LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD
Thanks for responding to my last write-up. First thing. When I insisted that lousy judges should be centered out and forced to explain their so-called scoring I clearly meant while still on live TV. Otherwise what would be the point? And looking back at it, I guess the idea of back up judges was a dumb one. But we need someone to overrule these even dumber scoring cards. Especially since capable judges seem to be a rarity these days. It’s hard enough just to find three anyways.
As for the past weekend I really enjoyed the performance Abner Mares put forth. He fought with true passion and fire. He could punch it out in the trenches. He could also box and actually has that big-league jab that many punchers of today don’t have. And after his biggest win to date he gave Eric Morel his due. And so will I. Morel boxed as best he could and gave no excuses. He even refused to fall back on the tired old “if only I was ten years younger” speech. That was certainly a blast of fresh air. That brings us to the possible upcoming Mares-Nonito Donaire match. I will certainly give Mares a strong chance of winning. He’s actually the more complete and versatile fighter. As much as I respect Donaire’s talent he seems to run out of ideas when an opponent refuses to lunge into his big left-hook. And I’m also not buying into this “Donaire’s too big” garbage. Several pounds difference. Big deal. It just sounds crazy when a 122 pound guy is considered “too big”. Plus the younger Mares is probably still growing physically as well as mentally.
Now it’s time to look ahead to this weekend. Not that I’m excited about the upcoming Bernard-Hopkins-Chad Dawson rematch. Hopkins is becoming increasingly injury-prone and I don’t think he can hold back the clock any longer. And while I don’t care much for Dawson’s cautious style I think his superior size, speed and youth will bring Hopkins ride to an end.
If anything the Seth Mitchell-Chazz Witherspoon bout might be the show stealer even if it is basically a prospect up against a journeyman. Imagine that, an American heavyweight who might become a guy worth watching. Not that I’m going to jump on that band wagon already. We’ll wait and see.
With that said and done. Take Care. Cheers. – Phil Manard
Thanks for writing in again, Phil.
I think the Mitchell-Witherspoon fight will provide more sustained action than Hopkins-Dawson (although I believe the light heavyweight rematch may feature more intensity and drama). Mitchell is a strong, well-rounded and fast-improving heavyweight prospect and Witherspoon – who I think is much better than a “journeyman” – is a busy technician with a solid amateur background and a typical “Philly fighter” mentality (which means he won’t back down from a fight). If Witherspoon avoids getting clipped by the bigger and harder punching Mitchell in the early rounds, I think he’ll give the former football player (who still has a lot of “football” muscle, which could slow him down in the late rounds) a tough fight over the second half of the bout. Whatever happens, I think it will be fun while it lasts.
Hopkins-Dawson II might not be much fun. There are two difficult styles and a lot of bad blood coming together in this rematch. It could get ugly. However, it doesn’t seem like Dawson is going to bring his usual cautious boxing style into this fight. He seems genuinely pissed off and disgusted with Nard and has repeatedly stated that he wants to beat the future hall of famer in decisive fashion, he hopes by knockout. I don’t think we’ll see Dawson storm out of his corner Edwin Valero-style tomorrow night, but I don’t think he’s blowing hot air. He’ll be cautious to an extent – especially in the early rounds – but he won’t box safety first. I think Dawson will take chances and try to force a fast pace on Hopkins. He wants to make the 47-year-old man fight. Hopefully, that will be entertaining to watch, but I’m not holding my breath.
I think Hopkins is going to give this fight, which he says could be his last (win or lose), everything he’s got left. He’s got a lot of pride and he wants to erase the memory of their first match. I think he’ll have his moments in the bout, but I don’t see him taking over this fight the way he usually does. I like Dawson by close but unanimous decision.
Regarding a Mares-Donaire showdown at 122 pounds, I agree that it would be a competitive fight. I also think it could be the most anticipated junior featherweight fight since the Isreal Vazquez-Rafael Marquez trilogy, or maybe even since the first Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales bout. Let’s hope it happens. I know Mares, his manager Frank Espinoza and his promoter, Golden Boy, would like to make that fight sometime next year. I haven’t heard Donaire and his brain trust (manager Cameron Dunkin and Top Rank) say much about Mares. Maybe they will after Donaire’s next fight, scheduled for July 14.
