Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

NO RESPECT FOR COTTO?

Hello Doug. How you doing? Been a fan for a while, since early 2000′s. I can’t believe that Miguel Cotto is getting no respect for this fight on May 5th. I keep reading other mailbags from different sites on how Cotto won’t last more than six rounds, and how Floyd Mayweather will make him look like Arturo Gatti and Henry Bruseles.

I don’t see that happening. Cotto has fought the best in his division for the past 4-5 years. It’s not like he doesn’t have skills, Doug. I think he has a good shot at pulling it off. People make it seem as if Mayweather’s offense is like Pacman’s or the ‘08 version of Margarito. You were right many years ago on how Floyd would have people fooled; he ducked many fighters in his prime but I like this fight. It will be competitive and I will be going to Las Vegas this weekend. It will be my fifth Cotto fight. I know I might sound biased but it should have happened in ’08, but I’ll take it. Keep up the good work! Peace! – Walter from Long Island, NY

I’ve stated this many times before, but I have no problem doing so again: I like the 2012 version of Cotto vs. Mayweather better than the 2007-early ‘08 version that was undefeated and on pound-for-pounds lists. Why? Because the younger version was trained by his uncle Evangelista, who was not very good at teaching the finer points of boxing. Also, Cotto did not get along with his uncle (including when they were in the gym, where they rarely communicated). That version of Cotto relied too much on brute force.

I’m not saying that brute force cannot be used to beat Mayweather but it has to be applied with sound technique, a lot of smarts and a little finesse. Cotto improved his technique during his two-bout stint with Emanuel Steward and I believe he’s gained some finesse (or at the very least better coordination) under Pedro Diaz. And I think Diaz brings something to the table that I’m not sure Manny would have with this particular fight: steadfast belief in his fighter. I think Diaz really believes Cotto can beat Mayweather, and that’s very important to an athlete who needs to perform better than he ever has in order to win.

I’m not surprised Cotto is being written off by most of the sports media and boxing insiders. Hardcore heads have doubted his ability and potential ever since he was badly rocked by Chop Chop Corley and Ricardo Torres in junior welterweight bouts. The brutal losses to Margarito and Pacquiao convinced the doubters that he was totally shot.  

Meanwhile Mayweather appears to be on top of his game. You can’t blame them for not believing in the proud Puerto Rican. However, it would be refreshing if they could acknowledge his accomplishments and underrated boxing ability.

Like you hinted at, he’s been in with a dozen world-class fighters – of varying strengths and styles – over the years. And many of these boxers were undefeated or at their peak when he faced them.

Knowing this, I can’t count him out of this bout. I’m picking Mayweather by decision, and if Floyd dominates Cotto to the gross degree that he dominated Gatti and Bruseles I’ll have to consider it one of the best performances of his first-ballot hall of fame career. However, I think it’s insulting to compare Cotto to Bruseles and I believe that Cotto is much better boxer than Gatti was. I think we’re going to be treated to a competitive fight.

DON’T COUNT OUT COTTO!

It’s funny to me that in every single boxing forum/board/site that mentions the fight, every single person not only believes that Mayweather will destroy Cotto, but that Cotto is shot, finished, and has absolutely no chance in the fight whatsoever. While Mayweather winning is a very high possibility, to say that Cotto has no chance is absolutely foolish, and people comparing Cotto to Arturo Gatti (RIP) are being disrespectful. Cotto’s only losses are to Margarito (albeit under questionable circumstance) and Pacquiao (don’t matter if it was a catchweight, he still got beat, KO 12). Everyone, like myself, expects Mayweather to win because of his defense, speed, and the aura of invisibility surrounding him because of his undefeated streak. That said, unlike many, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Cotto pulled an upset.

Cotto is unbeaten against undefeated fighters; that means something. Whether Mayweather is the first unbeaten boxer to beat Cotto remains to be seen. Cotto also has a good trainer, who last time I checked, trained and helped cultivate the legendary Cuban amateur team that includes most of the good Cuban fighters we know of. Also, Cotto is younger and has been more active than Mayweather in the last few years, particularly in that weight class, and last time Mayweather fought at 154, it was against Oscar De La Hoya, who was around the same age Floyd is now (and considered shot then), and he gave Mayweather everything he could handle; even Floyd Sr. thought his own son lost that fight.

Cotto may not be as talented, but he has the tools to beat Mayweather if not make it a close fight, and his confidence is back. What I’m saying is, anything is possible and no one is invincible. Even Jack Jackson, probably the greatest counter puncher EVER, and Muhammad Ali got beat at some point, and it was against someone that nobody expected to have a chance to compete. I think that what makes this fight captivating. – Jon M.

Dude, that’s what makes BOXING captivating. Few things stir the pot in this crazy sport as much as a high-profile upset. And nothing is as inspirational as when a huge underdog puts on the best performance of his life and shocks the world.

