mice over and ask him/them what the heck they were watching and ask him/them to explain himself or themselves. Capable back up judges would also be good idea in case a lousy scoring card needs to be overruled. Anyways, just suggestions.

With the Mayweather-Cotto bout just about upon us I have one question concerning the Alvarez-Mosley undercard.

Why is Mosley still appearing on these mega pay-per-view events even though he lost his last three fights and did practically nothing in those outings? He’s completely used up. Even when Holyfield became ragged and lost three fights in a row back in ‘02 to ‘04, HBO and Showtime closed the deal on him. It would be better if Alvarez was facing a live contender like Kirkland, Williams, or at least someone close to that level. Hopefully, that will be the case now on after that. Mosley’s just tying up the kind of space that should be reserved for more deserving fighters.

Thanks for hearing me out and I’ll be looking forward to the Mares-Morel fight this Saturday. – Plil Maynard, Toronto, Canada

I’m also looking forward watching Mares-Morel (as well as the best finesse boxer in the biz, Anselmo Moreno, who is in solid with David De La Mora). Mares always brings it and he’s matured over the course of his last four bouts. Morel has been under the radar, but I was ringside for his last four fights (three of which were off TV) and I thought he looked very sharp. They should deliver a quality fight.

Why is Mosley still appearing on pay-per-view events? It’s very simple, he still has a name. Casual fans – the folks needed to push PPV events over the 1 million mark – know who he is and they aren’t as aware of Mosley’s decline as you or I. Plus, Mosley’s a good “B-side” against a burgeoning Mexican star like “Canelo” because of his track record. The 40-year-old veteran has never lost to a fighter of Mexican descent and he’s done good numbers (in terms of PPV buys, ratings and the box office) when matched against Mexican/Mexican-American standouts (Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas and Antonio Margarito).

I love the idea of having the judges who turn in doo-doo scorecards explain themselves immediately after the fight. You weren’t clear on whether their explanations would be televised (like the post-fight interviews with the boxers), but I think they should be. These officials have been invisible for too long. I want fans and media to know who they are, what they look like, what they sound like, and whether or not they can defend their scorecards while being grilled by veteran broadcaster like Merchant. I think the uncomfortable post-bout interview that JimGray did with Russell Mora was absolutely needed after the crap job the ref did in the first Mares-Agbeko fight last August. In fact, I think HBO should hire Gray just to grill the f___ out of incompetent referees and judges. First time offenders have to explain themselves to the Grand Old Man. For those who dare to f___ up again, it’s Gray Day. They gotta get the Pete Rose treatment.

I’m not too high on your idea of having “capable backup” judges. If they’re the “capable” ones, they should be judging the fight. Anyone who needs a backup doesn’t need to be judging a high-profile/title bout.

ADVICE FOR KATSIDIS

Hey Dougie,
I hope you are well.

Michael Katsidis is as honest as the day is long both in and out of the ring. Surely he must realise that his best days are behind him.

He took a bucket load of punishment in his loss last Friday night. He appears too small to be effective as a Junior Welterweight.

As fun as he is to watch and as much as boxing needs a guy like Katsidis, I think now would be a good time for him to retire.

He has had a solid career, been a fan favourite for the duration of it and hopefully made some good coin.

I don’t think Katsidis can garner the big money fights he was hoping a change to Justin Fortune would provide.
Michael, you have served yourself, your country and your sport well. Hold your head high son and say good bye.
If you were advising Katsidis what would be your advice?

Cheers Dougie. – Choppa B., Sydney, Australia

My advice would be the same as yours, Chop. I’d ask him to strongly consider retirement.

I agree that he looks too small to compete at 140 pounds, but even if he can still make lightweight without trouble, he won’t be able to land a significant bout at 135 pounds given his recent track record. The only TV bouts he can secure here in the States are crossroads matches against young lightweight up-and-comers. He’s got to ask himself if he wants to be a gate-keeper.

I think there are lightweight prospects that he can beat. I’d favor him over Luis Ramos and I think that would be a hell of a fight (when is it not an action bout with Katsidis?) However, win, lose or draw, he’s going to absorb a lot of punishment against these young bucks. Their bodies are still fresh. They haven’t been in the kind of wars he’s been in, so they can bounce back. Katsidis won’t bounce back. And at some point, he’s going to start taking the kind of punishment that causes permanent damage.

I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Katsidis a few times and he’s as honorable and genuine as you say he is. He’s also smart and articulate. That’s why I’m hoping he strongly considers moving on from the combat side of the sport.

 

 

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

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