And finally, I have to disagree with your comment about capable judges. I don’t think they are a rarity. I think there are many good judges who are available for high-profile fights. (I’ll name a quality young judge – Max De Luca – his scorecards are usually spot on as the British say)
The problem is that the really good judges don’t always get the good assignments thanks to politics (within boxing and the state commissions).
WANING INTEREST – PART II
I think living in Montreal might make it difficult for you to fall all the way out of love with boxing, Stephen. If Lucian Bute gets the job done against Carl Froch in May and an eventual showdown with Andre Ward does indeed take place either late this year or sometime next year, I think you’ll be very excited about thesport. Heck, you might get Tavoris Cloud vs. Jean Pascal this summer. You know that’s going to be fun.
But it sure would help if the young “elite” fighters would fight more than twice a year and the judges could get it right on a consistent basis. Maybe there’s some hope. They didn’t foul things up in Texas with the Mares-Morel scorecards last Saturday. And though most standout fighters consider fighting three times a year to be a “busy” schedule, there are a few exceptions. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fought four times last year (quite the feat considering all of his fights were on HBO or HBO PPV broadcasts here in the States). James Kirkland gets a special gold star from me for fighting SEVEN times in 2011. Now if we could just get these two junior middleweights to fight each other before the year’s out, maybe they’ll put on a Gatti-worthy scrap that will hook a new generation of boxing fans for the rest of the decade.
HOPKINS IS BEING QUIET
My man BHOP has been quiet. What do you think of it? What do you think happens this weekend? I’m not expecting a great fight, but I am ringside this weekend and will most likely miss your mailbag since I’m on vacation. Give me a quick heads up on your thoughts.
I agree with your thoughts on HBO’s Floyd Mayweather: Speaking Out special, it was crap. Not a d__n thing came out of it. I heard the King, X, Ali thing and I was like get the f’ outta hear! Yeah, they went to prison as you indicated for something they believed in. Did Mayweather believe in beating the s__t out of women and is willing to go to jail for that cause so we can all have that right?
Yeah Dyson didn’t do s__t. Speaking out, Mayweather didn’t have s__t to say. It wasn’t like there was something groundbreaking on politics, the war, Obama, the recession, the upcoming election, etc. – JCB
Nah, Mayweather Speaking Out was just Floyd being Floyd, which is fine. But why did HBO need to do a 30-minute special with Michael Eric Dyson as host if all we were going to get was unfiltered Floyd? Don’t we already get that with 24/7?
My quick thoughts on Hopkins-Dawson II is that the future hall of famer (and all-time great in my not-so humble opinion) will have his savvy hands full with Mad Chad. I think the old man will be competitive, but unless he lands a big right hand that seriously rocks Dawson, my gut tells me that he’ll get outworked and outpointed by the younger man.
Hopkins’ fight-week silence reminds me of his monk-like mindset going into the Kelly Pavlik fight, which tells me that he’s super focused on the task at hand. However, the Pavlik fight was 3½ years ago and Dawson is a more talented and versatile boxer than “The Ghost.”
And Dawson believes that B-Hop’s silence is a sign of fear. He says Hopkins refused to do one of those HBO Face Off shows with him, and wasn’t interested in a fight-week press conference, because the light heavyweight champ is afraid to look him in the eye.
I don’t know if that’s true, but Dawson says he’s going to prove it on fight night. We’ll see.
I don’t have any inside information on Ariza’s importance or standing with Team Pacquiao. All I can give you are my opinions/impressions on the situation. Here are two:
1) Ariza didn’t just walk out on Pacquiao. He left Manny’s camp to help prepare Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for his June 16 title defense against Andy Lee. I think we can all agree that Chavez needs a conditioning/nutritional guru in his camp a lot more than Pacquiao does. Perhaps Ariza felt that Pacquiao is ahead of schedule and already in great shape for his June 9 showdown with Tim Bradley.
2) Maybe Chavez is just willing to pay Ariza more for his services.
WHY SO INACTIVE?