I agree that Cotto has the “tools” to beat Mayweather, but I’m not sure he’s got enough athleticism or the right style to pull it off. He’s technically sound but he’s also methodical. He’s got a good jab, underrated footwork and excellent timing, but his speed and reflexes aren’t in Mayweather’s league. And although Cotto’s hands are very heavy, he’s not a dynamic puncher like Pacquiao or his fellow Puerto Rican, Felix Trinidad. I don’t think he can end or turn the fight with a single punch, which means he’s going to have to put in a lot of smart work to compete with the raunchy Rubik’s Cube of boxing.

I like Mayweather in this one, but I consider Cotto to be a “live ‘dog” and I’m looking forward to watching this one.

Good points about Cotto. He is unbeaten against undefeated fighters, though none of them were in Mayweather’s class.

He does have a good coach in Diaz, however, it must be pointed out that the Cuban professor is relatively new to professional training. And while Cotto looked sharp against Margarito last December, I have to note that the Mexican mauler was coming off an awful beating (to Pacquiao), more than a year of inactivity and probably had one good eye. Cotto was in command, but I still think Margz was coming on when they NSAC pulled the plug on the bout.

I don’t think weight will be much of a factor. Mayweather has added a lot of muscle to his frame since his first junior middleweight bout against De La Hoya, who was CLEARLY beaten in my opinion (and I don’t believe for a second that Floyd Sr. really thought Oscar won). Mayweather might surprise Cotto with his underrated physical strength.

I don’t think age is a factor, either. Cotto is younger, but he’s been in more shootouts and grueling fights. Mayweather, who fights once a year and specializes on not getting hit, is a very well-preserved 35.

Cotto’s got more questions to answer in this fight than Mayweather does.     

FRIDAY’S FIGHTS, HOPKINS: THE LEGEND

Wasup dude? I thought Friday night had some pretty good fights highlighted by Evans and The Black Russian getting sparked in dramatic fashion. Yaundale needs to go back to the drawing board and leave that check hook that he likes to throw alone until his skills catch up to his athletic ability. Props to Javier Fortuna on a job well done. Grachev-Sillakh was a shocker but once I started paying attention to Teddy Atlas’ constant harping on him being susceptible to right hands it made sense. I’m sure we’ll hear how he was exposed but how many times have we seen classic boxers get unnerved and beaten up by caveman style cats? Mayorga-Forrest anyone? It happens, people. Much respect to Denis Grachev for putting his ass on the line and continuing to chuck leather until he landed. Would like to see Tommy Oosthuizen again too. He’ll be a tough out because of his toughness and fighting style. Infighting is a big part of his game and his stamina seems to be pretty good to. Marcus Johnson did better than I thought he would but seems to be B- at this point. Seth Mitchell: I’m just going to say that if he doesn’t learn how to avoid the right hand he will be entered into a sheep counting contest in the near future.

Now for Dawson-Hopkins. Since the first Roy Jones fight, I have only scored one fight against Bernard. I scored Calzaghe-Hopkins 7-5 in rounds and thought that he just got outworked in that one. Saturday night, I thought he lost more convincingly and there is no question as to who won that fight. Good job Dawson! Hopkins is one of my All Time Faves and I think he can still beat a couple of the guys in the top ten but what’s the point? Dawson-Ward: I’d love to see how Dawson does against a younger version of Bernard. Funny how Ward came into the game trying to emulate Roy Jones but after a couple of close calls he morphed into a young version of an old Executioner. Would love to see it.

(P.S. – Sorry, dawg, but Shane Mosley ain’t getting no more of my money. Won’t be buying this one for that reason among others.) Holla Back! – Fleetwood

After the dismal performances Mosley gave in his last three pay-per-view main events, I can’t blame you for skipping out on purchasing the “Ring Kings” show. I’m not going to try to talk you into it, but I do believe that Mayweather-Cotto and Alvarez-Mosley will be good fights.

I know Mosley’s faded and Canelo is literally young enough to be his son, but we’re talking about a still-developing fighter that Alfonzo Gomez was able to put hands on. Alvarez’s hair is red but he’s green in comparison to Mosley and the fighters who recently gave Sugar Shane fits. Beating Matthew Hatton, Ryan Rhodes, Gomez and Kermit Cintron doesn’t mean you’re ready to kick Mosley’s ass. I expect the young titleholder to win, but I think he’ll have to dig deep to do so. If Alvarez spanks Mosley, I’ll give the Mexican star his props and urge the 40-year-old veteran to retire.

Speaking of retirement… Hopkins should seriously consider it. It’s a huge understatement to say that he’s got nothing more to prove. He’s the most accomplished boxer of the past 25 years. He’s an all-time great, in my opinion. (I don’t consider many amazing talents of our era to be “greats,” including Mike Tyson, Mayweather, Jones, Pacquiao, and James Toney, but I give it up to B-Hop despite the fact that I’ve been on his s__t list for the majority of years I’ve known him.) I don’t have to tell you this, ‘cause you know, but it’s his character that separates him from those other fighters, who have each achieved more than enough to merit first-ballot hall of fame induction. It was on display when he gave Dawson his due respect at the post-fight press conference on Saturday and I hope it gets the better of his pride when he considers the potential fights that are out there for him.

Speaking of potential fights… Am I the only one who doesn’t want to see Dawson-Ward? Those styles are NOT going to mesh well, folks. Yes, both guys are smart, talented, athletic champions but that doesn’t mean they’ll make for an entertaining fight. Boxing doesn’t need another Bradley-Alexander exhibition. I’d much rather see Dawson defend his RING and WBC titles against the Tavoris Cloud-Jean Pascal winner, Gabriel Campillo and WBA beltholder Beibut Shumenov.

Mitchell and Chazz Witherspoon stole the show on Saturday. Mitchell’s wobbly moments make me doubt his ability to be a world beater but his heart and tenacity make me believe that he can be a popular TV fighter and regional attraction. I’d love to see him take on Chris Arreola and Tomasz Adamek.

Oosthuizen is another made-for TV fighter. He’s one of the busiest 168 pounders I’ve ever seen. He’s got a mean body attack like Mitchell but a better set of whiskers than the heavyweight. Johnson nailed the gangly South African with flush rights and hooks all night and never rocked him. He fits in nicely with the new generation of super middleweights that includes Adonis Stevenson and Edwin Rodriguez.

Fortuna is a total stud that I’m familiar with (from visiting Sergio Martinez’s training camps in Oxnard, Calif.). He’s confident, athletically gifted, and skilled with a strong amateur background. I think he’s going to be a force in his division (featherweight/junior lightweight).

Of course, I’ve been saying the same thing about Sillakh for a couple of years. What the f__k do I know!? LOL.

Seriously, I still think Sillakh has a bright future as long as he goes back to the gym and works on the technical flaws and strategic mistakes that led to his getting caught and allowed Grachev to follow up as much as he did. He’s gotta bring that left hand up (especially when he backs away from his opponents) and he needs to learn how to tie guys up when he gets rocked or overwhelmed on the inside.

Even with those holes in his game, Sillakh should have defeated Grachev. But he committed one of the Cardinal sins of boxing last Friday: he allowed himself to get bored during a fight and he lost focus against a guy who could punch.

SETH MITCHELL

Hey Doug,

Thanks for answering my last email. How’s everything going?

I was impressed with Seth Mitchell’s intelligence and determination against Witherspoon. He was aware enough to at least attempt to hold when rocked in the first round and attacked the body effectively in the second. Once he had Witherspoon hurt in the third, he showed a good balance of patience and aggressiveness in bringing about the stoppage.

But, do his defensive lapses sully Mitchell’s performance in your opinion? For me, this fight made me become an even bigger fan of his, but has also tempered my immediate expectations for him a bit. Who would you pick if he fought Arreola? Who would you like to see him fight next and when do you think he’ll be able to take on a top 10 opponent? I won’t even ask about the Klitschkos. Thanks. Be well. – David, Washington, DC

Thank you for not asking about Mitchell vs. one of the K-Bros. Even Mitchell knows that’s a crazy notion at this stage of his development. Who would I like to see Mitchell fight next and how soon can he fight a top-10 opponent? Good questions. I don’t think he’s ready for a legit contender just yet, but I think he’s close.

I’d like to see him face a “fringe contender” type in his next bout (he said he’d be back in the ring in September), someone who is young, offense-minded and has a good record. I’m thinking of guys like Bermane Stiverne, Johnathan Banks, Bryant Jennings and Joe Hanks. If he takes care of business against one or two of those guys – or someone at their level – I think he’ll be ready to test himself against a RING-ranked heavyweight. The two guys who make the most sense are Adamek and Arreola, since they are based in the U.S. and have both fought on HBO, which seems to have taken a liking to Mitchell.  

If Mitchell fought Arreola, I’d slightly favor “the Nightmare” because of his experience, amateur background and busy offense, but I’m pretty sure it would be a see-saw shootout, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mitchell managed to score a stoppage. We should all be clamoring for HBO to make that matchup a reality.

Onto your other question: Does Mitchell’s defensive lapses sully his performance? Not in my eyes. I think fans make too much of “wobbly” moments. Mayweather, the best defensive boxer since Pernell Whitaker, has had wobbly moments.  It’s part of the sport. As I did with Cotto after his scares against Corley and Torres, I’m going to focus more on the poise and heart Mitchell showed in the first round against Witherspoon than the fact that he momentarily did “the stanky legs.”

 

 

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

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