I just wanted to pick up on something you discussed in your Monday mailbag. I found the stats that you gave around the number of times the top fighters are turning out in a year, compared to 10-15 years ago, quite surprising. I guess I’m so used to only seeing them twice a year, I just thought it was always like this. My question is: why has it changed? Surely it’s in everyone’s interests for fighters to be fighting more often? The fighters get more paydays, the fans get to see them more often, and the promoters get to promote & build their men more often. Is it naive of me to think that?
Talking of fighters we only see once a year – aren’t you finding the whole “Mayweather show” a little tiresome? I know I am. I saw the first 24/7 episode, and he’s just becoming more and more of a d!ck. If he does it to make people want to watch him, then it’s not working anymore because I find myself caring less and less. I’ll watch Mayweather-Cotto, but mainly because I like Cotto.
Apparently he now thinks he’s some kind of 21st Century MLK? Well I guess if you surround yourself with people who do nothing more than kiss your arse, you’ll start believing it tastes good.
All the best. – Tom, Oxford, England
Mayweather – or Martin Luther Money (as Steve Kim has christened him) – must think his booty tastes like cotton candy.
I agree that his bad boy/fly guy/tortured artist/persecuted superstar/misunderstood genius act has gotten very stale. I’m not interested in 24/7. I am into next Saturday’s mega-fight because Cotto generally makes for entertaining fights.
Why have the top fighters of this era elected to only fight once or twice a year? It’s very simple. They are making a butt load of money – thanks to the licensing fees they and their promoters collect from HBO and Showtime – every time they fight. Financially speaking, they don’t need to fight more than twice a year, so most don’t.
And I’ll add this. Apart from the sports two bona-fide PPV stars, PacMan and “Floyd X,” and maybe Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. – who can draw between 7,500-10,000 every time they fight – most of the so-called “elite” boxers who fight on HBO and Showtime are overpaid because they have trouble filling 5,000-seat venues. Hell, most of them (with the exception of Devon Alexander and Andre Ward, who sell a decent amount of tickets in their hometowns) can barely fill 1,500-seat clubs and ballrooms. So why are these guys who can’t draw flies to a pile of dookie getting seven-figure paydays?
The answer to that question is the root to a problem that is bigger than young fighters who don’t want to fight more than two or three times a year.
MORE MARES, MORENO & LARA
Good afternoon from upstate NY,
I’m glad I missed Mayweather’s special, “Speaking Out”. Why not call it “let’s watch this guy make an idiot out of himself but we’ll take it seriously?”
Next up, I’m high on Anselmo Moreno, I didn’t understand why the crowd was booing. I felt his defensive and offensive abilities make for a more exciting fight than your average Mayweather scrap (Ortiz fight was entertaining to an extent and Cotto’s never been in a snore, so I may take that back later). I was just wickedly impressed at how he neutralized a solid contender in David de la Mora. Mora tried everything he knew but Moreno is clearly on another level. I’d pick him over Donaire and maybe Mares (he’s turning into a monster).
Finally, Mares-Morel. First time I had heard of Mares outside of the bantamweight division was his interview in Ring a year or so ago before his draw with Yonnhy Perez. Didn’t think much of him, then he beat Vic, Agbeko twice and a solid challenger in Morel (and a classy one at that). I want to see more of Mares and Lara. S__t, I’d pay to see them beat up a heavy bag at this point, Lara’d put a hole in it with his mean left.
(P.S. – got suckered into watching a rerun of the UFC PPV from Saturday night on Sunday afternoon. Eh, I criticized their punching style and technique. S__t’s okay but it gets kind of boring when they roll all over each other. Nothing to write home about.)
Sorry about the long letter. – Mike
Mares, Moreno and Lara are all very talented, battle-tested young titleholders/contenders. The good news is that all three are with Golden Boy Promotions, and the L.A.-based company obviously wants to showcase them on Showtime and HBO as often as possible, which (hopefully) means we’ll see them in competitive fights this year and maybe even high-profile events in 2013.
I think if GBP plays their cards right, Mares can develop into a star – or at least a West Coast attraction. Moreno is the best bantamweight in the world, bar none. On a good night, I think Moreno can beat any 122-pound fighter in the world.
If there was a Super Six tournament for junior middleweights that included Lara, Alvarez, Martirosyan, Molina, Kirkland, and Trout (or Williams or Angulo or Bundrage), I would make Lara one of the favorites and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won it.
Email Dougie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer